Sunday, 9 May 2010


The Government claims that it is spending £5 billion on ‘helping the unemployed’ during the recession, but this money isn’t being used to create new jobs. Instead is being used as handouts to New Labour’s business friends through the ‘Flexible New Deal’, the government’s flagship scheme for the long term unemployed which came into effect in October 2009.   Everyone who has been unemployed for over a year will now be forced to take part in this scheme or lose their benefits. They will be on this scheme for a year. After 6 months they will have to take part in one month of working 40 hours a week for their benefits. This is a significant attack on the minimum wage as it means claimants will be working for £1.60 an hour.

Across the country private companies have been given lucrative contracts to make the unemployed jump through hoops and compete for non-existent jobs. In Brighton the Flexible New Deal is being run by Maximus, Skills Training UK Ltd and Careers Development Group. Apart from the people employed by these companies the privately run schemes will not create any new jobs nor do they offer any funding or training to help the unemployed find work. Instead their aims are profit driven – they must get the unemployed into any crap job as soon as possible because their payments are based on results.

The Flexible New Deal isn’t just an attack on the unemployed however, it is also an attack on those in work. Forcing more people to compete for the scarce jobs on offer creates downward pressure on wages. This is what Britain’s flexible labour market means – a race to the bottom in wages & conditions.

Brighton Benefits Campaign is fighting back against these attacks & has launched a campaign against the Flexible New Deal.  Our next picket against the companies involved will be on Wednesday 12 May. Join us!

On June 16th we will be taking part in the National Day of Action against the Flexible New Deal & Workfare. More details to come.
Pip Tindall
Brighton & Hove Green Party
Brighton Workers Solidarity Group
Brighton Benefits Campaign

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