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: http://action.pcs.org.uk/page/speakout/ask-your-mp-to-stop-the-government-changing-the-law-on-workfare
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.
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Together, we are having a massive impact! Let’s make the week of action count.