Workfare: the DWP lied about Clegg’s mandatory Youth Contract too


12:30 pm - February 29th 2012

by Paul Cotterill    


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On Nov 25th 2011, the Department for Work and Pensions issued a press release about the new Youth Contract, announced with great fanfare by Nick Clegg.

The press release included this statement:

An extra 250,000 Work Experience places over the next three years, taking the total to at least 100,000 a year. This will come with an offer of a Work Experience place for every 18 to 24 year-old who wants one, before they enter the Work Programme.

Further to my complaint to the BBC about its handling of this press release, I submitted a FOI request to DWP seeking details on how the supposed £1bn Youth Contract was made up.

The request was made well before the latest revelations about “workfare”.

Yesterday I received my reply. This stated:

The Get Britain Working measures includes Work Experience, sector-based work academies and Mandatory Work Activity.

Nowhere in the November press release was Mandatory Work Activity mentioned. This suggests DWP were keen to keep its part in the Youth Contract secret.

More importantly, this means that the DWP’s claim that the scheme is “for every 18 to 24 year-old who wants one“ must be a direct lie, since clients are forced into Mandatory Work Activity on the claim that they do not want to engage.

The text of the FOI reply is here.

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About the author
Paul Cotterill is a regular contributor, and blogs more regularly at Though Cowards Flinch, an established leftwing blog and emergent think-tank. He currently has fingers in more pies than he has fingers, including disability caselaw, childcare social enterprise, and cricket.
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Reader comments


Not much of a surprise. This govt lies all the time. Cameron “let me make it clear, there will be no major upheaval in the NHS”

Clegg running to the left of Labour, and then going against 95% of his manifesto. This is the most dishonest govt in history.

Appears the government have just done a partial U-turn on this according to bbc breaking news.

@2 Presumably they’ve started figuring out that by blaming the SWP for the entirety of the opposition to workfare all they’ve achieved is promoting the SWP as a David v. Goliath force for good in the UK. Still, the SWP isn’t complaining, best recruit ads they’ve had in ages really.

Channel four blew this out of the Water preety much in a single swoop. Maplan wanted staff to cover the Christmas rush. Had this conscripted labour scheme not existed, they would have been forced to employ people.

5. James from Durham

The idea of Tesco being “bullied” by the mighty SWP is truly hilarious. The bolsheviks are on the march. It can only be days before the dictatorship of the proletariat is established. I just hope the SWP don’t believe all the hype the govt are giving them!

This is deeply troubling and proves the Boycott Welfare argument correct. The unemployed are being used as free labour on a massive scale, which is increasing the unemployed numbers as the unemployed are occupying all the jobs. It also shows very questionable growth in PLCs.

This is fiscally irresponsible and shows very alarming overtones which could be viewed as social engineering. I take issue! We need this lot gone yesterday!

” I just hope the SWP don’t believe all the hype the govt are giving them!”

Hype? the swp? never.

They probably think the government has under-estimated their influence and the revolution is around the corner.

this means that the DWP’s claim that the scheme is “for every 18 to 24 year-old who wants one“ must be a direct lie

It means nothing of the sort.

Why cannot the Left understand plain English.

The Work Experience Programme (which involves Tesco etc) is voluntary. That is, if you want to go on it, you can. If you don’t, no problem. Once you’ve accepted a place, however, you only have one week to cancel, otherwise you might get sanctioned. Which is fair enough, as by taking the place you have denied it to someone else.

The Mandatory Work scheme does NOT involve big commercial outfits like Tesco. You get sent to help paint the local youth club or something. TOTALLY different.

Flowerpower @8: Yes, I understand the difference. Yes, technically Work Experience can be described as voluntary; the problem is primarily that people have not been told that.

I made no suggestion that WRA was anything to do with Tesco – that’s you putting words into my mouth.

It’s the DWP, not me, deliberately merging the two under a single Work Experience tag. They do so, I contend deliberately, in order to portray this aspect of the Youth Contract (read the whole FOI to see the separate aspects) as wholly voluntary. It is not, as is made clear by the FOI. The DWP says it is. Therefore the DWP has lied.

Confirmed they never said sh#t about people who are stuck in a bad area struggling to get work and have been on flexible new deal and have now been dumped onto the community action program with prison leavers where you are told if you don’t volunteer for 40 hours per week for 6 months you get your benefit sanctioned for 6.5 months. Even if like myself I managed to get some temporary xmas work but now back stuck in the rut again i’m treated like human waste “long term unemployed” and made to slave or lose the little food money I have. Had hope the other day though went the “pinnacle people” office to report for my CAP appointment and was told by lady on desk that they no longer operate there anymore. Pinnacle people have been totally unprofessional from all points of contact. My first contact with them was one of their operatives leaving a snotty message on my answering machine telling me I should have appeared at my first appointment that I only found out about when I listened to the answering phone message. I complained to job center and a letter came through a day or two later franked so that you could only read half the markings. I mean come on these people can’t even frank letters no wonder i didn’t even get first one. When I finally had my appointment the guy seemed polite at first but then hinted if any other people on the course were to not cooperate he can deal with them by making them apply for demeaning work. At the end he tried to get me to sign lots of forms which i refused and were part of the CAP booklet and then another form that said that I agreed to undertake the work activity within 7 days which I modified to “may” and “might” then signed. He said if I didn’t sign that form he would tell the jobcenter I didn’t comply. So I made the amendments and handed it to his as I walked out. He also said Id have to do an additional 10 hour supervised jobsearching per week. Seriously this is beyond a joke.

“the DWP’s claim that the scheme is “for every 18 to 24 year-old who wants one“ must be a direct lie, since clients are forced into Mandatory Work Activity on the claim that they do not want to engage.”

Logical error alert. It might be perfectly true that every 18 to 24 year old who wants a place will be offered one, and also that some 18 to 24 year olds who don’t want a place will be mandated to accept one. (Doesn’t mean the DWP aren’t being a bit shifty by keeping quiet about the mandatory places, or aren’t hoping everyone will assume they mean “every 18 to 24 year old who wants one *and no-one who doesn’t*”… but that doesn’t amount to a “direct lie”.)

GO @11: You win on a technical KO. I concede it might be better described as a deliberate lie by omission than a direct lie.

Of course, if you don’t volunteer for a WE placement, you can then be mandated to WRA on the basis that your not volunteering gives evidence of how you’d benefit from such a motivational process. I suspect that is what will now start to happen in some caes.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Angus Carruthers

    Workfare: the DWP lied about Clegg’s mandatory Youth Contract too | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/5SBCD8u0 via @libcon

  2. Stephe Meloy

    Workfare: the DWP lied about Clegg’s mandatory Youth Contract too | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/5SBCD8u0 via @libcon

  3. Peter Underwood

    FOI by @Bickerrecord finds DWP lied about Nick Clegg's Youth Contract too – it's mandatory http://t.co/V5o77Bbf #Workfare

  4. Paul Cotterill

    Exclusive http://t.co/3SorzKpH My recent FOI request proves that DWP has been lying about Clegg's vaunted 'Youth Contract' as well.

  5. Susan Calvin

    Exclusive http://t.co/3SorzKpH My recent FOI request proves that DWP has been lying about Clegg's vaunted 'Youth Contract' as well.

  6. Pete Berry

    Exclusive http://t.co/3SorzKpH My recent FOI request proves that DWP has been lying about Clegg's vaunted 'Youth Contract' as well.

  7. Itsmotherswork

    Exclusive http://t.co/3SorzKpH My recent FOI request proves that DWP has been lying about Clegg's vaunted 'Youth Contract' as well.

  8. Tears In The Rain

    Exclusive http://t.co/3SorzKpH My recent FOI request proves that DWP has been lying about Clegg's vaunted 'Youth Contract' as well.

  9. Paul Trembath

    Exclusive http://t.co/3SorzKpH My recent FOI request proves that DWP has been lying about Clegg's vaunted 'Youth Contract' as well.

  10. Mo

    Exclusive http://t.co/3SorzKpH My recent FOI request proves that DWP has been lying about Clegg's vaunted 'Youth Contract' as well.

  11. x TRACY x

    FOI by @Bickerrecord finds DWP lied about Nick Clegg's Youth Contract too – it's mandatory http://t.co/V5o77Bbf #Workfare

  12. BevR

    Workfare: the DWP lied about Cleggs mandatory Youth Contract too http://t.co/oroPrJ4K #wrb #spartacusreport #boycottworkfare #nhs #democracy

  13. DWP using dodgy tactics to halt free speech & campaigners… « ATOS REGISTER OF SHAME

    […] Workfare: the DWP lied about Clegg’s mandatory Youth Contract too (liberalconspiracy.org) Share this:EmailPrintFacebookTwitterDiggRedditStumbleUponLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  14. Mark Smithson

    Workfare: the DWP lied about Clegg’s mandatory Youth Contract too | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/hAhesNUw via @libcon

  15. Mark Smithson

    RT @libcon: Workfare: the DWP lied about Clegg's mandatory Youth Contract too http://t.co/WKhMoWBH





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