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Stop Starving Volunteers - no such thing as a free lunch

[Be careful with the link. It is a large document (700K) at the DWP website.]

The DWP have decided in their wisdom that there is no such thing as a free lunch for volunteers on benefits. Any volunteer who gets as much as a free cup of tea for lunch will have their benefit cut.

This is the key bit from the link:
Remember, for benefit purposes, a person who is paid for their time isn’t a volunteer. If you get anything more than your expenses, we will treat everything that you get paid as ‘earnings’, but we may still be able to ignore some of your expenses, depending on whatthey are for.
Frequently Asked Questions – Expenses
Q: Why doesn’t my normal lunch count as an expense?
A: Because the amount of Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance you get is already
meant to cover the cost of your basic needs, including lunch.



Lib Dem MP John Hemming, has called upon the government to stop starving volunteers on benefits. Mr Hemming has asked a written question calling for the DWP to allow volunteers to be given lunch by the organisations that they are working for.

"I have been contacted by Age Concern," he said, "because they are shocked that their volunteers are no longer allowed to claim for lunch expenses. I have asked a written question of the department of works and pensions calling for this to be reinstated."

"As far as the tax man is concerned you don't have to pay tax on lunch. However, if you have a cup of tea from Age Concern they will deduct if from your benefits."

"This is bureaucracy gone mad. We need to bring back lunch for volunteers and stop making them starve."

"The fact is that getting lunch whilst you are out of the house is much harder than when you are at home. The money in benefits does not cover these incidental expenses. Minor changes to benefits rules that won't benefit the DWP will considerably undermine voluntary organisations."

ENDS

Receipt of Written Question
e-Tabling email notification:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Your Parliamentary Question(s) have been received.

You have sent 1 question(s) to the table office. This email is to notify you that your Parliamentary Question(s) were received at 11 Jul 2006 11:03 AM and are being processed by the Table Office.

Ordinary Written question to: Department for Work and Pensions for answer on 13/07/2006:
Will the government change the benefits rules to allow volunteers on benefits to be paid the cost of lunch?.

Comments

TonyF said…
So why haven't you signed EDM 2529?
John Hemming said…
I will be signing it. I was, in fact, in Birmingham when I heard about it.

I will probably sign it on Thursday.
TonyF said…
One thing this looney idea about benefit cuts will cause problems with is charities like the Winged Fellowship Trust who rely on a stream of volunteers at their holiday centres. Is the DWP proposing to starve the volunteers for the 14 days they are there? Somebody shoot the author!!!

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