The government’s so-called ‘Workfare’ scheme, whereby the long-term unemployed are forced to take unpaid ‘work experience placements’ or face losing their benefits, appears to have taken a sinister turn, with a young Briton, claiming to be on a placement with a UK aid charity, appearing in a recent ISIS video. In the film, recently released on You Tube, features the young man, dressed in orange robes, pleading for his life as a menacing masked Jihadist stands behind him. “I didn’t want to come to Syria – but they said they’d stop my benefits if I didn’t drive this ambulance for a charity,” he babbles, clearly in a state of panic. “Honestly, I’m not an aid worker, just an unemployed school leaver from Bolton!” For their part, the terror group are claiming that the man is actually a spy, rejecting his claims as being utterly ludicrous. “His story is obviously a desperate lie concocted in the hope of saving his life,” a spokesperson for the Islamic extremists asserted in another video released to social media sites. “No government would be so cruel as to send its young jobless people into a war zone against their will for no pay! His falsehoods have sealed his fate and he will be beheaded!”

Although the captive’s story seems bizarre, his claims are far from unique. “When they said I had to do this placement with a charity, I thought that, at worst, I’d be standing in the rain in the town centre shaking a collection box at disinterested shoppers,” twenty year old Yeovil resident Tom Crock told The Sleaze. “But the next thing I knew, I found myself driving a truck as part of an aid convoy in Syria! It was bloody terrifying, with the Syrian army regularly stopping us at roadblocks, accusing us of smuggling arms to the rebels and threatening to throw us in jail, and crazy Jihadist factions shooting at us! We were under constant threat of kidnap and execution by ISIS insurgents!” Indeed, it is believed that it is the recent spate of beheadings of Western hostages by ISIS which has prompted this recent development in the government’s ‘Workfare’ scheme. “Charities are finding it harder and harder to find volunteers to drive those aid convoys and distribute humanitarian relief in these middle eastern war zones,” Ethan Brawlocks, a campaigner for the rights of the unemployed, explained. “A lot of charities are already participating in the government’s ‘Workfare’ schemes in order to obtain free labour for the activities that none of their regular volunteers will do, so forcing the unemployed to drive their convoys in war zones is the next logical step.”

Whilst Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith was unavailable for comment on these allegations when contacted by The Sleaze, a clerk at our local Job Centre confirmed that, under the rules of ‘Workfare’, it would be possible for a claimant to be forced to take up a ‘work experience’ placement with a charity. “We haven’t had anyone from here sent overseas on charity work, but there are quite a few who have been sent to those dodgy recycling charities,” our source, who wishes to remain anonymous explained. “The fact is that, regardless of the nature of the placement, they really don’t have any choice but to take it up unless they want to lose their benefit payments for at least six months. I mean, it could be shovelling shit or masturbating stallions at a stud farm, but as long as it is legal, the Department regards it as a legitimate work placement which will enhance the claimant’s future employment prospects.” The source conceded that a lack of proper health and safety provisions might give claimants grounds for refusing or terminating a placement. “I know that driving aid convoys in Syria and Iraq sounds dangerous, but really, there’s an element of risk in all workplaces, isn’t there?” they mused. “I mean, you could have a stack of tinned tuna fish fall on you whilst stacking shelves in Tesco – that would really hurt, wouldn’t it? But as long as they are properly supervised, placements with overseas aid charities shouldn’t be any more dangerous than working in a supermarket.”

A former advisor to Employment Minister Esther McVey was more forthright on the subject when contacted by The Sleaze. “For God’s sake, I don’t know what these idle bastards are complaining about,” Dr Peter Barse, currently of the right wing think tank Foundation for a New Order told us. “I ask you, they spend all their time moaning about the regular placements they get put on, complaining that they are demeaning and soul destroyingly menial and dull, then when you offer them something which actually involves doing something vital and exciting, they whinge that it is too dangerous! Christ almighty, not only are they getting free travel overseas, but they are getting paid for it! A lot of the people who usually do this sort of thing are volunteers who do it for free!” Barse believes that those long-term unemployed sent to war zones on placements with overseas aid charities should think themselves lucky. “They are getting amazing work experience which will be sure to open doors for them in the world of paid employment,” he enthused. “I know that if I was a prospective employer, the fact that a job applicant had braved Jihadist maniacs and risked being taken hostage and beheaded would really go in their favour!” With regard to the risks encountered by those on such placements, Barse believes that they have been greatly exaggerated. “Really, how many western aid workers actually get taken by these crazy Muslim extremists? And how many of those are actually beheaded? The worst most suffer is probably a bloody good buggering!” he opined. “If a few of ours do get beheaded, well, it’s unfortunate, but at least it’s all in a good cause. Plus, it helps keep the unemployment figures down.”

Ethan Brawlocks remains unconvinced of any of Barse’s arguments in favour of the scheme. “It just confirms that this government views the unemployed as a source of free labour,” the campaigner told The Sleaze. “But worse than that, it clearly demonstrates that it also views them as being entirely expendable – who cares if some unemployed kid gets his head chopped off by Jihadis? At least it wasn’t a proper aid worker! Nobody will care because the unemployed are just idle scum, the government clearly thinks.” Brawlocks fears that the successful use of the unemployed to man aid convoys in war zones will open the flood gates for further dangerous deployments under duress of the jobless. “What next? Will they be forced to take up placements clearing land mines in Africa?” he pondered. “Or will the government be forcing them to go to Sierra Leone or Liberia to treat Ebola sufferers? After all, it would make for a cost effective foreign aid programme, wouldn’t it?”