Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Benefit sanctions: ‘Britain’s secret penal system’.

with 41 comments


Britain’s Secret Penal System.

This is absolutely excellent – thanks Jim.

The Sanctions system is something hanging over all us.

A worry to us, a temptation for abuse for those in a position of power.

And mainly: a massive source of destitution and misery.

We already live on the absolute minimum.

People who count what a container of milk costs, who hang around for the cheap bread at the end of the day, who have to show evidence of our ‘job search’ at every turn, who have to put up with being lectured and patronised, who read the crap in the press about us loafers. Who  worry, and worry, about being penalised and losing benefits.

Who see the sisters and brothers living in the streets, sanctioned without resources, begging – every single bloody day!

Who are unable even to leave the country to go ‘abroad’  – like under some kind of Stalinist regime – without losing benefits.

Who  have to trudge to Liddle to buy our lumpfish caviar,  fresh lobster and Prosecco.

Okay….. I made the last bit up.

Anyway this bloke nails the whole thing.

From Bella Caledonia.

Stuart Rodger interviews Dr David Webster, the Glasgow-based academic who charts the full horror of Tory benefit sanctions – which fine more people for being poor than are fined in Magistrates courts

While the Tories like to prevaricate and evade on the causes for the dramatic rise in foodbank use in Britain over the past six years, the statistical evidence is unequivocal. 

The Trussell Trust – the leading provider of foodbanks in Britain – claim that the highest proportion of users, at 28%, cite benefit delays as their reasons for referral. Corresponding with the rise of physical hunger has been the level of psychological distress – with DWP staff now being given ‘suicide guidance’ when dealing with despairing claimants. 

The benefit-related problems in question are, in many cases, sanctions. These have long been part of the system, but the passing of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 brought in a much stricter regime, with some claimants being sanctioned for as long as three years. 

They soon became a common topic of discussion after the news of the death of David Clapson – a diabetic former soldier left with an empty stomach and a cut-off refrigerator where he left his insulin. With sanctions causing such widespread misery, no wonder the DWP issued fabricated personal stories promoting sanctions, in a Ministry-of-Truth like twist. 

One academic who has been taking sanctions to task, however, is Dr David Webster, of Glasgow University. He has memorably described benefit sanctions as ‘Britain’s secret penal’ system. 

His remarkable observation is that, once you crunch the numbers, the number of benefit sanctions being inflicted on claimants – at over 1 million – is now higher than the number of fines imposed by Magistrates and Sheriff courts throughout Britain, at around 850,000, and the amount of money is measurably greater. 

Meeting with Webster in his elegant, semi-detached Victorian house in Glasgow’s southside, he tells me that he regards this system as a ‘third-rate form of justice’. What stands out for him, he has written, is that the decisions are made in secret, without any open system of transparency or accountability: 

‘Decisions on guilt are made in secret by officials who have no independent responsibility to act lawfully – since the Social Security Act 1998 they have been mere agents of the Secretary of State. These officials are currently subject to constant management pressure to maximise penalties. And as in any secret system, there is a lot of error, misconduct, dishonesty and abuse. The claimant is not present when the decision on guilt is made and is not legally represented.’

Webster sees it as a basic violation of the principles of a liberal democracy: ‘The civil liberties alarm bells haven’t been triggered – because it’s been done step by step by step. But of course that’s what happens when liberties are taken away, they don’t all go at once.’ 

Talking about the historical development of welfare reform, he says ‘the biggest increase in penalties was the 2012 Act… That’s what created this anomaly where these secret administrators can impose penalties higher than the Magistrates courts.’ 

Read More here.

‘The trouble with the sanctions system is that it’s so vicious that it undermines people… It makes them ill, destroys their resilience in all sorts of ways, lose their self-confidence. It’s immensely damaging. So I feel very angry about it.’


Written by Andrew Coates

May 5, 2016 at 3:47 pm

41 Responses

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  1. Very good article very accurate description ive been sanctioned now for over 10years and when ever ive tried to ascertain who makes the decisions these facts have always been kept deliberately from me just secret administrator my files sent up the line
    Up out of my region
    I even got a total ban order placed on me by sir mel groves cbe
    Head of dwp and their lawyers field fisher of vine street london for merely trying to challenge them over the legality and duration of their unfairly imposed sanctions
    I am still only allowed in a jcp for 8mins by prior arrangement and all security are notified of my coming in advances
    G4s failed to answer why their guards had harrassed me and others and one guard even went as far as seeking an injunctions on me
    Personal because i challenged him about his attitude towards claimants
    He threatened to rip off my head shit down my neck!!?
    It all went queit after this
    Whenever i challenged them i was left with postal signing vouchers outsides unable to sign on
    Because vouchers as part of ban order conditions were not sent
    To my adress in time
    Payments were often 6weeks too late or interviews were scuppered by dithering by dwp
    Univ jobmatch i refused to subscribe too
    As tracking cookies were being placed on our internet activities then sent offshore all datas to nsa fusion centres in usa run by cia fbi nsa courtesy of camerons govt mi5 gchq
    Their own laws breached our civil liberties and data protection act and several articles of the human roghts act aswell
    But advisors dwp execs incl that bitch ids right hand esther mc vey
    Were adamant the fault was all the claimants absolved their depts of all wrongdoing
    Or over extensions of my sanctioning exceeded 10years
    Without notification of reassessments or reviews or their results
    Its a basket case of govt mismanagement of its own peoples they are incapable to govern

    David huxtable

    May 5, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    • It is exceptional, I will try to get hold of the book, though it looks depressing….

      Andrew Coates

      May 5, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      • Nothing but the truth from Dr David Webster.

        Those people who know nothing about the welfare reform with it’s sanctions I would say are the ones who should read the book. of course there will be many who don’t care so won’t want to know.


        May 5, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    • Yup, been banned from the jobcentre too 🙂

      The Incredible Hulk

      May 9, 2016 at 6:37 am

  2. G4s failed to answer why their guards had harrassed me and others and one guard even went as far as seeking an injunctions on me

    I’ve had problems with them,one looked at me and said “They wish he would f**k off out of it”” in a G4S uniform staring at me this security guard is no longer at the jobcentre but has popped in for a chat with existing staff.Still there is intimidating looks today.

    Their obviously hand in glove with staff and some are prepared to say what DWP staff will not and cannot the face of respectability clearly masks other underlying unsavory tones and attitudes in that department.Any responce ends in threats to issue a ban I was told happens again “your out” nothing about misconduct thats causing the problems any complaint is unresponded to and ignored however you will find it mirrors whats happening in other reports in the media nationwide.Someones’ wellbeing is of no concern this also is also reported by those who monitor and prepared to publicise these events.


    May 5, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    • You need Ken to do what all claimants should do and that is record every interaction you have while at the jobcentre,even that of security.

      DWP may have a sign stating no phones or no recording but legally they cant enforce it and i will explain why.For starters signage with regulatory standing is and has to be official meaning carbon copies are not under law considered official signage and as such cannot be legally enforced as but one example. From colour,shape and size if it doesn’t conform, its strictly NOT legal signage.

      As for not recording their are only two incidences where such an action would be warranted and even then only under strict accordance with regulation. The first would be so as not to interfere with pace makers, heart monitors for instance but considering theirs a ton and a half of PC, staff mobile phones and other electrical devices not protected wouldn’t and couldn’t form any part of an argument by DWP to justify this is such. So this leaves the only one being a data subjects rights under ICO (data protection act).

      It is a lawful requirement for anyone who intends to process a data subjects personal and or sensitive data to do certain things as required by law, one being the protection of ones privacy. Now while this is the case it is DWPs obligation under law, not the claimants. Now DWP decided that they wanted the jobcentres to be as they were so day one allowed the premise of ones data being breached and lets not forget who loud enough for all to hear calls out peoples fall names, an instant breach made by the very fact they know the person would have to acknowledge them or they would be listed as non attendance and claim closed, requirements set by DWP for all claimants day one as a condition to claim. Its compounded worse still when DWP require a claimant every time they sign to confirm certain personal things like address for instance.

      Its not up to DWP to protect an individual from not realizing they may offer out data that could be protected but to only protect the data they currently hold on said individual gained via lawful consent.

      Lastly theirs an exemption to the rule being part 4 section 1 (crime and taxation) that dictates when a data subject is under suspicion of a crime that they forfeit their rights under the act. This means the moment a person has reason to believe a person is suspicious of a crime that they can use that persons personal data relative at the time of suspicion without having to go through the process of the DPA.

      What im saying is, if a claimant has reason to believe that their advisor has or is in the act of committing a crime of fraud and or abuse of power and position, then their free to record and use said record in the prevention of crime and DWP cant do squat about it.

      Claimants need to realize they DON’T have to declare their recording under this exemption prior to such a recording. As long as they don’t misuse the recording and destroy it should innocence be proved, its perfectly legal in content and practice.


      May 6, 2016 at 1:57 pm


    Well, had my first UC interview and now after reading the above article on Bella Caledonia cannot agree more, no wonder people just don’t bother claiming, as if it wasn’t bad enough before, it has now become unbearable.

    The coachy was like a school principle who tried to inform me how wonderful UC is, (much to my disagreement), coachy kept telling me about the 35hr week jobsearch and the sanction rule (like I’d never heard of it) and informed me they were going to get me back to work (dread to think what coachy’s idea of work is, probably forced zero hour contract or min wage 10 hr week poundland), not that there’s anything wrong with working in a shop but the thought of working in retail fills me horror and anxiety.

    What really disturbs me is if they for any reason (and sometimes they don’t even tell you) sanction me, now that I’m on UC how the hell do you pay your rent? Are there provisions for your rent or are you just going to be made homeless?

    Coachy never specified how to prove I had done 35hr jobsearch so I will keep on showing them printouts and I will do a diary of sorts, but should I hold of showing it to them until they ask? And any other tips on not giving them any excuse to ruin your life completely.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I’m now becoming a nervous wreck.


    May 6, 2016 at 10:33 am

    • blimey2016

      Show your evidence each time you see the WorkRoach (as this one seems so eager that is what he/she is).
      Put dates/times on your Job Search as YOU think appropriate to show you are meeting your commitment.
      DO NOT TRUST anything you are told and Research, Research, Research, Everything mentioned. [Get a note book and take notes blatantly in front of them]
      If they start swapping your WR pay even greater attention to what is going on as its the old good cop/bad cop routine. [mostly bad cop]
      Other than than that all I can say is if something feels wrong, it probably is wrong and watch out.
      Remember – by Law you have to sign from here on out only 1 thing – your weekly/twice weekly jobsearch declaration. DO not sign anything else until after you have had a chance to check it out.
      [There is one other thing you have to sign and that is your Claimant Commitment when you first sign]


      May 6, 2016 at 11:39 am

    • Check out Universal Credit Survival on Facebook. Loads of people in the same boat, but some good links and suggestions, and support. Good luck.


      May 6, 2016 at 5:51 pm

  4. REVEALED: Shocking map shows the towns GUZZLING the most benefits cash in Britain



    This is a load of inclusive crap spread by media that amounts to no more than prejudice against unemployed,ill and disabled people.

    For starters cherry picking which benefits you speak about was never a good idea as we all know pensions and children and families and lastly social protection (vulnerable people) are the most drawn and biggest welfare expenditure year in, year out. Pensions alone are 5% bigger than the entire remaining welfare bill these papers are attempting to harp on about. Also leaving out UC doesn’t help as doesn’t acknowledging the north has less work opportunities.

    This TaxPayers’ Alliance spokesman Harry Davis must live in a time bubble as where has he been for the last term of government who day one set about ensuring no one on benefits gets more than a working person, well unless you include low paid, state dependent workers that is. So to suggest the system still gives out more money per person makes one wonder where else the math is failing with this person.

    Now according to the media, the welfare bill is rising but equally clearly unless press wants to shed light on why it isn’t so, unemployment has been dropping, the birth rate has declined, DWP doled out millions of sanctions, more people are now homeless, more people have had their properties taken away, and benefits rates have been frozen for 5 years now.

    I personally do believe it has risen but dew to government hashing figures, changing targets like pension age, dropping under 25s out of benefits, the new living wage and the likes, its hard if not impossible to prove while government control what and what gets printed.

    Its an assumption at this point but i believe this recent media jab has been timed deliberately to fit in with the new living wage which would indeed change the landscape on amounts of people claiming child/tax credits and housing benefit, the two things predominantly claimed in both the north and south.


    May 6, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    • express.co.uk
      It’s not often you see so many idiots all together on the same page! I don’t think all of them commenters can be for real.

      This is why the national debt has gone above 1.5 trillion, to much benefit pay out.

      Why do idiots believe the money that the poor spend just evaporates into nothing.

      Another Fine Recession

      May 6, 2016 at 10:01 pm

      • On the contrary, benefit payments cause more money to circulate in the economy creating jobs and helping to keep, mostly local businesses, running. If instead benefit payments were ceased and the money ‘saved’ was siphoned off into offshore accounts we would see an increase in unemployment and business closures. In short, benefit payments create a broader base of economic activity.

        Professor of Economics

        May 9, 2016 at 6:51 am

      • Benefit payments also increase the Velocity of Money which stimulates and increases economic activity.

        Professor of Economics

        May 9, 2016 at 6:56 am

      • Always fot all benefit payments were kept and burned in a giant Wicker Man ceremony once a year on a remote Scottish island 😉

        Shite Dee

        May 9, 2016 at 7:12 am

      • Shite Dee

        May 9, 2016 at 7:12 am

      • Shite Dee

        May 9, 2016 at 7:13 am

  5. Not surprising their the two rags to print this not so long ago benefit tycoons was the headline.Turn that around it shows a failed Britain thats far from thriving but in the poorest regions in Northern Europe by decline the map refects the divide,this is not going to be reversed and those caught in this face a bleak future and its going to take more the Universal Credit.This is exactly what the country cannot afford.

    Its the cost of a failed economic policy by the Tories,they and there supporters have bled the country dry.



    May 6, 2016 at 3:30 pm

  6. OT – Not really, the following comments are still on the subject of the war on the poor. (But who is waging it)?


    The Tories are now the second biggest party in the Scottish Parliament – beating Labour into third place.

    The SNP are about to launch a “prevention” strategy designed, apparently, to prevent long-term unemployment, where those cases with the greatest “liability” will be given the greatest “help and support”. This strategy is based on “The Investment Approach” used in New Zealand.

    With two dodgy companies – Ingeus and G4S – already contending for new Welfare-to-Work contracts coming in next spring in Scotland, and with the savage sanctions regime still reserved to Westminster, the future looks uncertain for the poor and the sick in Scotland.

    Particularly suspicious are the claims that: “the real gains are to be made by investing in ESA recipients”, and “the ‘Investment Approach’ is consistent with the objectives of the Scottish Government Prevention Agenda”.

    It looks as though this new approach – which will use “actuarial” techniques from the private commercial insurance industry – will see welfare recipients as “liabilities”. Will that result in claims being thinned out?




    May 7, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    • 1: Have a person centred, flexible and tailored approach that considers all elements of an individual’s life that affects their employability.

      Funny they say that about unemployed benefits in England yet all i see is tick boxes of do you fit in this category which is ultimately decided by DWP as to what elements of an individuals life actually count.

      2: Be designed and delivered by a partnership of organization such as central and local government, third sector, and educators.

      So they same organizations who failed last time.

      3: Focus on ‘real jobs’ through engaging with employers and creating high quality labour market intelligence, so job seekers are prepared for and directed towards jobs that exist.

      So their not going to cut employer red tape as so to speak so employers overlook someones say unemployed for 2 or more years, they are only going as far as making sure the jobs actually exists.
      Does this mean any employer who does not engage but is still looking to hire will be classed as though their vacancy does not exist, will this mean claimants wont have to apply to such jobs then ?

      What will this engagement involve exactly,will DWP Scotland/provider and such be actually visiting these places or just a quick chat over the phone and check at company house ?

      Well i for one wish Scotland all the luck at getting over a third of claimants with serious barriers back into work, they have indeed set themselves a challenge.


      May 7, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      • Apart from fraud-ridden companies like Ingeus and G4S, championed by ERSA who already have their finger in the Scottish welfare pie, the major concern is that the “new” set-up in Scotland will not be greatly different in practice to what has gone before. New labels and new jargon will abound, as you can already see, but where will the new real jobs be?

        That last question should be asked at every stage of this new “Investment Approach” in Scotland, given that the old Work Programme did no better at getting people back to work than what would have happened if it hadn’t existed in the first place!

        And don’t forget the Westminster-controlled sanctions regime. The old Work Programme actually managed to sanction more people than it got back to work!


        May 7, 2016 at 4:57 pm

  7. Benefits cap to be slashed from £26,000 to £20,000 per family: Claimants told ‘find jobs or your handouts will be cut’

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3578279/Benefits-cap-slashed-26-000-20-000-family-Claimants-told-jobs-handouts-cut.html#ixzz47yzjJ6Vb
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


    May 7, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    • Its funny but i seem to remember only last year one top DWP civil servant and one Ester McVey were forced to admit at a certain committee hearing that they actually couldn’t prove what happens to claimants when they sign off, not even when mentioned , “can you not use a new real time tax I.T system to identify exactly what amounts have been doing what after signing off. This is exactly the same as IDS when he said, “well you cant prove me wrong either” when he to was confronted with the same question about his and the departments claim.

      The sole reason these politicians get away with such unsubstantiated figures is because their always working with medians/averages always derived from surveys of no more than 16’000 single people/families be they working or not.

      Take this so they wont earn more than the average earnings of the UK. For starters its about wages not people meaning 50% of the entire UK workforce could be earning less than £20’000 per year, a bit of a half hearted attempt or misdirection if you ask me, especially when if inflation kicks in, they would have to be raised anyway.


      May 7, 2016 at 3:41 pm

  8. Macmillan opens cancer support service at Bronglais Hospital.

    A new support service has opened in Ceredigion for people affected by cancer.

    The Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre is based in the entrance of Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth.

    It offers confidential advice to patients, families and carers on issues such as welfare benefits.

    The service is part of a £3.3m investment made in the health board over the last five years to support posts and projects.

    Hywel Dda University Health Board’s chief executive, Steve Moore said they were “extremely proud” of the new service.

    It would “provide local people with additional support when they need it most,” he said.



    May 7, 2016 at 3:27 pm

  9. More than 8 million in UK struggle to put food on table, survey says.

    Food Foundation reveals scale of food insecurity, with 4.7 million thought to be regularly going a day without eating.

    More than 8 million people in Britain live in households that struggle to put enough food on the table, with over half regularly going a whole day without eating, according to estimates of hunger in the UK.

    One in 10 adults suffered moderate levels of food insecurity in 2014, placing the UK in the bottom half of European countries on hunger measures, below Hungary, Estonia, Slovakia and Malta.

    Around 17 times the number of people who use Trussell Trust food banks were insecure about getting enough to eat, suggesting hunger in the UK is far more widespread than rising charity food use indicates, according to the analysis of UN data by the Food Foundation thinktank.

    Food insecurity is variously defined as experiencing hunger, inability to secure enough food of sufficient quality and quantity to enable good health and participation in society, and cutting down on food due to financial necessity.



    May 7, 2016 at 3:42 pm

  10. We all know you have to ‘work’ 24/7 to justify your existence, well here’s the future of ‘work’.

    Another Fake Job

    May 7, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    • I never would have thought that bread and goat simulator would come out on top but officially now it has.


      May 7, 2016 at 7:46 pm

  11. What has happened to the economy under a year of Tory government – in six charts


    Its just a shame they didn’t include all the other gaffs the Tories have made thus far.


    May 7, 2016 at 7:53 pm

  12. OT: UJM & its prospective End

    h/t to unemploymentmovement


    Did a quick google and a Guardian newspaper article had been updated to say that UJM does indeed come to an end in 2016. Apparently, it`s run by US owners MONSTER but the DWP told Monster what they wanted from the site and that`s when the site got sabotaged by spam and fake jobs etc….Monster demanded nearly £1 million to weed out all the fraudulent ad`s! So cost is an issue. DWP as usual take no responsibility for the uselessness of the site and waffle on about how job seekers benefit from the site blah, blah….

    Another Commentator:

    Universal Jobmatch Contract nearly OVER 08 May 2016 10:50 #20018
    I think we’ll see UJM stay, just in a different form, with the removal of the job match part which has been universally panned and more put into the logged activities side of it, given how much it would cost for a new system and the fact some advisors have taken all this time to learn just how to get into it, this is closer to what I would personally expect


    May 8, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    • This is a hugely successful site. It has more than 500,000 employers on it and nearly 6 million job searches a day. It has transformed the service of getting people back into work, which is of course now at record levels. Lord Freud 19 March 2014

      My Lords, to run a successful economy you need to make sure that you do not run it into the ground. Lord Freud 19 March 2014


      My Lords, Stephen O’Donnell, who runs the National Online Recruitment Awards, said:
      “I think it’s criminally unfair to sanction jobseekers for not using such a clumsily built website, rife with spammers … identity thieves and anonymous job ads”.
      Baroness Lister of Burtersett (Lab)


      Another Fine Recession

      May 8, 2016 at 2:26 pm

  13. ‘Largest student rent strike in British history’ gathers momentum in London.

    More than 1,000 students are now reportedly withholding rent payments at universities across London in what’s being described as “the largest student rent strike in British history”.

    Strikers at the University of Roehampton and the Courtauld Institute of Art have joined those from Goldsmiths and University College London (UCL) to bring up the total number of protesters over the cost of accommodation prices they say are “soaring”.

    As well as this, some of the protesters have complained about what they claim are below-standard living conditions.



    May 8, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    • enigma

      good spot.

      Now what is the ConCons going to do/say about this – which reflects things across society?

      They’re all for no rent controls, so that means soaring rent right there.
      They want only private building so no expansion of social housing, no fall back.
      They are all for an expanding house building market – despite most people being unable to buy, so a growing bubble.

      And all of the above is to a greater degree or the other reflected across the country.

      So end result is there are no options. Oh dear.


      May 8, 2016 at 2:59 pm

  14. Debt Charities Warn Of Record Levels Of Council Tax Arrears

    Two leading debt advice charities have called on local authorities to end the practice of passing vulnerable residents Council Tax debts to bailiffs, as figures show the level of arrears has hit a record high.



    May 9, 2016 at 11:32 am

  15. OT?

    More Corruption.

    “he [Peter Lilley, former Tory Social Security and Trade and Industry secretary] brings with him a wealth of experience of central and local government, which we believe will be of considerable benefit to the group, especially as it seeks to achieve an increasingly strategic role with both local and central government”.

    Lilley is a director of a private firm responsible for managing elections in Scotland – including postal vote management support. (There was great controversy over “missing” postal votes during the referendum campaign).

    One objector who has lodged a complaint said: “Elections should be free of any issue that might raise any questions.”



    May 9, 2016 at 1:25 pm

  16. please could somebody please confirm if indeed people on universal credit have to complete thirty five hours a week job search.

    christopher buttress

    May 11, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    • Yes I have to do this. I had to sign on the 5th of May. I will not get anything until the 18th of June. I don’t know how much either. I’m really scared that I wont be able to pay my bills. I am completely skint at the moment. Can’t afford food. I’m not a bad person, I had to sell my business due to my landlord putting my monthly rent up from £750 to £2000.

      Tom Wingrove

      June 4, 2016 at 9:19 am

  17. Oh and and justifying myself for 35 hours a week is nigh on impossible. There’s nobody who’ll answer my questions about how much I’ll get. My Work Coach has dodged the issue my online U.C Case Worker has only answered my two questions stating that I’ll get what I’m entitled to. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. The only other option is the very expensive phone line that never seems to answer. So until then I have to wait until they send me a letter on the 11th of June when I’ll find out how much this so called safety net I’m entitled to will give me. If it covers my rent and bills then hopefully I’ll have some money to eat with, If it doesn’t then I will be homeless. I don’t deserve this but maybe I do in the government’s eyes. Great Britain is a horrible country to live in.

    Tom Wingrove

    June 4, 2016 at 9:31 am

    • No-one can justify a 35 hour a week jobsearch. We know it. You know it. The DWP know it. The 35 hour a week requirement exists solely so that the jobcentre can impose an (ASE (Actively Seeking Employment)) sanction on a whim; it hangs over the jobseeker like the proverbial Sword of Damacles.

      This was the modus operandi of Post Work Programme Support – the infamous ‘hit squad’. The cock roach would go through the hapless jobseeker’s work search with a fine-tooth comb, forensically wouldn’t be too strong a word until they could concoct a reason to ‘raise a doubt’. Imagine having to account in the minutest of detail down to a granular, atomic level how you spent 35 hours a week job searching – you couldn’t! The 35 hour work search requirement is a sanction waiting to happen.

      Sword of Damacles

      June 4, 2016 at 10:35 am

      • You’ve hit the nail on the head. The general populace need to know that when they lose their jobs nowdays they suddenly are targeted by these bullies and don’t have the same rights as normal people who haven’t lost theirs. I feel that I’m under threat of sanction whenever I have to sign on in the job centre. The consequences of being sanctioned is destitution in my case. As for being constantly watched by the security guards who don’t acknowledge you I think intimidation is being used to a degree as well. I was made redundant by GlaxoSmithKline on New Years Eve 2010 due to the closure of their primary manufacturing site in Dartford. For almost three years I was unemployed, almost two of those being treated like a sub-human by Maximus. Three years ago I got on my bike and moved from Kent to Great Yarmouth to take over a Boutique Shabby Chic B&B with a business partner only to have it ripped out from under us by a greedy, crooked, tax dodging landlord and now I’m one of the scroungers who Channel 5, The Daily Mail and The Sun persecute and spread outright lies about. You are right, Universal Credit is Weaponised Welfare. The seven week wait together with the 35 hours a week job search is designed to either put people off from claiming it in the first place or trip a job seeker up so that they can lose everything whilst they are having to claim it. This will only hit the headlines when it starts to affect the middle classes. Newspapers and the BBC don’t care about this issue and seem complicit in covering it up and saying what this government tells them to say.

        Tom Wingrove

        June 5, 2016 at 10:19 am

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