THE GOVERNMENT has bowed to enormous pressure and removed the threat of benefit sanctions from jobseekers who do not wish to complete their placement in an opinion-splitting work experience scheme.
Previously, participants – who work unpaid for eight weeks while continuing to receive jobseeker’s allowance – lost their benefits for two weeks if they dropped out of the programme after a one week probationary period.
But now these sanctions will only apply in cases of gross misconduct such as theft or racist abuse.
Employment minister Chris Grayling called critics of the scheme “misguided” and announced a string of new sign-ups to the programme, including Airbus and HP Enterprise.
But Boots removed some of its stores, saying it was against company policy to join schemes that compel people to work.
According to the government, just 220 of 34,200 participants in January and November were sanctioned for dropping out of the programme early.