Posted by: madkentdragon | February 27, 2012

Workfare – A Badly Thought Out Scheme

I have no objections to getting youngsters out of unemployment, 25 years ago my youngest son went on to a Youth Training Scheme and earned an NVQ from it which has stood him in good stead over the years – but he received an enhanced rate of pay to go on this scheme, which also encouraged him to keep his attendance up. It was also a certificate to put on his CV.

A youngster being put on this workfare scheme receives no enhanced rate and if he stays the course and has something to put on his CV – all good you think, well actually – No! A CV that only has a few weeks of shelf stacking or something similar on it will raise questions, the main one being “Why weren’t you kept on after the scheme had finished?”

The prospective employer will wonder if this youngster sat in front of him is worth employing, why didn’t the supermarket/factory take him on – was he not good enough? Whereas in reality the workfare employer had let him go to take on some more free labour – but this won’t show on his CV.

The other point that no one has raised is this, most of the youngsters claiming benefits come from families where either no parent is working or parents are on minimum wages and claiming working tax credits.

Until a child leaves school and signs on, no matter if it is benefits in the shape of unemployment benefit or working tax credit, the parents claim for him and receive child benefit for that youngster. This will also include housing benefit and council tax benefit – usually for the full amount.

Child leaves school and signs on, the child benefit goes, the working tax credit or unemployment benefit reduces accordingly as does the housing and council tax benefit because teenager is meant to pay his share into the family’s budget. Fine, that’s only fair and nobody should be paid for twice.

So now teen is told to go on to the workfare scheme, he receives £53.45 per week, paid fortnightly and has to pay his Mum a sum from this to keep the books balanced, and now he has to go to work and this raises several questions.

Who is paying his bus fare to get to his place of work? Will he be given a bus pass or will he have to claim in arrears for these expenses – or is he expected to pay for this himself? Most bus companies do not allow a return fare before 9a.m. so he has to pay a single fare both ways to and from work – a ticket from where I live to town is over £3, so 5 days a week that’s approximately £30!

Even if he gets the money back – that £30 has to be found in the first place; so Mum and Dad forgo the money he pays them and therefore their budget suffers – and it’s usually the rent or the council tax that doesn’t get paid because they have still got to eat and have heating and light – and that loan shark or payday loan that they used to pay for Christmas must be paid – so the rent or council tax are unpaid.

Then he will have to have a packed lunch, most teens will either have a bowl of cereal or toast and jam for lunch, but now he has to have a packed lunch, extra meat or cheese has to be bought – plus he needs money for tea or coffee.

Where will this money come from? He gets £53.45 and from that he will be paying his bus fare and extras that you need for work – so what is he left with apart from resentment?

My point is this – if you want kids to go on these schemes, make sure the whole family don’t suffer and end up with threats of eviction or a court case for non payment of council tax because you have not thought this scheme through!



  1. Excellent summation Pat ~ well done 🙂

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