David Cameron has finally turned his attention to "volunteers" - he would give them 3 days PAID leave from their corporations to engage with volunteering in his idea for the "Big Society". People going back to work under the welfare reforms get a monthly increment for a year, personal tax allowance to £10,500 plus the possibility of claiming working tax credits if their wage is low pay. But some people are engaging in the welfare reforms and doing volunteering, ie unpaid work, and receive nothing extra in their benefits to do so. They may even be loosing benefits as they recover or as austerity measures and being pushed into poverty. What I would like to see political parties do, as part of the welfare reforms agenda and as part of the Big Society/Third Sector Charities joined up government, is to engage with the long-term unemployed through volunteering and the DWP pay an increased Benefit for "unpaid" work. Something for something eg,- £25 for 4 hours; £50 for 8 hours; £75 for 12 hours and £100 for 16 hours plus. Maximum being £100 per week. A person on benefits is allowed to earn £100 approx as "permitted work" and keep their benefits - so the DWP could easily pay our something for something as a benefit for those who do work for no pay: its still work. (For those who want to be altruistic, then have a tick box on a form to not claim). The proposal would lift a lot of people out of poverty, could also cover pensioners and is especially beneficial for people with disabilities who may lose their DLA/PIP and Severe Disability Allowance as their circumstances change and they recover. If folks cannot get a paid job, then they may be able to get an unpaid job. The DWP already collects data on volunteers, so there should not be much infrastructure needed on issue. Fair society please. Why is this important? There is a gap in service provision. Not everyone can get paid employment. Need incentive to engage in "unpaid" employment. People loosing benefits and being pushed into poverty with no way to "replace" or "increase" benefits. Something for something. Some people may be volunteer trapped, ie can get volunteer job but cant get paid job.
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