Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Benefit Sanctions – More Lies. Campaigning Against Them.

with 49 comments


#Sanctions – #DWP Recruit over 1500 Decision Makers!

We’ve now suffered through the Lies from Esther McVey  Wednesday  04 February 2015 9:30 AM on “benefit sanctions policy” , with  her ‘assurances’ there are “categorically no targets set on how many claimants should be sanctioned”‘

Refuted yesterday offered more evidence that contradicts McVey with the DWP recruiting an extra 1600 Benefit Sanctions Decision Makers  since taking office!; They support these statistics with the comment “Whilst the DWP continually says it has noBenefit Sanctions Targets, despite irrefutable evidence, this view now seems even more implausible since today it published statistics that it show they nearly trebled the number of sanction decision makers?”


Lets not forget All these #Sanctions are made by unqualified people  there are no specific external qualifications required for the decision making role. All Decision Makers go through a training programme that supports the individual in their role. The Decision Maker consolidates this learning with mentor support” DWP February 3 2015.


SICK OF THIS SITUATION??? DEMAND #IDS ANSWERS FOR IT https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/investigate-ids-for-lies

Unite, the union, is campaigning against sanctions.

People have expressed various opinions on the Unite campaign.

It would be useful if they gave them to the Union – Contact Us.

Deadly sanctions

Parliament debates benefits sanctions and their fatal effects

Hajera Blagg, Friday, February 6th, 2015

The coalition government’s benefits sanctions regime has ravaged the nation, punishing vulnerable people up and down the country for the simple “crime” of being the victims of a failing economy, an economy the government itself has created.

These sanctions – which see claimants lose their benefits entitlements for often absurd reasons, such as turning up one minute late to a jobcentre appointment or missing an appointment to attend the funeral of a family member – are not only deeply unfair, they can often be fatal.

Freedom of information requests have recently revealed that the Department of Work and Pensions is currentlyinvestigating welfare payment decisions of 60 claimants shortly after their deaths, which is the first time the DWP itself has recognised that benefits sanctions can kill.

Benefits sanctions cut the only remaining lifeline that many unemployed people have – forcing them into the hundreds of food banks that now serve a quarter of a million people in this country, up from only a few thousand people before 2010.

As Unite Community moved to kick off its campaign against benefits sanctions on Tuesday (February 3), a House of Commons debate the following day examined growing poverty in the UK.

Scenes from Kafka

During the debate, Labour MP Lisa Nandy of Wigan argued that the poverty blighting the nation since the coalition government came to power could be seen as a direct result of a failing benefits system.

Indeed, as Nandy pointed out, benefits sanctions were the primary reason that people reported having to turn to food banks for emergency food aid.
Nandy likened the benefits sanctions regime to scenes from a Kafka novel, where claimants are punished for non-existent crimes.

She told of a man who had been sanctioned after finding temporary work over Christmas. Even though he’d called in to tell the jobcentre the start and finish dates of this work, he was sanctioned because he didn’t attend the appointment to tell jobcentre staff information he’d already given them.
The day of his appointment, the jobcentre was closed. Afterwards, in the month of January, his sanctioned benefits came out to 1p for the entire month, and £26 for the following month.

“How is someone in this country is meant to live on a penny a month?” Nandy asked.

These sorts of stories are no anomaly, as story after story emerges in which claimants are sanctioned for essentially no reason at all.

The absurdity of some of these sanctions – from not looking for work on Christmas Day to not being able to afford to travel to an interview, to even having a heart attack – are meted out in a high-pressure environment in whichjobcentre staff are allegedly being given sanctions targets.

According to evidence submitted by the PCS union, jobcentre management has subjected staff to performance reviews if they fail to instigate or approve enough sanctions.

As a former jobcentre adviser noted in the Guardian earlier this week:

The pressure was incredible. Advisers were actively encouraged to impose sanctions (along the lines of “sanction of the month”) to contribute to the points system that ranks jobcentre offices. It was often for stupid reasons.”

“And it was happening all the time, she added. “A customer maybe would be a little bit late or would phone in and the message wasn’t passed on. It was very distressing to have customers literally without food, without heat, without resources and these are unwell [and] disabled customers.

Out of touch

As the House of Commons debate raged on, Nandy told dozens of stories in which sanctioned claimants were unfairly cut off from food, heating and all of life’s essentials.

Meanwhile, Tory MPs showed their true colours and just how out of touch they are with the realities of vulnerable people.

Addressing Nandy, who had just recounted how a learning disabled man who is unable to tell the time was sanctioned for being four minutes to a jobcentre appointment, Conservative MP Mark Spencer retorted:

“It is important that those who are seeking employment learn the discipline of timekeeping, which is an important part of securing and keeping a job.”
Noting that several Tory MPs had turned up a few minutes late to the debate but were still allowed to participate, Nandy denounced Spencer’s condescending remarks.

It got only worse – Spencer later made the claim, dismissing Nandy’s concern that nutritious food is often unaffordable, that “carrots and potatoes are actually the cheapest sources of food avoidable.”

But in Toryland, comments like these are the norm – recall life peer Baroness Anne Jenkins pronouncement that poor people go hungry because they “don’t know how to cook”. Or when then-education secretary Michael Gove claimed food bank users had only themselves to blame for “not being able to manage their finances.”

Sending a message

The farce that’s become this government’s benefits sanctions regime must be stopped, argues Unite.

In an effort to raise awareness, Unite Community’s campaign launched this week will culminate in a national day of action on March 19.

“We want to send a message to Esther McVey and Westminster that the government is failing to support vulnerable people in our society,” said head of Unite Community Liane Groves. “More needs to be done to support us all in time of need – not make personal situations worse.

“Thursday 19 March is a national day of action to highlight the ‘shocking’ impact of government benefit sanctions – we must join forces to stop this now before more people are forced into poverty,” she added.

To find out more about how you can participate in the campaign, including signing a petition, sharing your story, and attending a March 19 event near you, click here.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

49 Responses

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  1. Andy I told you the other month to watch out for the most excellent up and coming Lisa Nandy MP – She will give full throttle on defence of her area and others regarding the DWP’s current polices.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 7, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    • “Lisa Nandy MP: Malnutrition, food queues, housing shortages – this is modern Britain.

      Sometimes countries fall into crisis in a short space of time, with distressing scenes as charities are overwhelmed by need, people queue for food, housing and emergency medical treatment for malnutrition. But this isn’t a country hit by war, famine or disaster. Increasingly this is modern Britain.

      Today in Parliament MPs will debate how far the government is responsible for creating this picture. It’s time we talked about the fact that the numbers of people admitted to hospital with malnutrition doubled between 2008 and 2012, reaching a seven year high last year. Or the number of police forces reporting a rise in shoplifting for food and groceries over the last three years. And the half a million more children growing up in grinding, degrading poverty since this government took office.

      These are actions caused not just by government inaction, but by choices made by Ministers in the last five years.

      The sanctions regime, that left my constituent with 1p to live on for a month after he took a temporary job over Christmas. Or a young man with learning difficulties left so hungry “he looked like he was dying” in the words of a local councillor, after he was four minutes late to sign on at the Job Centre.

      These are political choices. The 2012 Budget that cut tax credits and benefits in real terms, leaving an elderly man in Wigan living on a bowl of porridge a day, also cut taxes for millionaires by £2000 a week. And the bedroom tax that has ripped people out of their communities and pushed people into the arms of loan sharks, but done nothing in communities like mine to free up housing or save money.

      Increasingly nobody is exempt – among those affected by these choices are older people, cancer patients, and children. It started with just a few, but it’s affecting more and more people. It’s destroying the social fabric – communities under significant strain, are losing the social glue that used to bind them together.

      But it isn’t just those directly affected that should be worried. These sort of policies create transient communities, high stress, isolation and public services with little room for discretion or compassion. Nowhere was this better exemplified than by the experience of two of my constituents who were sanctioned for attending a family funeral. The ripple effects are felt beyond the very poorest.

      The real causes of this misery are low pay, insecure contracts, and a system that allows loan sharks to prey on the vulnerable and energy companies to pass on price rises to customers but not price cuts. Ministers have no answers to these problems so instead of focusing on underemployment, they hit the underemployed, instead of tackling poverty, they attack the poor – and increasingly those charities and church groups who speak up for them.

      It isn’t sustainable. In 2015, as more children are pushed into poverty, parents queue for foodbanks and families are evicted from their homes, more and more people are speaking out. Like Labour, they know that Britain can do better than this. ”


      Andrew Coates

      February 8, 2015 at 10:55 am

      • “It is important that those who are seeking employment learn the discipline of timekeeping, which is an important part of securing and keeping a job.”

        “Those” – everyone, since everyone weather they are employed or not is looking for other employment.


        February 8, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    • Pretty hot, eh Obi? 😀

      Bobi Van Kenobi

      February 9, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    • MILF 🙂

      Bobi Van Kenobi

      February 9, 2015 at 6:09 pm

  2. A former finance boss at Sandwell Council who stole nearly £30,000 from a fund for children with special needs has been spared jail. but will do workfare, I mean unpaid work.



    February 7, 2015 at 9:05 pm

  3. The right to stage demonstrations in Britain could be threatened following a demand that climate change protesters planning a march next month hire a private firm to oversee it – a role previously carried out by the police.

    The Campaign Against Climate Change (CACC) says it is effectively being made to “pay to protest”, after learning that its demonstration in London, which could attract up to 20,000 people, will carry a bill of thousands of pounds.

    Following negotiations with the Metropolitan police, the Greater London Authority and Westminster city council, the organisers of the Time to Act march – which is supported by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, the Stop the War Coalition, Global Justice Now, Avaaz and Friends of the Earth – have been told the police will no longer facilitate the temporary closure of roads along the agreed route.

    “Protest is a fundamental right,” said Sam Fairbairn, national secretary of the People’s Assembly. “This will make it virtually impossible to hold a protest unless you have rich backers.”



    February 7, 2015 at 9:13 pm

  4. Cameron

    “The Great Recession has given way to a Great Revival, and it’s creating an incredible 1,000 new jobs every single day – more than the rest of Europe put together,” he says.

    “Ours is a nation that is the best place to do business, and, as a result, we will hit our target of full employment: a job for everyone who wants one.”



    February 7, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    • Cameron chaired Greek euro exit meeting.

      Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a meeting with officials from the finance ministry and the Bank of England on Monday to plan for a possible Greek exit from the euro zone, a finance ministry source said.

      British finance minister George Osborne said on Sunday that Britain was stepping up contingency planning, and that the stand-off between Greece and the euro zone was raising risks to the British economy.



      February 9, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      • Leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras laid out plans on Sunday to dismantle Greece’s “cruel” austerity programme, ruling out any extension of its international bailout and setting himself on a collision course with his European partners.

        In his first major speech to parliament since storming to power last month, Tsipras rattled off a list of moves to reverse reforms imposed by European and International Monetary Fund lenders: from reinstating pension bonuses and cancelling a property tax to ending mass layoffs and raising the mininum wage back to pre-crisis levels.

        Showing little intent to heed warnings from EU partners to stick to commitments in the 240-billion-euro (178 billion pounds) bailout, Tsipras said he intended to fully respect campaign pledges to heal the “wounds” of the austerity that was a condition of the money.



        February 9, 2015 at 1:16 pm

  5. Cash saved due to sanctions.

    Government figures had previously estimated that £45 million had been taken in 2010-11, and £60 million in 2011-12, compared with just £11 million in 2009-10, in the last year of the Labour government.

    But McVey said DWP no longer published any figures because there were too many “caveats” to produce anything meaningful.

    Abrahams said independent research – carried out by Dr David Webster of the University of Glasgow’s urban studies department – had estimated that the amount lost by JSA claimants had risen to £275 million a year*, although McVey said she did not recognise this figure.

    *Disability News Service has confirmed with Dr Webster that this estimated figure refers to the net amount lost to claimants through JSA sanctions (money lost through having benefits stopped minus any hardship payments received by the claimant) from July 2013 to June 2014



    February 7, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    • But then there is also the sanctions for those on ESA etc, so what is the real number saved from every sanction.


      February 8, 2015 at 12:07 pm


    Vote CLASS WAR!!

    February 8, 2015 at 10:24 am

    • What, literally? You could feed the 5000 for a year using Eric Pickles – the fat Tory bastard.

      jj joop

      February 10, 2015 at 1:25 pm

  7. How many JSA claimants have been moved into full time work 2013 /2014 (not
    including zero hour contracts which does not constitute full time work.

    How many JSA claimants have moved into self-employment in 2013/2014?

    Of the 1 million reduction in the number of unemployed, how many claimants are in full
    time jobs with full time pay?” How many of the 1 million reduction in the number of
    employed are on sanctions, work programmes, part time work or zero hour contracts”



    February 8, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    • Benefits claimants are subjected to an ‘amateurish, secret penal system which is more severe than the mainstream judicial system’, writes Dr David Webster of the University of Glasgow.

      Few people know that the number of financial penalties (‘sanctions’) imposed on benefit claimants by the Department of Work and Pensions now exceeds the number of fines imposed by the courts. In Great Britain in 2013, there were 1,046,398 sanctions on Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants, 32,128 on Employment and Support Allowance claimants, and approximately 44,000 on lone parent recipients of Income Support. By contrast, Magistrates’ and Sheriff courts imposed a total of only 849,000 fines.

      Sanctioned benefit claimants are treated much worse than those fined in the courts. The scale of penalties is more severe (£286.80 – £11,185.20 compared to £200 – £10,000). Most sanctions are applied to poor people and involve total loss of benefit income. Although there is a system of discretionary ‘hardship payments’, claimants are often reduced to hunger and destitution by the ban on application for the first two weeks and by lack of information about the payments and the complexity of the application process. The hardship payment system itself is designed to clean people out of resources; all savings or other sources of assistance must be used up before help is given.



      February 8, 2015 at 7:42 pm

  8. Tory reform of planning law ‘will ruin London’s social mix’

    Mayoral hopeful Tessa Jowell adds her voice to opponents of developers’ loophole move.



    February 8, 2015 at 3:22 pm

  9. On Monday, BBC Four screened a remarkable film in its Storyville series. The Internet’s Own Boy told the story of the life and tragic death of Aaron Swartz, the leading geek wunderkind of his generation who was hounded to suicide at the age of 26 by a vindictive US administration. The film is still available on BBC iPlayer, and if you do nothing else this weekend make time to watch it, because it’s the most revealing source of insights about how the state approaches the internet since Edward Snowden first broke cover.

    o say Swartz was a prodigy is an understatement. As an unknown teenager he was a co-designer of tools – like RSS and Markdown and of services like Reddit – that shaped the evolution of the web. He was also the kid who wrote most of the code underpinning Creative Commons, an inspired system that uses copyright law to give ordinary people control over how their digital creations can be used by others.

    But Swartz was far more than an immensely-gifted programmer. The Storyville film includes home movies which show the entrancing, voraciously-inquisitive toddler who was father to the man. As he grew, he displayed the same open, questioning attitude to life one sees in other geniuses who are always asking “why?” and “why not?” and driving normal people nuts.

    I never met Aaron (though we had a mutual friend) but I spotted him early when he first surfaced as a blogger. What struck me instantly was the freshness and originality of his authorial voice. He was very young when he went to Stanford, and he wrote about the attitudes and social mores of his classmates, many of them brats of the American elite, with a raw freshness and naivete that was startling. He didn’t belong there; he felt himself an outsider; but at the same time he wasn’t judgemental, and that combination of candour and uncertainty was attractive and unusual.

    As he grew, one could see him becoming more and more interested in politics. And this too was predictable, for nobody with that razor-sharp intelligence could look at neoliberal capitalism and not see the unfairness, hypocrisy and inequality that lies beneath it. So he morphed into the most technologically-gifted political activist in history. He looked for instances of manifest unfairness and developed software to remedy it. Discovering that the provision of court transcripts in the US was essentially a commercial racket, he teamed up with other activists to right an obvious wrong: that the law was only readable by those with money.

    He was similarly exercised at the fruits of taypayer-funded scientific research being monetised by a few ruthless publishing firms which charge outrageous fees to access the resulting academic papers. His first foray into this field involved downloading a trove of medical research papers and then data-mining them to uncover hitherto-undetected links between pharmaceutical firms and the authors of articles in prestigious journals.

    His downfall came when he turned his attention to JSTOR, a digital library of academic articles hidden behind a paywall. He devised a method of downloading large numbers of articles from JSTOR, using a computer hidden in a closet at MIT. He was arrested in January 2011 and pursued by federal prosecutors with a vindictive zeal, eventually being indicted on a raft of charges which carried a potential jail sentence of 35 years. Ground down by this, he hanged himself on 11 January 2013. News of his death left countless people saddened and enraged. What had made the Feds so vindictive? Sure, he had broken the law. But it wasn’t as if he’d hacked a bank. What came to mind was Alexander Pope’s rhetorical question: Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?. “The act was harmless” wrote Tim Wu, a law professor at Columbia. “There was no actual physical harm, nor actual economic harm. The leak was found and plugged; JSTOR suffered no actual economic loss. It did not press charges. Like a pie in the face, Swartz’s act was annoying to its victim but of no lasting consequence.”

    One explanation for the vindictive prosecution puts it down to a politically ambitious federal attorney anxious to make a name for himself. But there is a darker, interpretation – that the authorities had noted how effective Swartz had become as an activist (he had, after all, mobilised the net community to stop the internet censorship legislation of the SOPA bill), and they were determined to make an example of him pour décourager les autres. Which, if true, would mean the Obama administration has taken a leaf out of the Chinese book on internet control: people can say more or less what they like online; but the moment they look like mobilising people, then you come down on them like the ton of bricks that crushed Aaron Swartz.

    Aaron Swartz stood up for freedom and fairness – and was hounded to his death


    February 8, 2015 at 3:38 pm

  10. …“carrots and potatoes are actually the cheapest sources of food avoidable.”…
    As we know, vegetables and fruit are unaffordable on incomes as low as 4 per cent lowest income, which is £500 a month by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

    The cheapest food is on their sell by dates, but only if you have a freezer section to keep this food for long time, to get to eat it over the week and months.

    This Tory MP is back to the Irish Potato Famine and he was wrong then, where half the population starved to death.

    Our political class are aristocrats, educated by elite schools and universities, and then going direct into politics. They have never been poor, nor lived amongst poor people. Or even the average waged cutting back on food to pay other raised costs like energy bills.

    Other blogs and newspaper articles show that the Department of Work and Pensions is still spending the same billions, rising each year, whilst the money to the poor is reducing by the billions each year.

    The cost of admin increasing, not least by the benefit sancitons decision makers employed by the DWP having tripled in number since 2006 til this year.

    And DWP own figures showing that their admin costs double any money given to the starving.

    There is a way we can escape this on my personal website:


    February 8, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    • …“carrots and potatoes are actually the cheapest sources of food….”

      That may be so, but they aren’t much help if you can’t afford the electricity or gas to cook them, nor are they much use to those with Type 2 Diabetes.


      February 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm

  11. Transport for London (TfL) has appointed Atos to serve as its Primary Service Desk contractor from March in a £6m deal.

    Under a three to four year contract, the company will be charged with improving TfL’s existing service desk solution, while ensuring cost efficiencies as it moves its operations towards a service integration and management (SIAM) and towers model.

    Atos is expected to play a key role in helping TfL shift to its new model of information management services by working to identify “cross tower issues” through the use of real-time information.

    A number of government departments – including the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – have announced plans to move to or consider implementing SIAM and Towers models as part of their strategies to revamp their IT.



    February 8, 2015 at 8:14 pm

  12. Some good news.

    Protesters clash with Cambridge job centre security guards in demonstration for boy with cancer who had benefits cut.

    The protest was held just as news was breaking that Tommi Miller, of Thorpe Way, who is suffering from cancer, will get the benefits to which he is entitled for the next four years, as well as backdated payments and compensation for the errors made.



    February 8, 2015 at 8:20 pm

  13. Malcolm Burge, 66, faced a bill of £800 because of a payments mix-up by Newham Council. With a bank balance of only £50, he took the only way out he could see. -.

    On 23 June last year, Malcolm Burge told a friend he was leaving his London home for a few days to attend a funeral in the West Country. Four days later, he parked his car in a lay-by amid the timeless beauty of Somerset’s Cheddar Gorge and ignited a 20-litre can of petrol placed in the passenger footwell.

    Mr Burge, who had suffered 100 per cent second-degree burns to his body, was rushed to hospital by air ambulance but he could not survive his injuries. He died at 5am the following day.

    He committed suicide after a 50 per cent cut in his housing benefit left him ensnared in bureaucracy and begging for help from Newham Borough Council, which was in turn engulfed by its caseload.



    February 8, 2015 at 8:47 pm



    Vote CLASS WAR!!

    February 8, 2015 at 9:49 pm



    Vote CLASS WAR!!

    February 8, 2015 at 9:56 pm

  16. Vote CLASS WAR!!

    February 8, 2015 at 10:20 pm

  17. Well the truth will out!

    1st up Sanctions:

    JobcentreMole retweeted
    Ligia Teixeira @LigiaTeixeira · Feb 7

    Benefit #sanctions: a secret penal system which is corrupt,unethical & ineffective. Must be abolished | David Webster http://shar.es/1oJxlz


    Taxes? I pay no stinking Taxes! Thats for the Plebs/Whippet Owners to do…

    How the rich really see the UK – a place to get the dosh, stuff everyone else and shuffle it away out of reach.


    Remember… “We’re All in it together…”


    February 8, 2015 at 10:27 pm


    “There is a bitter ferment among them [the unemployed] everywhere”.

    In the run-up to the national day of action against benefit sanctions on March 19, here is an interesting article which shows there is nothing new under the sun – it’s not the first time benefits have been cut:



    February 9, 2015 at 9:47 am

    • My dad, who was Glaswegian and not from an exactly well-off part of the city either, bitterly remembered that all his life.

      He was only on the dole for a short while but unfortunately it was exactly at that time…..

      Andrew Coates

      February 9, 2015 at 11:18 am

    • The post above referring to “pay to protest” I wonder if this has come out due to the “national day of action against benefit sanctions on March 19th” and of course every other protest in the future.

      I also wonder if on the day of the 19th of March that everyone on JSA and ESA will be told by an adviser to be somewhere at a certain time/all day preventing them joining in this action of protest.

      Off ESA now on JSA, today was the first time I was called by my first name by DWP!.


      February 9, 2015 at 11:54 am

      • Can’t attend this… got to attend a “course”… soz 😦


        February 9, 2015 at 4:29 pm

  19. Social media users who persistently spread racial hatred online could be given “internet Asbos” blocking them from sites such as Twitter and Facebook under proposals to tackle rising levels of anti-Semitism.

    The report said “Hitler” and “Holocaust” were among the top 35 key words used on Twitter last summer.

    Highly abusive posts on the microblogging site were singled out, including the hashtag “Hitler was right”, which was trending in July, as well as the “presence of Hitlerian themes and imagery on Facebook”.



    February 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm

  20. Anyone with any spare ‘POOP’ to fling?

    Here’s the perfect venue.

    Employers are invited to attend the official opening of Sleaford’s new Jobcentre Plus.

    The formal unveiling takes place on Tuesday, February 24, and is being which is combined with a business networking event.

    It runs from 8am to 9.45am.

    The service moved from Southgate to North Kesteven District Council’s (NKDC’s) offices, in Kesteven Street, in December.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 9, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    • Obi:

      According to the article, this new JCP has a ‘Digital Jobcentre’ recruitment tool. What’s that all about? It sounds like they’re reducing the human contact element of their service.

      jj joop

      February 10, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      • JJ:

        Not a Scooby at the moment, unless they are referring to the new digital signing on pads.

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        February 10, 2015 at 2:39 pm

  21. NHS

    One of America’s leading hospital groups, “Cleveland Clinic” which is known for treating world leaders and celebrities, has set its sights on the UK and the lucrative opportunities that could emerge if the NHS is opened up to further private-sector involvement.

    The Independent can reveal that the clinic has hired a British firm of consultants to help it explore potential work in the UK following May’s general election should the role of private companies providing services to the NHS be expanded.



    February 10, 2015 at 12:19 am

  22. I won’t get out of bed for less that £10 a day… 😀

    CWP Slave

    February 10, 2015 at 9:44 am

  23. lol at the fucking knobheads on Radio 4’s You and Yours trying to justify tax fraud: “It allows me to pay my staff more.” lo-fuckingl”. Imagine if a ‘benefit cheat’ said: “It allows me to spend more, create jobs in the local economy.”

    HSBC are SCUM!!

    February 10, 2015 at 12:37 pm

  24. The strange new world of evidence-free government.

    When ministers’ priorities are cost-cutting and short-term PR wins, research into what actually works falls by the wayside – with disastrous consequences

    The Joseph Rowntree Foundation as good as predicted this in 2010, when it wrote of benefit sanctions as a whole: “In countries where policy objectives are more closely connected to taxpayer buy-in irrespective of empirical evidence, one could argue that even the best specified impact results are of little, or at least secondary, importance to the political impetus for reform.” Or, in simpler – though inevitably more “politicised” language – governments that aren’t bothered what happens to people and are just trying to curry favour with what they think of as a vindictive electorate don’t tend to care much about data. And so it came to pass. People have died as a result of these sanctions: they have taken their own lives, citing destitution as the final straw, and they have died of starvation. This makes it particularly hard to countenance that the legislation might have been made entirely on a whim.



    February 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm

  25. How many benefits claimants have to kill themselves before something is done?

    Malcolm Burge is just one of at least 49 deaths that appear to be connected to benefits sanctions. But the government’s response has been truly shocking.

    Disabled People Against Cuts stress to me that the DWP figure of 49 is likely to be “a gross under-representation of the true numbers”. Strangely enough, the DWP told the Guardian on Monday it still had no plans to publish its investigations.

    It apparently takes more than a few of its citizens killing themselves on their watch to worry this government. Esther McVey, the employment minister, has declared publicly “we followed all of our processes correctly”, despite the fact campaigners report “serious failings” in how DWP staff are following safeguards when sanctioning vulnerable people’s benefits, whether that’s contacting the claimant’s social worker or psychiatric nurse, or that no such safeguards even exist for people on jobseeker’s allowance.

    “I think you’re inflaming this,” McVey told the sanction inquiry last week when challenged on benefit claimants’ deaths. I wonder when exactly we are permitted to start making a fuss, what the tipping point is for at least 49 people to be treated as more than just numbers on austerity’s spreadsheet.

    I suppose it is excessive to expect a responsible, or basic human reaction to these deaths from our elected officials. But then we are only dealing with benefit claimants, aren’t we? This government could never deem their suffering a national scandal. To care about someone’s death, you have to first believe their life mattered.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 10, 2015 at 1:27 pm

  26. Were all in it together? – Yeah Right!

    Tory donors offered an ‘iron man’ with Iain Duncan Smith at fundraising ball.

    Private jet holidays, shoe shopping with the Home Secretary and a JCB digger among lots at Tory fundraising bash.

    A 10 kilometre cross-country run with Iain Duncan Smith and a shoe-shopping trip with Theresa May were among lots auctioned to raise funds for the Conservative Party’s election war chest.

    Guests are said to have bid £210,000 for a bronze bust of Margaret Thatcher and £220,000 for a week-long holiday in a Spanish fortress.

    Party donors were also invited to bid for a roast chicken dinner at the home of Michael Gove, the Chief Whip, a copy of the 2015 election manifesto signed by the Prime Minister and a set of George Osborne’s signed budgets.

    They were also invited to bid for a 5 kilometre run with Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, dinner at the Carlton Club with Sajid Javid, the culture secretary, and tea with Boris Johnson, according to Buzzfeed.

    The event at London’s Grosvenor House hotel was attended by most of the Cabinet, David Cameron’s election strategist Lynton Crosby and Jim Messina, Barack Obama’s former aide.

    Tickets cost £500 to £1,500 a head, depending on the guest on each table.

    Other lots at the auction donated by party backers included a trip to Santorini in a private jet, a new Suburu four-wheel drive, a JCB digger, a shooting weekend, and use of Annabel’s nightclub in London for one night.

    The lot involving Mr Duncan Smith, a former Tank Regiment officer, promised the participant “hills, woods, streams, hedges and hay bales” as they took part in the endurance challenge.


    Toffs all in it together… more like.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 10, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    • Advice from Rochdale Council:

      Has your benefit been sanctioned?

      If your Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA) is sanctioned and you’re in receipt of Housing Benefit you need to contact us.

      If you don’t contact us we may stop paying your Housing Benefit until you do so.

      Sanctioned claimants may still be eligible for Housing Benefit but you must ring us to tell us that your JSA or ESA has been sanctioned.

      Sanctioned claimants may be eligible for a hardship payment if they have no other sources of support. Please contact your local Jobcentre for advice.


      Will be pretty much the same for every council.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      February 10, 2015 at 2:50 pm

  27. Protests at Arbroath and Cambridge Jobcentres.

    Dozens turn up for Arbroath Jobcentre protest.

    Tony Cox, who is a member of the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, was arrested in Arbroath in connection with a disturbance that took place at the Chalmers Street Jobcentre Plus branch on Thursday.

    The 51-year-old has been charged with threatening behaviour, refusing arrest and refusing to give his name and address.

    Today, about 30 people turned out on the street outside the job centre to protest the police action and they heard speeches from Mike McGregor, of the Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions group, and Cox himself.

    It was a peaceful gathering, but three police officers were stationed outside the job centre to prevent any potential trouble, as well as security staff from G4S inside the building.

    Tony told the Tele he was overwhelmed by the support he had received.

    He said: “I’m really taken aback by the response, I think it shows the depth of feeling there is about the issue.

    “These are very vulnerable people and they are being treated as fodder for sanctions.

    “It’s an absolute disgrace.

    “The atmosphere inside these job centres is just like sitting outside the headmaster’s office waiting to get the strap.”

    One of the protestors who joined the movement was John McGregor, 52, a member of the Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions organisation.

    He said: “It’s been a great turnout today. There are people up from the Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (ECAP), people from Dundee, and we’ve had loads of support from all over.

    “We’re hoping to get people in Arbroath to set up similar organisations as the ones we have in Dundee and Edinburgh, to go against the intimidation job seekers and the people helping them feel when they got to the Job Centre here.”


    Protesters clash with Cambridge job centre security guards in demonstration for boy with cancer who had benefits cut

    Up to six police patrols cars rushed to the centre in Chesterton Road at about 1pm today after a banner supporting Tommi Miller’s family was torn down by security staff after it was placed on the window of the Chesterton Road building.

    The protest was held just as news was breaking that Tommi Miller, of Thorpe Way, who is suffering from cancer, will get the benefits to which he is entitled for the next four years, as well as backdated payments and compensation for the errors made.

    Jim Nichols, 37, was furious after the banner was ripped down and protestors told to leave the front entrance to the job centre.

    He said: “We have been treated appallingly. They ripped our banner down without even asking if we would remove it. It’s disgusting. We are just ordinary people protesting about a cruel injustice.”

    The News witnessed the scuffles as accusations flew between protestors and security staff.

    Daniel Brett, who organised the demonstration involving about a dozen people.

    He said: “There was no polite request to remove the banner. They just grabbed it and tore it down. It was ridiculous.”

    No arrests were made and the ugly mood was lifted as news broke that Tommi’s parents ruth and Kevin had won their fight with the Department for Works and Pensions to have their benefits reinstated.


    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 10, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    • That G$s goon is clearly grabbing that guy, he has NO FUCKING RIGHT TO – that is clearly and ASSAULT!

      A Salt

      February 10, 2015 at 5:17 pm

  28. Universal Jobmatch Update:

    DWP Central Freedom of Information Team

    e-mail: [email address].gov.uk
    Annex A
    Our Ref: VTR 5000


    Dear Ian Wolf,

    Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FoI) request received on 15/11/14, my apologies
    for the delay in replying. You asked:

    Please supply information on methods DWP use now, has used or plans to use in the
    future to ensure “new JSA and UC claimants are automatically signed on to Universal
    Jobmatch”? The key interest is how anyone is “automatically signed”.

    I also require information that DWP access to a UC claimants Jobmatch account can be
    made a mandatory UC Claimant Commitment requirement and therefore making access
    a condition of a UC award?

    DWP Response:

    There are no methods used nor are there any plans to automatically sign Jobseeker
    Allowance or Universal Credit claimants on to Universal Job match.

    In terms of existing JSA claimants to whom the Jobseekers Act 1995 and Jobseeker’s
    Allowance Regulations 1996 apply, the recorded information we hold that best answers your
    questions is contained in paragraphs 38 to 74 in Chapter 03 of the UJ Toolkit. These explain
    how DWP advisers can issue a Jobseeker’s Direction to mandate JSA claimants to create a
    profile and public CV in Universal Jobmatch. A copy of these paragraphs is included in Annex
    1 to this letter.

    Turning to UC claimants, to whom the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and the Universal Credit
    Regulations apply, the recorded information we hold that best answers your questions is
    contained in the knowledge management available to Jobcentre staff dealing with Universal
    Credit claimants which is included in Annex 2 to this letter.

    There is no legal requirement for a claimant to give permission for DWP to access their
    Universal Jobmatch account.

    If you have any queries about this letter please contact us quoting the reference number

    Yours sincerely,

    DWP Central FoI Team

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 10, 2015 at 3:57 pm

  29. Hi.Are you aware that the DWP sanctions could breach Articles of the Human Rights Act 1998, that relate to Life, Liberty and Prohibition of Torture.And do you know the names of any Legal Aided firms that can prosecute the DWP?

    mike azur

    April 14, 2015 at 6:13 pm

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