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26 March 2008
A4E, one of the Pathways to Work providers, has been accused of treating Jobseekers ‘like cattle’ in spite of receiving £194 per person per week to provide training and jobseeking facilities.

Emma Harrison, owner of A4E receives payouts of over a million pounds a year from the company.

The Manchester Evening news reported on 24 March that 200 Jobseekers Allowance claimants on compulsory training and job searching were so outraged by the conditions on their course that they took photos and passed them on to the press, as well as starting a petition. Amongst their complaints were claims that there was only one two ‘filthy’ toilets for 200 people, no telephone, only two computers and standing room only for many people attending the centre.

One Jobseeker claimed that in the six weeks that he had attended the ‘intensive’ course he had received no training, no work experience and had no access to any kind of jobsearch facilities.

In a statement neither A4E nor the DWP denied any of the claims but said matters were being ‘quickly resolved’.

A4E Ltd won four of the recently awarded Pathways to work contracts to provide compulsory back to work interviews for sick and disabled claimants in: Devon & Cornwall; North & Mid-Wales; South East Wales; West Yorkshire.

As previously reported by Benefits and Work, as far back as 2006 chairman and owner of A4e. Emma Harrison was worth £55 million and received £1.1 million in a single dividend payout, whilst the company's highest paid director picked up a salary of £329,000. With four lucrative new Pathways contracts, those huge taxpayer funded handouts look set to dramatically increase.

Full story: Manchester Evening News

Thanks to Jima1 for spotting this story