Workfare to be imposed in Britain by Chris Marsden

By Chris Marsden
13 November 2010

Britain is being subjected to a savage programme of social engineering, designed to create an economy where millions work for much less than the present £5.93 an hour minimum wage. This centres on plans to introduce workfare for the long-term unemployed, who will be forced to work for their benefit plus a £1-an-hour top-up.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is set to introduce US-style compulsory “workfare”, under threat of withdrawal of benefits to entire families. A new “claimant commitment” will include sterner conditions, notably the threat that unemployed people who refuse community work or the offer of a job may lose their jobseeker’s allowance for three months; if they refuse twice, six months; and three years on third refusal.


The net result will be the mobilisation of the unemployed, including single mothers and over a million of the sick and infirm on incapacity benefits, as a “reserve army of labour”. They will either directly replace existing workers’ jobs or be used to depress wage levels.

via Workfare to be imposed in Britain

16 thoughts on “Workfare to be imposed in Britain by Chris Marsden

  1. Pingback: Did You Miss This? 100 Percent Funding Cuts to Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Courses at UK Universities « Dandelion Salad

  2. Is this site filtered heavily to express only specific views? I’m finding that some postings which conflict with the original statements are vanishing.

    The whole angle here is ridiculous. The general principle of putting to good use those who are unable to find work themselves, those who don’t want to bother, and those who can’t find anything they fancy is all well and good.

    After all, why should we fund them to do nothing?

    As far as the ridiculous angle at the disabled or single mothers is concerned, I suspect these weren’t referred to in the proposals, or it wasn’t fleshed out sufficiently. Common sense dictates that where people are unable to fulfill the role it won’t apply.

    Regarding single mothers, again common sense. If their children are at school however, and they are sitting around drinking cofee… that’s another matter. There may be a number of them wanting to get careers but have been unable to get on the ladder or get any experience.

    This may solve some of their worries too…

    Some people take any excuse to bash suggestions without thinking them through. All the the name of human rights, at cost of common sense.

    • Simon, all first comments go in the moderation file, all comments with links go there as well. You changed your name from when you first posted here, so your new comments were all held in moderation automatically.

      At my discretion, certain commenters are always moderated and at any time I may remove comments as it’s my blog. If you’d like to make a certain point, start your own blog.

      • I’m already a wage slave. I have to work for my living. It’s always been that way.

        If I jumped back through time, I’d have to work for my living then too. It’s never changed.

        I understand the importance of what I do and I how I fit into society, indeed how we all fit in. No one individual is more important than any other. Going back a few hundred or thousand years, my role would change, but ultimately we are cogs in an ever more complex piece of machinery.

        I don’t begrudge having to work. I see it as part of the greater good.

        In terms of a man who simply doesn’t want to work and doesn’t believe he should work, put him on a farm and let him grow his own food and build his own house. He’s quite simply a lazy man who needs to learn the lessons of life.

  3. Is this another example of things being warped by the media and daft assumptions being made, or was the reference to the disabled and single mothers made in the proposal?

    I suspect not. Plainly anyone can see that attempting to get the disabled to do work they are not able to do is both pointless and stupid. Economical solutions would have to be formed for single mothers too.

    On the other hand, in principle the prospect of putting to use a large number of people who are a currently unused resource, in a constructive manner sounds like a wise move. If this group encompasses those who are “unable to find work”, and work is provided, great. If this group includes those who “can’t be bothered to work”, or “can’t find anything they fancy”, the more so, the better.

    Personally, I don’t much care if they begrudge having to do something for their free payouts. The far more harsh solution would be outright withdrawal of their benefits to an extant that left them with nothing.

    This represents the typical human right rubbish that has been cocking up the EU and the running of the country for years now. Someone gets a sensible idea and tries to figure out how to implement it. Then some idiot in the media warps it to an extent it sounds like a joke, then all the human rights activists jump in without thinking through the potential merits and how it MIGHT be used well. The whole things counter-productive and pointless.

    Before dismissing any ideas based on media portrayal, look at the fundamental ideas. Disregard media spin and stupidity.

    • Proposal:

      The government should consider legal guidelines on “gross intentional misrepresentation”, to be dealt with in the same manner as libel or slander for media sources.

      The facts should be portrayed as facts. Opinions and assumptions should be portrayed as such. Like many others, I’m sick of seeing spin and all manner of rubbish coming from the media, and having to try and pick the scarce facts from it.

      • I’m more of a realist.

        A struggling society is like a carter with a cart full of people. If there are people on board who are able to help pull, they should all chip in, that’s assuming you want to society to make any progress.

        In the other extreme, they all sit there in the cart moaning about why it’s not moving.

        • Perhaps to some extent I’m missing the point. Ultimately, even where it doesn’t come across that way, I care about all people.

          I believe the disabled should be looked after. I believe all people should have decent healthcare, a decent standard of education. (I also believe that people should do two different jobs, same hours just broken up, but that’s another subject relating to general health, cross pollination of ideas and advancement).

          I don’t believe in slavery. People regardless of age are like children. Like anyone else, I find it a pain getting up for work in the morning. It doesn’t fill me with joy by any extent. I’m not sore about it. I accept that I have to pull my weight like everyone else. Nothings free in life. People that can work should work, with the view that they are too helping the greater whole. I have what many would consider to be a good job, but I don’t see myself as any better than anyone else. We’re all shaped the same way by events and life.

          These discusions and government decisions can be misread, and I’m as guilty as anyone else of that crime. If I see people hitting heavily on the negative, my tendancy is to focus on the positive. I try to remain optimistic.

          Granted, we are all fallible. What may seem like a notion that may benefit all COULD be put to a positive use and change society for the better. On the other hand, If the man at the helm has had one too many (which they do seem prone to), it could be yet another wreckage.

          I’d like to see a forum like this that’s used by members of the government openly, where the proposals can be made, people can express their concerns and the positives, and between them they can find a way of making it work, as it should have worked. Hopefully one day we will have a government that publicises such actions and actively listens.

  4. Pingback: The Cruelty and Stupidity of the Government’s Welfare Reforms « Dandelion Salad

    • Need I point out that, assumptions about disabled and single mothers aside, in reality the general net effects include:

      (1) Gainful employment for those currently not working.
      (2) Potential to gain experience and skills for those who aren’t
      (3) Those who are paying tax may feel happier about layabouts
      (4) An improvement to the state of the UK economy.

      Why (4)? It’s likely to create NEW roles, not replace existing ones. Why? It’s quite simple. As far as these people are concerned at the moment, they are being paid £x to do nothing.

      If you were to use sense and create new INDUSTRY in the uk, to replace industry sourced from abroad at present, you’d need to staff it. So you take the people above, place them in an industry paying them £x+1.

      Net cost: Extra costs to government of £1 per person per hour.

      Net gain: Significant industrial output and training within the uk, which in turn can supply and feed other uk business, creating additional positions.

      These are all maybe’s. Ultimately, the policy MIGHT be a good one and MIGHT be a bad one. The idea itself is a GEM. Ultimately, the outcome depends on how it’s implemented.

        • That’s not a bad point ;o)

          No I hadn’t read that posting – It just seemed relevant.

          It can be put to misuse, I’m not disagreeing, and to a sad extent, you are probably right in some regards. Most options available could potentially be put to good use and made a positive force, which is the point I was trying to make.

          Experience of previous government acts doesn’t necessarily tell me that it will be the case :o(

          It’s like the government showing off a shiny new tractor. Some people point at it and say what a monstrosity it is. I point at it and say look at the good it could do. Indeed it could. Experience tells us that sometimes the driver is drunk and rives it through out farmhouses…

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  6. This is very freaky news! An “inverted WPA”?1? Return to feudalism?!? Serfhood?!?

    I am also shocked with the quickly escalating cost of a college education in the USA. Typical middle class families cannot afford to meet the bill even NOW, thus the implications of quickly-rising rates are “education for the few”–those born into wealth–and/or for the rest, increased indebtedness through credit, which will produce vulnerability to indentured work.

    In the beginning, of course it will all seem logical–even as an opportunity provided. Accepting an “indentureship” post-graduation, people may fail to see the unlikelihood of ever moving beyond the debt. THAT’S the part that really scares me!

    I hope Chris Hedges and/or Robert Reich write on both of these developing “features of civilization.” As an educator, I’m wracking my own brain to figure out a way around this madness that threatens the essential features of a democracy!

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