No desk to call my own: who exactly has “poverty of aspiration” round here?


Another day, another story about the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) “workfare” schemes, where people are made to work at any old job for their state benefits, rather than being paid a wage. We already knew that forcing people into this kind of programme does not lead to improved levels of employment; today’s story is even more disheartening. A survey carried out by Mind found that for people with mental health issues, workfare actually makes it harder for them to become “work ready”, since 83% of participants stated that using the programme had actually made their mental health worse.

It is clear that as far as the Government’s ideas about “improving employability” are concerned there is an over-reliance on the idea that simple barriers stop people who are disabled by mental health conditions from working. Pretty much all the DWP schemes I’ve read about assume that we don’t…

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