It is well documented that New Deal is an appalling waste of public money. Talking to those who are currently on Flexible New Deal it is no better. The figures show it is a waste of public money The figures show it is a waste of public money. Those being forced to attend say it is a waste of their time and is doing nothing for them. But still public money is being poured down the drain. Unfortunately you have no choice, it is mandatory, you have to attend, if not you will be sanctioned, ie your benefits stopped. The main exception is for those who have reached the age at which Pension Credits applies, currently 60, they have a choice and can choose not to participate, though Guildford for some perverse reason is forcing even these people to attend.
About the only advantage of being put on the New Deal programme, probably the only advantage, is to be given a New Deal travel card. This runs for three months (can be renewed) and entitles the holder to half price rail travel.
Why therefore is Camberley Job Centre refusing to issue? I have tried to find out, but with little success. I have tried calling Camberley JCP, but hey do not answer their phone.
One Jobseeker has now repeatedly tried to get a New Deal travel card, so far without success. He has has been blatantly lied to, told it does not exist, told you get it from the station. He has tried to complain to the office manager but the office manager is never there.
When he tried to file a complaint, he received a load of grief from the staff. He again asked for the office manager. A low-level manager tried to talk to him in a public area, he pointed out that this was highly unprofessional behaviour. When he challenged what they were doing, the manager got angry and had him evicted from the Job Centre.
He went back the next day and called a help line. They told him the New Deal travel card did still exist. Whilst he was making the inquiry a security guard started harassing him and he had to inform the person at the end of the help line that he was being harassed and this was the type of degrading and humiliating behaviour Jobseekers were being subjected to at Camberley Job Centre.
He was told that yes, the New Deal travel card did still exist.
He next went to the train station. He was told that yes, it did exist, but it was quite rare.
My own inquiries at two different Job centres (not Camberley), also the office of the district manager, tell me that yes, it does exist, and all are baffled why Camberley is denying that it exists.
For Jobseekers going to a training provider, they are claiming full fare instead of half fares for their travel expenses. Multiply this up by the numbers on New Deal at a training provider and this is an appalling waste of public money. A matter for investigation by the National Audit Office and Public Accounts Committee.
The government is looking to cut benefits. Instead of waging Class War against the poorest members of society, why not cut out the abuses that are wasting public money?
Flexible New Deal and Jobseekers aged 60 and over