Beginning in April next year thousands of unemployed people will be forced into six month workfare placements with charities or community organisations. The scheme is a huge roll out of mandatory workfare and depends on the so-called voluntary sector playing ball to be successful.
Volunteer Centre Liverpool’s re-assuring statement this week pledges they will not take part in Osborne’s workfare and encourages others to think carefully about any possible involvement in workfare. As they rightly point out, forced work, under threat of destitution, is not volunteering:
“There has been a lot of talk recently about the latest scheme to help people who are unemployed, with mention of “compulsory volunteering” as part of the “Help to Work” programme. DWP do not refer to it as volunteering, but others are starting to, which is muddying the waters. These “Community Work Placements” are NOT volunteering, as people are not freely choosing to participate in them, but rather will be faced with benefits sanctions if they do not engage in the compulsory placements.
The part of this which does have an element of freedom of choice is voluntary sector organisations’ decisions on whether or not to be involved in this scheme, as providers of “placements”.
Volunteer Centre Liverpool will NOT be having anything to do with this scheme”
The full statement can be found on their website. Volunteer Centre Liverpool are on twitter @VCLiverpool and have a facebook page. In a change to the usual format why not contact them and wish them a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year.
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