MP slams ‘unpaid work’ scheme

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EASINGTON MP Grahame Morris has criticised a scheme that sees the unemployed work for free.

The Workfare scheme sees people given unpaid work experience in order to keep receiving benefits.

The Labour MP has pressed Work and Pensions Minister Chris Grayling for answers on compulsory Workfare programmes for the unemployed.

In a House of Commons question time, Mr Grayling denied the Government was operating a workfare scheme but instead referred to “mandatory activity” for the unemployed.

The Minister said: “I can confirm that we have schemes in place as part of people’s job search.

“They include mandatory work activity.”

Mr Morris said: “Profits at Poundland soared by 34 per cent in 2011, with people on workfare forced to work for free in Poundland stores”.

“Who is the real beneficiary of workfare – the taxpayer or the shareholder?”

Mr Grayling claimed that more than half of young people who go through the scheme moved quickly into employment and in some cases with Poundland.

But Mr Morris said a report commissioned by the Department of Work and Pensions in 2008 found little evidence for the effectiveness of Workfare.

He said the report found that the scheme has a “deterrent effect which stops people claiming, or encourages them to leave welfare”.