Workfare is already here. Nobody told the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

Boycott Workfare 2Today the Taxpayers’ Alliance has released a bizarre report entitled ‘Work for the Dole’, in which they argue for more austerity and further massive cuts in public spending, calling for people to effectively be made destitute. Overlooking the strange fact that they appear to be arguing the UK at present does not have workfare – when it clearly does– it is a timely reminder of what we are all up against. The Taxpayers’ Alliance call for all sanctions to be even tougher, and as to be expected they blame the unemployed for being unemployed rather than a lack of jobs. Furthermore the report does not advocate job creation, just more workfare and sanctions to be used to deter people from claiming social security.

Unsurprisingly this report ignores the economic reality of the UK employment market, bizarrely claiming that the Government should use workfare to change people’s ‘behaviour’. The report is a classic example of a ‘blind faith based policy’, as opposed to a policy proposal reflecting the UK’s economic, social or political realities. But then it is based on data from American schemes implemented during 1997. That was 16 years ago.The world economy was booming and very different back then. The evidence (ignored by Taxpayers’ Alliance) from existing schemes in the UK is that they simply do not work. The evidence (again ignored by the Taxpayers’ Alliance) from international schemes is that they can in fact harm people’s chances of finding work.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance seem unconcerned about the massive subsidy to the private sector these failing schemes represent. The ‘Welfare to Work’ companies which set up the placements currently pocket over £400 for every month of forced labour – far more than those forced to work receive in social security. The failing Work Programme is costed at £5 billion. That’s before we even consider the subsidy to business that forced labour schemes represent, or the lost taxes from wages that would otherwise have been paid.

Unlike the Taxpayers’ Alliance, who have strong links to the Conservative Party, Boycott Workfare is a real grassroots organisation that is totally independent. Whilst our campaign, your campaign, has won many important victories, there are many more still to be had. Some leaders in the Trade Union movement act as if their families or membership are immune from workfare and welfare reform. They are not. It has been left to all those who support our campaign – you- to provide the ethical, moral and political opposition to workfare. We’re all doing a great job, and should be proud.

This delusional report demonstrates that the workfare lobby is getting desperate. Workfare is a threat to the disabled (ESA), those employed part-time or full-time, the unemployed, organised labour, and to wages in general. Given the nature of what we all face, Boycott Workfare doesn’t pull any punches. Over the coming weeks and months Boycott Workfare will state the facts exactly as they are in relation to workfare and who is pulling their weight against workfare, and who is not. Do the right thing. Do the moral thing. Support us, and support yourselves. Boycott Workfare. Boycott Exploitation.


Comments (10)

Leave a Reply

Karen Coyne

If the figures used are from 1997 how about doing a new survey to update them.
If the DWP programs are not working how about doing something positive and do something to make them work. Personally I agree with making claimants work... it will keep up their work ethic - they may learn something as well.

Russell Bowes

Karen, you won't find many friends here. Just because someone is currently unemployed does NOT mean that they do not have a work ethic. The vast majority of people on benefits would far rather work, be productive, have an income, have some self respect. Many of us are desperate to work. I had someone spit on me recently as I came out of the JobCentre - you really think I enjoyed that?

Neil Layton

@ Karen Coyne. The article above gives links to more recent research showing how workfare doesn't work. DWP-ATOS's own figures show it doesn't work, but the Tories, as usual, would rather ignore this and lie about it, so their corporate chums can make more money.

The DWP-ATOS-Workfare-provider schemes are conceptually flawed. Tinkering with them will not solve the problem. They are a political move, designed to subsidise private companies (from taxes), forcing people to work for free, pushing wages down as the desperate chase jobs, and get votes from the sociopaths who enjoy making others suffer - which, as far as I can see, is anyone who votes, Tory, ConDem, New Tory or UKIP.

Those idiots in work who demand more workfare simply risk their own jobs and push their own pay down, to the benefit of the exploiters.

There is real work to be done, in things like ecological restoration (tree planting and so on) and preparing for the effects of climate change, but such schemes should be voluntary not coerced, and come with a carrot (more social security*) not threats of destitution.

Better yet, we could actually create jobs that would tackle the problem: Unfortunately, the more people in work, the higher wages and the better conditions have to be and, as far as the capitalists are concerned, that would never do.

* On a more general note, I do wish people would stop using the term "welfare". It plays right into the hands of the Tories. Welfare implies something that you don't deserve, that comes with conditions, like colluding with your own exploitation. Alternatively, it's what you give big companies to increase their profits. Benefits are the added extras such as company healthcare that come from working. The money a decent society gives its unemployed, sick, disabled, elderly and so on is not welfare, it is social security. I do wish our side would start using this term.


Many people don't seem to understand that workfare destroys jobs, and that it may be their turn next.

@Karen Coyne - Most unemployed people would be happy to work, they just want to be paid for it, and at least at the minimum wage. How do you make these programs work? Well, firstly you get rid of the current providers, replace the DWP (and staff), and then devise a system that can't be abused or used to replace existing (or potential future) staff. And if you want people to learn something then you send them on schemes where they actually will learn something, and not be used as cheap (free) labour.

Ghost Whistler

The work ethic is an outdated pseudo religious concept used to justify slavery.

If there are jobs to do, and there must be in order for workfare to exist, then why can't these people be paid? Why is that question not being asked?

Why can't the unemployed be offered free university places? There isn't even decent training at the moment beyond a most basic level.

Workfare is the assumed response to this 'crisis' as perceived by the right wing. The TPA are disingenuous and cherry pick the evidence, such as it is, to suit themselves. Do they bother to point out that people claiming JSA already and have always had to justify their efforts to find work or face a sanction? Of course not. So those in favour of workfare always miss the point.

This is the level of bias and ignorance we are facing. Of course workfare won't work, it's self evident. Why would en employer that's content to use this scheme suddenly bother to start hiring people properly? Why wouldn't they just do that to begin with?

It's a nonsense and making work for people to do doesn't address anything. Ciommunity work will still have to be properly resourced and over seen, which, when it comes to equipment, requires training.

How on earth anyone can think this saves money is extraordinary.


The workfare programme actually cost employed staff their jobs so companies could take on the free labour and when the period for each slave expores they get another to replace them and do not give them a job. Someone was actually sanctioned for going to a job interview, they had told both the company and dwp. How is that helping reduce the unemployment. 300,000 jobs have been cut in the police fire, and medical areas in last few years, because of budget cuts. Whilst the MP's get pay rises and everything back through expense claims.

Tax Payer’s Alliance Workfare Plans Are Swivel-Eyed Pie in the Sky | the void

[...] Read the response from Boycott Workfare (which is worth reading) at: [...]

just passing

I see that the TPA's interns were on the lookout for articles like this, desperate to get their responses in first. Where would they be without Michael Shapps' - sorry, Grant Green's - connections to the autotrolling software industry, eh?

Karen, if that's even your name, people with long-term disabilities and illnesses have a work ethic LIKE YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE POSSIBLE. They need it, simply to continue to exist - and it doesn't leave a whole lot of effort over for anything else, especially not participation in forced labour. If you actually had any existence outside an autotrolling program (or the loudest ------- in your local Conservative Club) you might actually have worked this out - but you clearly don't, so listen to people who are wiser and, frankly, better than you are when they talk about theirs.

Now, giving this silly little pamphlet a quick peruse (and what's the betting that a quick Google will unearth a familial connection of some kind between Ms Coyne and its equally inexperienced, morally challenged, and basically not terrifically intelligent author), one thing leaps out at me. ESA claimants are intended to be compelled to do work that they are *physically* able to undertake. Just like that, the entire panoply of mental illnesses and disabilities is dismissed at a stroke; it is clear that the author has reveealed a basic disbelief in even the existence of mental health conditions. No doubt Little Lord No-neck is a fully paid up member of the "just pull yourself together, no moral fibre" brigade - but frankly, such opinions are out on the extremes of the extremes of society nowadays. They wouldn't be worth dignifying with a response, were it not for the alacrity with which today's barmy far right thinktank proposal becomes tomorrow's Conservative Party manifesto commitment. (And even if it's merely clumsy wording, the carelessness of the wording is a reliable barometer of the carelessness of the thought processes behind it.)

I don't think this idiot has thought through what will happen to his millionaire father, and the millionaire fathers of all his mates, if his intention - that those who find themselves momentarily between jobs (or you know, judged by even the hopelessly corrupt and unrealistic DWP to be incapable of work) should be instantly and permanently subjected to the kind of bizarre, twisty minefield of compulsions, regulations and forced hard labour that even Franz Kafka would have rejected as being too ridiculous and depressing to describe, as a punishment for their evident moral turpitude, and if they should prove incapable of jumping through every hoop at which they are thrown, should be cast out on the street with not a penny to their name - should ever be brought to pass. A lot of educated, pissed off people with nothing whatsoever left to lose and a very clear idea who's behind the fate that's befallen them? Oh, no, that's not going to give rise to any societal problem at all, is it? It never has in the past... Perhaps the intention is to follow up this return to the barbarity of the Dark Ages with equally mediaeval approaches to crime and punishment? I have the honour of coming from a town which saw two children (siblings, 11 and 9) hanged, in the 18th century, for the heinous crime of stealing a loaf of bread to sate their hunger. Is this the state of civilisation to which this piteous Fauntleroyan asshat wants to see us regress? Or does he think that those children got off far too lightly?

I'm close to giving up, frankly. That the TPA is taken seriously at all when it produces disgusting rubbish like this; and that the like of Ms Coyne are so desperate to avoid harm themselves that they will scream "Do it to Julia!" as they frantically wag their fingers in the direction of the only people they're sure they can outrun - what clearer indication could there be that we have entered an era where the victory of the forces of evil is absolute? I am not a religious person, but if I were, I would believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that the thousand-year reign of Satan was well underway.

I see the way the world is, and it's not a world I want to live in any more. I didn't want to go through that arch, but here I am; and as instructed, I have abandoned all hope.

Bernard Rentajag

Dear TaxpayersAlliance.

I am currently unemployed, and so am not required to pay any tax (as your website clearly infers that only the employed pay taxes).
Please could you advise me into how to purchase things without paying the tax? Being able to buy petrol without the tax would be wonderful.

I'm also a little confused, as my documents from the DWP state that my JSA counts as taxable income.

Am I taxpayer or not?


Scroungey Doley McScroungerson (the second).


I wonder how many of our multimillionaire political masters would be joyfully singing the praises of the work ethic if they were faced with the prospect of being coerced into slaving for nothing for some rapacious multinational firm?

As for Karen, she might be singing a different tune when she finds her hours being cut or even being replaced by a workfare conscript (which is already happening), courtesy of those nice folks from the DWP.