Council boycotts government's 'immoral' work scheme
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Central Government
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Liverpool City Council has decided to boycott the government’s new help to work scheme, describing the initiative as "immoral and unworkable".
Introduced yesterday, the new rules mean long-term unemployed people will only receive benefits if they visit a job centre every day or take on six months of voluntary work.
Those that disobey will have their benefits stopped for four weeks for a first offence and 13 weeks for a second.
Previously, those signing on only had to turn up at a jobcentre once a fortnight.
However, the rules have provoked outrage, with charities such as the YMCA and Oxfam announcing that they will have no involvement.
Liverpool council is believed to the first local authority to distance itself from the policy.
Cllr Nick Small, cabinet member for employment, enterprise & skills, called the scheme “immoral and unworkable” adding: “We won’t be taking part in this and I’d encourage Liverpool charities and voluntary organisations to have nothing to do with it also.
“Sadly, Help to Work, like the rest of the government’s welfare reform agenda, seems to be more about demonising people who’ve lost their jobs, rather than empowering people to get new skills and get back to work."
In a statement, the Deparment for Works and Pensions: "Help to work will help long-term unemployed claimants get the skills and experience they need to get back into work.
"Community work placements are designed for people whose lack of experience of work is holding them back from getting a job, and many charities, community-based organisations and local authorities recognise the benefits it has on their organisation, the local community, and the jobseeker."
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