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Benefit sanctions ruin lives
The target driven use of punitive benefit sanctions on poor people by this government of millionaires is a national disgrace. Even establishment figures like the Archbishop of Canterbury have complained that the sanctions regime and lengthy delays in paying benefits are forcing families to rely on charitable food banks in order to feed themselves.
The Trussell Trust, which campaigns against poverty, reckons that over 500,000 families have had to use food banks over the last year - a number that is expected to rise due to the new vicious austerity measures of this government, and for that matter, whichever mainstream party or parties form the next government in May.
This sanctions policy, which can be applied to claimants for minor infringements such as being late for an interview, has even led to at least 60 suicides.
The letter opposite, received just before Christmas, underscores the unfairness of the Department for Work and Pensions in hounding claimants.
"The job centre in Huddersfield told my son that his Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) claim will be cancelled. He will have to make a fresh claim taking weeks to process. His crime was to take a sick day while working on a voluntary basis for Poundland in Huddersfield.
Sean was working 30 hours a week for no money in the vain hope that it might lead to him getting a job at Poundland. Apparently he'd had more than two sick days during the year so was subject to this cruel benefit sanction.
He has no possessions as these were pawned after a previous benefit sanction when his JSA was suspended for two months for being late to an appointment at the local job centre. During his last sanction my son went days without eating as he used the meagre food supplies he had to feed his dog.
My son has been sanctioned four times by the local job centre which is victimisation and harassment. How is he supposed to survive over the Christmas period with no income? His family will give him money and food to survive or he would starve."
In The Socialist 7 January 2015:
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