Today was a sad day for anyone hoping that a change of government might revive a commitment to social justice, and do away with workfare. Instead Liam Byrne announced that Labour would continue to cut welfare on top of the further £10 billion cuts the coalition government plans to make by 2016.
With 2.6 million unemployed, all at risk of being forced to work unpaid on one of the many workfare schemes, basic economics tell us that workfare will continue to force wages down and increase poverty for everyone. Even those in work will continue to see their living standards decline. When Universal Credit is introduced, its regime of conditionality could see people who are in part-time work forced to work unpaid to claim their existing welfare top-up payments.
All three main political parties have sent out a clear message: if you are claiming any kind of welfare, whether you are in work, or out of work, not to mention if you are carrying out forced unpaid work for Poundland (whose profits are up following their use of workfare) then too bad.
They would like you to think that you are on your own and that there is nothing you can do. They are wrong. You have rights. Boycott Workfare was started by people like you, people who have worked and paid taxes who were fed up of being blamed for being unemployed and blamed for an economy that is not working, and forced to work unpaid. You are not alone, and together we can make a difference.
Since the campaign started – with your help and support – it has had many successes, with big name businesses such as HMV, Pizza Hut and charities pulling out. Around the country people are beginning to feel the impact that a workforce of 2.6 million people working for no wages could have on their jobs. We do not need Labour, Tory or Lib Dem when we have each other. There are more successes to come: after all big things have small beginnings.