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Thousands of benefits claimants are applying for roles but failing to turn up for their first shifts

Thousands of 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 taxpayer-funded 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.

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 [File photo]

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.

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 [File photo]

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 [File photo]

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-by-case 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 system which often trapped them on benefits. The UK currently has the lowest unemployment level in over 40 years.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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