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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charities slate Tory plans for compulsory work scheme

This news post is about 9 years old

Tory plans to force the young unemployed to work 30 hours a week for charities and community groups have been lambasted by leading organisations across the UK.

Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement saying those aged between 18 and 21 who have not been in employment, education or training for six months, will no longer receive Jobseeker's Allowance.

Under new Conservative proposals, they will be switched to a “youth allowance”, paid at the same rate as Jobseeker's Allowance – at £57.35 a week.

Community work could mean making meals for older people or clean up litter and graffiti, or lose their benefits.

But charity leaders say the plans are not thought through and that charities should refuse to be involved.

Young people want to work and policies such as this simply result in their stigmatisation - Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said: "It is difficult to see how forcing a young person to carry out community service for 30 hours a week for a grand total of £57 will help prepare them for the real world or find employment.

"Young people want to work and policies such as this simply result in their stigmatisation."

Citizens Advice Scotland policy manager Keith Dryburgh said young people needed support to get them work.

"The jobs market, like the housing market and even the benefit system is in many ways stacked against them," he said.

'We have undertaken surveys of young Scots and we have been astonished by the levels of despair they feel about their future.

"What young Scots need is more opportunities.”

Young people who have never worked will also be required to do community work from the day they sign on, under the proposals.

However Jay Kennedy, director of policy and research for the Directory of Social Change advised charities to “steer clear” of the scheme.

“Compulsory workfare isn’t volunteering. The government should not muddle the two,” he said.

And TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady warned that young people doing unpaid community work would reduce the time they had to find paid employment.