Dear Sir. Please don’t give me the job. I head­but­ted my last em­ployer

RE­VEALED: Shock­ing t ac­tics ben­e­fits claimants use to avoid work, in­clud­ing this shame­less email...

The Mail on Sunday - - News - By Michael Pow­ell

THOU­SANDS o f un­em­ployed ben­e­fits claimants are ‘scam­ming the sys­tem’ by ap­ply­ing for jobs but then fail­ing to turn up for an in­ter­view or their first shift.

They only ap­ply for roles to sat­isfy Job Cen­tre staff that they are ‘ac­tively look­ing for work’, and so re­main el­i­gi­ble for tax­payer­funded hand­outs.

A snap­shot sur­vey of em­ploy­ers, who all agreed to speak on con­di­tion of anonymity, has found shock­ing ex­am­ples of the lengths to which work­shy claimants go to avoid get­ting a job.

In Stoke, a clean­ing com­pany boss said he had re­ceived emails from ap­pli­cants urg­ing him not to give them work.

‘I got an ap­pli­ca­tion from this one guy through the Job Cen­tre and he fol­lowed it up six hours later with an email list­ing all the rea­sons why I shouldn’t give him a job.

‘He said he had anger is­sues and had head­but­ted his last em­ployer. I couldn’t be­lieve it,’ he said.

‘I am pay­ing £9-an-hour but I have had peo­ple in from the Job Cen­tre telling me quite openly that they don’t want a job and they are only ap­ply­ing so that they don’t get kicked off their ben­e­fits.’

Those on ben­e­fits are re­quired to keep a jour­nal and sat­isfy Job Cen­tre staff that they are look­ing for a job. They can have pay­ments re­duced or stopped if they fail to do so, but busi­nesses say to meet the re­quire­ment, some sub­mit dozens of job ap­pli­ca­tions with no in­ten­tion of se­cur­ing the post.

An em­ployer in Aber­gavenny, who sup­plies clean­ing staff to of­fices, said: ‘I’ve had 300 ap­pli­ca­tions but less than ten per cent bother turn­ing up for an in­ter­view. One day I sched­uled 40 in­ter­views back-to-back but only one per­son turned up. I am now spend­ing more money each month on re­cruit­ment than I am seek­ing new clients.’

A petrol sta­tion garage owner in Bris­tol said: ‘I’ve had loads of peo­ple com­ing in ask­ing me to sign some­thing so they can take it back to the Job Cen­tre and prove they have been in ask­ing for a job.

‘They say, “Can you just sign this for me mate, for the Job Cen­tre?” They don’t even ask about jobs. It’s a scam and I tell them no.’

The scan­dal fol­lows the case of Dar­ling­ton fish and chip shop owner Frank Suhadol­nik, who com­plained that 11 peo­ple in a row failed to turn up for their first trial shift at the shop de­spite an avalanche of ap­pli­ca­tions.

There are 948,000 peo­ple cur­rently claim­ing un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits, and 845,000 job va­can­cies. Of­fi­cial fig­ures show al­most 60,000 claimants had their ben­e­fits cut or stopped last year for fail­ing to at­tend job in­ter­views, turn up to shifts or seek work.

They are dealt with on a case-by­case ba­sis by Job Cen­tre staff and crit­ics say they rep­re­sent ‘the tip of the ice­berg.’

Tory MP An­drew Brid­gen said: ‘We need a proper sys­tem in place for em­ploy­ers to re­port time-wasters who are of­fered work and refuse it and there needs to be harder sanc­tions.’

John O’Con­nell, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Tax­Pay­ers’ Al­liance, said: ‘ The De­part­ment for Work and Pen­sions needs to be much more strin­gent in en­sur­ing those who are try­ing to game the sys­tem are sin­gled out and made to a take a job.’

A spokesman for the De­part­ment of Work and Pen­sions said: ‘Our ben­e­fit re­forms mean peo­ple are mov­ing into work faster and stay­ing in work longer, re­plac­ing an out­dated s ys­tem which oft en trapped them on ben­e­fits. The UK cur­rently has the low­est un­em­ploy­ment level in over 40 years.’

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