Government Lies In Response To Workfare Petition

If You Exploit Us We Will Shut You DownAn anti-workfare petition setup on the governments petition site reached 10,000 signatures, meaning that the government has to issue a written response to the petition. Their response begins with a barefaced lie:

We do not have Work for Your Benefit or Workfare schemes in this country. Workfare is an American term used to describe employment programmes which force all jobseekers to work at a certain point of their claim in order to continue to receive benefit

So according to the DWP, Mandatory Work Activity – which if you say no to the “offer” you can have your benefits stopped for up to three years – is not forcing people to work in order to continue to receive benefits. Or maybe it also isn’t workfare when on your first day of signing on your are forced to work for 3 months unpaid or be threatened with up to 3 months of withdrawn benefits?

But we’re dont just take our word that the DWP are lying. Take the DWPs whose own guidance states that:

.. mandatory work programmes, such as the MWA and ESE schemes fall within the
meaning of “Work for your benefit” schemes

It is typical of this government to respond to a petition with a lie, after all they have been lying about benefits all the time, and both Ian Duncan-Smith and the former employment secretary Chris Grayling make a habit of it. Perhaps they think that lying about the existence of unemployed and disabled people being used as forced labour is the only way they can stop protests from bringing down the schemes – this is the reason they gave the information commissioner for refusing to tell us which organisations take part in workfare schemes.

If you thought that this petition would change the governments mind over workfare, it should be clear that it won’t – instead, why not follow the DWPs instructions, and join groups around the UK taking action against the charities and companies that take advantage of free labour from these schemes.
This Saturday sees Bradford Against Workfare demonstrating, meeting at 12noon in Centenary Square. Actions happen every weekend in different places, and there will be a week of action in March.


Comments (6)

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ray darlington

solidarity from gloucestershire socialist party , if you haven't made contact with youth fight for jobs you should concider it,keep the pressure up , ray

Judith Mellor

So stopping your benefit if you refuse to work for no pay is not force, so the guy on the horse with a whip was not forcing slaves to work. Workfare or whatever the Government calls it is slavery pure and simple. It benefits employers who are getting unpaid staff to do a job for free. if the work is there employ someone to do it and pay them a wage.


I think their reply is an attempt to duck the issue by semantics, afterall the Govt have never called it "workfare".

Maybe it's time to change the name of our campaign to something which will be more "public friendly"

"Boycott" sounds very militant & "Workfare" is technically incorrect and most people don't inderstand the term.

Keep up the good work people, but I personally think a more accurate title would help (just a thought)




Any chance this can brought to the attention of the guardian newspaper, channel 4 ,BBC 5 live etc.Its bloody disgusting how politicians are hood winking the general public.The truth should be told and in a big way.

I can think of a few names for those in government, but id better keep that

kris weston

asking our slave masters if they wouldn't mind very much just loosening the chains slightly is always going to go badly. what people have to realise is that appealing to the lower tier below the real masters (ie politicians) is completely useless. they have no power here. it is absolutely paramount people understand history and rise above the left / right paradigm to a true understanding of the nature of our political reality.

Jo Owen

Agree with M's comments above, using the word workfare is playing into the DWP's hands, its an Americanism which has never been used in the UK until now. I also dislike the use of the word 'welfare' to describe benefits - another American term which this government uses in a very derogatory way. Very surprised to see Boycott Workfare using this term. Terminology is important if we are not to alienate the people who are suffering from these policies.