October 2013 – No Unpaid Work, No Benefits
The Government is expected to announce new rules requiring the long-term unemployed to take full-time unpaid work or risk losing benefits.
The provisions (expected to be announced at the Conservative Party conference) will apply to claimants who remain unemployed after completing 104 weeks on the Work Programme scheme.
The policy development coincides with the publication of a report by the
think-tank Policy Exchange which sets out the results of a YouGov survey that found 56 per cent of people supported the introduction of 'workfare' for the long-term unemployed – forcing jobseekers to carry out work experience or community work in order to receive their benefits.
When given a list of specific groups of individuals who should be exempt from workfare, the public felt that only mothers with young children should be excluded. People with physical and mental disabilities who could work should work as should dads with young children, according to the survey.
The survey also found that 56% of people would rather the government make people work for their benefits rather than introduce a scheme that guaranteed long-term benefit claimants a job at the National Minimum Wage using taxpayers’ money.
Only 1 in 4 thought people with mental disabilities who are capable of working should be excluded from workfare.
Only 1 in 5 thought people with physical disabilities who are capable of working should be excluded from workfare.
The report recommended that the government should pilot workfare schemes for specific groups of jobseekers including:
Individuals who leave the Work Programme without finding work after at least two years of support due to lack of trying or lack of experience.
Under 25s with little or no work experience and older jobseekers who have been out of work for at least six months and who do not have significant experience of work.
Jobseekers who are not meeting their requirements to look for work