Last year the homelessness charity SHP pulled out of the Government’s Work Programme after warning that people were forced to ‘beg and steal to survive’ due to the vicious sanctions regime. Around half a million benefit claims are sanctioned each year, and under new regulations a sanction can now last up to three years.
Claimants can find benefits stopped for missing a meeting, not applying for enough jobs or failing to attend workfare with charities like YMCA England and the Salvation Army. Claimant’s personal circumstances are often not taken into account leading to tens of thousands of claims wrongly sanctioned and overturned on appeal.
The YMCA’s mealy mouthed response to criticism of their involvement with the Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) scheme has been to focus on the handful of cases where someone says they have had a good experience. They even claim ‘several’ people forced to work unpaid for the charity have eventually found real jobs.
Even if this is the case it grossly misses the point. Whilst forced work is clear exploitation, it is the stories of those unable to, or who refuse to work for free that reveal the true horror of the scheme.
When MWA was first proposed the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) issued a damning report (PDF) and recommended it should not go ahead. The SSAC used to be a panel of experts who scrutinised welfare reforms. Since that report the Government has attempted to staff the committee with chinless think-thank wonders like the Policy Exchange’s Matthew Oakley whose only experience of the benefits system is watching the odd episode of Shameless.
Back when they SSAC had integrity they warned that it would be the most vulnerable claimants who would face sanctions. They warned that ethnic minority claimants and those with a learning difficulty tend to be disproportionately sanctioned. They questioned why if this scheme is supposed to help people it is impossible to volunteer for MWA and concluded it was intended as a means of punishment.
They even suggested that attendance on MWA may hamper people’s chances of gaining employment. As well as limiting the time claimants have to look for work they pointed out that MWA may be confused with community service by employers. As it would turn out the evidence from the scheme has shown it has no impact in helping people find employment.
The SSAC also reported concerns that people with ‘multiple difficulties’ are at greatest risk of sanctions on the scheme saying: “evidence shows that it is precisely those people who, perhaps because they have caring responsibilities or a disability, find it most difficult to meet their obligations in taking part in unpaid work activity.”
These are the type of people that charities like the YMCA and Salvation Army would claim to support, yet they are currently complicit in destroying their lives.
Housing Benefits are often stopped when claims are sanctioned leading to rent arrears. Claimants who are fortunate enough to qualify for hardship payments, and many don’t, receive just £42 a week. When rent shortfalls (due to the Housing Benefit cuts and the upcoming bedroom tax), and basic bills are paid, this leaves many claimants without any money at all left to buy food. Parents are unable to buy even the basics to look after their children. Many of those queuing up at food-banks have fallen victim to sanctions. Hunger, child poverty and homelessness have become the weapons of choice at the DWP.
The YMCA never see or hear of those sanctioned because they didn’t attend workfare in one of their charity shops. They never learn the reasons why. They are hidden from the consequences of their dirty little workfare exploitation and think that this means their hands stay clean.
But whilst they stay involved in Mandatory Work Activity they are every bit as complicit in the tragedies that result from the current brutal system as Iain Duncan Smith himself. They have sold their souls to the devil himself in exchange for a handful of free fake volunteers. Even Judas Iscariot got a better deal.
Join the Rolling Online Picket of YMCA England and let them know what you think.
“Last July, Peter was called into Whitehaven Job Centre to see whether he would be suitable for volunteer work. “I went with him as he was very worried,’’ Christine said. “Physically, his leg was fused and he struggled to move around. He couldn’t properly grip with his hand and was due to have a calliper fitted to his foot. You only had to look at Peter to realise he couldn’t work.
“He was terrified they would stop his money as he had four loans. He couldn’t handle stress and would worry.’’
Peter received the text on the afternoon of November 26. The message didn’t state a date but a subsequent letter was sent days after Peter’s death with an appointment for December 17.
Christine said Peter rang her the day he received the text. He sounded low and told her he was going to bed early. “I didn’t think anything of it,’’ she said. But the next day when she couldn’t contact him, Christine went to his home when she discovered his body.
“He didn’t plan to kill himself,’’ she said. “I believe the text triggered him. It was the fear of what would happen to him. I’ve been unemployed, and he would support me when I felt down.”
Join the National Week of Action Against Workfare beginning on March 18th: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1996
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Iain Duncan Smith has blood on his fucking hands. All those which help his nefarious ways should not only be boycotted, but smashed into oblivion.
“Iain Duncan Smith has blood on his fucking hands.”
And that isn’t just rhetoric. It’s disgusting what’s happening in a so-called civilized country.
It isn’t just blood on IDS’s hands, it’s the whole fucking DWP, never have I felt so bloody angry towards these cunts as I do just now. That poor man in Whitehaven,how desperate did he really feel? What chance did he have? IDS & the all the miserable jobsworths at the DWP should hang their heads in shame – bastards!
I try to avoid swear words whenever possible, but just reading about that case really angered me, the thought that someone could be so distraught about being sanctioned could leave them feeling they had no option but suicide. Really what sort of a country have we become?
No, they should just hang.
And yes it isn’t just IDS. The machines that operate under his orders are as culpable. Wasn’t that the lesson we learned from WW2?
That includes the useless PCS who don’t seem too bothered to stand up for their ‘customers’.
smirking “adviser” says [in German accent]: “I vas vonly following vorders.” *snigger, snigger*, “colleagues” all have a god chuckle!
Thanks (again) for your excellent blog.
I may have missed it, in there (main text overlaps with the sidebar on my laptop) or in the doc itself, but what’s the date of that SSAC report?
was published April 2011
Just a small change of subject has anyone seen the latest Report from The centre for social justice it’s on about Slavery!
Slavery……… This really really is SLAVERY.
When, Oh when will it end 😦
Time to protest.
I feel for the Gentleman who ended hes life and commited suicide.
I too have had similar thoughts, If my income stopped I think I would rather kill myself then brave the streets.
This shits got to stop.
If I were sanctioned and had no money and no help. I would steal food from a supermarket and wait to be taken away to a warm police cell. Then perhaps I might be sent to a warm prison and be fed 3 meals a day and get some relief from the stress of going to the job centre, the work programmes, or any mandatory activities that steals your labour and sells your soul. Sounds blissful in comparison.
I heard of a man on the radio today, with no money – waiting for it to come through after having one benefit taken away and having to claim for another. A man with some disabilities. In this weather he has no money at all. No heating and no food except some biscuits which he is eating every other day. Today is a biscuit day. Very christian IDS? Well I suppose it does remind you of the devil and all his works – did you forget to renounce those Mr Smith?
ffs Jane you really don’t want to go to prison, trust me 🙂
You aint been in a cell have you?
Legal minimum temperature, all part of the “Softening up” process …
I can imagine it would be warmer than being unable to afford heating in the middle of winter where death from hypothermia is a real possibility. Besides if I was left in a position where prison is an option or a real consequence due to the need to commit crimes to survive, I would make it count a lot more than just for shoplifting.
Prison is not like “porridge” with Ronnie Barker. They are brutal, violent frightening places filled with killers, sadists and predators, who set upon their victims in gangs and you are locked up with them all day everyday with nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
Well i have had the pleasure of going to prison seven times (for theft when i used drugs) and i can tell you now that it is very warm, the dinners are quite good and there is no vicious fighting going on all thetime.
It is more like “porridge” than the picture you are painting.
No bills, warm, fed 3 times per day, all cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing done for you.
Freeview, no tv licences (50p per week for your tv) free gym, free toiletries (basic but more than you get outside), pool tables, latest films to watch, education etc, etc.
Why do you think no one cares about going back?
Notice how they all come out looking happy and healthy until they realise how rubbish it is out here so just go back to commiting crime knowing if they don’t get caught they will have money to survive and if they do then the cycle just starts again.
Its a sad fact that Prison is no worse and in a lot of cases better than living on the dole or on minimum wage.
Which prisons gave you the ‘porridge’ treatment bobdoblo? And what has made you stick to life on the outside now?
IDS is the antichrist of revelation
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Here is how one of the Vice Presidents of the YMCA will be spending some of his time this June. Far removed from the life of those forced to work unpaid for his organisation. If you want to see him it will cost you around £1,700.
Or get a job on the ship then pee in his food
‘Jack Dromey, Labour’s Shadow Housing Minister and MP for Birmingham Erdington, said:
“I am proud to be made a Parliamentary Patron of the YMCA which plays an outstanding role in supporting homeless or disadvantaged young people in Birmingham and across Britain.”‘
off topic – more exemptions from the bedroom tax, i.e. servicemen away on duty and foster carers, funny that because both of these categories would have a paid income with which to pay the bedroom tax, it seems they are only charging it to those on low benefits who can’t pay – poorest out first especially anyone sanctioned I bet.
The BBC are out and about promoting the workers and shirkers shit, asking the public in Rochdale if the unemployed should take any job and has the safety net become a comfort blanket ? – it has never been a comfort blanket, ask any MP in years gone by who were televised trying to live on benefits. Funny how they mainly seem to speak to IDS clones who think benefits should be stopped for those who will not take any job, irrespective of whether the job is suitable to the sick and disabled forced onto benefits, most of which are unpaid.
Cameron / Ian D Smith must laugh themselves to sleep every single night. hey probably has a laugh at the ymca for accepting and using workfare which he knows will cause homelessness through jobseekers claiments.
Its Ironic that the ymca are supposed to be helping the homeless yet as already been said a few times, It will make homelesness worse as the forced workers get sanctioned for not attending one day through sickness ect.
I just hope ymca drop the scheme and do the right thing. Im certainly going to Boycott all ymca donations myself, And I encourage freinds and family to do the same untill they drop out.
Community service is a punishment, This punishment is practically the same execpt an extra fear of loosing income element is added.
The mind boggles, How long will they (ymca) keep up their retarded ignorence.
Shame on the Ymca for any families they destroy ( unknowingly aswell due to them not getting some of the forced volunteers as they refuse before they even start ) So they can destroy sombodies income without them even setting foot in the ymca just by being a part of this dreaded, hellish, InHuman scheme. Ignorance & Greed. They should be disgusted 😦
As far as I’m concerned the PCS has blood on its hands as well.
Why there hasn’t been a general strike yet, I don’t know. Obviously these well heeled union orators talk a good game, but that’s about it. If they are looking to Labour for a lead, forget it. Labour support everything this government does – including the bedroom tax.
hear hear ghost whistler. So who who is left to vote for? nobody!
Sombody killed themself because they where going to get sanctioned ? Thats tragic. My freind got a 13 week sanction for refusing to participate on the work programme and they have been really struggling to make ends meet and had to sell their car, they also have a 3 year old son and have asked me for money. I leant them what I could but they still have a month to go and no money. I suppose I can see how frightening it is to be faced with a sanction letter through your post one morning and realising youll have to beg steal and borrow just to live. I dont know how a charity can justify themselves with this . y.m.c.a have lost my faith !
That poor man who killed himself must have been very vulnerable to start off with, how very sad and hes poor wife has lost her soul mate. I hope the y.m.c.a will change their mind and send those unpaid workers home.
Pigs do not grow wings. This is a covert fascist purge.
They’re so sure of themselves that it isn’t even covert any more!
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what has somebody got on ids??
think about it why is he murdering people with such abandon even when his own arguments don’t make sense??
doe’s someone have a video tape on him as he certainly seems compromised and willing to do this very evil bidding??
can we boycot him for this reason??
I’m sure IDS receives news of every death and suicide with the same response.
“Unemployment just fell by one again.”
Seriously, people could engage in mass, organised suicide and he’d still make sure they made it to the positive statistics.
I can’t believe that someone so stupid can be so effectively evil. I’d have thought he’d have found at least one ‘Drink Me’ bottle under the sink by now.
Shame on YWCA and the british evil government. ymca hang your head in shame. you have blood on your hands. and may God forgive you for society wont.
The government want to provoke food riots, that will give them an excuse to bring in curfews and martial law, spy on everyone’s emails, phone calls and texts and lock up any dissenters. The prison population will be rented out as a cheap labour force, just like in America. The unemployed will be forced to work for their money and end up living in squalid, privately owned dole hostels…
The way Amazon were treating their workers in Germany gives us a glimpse of the future. Labour camps run like chinese sweat shops
The neoliberal agenda is that benefits, welfare, trade unions, workers rights, free healthcare and state ownership are ‘anti competitive’ and should be destroyed.
Everything has to be run by private companies for the benefit of the shareholders – and that means that your life will just be another marketable asset – if you’re not a productive unit, then you’re of no value and should be discarded
….Welcome to Hell…
Privately run dole hostels….. run by the fucking Salvation Army/YMCA!
Sieg Heil! Ein Führer!
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