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Welfare Grunters and Workfare Monsters? An Empirical Review of the Operation of Two UK ‘Work Programme’ Centres



Workfare increases requirements on welfare claimants: a major shift in UK social welfare policy post-1980s. Political, academic and cultural debates surround the ethical basis, and practical operations, of workfare schemes. Moreover, the UK government has claimed that workfare provides value for money in an age of austerity, ‘help and support’ for the long-term unemployed, and ‘incentives’ for increased claimant job-seeking. This article presents results gathered from sociological research into the UK's ‘Work Programme’ workfare scheme in order to contextualise these debates and contribute to wider academic and social policy workfare analyses. It finds a complex picture: a largely pointless scheme, resented by many participants, but providing a basic social service for some others.



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Journal of Social Policy
  • ISSN: 0047-2794
  • EISSN: 1469-7823
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