Howarth wins victory for volunteers

August 11, 2006 3:33 PM

David Howarth, MP for Cambridge, is today celebrating forcing a change in benefits policy for volunteers.

Mr Howarth's lobbying on behalf of a constituent has forced the Department of Work and Pensions to change their policy so that lunch expenses paid to volunteers will no longer count against their eligibility for benefits. At present expenses received for travel costs and childcare did not count against benefits but any expenses for meals could reduce their eligibility for benefits.

Mr. Howarth commented on the victory:

"I'm thrilled that the Department of Work and Pensions has seen sense and stopped penalising volunteers on benefits. Volunteering in the community is an important way to give back to your local community as well as helping individuals to gain the skills and experience that are so vital in finding work.

David Howarth MP"The expenses which volunteers sometimes receive are not payment but simply to cover their out-of-pocket costs. This should not be held against them when it comes to calculating their benefits. Eating away from home whilst at work is often more expensive than eating at home and so I'm glad that the benefits system will now take that into account. I hope that this will now make it easier for those on benefits to take on volunteer positions."

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