Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Call for Safeguards for People with Mental Illness on Benefits.

with 11 comments

Do not attack the Vulnerable.

This letter, reproduced by Welfare Weekly, should be followed widely.

What is happening in Rochdale is happening all over the country.

Every day I see people with serious mental health issues in the public library – many doing ‘Jobsearch. I would guess that amongst those begging in the streets of Ipswich a high proportion have these problems as well.

On courses for the Work Programme I have been with people who have extreme psychological problems.

In one case, an individual, well known in Ipswich, with numerous restraining orders on him, was on one of these so-called courses designed to make people ’employable’.

With tightening rules for Job Seekers, and  the pressure on everybody, the most vulnerable are bound to be hit.

Even the cheeriest of us have days when we don’t want to follow the so-called 35 hours rule: we knuckle down….

Anybody with depression will be simply incapable of doing this, let alone those suffering from other types of disorder.

 This is a monstrous injustice.

They have ‘freed’ people from confinement, and serious treatment, and now expect them to conform to their ‘Panoptican’ (all-seeing) surveillance.

Dear Elected Representative [s],

Could we the undersigned please take this opportunity to thank you for the excellent ongoing support you have given to people with mental health issues in the past.

Today we would like to draw your attention, if we may, to two pressing issues relating to people with mental health issues in Rochdale, Middleton & Heywood in the hope that you can both pledge your continued support to members of our mental health Service Users community, many of whom face great distress and anxiety over some elements of the governments Welfare Reform process.


Foremost in our minds is our growing concern that the proposed £31 MILLION pounds in cuts to Public Services at Rochdale Council which will without doubt impact disproportionately on vulnerable people with mental health issues, as well as many others within the wider community, that such cuts will have a massive direct impact upon.

Secondly we are deeply concerned that 100 people a day with mental health problems are having their Welfare benefits sanctioned – stopped for periods of time – by the Department of Work & Pensions [DWP]. These sanctions have a massive impact on people already struggling with periods of unemployment. But as I am sure you will all be very aware the impact on people already struggling with mental health issues can be catastrophic.

We’d like to draw your attention to latest report from New Economy that records the latest DWP sanctions figures made available for the period 22 October until the 31 December 2013. These statistics lists Rochdale Job Centre, Fleece Street as having the third highest rate for sanctioning benefit claimants in the whole of Greater Manchester. Of the 4,078 people being sanctioned at Rochdale Job Centre 40% were sanctioned without being told why these sanctioned were imposed by Claimant Advisers.

Locally the figures break down at:

  • Rochdale Job Centre Plus, Fleece Street – 4,078
  • Middleton Jobcentre Plus – 1,484
  • Heywood Job Centre Plus, Taylor Street – 972

A total of 6534 in all. Across the Greater Manchester, the Manchester East & West area had 24,072 “adverse” sanctions. Of these the majority by far were in the 18-24 year age group totalling 246, 592 individuals. With 91,603 in the 25-29 year old age group.

Most worryingly across the whole of the United Kingdom there were 49,827 disabled people who were sanctioned by the DWP.

We are also firmly of the belief that:

Sanctioning someone with a mental health problem for being late for a meeting is like sanctioning someone with a broken leg for limping“, as well as being deeply worried at the latest DWP proposals to class Sanctioned Jobseekers with mental health issues as NOT “vulnerable” unless they have an accompanying physical health problem, as [reported] by Welfare Weekly,

RelatedSanctioned Job Seekers with Mental Health Problems are not vulnerable says DWP

Currently people suffering the most severe mental illnesses are likely to receive Employment and Support Allowance [ESA] and it is estimated that 23% of JSA claimants have a mental health condition.

Related: Mind ‘Extremely Concerned’ Over Benefits Sanctions Revelation

Could we urge you to make public representations on our behalf to Rochdale Council, to express our profound concerns at the proposed levels of cuts to services as well as to please ask the Department of Works & Pensions directly what guidelines they have in place to safeguard claimants with mental health issues, and the exact definition they use to identify those local claimants with mental health issues.

Your help with this would be very much appreciated by all of us. We would also very much welcome the opportunity to send a delegation of our newly relaunched Mental Health Campaign Group members to meet with you personally at your earliest convenience that suits you to discuss these serious issues of concern to us. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

  • RACHEL GINNELLY – CEO, Rochdale Borough Users Forum Chief Executive Office
  • MICK AYTON – Voice Programme Coordinator
  • RYAN COWAN – Chair, RBUF Board of Trustees
  • MIKE JONES – Vice Chair RBUF Board of Trustees
  • DANIEL – RBUF Technical Assistant
  • NISBA – Project Assistant for RBUF
  • ALAN TICE – RBUF Member
  • STEVE TOMLINSON – RBUF Office Volunteer
  • PETER WILDMAN – RBUF Mental Health Trainer / RBUF Rep
  • SARAH HARPER – RBUF Office Volunteer
  • Larissa Marshall – RBUF Service User
  • ANDREW WASTLING – Chair, Mental Health Campaigns Group
  • YASMIN KENYON – RBUF Housing & Homeless Rep
  • PETER WILDMAN – RBUF Mental Health Trainer / RBUF Rep
  • RASHIDA JORDAN – RBUF Service User / Volunteer
  • DONNA HOMES – RBUF Service User / Blue Pits Band
  • RICHARD OUTRAM – Policy & Research Adviser Liberal Democrat Group
  • NATASHA KIRBY – Rochdale Solutions – OL16
  • KATHTYN RENNIE -Rochdale Possibilities
  • TONY GILL – OL16 5QJ
  • SUSAN TURNER – REAG/ Cornerstone – OL2 7PY
  • JOHN CALLAGHAN – RBUF Service User

Written by Andrew Coates

August 14, 2015 at 3:34 pm

11 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. When most people see a person in the depths of despair or on the brink of suicide, they see a vulnerable person in need of help and compassion. Although not if you’re Iain Duncan Smith, it would seem.
    It’s been revealed that his Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) refuses to count serious mental health conditions amongst their criteria to protect vulnerable people on benefits. If you have depression, anxiety or OCD and are on the dole – tough luck. Under Tory logic, you probably chose being mentally ill as a lifestyle; just like you chose to be poor.



    August 15, 2015 at 10:55 am

  2. “Sanctioned Job Seekers with Mental Health Problems are not vulnerable says DWP

    Currently people suffering the most severe mental illnesses are likely to receive Employment and Support Allowance [ESA] and it is estimated that 23% of JSA claimants have a mental health condition”

    This is utter horseshit, and in fact this whole article is utter horseshit.

    ESA is paid at a rate £30 higher than JSA. ESA is never sanctioned at a rate which would leave an ESA claimant with less than a JSA claimant.

    So who the fuck is more vulnerable a sanctioned ESA claimant or an JSA claimant having to survive on jack-shit or £30 a week ‘hardship’ allowance. Seriously which scenario is more depressing. Living on jack-shit or ‘hardship’ allowance is enough to make you fucking suicidal never mind ‘depressed’.

    It is sick and tiring to constantly read the same old bullshit about ‘vulnerable claimant on ESA being sanctioned’. With absolutely NO FUCKING CONCERN WHATSOEVER shown to the real victims of these brutal policies – sanctioned JSA claimants who are being tipped over the edge into taking their own lives.

    It is people like David Clapson (RIP) who are the real ‘vulnerable’ group; people who keeps things to themselves, put a brave face on; laugh and joke about their predicament: “At least it is only a 3 year sanction; it could be worse 😀 “. It is THESE people who are found dead swinging from the rafters with a rope round their neck – NOT the whining fuckers who send have their life in the doctor’s surgery whining about their ‘depression’. AS us Ozzies say: GET FUCKING REAL!

    Down Under

    August 15, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    • The divide and rule schtick from the media has totally owned you. You have been 100% conned and outed yourself as an idiot.


      August 17, 2015 at 11:32 am

      • This is what happens when peeps are fed on a diet of Daily Heil and Channel 5 “benefits” programmes. Peeps on JSA can look after themselves, they all look fit enough to me,stood at the roulette machine all day in the bookies. All they need to do is get off their lazy backsides and get a job… but when you are stuck on ESA with depression and a bad back who is going to take you on? Jobseekers should be made to work and their benefits given to us on ESA!

        Sour Grapes

        August 17, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      • Too right, there are plenty of jobs out there especially for the young ‘uns. Peeps are just too lazy and fussy to take them. JSA claimants should be given a good boot up the arse and us ESA claimants should be left alone.

        Grapes of Wrath

        August 17, 2015 at 11:44 pm

      • It is well known by many, many on ESA should be on JSA. the brute honest truth. of course you won’t like that.


        August 18, 2015 at 3:55 am

      • We all know that Osborne is a nob, but we all grudgingly admit (except Lucy?) that “ESA is the benefit everyone tries to get on, and tries to stay on”… 😉 People are entirely stupid, Lucy… 😉

        And another thing, he was correct to align the rate of ESA to JSA. ESA > JSA – bang goes another £30! I suspect that is why the ‘disabled’ lobby were scared of a Tory government and urging us to “Vote Labour” – as if! Those fuckers on ESA who REALLY should be on JSA would be only too happy if Osborne had “left them alone” and lopped £30 a week of JSA – which is something which you wouldn’t put past a Labour government. And it goes without saying, particularly when it comes to the unemployed, that Labours government’s are truly evil fuckers.

        It is time for some “home truths”, especially on this blog. Way too much of this “toeing the party line” claptrap.

        ESA > JSA

        August 18, 2015 at 11:32 am

      • People are‘nt entirely stupid, Lucy… 😉

        ESA > JSA

        August 18, 2015 at 11:33 am

  3. “Call for Safeguards for People with Mental Illness on Benefits.” – is really just code for “Don’t sanction ESA claimants – and to Hell with JSA claimants”. This is the REAL reason the ‘disability’ lobby was urging us to vote Labour in the GE2015. They were clinging to the fond hope that that they *may* win some “concessions” from Labour and be left alone. But as we all know Labour would have really put the jackboot in JSA claimants. You would have had to have been nuts to have voted Labour if you were on JSA!

    Reality Check

    August 15, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    • I agree that we should be sceptical about some, particularly charities, lobbying on this issue.

      But DPAC, (Disabled People Against Cuts) have played a sterling role in campaigning against sanctions – for all people.

      Their main local activist has been a pillar of the campaign – and many people from DPAC are closely involved with the Unemployed Workers’ ‘Combine’ and UNITE Community.

      Andrew Coates

      August 15, 2015 at 3:03 pm

  4. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.


    August 16, 2015 at 4:07 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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: