Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Call for Inquiry in Benefit Sanctions.

with 54 comments

Nearly every time I go into the local Job Centre I hear about sanctions, people complaining, staff asking their colleagues what they should do to sanction somebody.

So it’s no surprise that this letter in today’s Guardian caught my eye,


Call an inquiry into benefit sanctions

Your report about targets for benefit sanctions makes disturbing reading (Whistleblower says DWP staff given targets to stop benefits, 10 December). The Department for Work and Pensions recently announced that there were 553,000 benefit sanctions between November 2012, when the new sanctions regime started, and June 2013. This is an extraordinarily high rate and compares with an average of 300,000 a year between 2001 and 2210, according to the New Policy Institute.

Sanctions have been a necessary feature of the National Insurance system since its inception, but recently they have become far too prevalent. They often deprive people of financial support for trivial reasons – eg a blind man for not going after a cleaning job, or a man who failed to sign on when he was on a DWP training programme. A survey by Greater Manchester Citizens Advice found that two-thirds of those sanctioned were left without any income. The rapid expansion offood banks is partly due to benefit sanctions.

As a former senior manager of UK jobcentre services, I am sure that the present high rates are driven from the top in some way by performance management systems. Are ministers unaware of the vast literature about the demoralising effects of prolonged unemployment? Sanctions on this scale increase debt, demoralisation and despair and make people less rather than more job ready. Ian Duncan Smith should agree to the proposal from Church Action on Poverty, the Trussell Trust and the Child Poverty Action Group for a wide-ranging independent inquiry into benefit sanctions and their effects.
David Price




Written by Andrew Coates

December 12, 2013 at 4:34 pm

54 Responses

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  1. What show compassion and mercy but I would not be able to partake int he sanctions celebrations with good conscience.

    More importantly I wouldn’t get my Easter egg. Ummm chocolate , where is my rubber stamp.

    Sanction!, Sanction!


    December 12, 2013 at 9:02 pm

  2. Makes you wonder what the 23rd onwards will be like, will they get double job security if they sanction someone over Christmas and new years eve ?


    December 13, 2013 at 8:37 am

  3. Dear All,

    I would strongly urge you all to look at refuted http://refuted.org.uk/

    They have taken up where consent.me left off. They have two hot pages, which will be of interest to you all. They are:

    Jobcentre Rights

    Universal Jobmatch

    jj joop

    December 13, 2013 at 9:25 am

  4. Universal Jobmatch and benefit conditionality

    91. Universal Jobmatch will be a key performance enabler in terms of making sure benefit is
    only paid to claimants who are entitled to receive it.

    Funny, I thought it was for claimants to find work?

    More proof that UJ is a mere beating stick tool purely designed to attack claimants for the smallest of reasons.




    December 13, 2013 at 11:37 am

  5. Want to know laws about the use of cookies on a system, want to know what DWP are to scared to tell you ?


    Rather hear it from the horses mouth


    Scroll to regulation 6 (that’s the one without these brackets ()) and look at subsection (3)


    December 13, 2013 at 11:38 am

    • As I said Gaia, I hear staff at Ipswich – who are generally okay – talking about sanctions. I get the impression many of them don’t know the rules either.

      Andrew Coates

      December 13, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      • Ied like to say they don’t but their micro gestures all to often suggest otherwise as its easy to spot a person creating something rather than drawing from memory when you know how.


        December 17, 2013 at 11:46 am

      • Is it eyes to the top right for memory?


        December 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      • Up left for memory and right for creation but this in itself isn’t enough cues Ed.


        December 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm

  6. Does anyone know what the term “annual hours” means on Universal Jobmatch?

    It usually says full-time or part-time when describing the hours to be worked each week, but now quite recently this new vague term is emerging.

    Why don’t they just list the simple NUMBER of hours to be worked each week, instead of using baffling WORDS which serve only to confuse the Jobseeker.

    This is likely designed to bewilder and confuse you – you might even get sanctioned if you hesitate to apply for such a vacancy!!!


    December 13, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    • They are now using the term “annual hours” because of zero hour contracts.


      December 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      • Ed

        Very devious of them!

        They’re obviously covering-up the controversial zero-hours contract jobs!

        Annual hours/zero hours. Why don’t they go back to real hours – and real jobs and real wages?!!


        December 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm

  7. Methinks they should as Tobanem Says Say So Many Hours For So Much Pay. BTW has anybody else noticed that the average DAILY WAGE is £71 PW The JSA for a week is £71. Does that mean the ammount the law says you need to live on £71. Is that for the DAY or WEEK. That’s go to be a oximorion IDS wont give us a rise


    December 13, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    • If the minimum amount the LAW defines a person needs to live on is £71 PW while on JSA. Then how are sanctions lawful. if you only receive 60% of it with a hardship payment?

      Has anyone raised this questioned?


      December 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      • Ed

        Good point.

        There have been people on here before using that logic in relation to the bedroom tax. The bedroom tax has to be paid for out of Jobseekers Allowance, which as you point out, is the minimum the law says an unemployed person needs to live on!

        The same logic can be extended to the Council Tax which is no longer paid at 100% to unemployed claimants.


        December 13, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      • The law states this is the amount you need to live on…. Yeah, as long as you follow ze orders! Schnell!

        I’ve raised this question a dozen times, the drones just malfunction and ignore the question.
        The decent ones completely agree, but what can they do – as decent advisers – to change things? Not much!

        The law? What’s that then? Lol.

        Mr No

        December 13, 2013 at 5:26 pm

  8. Sorry Dail Wage shiould read DAILY WAGE £71.PD NOT PW


    December 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm

  9. An EU diplomat said Mr Duncan Smith would need some “good lawyers”.


    the speak english or lose benefits has emerged again,its hard to see him getting away with it.

    the uk has become increasingly isolated,the abuse of claimants’,third class citizens has brought nothing but turmoil and anger at the unfairness in what is a supposed democracy.


    December 13, 2013 at 5:13 pm

  10. Protest at Archway/Holloway Jobcentre Plus. Manager removes Occupied Times infographics about Workfare & Bedroom Tax.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 13, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    • Typical DWP Automaton!

      jj joop

      December 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    • Did the person who put them up escape a sanction


      December 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      • We all went to different places.


        December 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    • Wonder if she’s been moved yet


      January 16, 2014 at 3:28 pm

  11. Work fitness tests are ‘confrontational’ – review



    December 14, 2013 at 9:17 am

  12. Now the unemployed are being exported to cut the welfare bill:


    Compare this with “transportation” of old. Next stop Botany Bay!


    December 14, 2013 at 10:34 am

  13. Annos

    December 14, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    • I really wonder about London house prices. How on earth does anybody afford them?

      I see my old homeland, Bounds Green, is still described as this in the Guardian yesterday,

      “Bounds Green is ordinary north London, like wot even Muswell Hill used to be: an endangered species these days.”


      Andrew Coates

      December 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      • I used to live in Northolt. The same goes for there too. A house in the road I used to live in ”Reading Road” has just sold for £350k. A similar property in Ipswich £195k

        Northolt Boy

        December 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      • Events…

        Three bed semi in Harrow…

        1974…£80,000…Yes it was 1974.
        What price now ?.


        December 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm

  14. Well we are not quite there yet but when the ballot box fails and there is no access to justice through the courts, then its time to take up the rifle and the label of terrorist be damned. Im never touching my forelock to anyone.

    In my area no matter how I vote I do not get someone who represents me


    December 15, 2013 at 1:40 am

  15. Annos

    December 15, 2013 at 9:54 pm

  16. “Spanish activists looted supermarkets to aid the needy”


    December 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm

  17. The working poor: Westminster discredited – George Osborne’s frenzied wielding of the axe on ‘welfare’ extends to benefits that do not yet exist



    December 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm

  18. Petition – http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/58217

    Calls for independent inquiry

    Michael Moulding

    December 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm

  19. “SWP crisis: who is saying what”


    I have for many a year thought that SWP was infiltrated at the top by members of the security forces, these people can make things happen. Strange is it not that all this has happened when for the first time the SWP was starting to make some real progress with all that the far right are doing, strange indeed!!!….”The definition of a coincidence is an example of two things relating to each other or having some connection that was unexpected.”


    December 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    • Well I know some of them, and I’d say that is pretty unlikely Annos.

      Andrew Coates

      December 16, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      • Andrew,

        Remind me, what happened to the SSP, they made GREAT progress, got six MSP’s elected and on the verge of getting a lot more elected, then…We know what happened…”strange indeed!!!”….”security forces, these people can make things happen.”


        December 16, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      • The SWP created their own problems and most, if not all, people on the rest of the left don’t have much sympathy for them.

        Andrew Coates

        December 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      • “security forces, these people can make things happen.”


        “The Enemy within: Thatcher’s Secret War Against the Miners

        Author: Seumas Milne

        Product Description

        Margaret Thatcher branded Arthur Scargill and the other leaders of the 1984-5 miners’ strike ;’the enemy within’. With the publication of this bestselling book a decade later, the full irony of that accusation became clear. There was an enemy within. But it was not the National Union of Mineworkers that was out to subvert liberty. It was the secret services of the British state – operating inside the NUM itself. Seumas Milne revealed for the first time the astonishing lengths to which the government and its intelligence machine were prepared to go to destry the power of Britain’s miners’ union. Using phoney bank deposits, staged cash drops, forged documents, agents provocateurs and unrelenting surveillance, MI5 and police Special Branch set out to discredit Scargill and other miners’ leaders. Planted tales of corruption were seized on by the media and both Tory and Labour politicians in what became an unprecedentedly savage smear campaign. In this new edition, published for the twentieth anniversary of Britain’s most important postwar social confrontation, new material brings the story up to date – and, in the wake of the Iraq war intelligence scandals, highlights the continuing threat posed by the security services to democracy today.”


        Sorry to link to Amazon, but it gave the best “Product Description” for this post!!!. If anyone does want to read it get it from your Library.

        “Gormley and Buckton named as special branch informers”



        December 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      • I used to know Joe Gormley (Arthur Scargill’s right-hand man) until he was exposed as a member of the security services.


        January 16, 2014 at 3:59 pm

  20. “pretty unlikely”

    Not impossible though.

    Andrew, on all we KNOW, I can tell you it is the way they work!, “infiltrated”.


    December 16, 2013 at 4:02 pm

  21. 350K plus for a 3 bed terraced. South Harrow area and rising towards Harrow North and Pinner etc


    December 17, 2013 at 8:19 am

    • Annos :
      Three bed semi in Harrow…
      1974…£80,000…Yes it was 1974.
      What price now ?.

      In 1969 a three bed semi around Newcastle upon Tyne was £4,300, 2013 you can buy a three bed semi for about £160,000 or less. None of it makes any sense!!!, I remember at the height of the property bubble Edinburgh being almost on a par with London!!!.

      I have said for years that the property bubble would burst, it will, you will see houses going for next to nothing, we just have to wait for the total global financial crash, that is coming, Capitalism is broken, the only way they can/will keep it alive will be at the point of a gun. Problem is very few or no one will be able to buy as no one will have any money except the top 1%.

      They planned it to be this way.


      December 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

  22. Hi all.

    As some here may recall I have been sanctioned almost continuously for the past year and a half. First the WP and now that I have done my stint there the JC have continued the WP’s nasty behaviour.

    I happened to encounter a very nice guy at the JC who went above and beyond to persuade me to claim hardship. Despite ‘administrative errors’ he persisted and today i got a brown envelope. But not telling me about further sanctions, but to inform me that I will be receiving a payment soon. Hopefully something before xmas!

    Considering I have had nothing since July this will be most welcome. I’m not in a vulnerable group. But finally it seems I will be getting hardship payments.

    Mind you, I’m wondering if they can simply stop them at any time. Because there is no way I am complying with the totally stupid stuff they are asking me to ‘agree’ on my new Jobseekers agreement/claimant commitment. I told my adviser that I am only dealing with the DM from now on. My current adviser is the typical drone! Patronising and condescending, etc.

    For example, amongst the other things they require in that additional requirements box they are asking me to agree to let them have access to my UJM account. I really don’t think they can lawfully expect me to agree as it’s my right not to.
    Hence I ignore my adviser now, just sign my ‘declaration’ and go. I will never conform to what the tyrants want. They want me to do my own ‘amended’ version of the Jsag, but I don’t trust them. I told my adviser I will respond directly to the DM when i receive a letter.
    I though todays little bit of good news in a brown envelope was to to with this. But it was telling me i am getting JSA. It didn’t even say what or the amount. And really it should be backdated, but I don’t care. 43 quid will be great after zero! Keep signing the JSA1 forms and hopefully it will continue.

    Even if I have to settle next year for a part time job that only pays what i would get on the dole. Something local, a cleaning job or whatever!

    Just posting to let people know that there are still a few in the JC that care.
    Few and far between I know. I was lucky. And I will hopefully now be getting this little drizzle of allowance to prevent me having a nervous breakdown! I get by on a little charity from friends and family, but it is limited, they do what they can for me. And I am thankful. But this hardship will be most welcome. Assuming it appears in my account soon.

    Stay strong people.

    Mr No

    December 18, 2013 at 8:41 pm

  23. For OBI If you are on MWA and your provider does not work weekends and public holidays, Nor should you. You won’t be able to contact them in an emergency or other situation needing attention.


    December 21, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    • Philip

      MWA working hours are 9:00am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday, so if the employer is trying to get you to work outside these hours, go see your Jobcentre manager.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      January 11, 2014 at 11:15 am

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