Yesterday I wrote about why Workfare is exploitative and unfair, especially for disabled people. Today I want to talk about something insidious and disturbing within the plans for rolling this system out, and this is the details of who stands to benefit.
Firstly, there are big companies who have signed up, unsurprisingly, to get people to work for them without a need to pay them, such as Poundland, Matalan, Tesco and Primark.
Secondly, there are public sector organisations who want to benefit from unpaid labour, such as the local councils of Barnsley, Blackpool, Bromley, Chester, Dudley, East Riding, Gateshead, Greenwich, Hartlepool, Islington, Kensington, Medway, Neath Port Talbot, Newham, North Lanarkshire, Northumberland, Portsmouth, Renfrewshire, Stoke-on-Trent; numerous further education colleges; and several NHS trusts.
And thirdly, and perhaps most disappointingly, is the depressingly large number of charities and third sector organisations who are seeking to benefit from people being forced to work without pay, at threat of loss of their benefits.
Just some of the organisations who the DWP state will be involved in delivering the Work Programme, are:
Action for Blind People
Autism West Midlands
Disability Information Bureau
Hammersmith and Fulham MIND
Leonard Cheshire Disability
Rochdale and District MIND
Royal Mencap Society
Royal National College for the Blind
Scottish Association for Mental Health
The Mind Consortium (Hull and East Yorkshire MIND)
Warrington Disability Partnership
These are the organisations from the list that stood out to me as disability organisations. Organisations ostensibly to represent and fight for the rights of disabled people.
Last year I wrote about Disability Works, a "collaboration of national third sector disability organisations including Leonard Cheshire, Mencap, Scope, Mind, Action for Blind People, United Response, Pure Innovations, Advance UK and Pluss". I argued in May that the Hardest Hit organisers could not represent me or fight for my rights when they also stood to benefit from the proposed changes in welfare reform.
Now Disability Works are amongst all of the above voluntary sector disability organisations who are seeking to benefit from workfare. Along with all the other charities above, and with all the problems Workfare will cause for disabled and non-disabled people, we simply cannot trust these organisations to have our best interests at heart. They, along with Primark and Tesco, aim to profit from labour which is unpaid, unfair, and is carried out against a threat of a loss of benefits.
These big disability charities do not represent me, they do not have my interests in mind, and they do not speak for me.
Not in my name.