Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Dying Penniless and Alone: the Reality of DWP ‘sanctions’. Fight Back!

with 44 comments

Hold an inquiry into benefit sanctions that killed my brother


This article in today’s Guardian  is heart-breaking.

No one should die penniless and alone’: the victims of Britain’s harsh welfare sanctions

David Clapson was found dead last year after his benefits were stopped on the grounds that he wasn’t taking the search for work seriously. He had an empty stomach, and just £3.44 to his name. Now thousands of other claimants are being left in similarly dire straits by tough new welfare sanctions.
We know that David Clapson was actively searching for work when he died because a pile of CVs he had just printed out was found a few metres from his body. The last time he spoke to his sister, a few days before he died, he told her he was waiting to hear back about an application he had made to the supermarket chain Lidl.

But officials at the Jobcentre believed he was not taking his search for work seriously enough, and early last July, they sanctioned him – cutting off his benefit payments entirely, as a punishment for his failure to attend two appointments.

Clapson, 59, who had diabetes, died in his flat in Stevenage on 20 July 2013, from diabetic ketoacidosis (caused by an acute lack of insulin). When Gill Thompson, his younger sister, discovered his body, she found his electricity had been cut off (meaning that the fridge where he kept his insulin was no longer working). There was very little left to eat in the flat – six tea bags, an out-of-date tin of sardines and a can of tomato soup. His pay-as-you-go mobile phone had just 5p credit left on it and he had only £3.44 in his bank account. The autopsy notes reveal that his stomach was empty.

More here.

Sign, Sign this  “An online petition calling for an inquiry into his death has gathered 43,000 signatures.”

We are heartened that the site Job Seeker Sanction Advice which following the notice on the Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants news, we gave publicity to a few days ago is really taking off,

One group of former DWP employees has set up a free online advice service, jobseekersanctionadvice.com. The founder, a 54-year-old grandmother who left the DWP in 2011 and who asked to remain anonymous, says she became uncomfortable with having to implement policies that she believed were designed to punish people for making small errors. Last Monday morning the site had 200 emails, most of them requests for assistance, but six of them offers to help staff the site, two of them from former DWP employees.

Iain Duncan Smith, ‘Lord’ Freud and his other band of cronies have blood on their hands!


Written by Andrew Coates

August 4, 2014 at 3:37 pm

44 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.


    August 4, 2014 at 10:28 pm

  2. This story cut me as I remember the requirements for soldiers serving in Ireland.

    IDS who proclaimed himself as ex serving is a disgrace to is uniform, a traitor to the forces and should be put before a firing squad. He like so many of the public have turned their backs on those that made it possible for them to sleep soundly at night.


    August 5, 2014 at 7:37 am

    • Here is another one who has turned his back already:



      August 5, 2014 at 8:08 am

      • Considering government including Cameron are nothing but snivelling cowards who cant go anywhere without having security holding their hand I cant say I would expect any different. Those that have served should know better the pledge one soldier makes to another.

        I hope their security thinks on this as they would no doubt treat them the same. Maybe they know, maybe their hang back alittle and let these four feathered cowards sweat.


        August 5, 2014 at 8:30 am

  3. OFF TOPIC. Seen at a WPP in Ipswich this morning 10;15am. Jobcentre Staff at WPP for meeting. All quickly ushered into ”back office”.


    August 5, 2014 at 9:39 am

    • Nosey, sounds ominous

      Andrew Coates

      August 5, 2014 at 10:14 am



      August 5, 2014 at 12:11 pm


        Nosey Parker

        August 5, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      • For Nosey Parker

        In one noticeably quiet Jobcentre in Glasgow recently, the manager was out helping in the reception area. There’s not even a desk there any more – they took that out along with the old jobpoints!

        The cupboard is bare, staff are off for long periods, morale is low – it looks as though it’s all part of the deliberate run-down prior to privatisation.

        By the way, returning to the main subject of this page – the harrowing death of soldier David Clapson – it’s amazing this case has been overshadowed by the great attention paid by the media to the commemoration services for the outbreak of World War One!

        Lest we forget…has been forgotten already!


        August 5, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      • You are absolutely right Tobanem, though did it even make it to Iain Duncan Smith’s desk in the first place?

        As for privatisation: they always run services down before doing this, so we don’t notice the difference when we get the ramshackle inefficient services that private companies provide.

        Andrew Coates

        August 5, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      • I wonder how many of the JC advisers now realise they’ve been digging their own graves.

        Another Fine Mess

        August 5, 2014 at 9:55 pm


    Two years ago, the subject of self-harm and suicides among ex-service personnel was raised in a letter to The Guardian. The letter also mentioned DWP harassment and the Work Capability Test! The letter contains a link to another letter, which contains a link to another relevant report – all material which regulars on this site will recognise:


    One of the Poets in WW1 ended some of his stanzas with the words “but nothing happens”. It appears no lessons have been learned after all.


    August 5, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    • The lesson learned was the press don’t care and if you leave it longer enough most other folks don’t either.


      August 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm

  5. DIGITAL BY DEFAULT – but soldier David Clapson wasn’t

    Two recent tax cases have implications for benefit claimants in future. In one case, the judge stated that the failure to take account of a persons ability to use a computer was a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

    Details here:


    I can remind you that soldier David Clapson “struggled to use a computer”, but bravely applied for jobs online – as evidenced by the poignant pile of printed CVs found close to his dead body.


    August 5, 2014 at 5:35 pm

  6. One hundred years since world war one started.how many had this tragedy on their minds while watching the news.

    jobcentre staff call this “the push”,its pushed to many people over the edge.


    August 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm

  7. Off topic – but this could be what we’ve all been waiting for. You probably remember this story in the Guardian last December:

    Cabinet members fear Lady Warsi is penning bombshell political memoir. Former Tory party chairman’s ‘furious scribbling’ prompts speculation about diary that could include damaging revelations. – http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/dec/29/tories-fear-baroness-warsi-wrath-in-diary

    Well now she will get her chance to drop the Coalition right in the crapper – Latest regarding Lady Warsi:

    Baroness Warsi resigns from Government over Gaza.

    Baroness Warsi, Britain’s first female Muslim Cabinet minister, resigns from the Government over Britain’s policy on Gaza.

    Writing on Twitter, she said: “With deep regret I have this morning written to the Prime Minister & tendered my resignation. I can no longer support Govt policy on #Gaza”.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    August 6, 2014 at 8:55 am

  8. I wonder if soldier David Clapson was ever called by the DWP from their controversial number 08000 232 635?

    Obi Wan Kenobi posted a link to a forum about this number. The website concerned is now unavailable:


    This matter needs more comment – don’t just forget about it!


    August 6, 2014 at 11:24 am

    • This version works.

      I don’t think the dwp should get people into the habit of giving private info over the phone to anyone, even if the caller appears to have some info private info already.
      But you know what the dwp and their good ideas are like, they won’t stop until some scammer fakes the number and even then they’ll blame the claimants for the problem!

      Another Fine Mess

      August 6, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      • The question is where do the DWP obtain your number from in cases where you haven’t given it to them?

        Another question is how long has the DWP being using this number?


        August 6, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      • I doubt anyone’s number is secret from the dwp.

        Since 2008 according to google.

        Another Fine Mess

        August 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm

  9. Is there any interest in forming a modern Union of Unemployed that would do what it could to prevent tragedies such as this? Please have a look at this blog and leave your comments.


    August 6, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    • We wish you well.

      It has been tried….

      Andrew Coates

      August 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm

  10. Iain Duncan Smith: Ready to sail into sunset?

    By Becky Milligan

    BBC Radio 4’s PM

    I ask him whether he looks forward to leaving the political world. There are buckets of wistfulness in voice when he answers.

    “At some point, er, yes, to a degree. Well you know, just get on a yacht, a sailing boat – it could be only 5ft long for all I care – and just sail off, and, er, put it all behind you.”

    “Head towards the horizon,” I say.

    “Wherever the horizon may be, and not turn back… not turn back at all.”

    * You can hear Becky Milligan’s report on her lunch with Iain Duncan Smith on the BBC Radio 4 PM website.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    August 6, 2014 at 5:51 pm

  11. DWP plotting ‘secret’ universal credit plans – Labour MP.

    A Labour MP has claimed that the government is “keeping under wraps” plans to make people who lose their jobs wait five weeks before they get any benefit payment under universal credit.

    Michael Meacher, MP for Oldham West and Royton, says the plans are being kept secret by the government in the run up to the next general election but they are “hidden in the small print” of the rules for the controversial new benefit system.

    Mr Meacher says the impact of a five-week wait will be “devastating” for anyone who loses their job as they will be unable to get help to cover rent, mortgage, food or fuel bills.

    He said: “The five-week wait will apply to anyone making a new claim, however long they have held their job or however much national insurance they have paid in during their working life.

    Under current rules, new claimants wait just over two weeks for their first payment but under DWP plans this will no longer happen.

    He added: “The only ones to gain will be the rip-off payday lenders like Wonga who must be licking their lips because theirs will be the only loans that many unemployed people will be able to get.”


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    August 6, 2014 at 6:01 pm

  12. Obi Wan Kenobi

    Did you see my comment above (timed today at 11.24am) which mentioned a previous comment of yours about the DWPs 08000 232 625 number?


    August 6, 2014 at 7:39 pm


    For all of you commenting on the controversial telephone number, 08000 232 625, here is a site that says it is not (yet) on their database of possible telepests:


    Perhaps you can now tell them otherwise!!

    Here is an interesting transcript of a conversation on that controversial number:

    Caller: Is that ?
    Me: Who is calling please?
    Caller: I cannot tell you who I am; until you tell me who you are
    Me: I will not accept this call until you tell me who you are please
    Caller: No, I must know who you are before we continue
    Me: I could tell you that i am but that’s no proof i am that person!
    Caller: I’ll check with my team-leader
    Me: Ok, no problem
    Caller: I’m afraid you must tell me who you are first
    Me: Then I’m afraid I cannot accept this call, goodbye.


    August 7, 2014 at 7:21 am

    • More on 08000 232 625

      I know of one very recent case, where someone received a call from this number on a mobile phone which was one week old!

      The person had not given the number to the DWP and had only sent it out on a few CVs to two or three employers. Either the DWP have dialled a wrong number or some of these “jobs” the person has applied for, are not quite what they seem.

      Is it the DWP who called, or is it some kind of “employment agency”?


      August 7, 2014 at 7:28 am

      • I have personally dialed this number. I got an automated recording telling me that I was called by the DWP. If they still needed to talk to me they would call me back. Naturally I have saved the number


        August 7, 2014 at 7:39 am

      • Yes, but WHO called the person above – and HOW and WHY?


        August 7, 2014 at 8:07 am

      • The correct number is 08000 232 635 (not 625) as previously stated in my earlier post this morning at 7.28am.


        August 7, 2014 at 11:14 am

    • This show me yours and I will show you mine approach is commonly one practiced by debt collectors who buy old debts and need grounds to get the debt legally reactivated.

      Even though we cant establish truly who is on the other end of the line that approach tobanem definitely gives you the MO of the person your dealing with.

      If any do handle this call please don’t give out any personal info about yourself.

      “Explain that as its a unsecure line or cant be proved to be a secure line and that as you can never truly know who your speaking to that you will and are enacting your rights as the data subject under the data protection act. Further explain you are happy for them to make an appointment at your local office where by you would be more than happy to discuss the matter in person”.


      August 7, 2014 at 8:32 am

  14. By the way, how “confidential” is “COMPANY CONFIDENTIAL”?

    Does anyone have knowledge of any data breaches with this “employment” company frequently appearing on the dubious Universal Jobmatch web site?


    August 7, 2014 at 8:10 am

    • I certainly hope your kidding outraged?

      What this proves HOWEVER is that all are ENTITLED to PRIVACY so use this as a demonstration of the very point the next time DWP try to make you put personal and or sensitive data in the UJM profile as well as uploading or creating a CV which to conveys such data.


      August 7, 2014 at 8:38 am

      • Gaia

        Are you talking about my comment on Company Confidential?

        No, I’m not kidding. Do you think it is possible or likely that a CV sent through to an employer via Company Confidential, could result in the owner of the CV getting a call from that controversial number 08000 232 625.

        Who called the owner of the CV? Was it Company Confidential? Was it the employer in question? Was it the DWP? Was it another agency?


        August 7, 2014 at 9:00 am

      • Sorry, the number I quoted above is the “wrong number”. It should be 08000 232 635 (not 625)!


        August 7, 2014 at 11:34 am

      • You mean that Company Confidential are passing CVs (unless Company Confidential *are* the DWP) onto the DWP?! It goes without saying that there will be a lot of ‘mismatching’ between jobseekers’ ‘official’/the one they hand into the jobcentre and the one the send out to employers. This sort of data breach could get a lot of jobseekers into a lot of trouble.


        August 9, 2014 at 8:45 pm

  15. Cannot believe all this. Even though supporting son ….sanctioned since last september off and mostly on. …Supporting sick husband getting to hospital 20 miles away by bus as car off road can’t afforf to tax. Claimed pip last august. 48 weeks liver treatment and still not even assesment appointment.
    It feels like the end is nigh.

    h murray

    August 9, 2014 at 8:19 pm

  16. I wish you lot would stop talking about me like I actually exist, I don’t, I’m just anything you like, or even nothing.

    Company Confidential

    August 9, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    • You want too keep the CONFIDENTIAL then don’t you


      August 10, 2014 at 10:18 am

  17. I have often wondered if some of those company confidential adverts on UJM that you apply for via UJM are JCP/DWP string operations to catch claimants out perhaps they are…for myself much to my surprise (As of the start of the last week)my long stint on JSA is over (almost 9 years and 5 before that sick) so hopefully i perform my new job admirably and keep it i feel so different a huge weight and a burden has been lifted from my shoulders long may it continue..only took about 4000+ job applications at least over that period ..retraining and voluntary work lol. i will continue you to read this blog as i empathise with the people here and will continue to do so.


    August 9, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    • Anyone can post “vacancies” under any name they want, “Company Confidential”, or “Joe Blogs Recruitment”, that’s one of the problems – zero security.

      Company Confidential

      August 10, 2014 at 12:18 am

      • Indeed the JCP/DWP blindly trusts these advertisers and don’t regulate them. Unlike jobseekers which are always guilty until proven innocent.


        August 10, 2014 at 11:39 am

  18. Fao Gaia


    Where are you with your comments on these two subjects – especially after my earlier post about a case in which a new mobile phone number (one week old), was put on a CV and sent to an employer via Company Confidential; a few days later the owner of the CV received a telephone call from the DWP on 08000 232 635!

    How confidential is Company Confidential? If it wasn’t Company Confidential who gave the DWP the new mobile phone number mentioned in the case above, how did the DWP obtain it?


    August 11, 2014 at 7:32 am




    August 13, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: