24 hours to stop IDS rewriting history and robbing £130 million – Day 1 in the Workfare Week of Action


Tomorrow IDS wants to pass a law to rewrite history and rob £130 million in sanctions repayments. (Photo: UK parliament / flickr)

Take action now.

In one of his most disgusting manoeuvres yet, last week Iain Duncan Smith laid legislation to rewrite history to stop the 225,000 people who were sanctioned on his unlawful workfare schemes being able to reclaim what they are due.

To make matters worse, the bill is being rushed through parliament; the second reading; committee stage; and third reading are all scheduled for one day: this Tuesday.

It seems likely that Liberal Democrat MPs will line up alongside their tory masters to support this attack on the rule of law. This despite the fact that many of them (including their deputy leader Simon Hughes) opposed workfare when in opposition.

As if this wasn’t outrageous enough, Labour have indicated that they will support the Bill. Liam Byrne was evasive when confronted by campaigners at the weekend on how they will vote, but was candid in parliament last week, telling Iain Duncan Smith:

“Both he and I believe that sanctions are vital to give back-to-work programmes their bite… That mistake [the regulations were not in line with the law] puts in jeopardy about £100 million of sanctions that have been issued… We will support wise and sensible legislation that will fix the problem.”

Tell your MP to vote against these outrageous attempts to rewrite history and rob people of £130 million in benefit repayments with this one minute online form:

Challenge them on Twitter to vote against this dangerous precedent:

Then ask the Labour Frontbench and other MPs why they aren’t opposing the new workfare regulations brought in to make the forced labour schemes lawful. There are now just six days left for them to do so.

The government is getting desperate

This latest move to rush through legislation smacks of desperation and it’s little surprise. In the last month, your action means eight more organisations will no longer take part in workfare: Sense, PDSA, Shoe Zone, Wilkinson’s, Capability Scotland, Sue Ryder and the Red Cross have all pulled out. The Children’s Society has pledged “All volunteering at The Children’s Society should be done by choice and under no obligation from any other agency.”

It seems that the DWP is upset that organisations keep pulling out of its forced work schemes. So upset that it decided to lie to the Guardian about the campaign against workfare.

Now is the time to keep pushing

Workfare is being pushed back as exploiter after exploiter pull out, but there are still many organisations profiting from forced unpaid work.

Salvation Army and YMCA are stridently defending their involvement. Other charities including RSPCA, The Conservation Volunteers, British Heart Foundation and Papworth Trust have yet to catch up on the sector’s newly found ethical consensus.

Debenhams, Argos, Poundland, Asda, Superdrug, Tesco and others are still profiting from unpaid workfare in their stores.

There’s loads of actions coming up this week, and there’s still time to plan more! Read more here.

With even one or two people, you can organise an effective action. Check out these for inspiration:

Plus check back daily to our website to support the Week of Action online.

Together, we are having a massive impact! Let’s make the week of action count.


Comments (9)

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Alan Robertson

Don't be fooled into thinking workfare is purely for the workshy, it isn't. It is dressed up as that, but it is a programme designed for wage-shy employers and it will water down everybody's employment rights and prospects. It doesn't take IDS to work out this. This government are hellbent on punishing the working class more than even Thatcher... and in these tough economic times, I'm wishing I was back in the 1980s. She doesn't seems so bad now...


Go after the tax dodgers not the unemployed!

chris riley

This country is a cess-pool of bile and vomit being spewed out onto the working class by the Nasty party the Libdims and new Labour shame on you all.

Alan Heaps

This is the thin end of the wedge. Once it is accepted that unemployed should work for benefits all big businesses will then be able to take as many workfare people as they require.

This will create more unemployed as why would a big company pay a full wage when they can pay a quarter of it and avoid NI, Holiday pay, maternity and sick etc


Mrs Thatcher was reasonable compared to this EVIL lot. For all the bile that was directed against her by the loony-left ect in the 1980's I doubt whether she would have introduced workfare. For one thing, unlike CaMORON, IDS, and Osbourne, she did have a little inkling of basic economics. How is enabling employers to have a constant stream of workers supplied free from job centres meant to help the economy? Why should ANY employer create waged jobs if they can get labour for free? This joke of a government is actually undermining one of the central principles of a capitalist economy! And yet they call themselves Tories!

Stop the Bill

Fax your MP NOW!

use this text

Dear ***** MP

As your constituent I’m writing to ask you to oppose the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill, which will be debated in the House of Commons on Tuesday 19 March.

As you may be aware, last month the Court of Appeal ruled that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had acted illegally in sanctioning jobseeker’s allowance claimants on workfare schemes, because they had not given claimants the correct information about the schemes to which they were referred.

The bill seeks to retrospectively change the law to excuse the DWP from reimbursing wrongly sanctioned claimants like Cait Reilly and Jamie Wilson (who brought the successful case). The DWP estimates that around 225,000 people would be entitled to an average reimbursement of £550 for being incorrectly sanctioned.

The bill would set a dangerous precedent if passed – sending the message that when citizens defeat the government in court, it can overturn the court ruling retrospectively with primary legislation – effectively making the government above the law.

Please oppose this bill which not only seeks to rob incorrectly sanctioned jobseekers of deserved benefits, but also sets a dangerous precedent.

Please may I have a reply by email before 19th March 2013

Ian Jay

this government disgusts me...they have no shame in denying rights that people have died for...please help to stop this nonsense now...!!!


From the running progress of the bill, it looks as if it's had all its readings in both houses and is now being considered for amendment before being sent for royal assent.
This thing is going to fly through. Evil will be celebrating tonight.


Sorry, it was the bizarre colour-scheme of the progress diagram. It's at committee stage.
Fingers crossed it will be thrown out.