Tag Archives: workfare

Might some of the welfare changes be a little more helpful to people than Osborne made out?

Conservative Conference week is never an easy time to be a Liberal Democrat. The Conservative in its natural habitat is not a pretty sight to those of us who cherish the principles at the heart of the preamble to our constitution, of liberty, equality and community, of freeing people from poverty, ignorance or conformity. The words Tory leaders use to rally their troops give us that joyless feeling that is known in Scotland as the dry boak.

But, you know, the Tory conference is what the Cabinet table would be like if it weren’t for the Liberal Democrats in Government. …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 70 Comments

Benefits, back-to-work and the unemployed: what Lib Dem members think

Lib Dem Voice polled our members-only forum recently to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 650 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

70% say: withdraw unemployment benefits IF job offers refused without ‘good reason’

In principle, do you support or oppose withdrawing benefits from unemployed people who refuse offers of work without good reason?

    70% – Support

    21% – Oppose

    9% – Don’t know

The overwhelming view — held by 7-in-10 of those Lib Dems who responded — was that in principle withdrawing benefits …

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged and | 24 Comments

Mandatory work: if we believe in evidence-based policy it’s probably best to pay attention to the evidence

Four months ago, when the political row over ‘workfare’ was at its peak, I wrote here on LibDemVoice that liberals needed to progress the debate beyond ‘the simple and simplistic ‘left/right’ attitudes currently on display, and start grappling with how best we can empower the individual to make the best of their own lives — including, and especially, those who appear to have settled for a life on benefits, and reject all other offers of help.’

Avoiding dogma, embracing evidence

Key to this, I suggested, would be avoiding the dogmatic approaches of the Tories — who appear to believe that every …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 16 Comments

Opinion: An attempt to bring a calm and rational solution to the workfare issue

There’s been a lot of controversy around the “workfare” issue. However, while individual members have expressed clear opinions on it, our party is yet to take an official stance on the issue. With a policy paper on youth unemployment to be debated this weekend at conference we have an opportunity to decide where we stand on the issue.

I propose that we make the system fairer and ease the controversy by securing the following three compromises from the Tories:

1) Ensuring jobseekers aren’t misled into voluntary work schemes.

Although the scheme is voluntary, many jobseekers report being misled by Job Centres. Some …

Posted in Op-eds | 15 Comments

LDVideo: Nick Clegg – Workfare critics have a “messed up set of priorities”

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg this week launched a passionate defence of the Coalition’s work experience initiatives, arguing that they help prepare jobless young people for employment. This follows the controversy about ‘workfare’, which some critics have labelled ‘slave labour’, an attitude Nick condemns here as displaying a “messed up set of priorities”:

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged | 17 Comments

Opinion: The empowering world of unpaid work

Last week, an article was published here attacking Tesco for exploiting the unemployed. Two major factual errors, albeit fairly understandable ones, were at the heart of the piece.

The first was that Tesco’s unpaid work experience scheme was being forced upon the unemployed by the Job Centre. In actuality, participation was voluntary and the scheme was not part of the government’s Mandatory Work Experience (aka ‘workfare’). In neither scheme is work unpaid, as benefits are paid in exchange for labour.

The second error was to suggest Tesco was ‘expecting the jobless to line-up’ for exploitation. The truth of the matter …

Posted in Op-eds | 32 Comments

‘Workfare’: the depressingly sterile ‘left/right’ debate is a challenge to liberals to sharpen our thinking

Deborah Orr has a must-read article in the Guardian highlighting the inverted absurdity of this week’s row about the Coalition’s workfare programme, The slanging match over workfare is getting us nowhere.

She points out that the very essence of workfare is government intervention in the workings of the free market, the state urging private companies to offer work experience placements to the unemployed:

For the right, such hapless, inefficient intervention by the state is anathema. When the private sector is left to make its own arrangements, neo-liberals never tire of pointing out, it functions better, to the advantage of all.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 24 Comments

Opinion: Work-fare or work fair? Why I shan’t be shopping at Tesco

It seems that Tesco finally bowed to public pressure and is no longer expecting the jobless to line-up and provide them with four weeks of unpaid labour. Whilst I was pleased to read this, it was too little, too late for me. Do Tesco expect us to be pleased that they’re finally offering to pay people in return for their hard work?

This has taught us an awful lot about Tesco’s ethical beliefs. The company was happy to accept unpaid labour before the public knew about it, but as soon as they started receiving negative press coverage, they brought the scheme …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 54 Comments
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  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 4th Jul - 6:58pm
    John O: What student politics?
  • User AvatarJohn O 4th Jul - 6:31pm
    ' whereas a post-Coalition leader can honestly say she wasn’t involved, and insist on moving the discussion onto the party’s current plans, while also saying...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 4th Jul - 5:27pm
    @ Martin, and Alex Macfie So everything was OK between 2010-15 ? Or is it a case of 'Shush, not in front of the children,...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 4th Jul - 5:03pm
    @ George Kendal, To be fair to you, I don't remember you actually directing term "deficit denier" at me personally. What I found annoying was...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 4th Jul - 4:44pm
    @ Alex McFie, " yes, and voted Tory in 2015 because they thought that was the best way of continuing the Coalition" Well, possibly, but...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 4th Jul - 4:31pm
    @Martin: "If questions arise about the Coalition," then engaging in such questions, whatever the answer given, will just result in more questions about it. Saying...