Never Trust A Hippy – The Green Charity With 20,000 Workfare Slaves

ChainGangPhotoThe Conservation Trust for Volunteers (formally BCTV) have been exposed as one of the largest exploiters of unpaid labour.

According to the charity, 20,ooo people unemployed people have been forced to work digging ditches and other physical tasks without pay since 1980 (PDF).  The charity even boast about their relationship with the DWP on their website along with their use of Mandatory Work Activity (MWA).

Mandatory Work Activity is four weeks full time work used as punishment for unemployed people judged not trying hard enough to find work by Jobcentre officials.  CTV claims these people are ‘volunteers’ and they are providing a ‘route into paid employment’.  The evidence shows however that this scheme is useless at actually helping people get a job.

Claimants can only be sentenced to Mandatory Work Activity, it is not possible to volunteer for the scheme.

All those in the green movement who are committed to both environmental sustainability and social justice should immediately boycott these fake fluffy bastards.  And tell them what you think on twitter @tcvtweets and facebook at:

With workfare for sick and disabled claimants to begin on December 3rd – International Disabled People’s Day – many have wondered where all these new placements are set to come from.  The Conservation Volunteers may well be one of the largest users of unpaid forced labour in the UK.  Make it cost them.

Thanks to StokeBloke1972 for pointing this out in the comments

77 responses to “Never Trust A Hippy – The Green Charity With 20,000 Workfare Slaves

  1. Well I asked on Facebook
    Will see what they say

    • So far my question hasn’t been answered.

      As someone with a background in landscape design I am saddened by some of the comments on this blog. Pejorative use of the word Hippy used interchangeably for someone who cares about the environment.

      TBH I would volunteer. However, CTV claim on the PDF they would not use volunteers to replace paid work. I don’t feel very confident that is the case. What is to stop authorities outsourcing to CTV? There is every opportunity that paid work will be replaced by what is essentially forced labour. That this should be forced upon healthy claimants or “customers” as they like to call us, is bad enough. But to force people with health issues to do so goes beyond reprehensible.

      IMHO, and admittedly not having sufficient expertise, I believe that this is not only immoral, but contravenes Human Rights!

      I would love to be able to plant trees, create habitats and improve landscapes for people to enjoy. I studied very hard to be able to do so and also picked up a couple of NVQs in horticulture on the way.
      That itself opened my eyes to the corrupt nature of government sponsorship of training being exploited for personal gain by business.

      I would also love to know, that if I had to be placed on Workunfair what the Frigg will happen after day 2 when my body does like the computer and says NO!
      When, and how,am I supposed to cope with my daily needs that most people take for granted? I would not have the energy to shop, cook even eat. TBH I am struggling with those things now. Today I had to tidy up and go shopping for food. Chances are by Sunday at the latest I will be knackered up.
      I had to cancel my previous doctor’s appointment as I was too unwell to walk to the surgery. I have another appointment for Monday but cannot guarantee I will be able to keep it.

      I am relating this not to garner any sympathy, but in all these discussion I am yet to see anyone mention how work will impinge on the ability to look after oneself. It neatly gets forgotten that people with illness or disability may indeed be able to do some nominal work. But that will mean they will not have the physical resources to do simple tasks to look after themselves as well as do that work
      Complying with Workunfair will make people’s conditions deteriorate.
      They will be worse than when they went on the scheme then threatened further with removal of benefits.

      Again, this is not only immoral but contravenes human rights.
      Having designed a woodland cemetery for my MA degree final project I would like a green burial. Looks like the government want that for me too, but a lot sooner than I intended.

      • There is absolutely nothing wrong at all with people volunteering of their own free will to join the TCV and many retired people may well do volunteering for them. Johnny may well be just trying to put a sense of humour on a very grave situation when he talks about hippies or treehuggers – the fact is that the DWP will be mandating people who may not be fit enough to do hard outdoor physical labour for Groundworks, the TCV or whoever.
        These people will not be volunteering at all – but being given a sentence similar to that of offenders who escape jail sentences for crimes committed.
        Outdoor conservation is hard work, and to start this in December for ESA claimants is a wicked thing to do.

        Volunteering should remain just that – voluntary.

        Unemployment is not a crime and the unemployed should not be treated like criminals by being made to do community service under the threat of having their pittance of a handout taken away.
        If the Govt want people to do groundwork, then they should be allowed to agree to it first and they should be paid the minimum wage for doing the work – that way there would be no way people should complain.

        IDS is tarring all unemployed people with the lazy layabout workshy label and its totally wrong. Workfare is wrong, and now the perfect storm is brewing – rebellion is nigh. People are sick to death of this Govt.

        • I think that you may have missed the main point of my ramble, which is understandable and for which I apologise. Was late and I am heartily sick of all the filth this government suffocates us with. I had just read the Guardian article (cf Paul’s link below) Am so angry

          People are not only sick to death of this government but the government are driving the sick unto death. If I am forced to “volunteer” I am not confident that I will be able to look after myself as the work will make my condition worse. This is always overlooked. I find it difficult to make people understand. Especially in the DWP. Like many I am struggling to cope as it is. Worry about finances won’t make us better.
          Worry about Workunfair or worse having to go on a programme won’t suddenly make us better.
          Make me work today = makes me less able to look after myself + less able to work tomorrow.
          This feedback loop is the reality that a lot of sick and disabled people will face and what for? to reduce the deficit?
          The government believe that is true only if they are deluded.
          If not deluded they are intentionally being cruel
          Either way that is not a fit and proper way for a government to act.

          • It is nigh-on impossible to make the DWP/JCP staff understand because they do (at some level) understand all too well but in order to keep their jobs (!) they have to act as if we are talking gibberish when we raise objections about what is so clearly unfair & wrong.

            Before being on the ‘wrong side of the desk’ at JCP I used to think that I was fairly articulate but now more often feel that I am alone in a foreign country as I sit there listening to what is coming out of their mouths.

            Currently in the process of writing a letter asking for ‘clarification’ and an explanation of changes made verbally (at the drop of a hat) & with which I’m expected to ‘comply’ – or else. At the time of writing my letter I’m around 98% certain that it will make very little (& probably no) difference – they will have weird-and-wonderfully worded ‘answers’ and will carry on with their ‘programme’. Very hard to challenge at an individual level, & that’s if you’re supposedly in good health. They should be stood in court in the way that people accused of war crimes and against humanity were and made to justify their actions (there is no justification) so everything you’ve just said here makes perfect sense.

      • I’ll tell you what, I work out “green spaces” for a living (PAID work – there still is such a thing) and the past few days I have been frozen solid, so cold I have had to put my pen on a string because if I dropped it there was no way I could bend down to pick it up. I have to defrost at the end of the day, my body is in absolute agony. And it is not just the cold we have torrential rain, mudslides and allsorts to contend with. But at least I am well paid for this and can look forward to a few weeks in the sun to recover something someone on £71 a week sure as hell wont be able to afford. Using slave labour in these harsh environments is nothing short of cruel and human. TCV are evil and should be ashamed of themselves. Kudos to Johnny (and StokeBloke1972) for exposing this vile and abhorrent practice.

        • nothing short of cruel and INhumane!

        • Again, I get the impression that I have been misunderstood.
          I am also of the opinion that “volunteers” being forced, and let us not be fooled that threatening to remove the sole means of livelihood is anything other than akin to putting a gun to someone’s head, is morally wrong.
          As I have stated elsewhere I also believe it is possibly contrary to human rights.

          In fact I saw someone also suggesting this but cannot remember where.
          No wonder rightwangers want to opt out of the EU Human Rights legislation.

          • Voice of the Work Programme

            Nobody is being “forced” to sign-on, are they?

          • “Nobody is being “forced” to sign-on, are they?”

            What? No one is forced to sign on for benefits, or for the Workunfair programme?
            Well if you mean the former, that is true but the the alternative is homelessness and starvation. Do you think that is acceptable?

            If you mean the latter, it is a matter of being threatened with removal of benefits. You may think that is a fair choice to offer, and if it is not forcing someone then it is coercion by blackmail. Which is effectively forcing.
            Whichever way I look at it it is immoral and indefensible for a government to treat the citizens, whose well being is entrusted to it, in such a callous and barbarous manner.

  2. Jonny – it was on a tweet that I read from Boycott Workfare – I couldnt believe my eyes when I read that PDF file – I mean, talk about openly admitting you are proud of using workfare!
    I can see us all having to work for someone like them when th CAP is rolled out nationally next year, and the new DOSfYP (Day one Support for young people) trailblazer in London will probably conscript 18-24 year olds to this as well.
    The whole thing stinks to high heaven of exploitation.
    I wonder if TCV worked on the YTS and YOP schemes in the 80’s then?

  3. sounds like it, think thats all there was in the 80s

    • If you remember they used to have The Commuity Programme back in the latter half of the 80’s, that you acually got paid for doing, some paid close to a full working wage.

      • I got £50 p/w on my YOP in 1990 when I was 16, just a fiver less than 18-25 year olds are getting now on workfare

      • It was just as the unemployment offices were closing and the very first Jobcentres were opening.

        • The Community Programme was an idea fostered by the outgoing Labour government in the late 70s that somehow wasn’t scrapped by the Tories… actually, it took a few years for Thatcher’s kind of Toryism to take hold, and they actually played a very softly, soflty approach until their second term. The Community Programme remained until the late 80s but was eventually ‘culled’ as, so the argument went, no training element, i.e. it didn’t equip participants with mickey-mouse NVQs (they are slightly better now, but still way too dumbed down, but in the early days they were just a joke, and didn’t even integrate with the wider European system of acreditation.). But the real reason was that ‘training’ was a better idea, and it was cheaper as instead of getting paid, you got an ‘extra tenner’ on top of your dole for participation. There is no way in the world they’d have gotten away with workfare like they are now, let’s not forget that the Berlin Wall had only just come down and the last thing anyone would have accepted would have been a surveillance society – everyone was aware of the experiences of the people of the German Democratic Republic. Twenty odd years on people have forgotten, attitudes have hardened, and there has been a general move to the right politically. The Community Programme was, in my view a wonderful idea, and could been improved a lot by the addition of a training element, but to do that properly actually costs, and as we all know, the Tories and their friends don’t want to invest in us, all they want is to ‘slash and burn’ and to appropriate as much wealth as they can. The Community Programme schemes I went on paid the same rate as a council manual labourer/agricultural labourer at the time, which was £2.20 an hour. I did 24 hours a week, over I think 4 days. We started early in the morning, but finished at about 2.30 or 3 in the afternoon. Both the schemes I worked on I thouroughly enjoyed, as they were both on archaeological digs. The craic was great, and I met an interesting and quite crazy bunch of people, from all kinds of backgrounds.

          Also in the early 80s there were the Skillcentres which were government run training establishments where you were encouraged to go to reskill. They lasted from six months to a year in duration, and you got a decent training allowance, (when I went on one in 1982 I got £36.70 Training allowance, plus £40 lodging allowance – my rent at the time was around £12 a week, so I was pretty comfortable.

          I don’t quite remember when the Unemployment Benefit Offices and the Jobcentres merged, but it must have been sometime in the late 80s or early 90s. They used to be separate, as did the infamous DHSS, (where you went for Supplementary Benefit if you didn’t qualify for Unemployment Benefit) The offices were far from the plush environment they are now, usually pretty dismal places with lino on the floor, but the staff were usually very helpful and would advise you about what you were entitled to. Jobcentres were a little more plush, and staffed by very dedicated people who were there as a career choice usually. There were a few nasty souls, but most were extremely helpful, and went the extra mile to find you work that suited, or suggested, as they did in my case that I take advantage of the excellent training opportunities available.

          This may all sound like rose coloured spectacles, and looking back it was a different world. It wasn’t perfect, by a long chalk, but society was much more humane at a general level. The consensus was that it was a rule of capitalism that economies fluctuated, and that it was the duty of the people, through the state to smooth those fluctuations , out, to provide for the unemployed, to plan the economy and to help to reskill the people where neccessary.

          That’s what we don’t have today. What we do have is a population that is often lacking the skills that are in demand, even in the midst of this nasty double-dip depression there will be hundreds, if not thousands of jobs unfilled because the skillsets needed do not exist in the UK because of the lack of affordable training. The gross insult these bastards the Tories and their friends come out with is that there is training available, if you pay for it. The truth is that we always paid for it, through our taxes, the better skilled you were the more tax you paid and the better the economy was, if there was demand for the stuff you made. The Oil Crisis of 1973 was a huge whack which we have never really recovered from. Thatcher squandered the North Sea Oil money in paying the bills for welfare in the 80s while she was waging civil war against the unions and dismantling or selling off state industries. Bad though the Thatcher years were in many ways, they were much better than what we are experiencing now. We will win through though. It might take a while, but these idiots in goverment don’t realise that they are digging their own graves. I don’t remember who it was who said, “Sir, I defy you to rouse a man who has a full belly” but the inference is that if that same man is starving it’s quite likely that he will act in a way that suggests he has nothing to lose. Think French Revolution. We know they are already very afraid of civil disorder, hence the draconian crackdown after last year’s riots

  4. hey man, that’s like you know, man like bang like out of order man… hey, it’s a gas…

  5. hey man… wanna buy some shit… ?

  6. My partner, a WRAG victim, just got the threatening DWP missive through the post setting out her potential sanctions should she not comply with her slave master’s directives to participate in the latest expansion of indentured labour.
    My advice? Re-submit a claim for full ESA and go for DLA as well.
    Set about the bastards in the only way we can.
    Because if you take direct action they will cull you from the herd and utterly wreck your life.
    That is how they are getting away with this.
    And fear of them.
    They are winning. They know it.
    We are fucked.
    I plan to die quetly. I’ve had enough.

  7. Let their misdeeds be known, destroy their reputation, and have them crawling on their knees begging for absolution. Then tell them to go burn in hell.

  8. I’m not really surprised, For many years I’ve tended to view BTCV as a bit of a fascist organisation, and I’ve always been more than a little suspicious of most Green organisations – many seem to have more than their fair share of those with an Afrikaaner type mentality. I’ve come accross many like that here in Wales trying to carve themselves a bit of Lebensraum here. Not all are like that, but most seem to be. I shall certainly pass this information around as the BTCV is quite active in Wales. The kind of work they do is good, but it should be paid work, and permanent jobs, not glorified slave labour. Arbeit Macht Frei, eh?

    • That would be about your level considering you have probably contributed very little to society since the day you were born. I know let us all sit around and nothing while the world goes to hell in a hand basket. Try doing something productive instead of complaining all the time.

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  10. Daily Torygraph – Osborne to freeze benefits for jobless – cunt!

    • George Osborne to freeze benefits for jobless

      George Osborne is preparing to unveil a new round of welfare cuts and £3 billion of savings to PFI deals in next week’s Autumn Statement.

      The Chancellor and Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, were last night thought to have agreed to freeze some out-of-work benefit payments next year. The move will not affect pensioners.

      The criteria for new benefit claimants are also expected to be tightened next year.

      The Liberal Democrats have said they will only allow further benefit cuts alongside increases in taxes on the wealthy – which are also now expected to be outlined next week.

      In an article for The Daily Telegraph today, Mr Duncan Smith says the benefit system is stifling “incentive, opportunity and responsibility” – and needs to return to its founding principles of being a safety net for those in need.

      “The British public are clear in their view that the benefits system isn’t working,” Mr Duncan Smith says.

      “We need to restore confidence in the system, so people trust that it will be there when they need it, but that it will not pay for a life on benefits when work is available.”

      Ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement, officials have also scrutinised dozens of PFI deals for hospitals and other taxpayer-funded services and identified about £3 billion that can be cut from the cost.

      The Chancellor will deliver the Autumn Statement on Wednesday and may have to admit that he will not meet one of his “golden rules” – that debt as a proportion of the total economy will be falling by 2015-16.

      He will unveil a multi-billion pound package of cuts – although much of the money will go into schemes to help boost economic growth.

      Government sources said Mr Osborne and Mr Duncan Smith had both argued strongly for a freeze in benefits paid to the unemployed next year.

      George Osborne to freeze benefits for jobless

  11. I was thinking, If you wanted the world to grind to a halt, you couldn’t have devised a better plan than whats happening right now.
    But why would they want do do that?

    There’s something very sinister going on at those G20 meetings.

  12. Ecofascists pure and simple.

  13. I can see a lot of paid council workers and groundworkers who look after the community and open spaces getting sacked soon with all the Tory cuts to councils – you can guess what they will be replaced with, the likes of the TCV workfare slaves.
    The Community Action Programme (similar name to the old Community Program) for the long term unemployed starts next year and I think that the Tories have got us lined up to do all the council’s old paid jobs that they are getting rid of.
    Day one support for young people in london (DOSfYP) already is starting forcing 18-24 year olds to do community work from day 1 of their claims for JSA with loss of benefit for non compliance
    Workfare is getting out of control now – IDS is forcing it one everyone, and the Conservation Volunteers are lapping it up, as of course they get paid by IDS, but the actual workers get JSA only £50 – £70 a week for full time, hard, back breaking ground work.
    Its coming soon >>>>> Unpaid workfare galore.
    People are not protesting enough – but they will be soon, the more people being forced onto workfare the more the anger grows!!
    Sooner rather than later that anger has got to boil over big time – I mean, BIG time!

  14. Its a great plan when you think of it.
    Frighten the workforce to death with the threat of being sacked at any time, so they become immobile with fear, so you can install a replacement workforce with no threat of retaliation.

    The elastic has to snap sometime.

  15. Fascist “housing associations” are big exploiters of slave labour too – another shower of cunts who need exposed.

    • Too true, they are increasingly involved in ‘social engineering’ projects aimed at the creation of a docile populace. The term ‘anti-social’ is an oft used and convenient term used to sanction, or attempt to evict often extremely vulnerable tenants. I have a friend who suffers from periodic bouts of mental illness that can be very disruptive. That friend was immediately deemed ‘anti-social’ as if they were aware of what they were doing. They just would not listen, and did their utmost to twist what I was saying so that it looked like it was me who was threatening my friend’s position. Fortunately I’m not intimidated by idiots like that, and am fortunate enough to know my way around the political system here in Wales, (and know that HAs are terrified of politicians). One six line e-mail from an Assembly Member later, and the situation dramatically changes. Sad to say the HA is still crap when dealing with people who have mental health issues, and our mental health services under the NHS are extremely underfunded, (though better at an operative level than they were, staff much more caring and dedicated, but not enough of them) so the police end up being the first point of call when someone is really at risk – but mostly I have to admit that the police are great in this area when it comes to people with social issues. They may well be complete bastards on some things, but when it comes to vulnerable human beings, they do often show a lot of humanity.

  16. Keep tellin’ yez : welcome to the new serfdom.
    Talk talk talk.
    Nothing happens.
    Work work work.
    Dead dead dead.
    Happyclappin’ Tories.

  17. It’s -10 out here, but 1000s will be out with TCV today and every day reclaiming green spaces!

  18. Pingback: Never Trust A Hippy – The Green Charity With 20,000 Workfare Slaves | Mental Health, Politics and LGBT issues |


    Sick and disabled braced for enforced work-for-benefits programme
    Welfare claimants could be forced to work without pay and be stripped of benefits under scheme starting on Monday

    • Read the Guardian article last night and was both angered and ashamed that this could happen in 21st century Britain
      Now we have a Tory press lauding Comaron as the last freedom fighter or some such bullcrap.
      Well where TF is the freedom of the sick and disabled to not do work that will make their condition deteriorate?

  20. We need a General strike, and not just for a fucking day!

    Its the only language politicians understand.

  21. Go on the young and jobless site and see how they are promoting working for charity throughout the world. I watched a programme on it early this morning.

  22. So whats gonna happen when joe blogs who has a heart condition or cerebral palsy or even someone who is paralyised down one side collapses and ends up in hospital?

    Well, here’s what will happen:

    The firm they have been mandated to WILL be liable for Prosecution and Insurance claims and so will the Private Provider and also the DWP (IDS) for making it mandatory in the first place.

    There will be thousands upon thousands of claims going in every week, if not daily – Solicitors will have a field day, every day.

    • Perhaps a Class Action is a way to go as a way of opposing this?

    • Seems like some new “Regulations” are in order:

      Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme (Work Placement Amendment 2012) Regulations 2012

      Section 1A

      “Jobseekers” (as defined by the Jobseekers Act 1995) participating in “Work Experience” Schemes ( as defined by the Employment, Skills and Enterprise Regulations 2012) are deemed to have indemnified themselves against all liability against Jobcentre Plus, The Department of Work and Pensions, The Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, the placement provisioner and third-party placement provider acting as an Agent of Jobcentre Plus.

  23. Who gets the benefit of these “green spaces” once they are “reclaimed” courtesy of forced labour? The private sector courtesy of their toff chums in government. This is what this is all being “reclaiming green spaces” for which the public will be charged for access. They want our “green spaces”. It fucking stinks!

    • Depends what and where the greenspace is.
      Also depends on what the project is.

      It is worrying that council greenspace maintenance gets shifted out to these organisations. It will be tempting for councils whose budgets are capped to utilise them increasingly

      AFAIK Libraries have been closed down in some places and allowed to reopen if staffed by volunteers.
      It stinks that jobs be lost and people emotionally blackmailed to do the same job for nowt.

  24. The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP – first off – how the hell can you even consider your self Right Honourable anymore?

    Second: The words MP Member of Parliament for you should read – Mandatory Persicutor – YOU REALLY ARE A DISTGUSTING PIECE OF WORK.

  25. Just a thought, does the public liability insurance these charities/companies have to have by law cover workfare slaves? If not, who’s liable should an accident resulting in serious injury occur? Does anyone know?

    • The company you work for is liable under Health and Safety Laws. Just contact a no win no fee solicitor or a union and submit a claim. David Camerloon tried to take on the no win no fee brigade and we said “well come on then we will see you in court” and the chicken backed down and went back to persecuting the weak who don’t have the strength to defend themselves.

  26. Back to The Future with IDS:

    Jacob Rees Mogg….why?

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  28. United StereoTypes of Unemployment (U.S.T.U.)

    United StereoTypes of Unemployment (U.S.T.U.)

  29. Hard manual repetitive labour always has been the preferred method of breaking and killing a person.

  30. You need to be organised to take on any large corporation or government that was what the unions were for before they became corrupted and managed by people with only self interest at heart a bit like some of the charitable organisations currently using forced labour.

    You need a union of the disabled and unemployed donating say 25 pence each a week to take on these idiots in court. Look at when the tories tried to shaft Richard Branson, the government folded in record time. Basically this tory led Gov are like a school ground bully they will only stop when you turn round and kick them in the balls, metaphorically that is:-)

    • Helper – there are unions that take the interests of the unemployed worker seriously. Both the IWW and IWA encourage the unemployed to sign up. They are both democratic unions run for the benefit of their members. Courts may help in some situations, but this government isn’t interested in obeying the law. Only direct action, (no violent) will eventually change things. There are many threads out there working towards the transformation of society, and it’s not ‘You’ but ‘we’ who should be coming together and shaping that.

  31. Well times certainly change! When I was made redundant from a pointless job in the 80s I swore to do something useful from then on, and so joined in with BTCV and other volunteer groups. In THOSE days the DHSS used to try v hard to catch you out and STOP you working for these orgs for free: in fact my benefits were actually suspended for 6 months for doing so! There were a few people there against their will – from NACRO for example – but most were desperate to be doing their bit for the environment. My dearest wish is that I might possibly one day get some real medical treatment to get me well and able to do some excellent hedgelaying, dry stone walling and fencing again. Oh how you are taking your fitness for granted.

  32. The point is you were there as a volunteer, not as forced labour. And the argument still applies, work like that should be paid for, not done by ‘volunteers’ who steal what should be paid work. Fair enough if there is full employment and still a need for people to do this kind of work, but until the amount of work needing to be done exceeds the workers available, then this kind of work should be paid for.

    • What do you think the V in BTCV stands for? There is only a BTCV BECAUSE nobody was able to pay to have conservation work done back in the 80s, and probably more so now.

      Which, in my mind, is a great relief because when the ‘professionals’ are let loose they generally go mad with chainsaws and other power tools, and trash the places they are supposed to be conserving. Nothing is worse for the environment that grand, expensive, ‘improvement’ schemes.

      Actually, some things are nearly as bad, and one of those is forced work – as with the NACRO teams I mentioned. ‘Conservation’ workers who are not ‘hippies’ who’s soul is in it, can and do, quickly do irreparable damage: so no way should there be ANY coercion into conservation work.

      In my day, conservation volunteers were just that; the positions were almost fought over, and once, we even had two rival teams show up to rebuild the same small wall! And, yes, many people actually PAID to volunteer on BTCV holidays. And also, yes, the keenest of those volunteers did go on to get paid positions in conservation charities.

      I hated my wage slave job and was glad to be made redundant so that I could become eligible for a much more interesting Manpower Services Commission sponsored job, and do my bit for the environment. I learned a HUGE amount by doing so, and had the time of my life. It is an absolute tragedy that successive governments have continuously destroyed the planning system’s previous protection for the environment and undone all the good work we tried to do in the 70s and 80s.

      Yes, there were a lot more idealists around in the 70s and 80s, but the facts remain the same: work that no-one will pay for, doesn’t get done, and so volunteers are needed. The way to give this a chance, is not ‘Workfair’, but a social wage for all, to free us from wage slavery and allow us to apply our minds and bodies to work that really needs doing, and really benefits society.

      As an ME sufferer I am shit scared of the DWP and ATOS, and am fully expecting to be struck off my benefits eventually. I am no longer capable of the work I loved, but I haven’t lost my ideals. That looks increasingly like it may cost me – what’s left of – my life.

      • Join the club
        Worked very hard to get my masters degree in Landscape Design, only to be denied moving on to fully practising by ME
        It is really hard getting people to understand how it affects one’s life. I really feel for you.
        I am so angry atm and like you scared of what might happen.

  33. I see TCV has issued an updated statement on its involvement in the Work Programme (3rd December). There is talk of a “green dividend” and how they are “determined to help people”. They seem also to possess some medical expertise and “always undertake a full health assessment of each individual”. No mention of the ethics of using forced unpaid labour.

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  35. chibipaul said: There is every opportunity that paid work will be replaced by what is essentially forced labour. That this should be forced upon healthy claimants or “customers” as they like to call us, is bad enough. But to force people with health issues to do so goes beyond reprehensible.
    IMHO, and admittedly not having sufficient expertise, I believe that this is not only immoral, but contravenes Human Rights!

    What’s forced upon non-disabled claimants also contravenes human rights; namely, Article 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998. Oh, and Section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

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