I'm a little confused by the difference in description of "unpaid internship" and "unpaid workfare". A certain Jo Swinson, business minister, has raised the matter of "unpaid internships" stating that the exploitation of interns was a significant problem and an attack on the minimum wage. She has handed to HM Revenue and Customs, a list of over 100 names of companies she believes are indulging in this exploitation, and lots of them are well known household names, no surprise there.
It appears that, anyone who is considered to be "working" under law must be paid the minimum wage. This means that if your are given something specific to do, rather than just "observe", then you are said to be "working", and as stated, under the law you must be paid the minimum wage. So all those on "unpaid workfare" should make it clear that if they are unpaid, then under the law, all they can do is "observe".
Why Jo Swinson should be so concerned about "interns" but not see the same exploitation of those on "workfare" seems a bit a mystery to me. The only difference I can see is that "internship" tends to be voluntary, where as "workfare" is forced. So in this economic system of insanity, it is consider unlawful to be a voluntary "unpaid intern", but it is quite acceptable to be a forced "unpaid workfare" victim.
I assume that both the individuals concerned were unemployed before the either voluntarily became an "unpaid intern" or were forced to become an "unpaid workfare" victim. Come on Jo, take another list of all those exploiting "unpaid workfare" victims and hand that to HM Revenue and Customs along with your existing list of exploiters. They are both doing the same thing, exploiting free labour.