Tag Archives: workfare

Workfare firm A4e sent jobseeker to work in lapdancing club

A government contractor sent a jobseeker to work in a lapdancing club, it has been revealed. Controversial workfare firm A4e, who trouser £200m of taxpayers’ money from workfare schemes, sent an unemployed man to work at X in the City in Liverpool.

Given their inclination for scandal — the firm has been hit with yet more allegations of fraud – Scrapbook is surprised to hear that staff spurned the opportunity to visit the club. Internal documents stated:

“It was not possible to conduct a visit to ‘X In The City’ to verify the documents for [name redacted]. This employer is a lap-dance bar and was not open during the hours of the audit.”

No doubt the firm wish more of their placements are at unauditable lapdancing clubs — given that one quarter of them are either fraudulent or could not be verified.

The club hit the headlines after Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli was pictured leaving the venue at 2:45am on the day of a Premier League fixture.

This certainly an original way to inventiveness completion of a placement.

Chris Grayling begs charities to rescue DWP Workfare scheme

DWP minister Chris Grayling is planning to neuter criticism of the government’s “forced work for no pay” Workfare programmes – by removing big business from the mix and only mandating work for charities.

Under the reformed scheme, which was floated in the Mail on Sunday over the weekend, jobseekers who fail to find employment after one dose of Workfare could then be compelled to do six months of “community work”.

James Forsyth writes:

“This avoids the work experience scheme’s Achilles’ heel which was businesses’ concerns about taking on people who would tell customers they didn’t want to be there.”

But Scrapbook wonders how well this was thought through at Caxton House when charities such as Oxfam were amongst the first to pull out.

Voluntary groups won’t be riding to Grayling’s rescue now.

“Welcome to Quidworld!” Steve Bell’s brilliant cartoons on Workfare

Steve Bell’s amazing 16-panel demolition of Workfare and former back-to-work czar Emma Harrison of A4e deserves a wider airing than the back of G2.

Grotesquely caricatured Harrison presents an unemployed man with a number of “f*** off and die” options, after which the protagonist finds himself volunteering at “Quidworld”, a barely veiled reference to Poundland, who Scrapbook revealed were accepting unpaid forced labour from the unemployed in March 2011.

Having quit A4e over the growing fraud scandal at the company it seems Harrison was finally the one told to “f*** off and die” this week”.

Cartoons © Steve Bell 2012

Sanctions to be dropped from eight-week Workfare programme

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Following their meeting with concerned businesses, the DWP has announced that they are dropping all sanctions from the eight week work experience scheme.

This U-turn comes just two hours after Cameron defended the scheme, calling critics “Trotskyites” in Prime Minister’s Questions.

It remains to be seen how much further this about-face will go.

Workfare is “a mandatory scheme being described as voluntary”

Following on from yesterday’s revelation that the DWP workfare letters cast the scheme as mandatory, above is the Channel4 News report from Jackie Long that revealed it.

As well as exposing as false the government’s claim that the scheme is voluntary, the young man interviewed joins the chorus of angry campaigners disputing Chris Grayling’s accusation that the criticism is a front for the Socialist Worker’s Party- admitting he voted Conservative in 2010.

Today also sees the DWP meet worried companies, in an effort to keep them on the scheme.

DWP letters say “voluntary” workfare scheme is compulsory

The standard workfare letters being sent out by Department of Work and Pensions cast the scheme as compulsory and do not explain that claimants can leave their placements without sanction in the first week, a Channel 4 News investigation has confirmed.

Backing up what workfare campaigners have been saying for some time, the programme had obtained multiple documents threatening claimants with losing benefit if they do not undertake a placement they have “volunteered” for. DWP have confirmed this is a standard letter wording:

“Please not that if, without a good reason, you fail to start, fail to go when expected, or stop going to the [placement] … any future payments of Jobseeker’s Allowance could cease to be payable”

The film also nailed the suggestion that opponents of workfare are “militants” and/or SWP:

The claimant in Jackie Long’s film said he voted Conservative at the last election.

Have Boots pulled out of government workfare scheme?

UPDATE (16:25) »They may have retained some aspects of the scheme. We're checking to find out.

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After pressure from campaigners, Scrapbook can reveal that Boots have pulled out of the government’s controversial workfare scheme. In a statement, the high street chemist revealed it was store managers happy to take people on for free for long periods of time — something they claim was not company policy.

“As a company our policy has never been to participate in schemes which compel people to work on a mandatory basis or use people on work placement to replace paid employment. We do offer voluntary placements to individuals who want to gain work experience for periods of up to two weeks as part of our local community stores activities. We are currently restating this policy to store managers.”

Who’s next? We’re looking at you Greggs and WHSmith.

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