Ipswich Unemployed Action.

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MPs hit out at “pointlessly cruel” Benefit Sanctions Regime.

with 42 comments

Sanctions Regime Remains in Place.

As I was walking out from my gaff this morning I saw a poster for today’s edition of the East Anglian Daily Times.

This is the story:

Children turn to emergency handouts as foodbank demand soars

Thousands of children in Suffolk and Essex are relying on emergency handouts from foodbanks, it can be revealed.

More than 1,500 youngsters turned to emergency food handouts in Suffolk from April 1 to September 30, up from 1,004 in the same period last year.

And the figure was even higher in Essex, with 6,338 children receiving three-day emergency food supplies at Trussell Trust foodbanks, up from 5,514.

The hard-hitting data, released by the organisation today, has seen volunteers warn of an impending “debt crisis” which could plunge even more families into poverty.

Problems with Universal Credit are being blamed for driving such an increase in foodbank use.

“It is unprecedented and the situation only seems to be getting worse,” warned Maureen Reynel, owner of the independent Ipswich foodbank FIND. “For a lot of families, it’s the impossible choice of whether to eat or heat their homes. Foodbanks are their lifeline.

By no coincidence whatsoever this is the main story about Universal Credit today:

MPs call for review of ‘pointlessly cruel’ benefit sanctions

Guardian. Patrick Butler.

Work and pensions committee concludes that current scheme carries too high a human cost.

A cross-party group of MPs has called for a review of the government’s controversial benefit sanctions regime after concluding that it was arbitrary, punitive and at times “pointlessly cruel”.

The Commons work and pensions committee inquiry said the human cost of stopping benefit payments to claimants judged to have breached job centre rules was too high and there was scant evidence that it helped or incentivised people to get a job.

It called for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions who have limited capability for work to be exempt from sanctions and said penalties for single parents and care leavers should be vastly reduced.

“We have heard stories of terrible and unnecessary hardship from people who’ve been sanctioned. They were left bewildered and driven to despair at becoming, often with their children, the victims of a sanctions regime that is at times so counterproductive it just seems pointlessly cruel,” said the committee’s chair, Frank Field.


A five-year academic study of sanctions published in May found that they were ineffective at getting jobless people into work and were more likely to push those affected into poverty, ill health or even survival crime.

The Department for Work and Pensions said: “We’re committed to ensuring that people get the benefits they’re entitled to, but it is reasonable that people have to meet certain requirements in return for payments. Sanctions are only used in the minority of cases when someone doesn’t meet these requirements without a good reason, and work coaches will continue to offer support to claimants to identify and help resolve the issues that lead to that.”

The Independent is even more direct:

Ministers broke promise to review ‘pointlessly cruel’ system for benefit sanctions, MPs say

Rob Merrick

No evaluation carried out despite 2013 pledge – and repeated warnings of people being pushed into poverty.

Ministers have broken a promise to review the “pointlessly cruel” system for imposing sanctions on benefit claimants, a damning report by MPs warns today.

No evaluation has been carried out despite a pledge made back in 2013, it says – and despite repeated warnings of people being pushed into poverty after being wrongly stripped of benefits.

Meanwhile, the troubled expansion of universal credit has sparked a fresh rise in the number of sanctions – including on the sick and disabled, single parents and care leavers.

Among the people who told the committee about the suffering caused by sanctions were:

* Jen, a wheelchair user forced to “sofa surf” and sleep in a college library for an entire year – including through her exams – when she was wrongly sanctioned for failing to attend a jobcentre appointment.

The jobcentre had told her it was acceptable to miss an appointment that clashed with an A-level exam, but she still had her benefits stopped for almost one yea

* Luke, who was sanctioned after missing a jobcentre appointment because he had been admitted to hospital with severe epileptic seizures.

He was sanctioned for failing to show “good reason for missing his appointment” – a decision only overturned after a media outcry.

* Samantha, a single parent forced to switch to part-time working because of a lack of childcare and stress, who was sanctioned for “voluntarily leaving employment”.

Her income fell from £800 per month to £300, forcing her to rely on food parcels from friends and to beg for money.

Here is the Work and Pensions Committee summary:

For a long time, the UK’s out-of-work benefits have been framed in terms of responsibilities and rights, from which derives a system of conditionality and sanctions. There are certain things the state expects you to do as a condition of receiving out-of-work benefits; if you fail to do those things your benefit may be stopped. The Committee does not believe in unconditional benefits for those who are capable of moving into work. But unfair and disproportionate application of the current sanctions regime is causing unintended consequences.

The objective of conditionality and sanctions is to motivate people to engage with support and to take active steps to move them closer to work. But the evidence on the role of sanctions in achieving this goal is patchy. At the very least, it calls for more research. The Welfare Reform Act 2012 and subsequent changes have made sanctions longer, more severe and applicable to more people than ever before. The previous Government did not know the impact of these changes in 2012 and, six years later, it is still unknown. What we do know is that sanction rates are higher under Universal Credit than under the legacy system, and when applied inappropriately can have profoundly negative effects on people’s financial and personal well-being.

The failure to evaluate the 2012 reforms is unacceptable. It is time for the Government urgently to evaluate the effectiveness of reforms to welfare conditionality and sanctions introduced since 2012, including an assessment of sanctions’ impact on people’s financial and personal well-being. Furthermore, until the Government can point to robust evidence that longer sanctions are more effective, higher level sanctions should be reduced to two, four and six months for first, second and subsequent failures to comply.

Some groups of people are disproportionately vulnerable to, and affected by, the withdrawal of their benefit. These include single parents, care leavers and people with an impairment or health condition. The Government must develop a better understanding of how sanctions affect employment outcomes for vulnerable claimants. Only strong causal relationships can justify these groups’ continued inclusion in the sanctions regime. In the meantime, we recommend that people who are the responsible carer for a child under the age of 5, or a child with demonstrable additional needs and care costs, and care leavers under the age of 25, only ever have 20% of their benefit withheld if sanctioned. As well as reduced sanctions, care leavers need better support. So we recommend that the Government review working practices between local authority personal advisers and work coaches to ensure they are collaborating as effectively as possible to support care leavers. It must also introduce a way of identifying care leavers within the benefits system to allow ongoing monitoring of their experiences, including of sanctions, and to inform further tailored support.

Of all the evidence we received, none was more compelling than that against the imposition of conditionality and sanctions on people with a disability or health condition. It does not work. Worse, it is harmful and counterproductive. We recommend that the Government immediately stop imposing conditionality and sanctions on anyone found to have limited capability for work, or who presents a valid doctor’s note (Fit Note) stating that they are unable to work, including those who present such a note while waiting for a Work Capability Assessment. Instead, it should work with experts to develop a programme of voluntary employment support.

We still believe that support for people in work to increase their hours and earnings has the potential to be revolutionary. But its promise risks being undermined by hasty roll-out of a policy not grounded in robust evidence. The Randomised Controlled Trial showed sanctions had no effect on in-work claimants’ outcomes and work coaches are not yet equipped to get decisions right every time for every claimant. Sanctioning people who are working is too great a risk for too little return. We recommend that the Department does not proceed with conditionality and sanctions for in-work claimants until full roll-out of Universal Credit is complete. Even then, the policy should only be introduced on the basis of robust evidence that it will be effective at driving progress in work. In the meantime, the Department should focus on providing in-work claimants with the right support.

Under Universal Credit, a sanction incurred under one conditionality regime continues to apply even if the claimant’s circumstances change and they are no longer able, or required, to look for work. At that point, the argument that the sanction will incentivise them towards work no longer holds water. The sanction becomes little more than a seemingly unfair punishment for non-compliance. We therefore recommend that sanctions are cancelled when a claimant’s change in circumstance means they are no longer subject to the requirement that led to their sanction in the first place.

Under Universal Credit, the maximum amount someone can be sanctioned is 100% of their standard allowance. In theory, housing and children elements are therefore protected. But in reality, this is not always the case: If someone is receiving less than their full standard allowance because of deductions, such as for rent arrears, a sanction representing 100% of their standard allowance eats into other elements. It is a technical glitch, but it puts housing and children’s welfare at risk and must be resolved with the greatest urgency. We therefore recommend that the Government immediately ensures any deductions from standard allowances are postponed for the duration of any sanction imposed to ensure that the children and housing elements are always protected.

Setting the right policy is important. But so too is implementing it on the ground. Over and again we heard stories of it going horribly wrong, resulting in inappropriate sanctions causing unjustified and sustained hardship. We heard about people being asked to comply with impossible requirements.

We also heard that work coaches were not consistently applying the exemptions (‘easements’) they have the power to use. Claimants did not know they existed and work coaches had neither the time nor the expertise to ask questions about every avenue of someone’s life. We recommend that the Department develop a standard set of questions, covering all possible easements, which work coaches routinely ask claimants when agreeing their Claimant Commitment. The Department should also review and improve information about easements made available to claimants.

If a work coach thinks someone has failed to comply with their Claimant Commitment they raise a doubt and put in motion the wheels that could lead to a sanction. We recognise that giving work coaches and decision-makers the right amount of flexibility is a challenge. But we heard too many stories of poor decision-making to believe the current system has got it right. The first hurdle is deciding what counts as ‘good reason’ for failing to comply, which is currently a judgment call for work coaches. This is a big ask when the consequences of getting it wrong can be so great. What’s more, it inevitably means that claimants in similar circumstances are treated inconsistently. But this could be easily fixed by carefully drafted regulations. We therefore recommend that the Department introduce regulations on what counts as good reason, which still allow work coaches to exercise judgment in any situation not included.

If a work coach concludes someone did not have good reason for failing to comply, they must refer them for a sanction. We heard repeatedly, however, that the welfare system is being reformed to reflect the world of work. But we do not think it is fair or proportionate for someone’s first mistake to be met with the harshest penalty, either in the world of work or benefits system. We welcome the Government’s announcement to trial a system of warnings, instead of sanctions, for first sanctionable failures, but it only applies to narrow circumstances. We therefore recommend that the Government use the trial as an opportunity to learn lessons, while taking steps towards introducing warnings, instead of sanctions, for every claimant’s first failure to comply.

We recognise the importance of an independent decision-maker to impose the sanction. It is, however, a missed opportunity that a work coach’s relationship with the claimant and insight into their circumstances—supposedly at the very heart of Universal Credit—plays no role at this stage of the process. What is more, a sanction can only be challenged once the decision has been made, by which stage the damage has been done, and the burden of proof falls to the claimant. We recommend that when a work coach refers a claimant for a sanction they are required to include a recommendation on whether a sanction should be imposed based on their knowledge of the claimant and their circumstances. Decision-makers should contact the claimant to let them know their ‘provisional decision’ and, if it is to impose a sanction, the evidence on which this is based. The claimant should then have 30 days to challenge the provisional decision or actively opt not to provide further evidence.

Claimants can challenge the final decision to impose a sanction first, through Mandatory Reconsideration, and then via First-tier Tribunal. But in the absence of any commitment from the Department on how long these decisions will take, people can endure the hardship of a sanction for weeks on end. This is all the more painful if, after all that time, the sanction is overturned. We therefore recommend that the Department commit to a timetable for making decisions about sanctions at Mandatory Reconsideration and appeal.

Hardship payments are made to those who would otherwise be left with nothing when sanctioned. But recovering that payment at a rate of 40% of someone’s standard allowance imposes further significant hardship. It is neither necessary for the Government—as it appears not to be financially motivated to recover the money—nor affordable for those who have been recognised as at risk of extreme poverty. Our final recommendation is therefore that the Department issues revised guidance to all work coaches to ensure hardship repayments are set at a rate that is affordable for the claimant, with the default being 5% of their standard allowance.

Full report: 


Written by Andrew Coates

November 6, 2018 at 11:01 am

42 Responses

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  1. Benefit sanctions: Britain’s secret penal system

    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.



    November 6, 2018 at 12:27 pm

  2. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating!.


    November 6, 2018 at 1:30 pm

  3. Sanctions and the distant gap with reality

    The first elephant in the room is the day one distrust policy administered by DWP even before they will grant you eligibility. It demonstrates from the off a rather bleak view of the public on the part of the government department no matter who is in government.

    I get that they dont want people leaving entirely on public funds on a permanent basis so i dont as such disagree with a regulated expectancy and a form of penalty. I do however object strongly to the size of the penalty as the point and effectiveness of such a measure can still come across if we only penalize for the length of days the offense occurred.

    EXAMPLE: Lets say a person is late for an appointment and cant produce verifiable and reasonable evidence. I believe just stopping that one days money is sufficient enough just like an employer would not pay you for not working on a certain day.

    Losing any amount of benefit let alone all is impacting enough as the word spare cash does not come into it when you only have £73.10 or less to live on weekly. Its touted that unemployment benefit is the minimum needed to live, without entering ill heath or death. We are not talking want or desire here and we are not talking that DWP are unaware of the effects on the human is. A welfare department should not expect the likes of foodbanks and soup kitchens to plug their holes.
    If we the public have acceptance of this then times are far darker than they were pre 2007/8 and judging by the silence on welfare topics like sanctions would suggest hanging fellow man out to dry even though they have committed no criminal offense has become a social norm and the new dark ages has begun.


    November 6, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    • since 2009 i have had 28 sanction doubts raised mostly buy providers but jcp agents have all had a go and failed as never went past the dm as had a good reason and put it in writing bar 1 time where i done it over the phone as wanted to go to tribunal.


      November 6, 2018 at 4:55 pm

  4. And so it continues:

    Andrew Coates

    November 6, 2018 at 5:18 pm

  5. Reblogged this on michaelsnaith.


    November 6, 2018 at 10:26 pm

  6. Work search review guidance


    Everything you wanted to know about work search reviews. And everything you didn’t want to know, either.

    jj joop

    November 7, 2018 at 8:22 am

  7. Penal sentences for crimes are meted out by judges not by the police. The reason why is obvious: the police are keen to get as many convictions as possible to garner kudos for excelling at their job and would naturally be keen to punish/jail as many people as possible whenever possible in order to look good. Jobcentre staff get brownie points for sanctioning people and are incentivised to dole out sanctions like sweeties; the fact that some anonymous “decision maker” has the final say also removes and sense of guilt for any suffering caused to claimants since this anonymous person is ultimately responsible for what happens to a sanctioned claimant: this encourages Jobcentres to enforce a draconian sanctions regime where relatively unskilled clerks sanction first and ask questions later.

    The sanctions regime is sh1t.

    You can thank David Freud and Iain Duncan Smith for that one.


    November 7, 2018 at 8:49 am

    • What you say about the police is very true, Val. ‘Decision makers’ only ‘recommend’ a sanction: “I recommend a sanction” (this is what gets sent back to the cock roach). It is the cock roach who pushes the button. That is why you will sometimes see on ‘decision notices’ phrases such as “we have decided that it is inappropriate to impose a (further) sanction”. i.e. the cock roach has cooled down/had a change of heart.

      Last Chance Lawyer NYC

      November 7, 2018 at 9:46 am

    • PS Val, if you are ever arrested DON’T talk to the cops!

      Last Chance Lawyer NYC

      November 7, 2018 at 9:48 am

      • In fact, don’t talk to the cops full stop. They are not your friends, they are not your counsellor. They are there to arrest and prosecute you which they will do if you give them half a chance.

        Last Chance Lawyer NYC

        November 7, 2018 at 9:50 am

      • I hear that.

        jj joop

        November 7, 2018 at 9:59 am

      • Last Chance Lawyer NYC

        Actually CPS decide whether not to prosecute, not the police. The police only enforce the law and do the footwork for CPS (investigate and gather evidence).
        Take this bonfire incident the other day. All the police could possibly arrest for is a public order offense. Now 4a of that act does not provide the grounds itself to warrant then proceeding to search these persons house as the offense was committed in a garden and about what went on in that garden.
        Now certain members of the public uttered racism, discrimination against vulnerable people. Well from the video there is absolutely no evidence to substantiate this so CPS/police need more evidence. So on the grounds of suspicion of hate crime applied for a warrant to search these people residence in the hope of gaining further evidence to substantiate that assertion which the CPS handed to the police to investigate.


        November 7, 2018 at 10:26 am

      • Prosecute as in give evidence for the Prosecution in court. No matter how ‘impartial’ the Police say they are
        when was the last time you saw them giving evidence in court for the defence? Never! It just doesn’t happen. And if on occasion that they are cited, for whatever reason, by the defence, they simply don’t turn up. There is no come back on them.

        Last Chance Lawyer NYC

        November 7, 2018 at 11:04 am

      • Last Chance Lawyer NYC

        Defense cant control police witnesses anymore than CPS can seconder defenses witnesses.
        Regardless the police must release data whether they appear or not for any side and which is really really important you understand, both sides must hand their data that they are to present in court and use in their respective cases to the other side without restriction. Even if they enter it later, the opposing side has a right to call for extend time to asses any new evidence not originally declared.
        Yes you hear of incidents of lost paperwork, things not being recorded,etc but that door does and has swung both ways.
        A prosecutions job is to secure guilt while defenses is to secure innocence so its not prosecutions job to come to court and say, “you know what we just found evidence proving this charge is fruitless”, its only their job to ensure that evidence via due process is obtainable for the defense to ask for or receive.

        In short it is prosecutions job to attempt to hammer the opposing side with overwhelming verifiable and creditable evidence which they INSTRUCT the police to see if they can find and not to find evidence revealing innocence.

        If you want to buy a car, you look for and at data pertaining cars, not planes and trains do you.


        November 7, 2018 at 11:22 am

      • @doug This is a (legal) text-book example (extracts from an actual Police interview) of how the Police try to trick suspects into believing that they are ‘impartial’ and also to give up their ‘right to silence The Judge threw this case out. It applies to many other situations.

        “ Yeah. Okay. Now, I appreciate we’ve spoke about you and the reason we’re here obviously relates to the rape. And I know, I know what eh the solicitor has said to you in terms of saying no comment. Ehm we will ask you to reconsider that right now. The reasons for asking that is for absolutely everything, there’s two sides to every story, okay. But we go on, as the police, as a complaint made by someone, okay, and they tell us their story. Now, that’s what we have to go on and that’s what we investigate and our inquiries surround what they tell us.However, we know better than anyone that there’s two sides to every story so enay, to enable us to get the full picture, in this case from yourself, we’re kind of looking for some form of explanation or, you know, your side of the story if you want to call it that.So, I’m asking you things about ehm knowing R, knowing ehm C..

        We know you know them, okay, so, there’s nothing that you’re, you’re hiding from us by not telling us that. So, I just want to continue with the questions ehm in relation to yourself.And I’ll just ask you just to
        maybe reconsider what you’re saying. And if there’s anything you can provide by means of a defence when we get to that, then tell us and we’ll explore it.We’re impartial. I know that you’re probably sitting there thinking that well, no, you’re not, you’re the police. Well, we are impartial.If you tell us something, we’re obliged to go and investigate that but if you’re no’ going to tell us we don’t know. Okay.So, before we go back to Saturday 13 August which, are you able to tell us where you were on that day“

        It’s quite a comprehensive interview, probably, to be fair. Ehm you, you’ve told me about you, you growing up and you’ve described yourself and your current lifestyle and things like that. When I’ve asked you about R, any sexual activity ehm the chance of, of getting you to explain how you know her and things like that, you were replying ‘No comment’ which is your right which is fine. When I’ve asked you about C who we believe to be your friend, you’ve provided ‘No comment’ answers to that as well. We’ve asked you about the flat at [Dundee]which we believe to be occupied by R and C, you’ve provided us with eh no comment in relation to that.I’ve asked you to ehm give an explanation or a possible explanation as to why you may be in the house legitimately and that leads to R’s bedroom and you’ve provided no explanation in relation to that eh so far.So, like I says, it is an impartial investigation. R’s accusing you of raping her and we’re duty bound to follow that up and part of the enquiries includes this. Part of enquiries also include speaking to witnesses including ehm C and such things, okay. Now, at any point during this, before I go over further evidence we’ve got against you, you know, you may want to reconsider what you said and provide an explanation. It’s completely up to you. It’s your life.A solicitor can tell you to say no comment ’cause they don’t know you. They weren’t there.They don’t know what the police have got evidence wise.It’s a standard answer, say no comment. Now, it’s completely your right and you can take that and you’ve done that. That’s absolutely fine. But I’d ask you to consider the fact it’s your life.You have a chance, an opportunity for you to explain, here, what happened. It doesn’t have to be ehm anything as detailed as you may think. If there anything you want to say then I’d encourage you to say it and provide some form of defence for yourself and, if need be …

        A couple of things, Jake.Just going over, oh, just slightly what David’s saying there, we’ve effectively asked you questions about your whereabouts you’re being there. We’ve obtained statements from obviously the persons involved who tell us you’ve been in that, that flat, helped them move in from the flat upstairs and the like, so, we know you’ve been there. They know you, they’ve known you for about a year ehm going back at Fresher’s Week last year I think you met C initially. Ehm so, we know you have some kind of relationship, certainly with C and we know who R is. Now all these questions about eh the sexual activity between yourself and R, it’s only you and R that’s in the room at the time. Like David points out, you’ve had acouple of opportunities now to give your version of events. We’ve obviously spoken to R at length and she’s given us a version of events and you, we canna emphasise it strong enough, this is an opportunity for you to tell us what has happened in that room during the period you were in that room. So, again, similar to what David has done, I’d suggest to you that now is an opportunity for you to give us a version of events as to what’s happened in the room” The accused then responded by saying “Fuck it. It seemed wrong saying no comment” and he proceeded to make lengthy incriminatory statements.



        November 7, 2018 at 11:37 am

      • this is wot happens in the joke centre. coachy will say it is mandatory to join a scheme like or a provider will say u have 2 sign their papers like cos if u don’t they won’t be able to talk to the joke centre n they will stop ur money. like doug n this judge says ur consent has 2 be given freely n voluntary not under threats or duress cos that would like doug n this judge says make it null n void like.


        November 7, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      • QC
        We are talking about who prosecutes, not what tactics the police use prior and during an interview.
        In reference to what your saying, that’s called ,suggestive,leading interrogation (examination in court when talking cross examination). There is nothing wrong with that in certain circumstances providing the person being questioned understands whats happening and the interrogator isn’t deliberately leading them to either only answering one way and or down one path purely to secure a conviction rather than establish the truth. Its a very difficult subject to talk about in a few sentences and learn what is implies and when its fair and wise to use so i would suggest unless you intend to read millions of cases and learn the related laws not to draw conclusions from single or a few cases and see them as representative of the whole.

        Lastly a court can only entertain verifiable and creditable evidence. Someone not talking or answering the way you want them to does not establish guilt in itself. This is where further collaborative evidence is required. Anyone can say they killed a person, does not mean they actually did, so without the above mentioned evidence we only have even in a interview, nothing more than hearsay.


        The one to watch for now is DWP/JCP imprinting your electronic signature on a CC.
        Now there is regulation that states to be eligible for benefits a person must agree to a CC which leads people to believe they must sign or else. Well that regulation like say the murder law does not require prior consent yet strangely the form none the less has an area requiring actual consent.
        The reason the two exist is because only certain aspects are actually enforceable by law and FORCING consent for non enforceable bits is not one of them.
        DWP are crafty as they know what they add not covered specifically in the act is entirely a separate matter. You see while you are bound by the principle of a CC, while you are bound for certain content like must look for employment, must accept employment,etc, none of the regulation makes enforceable how you look for work, how you record said work, whether or not you do work experience,volunteer to name a few. These aren’t part of the act and must be agreed upon by both the work coach and claimant. These none enforceable parts only become enforceable under regulation once and only after you have consented to them.


        November 7, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      • You mean ‘cutting and pasting’ a signature? Craftiness is the Jobcentre’s middle name. They give you a CC to sign for on that electronic pad thing. You could be signing anything. Even your own Death Warrant.
        Assume that means that if they’ve added that you attend the job club, work for nowt in some shithole charity shop, walk, around town with a sandwich board all day mean they find out you haven’t bothered they can try for a sanction. Hmm…

        Midnight Toker

        November 7, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      • Funny that because they CC isn’t about stating that you will look for work, accept employment – the legally enforceable parts of the Acts. It is about what you will do and how you will look for work like use find a job x times a week, hand your CV into x employers, etc. So why do they need this CC in the first place? Anything on the CC is above and beyond what is required by the Act. You don’t have to agree to the legally enforceable parts of the Acts in the first place. Crafty!

        Midnight Toker

        November 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      • Funny that because they CC isn’t about stating that you will look for work, accept employment – the legally enforceable parts of the Acts. It is about what you will do and how you will look for work like use find a job x times a week, hand your CV into x employers, etc. So why do they need this CC in the first place? Anything on the CC is above and beyond what is required by the Act. You don’t have to agree to the legally enforceable parts of the Acts in the first place. Crafty that!

        Midnight Toker

        November 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      • Lady Scott is a bit of a looker… 😉

        Beer Goggles

        November 7, 2018 at 10:13 pm

      • A question of fact and degree. In other words, each case must be decided on its own merits.

        Phrase of the Day

        November 7, 2018 at 10:20 pm

      • “View of the Evidence
        I did not find DC Anderson a credible witness.” Judicial speak for a liar 😉


        November 8, 2018 at 8:44 am

      • Seems like the filth and the joke centre use similar tactics like innit.


        November 8, 2018 at 8:51 am

    • When nobody watches the watchmen injustice always prevails. Work coaches should face some sort of penalty for doling out unjustified sanctions; it shouldn’t be a one way street with no come back as far as work coaches are concerned.


      November 7, 2018 at 10:31 am

    • Val

      Court judges have targets imposed and or having own agendas to further career also. The ideology of the court system compiling of judges and jurys is about rendering an impartial verdict based objectively on the evidence presented.
      Whether or not a judge practices subjectiveness when they shouldn’t is hard to prove but none the less if they dont have the evidence to substantiate it then it will be overturned.

      In the case of benefits while you may liken decision making to courts, you would actually be wrong as DWP aren’t compelled to act like a judge meaning they dont technically have to be impartial and objective even though they say they do. Only a tribunal has to act impartial and objectively to the letter of the law and governance.
      Decision makers are not defense and prosecution, they are prosecution on behave of DWP so administer only welfare law rather than all law and decide whether or not the claimants evidence makes the charge unsubstantiated and the work coaches grounds not mute, irrelevant and incorrectly applied.
      Now SO ITS CLEAR, DWP are not prosecutable (legally responsible) for wrong decisions even false and deliberate decisions and DWP and secretary of welfare know this.
      The so called RM is merely to reassess the decision applied previously from DWPs end (doting the eyes,crossing the tee’s) and not once again taking your evidence into account also besides like i said it taint the charge made against you.
      This is why so many decisions at a tribunal get reversed, why decision makers are making a bigger effort to not look like they dont know what they are doing, that they aren’t legally trained or appropriately trained in law for the position they hold.


      November 7, 2018 at 10:45 am

  8. Lets be frank and explode the government agenda on welfare.

    20 million people claim one or more benefits, 65% (13 million) of which are pensioners so when we talk disability/illness,motherhood,carers and unemployment, we are talking 37% of the total client base.
    Behind pensioners the next largest group is people with disability accounting for around 31% ( 6.1 million) of the total.

    When we talk of people fit for work (JSA) or able to work with assistance (ESA Work Related Activity
    Group), we are talking 4.3% (854’000) of the total. If we face the fact people with a disability or illness aren’t the first on an employers list (have to declare under grounds of health and safety), we only have an expectation of getting 2.2% (440’000) or if we are being a bit more optimistic (150’000 esa), we are talking 2.95% of the total.

    Now the second thing to consider is how much does each of the 20 million cost or more importantly where does a lot of the welfare revenue go. Pensions accounts for 42% of total welfare expenditure. It is actually even higher when we consider other benefits they source meaning it could be as high as 53% of total expenditure when you tie additional applied for benefits (possible projection, not a fully calculated sum).
    Family benefits, income support & tax credits comes in second at 18%, Incapacity, disability & injury benefits at 16%, Personal social services and other benefits at 13%, Housing benefits at 10%, Unemployment benefits at 1%.

    It may surprise you but only 50% of people claiming JSA actually also claim housing benefit. So DWP hound 220’000 people on JSA only with conditions that can apply a sanction for what is deemed as the bare min required to live in reasonably good health. Although having a roof over ones head is essential, its pointless if you stave to death. I mention this as elements of other benefits also apply to a bare min to exist but no where is this sanction and amount more poignant that highlight this and what im about to say next.
    Well JSA is £73.10 a week meaning of the 32.5 million workers, if we say only 15million pay tax /NI that the cost to each tax/NI payer for this single persons on JSA only is around 0.00005p a week, so not even 1p a week.

    So as a tax/NI payer are you saying this specific individual is cost burdening you even if they never worked for 55 years (total cost to a single taxpayer over this period amounts to 0.143p). I will now move the decimal place (0.005p) and ask again. Is a single person claiming JSA only for the next 55 years that costs you over this total period personally 14.3p is cost burdening you, sponging off you ?
    How about i move the decimal place again to 0.05p a week. That is £143 total over the next 55 years.


    When we look at benefits as a whole when we consider people who claim more than one benefit, the math dynamic does change to varying amounts.

    The second highest expenditure to pensioners is the disabled and ill but like i said earlier, so few are actually capable of work even if employers hired them all,the cost wouldn’t change that significantly to this group and cost. The ONLY WAY TO CHANGE IT is by saying people are able to work even when they are so clearly not irrespective of the fact most employers tend not to chose them for employment.

    Its worth mentioning if the government hadn’t had changed the retirement age, cost fees after death for care, used work capability tests, the GREAT WELFARE REFORM would have been without doubt been proved for what it truly is, A FAKE AND INEFFECTUAL POLICY that has absolutely no merit as it does not effect the massive outlays on pensions,disabled/ill and housing benefit.
    All it has really achieved is to cover more benefits and credits with the THREAT OF SANCTIONS as now people who claim housing benefit and child/income tax credit, child benefits,ESA, who are IN WORK which was never the case pre welfare reform. Despite being entitled to holiday leave annually see’s the very premise of a top up for low wages,irregular work STOPPED if you exercise that right, even stopped over a longer period if you dont report it.
    UC makes the assumption everybody signing on has a months wage prior and no debts and a whole heap of ugly and unfair measures applied against those who work who cant maintain a 35 hour week, every week they claim benefits.

    There are and was better ways to face this head on but sadly UC just wasn’t one of them when it proves peoples lives were actually better under the previous benefit system overall.


    November 7, 2018 at 10:02 am

    • It was designed and promoted by a bunch of idiots with no qualifications or real experience, doug. Iain Duncan Smith was a messianic fools who imposed things that he “believed” were true were true without any evidence to support them, e.g., paying UC to one person per household would help keep families together, and Freud was a banker come journalist with a chequered past, e.g., selling of the channel tunnel cheap and botching the privatisation. If qualified, experienced, sensible and compassionate people had been given the massive task of reforming the UK social security system the country would never have had universal credit in the first place.

      Incidentally next Monday on BBC1 at 7.30pm the Beeb are showing a programme called “The Universal Credit Crises”. Once the media get their teeth into a government failure like this it never goes away with the dirt and dead swept under the carpet.


      November 7, 2018 at 10:43 am

      • Val

        The press have know day one as you only have to read the all the paperwork released back between 2011 and 2013 to know all you know presently. Ask Andrew Coates or even start reading this site from the beginning, your see we here have been talking about and mentioning these things would happen a long long time ago so its not new news. This site is and has always been more relevant and correct than any news paper todate.
        The media bar a few enjoyed back then sticking the knife in rather than fighting an unjust and fruitless venture. Their only interest currently is in parliament MPs fighting over it while trying to score points with readers. Here today, gone tomorrow is what this means to them so i wouldn’t put stock in the press as they have had 7 years and still achieved next to nothing.
        No one whose been here regularly for years gives a flying frig about what the press say until they actually stop metering their approach for fear of MPs blocking them out of all politics, start highlight the truth that this government cant walk away from.


        November 7, 2018 at 11:07 am

      • doug

        The difference now is that a critical mass of people are being badly hit by Universal Credit and millions of people about to be moved from legacy benefits to Universal Credit losing substantial amounts of money thanks to post-dated cuts from the Osborne era put off until a later date when Conservative MPs rebelled when he tried to do them earlier with Tax Credits.

        Basically not enough people were being affected by or about to be affected badly by UC for the papers to switch from benefit bashing to government bashing. Now the realisation that UC is a bad thing is being forced on them they are coming onside and attacking the government for making such a hash of social policy.

        The evil of Universal Credit is becoming impossible to ignore.


        November 7, 2018 at 5:26 pm

      • it’s human nature 101 being played out, Val.

        1) Nobody gives a shit about anyone expect themselves
        2) If it doesn’t affect them they don’t give a damn.
        3) When it does affect them then they get agitated. In response they will a attempt to band with others in a similar position, take over other groups, co-opt with other groups. They will also try and incite others to fight their battles for them.
        4) When they win their concession/the government caves into their demands they disappear over the hill and leave their erstwhile comrades to it. They don’t give a damn now they are alright, Jack.

        The Government know this, McVey knows this. we all know this…

        The Human Zoo

        November 7, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      • And this, Val, is how universal credit will play out…

        The Human Zoo

        November 7, 2018 at 10:05 pm

      • @ doug Criticising universal credit is where the clickbait, ad impressions, hits, BARB/RAJAR figures have moved to 😉


        November 8, 2018 at 9:40 am

  9. Andrew Coates

    November 7, 2018 at 12:19 pm

  10. Even “senior Tories” have turned against the government’s social policy:



    November 8, 2018 at 7:43 am

    • Why are the Times spinning the raising of working-age benefits in line with inflation as a costly move (to the taxpayer)? What do they want? Benefits to remain static? Benefits exist within an inflationary economy: More money is created. Prices rise. And as a consequence you need more money to maintain your purchasing power – remain static in real terms. Anything else – a deflationary economy (prices getting cheaper) – would set the Bank of England into a tailspin. Surely the Times understands these basic economic concepts. It is like saying wage increases represent a cost to business.

      M Carney

      November 8, 2018 at 8:24 am

      • Exactly. Benefits are the bottom line below which nobody is supposed to fall. If you don’t up rate them with inflation there is no “safety net” to stop people falling into deeper and deeper poverty since their purchasing power continually diminishes; this is especially true as far as rents are concerned which shoot up big-time for most people every year being very costly to start with. Here’s a version of the same thing without Rupert Murdoch’s Times’ paywall:


        Benefit claimants have now suffered cuts, caps, freezes and compulsion to pay council tax from benefits that have been shrinking in real terms for years. It simply cannot go on like this any longer.


        November 8, 2018 at 8:52 am

      • Pressure is also being heaped on to end this benefits no wo/man’s land whereby claimants are left with no income as ‘legacy’ benefits end and universal credit is in place.

        J Greening

        November 8, 2018 at 9:32 am

    • Benefit freezes, inadequate benefits are destroying the health of the poor. As their purchasing power decreases households ‘substitute’. Toffs fill the fruit bowl; the poor fill the biscuit barrel. It costs money to stay slim and healthy, something that is not possible on the current level of benefits.

      Social Worker

      November 8, 2018 at 9:15 am

      • Tell us about it. We stopped buying fruit a long, long time ago – too bloody expensive! You can buy 2 packets of value biscuits for the price of one apple. No prices for guessing what we buy. And no prizes either for guessing that us and the kids are all morbidly obese and diabetic.

        The Skints

        November 8, 2018 at 9:22 am

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