There has been some publicity about Sanctions from the Job Centre recently and this kinda got me thinking about a couple of things. First in a caring compassionate country, allegedly, is it correct to even have sanctions in the first place and second what is the result of them and do you agree.
Some reasons people have been sanctioned:
You get a job interview. It’s at the same time as your job centre appointment, so you reschedule the job centre. You attend your rearranged appointment and then get a letter saying your benefits will be stopped because going to a job interview isn’t a good enough reason to miss an appointment.
Source: Daily Mail
You work for 20 years and then miss a job centre appointment because you haven’t had the process clearly explained. You are sanctioned for 3 weeks.
Source: Councillor John O’Shea
You get a job that starts in two weeks time. You don’t look for work while you are waiting for the job to start. You’re sanctioned.
Source: The Guardian
You miss your job centre appointment as it clashes with your work programme interview. You get sanctioned.
Source: Citizens Advice Bureau
According to the DWP, there were 553,000 sanctions between November 2012 (the first full month of the new regime) and June 2013, compared with 499,000 from November 2011 to June 2012.
The new JSA sanctions regime from DWP, came into effect on 22 October 2012 has the following sanctions as listed by them:
•higher level sanctions (for example for leaving a job voluntarily) will lead to claimants losing all of their JSA for a fixed period of 13 weeks for a first failure, 26 weeks for a second failure and 156 weeks for a third and subsequent failure (within a 52 week period of their last failure)
•intermediate level sanctions of 4 weeks for a first failure, rising to 13 weeks for a second or subsequent failures (within a 52 week period of their last failure) may be applied following a period of disallowance for not actively seeking employment or not being available for work
•lower level sanctions (for example for failing to attend an adviser interview) will lead to claimants losing all of their JSA for a fixed period of 4 weeks for the first failure, followed by 13 weeks for subsequent failures (within a 52 week period of their last failure)
It doesn’t take a lot to have your starvation money stolen from you at all and as The Courier reported recently this seems to be a new sport here in Dundee : Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions show 2,420 people from Dundee had their Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) payments stopped temporarily for not doing enough to find work, turning down jobs offered to them or failing to turn up for appointments.
The results of sanctions on people as reported by libcom:
“Others experienced more severe financial impacts, with problems paying for food, heating and electricity. These impacts were described by people experiencing an Income Support reduction as well as the 100% Jobseeker’s Allowance sanction. They described buying less or cheaper food or missing meals, and occasionally reported going without food for periods of time. Offenders reported that they had also cut back on or gone without heating or lighting for periods. ‘Without that money they were taking off me, I couldn’t run my fire, I was going without gas and electric.’ (Female, 19, CRO, Sanctioned, IS 40%)
There were also reports of living circumstances becoming more unstable because of the sanction. Offenders who lived with their parents said they had been threatened with being thrown out, or told to leave, because they were unable to contribute to their board during the sanction. Offenders living in rented accommodation also described being unable to pay rent due, above Housing Benefit. There were reports of being threatened with eviction (none had actually been evicted), and falling into arrears.
Offenders had also been unable to pay outstanding fines from previous offences, or fines imposed for the breach for which they had been sanctioned, and some received a summons to court or were threatened with repossession. There were other outstanding loans on which people had not been able to make repayments, such as Crisis Loans, informal loans from family or friends, and a debt owed to drug dealers.Add in all this to the bedroom tax (single room subsidy), changes to DLA and also to incapacity benefit, as they existed, and what we have is an attack on virtually every poor and elderly group in society. Not to mention how this impacts on children and young people. Now some people will argue that you should not get dole money, the lowest in the industrial world in the UK, to sit on your arse. You should have to get a job, but are there jobs that will pay enough to live on.
No this is about attacking the very fabric of our society, this is about the state breaking the social contract with its people. We should be supporting people into work, trying to increase life’s chances and promoting positive decision-making but this is not that. What we see here is the continual drift back to the Victorian age, to levels of poverty not seen in 175 years. This is an attack by the wealthy to make you slaves, they want unemployment to keep wages down and industrial unrest a thing of the past, they want you frightened so you will do exactly as you are told by them and I suppose the younger you die the cheaper it will be while tax for the wealthy will keep going down. I hope that Unionists are happy with this state of affairs as it is going to get worse, a lot worse, and you know what, none of us know what is around the corner and it could be you and your family next.
Better Together my arse, VOTE YES IN 2014.