back to article would pay to have benefit claimants' tattoos erased

The government has confirmed that it is prepared to pay for plastic surgery for tattoo-emblazened benefit claimants – if the inked-up individuals get a job offer first. The unemployment eraser plan was confirmed in a Commons answer yesterday. David Ruffley MP had asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions "what …


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  1. Mike Hanna

    I have a tattoo

    Some Jeremy Kyle starring muppet gets a tattoo saying "I luve Shazza and she luvs me" across his forehead just before she divorces him can now get that tattoo removed whilst treating himself to free internet access at the local job centre. Great.

    1. Gav
      IT Angle

      How sad

      Are you saying he won't find another Shazza?

      1. CaptainHook


        He probably will, but the girlfriend inbetween will be a Tracy and it starts getting messy when you have to cross out one name, write a second, then cross that out to and write the third name :)

        1. Michael 28

          Is this tattoo correction to GMP standards?

          The crossed-out names would have to be marked "ee" (Entry error) AND signed AND dated!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Some Jeremy Kyle starring muppet"

      Go to Youtube.

      Search "jeremy kyle full face tattoo"

      1. Anonymous Coward


        What a Packard Bell-end!

    3. Fred Dibnah


      For a drama about a similar situation, look up 'Loving Taylor':

  2. Chris Miller


    If you're plastered with embarrassing tattoos, follow the lead of David Beckham at the Royal Wedding and wear long sleeves with a high wing collar (but do remember to wear your decorations on the correct side).

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Which they then have to pay back ... right?

    Otherwise I might have to say that I needed free laser eye surgery because potential employers didn't like the fact I wore glasses.

  4. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    FFS! Muppets!

    So I'm so fucking stupid I got "MIM" or "GRIM RAEPER" misspelled tattoos inked on my face when I was 17 and now I'm 35 and the Gov want to get of my arse and start earning, someone else has to pay to have them removed so I can get a job?! FUCK OFF!!

    Tough luck, you'll have to wear long sleeves, gloves and balaclavas to cover the tats when you go to the interviews!

    1. Annihilator
      Thumb Down

      Nice one

      Appreciate your suggestions for the recovering heroin addict I met who was trying to turn his life around but unfortunately had the word "C**T" emblazoned across his forehead - he has no idea when/why he did it. He was 6 months clean and doing well, but unsurprisingly finding it difficult to find work. But maybe he should be punished for all eternity eh?

      1. Chimp
        Thumb Down

        Smack is forever

        No, he shouldn't be punished.

        That doesn't mean public money should be spent on his tattoo removal. Family, friends, religious charities. He has to make a case to people who know him.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          How about a loan?

          I can understand both the ire of people who object to being forced to fund the undoing of the stupidity of the inked, and the desire to get the inked off the unemployment roles and into (tax-)paying jobs.

          What about this: offer the person a low interest loan, to be paid back from the proceeds of the job? That should address the issues of both sides nicely, as well as discouraging the abuse of the system.

        2. Annihilator


          "That doesn't mean public money should be spent on his tattoo removal. Family, friends, religious charities. He has to make a case to people who know him."

          You've never dealt with heroin addicts then, recovering or otherwise. Most have no friends or families who want to know them and find it very difficult to fit back into society - they're not all Russell Brand. As for "religious" charities, you'd be surprised how few religions (ironically) are keen to help the really needy. I'll leave it to you to argue whether desperate people should be shepherded into organised religion. But maybe anyone who has made a wrong or misguided choice should be left to kind-hearted people (charities) - let's put smokers with lung/heart diseases into that category. Or AIDS/HIV sufferers. After all, they're both groups of people who have diseases that could be prevented.

          1. Martin 71 Silver badge

            Oh thank the gods

            "they're not all Russell Brand"

        3. Anton Ivanov


          If he is getting a job as a result this should be a loan.

          If the youthful indiscretion of going to a university is punished from your salary until you pay back, I do not see why the youthful indiscretion of having something moronic tatooed where customers can see it should not be punished as well.

          Just give him a loan at standard university loan conditions and collect it back the same way (but with lower salary limit). Case closed.

    2. Aaron Em

      How charmingly American of you!

      You'd fit right in here in the States, with the whole "fuck up once and you're done, kid" attitude prevalent among our corporate denizens. Why don't you immigrate? We'd love to have you!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this *really* the best use of taxes?

    If they get a job offer with the tattoos, then who cares? The employers would obviously be happy with them being there, or they wouldn't make the offer?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: If they get a job offer with the tattoos

      The way I read the article was:

      Suppose someone applies for a job serving customers at McDonalds. They have lots of experience in the fast food business, a great attitude, McDonalds would love to hire them. But they have something objectionable (maybe "I love Burger King") tattooed on their forehead. So McDonalds say "we'll hire you IF you get that tattoo removed, but we can't hire you with the tattoo". In that case, the Jobcenter will consider paying for tattoo removal.

      (All details are obviously fictional...)

      As far as using taxpayer money goes... remember, this is someone who's already being paid unemployment benefit from taxpayer's money. So the question is whether this is value-for-money for taxpayers - i.e. is it likely to save more benefit payments than it costs.

      1. Just Thinking

        Never understood this attitude

        Somebody is going to get that job at McDonalds and come off benefits (or leave a different job for someone else to take). A bunch of other people won't get the job and will stay on the dole.

        In the big picture, it doesn't make the slightest difference *which* person gets the job, so why the hell do the government spend money on helping particular people get jobs - for everyone they help, someone else loses out.

        Especially annoying if the person is being helped out of a situation brought about by their own stupidity.

        1. Aaron Em

          Never understood *that* attitude

          Yeah, sure, let's cultivate a group of young men with no investment in our society whatsoever, rather than going to a little extra effort to find them something to do that's less problematic than stealing cars, breaking into houses, or mugging people. No way that can go wrong.

  6. Mark 78

    Why do it if they "get a job offer first" ?

    Surely it would make more sense to offer it before they go for interviews, so they look more presentable with more chance of getting the job.

    1. Tom Wood

      But where does that stop?

      "Yeah but no but yeah but no but if I had a boob job and new teeth I could well get a job working as a page 3 model...".

      1. Steve Button Silver badge

        RE: Tom

        "... if I had a boob job and new teeth I could well get a job working as a page 3 model."

        I'm sorry Tom, but I very much doubt it. Nice try though.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        But Tom if you ...

        ... get a "boob job and new teeth" you'll be a tad more "out there" than the typical page 3 stunna (tm).

  7. Liam Johnson


    It sounded at first like they were planning on tattooing peoples benefit details to prevent fraud...

  8. The Alpha Klutz

    if the inked-up individuals get a job offer first...

    why would they need their tattoos removed?

    Maybe employers could be just, I dunno, maybe 5% less fascist and recognise that some people possess skills other than the ability to appear visually pleasing.

    How many jobs actually require you to look good? I work in a dark office in a backwards town full of inbreds, why should I not have a tattoo? Incidentally, I don't, nor do I want one, but the point stands.

    You could argue "well it shows they have poor judgment blah blah blah" Why does it show poor judgment? Because they should have known that you wouldn't hire them with a tattoo? And why wouldn't you hire them with a tattoo? Because it shows poor judgment? Circular bullshit logic it is for sure, but it's terribly convenient for denying jobs to people you "just don't like".

    Fucking hell, can't have a guy or girl with tattoos, they might also have some interesting stories to tell and we can't put up with that kind of shit in a work environment. Everyone should just shut up, dress how I say, and enjoy their minimum wage.

    That's freedom.

    1. The Alpha Klutz


      It does show stupidity if you get a really awful tattoo that's spelled wrong, or has the wrong date on it, or generally looks as if you didn't bother telling the guy what you wanted before he started injecting dye in your face. But there are jobs even idiots can do, so in some sense a guy with a tattoo like that is perfect to mix cement all day on your construction site. Give people a fair chance to do something is all I'm saying.

  9. Fading

    So what other plastic surgery can I claim for.....

    Is it just tattoos or can I have my face and body redesigned? These have definitely been holding me back......

    1. Michael 28

      This one's for the bosses...

      ... i'd LOVE to work for your company BUT.. unfortunately i'm a person of f of high aesthetic sensitivity as when can you get your face done????<Pretty please??>>>

  10. Bill Fresher

    Could work.

    I got a tattoo of a sincere expression tattooed on my mug so that I didn't look so condescending. Got me a job. Might be worth considering for particularly sour faced claimants.

  11. Atonnis


    At the very least...why aren't they offering to take the tattoos off of them once they've paid 6-months of tax and national insurance into the system?!

    This is f--king stupid. Get a job OFFER and then get paid to take off your tattoos? Since I had 10 offers the last time I was looking for a job do I get entitled to something I haven't worked for as well?

    I'm so sick of this molly-coddling pathetic attitude. Stop giving people free stuff all the time when they've never raised a finger to work. We should have the adage 'We will not let you starve, and not let you freeze, nor die out in the rain, but we will not fund you a lifestyle - that's yours to earn'.

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      Free stuff?

      Shall we stop clearing up the litter from your street, maintaining your local park and all the other "free stuff" you get as well then? Are you actually saying that people who cannot work because of health issues should not have the right to have a "lifestyle". Yeah, all the severally disabled people with life limiting conditions will be over joyed hearing that, knowing that they will be fed and housed but can get to hell if they think they are entitled to a little money so that they can leave their home now and then for a day out or to visit family or buy a computer to use the interwebz.

      Most people who don't work actually don't work because there are not enough jobs or they cant work. Daily Mail is that way son. Go read it if you want to believe all the myths about benefits claimants. You'll probably love it.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like they have it about right

    > would it make more sense to make money available to remove claimants' tattoos BEFORE they actually have the job interview?

    A few problems with that:

    Firstly, tattoo removal might not actually help them get a job. (Either they don't get a job, or they get one that doesn't care about tattoos). In that case, you've wasted taxpayer money. If you wait until they have a job offer that is conditional on a tattoo removal, then you don't waste money.

    Secondly, there are probably jobs available that don't care about tattoos. They may be lower-paying jobs, but society needs people to do the lower-paying jobs. If an individual chooses to have a tattoo, then that individual should accept the consequences of their choice. They shouldn't expect taxpayers to pay when they change their mind. (If the individual wants to pay for tattoo removal, they have that choice too). Obviously, there can be exceptional circumstances where it's justified for the taxpayer to pay for tattoo removal, but this should not be the norm.

    Thirdly, providing tattoo removal more widely would tend to force people to have tattoos removed, even if they don't want to. To get unemployment benefit, you have to show you're looking for work. I can imagine the argument that: "Oh, you have a visible tattoo. That reduces your ability to find work. So you should get it removed, or else we'll have to reconsider your unemployment benefit". (I'm sure that wouldn't be government policy, but I can imagine some Jobcenter workers using it anyway). While I don't have any tattoos and would never get any, I support other people's right to have tattoos.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    This is just another example of the government taking tax money from hard working families, and flushing it down the politically correct socialist toilet.

    1. Gav


      The Daily Mail letters page is that way -->

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Big Brother

        He's right though

        No way to make a face about it.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      "socialist toilet"

      If you can find one.

      All I can find are the lousy capitalist toilets that want your 20p first no matter how bad you gotta go.

      1. Synonymous Howard

        McDonalds toilets

        Best ones to use and free; coffee's pretty good as well, no sprinkles on mine dear. Don't know about them in cities like London (I prefer the way Alan Partridge spells it though) they might make you pay on the door.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      I'm generally socialist in nature ....

      and don't think this is much of an idea.

      Stop bashing an entire political system because of one thing you don't like.

      I can think of much greater injustices dealt out by the capitalist system .... (and to paraphrase the old saying about communism 'if you like capitalism so much, why don't you move to the U.S.A.')

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up


        Apologies for deriding your favorite 'ism'. Personally I'm not that keen on any of them.

        Following up your discussion about moving to the U.S.A I assume you would be posting from China, Cuba etc..... I did think that socialism fell out of favour a litte, what with Tony and Gordon?

    4. LinkOfHyrule

      hard working my arse

      In my opinion Titus Technophobe, those who trott out the "hard working families" line are usually selfish idiots who don't actually work hard at all. You think you work hard but compared to some people in this world, your life is so easy. If you don't like it then you can stop sending you kids to state school, stop using the NHS and getting all your prescribed drugs for free, stop using the public road network - you get the idea, all that "socialist toilet" stuff you use all the time. You're probably depriving a family that works harder than you do of its use.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down


        I agree I don't work as hard as some people in the world. That said I do work harder than some idiot sitting on the dole, and don't really sympathize if they can't then get a job because they have chosen to disfigure themselves with a tattoo.

        In part it comes down to being accountable for your own actions........

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          so you resent the fact that they don't work, and at the same time believe that they don't deserve a job. What would you have them do instead?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Which particular idiot on the dole do you work harder than?

          Do you think every single person claiming benefits is a lazy feckless loser who just watches TV all day? If so, you are cosmically wrong.

  14. penguin slapper
    IT Angle

    "If they get a job offer"

    In todays climate that's a mighty big "if".

    Here in Birmingham the local paper has gone from many hundreds of jobs (a couple of years ago) to several pages of jobs ( a few months ago) to no pages of jobs (last week).

    1. Tom Wood

      Doesn't that just show

      a decline in the use of the local rag for job advertising? Isn't it all online nowadays?

      1. The Alpha Klutz

        "Isn't it all online nowadays?"

        We're told that 90% of jobs are never advertised at all, or some other frighteningly large percentage I can't currently remember.

        People are constantly trying to ram home the value of "networking" to find your next job. Well what if you hate networking, what then? You're fucked aren't you.

        In my day we called it "brown nosing".

      2. Elmer Phud

        Local Rag

        Local Rag stopped beng local years ago when it was borged in to a natonal collection of 'locals'. Not so much as a gradual downhill slide but a ski jump slope.

        Local journo's were on strike recently as the mega-corp decided that junior staff was all that were neded to answer the phone to local peope with local problems - reporting is out, another page of 'massage' adverts looms on the horizon.

        The local journalists will be soon joining the inked at the Lack of Jobs Centre

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Employment skills.

    I have MOUSE tattooed on the knuckles of my right hand and PHONE on my left. Stops me sitting at the desk with my back to the monitor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It would be great... sneak into you office and swap your mouse and phone round on the desk...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It would be great...

        Not possible... they're chained to the desk. Stops me nicking 'em.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    "The unemployment eraser plan"!

    Didn't that Guy with theTash try something similar?

  17. Haku


    what if the job offer they get is to become a tattoo artist?

  18. Willington

    Wouldn't it be a lot easier and cheaper... pass a law making discrimination against tattooed people illegal?

    Just saying.

    1. Ally J

      Someone will get Legal Aid

      ...for their fight to show the decline of their job offer was based on anti-tattoo discrimination.

      1. Willington

        Well if it was based on anti-tattoo discrimination...

        ... they would be well within their rights. They wouldn't be wasting tax payers money, the people doing the discrimination would be doing that but I'm sure the courts would recover it.

    2. DavCrav

      I can see why

      companies might not necessarily want to employ someone who has "FUCK YOU" tattooed on his forehead as a greeter.

    3. Michael 28

      At a recent neighbourhood watch meeting

      .. i noticed most of the police have tattoos..

  19. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    in a time of cuts

    why not cut the tattoos off

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Get a grip

    I'm a UX practitioner for one of the largest media agencies in the UK and I'm inked all over the place (As well as pierced). Never had an issue finding work because of them, even with the stupid dots on my right knuckles that I did when I was 14 (Now 36).

    I used to have issues with U.S. clients about 10 years ago, but know it's generally acceptable to have tatt's/piercings and other modifications (Within the realms of sensibility).

    Obviously if you have C**T on your forehead, then tbh, you really don't belong in normal society anyway,

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Obviously if you have C**T on your forehead, then tbh, you really don't belong in normal society anyway,"

      True, but you will be of considerable interest to the medical profession.

    2. Aaron Em

      Missing the point

      A UX practitioner, indeed. You're in a field where *not* having visible tattoos or piercings is almost as contemptible as owning any computer but a Mac, and you honestly believe that this conversation has anything even remotely to do with you or your situation?

      Don't get out much, do you?

  21. Anonymous Coward


    For those who are unaware of the tattoo removal process. It doesn't leave a perfect area of skin afterwards. In most cases, you're left with a scar shaped like the tattoo that was there before, but more like a white brand mark. In some cases, the scarring from removal can be worse than the tattoo itself.

    1. Stuart Tomlinson

      cover up

      very true, can looks almost as bad.

      There are really good coverup foundations now specfically designed to cover tatts. Not tried any as all of mine are not visable unless I loose move clothing than is acceptable in a work enviroment but have seen the results and it works.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Liking the negative comments

    Obviously, it's far more sensible to keep paying them the dole than it is to actually let them take up a job offer. Idiots.

    Many jobs will not employ you if you have visible tattoos. (No, wearing a balaclava will not circumvent the restriction.) I thought this used to be the case for the police but I recently met a police woman with one of those tacky "celtic" bands around the bicep - plainly visible in the short sleeve uniform top.

  23. The BigYin


    Because Bruce Potts just couldn't get a job, could he?

  24. LinkOfHyrule

    weird dream

    And here I was thinking the Tories wanted to give benefit claimants tattoos, not remove them. Kinda concentration camp style "DOLE SCUM" and an ID number right accrues the forehead or something.

    Or was that just a weird dream I had about my next visit to Job Centre Plus?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    JSP whats sense?

    No one who works for DWP/JSP has any sense. The are all brainless drones.

    The people love taking covert photos of people all time, but do not like it when do very same thing to them.

    1. DavCrav


      Job Sentre Plus?

  26. chrisjw37

    Idiots with tattoos are mere canon fodder

    April the First has already passed.

    Idiots with tattoos are mere canon fodder - let them suffer as appropriate

  27. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Slow news day, El Reg?

    Every day I'm more convinced that madness is in the air and it is contagious and Westminster Parliament is an asylum.

  28. Ian Ferguson
    IT Angle

    IT angle?

    This is the kind of story I expect to find the Daily Heil bellowing about, not quite sure what it's doing on the Register, even under Government.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Subtitle missed opportunity

    How about

    Singeing off before signing off

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Until I read the article, i thought it applied to the compulsory claimant-reference tattoo introduced by the conservative government earlier this year.

    Or do I mean earlier next year, perhaps...

  31. Anteaus

    Aversion therapy

    Anyone thinking of getting a tattoo should try servicing the PCs in the local laser clinic.

    -Still fancy a tat? No?... What changed your mind?

    Every PC from that place exudes an aroma of well-roasted human flesh.

  32. bob 46
    Paris Hilton

    coverup makeup

    If the tattoo is somewhere that can't be covered up, there is always the cheaper and easier option of coverup makeup available for a few quid.

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