Workfare is not voluntary

Alex Hern repeats what needs repeating: Workfare is not voluntary.

 

In Prime Minister’s Questions today, right-wing-even-for-the-Conservatives MP Priti Patel used her space on the ballot to launch a defence of workfare, attacking “the militant hard left” who oppose it.

She was supported by the prime minister, who defended the schemes by saying they were voluntary.

It was buried slightly at the bottom of our last post on the topic, so this bears repeating:

Workfare is not voluntary.

There are five government programmes which can be described as workfare, and all have a compulsory element to them:

The work experience programme

Citizens Advice describes the work experience programme as a “compulsory program”, saying:

If you are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, you must take part … if you are advised to do so by a personal adviser. Your benefit may be affected if you refuse to do so or leave a scheme before completing it.

Mandatory work activity scheme

The clue’s in the name, and Citizens Advice clarify:

If you are required to take part in the scheme, but you don’t without a very good reason, you will be sanctioned.

The work programme

Citizens Advice detail the groups who have to take part in the work programme; although further groups can volunteer, it is compulsory if:

• You are aged 18-24 and have claimed jobseeker’s allowance for nine months;

• You are aged 25 or over and have claimed jobseeker’s allowance for 12 months;

• You are seriously disadvantaged in the labour market, for example because a disability has made it hard to find work. When you qualify and whether you can choose to take part will depend on which area you live in and what your circumstances are;

• You have recently claimed incapacity benefit, after claiming jobseeker’s allowance for three months;

• You are claiming income-related employment and support allowance, are in the work-related activity group, and are expected to be fit for work within three months.

Sector based work academies

Directgov explains:

Taking part in sector-based work academies is entirely voluntary, but once you accept a place you must complete the process. Your benefits may be affected if you do not complete the process. Taking part in sector-based work academies can last up to six weeks.

Community action programmes

The DWP’s guidance booklet states (pdf):

Mandation is there to use as a tool to ensure that claimants do what is required of them… Claimants who are mandated to undertake activity may incur a loss or reduction of benefit should they fail to comply without good reason.

To see the full information collated by Left Foot Forward and Political Scrapbook, click here

See also:

The information you need to end workfareAlex Hern, February 22nd 2012

Chris Grayling should respond to criticism of workfare, not smear the criticsIzzy Koksal, February 21st 2012

Tesco’s unpaid labour shows the flaw at the heart of workfareAlex Hern, February 16th 2012

Five reasons Clegg can’t stand on his social mobility recordAlex Hern, January 12th 2012

2012: The year ahead for young peopleAlex Hern, January 7th 2012

31 Responses to “Workfare is not voluntary”

  1. Anonymous

    It shouldn’t be voluntary. It should be compulsory.

    If you want other people’s money, if you are able, you should do something in return.

    If you don’t want to participate, don’t take other people’s money. Save up for that rainy day yourself.

  2. Pulp Ark

    Workfare is not voluntary //t.co/HtRkqi0I #Social_Justice #Forced_Labour #Labour #muslim #tcot #sioa

  3. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : Workfare is not voluntary //t.co/bfQBL6fU

  4. Mark Howard

    RT @leftfootfwd: Workfare is not voluntary //t.co/Hj7Im2Yh

  5. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Workfare is not voluntary //t.co/kSOu0u8w

  6. cameronsfollys

    Re: PMQs/ #workfare: Just in case 'I' gave you the wrong impression earlier.. Workfare isn't actually voluntary.. Doh! //t.co/Ur1N0X4F

  7. Janet Graham

    Workfare is not voluntary: //t.co/aR7IgJq7 by @alexhern

  8. Kathryn Hyde

    But it’s your own money that you already paid in taxes.

  9. Paul McGlynn

    RT @leftfootfwd: Workfare is not voluntary //t.co/t4CEfLOb

  10. Franco

    What do you think we pay national insurance for? Really, dont you have something better to do than troll the internet all day LordBlagger. Unless you’re retired you must be working REALLY hard for your wage.

  11. Joe Gammie

    @rfsatar here's some #workfare background for you: //t.co/IS3lRhZ9 > via @leftfootfwd

  12. Jamie

    Workfare is not voluntary //t.co/wH9mHd2A

  13. Ed's Talking Balls

    Not if you never worked.

  14. Ed's Talking Balls

    Not if you never worked.

  15. Benjamin

    I guess those people have never bought anything then?

  16. Kevin Richards

    Make your mind up- is it voluntary or do you want your benefits stopping RT @leftfootfwd: Workfare is not voluntary //t.co/9u7660Lc

  17. Anonymous

    Is it?

    Labour when in power was paying out to people in Knightsbridge 172K a year of benefits.

    Do you really think they had paid in more than that in NI in order to be able to get that in return?

  18. Anonymous

    More than they take out?

    Free health care – paid for by others
    Free schooling – paid for by others
    Free housing – paid for by others
    Free retirement – paid for by others

    Do you honestly think that they have paid more in taxes than they have taken out? No they haven’t in lots of the cases.

    This is being paid for in part by people in min wage having to be taxed 2.5K in NI and income tax. That is not right. That is im,oral.

  19. Foyer Federation

    The case against workfare //t.co/W04UrGMn conditionality’s not a problem but we owe YoungPeople a much better deal. Invest2 #OpenTalent

  20. Murray Christison

    The scheme is not voluntary //t.co/tmWmcwzq the UKIP guy may just be ill informed but Vaisy is bloody lying #bbcqt

  21. That Man Wood

    The scheme is not voluntary //t.co/tmWmcwzq the UKIP guy may just be ill informed but Vaisy is bloody lying #bbcqt

  22. No Offence!

    The scheme is not voluntary //t.co/tmWmcwzq the UKIP guy may just be ill informed but Vaisy is bloody lying #bbcqt

  23. Shamik Das

    Ok, for the umpteenth time, workfare is *not* voluntary: //t.co/KAGIiYLe #BBCqt

  24. Gemma Tumelty

    RT @shamikdas Ok, for the umpteenth time, workfare is *not* voluntary: //t.co/FJOgDS3F… #BBCqt

  25. ANDREWTMJ

    RT @shamikdas Ok, for the umpteenth time, workfare is *not* voluntary: //t.co/FJOgDS3F… #BBCqt

  26. Peter Neal

    The scheme is not voluntary //t.co/tmWmcwzq the UKIP guy may just be ill informed but Vaisy is bloody lying #bbcqt

  27. Serg-Samuel

    RT @shamikdas Ok, for the umpteenth time, workfare is *not* voluntary: //t.co/FJOgDS3F… #BBCqt

  28. Newsbot9

    Typical slaver crap.

  29. Newsbot9

    More immoral than your stock portfolio being bloated with slave labour?

    Not to mention the fact that you’re advocating the end of all government supplied healthcare, schooling, housing and pensions *again*.

  30. Jason Reed

    Ok, for the umpteenth time, workfare is *not* voluntary: //t.co/KAGIiYLe #BBCqt

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