Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Workfare hammered in the high court

From Boycott Workfare:

Media enquiries: Please contact info@boycottworkfare.org or call 07840 381195. We are happy to provide information, comment and interviews.

Media release – Tuesday 12th February 2013

Back to work schemes quashed in huge victory for ordinary people

Today, the Court of Appeal quashed the government’s workfare schemes, which have seen tens of thousands of people put to work without pay and many more put at risk of destitution through sanctions.
Of the numerous workfare schemes introduced by this government, only Mandatory Work Activity remains lawful. From today, those on the controversial Work Programme, Sector Based Work Academies, Community Action Programme or other workfare schemes may leave without risk of sanction. Sanctions currently in place must immediately be brought to an end.

The viability of the remaining workfare scheme, MWA, is under question due to campaigners’ success in persuading charities and companies to withdraw. A DWP evaluation [4] of Mandatory Work Activity in December 2012 noted that “The high profile withdrawal of placements from a number of larger charities meant a sharp reduction in placements.”
Joanna Long, a member of Boycott Workfare, has said:
“Today’s ruling is a victory of the people against a government which thought it could compel unemployed and sick people to work without pay, backed by a vicious regime of sanctions which made the poorest far poorer.
“We are confident this spells the end for workfare in the UK. The only remaining scheme is wobbling due to public pressure on the charities profiting from free labour. If Iain Duncan Smith attempts to legislate for workfare in future, he should know that we will not allow it. Tens of businesses and charities are already boycotting his schemes, and today’s ruling shows that workfare is not only wrong, it is also unlawful.”
Boycott Workfare’s UK-wide week of action on 18th-24th March will go ahead with the aim of bringing Mandatory Work Activity to an end. The campaign will do all it can to ensure those sanctioned are repaid in the coming weeks.

Notes to editor

Boycott Workfare Media Liaison 07840 381195
[1] See Public Interest Lawyers’ press release here: http://publicinterestlawyers.co.uk/news_details.php?id=298
[2] Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign network 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. We are not affiliated to any political party and are open to all who share our aims. More info: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/
[3] DWP evaluation of Mandatory Work Activity, December 2012: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/report_abstracts/rr_abstracts/rra_823.asp
[4] Workfare doesn’t work: DWP research has repeatedly found that workfare has no impact on job outcomes. In June 2012, peer-reviewed research by the DWP concluded that Mandatory Work Activity had “no impact on the likelihood of being employed compared to non-referrals”: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jun/13/mandatory-work-scheme-government-research
2008 DWP research concluded “it can even reduce job outcomes”: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2007-2008/rrep533.pdf
[5] For more information on workfare schemes and links to key documents, see the Boycott Workfare “The Facts” page: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?page_id=663
[6] This photo of the Boycott Workfare support action at the court on 26 June 2012 is available for use (please credit Boycott Workfare): http://www.boycottworkfare.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/forfacebook.jpg