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Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage. We are a grassroots campaign, formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact. We expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare; encourage organisations to pledge to boycott it; and actively inform people of their rights.

The Not-Working Programme

Posted: November 28th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Info on schemes, Welfare to work industry | 7 Comments »

No jobs. Just sanctions.

Workfare isn't working

Yesterday the news we already knew. The Work Programme isn’t working. It’s a £5 billion pound failure. Not one of the 18 contractors reached the target set by the government of getting 5.5% of clients a job for at least six months. Only 3.5% of people referred to work programme found jobs lasting six months. But that’s not even the whole story. Workfare industry lobbyists the CESI have calculated that the real figure of people getting any kind of employment on the scheme in its first 12 months, is in fact just 2.1%. The government’s target for minimum performance by providers is 5.5%. Even these pro-workfare industry lobbyists have now stated that:

“This suggests that the Work Programme as a whole is underperforming against contractual expectations, even when accounting for changes in the economy.”

The cost of this £5 billion failure can also be measured in human misery. You have a one in ten chance of being sanctioned on the Work Programme but less than a one in twenty chance of finding work. 15,000 people a month are currently being sanctioned, with the total number of people sanctioned and therefore plunged into dire poverty since the scheme began currently likely to stand at more than 150,000.

Whilst failing providers such as A4e happily sanction people’s £71 or £56 per week JSA, their profits are entirely funded by the taxpayer through their £438 million contract, which they maintain despite being investigated for fraud. The data shows that providers such as A4E, Ingeus, REED, and G4S are more interested in stripping people of benefits than finding people work. There are no jobs, just sanctions.

It is nothing short of scandalous that the employment minister Mark Hoban, and Work Programme providers can blame a weak economy for the scheme’s failure, yet people who are unemployed and sent to A4e, Reed, Ingeus are constantly told as part of their ‘induction’ that the reason they are unemployed is due to personal failure. It has never been clearer that the real reason people are unemployed is that there is a lack of jobs. This is made worse when providers supply employers with unpaid staff, on threat of joining the ranks of the 150,000 people who have faced sanctions.

The Work Programme, like the other 6 workfare schemes, was an economic failure from the start. Workfare was never designed to create jobs, it has never boosted employment anywhere in the world. Workfare was however designed to cut the benefits bill, and to deter people from claiming state support when times are hard. It is also being used to hide the true number of unemployed, as the Office of National Statistics has confirmed.

Workfare also replaces paid jobs. After all with stores like Argos, Superdrug and Shoe Zone to name just a few using workfare to reduce hours and keep costs down instead of providing paid employment, where were all the jobs needed for the Work Programme to succeed going to come from anyway?

Given the misery workfare causes, the role that some charities are playing is shameful. They are directly increasing poverty for the poorest by taking part in workfare and putting people at risk of sanctions. The Salvation Army – a key proponent of workfare – has an annual income of £207,011,000. Yet it is actively increasing poverty for people both in and out of employment by taking part in the government’s workfare schemes.

So the question is why are so many charities who should be opposing poverty taking part in a scheme that is increasing it? Join us to ask them just that, and let them know we won’t be shopping or donating until they pull out, in the upcoming week of action


7 Comments on “The Not-Working Programme”

  1. 1 Had they concentrated said at 11:23 pm on November 28th, 2012:

    Had they concentrated in the last 12 months on getting people into suitable employment half as much as they do on sanctioning vulnerable peoples’ benefits, they’d have got all work programme participants in to employment. xx

  2. 2 christopher baker ( liverpool) said at 2:51 pm on November 29th, 2012:

    the 5 billion pound could av gone on buying people vans and tools etc to start something of their own like me im an unemployed joiner, i go to ingeus and get told im a failure , no im not the workprogramme is a failure, i could work for a few months and pay them back , cunts

  3. 3 The End of Decency: Tories to Make Disabled People Work Unpaid for Their Benefits | Andy Worthington said at 5:47 pm on December 2nd, 2012:

    [...] noteworthy, I thought, are the passages pointing out how the mandatory work programmes are complete failures — successful only in transferring taxpayers’ money to private companies like Emma [...]

  4. 4 From tax dodgers to tax profiteers | York Stop the Cuts said at 2:44 pm on December 9th, 2012:

    [...] help those who’ve been unemployed for a while to get jobs. Sounds good, no? The problem is, it doesn’t work. And what’s more, it’s forced labour. Anyone who refuses to take part in the scheme [...]

  5. 5 2012: A Year of Lies and Blunders at the DWP Part 2 | the void said at 5:39 pm on January 3rd, 2013:

    [...] were finally published.  In a humiliating disaster for the £6 billion scheme it was revealed that the Work Programme was performing worse than doing nothing at all!  Some startling statistics could be pulled from the information, including that for those on [...]

  6. 6 Boycott Workfare » Blog Archive » Two more blows to workfare said at 1:49 pm on February 22nd, 2013:

    [...] (PAC) has released a report on the failing £5 billion Work Programme. The report is based on the disastrous figures released by the DWP in November 2012, which showed just 3.6% of people on the Work Programme finding work, well below the contractual [...]

  7. 7 DWP Plots Workfare For Part Time Workers | the void said at 12:40 am on June 6th, 2013:

    [...] little more than drive people into poverty, and that the payments by results Work Programme model is an unmitigated disaster – is to be completely [...]


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