#tirednewsflash: unemployment plan backfires


the new government’s core key ‘unemployment reduction strategy’ pledge has been thrown into a hornet’s nest of a tailspin by the revelation that it has directly contributed to a rise in unemployment. the cornerstone of the strategy involved putting extra desks into Jobcentres Plus and inviting currently unemployed queuers to sit at them and have a job there. the key weakness in the system, it has subsequently emerged, is that queues at jobcentres plus and the somewhat identical original job centres that remain in particularly backwards areas, helped to keep the numbers of people registered as unemployed under control.

one of Leamington Spa’s newest ‘problem statistics’ gave us a glimpse into his miserable experience of the process thusly: “I jogged up Holly Walk on Thursday morning, as I would usually, and I noticed that there was no queue snaking out onto the street from the door of the Jobcentre Plus for the first time in my living memory. I gleefully took the opportunity to head inside and within eleven minutes I emerged officially unemployed. I related my experience to several ‘currently between jobs’ friends from my local Public House later that day and the next, and they all quickly followed my example.”

“We had hoped that the plan would cut unemployment and ease the problem of overcrowding at Jobcentres Plus and the few remaining Jobcentres that exist in backwards areas”, explained Chief Junior Strategist at the Department for Work and Pensions, Grant Nimble-Jackson, “but it seems it has backfired in a big way.” When I asked Brigadier Nimble-Jackson if he agreed that the fact that many people had received work through the scheme and, as far as can be known, no-one had lost it, must mean that although the recorded numbers of unemployed people have risen, in real terms unemployment has decreased, and he replied “Well, yes, absolutely. I mean, can we do that? With the numbers? Paul? Sorry, can you run me through that again, and can I borrow your pen?”

later,, I put it to him that standards of service in Jobcentres must surely have suffered from the influx of new untrained and in many cases unwashed staff, but he refuted that sentiment strenuously claiming that, “no, as our pre-pilot study indicated they would be, customer satisfaction scores are actually up”. however, when i pressed for more details and asked why on earth job centres would refer to their users as ‘customers’, i was bundled out of the transit van we had been using for the interview by some government issue heavies in what could only be described as suits and black glasses.

when it comes to the implementation of core government key area target strategies like tackling unemployment and the general use of statistics, it seems, at least for the time being, we are set to continue in the state that employed scientists call a ‘sense vacuum’, a ‘ridiculous knowledge hurricane’ and the ‘maddeningly empty conical flask of understanding’.


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  • Comments (1)
    • Susannah
    • May 24th, 2010

    I’ll see your Jobcentres Plus and raise you some Attorneys General and the entire canon of Doctors Who (even though I know you’re not allowed to see and *then* raise… yes, yes, before you tell me… but it’s an established trope, yeah?!).

    Also, “Brigadier Nimble-Jackson” = GENIUS.

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