Cameron in Attack on 'Anti-Business' Critics of Workfare Scheme
Byline: James Chapman Political Editor
BRITAIN is in the grip of 'dangerous' and 'snobbish' anti-business hysteria, David Cameron will warn today.
In a passionate defence of the 'inherent moral worth' of enterprise, he will pour scorn on critics who have attacked Tesco and other firms for taking part in a Government-led work experience scheme.
The programme asks young benefits claimants to volunteer for placements that might lead to a full-time job. 'Put a young person into college for a month's learning, unpaid - and it's hailed as a good thing.
'Put a young person into a supermarket for a month's learning, unpaid - and it's slammed as slave labour,' Mr Cameron will declare.
The Prime Minister will use an appearance with the Prince of Wales to launch his most outspoken attack to date on critics who argue company executives are 'out for themselves'.
'We have got to fight this mood with all we've got,' Mr Cameron will say, describing business as 'the most powerful force for social progress the world has ever known'.
There has been growing concern among business leaders over what some see as increasing anti-business rhetoric from the Labour Party - and from Government. Amid widespread controversy, Stephen Hester, the chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, bowed to pressure and waived his [pounds sterling]963,000 bonus - and Labour has pressed for a further crackdown on bank bonuses.
Now Tesco has been forced to agree to pay benefits claimants on the 'workfare' scheme following protests outside its shops by campaigners who have called it 'slave labour'.
Other leading High Street names, including Argos and Burger King, are also said to be reviewing their involvement in the programme. So far, more than 34,000 18-to-24-year-olds have volunteered for work experience and around half have come off benefits as a result.
At Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, Mr Cameron said: 'Let us be clear: this is not a compulsory scheme, but one that young people ask to go on. …