Branch Secretary :

Stop benefit sanctions

National Day of Action Against Sanctions - Thursday 30 March 2017


Pushed people into sleeping rough


The government’s despised benefit sanctions regime has pushed people into sleeping rough, a scathing report by MPs has concluded.


The cruel measures that punish claimants for missing or being late to just one job centre appointment are inconsistent and have become a “postcode lottery”, the public accounts committee said.


The committee urged officials to review the regime after expressing concern that sanctions “have increased in severity in recent years and can have serious consequences.”


The report comes before a national day of action on March 30 by Unite Community against the benefit sanctions regime.


Similar indictment by the National Audit Office


The damning report follows a similar indictment by the National Audit Office (NAO) in November. The NAO said there were substantial sanctions variations across the country, with some Work Programme providers issuing twice as many referrals as others in the same area.


“People who are sanctioned are treated worse than criminals. At least criminals are innocent until they’re proven guilty – for those who are sanctioned it’s the other way round,” said Head of Unite Community, Liane Groves.


“Criminals are kept warm and fed after they’re convicted, while benefit claimants are left in a crisis where putting food on the table for themselves and their families and heating their homes can be made all but impossible.


“Contrary to what the government says, there is no evidence that sanctions work. If someone has their confidence destroyed and is reduced to survival mode, it is obvious that they are not going to be in a fit position to successfully apply for work.”


She added, “It is shameful that people who are down on their luck are treated this way. Unite is demanding that this regime ends and that people who are trying to find jobs are given adequate support.”


To find out more about Unite Community’s national day of action against benefit sanctions, or to get involved, click here.



This report is an edited version of a report by Ryan Fletcher on the Unite Live website.


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