Benefits Street does not reflect most jobseekers in the East

Deidre Kelly, better known as White Dee from the television show Benefits Street. Deidre Kelly, better known as White Dee from the television show Benefits Street.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
4:09 PM

Jobseekers in the East are not like those depicted on television shows such as Benefits Street, the region’s job centre manager has said, as she urged employers to get in touch when it is looking for recruits.

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Julia Nix, district manager for East Anglia at Jobcentre Plus, said there were highly skilled people using the taxpayer-funded service as the latest figures showed a further fall in unemployment in the region.

Official figures show that between April and June unemployment in the East of England fell 13,000 to 158,000, and the number of people claiming job seeker’s allowance in Norfolk, north Suffolk and the Fens fell 21pc in the quarter to July to 14,539.

King’s Lynn and North Norfolk saw the most marked fall in people claiming job seeker benefits over the quarter, with the figures showing a fall of 23pc and 25pc respectively, year on year in the two districts showed a fall of 37pc and 40pc respectively.

Ms Nix said it had been a “sort of slow dripping tap” over the past year, with the number of vacancies picking up as employers had more confidence in the labour market.

She also said that there had been a lot of support from the Government to employers to help improve skills.

“They (employers) often do not realise the extra support that we are now offering. I do not think that they know that there are all these pots of money and schemes that they can have to get them a skilled person.

“They watch TV programmes like Benefits Street and other ones, but that is the minority of our customers. There is still that perception, and it is not right. The media doesn’t help us in that respect. The people on those programmes are the minority not the majority.”

But she added: “There will always be a small customer group that needs additional help and is a vulnerable customer, but there is an awful lot of quality candidates.”

“We have graduates, people in between jobs, accountants. We have a full range of highly qualified people,” she added.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady welcomed the fall in unemployment but said that the combination of rising employment and falling pay growth suggested the economy was very good at creating low-paid jobs, but struggling to create the better-paid work needed for a fair and sustainable recovery.

“Self-employment has been responsible for almost half of the rise in employment over the last year. The fact that self-employed workers generally earn less than employees means our pay crisis is even deeper than previously thought, as their pay is not recorded in official figures.”

Ms Nix said that there was support in place for people until their wage increased and that often within a few months they had more experience and a few more hours of work.

Benefits Street, a television show which portrayed the lives of people living on a Birmingham street, was met with public outrage when it was screened. The programme was filmed on Birmingham’s James Turner Street where an estimated 90pc of residents claim between £500 and £900 a month.

16 comments

  • Usual trolls again, spouting same old ill-informed prejudice...

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    marty r

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • Norfolk John you are correct, and also how a out paying some of it back to encourage people to find work sooner. On another note, who in there right mind would want to join a left wing union as they cost more jobs than they save. No company being private or public sector should pay for union activists, the union should pay there wages not the employer. Citizens advice is always available for free

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    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • The answer to the benefits problem is really very simple - everyone is entitled to benefits but the amount deceases over a period of time, say full benefits for 3 months, 75% for the next 3 months, 50% for the 3 months after etc.... After 12 months - no benefits. I bet there would not be many unemployed after 12 months!

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    Norfolk John

    Thursday, August 14, 2014

  • Im just not sure i believe all these people have got proper jobs. If you are on a training course, in a zero hour contract job, work part time you are not in job seekers table are you, Id love to see these figures broken down to see how many people are in full time,long term, well paid jobs with decent conditions, leave and in a good pension scheme , the kind of job i had myself until i retired, Very few of the people in work would have obtained those type of jobs because few of them exist anymore, and im sure if they did, few would want to be unemployed. Yes there has always been a small hardcore of people who dont want work, but i cant blame people for not wanting the rubbish low paid work being offered now, i didnt have to do it and i wouldnt expect others to want to, People are being scared into taking these rubbish jobs and its wrong, how do you buy a house,start a family, save for a pension its impossible, We are sadly going backwards and no politician of any party cares a toss, they are in the gravy train of Westminster why would they,?

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    june muskett

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • Any person who is not in work can still join a union for help and advice, for only 50 pence a week with Unite Community who,together with PCS has issued advice to claimants, assuring know their rights around unfair sanctioning.@che bramley.For anyone who wants to know what is really happening and not what DWP propaganda tells you,I recommend che's excellent post.IDS is waging a quiet war against humanity.

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    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • Mooseyt4 again you know nothing of me or about me so keep those opinions to yourself. My parents named me after Che Guevara so it has nothing to do with my views on anything. Again get your facts right for oh at least once in your life :)

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    che bramley

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • I'm alright thanks, I have a job I enjoy :)

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    Mooseyt4

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • Oh sorry Mooseyt4 I spelt your name wrong, cause I was laughing hysterically at your comment about me. I have a job for you as the Norwich Clown, but sorry it is only a zero hours contract, so you will only be needed when Norwich needs to be entertained, but for the time being it is happy as it is :)

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    che bramley

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • Oh, usually you were just whining about jobs so I assumed you were unemployed. Also you idolise Che Guvera so I assumed you were a poorly informed little kid. meh

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    Mooseyt4

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • Moosett4 for your information I am in full time employment thank you. See how little you know about people but happy to attack them . Look at yourself before judging others, there's a good boy or whatever you are !

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    che bramley

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • che bramley the part time workforce was the brain child of Gordon Brown with his myriad of tax credits and other benefits. Working just 16 hours a week meant that many people were then eligible for tops courtesy of the tax payer. This suited many low skilled "workers" and employers who had a work force on tap at time of demand. They did not have people standing around when demand was low as in the supermarket business. This suited everyone. The govt reduced unemployment, Many women especially if they had a child or children got a good income and businesses benefited. That was until the money ran out and there were insufficient funds in the coffers to maintain this extravagance. Public opinion also swung against what was happening once the light was shone on exactly what was happening. With many people do very little and getting an income well above those in full time employment. Trying to change this ludicrous state of affairs is akin to trying to stop a tanker but slowly and surely common sense is coming back to how benefits are paid but people who have enjoyed a bit of a bonanza for years can`t really moan. They have had it good for far too long.

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    BG

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • Sure they are, walk around Anglia Square or Castle Mall and you see them errywhere. And what about the trolls on here, is it any surprise che bramley has been unemployed for so long? The claibre of person isn't there.

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    Mooseyt4

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • Despite what the Government, Department Of Work and Pensions, Various Tory Trolls and Tory Rag Press and TV Corporations, there are many people willing to find work but find it more difficult than ever before. Many jobs are now part time around 8 hrs, this is so the likes of ASDA, Tesco, Morrisons, Sports Direct, the list is endless avoid paying National Insurance, Income Tax, Holiday and sick pay. That means the part time worker has to then do another job which is Taxed regardless if that person has not even earned their taxable allowance or not. So basically a 2nd Job say 8 hrs, 2 of those hours are taken in the form of tax. Either way some people need to then top up their income by claiming benefits such as JSA or Income Support to bring their earnings to what the LAW says they have to live on. Now those on benefits will know that is around £72.40 a week. So even if someone earns that each week working part time, they still can claim CT and HB benefits, pay for their travel costs and extra food for lunch etc, then still pay bills etc etc. Now if the Government and Jobcentres and DWP want people to move off Benefits into any work then they need to offer support to that person, but as it stands they stop getting benefits from day one but have to wait a month before they even see their first pay packet. I suggest people do an experiment and live off £72.40 and see what it is like for 4 weeks to even get an idea how much of a straggle it can be. Years ago if you had claimed JSAIncome support for 24-26 weeks without a break in the claim you would qualify to a back to work bonus of £100 if a Single Person and I think £150 for couples. This was given to help with the transition from moving off Benefits into paid work so you could go through that 4 weeks before your girst pay packet, this is no longer available. Now here is the good bit. The DWP can afford to give £2000 to Work provider Companies such as the Shaw Trust, Seetec, Advanta, NTS to name a few each time they placed someone into work after people had been on the Work Placement programme. How come this can be value to the Tax Payer, cause while the people are on Work Placements they are still being paid their benefit money, it is hoped that they then enter full time, paid contracts but that does not happen to everyone. So if a Private organisation can get £2000 a hit, why can't the DWp or Jobcentre pay people the back to work bonus anymore. Now can you see why not all people want to find work, cause for some it means they are worse off regardless what the media says they are end of, and it is time people woke up to the reality of this. People have to find work on zero hour contracts or contracts where they are doing minimal hours or face having themselves sanctioned and stripped of benefits. It is no good the Jobcentre finding someone a job when they live in Norwich but then say you have to travel 90 mins each way to work, especially again when the job is for a few hours or a dreaded zero hour contract. The cost of travel by Train especially would cost more per week than what would be earned in work anyway. Anyone seeing the bigger picture, or still blind to it all?

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    che bramley

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • Isn't it time Ian Duncan Smith set a good example and stopped claiming on his MPs' expenses for his underpants?

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    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • The people depicted on Benefits Street were not job seekers. They were people, whose life style choice was to avoid work at all costs and live off the state. We have numerous people in the Borough of Yarmouth who have chosen to do the same.

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    BG

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  • Maybe it would help if the staff at the job centre didn't treat everyone like scum?

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    Jen Kane

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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