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Amendment to Welfare Motion

September 26, 2014 3:17 PM
By Daniel Henry - Leicester City
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

At Lib Dem Conference in Glasgow, a motion on Welfare Reform will be debated.

This is an amendment being proposed to add a section on the motion to address concerns around Workfare.

As it is a broad motion, I have chosen to avoid getting bogged down in too much detail and to instead focus on two proposals:

  1. The DWP currently arranges work placements with companies and then tries to get claimants to participate in these placements, but these placements aren't necessarily suited to the claimants needs or career aspirations.

    Switching the focus so claimants were instead given help, support and encouragement to find their own placements would allow them to explore what they want to do, find what their talents are suited do, and would have a better chance of finding a placement that would actually further their employment prospects.

  2. Many of the DWP schemes are mandatory - the claimant has to participate or they lose their benefits and have nothing to live on. Being made to work in full time placements for the benefits effectively means being made to work for below minimum wage. Many feel that this is unfair and that it undermines the minimum wage.

    Establishing a fairness principle, so that participants on mandatory placements were given the equivalent of minimum wage, would ensure that these participants are getting the same fair treatment as regular workers. This can be done by either limiting their hours or by topping up their benefits so their final payment is equal to the minimum wage for the hours they have worked.

If you are a conference voting rep and would like to support this amendment, please send an email to with your:

  • Name

  • Local Party

  • Membership Number

The wording of the amendment:

Conference notes;


F. Complaints against Welfare to Work schemes involving unpaid work, such as unsuitable placements, the undermining of the minimum wage and how these controversies are discouraging third party organisations from participating and providing placements.

Conference therefore Calls for:


6. A reformed approach to Welfare to Work schemes whereby:

i) Benefit claimants to be given encouragement and support to arrange their own work experience placements, to help them find the right placement in their area of interest to further their dreams and aspirations.

ii) A Fairness Principle is implemented for mandatory schemes, so claimants made to work for their benefits receive the equivalent of minimum wage for their work.