Thousands of #Workfare Conscripts to be refunded £2 million pounds for benefit sanctions, that breached their Human Rights. @boycottworkfare

[Media coverage: Mirror + Twitter]

DWP confirms it will be refunding Workfare Conscripts just £2 million pounds of  benefit sanctions to “3789-4305 individuals“, that breached their Human Rights during 2011-2013. The refunds should be more like £130 million [1] for all the 231,000 conscripts that experienced penury for refusing to be subjected to the DWP’s morally repugnant forced-labour [2] schemes.

“Slavery is forced labour. It makes no difference whether that force is the fear of death by violence or the fear of death by starvation. Calling forced labour ‘workfare’ may make it sound better, but it is still slavery”
Dr Simon Duffy 27/02/2013 – ‘Workfare Is Modernised Slavery‘ – Huffington Post

You can submit your views on these limited DWP refund plans to the Human Rights Committee by Tuesday 4 September 2018. (submission form)

“To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice”?
Magna Carta (1215)

[ Benefit Sanctions Must Be Stopped Without Exceptions in UK & Benefit Sanctions: Pre-election policies of @UKlabour and @LibDems ]


[1] 2013 #workfare views: “Again, I support the principle of a sanctions regime. If somebody consistently fails to turn up for work experience or a Work programme scheme, sanctions should be applied…
by @Debbie_abrahams “Tackling inequalities, fighting injustice” “Tackling”?

The Bill is being introduced to save the taxpayer up to £130 million, yet it deprives the most vulnerable people who have been on workfare and are looking to better themselves in employment. It has been introduced to deny £130 million compensation to 300,000 people who would like decent employment with decent wages, terms and conditions. The Government have introduced emergency legislation to prevent those people from getting only what the Court of Appeal says they deserve. That is an absolute outrage.”

Average sanction £550 x 231,000 claimants = £127 million
Government was due to cough up an average of £550 to 231,000 illegally punished people
Independent – 20 March 2013: ‘Workfare: Why did so many Labour MPs accept this brutal, unforgivable attack on vulnerable people?

[2] Forced or compulsory labour is all work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.
International Labour Organization Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29).

Some background:  ‘Full list of 263 MPs who voted to deny Workfare Conscripts £130Million benefit sanctions refunds, for breaches of their Human Rights

#Workfare: illegal benefit sanctions a breach of human rights, a “terrifying threat to civil liberty” and @UKLabour’s support for this “brutal, unforgivable attack on vulnerable people”

DWP minister Alok Sharma announces a Remedial Order[1] to amend the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013, which the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) will scrutinise. This concerns 231,000 claimants and the Cait Reilly and Jamie Wilson Poundland workfare litigation and forced-labour conscripts being illegally punished with an average of £550 of benefit sanctions. The Supreme Court found sanctioned benefit claimants did not get the right to a fair hearing to challenge sanctions and therefore the DWP breached of Article 6 (Fair Trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

This highlights a dark day in Labour Party history when it had supported Tory and Libdem retrospective legislation to deny claimants the right to be repaid illegally sanctioned benefits.

“The Government has effectively declared that it is above the law. “The precedent is a terrifying threat to civil liberty,” says classical liberal think-tank Civitas. “The entire concept of ‘Rule of Law’ is undermined as soon as the government starts to cover its back like this.”
Owen Jones: ‘Workfare: Why did so many Labour MPs accept this brutal, unforgivable attack on vulnerable people?’Independent – Wednesday 20 March 2013

The JCHR scrutiny and a Remedial Order will probably only mean a “small” number of claimants that “had” lodged a “live appeal” against workfare sanctions should get a refund, despite the retrospective law seeking to deny such. Rather than the 231,000 affected by the illegal sanctions.

“The proposed draft Remedial Order ensures the right to a fair hearing for a small group of job seekers who had a live appeal against a sanction decision made under the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Schemes) Regulations 2011 (“the ESE Regulations”) when the 2013 Act came into force. It enables the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to change this sanction decision and refund the amount withheld, without those affected individuals having to continue with their appeal.”
Jobseeker’s (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013: Written statement – HCWS807 – 28 June 2018

Join Boycott Workfare‘s campaign against forced-unpaid-labour and sign up to Keep Volunteering Voluntary.


[1] “A remedial order is a form of delegated legislation which seeks to correct a miscalculation or imbalance between UK law and the European Convention on Human Rights.”
Original post:

*“Our current estimate is that the overall amount that may fall to be paid by
refunding relevant sanction amounts is in the region of £1.69-1.87 million, again this
is an initial estimate and subject to change” (emphasis added)