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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 January 2015

Benefit sanctions ruin lives

Tyneside Safety Glass strikers join a Unite Comunite protest agianst benefit sanctions, photo Elaine Brunskill

Tyneside Safety Glass strikers join a Unite Comunite protest agianst benefit sanctions, photo Elaine Brunskill   (Click to enlarge)

The target driven use of punitive benefit sanctions on poor people by this government of millionaires is a national disgrace. Even establishment figures like the Archbishop of Canterbury have complained that the sanctions regime and lengthy delays in paying benefits are forcing families to rely on charitable food banks in order to feed themselves.

The Trussell Trust, which campaigns against poverty, reckons that over 500,000 families have had to use food banks over the last year - a number that is expected to rise due to the new vicious austerity measures of this government, and for that matter, whichever mainstream party or parties form the next government in May.

This sanctions policy, which can be applied to claimants for minor infringements such as being late for an interview, has even led to at least 60 suicides.

The letter opposite, received just before Christmas, underscores the unfairness of the Department for Work and Pensions in hounding claimants.


Con-Dems benefit fact fraud - tax, avoided, evaded and uncollected, photo  Socialist Party

Con-Dems benefit fact fraud - tax, avoided, evaded and uncollected, photo Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

"The job centre in Huddersfield told my son that his Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) claim will be cancelled. He will have to make a fresh claim taking weeks to process. His crime was to take a sick day while working on a voluntary basis for Poundland in Huddersfield.

Sean was working 30 hours a week for no money in the vain hope that it might lead to him getting a job at Poundland. Apparently he'd had more than two sick days during the year so was subject to this cruel benefit sanction.

He has no possessions as these were pawned after a previous benefit sanction when his JSA was suspended for two months for being late to an appointment at the local job centre. During his last sanction my son went days without eating as he used the meagre food supplies he had to feed his dog.

My son has been sanctioned four times by the local job centre which is victimisation and harassment. How is he supposed to survive over the Christmas period with no income? His family will give him money and food to survive or he would starve."

Dylan Murphy

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 7 January 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Bankers get bonuses... workers get the boot

2015: Deepening crisis - build the fightback!

NHS crisis: Government cuts to blame - not patients

Benefit sanctions ruin lives

'Election fever' - working class alternative needed

Scottish Labour leadership: more of the same

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: towards a Syriza government?


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

The battle for Sedgehill school

Stealing school fields? It's child's play

Socialist Students campaigning reports

Appeal to readers: cash needed to fight the cuts

Join the Socialists to fight for rent control


Socialist Party workplace news

Save the jobs of City Link workers

Barbour workers strike against worse conditions

London bus drivers to strike for single contract

Workplace news in brief


Readers' comments

State of the arts

Why I'm backing TUSC

Defending working class history


 

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Related links:

Benefits:

triangleUniversal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

triangleFight for safety, staffing and services - Covid chaos for benefits claimants

trianglePCS union demands better deal for benefits claimants

triangleCoronavirus - a workers charter 2020

triangleNew BBC series - Insight or whitewash?

Sanctions:

triangleLib Dems backed benefit sanctions to win 5p carrier bag charge

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleUN slams Tories for disabled rights ruin

triangleUnion day of action slams benefit sanctions

Food:

trianglePrivate firm causes weeks of delay to free school meal vouchers: bring it back in-house!

trianglePPE shortages: "I feel so bloody angry"

triangleWakefield Socialist Party: Food supply and the coronavirus crisis

Government:

triangleSchools aren't safe

triangleChinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests

JSA:

triangleDWP to outsource more work to Capita

Claimants:

triangleFraudsters thrive and claimants suffer in despicable Universal Credit scam

Banks:

triangleThem & Us

Food Banks:

triangleUniversal credit causes 24m rent arrears

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