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Protesters blockade Salvation Army

This news post is almost 8 years old
 

​Protesters target Salvation Army for taking part in a controversial government scheme.

Angry protesters have targeted one of the country’s biggest charities in an attempt to stop participation in the government’s welfare to work schemes.

Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (ECAP) blockaded a Salvation Army shop in Earl Grey Street Edinburgh preventing customers entering the premises on Saturday.

We urge all charities and voluntary organisations to boycott the scheme - Esther McDonald

The charity is involved nationally in the government's controversial work-for-benefits schemes where claimants are mandatorily forced to undertake work placements.

The protest was also aimed at galvanising opposition to the government’s new workfare scheme, community work placements, which extends the period of compulsory work-for-benefits to six months.

Those who decline face having their benefits stopped under the government's enhanced sanctions regime.

A Britain-wide week of action, co-ordinated through Boycott Workfare has seen actions in other towns and cities.

Esther McDonald of ECAP said activists would continue to target charities.

“Research shows that workfare does not help the unemployed find jobs and being unemployed is not a crime.”

She added: “The community work placements scheme is already in trouble. Many charities have already said they will not participate - even the Salvation Army won't touch it - and its start date has been postponed.

“We urge all charities and voluntary organisations to boycott the scheme.”

Francis Craig from campaign group Boycott Workfare said the new scheme was potentially more draconian than its predecessors.

“There is a problem when the government thinks the best way for vulnerable people to get back into society is by forcing them into unpaid work they don’t want to do,” she said.

“How is that meant to motivate an individual?

“There is very little support for people who have been out of employment for long periods.

“It seems that no resources are being invested to support people into employment.

“That needs to change but doesn’t look forthcoming under the coalition government.”

Meanwhile, the UK work and pensions secretary has defended changes to the welfare system, including disability benefit reforms.

Iain Duncan Smith said the raft of changes should save the taxpayer £50 billion by the end of this parliament.

He said the reforms - including tougher criteria for people seeking disability allowances - would help and benefit those who wanted to return to work.

He added the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) expects almost half of the £50bn in savings to come in the next 12 months.

 

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