Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Leftie dimwits claim the U.K. government’s Work Programme involves “unpaid” work.

The Guardian is always a rich source of loony left nonsense in the U.K. And always keen to side with the downtrodden workers in their unequal struggle with wicked exploitative capitalistic employers, numerous Guardian articles have recently claimed that the UK government’s Work Programme involves “unpaid work”. E.g. see here, here and here.

Well, people on this scheme are not “unpaid”: they continue to get benfits.

Of course there is an argument to be had as to what the hourly rate of pay and/or weekly pay should be in schemes of this sort. But to say that the work is “unpaid” is just nonsense.

Moreover, benefits for many people in the UK are often at such a level that there is little difference between what they get living on benefits and doing a minimum wage job. So it can’t even be claimed that the pay on this scheme for some of those involved is much different to what they’d get on minimum wage work.

What about the “unpaid” work done by taxpayers?

A further piont which is a mile above the heads of the aforesaid leftie dimwits is thus. If one person sits around doing nothing while claiming benefits and consuming food, fuel, etc then someone else has to do some work to produce and market said food, fuel and so on.

That is – and this really is the revelation of the century – food, fuel and so on do not float down from heaven or appear from nowhere.

In short, where one person is allowed to live on benefits, someone else has to do “unpaid” work to produce said food, fuel, etc.

But lefties for some reason see fit to foam at the mouth in realtion to the “unpaid” work done by Work Experience people, but seem totally unconcerned about the “unpaid” work done by those funding people living on benefits.

Research . . . evidence?

As for any awareness of the vast amount of research done since WWII into the effect of schemes of this sort, Guardian journalists appear to be blissfully ignorant. But then the job of journalists has always been primarily to sit at their desks and make it up as they go along.



  1. The argument isn't about that Ralph. It's the issue of displacement.

    Who didn't get a job (or overtime) because this labour was handed out for free.

    As there is no extra spending injected into the system, there must be an offset somewhere else to pay for this.

    Which makes the exercise one of pack shuffling and subsidy for private employers.

    And that is, incidentally, against EU State Aid rules.

  2. I'm attending the mandatory work programme; I if I’m still unemployed after a year on the programme will be placed 30 hours week for 6-month work placement.

    I receive form the sate £65 job seekers allowance about £10 council tax benefit. NO housing benefit, child allowances etc = £75 week for 30 hours work that's £ 2.50 and hour at 50 years old.

    Bit its okay to make me work for £2.50 an hour because some people claim a lot more? , (So I have to carry them, not to mention all the tax I've paid over the years)
    And while I'm going: who's going to help with the cost of the extra laundry; the dirty clothes (I presume these jobs will be dirty manual labour) The extra hot water, (the bath a day I may like), I currently limit to once every 3 days, and all the other extra expenses that come with working?
    And the time I don't have to do vegetable gardening and cooking from the very basic ingredients which is all vital on my income.
    This blog has made me very angry.

    And if you think I can get out of it by getting a job -- There aren't any for me!

  3. Neil, There are several distinct arguments surrounding the Work Programme. One is the nonsensical claim that the work is “unpaid”. That was the only argument I addressed above.

    The “displacement” argument is another and perfectly valid point to consider. Basically, displacement will not take place if there are grounds for thinking that those employed on such schemes are NET ADDITONS to the workforce.

    I actually put a lot of thought into this point here:


    And my conclusion is that a significant proportion of those employed on these sorts of schemes are indeed net additons to the workforce.

    Unfortunately the arguments in the above paper are ten miles above the heads of 99% of those involved in this debate. Put another way, the standard of debate on this topic makes me weep.

  4. John-B,

    Your point about working for £2.50 and hour (when the min wage is about double that) is perfectly valid. It’s a glaring anomoly that we have a min wage of about £5/hr, while some people work for £2.50 and indeed in the case of some interns, for nothing at all. I’m baffled as to where the legal loop-hole is that allows this. Explantions welcome.

    I actually covered the £/hr point above when I said that “there is an argument to be had as to what the hourly rate of pay” should be.

    Re your point about additional costs incurred as a result of going out to work, that’s a fair point. Obviously those additional costs should be funded by taxpayers.

    1. Its the experience argument = the lack of pay, an argument that becomes very tedious once past 50.
      I think ageism should be applied here.

      I can see your consuming argument, especially regarding large families. I personally use a lot less fuel than an employed person. My impact is not that great, I'm as self-sufficient as I can be.

      By the way---the standard of debate on this topic may be low, maybe this is to do with the homogenised unemployed; illustrated by the work programme implication. The unemployed are actually more diverse than the government corroborate newsprint nauseously convict.

      And I actually resent being treated like a malcontent. The work programme and working for benefits in this county has nothing to do with economics, but its a political perspective an agenda: trying to remould the underclass, a sort of re-education camp for misfits, scroungers and criminals-, as exemplified in the introduction of ex offenders into the work programme. It’s about social control.

    2. Evidence? Here might be a good place to start:


      The post up top attacks a strawman. Of course the jobs are "paid" - but they are UNPAID BY THE COMPANY THE PERSON IS MADE TO WORK FOR (this is corporate welfare in other words).

      Everyone so far as I can tell who's attacking this policy knows this. Since you don't seem to know what the real issues are here, who is the real dimwit?

    3. That’s a horrifying letter, the photo copy, --thanks for that, I thnk it speaks for itself - no elaboration needed

    4. The real issue is not economic as I said, its to do with the weakness of democracy: the sway of the mob --its do with words like totalitarian --words like oligarchy, plutocracy and wealth come later.
      Every one who attacks for a different reason to me: maybe they do: I am not part of the mob !

  5. Alex,

    A straw man is an argument attributed, incorrectly, to an opponent which one then demolishes, the idea being to give the impression that the opponent’s ACTUAL argument has been demolished.

    The “unpaid” work point that appears regularly in The Guardian is not one that I have made up. It’s there in black and white on the pages of the Guardian.

    Of course, as you rightly say, everyone knows the unpaid work point in the Guardian is nonsense. But if the Guardian or anyone else tells porkies, there is no harm in advertising the fact, which is what I’ve done. I don’t like liars escaping criticism.

    Moreover, there is absolutely nothing in the small print of the above three Guardian articles to clarify what they mean by “unpaid”. Indeed, there are several references to “unpaid work”, “unpaid workers”, etc. As I understand the English language, that gives the impression that the relevant employees get no pay: exactly the deception that The Guardian aims for, I suspect.

    John-B, Re your “horror” at the fact that WP people who don’t show up for work don’t get paid, I’ve got some much more horrific news: millions of employees and the self-employed are in exactly the same position: if they don’t turn up for work on a particular day or week, they don’t get paid for the relevant day or week.

    Moreover, the loss of pay for WP extends to only two weeks. Millions of employees and self-employed are not so lucky: if they don’t turn up for work during a month or two, or three, they get no pay for that month, or two, or three.

    Of course we need some sort of social security for the GENUINELY destitute. But if some WP employee has funds for the next month’s food, accommodation, etc, my heart bleeds for them if they lose two weeks pay.

    1. Actually my horror does not come from the hard fact of life, (people who don’t show up for work don’t get paid,) I think you simply fall into the same odd trap of categorisation, (`I am not adverse to work for a proper remuneration) but the letters are blatant oxymorons, (job seekers allowance), playing with perception, the mind games. Or perhaps I really am alone in my perceptions, perhaps I am really the only one who can see where this is going, and I really can't help making comparisons with German national socialism, where forced labour was normal (with pay or with out) even for good nazis. Where whole businesses were removed and dismantled for putting personal profit before the national good, and personal wealth confiscated. And before you say I'm not no track _ I am --, its starts with the weakest and moves up, we are all in danger from big government.
      The left (I suppose) complain because the free labour, the value of benefits claims, (jobseekers allowance), earned by others, goes to large corporations (corporate welfare as pointed out by Alex). I want to be sovereign person, who actually does not believe in the welfare state, and would rather see the whole thing handed other to charity, and the good will of peoples conscience in a proper Christian country(and get the government out of it , its dangerous).

      The current government and the establishment are just useful idiots in this pretence of a democracy, are just fronts for a new quasi communist agenda, which will destroy the way of life you believe in, you just can`t see it yet you have not seen the colour of their soul.
      Maybe am using your blog for the ramblings of a madman--- time will tell.

    2. And by the way,-- I was sanctioned for 6 months, once, first offence (removal of benefit) in another period of unemployment fortunately I live near a bakery which throws stuff out in an unlocked bin, (very unusual ) and I did get some agency work, this was before the Polish influx.
      And the sanction regime, actually (depending on severity) is first offence 2 weeks, then 6 months then 2 years; of course there is hardship payments they say, but when I tried to get theses, I as told to go away as there was no such thing, I remember clearly the words “ theres nothing else “ the government office specialise in lies and misinformation

    3. There is a national minimum wage, yet people are being forced to work for far less.

      Being unemployed is not a criminal offence, yet we are being treated exactly the same as criminals when it comes to workfare.


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