Plans introduced today by the Department for Work and Pensions have been heavily criticised by the former Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain MP who argues they will affect the poorest in Welsh society and are further evidence on the punitive attitudes of the DWP.
Beginning this morning, individuals who receive Job Seekers Allowance and are considered long-term unemployed will have to register with their local Job Centre Plus on a daily basis if they want to keep receiving their social welfare.
However, the plan has already run into a growing body of criticism from leading charities such as Oxfam who claim that you cannot force people to volunteer and will be boycotting the programme altogether to demonstrate their disapproval.
Mr Hain said: “I find it astonishing that the government have gone through with these proposals, it just demonstrates how far out of touch with the daily conditions of people’s lives and the plight of those who are looking for work.”
“In my Neath constituency, which covers a large area in South Wales, the DWP are forcing some of my constituents to spend over half of their Job Seeker’s Allowance payment on just getting to the job centre in the first place, were you to travel from Glynneath to Neath on the bus everyday for a week it could cost you £37, JSA is normally around £55-£65.”
“Today we learn that the long-term unemployed are going to be forced into voluntary work, for which they will not get paid, and if they do not work, the state will stop giving them the pittance which many rely on. Failure to attend these meetings will result in a sanction, it is a vicious circle with only the poor suffering, how is this still social welfare?”
“This is just another effort by the DWP to save money by harming those who do not have a voice, it is the poorest in society who will suffer the most from this.”
“In places like South Wales and the North of England it still will not make a difference, if all of the jobs are in the South East of England then my constituents cannot be helped, we have already seen this with the failure of Ian Duncan Smith’s Work Programme, the only region to benefit was London, everywhere else it was a failure.”
“The cost of living crisis continues and the government pretend it has not happened and worse that it is not happening on their watch.”