Some people on the government’s welfare to work scheme are being pushed into pretending to be self-employed so that private firms can make money.
The programme uses firms to get people off unemployment benefits—and the firms are paid by results.
BBC’s 5 Live spoke to some of the people on the scheme.
Among them was Joanna, who has been out of work for several years.
She was encouraged to set up her own gardening business.
As a single parent she would need to work 16 hours per week in order to be eligible for working family tax credit.
But her adviser hinted that the rules can be stretched.
“It was suggested to me that in the winter—when I have a down season and I would probably have no hours work a week—that I could invent the whole 16 hours a week, which I think is totally unacceptable,” she said.
“I think that they are probably quite desperate to get people into work and off jobseeker’s allowance so that they get paid.”
Firms involved in the work programme get paid for every person sent to them by Jobcentre Plus.
But they get more money if someone finds a job and stays in it for six months.