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Unemployed Dartford chef Ross Ginn stages Job Centre protest at lack of support and low benefits

Ross Ginn outside Dartford job centre
Ross Ginn outside Dartford job centre

An unemployed chef living on cereal and willing to scrub toilets is staging a one-man sit-in protest at a job centre.

Ross Ginn claims he receives less than £3.50 per day to feed and clothe himself - and says he is stuck in this situation because of a lack of support from Dartford's Job Centre in Lowfield Street.

Mr Ginn has worked in the hospitality business since he was 16 and this year secured a place on an apprenticeship scheme at a restaurant in Mayfair.

But it only paid £4-an-hour which, he claims, was not enough to live on and he could not afford the commute, so he quit to search for something more profitable.

The 20-year-old left in July but failed to find another job and three months later has signed up for Jobseekers' Allowance.

He was found accommodation in a hostel in Priory Road, Dartford, which is paid for by housing benefit.

Mr Ginn said: "Despite everything, I still feel like I made the right decision leaving the apprenticeship. I needed to get a better life for myself – I've just been let down by the system.

"I thought the job centre would help me find work but they don't do anything. This month I've only been given one job application form to fill in. I'll never get a job at that rate.

"I'm looking for work every day and I'll do anything I physically can.

"I'd love to continue in the hospitality industry but if scrubbing toilets pays £6 an hour, I'd do it. I just want the chance to afford a better life for myself."

The reason his benefits are so low is because this month, having no money to his name, Mr Ginn was given a short term benefit advance of £40.

This must now be paid back in five £8 installments, deducted from his fortnightly allowance.

Ross Ginn is protesting at Dartford Job Centre
Ross Ginn is protesting at Dartford Job Centre

Mr Ginn added: "What can you buy for £3 a day? Barely one meal. It's not enough - I'm surviving on cereal.

"I've worked since I was 16 and I've paid my taxes, and this is all I get back.

"I have friends and family, but it's not for them to have to support me. I should be able to rely on the government to help me when I need it.

"I'll be sat in the job centre every day until things change. The whole system needs ripping apart and starting again."

A spokeswoman for Department for Work and Pensions said: "Every day Jobcentre Plus advisers are successfully helping people realise their aspiration to move off benefits and into work.

"Advisers are focused on making sure people get all the help and support they need from Jobcentre Plus to make the move into work, and it is encouraging that employment has risen by over 275,000 in the past year, while the number of people on the main out of work benefits has fallen over 400,000 since May 2010."

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