What is ‘workfare’ and where did it come from?

Workfare is a scheme designed by government which forces people to undertake unpaid work. Here we look at what the various workfare schemes entail, where the idea came from, and why some campaigners are fighting the scheme.

Facts

There are five workfare schemes:

  • Mandatory Work Activity – 4 weeks unpaid work for up to 30 hours
  • The Work programme – 6 months long work placements at a cost of £5billion to the taxpayer
  • Community Action Programme – jobseekers referred for up to 30 hours a week for 6 months.
  • Sector-based work academies – placements can last up to 6 weeks.
  • Work experience – 2 to 8 weeks, working up to 30 hours a week.

…Remember, all without pay!

Our interactive timeline shows how we got here. Click the image to open in a new window.

Interactive timeline: Click image to launch

And here’s a Central London protest against the whole scheme earlier this year. Hear the campaigners explain why they’re fighting the scheme.

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