Number of People on Workfare Hits Record High

WorkFare-not-workingYesterday’s unemployment figures reveal that more people are working unpaid than at any point in the last 15 years.

According to the Labour Market Statistics, the number of people on “government supported training and employment programmes classified as being in employment” rose by 8,000 to reach 168,000.

These all are people on some form of workfare.  It does not include people on other Jobcentre training schemes such as the Work Programme, unless they have been sent to work without pay.

This is the highest number of people in unpaid work since 1998, when Tony Blair squandered billions on the New Deal, a mass workfare scheme for the young that had barely any impact on whether people found a job.  Unlike the current workfare placements however, those on the New Deal could work towards an NVQ and were also paid a training allowance or a subsidised wage*.  On today’s workfare schemes participants are lucky if they get travel expenses and in most cases the training given is non-existent.

Prior to Blair’s New Deal there was no such thing as mandatory workfare, bar a small experiment in the dying days of John Major’s Government.  Now almost all unpaid work can be considered mandatory such is the toxic regime in Jobcentres where claimants can have benefits removed seemingly on a whim by advisors.

Yesterday’s employment figures also showed another leap in the number of people who are self-employed and who now represent almost a sixth of the workforce.  It is not clear how many of this group are actually making any money. Neither is it clear how many people are on zero-hour contracts masking the true nature of unemployment in the UK.

One thing is sure, which is that the number of people who are poor remains at record levels.  Despite claims of a million new jobs since this Government weren’t elected, the number of people claiming Housing Benefits are at record levels.  The only criteria for claiming Housing Benefit is income and assets – meaning it is a good measure of how many people are poor, even if they have a job.  The latest figures show that in May 2013 the number of Housing Benefits claimants stood at 5,072,264 which is just below February’s all time high of  5,078,523.  This represents a jump of around 300,000 people since May 2010.

So whilst more people might be working, there are still more poor people than ever before.  As wages stagnate and the use of workfare escalates, people as a whole are doing more work for less money.  To the braying toffs in charge this represents a huge success.

To join the fightback against forced unpaid work visit:

*This is not a defence of the New Deal.  The New Deal was shit.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

62 responses to “Number of People on Workfare Hits Record High

  1. 168,000 people desperately waiting for the Political Party that says NO MORE WORKFARE!

    • overburdenddonkey

      well the green party do reject workfare…

      • If every single person wrote to their local MP that avalanche of mail could not be dismissed with a smirk or too busy status, it would sow seeds in their minds and that is what it’s all about.. even if it seems pointless, for an email or price of a stamp for a letter.. surely it has to be worth it just to drop a mind-bomb. A letter containing all that is wrong and how it affects them and what should be expected from their MP as worthy… that is of course if you happens to live in Chingford and two other constituencies.

    • Sadly it isn’t Labour 😦

      • Landless Peasant

        I recently contacted Labour to ask if they plan to abolish Benefit sanctions, saying that my vote depended on it, but I never received a response so fuck them. I’ll be voting Green.

        • So you want a country covered in solar panels, and wind-turbines the length and breadth of our green and pleasant land do you?, peppering our oceans, has anyone ever considered the impossible reality of the Green Party if it was ever likely they got in… even at the very least in a coalition?… fact is green energy is just another word for corruption, on paper it looks wonderful but in reality it’s just another means for self-serving greed to have it’s way at a time when this country cannot seemingly even feed it’s poor. Many people mistakenly think that green energy will lower their fuel bills, anyone can be forgiven for thinking this but the reality is you would not benefit to the levels that would make a difference and that is the stark reality of it all.

          A large percentage of recycling still ends up in landfill, albeit not in this country but the less said of that the better, because it completely destroys the fact large parts of the country are avid recyclers yet others just dump it all and don’t give a damn… yes it is a conscience thing but ultimately it is rather like a piddle in the ocean… in reality it has to be everyone and hopefully global or nobody… else it’s like pulling in opposite directions, rather like trying to paint a house white during heavy winds in autumn. At the end of the day nothing has been thought out properly regarding sustainable energy sources that are economical and in quantity without creating other problems… that is partly why there is in the 21st century and yes under a Tory government the risk of power cuts looming, the days of candles, oil lamps and car lights on cables hooked up to 12 volt batteries were thought to be a thing of the past as they close down power plants without replacement options… another example of the idiocy of this coalition.

  2. Carls Dickinson

    Exploitation to the maximum.I just really hope that those gainfully employed or just eking a hand to mouth or on the other hand a salubrious existence become acutely aware that a fine line often exists between having a living wage and not. The precipice is indeed thin. One can be sacked, become infirmed, disabled or whatever within the blink of an eye. Not good to be complacent or judgemental when far removed, pedestrian, and bogged down with one’s own ids. The insular ‘I’m alright Jack’ bubble is self I delusionary, tenuous and frail. Why can’t they see this and come on board the fight?

  3. Are people on workfare still counted as being unemployed? Or do they drop out of the count for the duration? Could the fall reported in unemployment be due, in part, to people going onto workfare?

    • It depends on who’s doing the counting, and what’s being counted, I know at least one set of stats only counts those receiving jobseekers allowance, which is easily reduced by handing out sanctions and other bullshit measures.

    • no, people on workfare are counted as employed. there are two main unemployment figures, the one taken from the labour force survey, and the claimant count – which is the number of people on Jobseekers Allowance. The figure which is usually reported is the number from the survey which is higher as it includes people who don’t qualify for JSA due to a working partner, savings, redundancy insurance etc. People on workfare in this figure are counted as employed, although they may still appear on the claimant count. Not everyone on workfare will appear in the claimant count, such as people on traineeships or other schemes, but everyone on JSA will be whatever they are doing. The small number of people claiming Universal Credit are not yet included in the Claimant Count which will also skew the figures, although not by much.

      People who are sanctioned will appear in the claimant count as long as they maintain their claim throughout the sanction, carry on signing, carrying out work related activity etc – lots of people dont do this. People sanctioned may or may not appear in the Labour Force Survey figures, depending on how they answered the question of whether they have looked for work in the last four weeks.

      People who have had JSA disallowed, because the Jobcentre decides they left a job voluntarily or were sacked for misconduct, or because they cant or wont agree to carry out sufficient Work Related Activity are not included in the claimant count. The number of disallowances is believed to be rising (the DWP are dragging their feet on providing the stats) so this would also artificially reduce the claimant count.

      Hope that all makes sense 🙂

      • “People who are sanctioned will appear in the claimant count as long as they maintain their claim throughout the sanction, carry on signing,”

        IDS would VERY much like people that will not sign on when sanctioned, they may well not be so quick to sanctioned someone a second time if they know that person will still be signing on even if they are sanctioned, they will target people that they know will not sign on if sanctioned ?.

        Keeping the claimant count down is one of the reason’s they brought in sanction’s in the first place!.

      • Cheers!

        So workfare could make it look as if unemployment had fallen big-time even though the claimant count wouldn’t fall much or not fall at all.

        Shouldn’t there be a breakdown on a quarterly basis showing how many people were unemployed (but not receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance), how many people were on workfare (and not counted as unemployed), how many people had moved into full-time work and how many into part-time work, how many had been sanctioned (and were not counted an unemployed), and how many had been transferred to another benefit and were no longer considered as unemployed.

        As things stand the unemployment figures don’t tell us everything.

        The falls in unemployment and claimant count could both be artificially exaggerated by including people who hadn’t gone into gainful employment but had still been removed from the headline figures.

        This is a very bent way of counting unemployment rates statistically.

        • Ballbag, to say that the unemployment figures don’t tell us everything is the most enormous of understatements. They are complete and utter bollocks, as anyone who has been unfortunate enough to lose their job will have readily discovered. It is virtually impossible to find out the true figure but I think it’s a reasonable estimate that it’s about twice the amount that’s spouted in the utter bullshit which we are fed.

      • JV

        When your benefit is sanctioned and you have zilch income where do you get fares to job centres to sign on, where do you get money for using computer to job search in local library, where do you get money to feed yourself(because only the deserving poor get invited to food banks)
        so that you are not too weak to job search – be realistic!

        • something survived...

          When too weak to jobsearch you then become ineligible to apply for JSA without committing fraud. Of course you can’t get ESA, DLA/PIP or UC either. They’ll perhaps reintroduce the ‘Death Benefit’, but this one will be in the form of a rope to hang yourself.

          ‘Useless, worthless scrounging scum. You are better off dead. Save our bullets, and go kill yourselves. This has been a party political broadcast on behalf of the Conservative Party.’

          Or as Steve Bell (‘If…’) put it in the 1980’s:
          “Drop dead, bury yourself, then fill in forms DD—— and BY……..”

          Actually they wouldn’t, because most of us can come up with a more, let’s say extroverted, way of using those ropes.

          But not on Eric Pickles. It has no neck.

  4. Auntie Beeb predictably takes the fall in unemployment figures at face value without ever (at least while I’ve been listening/watching their output) questioning their veracity – or, more importantly, commenting on the vast numbers now being sanctioned or conscripted onto bogus “training” schemes in order to fraudulently manipulate the true figures.

    But then it is the state broadcaster, so what can you expect?

    • The Beeb are relatively biased which is no surprise, they try to present an illusion they are not but we know.. for example look at that sham called Question Time.. with David Dimbleby.. he always gives the Tories the greater rub of the green during debates.. so obvious and if you do a bit of digging about dimbleby you will soon learn why. They should remove him and get a neutral person to present and chair that show. Does ATOS still run the I.T Department at the BBC?… that’s what they need to stick to.

  5. i would like it to be know when you apply for pension credit i was under the impression that they discard DLA but they take that as part of an income coming in to the house the reason i know because i was told by the pension service.Can someone tell me is this right please. because all my DLA is being spent on utility,s mortgage and food and my husband gets 10p of pension credit

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  7. People sentenced by the courts as punishment are doing less hours forced free labour then people on DWP programmes. On top of that if they don’t comply with their sentence and don’t do the hours their benefits arn’t sanctioned so don’t risk starvation or eviction. In fact if sent to prison for not doing their unpaid labour they can get their rent covered for 13 weeks. I doubt if many go to prison for longer then that for not carrying out their unpaid work.
    It must be a reasonable arguement then to say that being unemployed means that you are treated worse then a criminal, and punished far more harshly by the DWP for being unemployed, then the Courts punish those brought before them for criminal offences.

    • Big Beans, yes it is indeed a reasonable argument. Furthermore, it is the truth!

      • Nor can you get legal aid to fight the dwp when sanctioned, but if you have committed a crime, legal aid is thrown at you by the criminal justice system.

        • When all this started there was the obvious belief that people when desperate and in need will resort to crime in order to feed their families, and that has nothing to do with being a scrounger or not wanting to work, many had jobs until they were made unemployed by this coalition and they are then punished for that very fact. Single people could potentially have a better life in prison with more legal support than in the dystopian desert better known has being a law abiding citizen of this country who shuts up and looks straight ahead and asks no questions whilst paying tax in a job they may not have tomorrow.

          • something survived...

            They like prisons because it means looking tough (they being the government), and employing all the prison guards and other staff. And fiddling the unemployment figures. And providing corrupt guards with 24 hour sex opportunities with unconsenting prisoners.

  8. Anyone taking bets on when IDS will croak? He is 59 now – I wonder if Ladbrookes will give good odds!

    • Old soldiers never die, they just fade away…

      • Old soldiers never die… young one’s do it for them… and we know who many of those old soldiers are don’t we?.. men well back from the frontline highly decorated with blood on their hands and a title for their failures.

    • I was wondering if Ladbrookes would take bets on whether he dies of natural causes before he is assassinated! I’m bloody amazed that he hasn’t been, btw!

      • letzgo wrecking

        I’m sure there are lots of people who would love to assassinate IDS; however, as he’s a cabinet minister, he’s got wall-to-wall security. Nice thought, though. Seeing him being lowered into the ground; every jobseeker’s wet-dream, for sure!

        • Did you know that any govt. minister who puts foreward a policy, and it then gets approved, then passed into law, can’t be held accountable for his policy whilst he is a minister in power, (i.e. any minister currently in the unelected coalition).

          This stupid law needs to be reformed the moment Labour take power in 2015.

    • The devil looks after his own!

      • Religion tells us all theres a god and a devil, did you know religion is the biggest con ever, if anyone can justify religion then show me god or show me the devil, all I will say on this is there is good and evil in everyone.

        It’s up to the individual which one comes out on top, in Iain Duncan Smith’s case it’s (in his perverted eyes) evil masqurading as good, in other words the dumb deluded fuck thinks by screwing the unemployed (2% of the entire wefare budget) he can secure his lordship in the House of Lords?

        Ask Cameron, Oswank and IDS (McVey’s new lord and master) to tackle the real issue of how much it costs the taxpayer – 50% of the bloody welfare costs go to the Pensioners – ask him to cut just the bus passes for anyone over 65 – watch how fast the grey haired vote turns against them.

        • I do have sympathy for our elderly… seriously.. if we are lucky to be alive by that age we shall be them!… don’t forget your parents too… remember many fought for this country when there was something worth fighting for, today that evil in a different flavour exists and is running the country,

          Let us not forget, this country is made up of many different nationalities and many immigrants.. I ask if this country had to face a clear threat to it’s sovereignty how many would stand up and be counted?.. or would many bitch out and return to their original countries of origin?.

          Going back to the elderly there are a very large percentage who are quite wealthy and maybe things like TV Licenses and such should be means tested fairly. If they treated the true mentally and physically disabled with such compassion we might actually have some humanity to grasp and find some hope, because without hope there is nothing left.

          • “Let us not forget, this country is made up of many different nationalities and many immigrants.. I ask if this country had to face a clear threat to it’s sovereignty how many would stand up and be counted?.. or would many bitch out and return to their original countries of origin?”

            Why do you say this / ask?

      • Even the devil wants a word with IDS, and I don’t think it’s to share a cigar and family photographs.

        • something survived...

          IDS is 59. That, according to DWP, means it’s a perfectly fine age to be out lifting wheelie bins all night and morning. Or hod carrying. I think he should get a 60th birthday present from a grateful nation. A nice letter from the government informing him that now he is 60, they have thoughtfully decided to extend his working life by 20 years. And no boring office job for him. No, they’ve lined up a range of monotonous, backbreaking jobs, to last for a glorious two decades. Each will be more onerous than the last. These are of course unpaid posts, which he will perform in exchange for his pension and oxygen. On his 80th birthday he will be told that his pension was abolished 30 years ago, and he will be thrown under a bridge and left to die.

          “They’re your policies. We figured you’d love them.”

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  10. Reblogged on Unemployed In Tyne & Wear

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  12. Rosemarie Harris

    59 bloody hell i thought he was at least into his middle 60’s, that might explain why they have put that other mouth piece in that horrible sounding Mc vey (I think that’s her name) I had to listen to her on the Radio only this week going on about how neighbour looks after Neighbour she was trying to justify the amount of food banks that were being used. She is worse then IDS in many ways and that is why she has been giving interviews to do!
    Lets keep up the pressure on him.

  13. joshuachristian19691

    Reblogged this on THE SIEGE OF BRITAIN and commented:
    Workfare has never worked. Been there, done that in 2010 when it was Flexible New Deal . Didn’t get anywhere there and won’t get anywhere now.

  14. Well there is always something to cheer the plebs up.
    ‘The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are about to move into their new home in Kensington Palace …’as workmen put the finishing touches to the £1.5 million overhaul, the couple are returning to London to start family life in their first “proper” home.’

  15. According to prince Charles if something doesn’t change both his family and our family will have no future – yeah right.

  16. Pingback: Number of People on Workfare Hits Record High | Bristol Anarchist Federation

  17. Pingback: The Humiliating Failure of the Week of Workfare | the void

  18. If it wasn’t for subsidy’s given to employers, half the fucking country would be signing on.
    Its been going on since the 70s.
    Anyone remember FIS? (Family Income Supplement)

    They’re frightened to let the country know the truth.

  19. Pingback: 27th November 2013 | The Daily Cameron

  20. Pingback: Government policies of deceit. | Social Action

  21. sadly there is a great deal of apathy that leads to entropy,many are just lazy of mind apathetic,lethargic,dont care, give a damn, a perfunctory glance at history attests to the fact that people will tolerate adapt to what is sufferable,and that even when things become insufferable people are still hesitant reluctant to take action to change,. all this attests to the power of a system to distract to keep the rabble in line,,classic divide and conquer, where many of the working class in britain agree with the cuts, bedroom tax assault on the poor,.alas accept the ideas of ruling elites espousing the “something for nothing culture,tv porn documentaries demonising the poor as feckless and fecund etc. “when the poor chase the poor across mountain and moor,the rich man can keep them in chains”

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