Posted by: iangilbert | March 8, 2013


I am really disappointed that the YMCA are continuing to cooperate with the government’s mandatory work programme.

The YMCA are a wonderful charity. They do great work with young people in Southend.

But whether you are a wonderful charity or a dodgy retail chain, compulsory unpaid work is wrong.

I don’t think it’s wrong because I believe people should be able to remain on benefits for ever without trying to find work, I don’t think that at all. What I do believe as an absolute principle is that if you’re doing work (unless it is completely voluntary in nature) you should be paid at least the minimum wage, and indeed hopefully a living wage.

Compulsory unpaid work, even with a recognised and respected charity, is wrong. It is the thin end of a very very dangerous wedge.

The YMCA’s programme may well have had some successes as they claim, but the government’s own figures have proved that their workfare scheme as a whole is worse than useless when it comes to helping people find work. The Public Accounts Committee has found that after fourteen months of operation just 3.6% of participants went on to find sustained regular work. Undoubtedly the continued involvement of the YMCA will be used to give respectability to this government’s reprehensible welfare policies.


  1. If there is work that needs doing then there clearly is a potential real job there. I find it depressing that we are in an era when the vulnerable are seemingly being blamed for their plight.

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