Dave Skull writes about Welfare Cuts and Workfare

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Dave Skull writes about Welfare Cuts and Workfare

Postby markR » Mon May 14, 2012 7:13 am

MAD PRIDE has been active in trying to raise public awareness and concern about the implications of the governments welfare ‘reforms’ (which mean cuts in real terms) for people with mental health issues.

We have raised concerns about people with mental health difficulties being wrongly ruled ‘fit for work’ by the flawed ‘work capability assessment’ benefit test, criticised as ‘not fit for purpose’ by organisations representing and providing care for people with mental health problems. Many of those who have managed to get past this test, have been placed into the ‘work related activity group’ where there is an expectation, often unrealistic, for them to active take steps to move back toward to work.

Now the government is planning to ‘roll out’ it’s controversial ‘mandatory’ ‘workfare’ programme to include sick and disabled people in the ‘work related activity group’. This will mean people in receipt of Employment Support Allowance being expected to participate in ‘work experience’ without any payment other than their benefits.

Unlike the already controversial forced work schemes for people in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance, these ‘mandatory’ work schemes for disabled people will have no fixed time limits and can be indefinite. There is no requirement for the ‘provider’ who will benefit from free labour, to provide any kind of training and there is no guarantee of the participants in these schemes of any kind of proper paid employment resulting from this.

It has become the standard ‘mantra’ of many mental health professionals that getting back to work is somehow the ‘key’ to mental health ‘recovery’, with no qualification about the type of work or it’s remuneration. Anyone who wants to make an argument that being forced to do menial work without pay is somehow going to boost peoples self esteem and feelings of self worth is clearly suffering from a delusional belief.

The government is seeking to mislead Charities and voluntary sector organisations into becoming ‘providers’ of work placements. They are being told that the scheme is purely ‘voluntary’ for the participant; there is absolutely nothing ‘voluntary’ about a choice between having to participate or have your benefits removed and facing destitution.

It is being sold to the general public as being work for the public benefit, however the definition of ‘public benefit’ has been stretched to include profit generating businesses as it is said they boost the economy from which everybody supposedly benefits, so there is nothing to stop a private business from profiting from the unpaid labour of disabled people.

If you share our concerns about disabled people being forced to work for benefits we would urge you to support our campaign activity and raise concerns with your MP, ministers with responsibility for disability issues, welfare benefits or employment, or any of the Charities, voluntary organisations and businesses that are participating as ‘providers’ for these schemes.

http://www.madpride.org.uk 077 577 15035
http://www.dpac.uk.net mail@dpac.uk.net 01926 842253
http://www.boycottworkfare.org info@boycottworkfare.org Twitter: #boycottworkfare

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