A story regarding LAMH Recycle from Motherwell, Scotland was brought to our attention recently. It’s been ongoing since November 2014 and is continuing today. This story shows what happens when charities get greedy and go wrong.
Mr John McArthur used to work for LAMH Recycling (a social enterprise charity) on a work scheme and was paid the minimum wage. He was forced to go back there to work without pay for six months by the job centre on a workfare scheme. As he refused he was sanctioned and was left with no money.
For almost three months, Mr McArthur has spent two hours each weekday morning parading outside the LAMH building in Motherwell wearing a placard reading: “Say no to slave labour” (See photo and story in Guardian).
The prevention or relief of poverty???
In Mr McArthur’s case LAMH Recycle are breaking their first objective: The prevention or relief of poverty. This is not an impoverished charity as their last submitted accounts show almost £500,000 income (see here). So why would they be so anxious to benefit from the human suffering that is the workfare programme and sanctions? The answer can only be greed.
If you look at their website they have removed the list of their funders from their ‘Our Funders‘ page. There is also no hint of a location for their annual report. What have they got to hide? Could it be that they receive funding from the local council who have pledged not to be involved in the workfare scheme? Are other funders embarrassed?
North Lanarkshire Council passed a motion in October strongly objecting to forced employment schemes saying it would not get involved itself.
“This council will not provide jobs or placements without pay as a condition of receiving benefits unless it is truly voluntary,” the motion read.
We do not support any mandation of unemployed people to work without pay that puts their benefits at risk.”
Are the council funding workfare and sanctions by supporting LAMH Recycling?
Workfare destroys the notion of volunteering. Rumour has it that LAMH are refusing to take on genuine volunteers in favour of capitalising on the money received through the workfare scheme.
Joe Fulton, LAMH Recycle operations and development manager, was quoted as saying he believed the scheme “worked for people who want to make it work for them”. Given that quote, I guess the board and directors of LAMH don’t particularly care that their support for the scheme is leading to people starving and going without heat.
The punishing workfare scheme cannot work without the support of charities like LAMH Recycle. The DWP has confirmed some of the UK’s biggest charities, including the British Heart Foundation, Scope, Banardo’s, Sue Ryder, and Marie Curie had withdrawn from the workfare scheme, causing a significant loss of placements.
Disabled Forced To Work For Free
From 3 December 2012, job centre and work programme case managers have had the power to stop the benefits of those claiming the employment and support allowance (ESA), who do not agree to mandatory work placements. Those in the ESA work-related-activity group include cancer patients, stroke victims and people with mental health issues.
Forcing the disabled to work has been the last straw for many charities who are now refusing to participate in workfare schemes. LAMH Recycle seem happy to ignore public opinion and continue to ruthlessly exploit the sick, disabled and unemployed on workfare programmes to make money.
Compassion and Workfare
LAMH Recycle claim to be a compassionate charity and provide work opportunities for people with mental health issues and other disadvantaged groups. This does not seem to include compassion for those who are sick, disabled and unemployed.
For more on the workfare scheme see: Boycott Workfare.
We will update this story when we find out who funds LAMH Recycle.
UPDATE 24th Feb 2015: LAMH are still refusing to publish their funders on their website. However, we’re reliably informed that LAMH received £453,608 in a lottery grant in December 2013 – something smells very rotten here.