Burger King quits government scheme
Burger King has announced it has pulled out of the Government's controversial work experience scheme.
The fast food giant said it had decided to cease its involvement in the Get Britain Working programme because of recent concerns expressed by the public.
The scheme has attracted growing criticism in recent weeks with opponents describing it as a form of "slave labour" because youngsters worked for nothing, while keeping their benefits.
Burger King said it had intended to take on youngsters on work experience at its Slough headquarters but had not recruited anyone for the scheme.
It said in a statement: "Burger King United Kingdom Ltd registered for the voluntary Get Britain Working work experience programme six weeks ago, with the intention of providing work experience at our HQ in Slough. Since then we have not recruited anyone for this scheme. Given the recent concerns expressed by the public we have decided to no longer have any involvement in the programme."
Supermarket giant Tesco this week offered to pay people on the scheme and asked ministers to remove the threat of benefit sanctions against those not completing their work experience.
Retail giant Poundland has reportedly withdrawn from the scheme after voicing similar concerns about its mandatory element.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling defended the scheme on Friday, saying that half of those who joined it after the launch 11 weeks ago had now found a job, often with companies which offered them work experience. He added that offering youngsters work experience, with the chance of a job at the end, was better than "simply leaving them" on benefits.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions added: "We do not have a national agreement with Burger King for work experience - they were possibly going to take a handful of people at their Slough HQ but no-one has actually taken part.
"While Burger King might have taken a handful of young people, campaigners need to think carefully about whether their actions are really in the interests of the young people who will now be denied the opportunity to gain valuable experience."