Disability Works UK have admitted their role in workfare and benefit sanctions in a mealy mouthed statement on their website.
The consortium of charities was established to maximise income from the Government’s Work Programme scheme and includes households names such as SCOPE, Mind, Mencap and Leonard Chesire Disability.
They claim that they are not involved in the workfare scheme, yet go on to admit that they have a number of sub-contracts to deliver the Work Programme. Under Work Programme benefit claimants can be forced into unpaid work for private companies for up to six months at a time. In many ways it is by far the most insidious workfare programme, shrouded in secrecy with providers given the power to mandate people to anything they feel like. Early indications suggest that the scheme is failing miserably and may even be increasing unemployment.
It’s also increasing the income of Disability Works members as they line their pockets on the back of sick and disabled people being forced into work. At present people on disability benefits such as Employment Support Allowance cannot be forced into full time work. The Government has plans to change this soon and sick and disabled people could be made to work indefinitely. Disability Work’s members have so far remained silent on these plans, no doubt in the hope of picking up a juicy Government contract to implement them.
People on ESA can be stripped of benefits should they fail to attend training sessions (up to 16 hours a week), meetings and workshops. This can be devastating for people with fluctuating conditions as these charities are well aware. Benefit sanctions plunge people into dire poverty and can mean homelessness as Housing Benefits are often also stopped.
Furthermore many sick and disabled people are now on Job Seeker’s Allowance due to the brutal health testing regime in place for health and disability benefits. Sick and disabled people on JSA can be forced to work for private companies, which have included Pizza Hut, ASDA and Holiday Inn, as well as charities such as Barnados and the British Heart Foundation.
In an attempt to hide the truth from their users and donors, Disability Works have said: “DWUK believes that sanctions do not incentivise disabled people to look for work, nor do they give them the confidence to do so. DWUK will not be directly involved in delivering sanctions. This will continue to be the role of the DWP via Job Centre Plus.”
This is appalling dishonesty worthy of lying bastard Chris Grayling. Disability Works members are contractually obliged to report any failure to attend mandated activity to Job Centre Plus. It is indeed Job Centre Plus who implement the sanctions, but only after Disability Works have told them to. Anything else and they would be in breach of contract.
So whilst they may not wield the weapon, they supply the information to the people who do, in the full knowledge of the devastating consequences for their users. More than this they are quite happy to profit from the regime which enforces this abuse of disabled people and benefit claimants.
Today is the National Day of Action Against Workfare, organised by Boycott Workfare and being held in 37 locations across the UK. These charities should be supporting their users by being out on the streets with us, instead they are profiting from the situation and using ever more dishonest language to hide their role in workfare and sanctions.
Anger about workfare shows no sign of dying down. To find your nearest protest visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=359
An online weekend of protest has also been called. Why not tell Disability Works members what you think of their involvement with the largest workfare scheme and their profiteering from the misery of benefit sanctions.
And if you give them money, volunteer, or enter one of their daft sponsorship events, tell them you will no longer support them until they pull out of all schemes which involve workfare and benefit sanctions. It’s time these organisations made a clear statement condemning this Government’s abuse of sick and disabled people via the benefits system, instead of trying to make a quick buck from it on the quiet.
Leonard Chesire Disability – on twitter @LCDisability On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Leonard-Cheshire-Disability/77071765498 Contact page at: http://www.lcdisability.org/?lid=108
Action for Blind People – on twitter @action4blind On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/actionforblindpeople Contact page at: http://www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk/other-pages/contact-us/
Advance – not active on twitter or facebook. Contact page at: http://www.advanceuk.org/index.asp?m=6&t=Contact+Us
United Response – on twitter @unitedresponse On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/UnitedResponse?ref=ts Contact page at: http://www.unitedresponse.org.uk/get-support/contact-us/