Most people forced to seek out foodbanks have had their benefits ‘sanctioned’, often for no just reason

Osborne and IDS (both members of the Nasty Party, and each as nasty as the other) have under the new rules announced at the Tory conference put thousands of young people into a double bind leading in many cases to destitution.   With 200,000 long-term unemployed now targeted by Osborne (the same who gave 40,000 millionaires a ta break of more than £2,000 a week), the longer a person is out of work, the tougher the rules become and the more punitive for even the slightest infringement, even ones that are the fault of the DWP and not of the jobless person himself.   The consequent ‘sanctioning’, i.e. removing benefits for a lengthy period, is now the prime cause of destitution in Britain today.   I give a few examples (all names removed) of those who have recently applied to my office at their wits’ end and in desperate poverty:

John (not his real name) told us that since he last worked 2 months previously, he had received no benefit payments, even though he had a wife and two small children (7 months and 3 years) to support.   He says when he attended the Jobcentre he was told to phone for an appointment (everything has to be done by phone or on line).   He says he did this, gave all his details and was promised he would be sent a letter, but came to us in distress when he failed to get an appointment to sign on.   The local Jobcentre said they had no record of him applying.    We asked them to look into his case urgently and referred him to the Foodbank because he and his family were destitute.

Michael notified the Jobcentre in person and on the benefit enquiries hotline of his change of address, yet a sanction was imposed as he failed to attend a meeting.   He was not notified of the meeting because the letter was sent to his previous address, which was his mother’s house.   At that time he wasn’t on speaking terms with his mother and couldn’t obtain the letters.   He was however receiving correspondence at his new address.   Clearly the DWP made a mistake, but nevertheless imposed a sanction without checking and he was left without benefit through no fault of his own.

Jimmy was sanctioned for failing to turn up to a work training scheme with Seetec.   He says he did turn up and Seetec admitted as much, explaining the mistake was an error on their system.   But he was told this was insufficient evidence and was not allowed to claim a hardship payment because his wife was working.   Yet the family were at risk of losing their home due to financial hardship.

Andrew was sanctioned for 1 week for turning up late for an appointment.   he was 5 minutes late for his jobseeker’s direction meeting as a result of problems with his bicycle.   We asked for a reconsideration on the grounds that the man had never been late before, did turn up for the meeting, explained in detail why he was late, and had evidence that he was actively seeking work.

This is not about ensuring people get work; this is a form of gratuitous class-based persecution for which Osborne and IDS deserve to lose this jobs.

13 thoughts on “Most people forced to seek out foodbanks have had their benefits ‘sanctioned’, often for no just reason

  1. One of the problems with tackling this kind of persecution is public opinion. A significant number of people have been conned into detesting the unemployed and are happy to see them ground down. For every 1000 unemployed people desperately seeking work we have a story in the Daily Mail of one person defrauding the system. We have a situation now where society is fighting with itself, through envy, prejudice and bitterness all the way to the bottom.

  2. The people of this country should be ashamed of themselves. People should be out on the streets holding rallies and making the defacto govt accountable at what it has done to the most vulnerable. It is a disgrace that a supposedly civilised society can treat people like this.

  3. My friend was sanctioned because he was given xmas day as the date to sign on. He actually went to the job centre a 12 mile cycle ride missing his family xmas dinner just in case it was open to catch people out.

    Obviously it was shut so he attended the job centre the next day it was open and was told he was going to be sanctioned for not attending the signing day. He tried to explain and show the date they had written for him was xmas day but the advisor said to him that it wasn’t his problem and he could appeal.

    He appealed expecting common sense to show that he could not physically sign on in a building that was shut on the date that he was given. Astonishingly he received their decision that they upheld the sanction as he did not show a good reason for non attendance. He was put on intense job search daily for 2 months and spoken to like rubbish.

    When he questioned why he was being treated so badly his advisor said they could make him come in everyday of the year if he didn’t stop moaning and if they say jump he should say how high.

    He felt suicidal after a month as they kept making him apply for jobs he didn’t have qualifications for and then they told him off for not successfully getting an interview.

    He is now on antidepressants and under the mental health team. They have destroyed his self confidence and have him applying for 35 jobs a week or will sanction him again.

    Thank you for helping to highlight the real truth and reality of living in the U.K under the non elected con-dem government. It is a shame only a few MPs have your morals and passion for the truth.

  4. We may find in the very near future that peaceful protests in the form of marches and rallies will be made illegal.

  5. Are they the nasty party as they are stopping you lot of incompetent idiots from destroying the country. You had 13 years to do something, just anything. Instead you couldn’t even hold a piss up in a brewery without knifing each other in the back. Even whilst unelected spin master alastair campbell was drunk.

  6. There are two issues I want to raise. (1) John got no joy by telephoning JCP and the only other means of getting through was using the internet- he could go to his local library. Imagine then if John had severe sight loss and could not use the internet at all. I have heard of people being excluded from making appointments because, despite the Equality Act, JCP, the DWP and Atos do not consider appropriate formats for people with sensory loss. For anybody to be sanctioned because of official error is despicable.
    (2) MPs should seriously consider cropping their own privileges:it is obscene that an MP can have up to £15 subsidy for one meal when people like John have to be referred to a food bank. Consider too the cancelled 1% pay rise for NHS workers that was due in April- £10 a month on average.

  7. Nicholas, I understand your comment. But do so called laws get passed by asking the people of this country? No they do not. When I do not consent to something I do not see it as enforceable upon me. I will never consent to any laws made by man which are meant to harm me. I am adult and can live peacefully, and I do not need government telling me what to do and I will never let it tell me what to do. Only my creator has that power.

  8. Karen, MP’s are the biggest scroungers in this country. They are public servants and whilst many have lost jobs etc MP’s want a pay rise. As public servants they are accountable to us and yet the people of this country let them get away with many things. The bottom line is this. The people of this country are to blame for the way government and MP’s (a few are ok like Michael)behave and treat us. They are our servants not the other way round.

  9. I agree Redmakka. We need to stick the Nolan principles under their noses too and remind them their conduct (unbecoming in many cases) is under constant scrutiny.

  10. Why does it not surprise me that Seetec is mentioned. They sanction people for no reason like turning up when they are meant to but Justine is akin to god and wields the sanction with no thought to hardship. Apparently signing in and out as well as doing your job search there instead of the library is irrelevant. Would say Christmas is cancelled this year but that went prior. Baa Humbug. No food, no heating, no life sorry to the 6 year old who will suffer. Get a job – sorry I cant because I am not an imigrant.

  11. I have Grand Mal Epilepsy and I have full blown seizures (several have left me with permanent scars). I got a letter from them Atos tossers and their “assessments” are a joke. One of the questions was what kind of TV shows do I like? How that is relevant is beyond me. It was almost like she was just trying to pass the time. I pointed out the scars from my seizures & explained how I got them but she barely seemed interested. This country is getting more like Nazi Germany as time goes on. I’m not racist, but it seems like you only get on in the UK if you are an immigrant or a Muslim. The current dictatorship would love it if all sick people either died or left the country. To them we’re not humans with rights, just numbers on a computer screen. The current system makes me almost ashamed to be British. Is this what so many died for in two world wars? Makes me sick. And letting a new PM in without a vote? Don’t even get me started on that. Where are our rights?

  12. I was made unemployed for 2 months when my employer was forced into bankruptcy following “strategic reforms” by the government. I have worked for over 38 years, paying a considerable part of my salary into government coffers and assumed (stupidly) that the process of claiming benefit would be straightforward. The long telephone conversation with a nameless moron proved to be a total waste of time as, when I finally received my appointment two weeks later, the information at the jobcentre bore little relationship to the details provided on the telephone. My “adviser” demanded to know my plans for employment and was non too happy when I pointed out that perhaps he would care to do the job he was paid for and advise me of the options. Who employs there people? The system would work far better if these idiots were sacked and replaced by unemployed people because then there would be real understanding of the physical and mental stigma of those trying to claim.

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