Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/850/20410
From The Socialist newspaper, 1 April 2015
End punitive benefit sanctions now!
A 'die' in was held outside Chesterfield Jobcentre as part of a Unite Community national day of action agianst benefit refusals and sanctions, 19.03.15 , photo by Elaine Evans (Click to enlarge)
"If you commit a crime, no court is allowed to make you go hungry as a punishment. But if you're late for an appointment at the Jobcentre they can remove all your income and leave you unable to feed you or your family for weeks." (Church Action on Poverty)
Last year, over one million people had their benefits sanctioned under this callous government regime. That figure includes 100 people a day who have severe mental health problems.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has recently reviewed 49 cases involving the death of a benefit claimant, but would not say how many cases involved claimants subjected to a sanction.
Darren, a Jobseeker's Allowance claimant from Leicester, has been sanctioned, without proper justification, following a new DWP pilot scheme involving daily signing at a Jobcentre. Darren explains what happened.
"Recently I was forced into daily Jobseeker's Allowance signings at random times. I have now been tripped up. I was ten minutes late to an appointment and have now been sanctioned a full month's benefit. Needless to say, with new council tax and winter fuel bills due I'm up the creek. Regardless, I'm expected to continue with this daily regime without fail.
I want to appeal. It first went to the 'decision makers' who aren't even based in Leicester. I now have to get back to them just to express an interest in appealing before I'm even allowed to commence the procedure!
The most insulting part of this all is that I am digitally logged and proven to be applying for an average of 25 vacancies a week! I have three-hour turnaround in my day to travel and wait on the appointments. It is nothing but a counter-productive hindrance to getting a job.
The sheer disruption of not knowing the time of an appointment from one day until the next is very destabilising. The constant threat of sanctions creates fear and anxiety, which is not conducive to finding work but is guaranteed to promote both deterioration in health and mental state.
I am not a convicted criminal, but I have previously served on workfare for six months! It should also be only fair to further point out this is an attack on civil liberty and basic human rights."
Donate to the Socialist Party
Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
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.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
In The Socialist 1 April 2015:
Socialist Party news and analysis
No cuts to welfare!
Save our schools
How to fight the anti-union laws
NHS funding crisis deepens
End punitive benefit sanctions now!
Them & Us
International socialist news and analysis
South Africa: campaigning for a working class party
Greece: negotiations continue
US: Seattle gets a raise!
Solidarity with Cypriot workers
Tunisia: thousands demonstrate
Kick out rotten MPs and councillors
TUSC set for TV broadcast
School crossing campaigner stands for TUSC
Gloucester College hustings: Scrap all fees
Defend further education
Socialist Party general election appeal 2015
Socialist Party workplace news
Teachers need national action
Unison special conference votes for new pay claim
London bus companies forced into pay talks
Bolton Uni: reinstate Damien and Jenny Markey!
Leeds: Save our train guards
Workplace news in brief
Socialist Party youth and students
Students occupy for free education
Socialist Party comments and reviews
Election 2015 Cameron and Miliband Live
Axing Clause IV: Making Labour safe for capitalism
Working in the NHS: Low pay, cuts and stress
The Great Money Trick: Another World is Possible
The new look Socialist - thumbs up from readers
The Socialist 1 April 2015 |
Join the Socialist
| PDF | ebook