This Was Not Suicide It Was Murder

A single mother leapt to her death with her baby because her only means of support was withdrawn, other benefits were denied and the local council then demanded she repay housing benefit. The verdict was suicide and unlawful killing of her baby, but this was murder, cheap cruel bureaucratic neoliberal fucking murder. Capitalist cleansing, the eugenics of the profit driven society. The story is told (sadly and no mention of the father, so see how the destruction of welfare is a gender issue, not many men get left holding the baby after giving birth) in The Daily Mail, so here are the main points without gracing their site with your presence-

A pregnant woman jumped to her death while clutching her baby son after her benefits had been stopped, an inquest heard. Philosophy graduate Christelle Pardo, 32, plunged from the balcony of her sister’s third-floor flat, killing herself and five-month-old Kayjah. Miss Pardo had been claiming Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) since shortly after leaving London Metropolitan University in May 2008 She became pregnant shortly afterwards, but in December her JSA was withdrawn because she was within 11 weeks of giving birth and was considered unable to work.

As a result she also lost her automatic entitlement to housing benefit. The mother, from Hackney, east London, was advised to apply for income support but her application was rejected because the Department of Work and Pensions said she had not proved that she had been in continuous employment in the UK for the previous five years. This was despite having worked or been a student in Britain since 1997.

In April, her application for child benefit was also rejected when officials learned she had been denied income support. Hackney council then demanded she repay £200 in overpaid housing benefit. Two further appeals for income support were rejected and when Miss Pardo tried to take the Department of Works to a tribunal she repeatedly failed to be given a date for a hearing. Her last phone call to the DWP was on Friday June 12 this year, the day before she committed suicide and killed her son.

Ms Pardo’s sister, Olaya, told Poplar Coroner’s Court that she and Christelle had moved to Britain from France and had both been in work ever since.

Describing her sister’s death Ms Pardo said she went out to buy some milk before returning to find her front door open. She said: ‘I called for Christelle and didn’t hear anything. I went out to the balcony and when I looked over I could see my sister and Kayjah. ‘That day she was distant, she didn’t say much. She was upset and wanted a date for her tribunal. She was stressed about her benefits. She didn’t want her son to feel all the stress that she was going through with the paperwork. We talked sister to sister and she told me how she was feeling. She said she was upset because she felt that she didn’t exist. If it had not been for me she would have been out on the street.’

The court heard that Christelle could not return to France because she had no relatives there, as her parents had moved away. Her sister said: ‘Going back to France was like going back to another country. She was living here for so many years – this was her country.’

Christelle died at the scene after her plunge. Paramedics took her son to the nearby Royal London Hospital where he died later that day.

Coroner Dr Andrew Reid said: ‘She was not in a position around the time her son was born to be actively seeking work, and was not in a position to claim Income Support, which eventually stopped her housing benefit.

‘In lay terms it seems a very parlous situation.’

The coroner recorded a verdict of suicide for Christelle Pardo and a verdict of unlawful killing for the death of her son.

The Fight Against The New Indentured Servitude Begins

Via Earwicga, The Socialist Way Plotting and scheming for Welfare not Workfare

On 12 November, it became legal to force unemployed people to work for their benefits – to do 40-hour-weeks for under a third of the minimum wage. The Government’s Welfare Reform Act introduced ‘Work for your Benefit’ pilot schemes, which once completed can be rolled out without any further debate. It also attacked single parents – who face sanctions if they fail to prepare for work outside the home as soon as their child turns three – and people with impairments, disabilities or severe and enduring illnesses.

Two days later, members of twenty-three different groups from around the UK met to share information and plan resistance to these pernicious attacks, which will take their toll on working-class and low-income communities.

Groups present included Unemployed Workers Unions from six cities across the UK, the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network, Southwark Mind, WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities), Single Mothers’ Self-Defence (part of Global Women’s Strike) and members of the union in the Department of Work and Pensions – PCS. They were joined by feminist and other groups (all listed below).

The strength to be gained from meeting in solidarity with each other was immense and created a real sense that a movement is building: a movement which will not only fight the immediate attacks of the Welfare Abolition Act, but draw out the connections between our struggles and together challenge the ideology driving them.

The Act seeks to make our worth dependent on work; work defined in the really narrow terms of waged work for someone else’s profit. By making us compete with those in waged work for non-existent jobs, it helps drive down wages and conditions. We all take the brunt as the rich make even more money out of us.

• We want solidarity with and from people in low-income, temporary and insecure work. These are the jobs that ‘work-for-your-benefit’ would replace.

• We want caring to be recognised as important work in society. Single parents are already working and benefits are their entitlement to a social wage.

• We want justice for people with severe or enduring illnesses. The drive to get people off incapacity benefits and Employment and Support Allowance and into work is making people more ill with stress. Only we know what we are capable of and it is wrong for conditions and sanctions to be imposed on us to force us into unsuitable work, unwanted “work-related activity” or “motivation sessions” which press us into their programmes of treatment for addictions and other conditions.

• We want the right not to work. People not in waged work contribute loads to their communities. We do not want to be forced into mind-numbing, insecure work that leaves us no better off, or worse off than on benefits and definitely not at £1.27 an hour!

• We want free, high-quality, public services to support older people and people with impairments/disabilities. People should not have to become employers managing ‘individual budgets’ in order to access the care they need.

• We want to stand in solidarity with migrant workers. Just as unemployed people are pitted against people in work, so migrant workers are pitted against us. We believe that we must stand together and demand all of our rights together.

• We want to fight privatisation of the Department for Work and Pensions. Attacks on DWP and Jobcentre Plus workers are attacks on our rights to access welfare. We will support the PCS’ fight against cuts.

• We want an end to the apartheid system of benefits, healthcare and housing for asylum seekers. UK Border Agency support should be scrapped — where people are forced to survive on incomes far below benefit levels – which are already set at subsistence level. No slum housing and dangerous and dirty hostels, dispersal, or vouchers.

After a day of info-sharing, outrage and scheming, we formed a few working groups. If you’re able to help out with any of the projects, please email

1. Media working group – monitor and respond to hostile articles in the media.

2. Our propaganda – creating posters, newsletters etc to get our messages out

3. Website – put together a website as a space to share resources, feedback and comment, get the word out about our campaign and publicise local and national action.

4. Our welfare rights – compiling information to help us access our rights now and creating ‘Know your rights’ leaflets.

5. Defeating the Work for your Benefits pilots – research to support the network to take action against the pilots.

If you want to stay in touch, please join our discussion list here:

If you agree with our demands above and would like to take part in our campaign, please ask your group to sign up to this statement and email

And put the next national meeting in your diary now…. 17 April in Manchester!

The meeting had people in attendance from: South Manchester Community Union, London Anarcha-Feminist Kolektiv, London Coalition Against Poverty, Feminist Action, Defend Welfare Newcastle, Manchester Unemployed Workers Union, Cambridge Unemployed Workers’ Union, PCS, Hackney Unemployed Workers, Single Mothers’ Self Defence, Winvisible, Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, Disabled People’s Direct Action Network, Southwark Mind, Women’s Office Manchester Student Union, Riveters feminist group in Manchester, Feminist Fightback, Industrial Workers of the World, No Borders, Stop Deportations, Anarchist Federation, Communist Students, Salford Unemployed Workers’ Union.

John McDonnell on the Attack on Welfare

Via HarpyMarx

Out of the suffering of the 1930s, Britain built a civilising society, based in large part on the important lesson that unemployment is rarely the fault of individual malingering but the structural consequence of governments allowing the free market to rule our lives. Labour leaders such as Clem Attlee learnt this when he worked among the poor and unemployed in the East End. Many Labour MPs in his government knew it from bitter personal experience. Popular revulsion swept away the outdated Poor Law that had stigmatised the unemployed with its brutal means-testing and demeaning forced labour. Benefits became rights and entitlements, not charity. The democratically accountable state became responsible for providing the entitlements of the unemployed, replacing the distribution of alms by charitable bodies.

Tragically today, as thousands again find that through no fault of their own they can lose their job and very quickly find everything they thought secure placed at risk, the government has forgotten the lessons of the 30s. As people look to it for assistance in a dismal economic climate, it seems perverse that the government’s answer is a welfare reform bill with a bloody-minded focus on New Labour’s twin obsessions of penalising the unemployed and privatising public services.

With 2 million unemployed and vacancies drying up, already 10 people are chasing every vacancy. Jobcentre staff have been commended for rising to the challenge of helping people through this difficult period. In fact in the government’s recent green paper, Jobcentre Plus was described as “one of the best back to work agencies in the world”.

This new bill would undermine this positive work. The “work for benefits” scheme contained in the legislation would force long-term unemployed people (disproportionately with disabilities, ethnic minorities and, increasingly, lone parents) to work for their benefits. This workfare scheme would oblige claimants to work for £1.73 an hour.

The government initially said the prime aim of the scheme was to offer work experience to assist people getting back into employment. Yet work experience schemes already exist on a voluntary basis, and a Works and Pensions Department study found evidence that workfare schemes do not increase the likelihood of finding work. Last week James Purnell, the work and pensions secretary, conceded that a central objective of workfare is to discourage fraudulent claims, yet benefit fraud is officially at its lowest level to date, with the investigation system successfully reducing fraud by 66% since 2001.

The bill also renews New Labour’s obsessional targeting of lone parents. As soon as a lone parent’s child reaches the age of three they will become a jobseeker and lose benefits unless they take part in work-related activities. This is despite the government acknowledging the widespread lack of both job opportunities and adequate childcare.

Privatisation dogma is also at the heart of the bill. Private companies and voluntary sector organisations are to be handed contracts for providing services to the unemployed, with jobcentres not allowed to bid. To date, 33 out of 34 contracts have gone to private sector companies, and so the reality is that the new contracts will be awarded to large private corporations.

These companies were attracted by the prospect of profit calculated according to the number of people they placed in work. Large-scale unemployment threatens their profit margin and so they are frantically renegotiating the terms of the deal, insisting on at least double as much money up front. Despite this, and despite leaked reports showing the public sector outperforming its private competitors two to one in getting people into work, the government charges on bullishly with its privatisation plans.

The welfare reform bill is just another example of a government that has lost its way, a government increasingly cut off from the real world of unemployment and deepening insecurity.

London Welfare, Manchester Gaza

Reminder about Lobby of Parliament on the 3 March 2009.

Rally in Committee Room 14 from 12:30pm and lobby your MP from 2:30pm.

Speakers at the Rally include: Bob Crow (RMT), Phil Davies (GMB), Harry Fletcher (NAPO), Janice Godrich (PCS), Kate Green (CPAG), Colin Hampton (Unemployed Workers Centres), John McDonnell MP, Frances O’Grady (TUC), Mark Serwotka (PCS), and Mick Shaw (FBU). Everyone welcome.

Briefing from the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group regarding the Welfare Reform Bill.

Then on the 4th in Manchester!-


A national demonstration has been called in support of the student occupations. It’s crucial that we have as much representation from different Universities, Colleges and Schools as possible.

We in Manchester have been in occupation for almost four weeks now, yet the University has so far refused to negotiate with us. The University still invests in the arms trade, leading to some students having to disrupt a DSTL stall (an agency of the MoD) at an official graduate recruitment fair.

The Vice Chancellor Alan Gilbert has threatened expulsion for students who are involved.

Our demands are in line with current Union policy having received an overwhelming majority at an Emergency General Meeting, attended by over 1,100 students.

Being the biggest university in the UK, all eyes are on Manchester, and the success of the occupation here is critical to the success of the national movement.

Posted in Resistance. Tags: , , . Comments Off on London Welfare, Manchester Gaza

Stop The Welfare Privatisation Bill, Lobby 3rd March


PDF wr-3-march-lobby-leaflet

Details & Map

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “David Freud’s defection to the Conservatives confirms the view that the government are implementing Tory party policy. The government’s welfare reform plans are the Conservative manifesto in sheep’s clothing penalising some of the most vulnerable in society and will lead to the privatisation of a world class public service where profits will be put ahead of people. The government should seize the opportunity of Freud’s move by recognising the chorus of opposition that is gearing up to lobby Parliament and drop its regressive plans.”

PCS On New Labour’s Attack on Welfare

“The government needs to pay heed to the growing chorus of opposition to its plans for welfare reform. The plans are regressive and will lead to the removal of the state safety net and the introduction of the free market, where the only motive is profit for the few and not help for the many. As recession bites these are the wrong proposals at the wrong time.”

Mark Serwotka

The Public and Commercial Service union say-

The welfare state is one of the UK’s greatest achievements and supports us all especially vulnerable and unemployed people and their families.

In July the government published the green paper ‘No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility’ announcing plans to change the current provision of support.

Many of the plans were unacceptable when they were first published and the worsening economic situation should lead to a fundamental rethink. However the government is pressing ahead despite the current global economic downturn which is leading to increasing levels of unemployment. As a result we have come together.

The government’s proposals remove entitlements and fail to value the important work of parents and carers. Parents with young children, carers, sick, disabled, people with mental health problems and other vulnerable groups face tougher tests to qualify for benefits. If they fail they could be cut off with no support.

We are opposed to the abolition of Income Support which ends the principle that those in need deserve help. We are opposed to compulsory work for benefits. People should be paid the rate for the job or at the very least be paid the national minimum wage.

Jobseekers Allowance is shockingly low at less than £10 a day, if it had increased in line with earnings over the past 30 years the rate for a single person over the age of 25 would be more than £100 a week.

The government wants more of the welfare state to be handed over to the private sector. It is wrong to profit from the sick and unemployed. There is also the intention to share information with the police which raises real concerns about civil liberties.

We want voluntary skills training and life long learning opportunities for unemployed people. The government should focus on ensuring that there is more support to access jobs that have fair pay and decent conditions with a guarantee that when people cannot seek work they will not face poverty.

The government should introduce positive measures to challenge discriminatory attitudes held by employers, encourage flexible working practices and expand the provision of affordable childcare.

We want the government to rethink its plans. Support our campaign to help create a better welfare state and society.

Yours sincerely,
Mark Serwotka – general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)
Paul Kenny – general secretary of the GMB union
Sally Hunt – general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU)
Jeremy Dear – general secretary of National Union of Journalists (NUJ)
John Corey – general secretary of the Northern Ireland Public Services Alliance
Katie Curtis – national women’s officer, National Union of Students (NUS)
Ama Uzowuru – vice president welfare, National Union of Students (NUS)
Colin Hampton – national unemployed centres combine
Eileen Devaney – national co-ordinator of the UK Coalition Against Poverty
Iman Achara – director of British Black Anti-Poverty Network
Peter Kelly – director of The Poverty Alliance Scotland
Frances Dowds – director of the Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network
Miranda Evans – policy and public affairs manager at Disability Wales
Dr Chris Ford MB ChB MRCP FRC GP – GP in north west London and the clinical director of substance misuse management in General Practice.
Tony Rhodes and Paula Hanson – co-founders of The National Carers Forum
Cheryl Dobbinson, Frances Kelly, Iain MacNeil, Rosemary O’Neill, Paul Tubby and Philippa Wood – Carer Watch
Chris Steel, Jean Milne and Tony Dennis – Carers Voices
Kelly Smith – secretary of the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers
Claudia Rubin – head of policy and communications at Release
Stephen Fisher – chairman of trustees, Repetitive Strain Injury Action
Kim Sparrow – Single Mothers’ Self Defence
Claire Glasman – WinVisible (Women with Visible and Invisible Disabilities)
Niall Cooper – Church Action on Poverty and Get Fair Coalition
Adrian Sinfield – professor emeritus in Social Policy, School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh
Professor Ruth Lister CBE – professor of Social Policy at Loughborough University
Mark Donne – director of the Fair Pay Network
Steve Donnison and Holiday Whitehead – co-directors of Benefits and Work
Neal Lawson – chair of Compass
Andrew Fisher – co-ordinator of the Left Economics Advisory Panel
(ht2 HarpyMarx)

Fight Privatisation Of Welfare

There have been successive ‘reforms’ of welfare, they were and are not ‘reforms’, they are incremental steps towards removing entitlement and privatising the system as desired by Neoliberal ideologues. This is the latest round of betrayals from New Labour and at this time of recession appears very much to follow the principles of shock doctrine, as bad as it already is (eg. private corporations using proprietary medical diagnostic software that is not independently verified to decide who receives incapacity benefit or not) this would be a significant step in privatisation, which as we know is virtually impossible to claw back. Once they get away with this we are far away from any real prospect of repairing the system. So a broad coalition is needed to defeat this attack.

Via Socialist Unity

Compass– This is an urgent call to action. In a statement published on the letters page of yesterday’s Observer and as reported in today’s Guardian, leading welfare and social policy experts have publicly outlined key concerns with major elements of the government’s proposed welfare reforms, calling for an urgent rethink.

We want people to live rich and fulfilling lives, this can be through work but equally through caring, parenting and volunteering. We should also recognise that many long-term unemployed face huge physical and emotional barriers that require enormous care, patience and investment through the state to help them lead their lives to the full. The government’s thinking was conceived in a time of boom. Now we are in recession. There are no jobs to push these people towards.

We never believed it was right to effectively privatise key parts of welfare services and hand them over to organisations to make a profit. Some of the private companies who’ve been lobbying the government to take over our welfare services, include controversial US corporations who’ve made millions in profits out of the suffering of millions who’ve found themselves out of work in George W Bush’s America. Don’t stand by and allow those same companies to force people into unsuitable jobs, making money out of people’s suffering, here in the UK. It is wrong to make profit in this manner from the vulnerable and unemployed. Equally we don’t think it’s right to force people to work for their benefits, particularly as this could equate to people being paid less than the minimum wage, let alone a living wage – Jobseekers Allowance is shockingly low at less than £10 a day.

Instead we want the government to invest in skills training and lifelong learning opportunities and treat caring and parenting as equally valid forms of work which are crucial to both society and the economy.

Just as people deserve dignity, rights and respect when they are in work, so people deserve dignity, rights and respect when they find themselves out of work.

Click on this link now to add your name to the statement:

We urge you to write a letter to your MP asking them to support our campaign and write a letter to the Work & Pensions Secretary calling for an urgent rethink of the proposals. You can also write in support of the campaign to The Guardian letters page and The Observer letters page.

With the recession and thousands more facing the prospect of losing their jobs in the coming months, we believe it’s right for the government to rethink its proposals – please offer your support today and help us win this debate.

Posted in Media. Tags: . 4 Comments »

Prisons Run For Profit & Charity

…& fun? Leftwing Criminologist (over in Bangor boiling his water because privatised Welsh Water are incapable of supplying potable supplies…for the third time in as many years!) posts about a very strange phenomena-

This article in yesterday’s Financial Times reported that charities are forming consortiums with private companies to bid for new prisons in the UK.

Already NACRO has joined forces with Group 4 Securicor (G4S) and Rayner Crime Concern is teaming up with Serco. Apparently this is so that “involvement of the voluntary sector at an early stage in design and management of new jails would help improve conditions and effective resettlement of inmates” according to NACRO’s Paul Cavadino. Previously charaties occasionally subcontracted things like resettlement and drug rehabilitation.

Of course this is presented as far more humane than just letting the private companies run prisons like they already do in 11 across the country. But privately run prisons are on average run worse than public sector ones and are overcrowded so why let the private sector be involved at all, if we assumed that the involvement of charities was a good thing in prisons surely this could be done in the public sector?

The article gives the game away later on when it says “Ministers believe that such building and operational models will make it politically easier to push ahead with the prison-building programme.” Exactly, PFI has become so unpopular because it is a disaster waiting to happen (or alreayd happening in many places), and the involvement of charities is meant to make it seem all cute a cuddly and safe…

[more at Leftwing Criminologist]

I would add this from a while back in The Independent, apparently corporations are wary of running jails, they like the money for building them but they don’t want the problems when their profit driven ways end in horror. To some extent this is good news, while they may be cheeky sods it does hint we are not as far gone as the US prison industrial system-

Most importantly, there is division in the business community over how the prisons should be procured. The much-vilified Private Finance Initiative (PFI), under which the public sector has paid companies to build, maintain and operate hospitals over a period of 25 to 30 years, is thought to be the model favoured by the Government.

However, Chris Booton, a director at construction company Wates and one of the key advisers to Lord Carter when he looked into the idea of Titan prisons last year, believes PFI is flawed in this instance.

He says that a notice in the Official Journal of the European Union last month, which invited builders to express an interest in the Titan projects, “implied it is likely to be PFI”. But he adds: “The public sector should operate these prisons. They’re flagship, so why not use Titans to prove the public sector is the best at operating them?”

He suggests using the existing prisons roster of construction firms to build the Titans. A dozen companies, including Galliford Try and Kier, have worked on around 50 projects for more than 20 prisons across the country. Mr Booton argues that they have built up expertise and the Government could run a quick and simple “mini-competition” to select the construction teams.

While not dismissing PFI as the most effective model for Titans, Mark Fox, chief executive of outsourcing trade body the Business Services Association, agrees to an extent with Mr Booton. “Delivering prisons is unique in the public sector in that it is the imprisonment of human beings,” he says. “We need really good management from the private sector and strong public sector management overseeing that. The public sector mustn’t aggregate responsibility on the private.”

Yes, try and hold back your tears of sympathy. So they want the charities in perhaps because they acknowledged they are incapable of running prisons humanely (perhaps lacking human capacity the business peep hints at, it’s not our fault, we’re profit driven sociopaths mate, we should be locked up!) but as well as the odd spectacle of charities running prisons I think they may also be convenient fall guys when shit hits fans. As LC notes NACRO is called a charity but- NACRO for example gets over 80% of funding from the state– so there is some arms length shenanigans in this. Sort of public run prisons a bit but not really and enough parties involved for them all to to deny responsibility when the Titans, which every independent concerned body has derided but the government insists on pushing through, are an enormous horrific failure.

It’s also a weird ideological mash-up, of course no one would commit heresy against The Church of the Free Market so something that is demonstrably done best by public bodies cannot be seen to happen, the government will not have democratically accountable public projects even in basic law and order so this unwieldy hybrid of PFI, charities (real and arms length) and government is concocted so the disciples don’t get aroused. It is being done in welfare too (also similar as it is proposed that unemployed people are forced to do community service just like convicted criminals, the moral assumption behind it is clear) where charities are being drawn into running proposed workfare programs. And that’s where the ‘not as bad as the US’ wears off, essential services run by charities is a right wing wet dream, it fundamentally implies:- you have a choice about helping some people and if you choose not to, fuck ’em they starve (let them eat cake?), humans have no duty to other humans, there is no such thing as society. Even though we implement a ruthless system relying on a reservoir of unemployment and inequality we have no moral responsibility towards the victims of our policies. The world is for winners and not losers, why trouble our beautiful minds with them.

Corporate Welfare

Ht2 Harpy Marx @ Socialist Unity, a private corporation paid public money by NuLabour to force get disabled people into jobs has been pulling off a massive scam, yet the Purnell Solution (along with merchant banker David Freud) is to increase private involvement to wash government hands of people they have no wish to help or even treat with respect-

A firm has been dumped from helping job hunters amid a probe of a £1.1million taxpayers’ cash swindle. Maatwerk was to be paid hefty bonuses for getting disabled applicants into work under the Government’s New Deal. But up to six rogue staff made 7,000 jobseekers sign fake papers saying Maatwerk found them jobs, then got payouts of up to £3,000 a time.

Whitehall auditors later raided its offices and seized 63 files with “irregularities”. The Government has now axed Maatwerk from the New Deal. Police are probing and set to make arrests. Three employees are prime suspects and have been sacked. The scam ran for around three years and targeted people on disability and sickness benefits.

Crooked employees at the Dutch firm’s Manchester offices are said to have targeted those who had just found employment without Maatwerk’s assistance. Each was paid £150 to sign bogus forms but are thought not to have known they were helping to cheat taxpayers. One Maatwerk insider said: “They’re often financially challenged, so £150 for signing a paper was an easy option. But suspicions were raised when some staff hardly left the office, yet claimed for large numbers of jobseekers.”

The Department of Work and Pensions has handed its report to police. A spokesman said: “We take allegations of impropriety by our suppliers seriously.” Police said they would consult prosecutors over possible charges. Maatwerk was bought by US ResCare shortly after the probe began last year.

Now the big report that David Freud (yes millionaire great grandson of Sigmund. Like Bernays and Murdoch son-in-law Mathew, who saw Siggie’s ideas in terms of dollar signs. Yes PR & consumerism is how we’ll make the world a better place, in that… er we don’t have to actually make it any better –let’s not and just say we did!) was commissioned by NuLabour to write, was all about assuming most of people on welfare shouldn’t be-

Disability organisations are furious at comments made by David Freud, a former investment banker who has been appointed as an adviser on benefit reform to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Mr Freud used his first interview in post to launch a devastating critique of incapacity benefit (IB). He claimed, in a February interview with the Daily Telegraph, that up to two thirds of those claiming IB are not entitled to it,

Mr Freud commented that Mr Purnell’s appointment meant that “there is going to be more single-minded ferocity” about benefit reform

and the private sector was just the thing to perform the putsch.-

Child Poverty Action Group are prominent supporters of a £528 per ticket Welfare to Work Conference at which David Freud is one of the keynote speakers. Other speakers include the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, James Purnell, and Lesley Strathie, Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Organisers of the conference, the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion, boast that it is intended to help deliver a ‘reformed welfare state’.

Exhibitors at the event include A4E, Jobcentre Plus, Reed in Partnership and Parkhouse Bell/ Carley Consult Ltd. One of the highlights of the convention is a series of ‘speed dating events’ organised by the DWP and ERSA, an umbrella body for welfare to work providers such as A4E and Reed in Partnership. As publicity for the conference explains ‘ERSA and DWP are playing matchmaker, giving organisations interested in delivering Flexible New Deal the chance to pitch their services to potential partners’.

…this event seems to be primarily an opportunity to bring agencies interested in getting their hands on DWP cash together with the people at the DWP who can hand it out.

CPAG, I think, see the way the wind is blowing- 2.7 million claimants the result would be £167 billion of tax payers’ money handed over to private companies with incentives to keep as much as they can–  maybe harm reduction is all that’s left if they can’t stop it.

Now Freud is also chief executive of the Portland Trust a strange private charity headed by Gordon’s close aide ‘Sir’ Roger Cohen, so what goes on there you ask? Well-

Sir Ronald is one of the Portland Trust’s four trustees. The others are Sir Harry Solomon, the businessman, Sir Martin Gilbert, the historian, and David Freud, the former UBS banker who is also the charity’s chief executive. None of the trustees is paid. To date, the charity, which does not seek money from members of the public, has attracted donations from only about 10 people. Its latest accounts reveal that, in 2005, it received £259,386 in donations. In the same year, it paid £137,061 to Apax Partners. In 2004, the company was paid a further £36,900 by the charity.

In 2005, the charity, which employed an “average” of four staff, paid £470,000 in salaries. Jonathan Kestenbaum, its former chief executive, received between £150,000 and £160,000 a year. Mr Kestenbaum was not a trustee. Another unnamed employee was paid between £140,000 and £150,000. By comparison, no employee at the charities Christian Aid and Save the Children Fund receives more than £100,000. The best-paid officials at the RSPCA and the Prince’s Trust receive less than £110,000. Mr Freud, who is not paid for his work with the charity, defended the salaries. “We’re trying to get people who would otherwise be working in the private sector,” he said.

Yes the private sector where resides all the best people. Y’know, who know how to make money and isn’t that what society is all about? Making youself rich. (And I realise an awful lot of people will answer yes to that question, Cheesus save us!)