Tories announce scrapping of non-existent benefits sanctions from work experience scheme.
Following meetings between ministers and employers such as Tesco and Boots, Tory minister Chris Grayling has announced benefit sanctions are to be dropped on the government’s so-called ‘workfare’ scheme, even though they have never actually existed.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said:
As Mr Grayling confirmed yesterday, these sanctions are a myth. And that’s why we have decided to drop them. We have also decided to drop the mandatory part of the non-mandatory work experience scheme and make it entirely voluntary, which of course it always was.
The removal of the sanctions which never existed was a key demand of employers, some of whom said they would withdraw from the scheme unless significant cosmetic changes were made to prevent them being accused of employing young people as slaves when they were employing young people as slaves.
The spokesperson highlighted the employers’ concerns:
Some jobcentre staff may not have been making it clear enough that participation in the scheme is entirely voluntary, the only consequences being that participants could lose their jobseeker’s allowance and starve to death if they refuse. This has now been clarified.
Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, said despite the dropping of the non-existent sanctions, there would still be plenty of sick and disabled people who could be used by employers as slave labour, for example terminally ill cancer patients and the registered blind, all of whom the government would still be pretending will not be forced to work for no wages:
The reality is that under this scheme people are getting useful experience of working as slaves, which let’s face it, is the only realistic prospect of employment they’re going to be seeing in the foreseeable future under this government’s policies.
Katja Hall, the Confederation of British Industry’s chief policy director, also praised the government’s scheme:
Young jobseekers gaining hands-on experience of exploitation in the workplace is vital. But the real advantage of this scheme is that it allows us, as employers, to get the taxpayer to foot the bill for our staff’s wages, which means more dosh for us. So we support it. Obviously.
Related articles by Tom Pride on this subject:
Government To Promote Equal Workplace Opportunities By Allowing The Disabled To Work As Slaves For Tesco’s Too
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