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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Youth unemployment in Europe – how is it affecting you?

Category : Business

The number of unemployed young people is at record levels across Europe, rising to over 50% in some countries. Share your experiences, frustrations, tips or success stories of finding work where you live.

Youth unemployment is one of the biggest problems facing the EU and it isn’t showing any signs of letting up. As of March 2013, 5.690 million young people (under 25) were unemployed in the wider EU area of 27 countries, with 3.599 million in the eurozone .

Greece has recorded an unemployment rate of 59.1% at the beginning of this year with Spain reporting 55.9%, Italy 38.4% and Portugal 38.3%.

We would like to hear your experiences of the job market in your country. Are you worried about finding a job after you leave training or education? Have you been successful in finding employment or have you been out of work for a long time? How has your life been affected due to a lack of employment opportunities? Do you have any tips on finding work you’d like to share?

Share your experiences and concerns by filling in the form below. A selection of the best responses will be posted on the site as part of a readers’ panel.

VIDEO: Welfare-to-work scheme ‘abysmal’

Category : Business

The government’s Work Programme, a multi-billion-pound scheme to help long-term unemployed people has performed “abysmally” according to Margaret Hodge.

See original here: VIDEO: Welfare-to-work scheme ‘abysmal’

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Government blocks publication of names of ‘workfare’ employers

Category : Business

DWP appeals against ruling that businesses and charities in mandatory work activity programme must be revealed

The Department of Work and Pensions is refusing to publish the names of charities and businesses where tens of thousands of unemployed people are being made to work without pay for four weeks at a time.

In a battle with the information commissioner, the DWP has said that the government’s mandatory work programme would “collapse” if the names were made public due to the likelihood of protests against the organisations involved.

In August the commissioner ruled that the names should be released. However, in a 14-page appeal document leaked to the Guardian, DWP lawyers have argued that the details of companies and charities involved in the mandatory work activity scheme – which compels unemployed people to do 30 hours of unpaid labour a week in order to retain their jobseeker’s allowance – must remain secret.

The Guardian has also learned that the British Heart Foundation – one of the largest charities already known to be associated with the mandatory work activity scheme (MWA) – is to drop out of the programme, moving instead toward a more long-term voluntary scheme.

During the nine month secrecy battle – directly sanctioned by employment minister at the time, Chris Grayling – the DWP has fought hard against releasing the full list of names of organisations involved.

Government lawyers say the entire scheme would have come unhinged had they released placement details at the time of the request because campaign groups would have focused their protests and forced the charities and businesses involved to withdraw.

“Previous targeted campaigns had resulted in the withdrawal of providers from MWA and WE [work experience],” the leaked document reveals. “The DWP considered that, of all the workfare programmes being described externally as ‘workfare schemes’, the MWA programme was the most likely to be influenced by pressure from campaign groups and negative publicity, given that MWA programmes were generally provided by charitable organisations … and the placements were mandatory,” lawyers said.

“Put simply, disclosure [of names] would have been likely to have led to the collapse of the MWA scheme, with incalculable losses to the taxpayer and many thousands of persons in long-term unemployment who are supported by the scheme,” the appeal states.

Since its introduction in May 2011, mandatory work activity has been the subject of fierce criticism from campaigners who say that it represents a form of ‘forced labour’ or workfare.

The government’s own research also showed that the scheme does not help the unemployed to get a job once they’ve finished the four weeks of work. It also had no effect on getting people off benefits in the long term.

Following a change in the rules a fortnight ago, unemployed people who refuse to take the unpaid placements can have their jobseeker’s allowance stripped from them for up to three years. The appeal, filed on 27 September, also reveals that those involved in MWA “tend to be charitable organisations”. Previously the DWP has given assurances that only organisations who provide ‘social benefit’ could take part in MWA. Campaigners say it is of paramount public interest to know how many profit-making businesses are involved in using labour from forced work schemes.

Using a freedom of information request, the Guardian was able to discover that unpaid jobseekers were being used by businesses to clean private homes.

In a statement about their withdrawal from the MWA scheme, the British Heart Foundation’s retail director, Mike Taylor, said: “We rely on our fantastic BHF volunteers to help us fight heart disease and are very proud of the training, skills and experience we can offer people working in our shops. Last year alone we helped over 600 staff and volunteers gain vocational qualifications.

“We are always striving to improve the ways in which we recruit and retain volunteers. Currently we are moving away from involvement in the mandatory work activity programme towards schemes which provide longer term voluntary placements.”

BHF said it was now working with Jobcentre Plus to “actively promote volunteering as an option for people from all walks of life who find themselves unemployed.”

Campaign group Boycott Workfare, welcomed BHF’s move. “It is good to see a charity that was using workfare on a massive scale acknowledge that forced unpaid work isn’t palatable for their supporters or customers.”

“For workfare to succeed, the government needs charities to co-operate. We hope BHF’s retreat marks a new line in the sand: charities should not be making people poorer by putting them at risk of benefit stoppages. They have an ethical obligation not to profit from forced unpaid work.”

Commenting on the FoI battle, Joanna Long from Boycott Workfare said: “That the government fears MWA would collapse if it publishes who is using workfare reveals how

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Jobseekers: slump in numbers entering government ‘back-to-work’ scheme

Category : Business

Coalition work programme ‘grinding to a halt’, warns Labour, as total July referrals halve, year on year

Government plans to get jobless people into work are “grinding to a halt”, Labour warned, after official figures revealed that the numbers being referred to the flagship employment scheme have slumped.

Figures newly published show there were 878,000 referrals to the government’s work programme up to the end of July 2012. However total monthly referrals fell to just half that of a year ago.

In July last year almost 100,000 unemployed people were entering the work programme. By this July that had fallen to fewer than 49,000.

The programme is supposed to link job centres to the companies that help unemployed people find work. The firms are paid for every jobless person who is found work.

The Employment Related Services Association (Ersa), the trade body for the welfare-to-work industry, warned that it was particularly concerned about the numbers of people being sent to the scheme who had been on incapacity benefit but, following a medical test, were judged fit to work.

Under the contract, companies, and the charities that work for them, can collect £13,550 for finding such claimants long-term work, double the money paid for getting an unemployed person a job.

Kirsty McHugh, Ersa’s chief executive, said: “These latest figures continue to show a far lower level of referrals to the work programme of people on employment support allowance (ESA) than originally predicted by government … the lower level of referrals of jobseekers on ESA has a disproportionate impact on voluntary sector providers who tend to offer the expertise these jobseekers require.”

The shadow welfare secretary, Liam Byrne, said that the fall in people sent to the work programme had come despite a 188,000 rise in the number of long-term claimants on the jobseekers allowance, between July 2011 and July 2012.

“The government’s flagship back-to-work scheme is now in total gridlock – just when we need it most. We were promised the biggest back-to-work programme ever, yet referrals have plunged to their lowest point since the scheme began.

“Long-term unemployment is through the roof but referrals are falling because job-centre staff seem to be losing faith in a scheme this government is making a mess of.”

However the government said that the number of referrals of claimants on jobseekers allowance “were always expected to drop after the first year”. It stated: “In the first year there were extra referrals, for example as [Labour's] flexible new deal ended.”

The Department of Work and Pensions said that charities and voluntary groups were signing up to the work programme, contradicting the idea that they would lose out.

Since January 20 further charities had signed up – but 15 had left.

A spokesperson for the DWP said: “More people [went] on to the work programme than expected when providers bid for contracts, and we’re taking decisive action to allow providers to help more people on employment and support allowance take their first steps back towards work.

“The work programme is designed to give jobseekers the help and support they need while delivering value for the taxpayer. The best way for providers to earn money through the programme is by getting more people into work and helping them to remain there.

“If Jobcentre Plus is successfully moving claimants into work before they need the extra help of the work programme this is good news for the economy, claimant and taxpayer.”

Youth unemployment: The big question

Category : Business, World News

Should state subsidies be used to help South Africa’s young unemployed find work?

Visit link: Youth unemployment: The big question

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Spain jobless rate hits new high

Category : World News

About a quarter of working-age people in recession-hit Spain – and more than half of young people – are unemployed, new figures show,

Continued here: Spain jobless rate hits new high

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Letters: Lies, damned lies and jobless statistics

Category : Business

Jackie Ashley is only the latest in a series of commentators referring to recent unemployment (and inflation) figures as “the first green shoots of recovery” (Comment, 22 October). I would like to question this. Does anyone have the figures to calculate the true rate of unemployment if those holding part-time jobs who would prefer to work full-time were counted as 50% working and 50% unemployed? Further, there are many people especially from the public sector who have taken early retirement as a better option than threatened redundancy, who thus lose possibly several years of their own and employer contributions to their pension pot. They are not unemployed, but intentionally workless and so outside both benefit and unemployment figures.
Delia Koczwara

• The government claims unemployment is falling, despite minimal economic growth. In fact, the government’s fiddling the unemployment figures, as usual, but by a new method: counting people on “workfare” as employed – as confirmed by Department of Work and Pensions and Office for National Statistics replies to freedom of information requests published on the Informed Consent blog. Workfare makes unemployed people work unpaid for private firms, including Conservative party donors, or else lose their benefits. The government’s own research shows that it doesn’t improve chances of finding paid work.

ONS figures and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development research

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In Cameron’s Britain, payday loan companies are free to shaft the poor | Heydon Prowse

Category : Business

Charging extortionate rates of interest, these companies are robbing the poor. I know, because I worked undercover for one

If you asked to borrow my car for the day and I said sure, but then moved into your house, helped myself to the food in your fridge and pleasured your wife, you’d probably think I was a bit of a douche. But, with annual repayment rates of 4,214%, payday loan companies are about as pleasant.

In a sketch in the next episode of our BBC3 comedy series The Revolution Will be Televised (10pm, Wednesdays), my comedy partner Jolyon Rubinstein poses as a simpleton and visits a bunch of payday loan companies asking them for money, saying he needs it to pay back drug and gambling debts and does it matter that he’s just been released from a mental asylum? Without exception, he was offered the option to apply for loans – one of £5,000 on the condition he pay back £11,398. Can’t say fairer than that.

We decided to do the sketch as last year I had worked undercover in one of these companies for my producer friend Rob Moore, who had been investigating them for a TV documentary. My job

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Million jobless may face six months’ unpaid work or have benefits stopped

Category : Business

Community action programme to tackle long-term unemployment could prove expensive failure, says thinktank

Almost one million people will be forced to work unpaid for six months if a new government work scheme is extended across the country, a thinktank has said.

Under the Department for Work and Pensions community action programme (Cap), which has completed a pilot stage and whose rollout is expected to be announced this autumn, people on jobseeker’s allowance for longer than three years must work for six months unpaid or have their benefits stripped from them.

Two weeks ago the employment minister, Chris Grayling, flagged his intention to introduce the scheme – recently renamed support for the very long-term unemployed – across the country to tackle the rising number of chronic unemployed, driven up by a stagnant economy.

Under its lowest estimate, the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion (CESI) predicts that over a five year period starting in June 2013, 1.78 million people will be unable to find work through the government’s current two-year-long employment scheme, the work programme, even if targets are met.

CESI estimates that of those failed by that programme, 1.35 million will be claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) as opposed to sickness and other types of out-of-work benefits. A further 378,000 people will stop claiming even though they will not have found work. In total the thinktank predicts that between 2013 and 2018, 972,000 will stay on JSA who will have been completely out of work for more than three years and will be eligible to be sent to work for free for 26 weeks.

But if the economy continues to shrink, and current employment schemes fail to reach targets, the number eligible to be sent on the programme could reach 1.06 million.

Grayling told the Guardian that the programme’s development was still at a very early stage and so any predictions would be “guesswork”.

Separately, a 41-year-old jobseeker who refused to attend Cap on the grounds that it was “slave labour” is waiting to hear from the high court whether he was won a judicial review.

During the case last month the court heard that Jamieson Wilson, from the Midlands, was expected to wash and clean furniture for an unnamed organisation for six months unpaid.

After refusing to take part in the “exploitative” scheme, Wilson, who trained and worked as a mechanical engineer and an HGV driver and has been unemployed since 2008, was stripped of his benefits and was now “relying on family and friends” to survive.

A decision in the case, which could affect the outcome of all mandatory work schemes, labelled by employment campaigners as “workfare”, is expected before 10 August.

Dave Simmonds, CESI chief executive, said rolling out Cap could prove to be a very expensive mistake.

“These numbers speak volumes about the nature of long-term unemployment in a recession, where those with the greatest barriers are often pushed to the back of the jobs queue.

“Jobcentre Plus and the work programme will have already tried to find jobs for these people – with sanctions hanging over them all the way through. We have to be careful about a one size fits all solution for the very long-term unemployed by requiring them to work for their benefits.”

Referring to recent DWP research which showed that a one-month mandatory work scheme had “zero effect” in helping people get a job, Simmonds added: “It could prove to be a very expensive failure if it doesn’t get people into jobs – and past evidence on this is mixed.”

Speaking about the CESI forecast, Grayling said: “We believe that full time community work should be a part of the support we provide to the very long term unemployed. But we are at an early stage of trialling different options, and so these estimates are pure guesswork.”

Spanish unemployment reaches record high of 24.6%

Category : Business

Second quarter figures show 5.7 million Spaniards now out of work, including 53% of under-25s, as austerity measures bite

Spain’s unemployment rate hit record levels in the second quarter of this year, leaving one in four of the working population jobless as austerity continued to bite and fears of a national bailout grew.

Figures released by the national statistics institute revealed that the second quarter, traditionally a time when employment picks up for the tourist season, recorded a rise in unemployment to 24.6% as a further 53,000 people joined dole queues. That broke a previous record set during Spain’s last major recession 18

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