The coalition Government have launched their latest workfare scheme today. Under the ‘Help To Work’ scheme, the unemployed will only receive their benefits if they either show up at a jobcentre every day or commit to six months of voluntary work or sign up to a training scheme.
The latest rules apply to the 200,000 who have been out of work for three years or more.
Those who fail to comply with the rules will have their jobseeker’s allowance sanctioned (i.e. removed).
The government know that this policy is doomed to failure like the rest of their workfare schemes. Yet they continue to spend millions of taxpayers money on failing schemes. This scheme will cost at least £300 Million pounds. The DWP have refused to publish the results of the ‘Help to Work’ pilot programme. What have they got to hide?
Now many charities and organisations are signing up to boycott the scheme. Some have responded by launching a new campaign to Keep Volunteering Voluntary. 30 organisations, including Oxfam, have so far signed the pledge:
“As charities and voluntary organisations we know the value of volunteering. Volunteering means people independently choosing to give their time freely to help others and make the world a better place. Workfare schemes force unemployed people to carry out unpaid work or face benefit sanctions that can cause hardship and destitution. We believe in keeping volunteering voluntary and will not participate in government workfare schemes.”
The charities have noted that the maximum community service order that someone might receive if they were found guilty of drink-driving or assault is 300 hours, but claimants on six-month workfare schemes will have to work without pay for more than double this time.
Charity Watch UK have long argued that volunteering should not be forced on anyone.
Further reading: Boycott Workfare