DWP to outsource more core work to Capita

DWP to outsource more core work to Capita

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We have received the following article from a Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) member in Coventry.

“The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced on Wednesday 16th November that telephony work for new claims to Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) along with general enquiries for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), would be outsourced to Capita.

This is not the first instance of outsourcing vital DWP work to a private company. JSA claims were handed to Capita in 2012, a move that resulted in a failure to meet targets on processing claims. DWP staff even had to go to Capita to clear the backlog!

The decision to outsource ESA new claims to Capita will be disastrous. A huge proportion of ESA claimants suffer with mental health issues and are therefore more vulnerable. If Capita performs as well as it did with JSA claims, then this is likely to have a severe impact on the wellbeing of those who most need support.

This is already beginning to affect the morale of DWP staff too – with many workers fearing either the prospect of losing their jobs, or the stress of a complete change in the roles in which they have been trained in. There is also the issue of staff feeling like they are ‘worthless’, ‘undervalued’ and not doing an important enough job.

For staff in Poole Contact Centre, this truly is a ‘slap in the face’ – along with the planned closure of the office in February 2018, the DWP will also contract out the Income Support work they do!

The PCS union which represents DWP staff has consistently opposed the privatisation of their work, and campaigns for it to be brought back in-house – the way our public services are meant to be operated!”

The Socialist Party echoes this, and we also call for:

• An end to all privatisation of public services – run them for people, not profit!

• No more benefit cuts or sanctions! For the right to a decent living, and support for those who need it!

• An end to austerity! For a £10 an hour minimum wage now and the scrapping of zero-hours contracts!

Bedroom Tax beaten in Scotland

Bedroom Tax beaten in Scotland

Bedroom Tax protest

Bedroom Tax protest

The Scottish Government has effectively abolished the “bedroom tax” in Scotland by increasing the funding for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) to ensure that tenants will not be affected.

Campaigners from Coventry Against the Bedroom Tax welcomed this decision, with campaigner Robert McArdle saying

“This is a victory for campaigners against the bedroom tax across the UK. The Scottish Government has been forced to support tenants by using Discretionary Housing Payments, exactly what we’ve been asking Coventry Council to do – if they and other councils do the same, we can beat this law.”

Former Labour MP and Socialist councillor Dave Nellist supports the campaign, and restated the campaigns determination to fight the bedroom tax, saying

“This decision by the Scottish Government begs the question, if they can beat the bedroom tax why can’t Coventry Council? We will continue to demand housing associations like Whitefriars refuse to evict tenants affected by the bedroom tax.”

The following is an article from members of the Socialist Party in Scotland, who have been at the forefront of the campaign against this hated tax.

Article from Socialist Party Scotland 

The bedroom tax has been effectively defeated in Scotland. The announcement that the Scottish government intends to end the crushing burden of the hated and reviled bedroom tax is a huge victory.

Mass campaigning, the organisation of hundreds of public meetings the length and breadth of Scotland; thousands marching on demonstrations; lobbies and protests of councils, MSPs and the Scottish government and a refusal to accept any possibility of evictions, proved an unstoppable force.

The defeat of the hated tax will also give a huge boost to campaigners in England and Wales who will step up demands for its abolition and for councils and housing associations to refuse to carry out evictions.

The Scottish government has asked the Con-Dems at Westminster to allow it to provide payments to kill off the tax for 2014/15.

Regardless of whether the Tories allow this, the money can and must be given to social landlords by the Scottish National Party (SNP) government in Scotland to write off all bedroom tax from 1 April 2013 onwards.

The Scottish government had come under enormous pressure from the anti-bedroom tax campaign that, from the start, demanded the SNP use the powers it has to scrap the tax.

The Scottish Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation, that united the majority of the local campaigns and in which Socialist Party Scotland members played a leading role, was crucial in this victory.

The campaign in Scotland will remain vigilant and will continue to fight to demand all bedroom tax debts are written off.

And that any and all legal action currently being taken by councils and housing associations, leading to possible eviction, is immediately suspended.

The campaign shows that austerity can be defeated. Imagine what could be achieved if the UK’s seven million-strong trade union movement is mobilised in the form of a 24-hour general strike against all the Con-Dems’ cuts.

…now let’s end all council cuts

The Con-Dem government has slashed spending by over 25% to the ten most deprived areas in England which includes Manchester, Liverpool, and Hackney and Newham in east London.

The government severely cut council tax support to local authorities by £500 million last year. £100 million of this cut was deferred by transitional support arrangements which have now ended.

According to the Joseph Rowntree Trust charity the latest round of government cuts to local authorities will mean 270,000 of the poorest households (who previously could claim a full council tax rebate) seeing their council tax bills rise, on average, by £80 to £176 a year.

Currently, some 600,000 people are in council tax arrears and 500,000 have been issued with court summons for non-payment. 400,000 people have been issued with liability notices and 70,000 have received bailiff letters.

Despite shadow Labour ministers condemning this Con-Dem iniquity, Labour councils have simply passed the government’s spending cuts onto the backs of their poorest residents.

We need an alternative

Labour has failed to protect the most vulnerable, so what is the point of voting in the May elections for a party that has failed to mobilise any effective opposition to this government of brutal austerity?

Any suggestion that an incoming Labour government will reverse these cuts is wishful thinking as Ed Balls has already announced that he would stick with Chancellor Osborne’s budget plans.

All the more reason why working class people should unhesitatingly cast their votes for Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates (which include Socialist Party members), and also campaign for and stand as TUSC candidates themselves.