And they wonder why there’s a Black Economy.
I’m available, ready and willing to work, and I’m putting time in each day trying to find work. But whilst I’m not working, I might as well write and work on this site, stuff which may- one day- earn me some money. So, filling out the forms, I admitted I was registered self employed (I may not be making anything, but this is costing money and I want to be able to claim it back) and that whilst I wasn’t employed I would be putting around 25 hours a week into various projects. I was being honest, and possibly looking for Brownie points, but whilst I’m unemployed I’m not allowed to admit to anything which might make me money- no matter how far off in the future- without risking the withdrawal of benefits. And if I do make any money and tell them about it, then they will generously let me keep the first five pounds and dock the rest from my benefit. Five pounds. That’s slightly more than an hour and a half’s work at minimum wage, less than half an hour at my last wage. The temptation to take cash in hand and still sign is very high. How about removing it by allowing income up to half your benefit before docking anything. It would cost more up front, but you’d recoup it in the money coming back into the legitimate economy (death and taxes) and steering people away from the more dubious employers, who, surely, are the ones more likely to have poor safety procedures etc.
Five pounds. It’s pathetic.
I’ve been busy scribbling Seeds stuff, I’ll post some more tomorrow. As you can tell, it’s very different to other stuff I’ve done. Just how different remains to be seen. I’m also going to start filling the gaps in The Eliza Effect. I just need to remind myself of all the sub chapter titles.