Mind will take part in work experience scheme after benefits guarantee

The mental health charity was concerned that young people would lose their benefits if they dropped out of the scheme


Mental health charity Mind has said it is willing to take part in the government’s work experience scheme after ministers agreed not to dock benefits from young people who drop out of placements.

Several charities, including Marie Curie Cancer Care, Mind, Oxfam, Scope and Shelter either ended or suspended their involvement in the scheme amid concern that participants could lose their benefits if they pulled out of placements after a week.

Some private companies also withdrew.

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said people on the scheme, which provides work experience placements for 16 to 24-year-olds claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, could now end their placements at any time without losing benefits. The decision was made after a meeting with employers.

Mind, which said earlier this month that it would end any work experience placements in the organisation undertaken by claimants in fear of losing their benefits, said it would now be willing to take people on the scheme.

A spokesman for the charity said: "We wanted to make sure that, for anyone in a voluntary role in any part of Mind, their placement was not mandatory."

He added that other government programmes still required claimants to do work placements in order to get benefits, and this remained a concern.

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