Universal Credit’s Attack On Volunteers

When the workfare row broke out earlier in the year Employment Minister Chris Grayling insisted that this form of ‘work experience’ was vital to helping unemployed people find work.  Only last week the Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) scheme was extended, meaning tens of thousands more people will be sent to work full time for charities for no pay.

Ministers have fallen over themselves to sing the praises of voluntary work, claiming this wasn’t allowed under the last Government.  That was a lie, but under new rules, full time volunteering will no longer be allowed under this Government.

The recently published draft regulations for Universal Credit state that volunteering will now only be permitted for 17 hours a week.  Unless of course you are sent on Mandatory Work Activity, in which case you will be compelled, under threat of sanctions, to volunteer for 30 hours a week.

This reveals the truth about MWA.  It is intended simply as a punishment aimed at those deemed to be not trying hard enough to find work.  A crude form of Community Service which claimants can be sentenced to on the whims of Jobcentre staff.  The evidence suggests it is useless in helping people to find a job.  The new Universal Credit regulations shows that was never its intention.  This Government don’t want people to volunteer full time.  Unless they tell them to.

Somewhat ironically, you can’t actually volunteer for the volunteering ‘opportunities’ on the MWA scheme.  It can only be handed out as a sentence, perhaps because you were volunteering too much somewhere else.

It seems possible that this move is intended to bolster support for the Government’s workfare schemes.  With several charities having rejected forced labour, it will now be impossible for them to source full time volunteers unless they use one of the Government’s mandatory schemes.  Instead of motivated and keen volunteers who want to work for them, they will be sent volunteers by welfare to work companies who are under threat of benefit sanctions for non-attendance.

And of course those same welfare to work companies will be handed a lucrative payment from the Government for everyone they send.

The latest draft regulations for Universal Credit read like a public school sixth form project on how to keep the proles in line.  It is not just volunteers and the charities who depend on them who will suffer. It gets much worse.  I’ll be highlighting just how over the next few days.

They can be read at: http://ssac.independent.gov.uk/consult.shtml

How Universal Credit Will Split Up Families

20 responses to “Universal Credit’s Attack On Volunteers

  1. The system is broken

    ‘A crude form of Community Service which claimants can be sentenced to on the whims of Jobcentre staff.’ One of the most worrying things if you are a service user, the staff are uneducated, untrained and the majority will not be there in 6 months! No one is accountable, or even in a position to do the job. Example – I needed to speak to the manager of the local job centre who was not in that day, working monday to friday and in her first week of the job you wouldn’t think she would need a day off but anyway, I was advised to call another office and speak to the manager there, which I did who said and I quote ‘I can’t actually look into your claim because I don’t have a log in for the computer system’ Me: Oh ok. ‘I am sorry but I only started last Monday’ Thats 8 days without being able to use the computer system!! What are they thinking? How much is a manager being paid? Common sense? again….NONE!

  2. From the New Internationalist Magazine, an interesting and worrying article about how the talons of Workfare spread throughout many countries. An extract:

    One of the similarities between these countries’ workfare schemes is that the transnational companies directly profiting from them share a business model which depends on acquiring public funds from government contracts. US-owned Maximus boasts that its clients include government agencies throughout Australia, the US, Britain, Canada and Israel. A4e, which, along with other British providers, is currently being investigated for fraud, has contracts in Australia, South Africa, Germany, Poland and France.
    http://www.newint.org/features/2012/06/01/workfare-welfare-forced-employment/

  3. Eric Greenwood

    http://www.urban75.net/forums/threads/work-programme-employment-agency-advice.294931/ Just found this.. this is very scary if true.. They are saying to commit fraud. I quote “had talked to several other people and they had told me that the agency pressurizes you into becoming “self-employed” explaining that you can still claim some of your benefits and as self employed you will get just over £50 work tax credit each week. The consultants go on to say that this is only £20 less than your weekly JSA, so in effect you can sign off as unemployed, get a UTR number from HMRC and be classified as self employed. Your working tax credit will be back dated and you only have to find 3-4 hours of work each week to make up the difference. The thing I have found is that with me , and I know that the same applies to others with me on the WP, is that they have been forced to become self-employed or threatened to be made to do cleaning jobs ( an unemployed postgrad scientist was threatened with this). The agency have a lot of people over a barrel. Get self employed, lie to HMRC about how much you earn / hours you work, even if you are not working / earning any money; if you do not like this option we will force you to do any job we care. I know a lot of people who did not want to go self employed but were pressurized into doing this. They now have to look for work to top up their £50 working tax credit, and some a forced to do anything that comes, whilst the WP employment agency gets their rewards from DWP.”

    • Yes, this is surely fraud? The person goes on to say their advisor was from the company Maximus (US-owned, according to the New Internationalist article mentioned earlier), and this advisor was an ex-A4E employee!

      • Yes this does not surprise me.

        They told them to reduce the figures for people unemployed, so they are reducing the figures.

  4. Ian Duncan Smith is a Cunt

    Fuck this Nazi bastard!

  5. Eric Greenwood

    Almost 7 million working-age adults are living in extreme financial stress, one small push from penury, despite being in employment and largely independent of state support, according to the most comprehensive study of the finances of employed households, commissioned by the Guardian.

    Unlike the “squeezed middle”, these 3.6m British households have little or no savings, nor equity in their homes, and struggle at the end of each month to feed themselves and their children adequately. They say they are unable to cope on their current incomes and have no assets to fall back on, leaving them vulnerable to something as simple as an unexpectedly large fuel bill.

    The findings challenge the argument made by the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, who last week said parents should get a job to ensure their children are not brought up in poverty.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jun/18/working-britons-one-push-from-penury?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038 So they are cutting more and more things pushing more and more people into poverty.. but they changed the rules.. about who is in poverty

  6. its all these schemes and benefit rules have been to punish people,often those involved in running these schemes have no clue,once being told volunteering is part of the course and no need to inform the job centre,then the job centre saying it has to be declared.

    earlier on new deal,i dont like the idea of being forced to wear a volunteers badge when i am not there from choice,i still have mine despite being bullied and told if i walk off my benefits would be stopped,those on community service and the then new deal were treated very differently from true volunteers.

  7. Eric Greenwood

    The number of households in the constituency (Oldham East and Saddleworth) where no one has ever worked rose from 3,038 in April 2011 to 3,423 in April 2012.

    Across the country, in the last quarter of 2011, there were 291,000 households in which no one had ever worked – a rise of over 7% on the year before.

    Debbie said: “One year after the Government’s Work Programme started we’ve seen the number of workless households in Oldham East and Saddleworth go up by over 12%.

    “Now we learn the number of households across the country, where no one has ever worked, has hit an all time high. It’s fresh proof that the Government’s welfare to work reforms are failing.

    “The House of Commons library figures reveal the government is spending an extra £9 billion on dole payments and housing benefits. Now we know why. The number of workless households is going through the roof

    http://www.saddleworthnews.com/?p=13013

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  9. …and yet today we’re told the unemployment figures are down, and yesterday that inflation has fallen- ALL THE FIGURES ARE FIDDLED! It’s all a bloody racket- A friend of mine who works for a charity for the young homeless had a client, who, when she asked for an emergency loan, so that she could urgently pay a utility bill, was told by the DSS to use ‘Wonga’ or any of the other disgusting payday loan companies advertising on TV- In debt? Just take out a loan for 2-4000% interest! Bastards- needless to say, Wonga is owned by a Tory donor, Adrian Beecroft- the same millionaire who wanted to make it easier to sack people in his report to the Tories on employment reform! Laughing all the way to the bank.

    • And the money this wonga cunt loans out at extortionate interest is handed to him for nothing as part of the bank of england’s money-printing scam. These cunts are all in it together

    • These bastards will keep driving the cost of living up, until people have no choice but to borrow from places like Wonga just to keep a roof over their heads and food in their tummy. The victims will be kept in debt bondage permanently, so that people like Beecroft can buy another mansion he doesn’t need.

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