Labour in secret deal with Iain Duncan Smith on benefit sanctions – Michael Meacher MP

‘Employment rights remain under continuous attack’ by Michael Meacher MP 



Michael Meacher MP
Michael Meacher MP

By Michael Meacher March 23rd, 2013

It now emerges that Labour did a secret deal with the DWP that the latter would set up an independent inquiry into the use of sanctions against job-seekers in return for Labour supporting emergency legislation – the Jobseekers (Back-to-Work Schemes) Bill which passed all its stages in the Commons last Tuesday – which established the government’s right to re-impose mandatory work activity (forcing someone to work for no pay on pain of otherwise having their benefits withdrawn) which had been struck down in the High Court a few weeks earlier.  

If this is true, it is a despicable deal: Labour should never have supported the re-imposition of such legislation whatever the quid pro quo.   
Worse still, Labour has already sold the pass in exchange for a nebulous offer which remains entirely within the gift of the government.  
It’s the government which will decide the terms of reference, choose the chair and members for the inquiry, decide the timescale, and decide whether or not to accept any of the recommendations, assuming we ever get to that stage.

Just what the government is now getting away with is revealed by a leaked email which shows that Job Centres have been set targets and league tables to enforce a stricter benefit regime on claimants, despite Ministers giving assurances to parliament on Tuesday that no such targets were being set.  

The email indicated that staff would be disciplined if they failed to force enough claimants on to a tougher benefit regime.  
Specifically it is made clear in this fiat from the DWP that there should be about 25 referrals a week for tougher sanctions when the average referral rate in some job centres at present is in the range of 4-6.  
This is part of a much wider attack on employment rights across the board.  
Despite the proposals for no-fault unfair dismissals from the Wonga boss Adrian Beacroft being initially rejected because of the hug public outcry against them, they are now being quietly re-introduced by the government in the form of measures which make it harder for workers to get work-place justice at employment tribunals, extend the qualifying period to gain employment rights to 2 years, and cut the consultation period on redundancies from 90 to 45 days.  
At the same time the Tory Right is demanding the repatriation of powers from the EU in order to end protection for agency and temporary workers as well as the scrapping of the Working Time Directive.   
Just as the government’s austerity measures are not primarily about cutting the deficit but rather about shrinking the public sector and the State, so the attack on employment rights isn’t about a more efficient economy but rather about crushing the trade unions.  
If Labour does not now take a stand and fight back hard, it will lose its core support and have no right to call itself a party of social justice.

37 thoughts on “Labour in secret deal with Iain Duncan Smith on benefit sanctions – Michael Meacher MP

  1. Boadacia! says:

    I think most people I know, think Labour lost it’s right to be associated with any references to socialism, many moons ago. About the time Blair told his first large fib!

    These ‘suits’ come out of some cloning factory, no matter which party they lie about allegiance.

    1. Bennet Kingston says:

      Labour lost my respect when the national labour party refused to openly support the striking miners in 1983/4

  2. John Lanigan says:

    Labour was never a serious socialist party from it’s inception, but liked to give the impression it was. It was given a mandate by the downtrodden of the time who had nowhere else to turn to politically, and who did not understand true socialism in the first place.
    Ironically, we are much in the same boat at the moment. All this talk about Labour saving us from the nasty Tories makes me laugh (almost). Well, I would laugh, if it were not for the dire seriousness of the current situation.
    In truth, Labour will never be able to deliver a socially just society, nor does it want to. If the people of this country want something better, then they will need to invent it themselves. Carpe Diem.

  3. Thomas says:

    Labour are traitors. But any vote for another party will be useless and let the Tories in because of the first past the post voting system.

    1. Robin Shaw says:

      Yes, but in Scotland a vote for Independence could provide the best possibility for a socialist country

  4. jack johnson (@jackjoh01219520) says:

    I agree with Thomas, all attemps at founding a socialist party have sunk without trace.
    We have to fight with the tools we have.I was going to resign over this issue but it would
    just be letting the New Labour Tory twats get away with it. We must encourage people
    to protest by all means available.It’s time the natives got restless!

    1. John Lanigan says:

      “all attempts at founding a socialist party have sunk without trace” is not quite right Jack. There are socialist organisations out there that could easily win elections if people voted for them. The problem is that everyone believes there is no point in voting for a small party, which in itself, becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
      At the end of the day people will get what they vote for and if you don’t like what the Troika are doing then why vote for them only to moan later that they let you down? Make no mistake, New Labour are indistinguishable from the Tories. When it comes to austerity and welfare reform they will carry on with more of the same. It’s not Labour we need to save us, or any of the mainstream parties, it’s a new system of politics.
      Real socialism is achievable, but only if people want it. Carpe Diem.

  5. Sue Brock says:

    I have a friend who used to work for the DWP and some sort unwritten code of benefits reduction “targets” have always been applied. Probably this govt are taking it another step further! What we need is left wingers to get into the Labour Party and demand change. Unfortunately this probably means that they will be turned against by the press and seemingly most of the population as with the “militant tendency” in the 80s :0( What I have learned over the years is that people are unfortunately very politically unaware :0(

    1. John Lanigan says:

      I agree Sue. You are right that people are “unfortunately very politically unaware”. The New Labour Party made it very clear under Tony Blair that socialism was out when they scrapped clause 4 from the constitution. The Labour Party do not want socialists in their ranks. They hand pick and support those who will support their policies and shut out any with different ideas.
      For many years some socialist movements have tried to change the Labour Party from within. All attempts have failed to date.
      The militant tendency was witch hunted by the Labour party and the media. They were forced out of the Labour party but went on to create other socialist organisations that still strive for socialism today.

  6. Peter Duncan says:

    When will we see some cuts on Government? Stop paying retired PMs £160,000 a year when they have not contributed; Scrap the House of Lords; Stop ministers using chauffeur driven cars to get to work; Stop subsidising HOC canteens; Make MPs pay back loans received for 2nd homes…. want more?

  7. Compton Arthur says:

    Labour have betrayed the people of the UK and Scottish Labour are just the same a pack of liars our answer Independence this means we can select a party that is left of centre the SNP AND A LEADER WHO IS NOT BOUGHT AND SOLD BY WESTMINSTER GOLD IF THERE IS ANY LEFT AFTER Gordon Brown

  8. j.bradley says:

    ” What we need is left wingers to get into the Labour Party and demand change.”

    to many ‘ left whingers’… that’s why they are in the mess !!!

  9. Mike Caics says:

    It is time to STOP funding the Labour Party and to withdraw from its Organization en-masse. I have NO time for turncoats, whatever their colour – least of all do I have time for Ed Milliband, Ed Balls or the truly excremental Liam Byrne: for they ALL represent the antithesis of the Socialist Ideology, preferring instead to side with evil minds at a time of great economic stress and anxiety for the Country.




    This is not just shameful or callous or even condescending – it is SPITTING in the face of DECENCY!!

  10. Maurice Fox says:

    This government as been one big lie from start until now & beyond their inhumane & a disgrace to humanity

  11. Allen Vincent says:

    I’m not surprised at their dirty underhand & so unfair tactics as to be unlawful!

    I had permission of sorts to sue ignorant discriminatory & incompetent Doncaster MP Caroline Flint for disability discrimination in services under the excellent Equality Act 2010! You would never believe the bizarre incidents that happened to me after that! Labour Leader Ed Miliband and also MP Rosie Winterton have all breached Eqauality Act 2010 blatantly and with impunity.

    I came out of Doncaster Prison (my first time) on 11.3.2013 (The Courts (FOLKESTONE, Dover, Canterbury & Margate) plus Doncaster, South Yorkshire, Police and Dover, CANTERBURY, Folkestone, Margate Police all did my date of birth wrong on purpose so officially under my correct dob I’ve never been to prison and everything happening to my vulnerable disabled Mum and I never happened!!.

    I was also unlawfully dismissed from Doncaster Nissan in 2010 after 7 years there as one of the best when I was formally diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and Dyspraxia.

    Sheffield Employment Tribunal refused all adequate reasonable adjustments, extreme violations of Equality Act 2010, Public Sector Equality Duty, EC Human & Disability Rights.

    I am also it seems the first vulnerable disabled to sue the corrupted Solicitors Regulation Authority under the Equality Act 2010 using deaf text relay system software that records and prints calls verbatim (textbyhome) which was hushed up by Sheffield County Court who also are on my recorded system acting unlawfully, don’t get me started on Leeds Tribunal Services staff and managers!! Case 1SE06800.

    Mum and I have HELP PLS painted on her front garden fence of evil Aylesham, Nr Canterbury, Kent since last year 26.5.2012 and everyone went to extremes to hush it up!!

    I am on autism spectrum, dyspraxia, born deaf, adhd, clinical depression, asthma, speech defects, need glasses for lip reading and reading, high stress and anxiety, ptsd etc doing my best without support worker personal assistant and my 76yo Mum had so many angina attacks over bad Police!
    Now at my Edlington, Doncaster address with Mum but HELP sign still in Aylesham. Bent and corrupt courts try again to ban me from being whistleblower on my twitter allenvincent489 and



    The labour party can only now be seen as some second rate conservative party..the only way Labour will be a socialist party again is to kick Milliband and the rest of them out in favour of an MP who voted against this and stands for what the Labour party really is about. Those MP’s who voted against must really be thinking what the hell is it all about…I know I would…shape up, shake up or at least be honest to the cause…because at the moment your useless..oh and yes I agree if they cant support true socialism and left wing politics which they are supposed to don’t give them any money after all its us and the unions who fund them!

  13. Robin Shaw says:

    But a vote for Independence in Scotland could be the start of real socialism in the election following

  14. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Watch this space. The Labour Party in Scotland is starting to disintegrate and Scotland will vote for Independence in 2014. The Scottish TUC has refused to join the NO campaign and the first trade union (the Postal Workers Union) has declared for independence.
    There are already lots of people in the north of England who would prefer to go with Scotland rather than Westminster

  15. Humanity2012 says:

    The Official Opposition Needs to be Taken over this because it is a Absolute

    Given how Rough Things are for the Poor and Vulnerable they should Not be
    Bloody Well Out of Touch

    Scrap MPS Expenses Increase Welfare Provision

    Tax the Rich Hands Off the Poor

  16. Andy Anderson says:

    The Labour Party to-day is just one of 4 political parties in the UK, (if we include UKIP) who have a neo-classical right-wing agenda which sees no future for the trade-unions and which intends to re-distribute wealth further towards the rich. Surely that must be obvious to an intelligent man like Michael Meacher. The new development of Labour for Independence in Scotland is a clear recognition by Labour movement people in Scotland that Scottish independence gives Labour supporters a chance to break out of this strangle-hold so Michael should be supporting them.

    1. John Lanigan says:

      Labour are a spent force in Scotland, they have nothing to offer. Labour have nothing to offer in England, Wales or Northern Ireland either. The debacle that is the New Labour party are as far away from offering the working class of this country any hope of social justice as they ever were., While the Tories are currently running amok with their destructive policies on welfare reform, Tory welfare reform goes unopposed by New Labour. The current Welfare Reform will ultimately touch on the lives of all except the very rich.

      If ever there was a reason needed to vote Yes for Scottish Independence then the Labour party in Scotland would be top of the list.
      Scottish independence will give Scotland the chance to shape it’s own politics without hindrance from Westminster. Already there are those in the North of England that would go with an independent Scotland.
      My comments have nothing to do with Nationalism and I would support any nation that wished to have the right to self determination, including the other countries that currently make up the UK.
      Carpe Diem!

  17. kevin keane says:

    this is the time for all scots to vote the only party that will give scotland what it votes for that is the s.n.p and for independence it is the only way vote what you want after independence and we will get what we vote for only a free scotland can give us this oh yes we would be the 8th richest country in the world

  18. chindit says:

    michael meacher seems to be the only one in labour to care what is happening we need more like him.

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