A few weeks ago I did a blog asserting that data on unemployment that was available seemed to indicate that a large number of people were being denied access to the benefit one way or another.
I compared the number of people getting an unemployment benefit with various measures of the unemployed and pointed out that the percentage on an unemployment benefit as a percentage of the unemployed was steady for many years and then declined significantly in the late 2000s.
I was simply pointing to a trend. I also asserted my view that literally tens of thousands of people were being denied a benefit one way or another. It was not possible for such a statistical anomaly to occur without a change in how people were being assessed for eligibility or how people were being actively managed off the benefit by WINZ.
I knew of far too many cases on a personal level (including within my own family) where it was becoming simply impossible for them to negotiate the bureaucratic nightmare that a benefit application has become and to meet the increasing demands for participation (again and again) in some sort of course or training to stay on it.
It may well be that many unemployed have simply given up applying for a benefit and rely on family and friends to survive.
In order to try and refute my claims the blogger Lindsay Mitchell made a bit of a fool of herself in my view.
She has continued in the same vein with a recent blog
“revealing” that the number of people actually being accepted as applicants and then being refused hasn’t actually changed that much over the recent few years.
Cameron Slater reprints
her blog with the headline “More lies of the left exposed”.
But that I made no claim about the refusal rate because I had no figures for that. You can’t prove me wrong on a claim I never made.
What I actually said was the following:
“However, around the mid 2000s the Labour government introduced a severe case management regime that seemed designed to prevent people accessing their entitlements rather than encouraging them to. The numbers on the unemployment benefit began to fall dramatically faster than the HLFS unemployment number until the gap hit 50,000 in 2008.
The international crisis and recession of 2008-10 sent the HLFS unemployment numbers soaring but the new National government’s even more punitive regime managed to keep the numbers on a benefit from increasing anywhere near as fast.”
I believe that statement to be true and remains true.