Anger as job hunt means a benefits cut

Disgruntled job seeker Chris Bretherton has been told he can't claim benefits whilst he's on a four week course training to become an ambulance technician
Disgruntled job seeker Chris Bretherton has been told he can't claim benefits whilst he's on a four week course training to become an ambulance technician
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A WIGAN jobseeker who is set to live on a campsite while trying to boost his job prospects has been told his benefits will be stopped.

Chris Bretherton enrolled on a five-week training course 120 miles from home in a bid to secure his dream job as a paramedic assistant - forking out more than £2,600 of his own money.

But he didn’t bargain on Jobcentre Plus staff cutting his weekly jobseeker’s allowance payments for the duration of the course.

Mr Bretherton, 43, of Ashton, said: “I’ve hit a brick wall with them. And all I’m asking for is a bit of fairness. The benefits system should have a bit of flexibility.

“I’m not asking them to pay for the course, just to continue my jobseeker’s allowance payments to help me get by. The only reason I’m going on the course is to try to better myself and improve my job prospects.”

In a bid to save money, Mr Bretherton, who previously worked at Heinz for 20 years, is set to live in a motor home on a £10 a night campsite in Middlesbrough for the duration of his Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical Technician course.

And he says the sacrifice of leaving his wife and teenage son for five weeks will all be worth it if he secures a job at the end. But he has been told that even though he is actively improving his job skills, he will still lose his benefit.

Mr Bretherton, who has asked Yvonne Fovargue MP to bring the matter up with work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith, added: “All I’m asking for is £67.50 a week to help pay for my food and laundry. Surely that’s not too much to ask? I’m not going to starve but it’s the principle that matters.

“If somebody is involved in a car crash in the future, it could be me helping them out. If the job centre don’t class me as actively looking for work then I’ll happily get on the internet every night to search for jobs.”

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said: “Claimants are allowed to take part in full-time employment-related courses lasting up to two weeks without losing their benefits.

“However, after that time they are deemed to no longer be available for work, or actively seeking employment - two conditions which have to be met in order to qualify for jobseeker’s allowance.”

What do you think? Should benefits be stopped if you are on a training course? Add your coments below ...