Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 March 2014

Fight the government's vicious sanctions regime

Ian Pattison, Youth Fight for Jobs

Experiencing the daily grind of poverty and fruitless job searches when you're out of work is very demoralising.

But the Con-Dem government goes the extra mile. They're hell-bent on making life as difficult and miserable as possible for unemployed people.

Recently, the news media has been awash with stories about the severity of benefit sanctions. The link between benefit sanctions and extreme poverty featured heavily in BBC's Panorama documentary, 'Hungry Britain?', on the spread of food banks across the country.

According to Panorama, a record high number of people, 875,000, had their benefits withdrawn through sanctions over the last year.

Demonstrating the depths of cold cruelty that Con-Dem policy can sink to, 130,000 of these were overturned on appeal. This outrageous figure would be even higher if more people appealed.

Many people have their benefits withdrawn for devastatingly long periods of time for what even the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) deems 'minor offences'. One family had their benefits cut entirely following a 'clerical mix-up', ie a mistake by DWP!

The DWP pleads innocence and claims there are no targets for sanctioning people on benefits. But PCS members working in jobcentres know that sanctions targets do exist.

Jobcentre workers are pressured into meeting 'management estimates' on benefit sanctions. Panorama featured one jobcentre in Grantham adorned with a wall chart showing the savings made from imposing severe benefit sanctions.

Jobseeker's Allowance recipients are by no means the only people to suffer from sanctions. Victims of the hated 'bedroom tax' have been told to find a lodger or more paid work to cover the penalties imposed on their 'spare room', without knowing this can affect their eligibility for housing benefit.

Benefit sanctions, even those provoked by mistakes by DWP, leave unemployed people with, at best, an emergency payment, but in some circumstances, nothing.

Out of touch former Thatcherite Tory minister, Edwina Currie, says there is no need for food banks and no such thing as food poverty.

Scandalously, Iain Duncan Smith has even claimed food banks contribute to 'entitlement culture', putting the blame for the disgustingly rapid expansion of food banks anywhere but at the doorstep of his government.

They're even more out of touch than we previously thought when they claim 'there is no link between their welfare cuts and the rise of food banks'.

The Con-Dem government should no longer be confident it can rely on public antipathy when attacking people on benefits. There is only so far they can push us, before we snap back!

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 5 March 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Pay us a living wage now!

Need for new mass workers' party is undeniable

Government condemns millions to housing misery

NHS in crisis: Stop Hunt's hospital closure plans

Fight the government's vicious sanctions regime

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Ukraine crisis: Ruling elites foster division and conflict

Northern Ireland rocked by 'on the runs' crisis

International Women's Day

The miners' strike changed women's lives

Socialist Party workplace news

Determined Doncaster care workers in 7-day strike

Wales: Unison branch challenges Labour with no-cuts budget

Support strike action against legal aid cuts

Leeds council workers discuss cuts fightback

Train drivers vote for action at Northern Rail

Cleaners strike at London college

Readers' comments and reviews

Nigeria's battle for a mass workers' party

Letter of protest to the BBC

Union question time - Labour has no answers

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Action against vicious council cuts

Police spying ends lives - end it!

Fighting youth low pay (and security bullies)

Calderdale and Huddersfield: People ready to defend A&Es

Barton Moss protesters say no to fracking

Oppose the EDL in Worcester


Home   |   The Socialist 5 March 2014   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleBenefits system being used to force return to unsafe workplaces

triangleOver 30% of children living in poverty

triangleUniversal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

triangleFight for safety, staffing and services - Covid chaos for benefits claimants

trianglePCS union demands better deal for benefits claimants


triangleLib Dems backed benefit sanctions to win 5p carrier bag charge

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleUN slams Tories for disabled rights ruin

triangleUnion day of action slams benefit sanctions


triangle75th anniversary of the Attlee Labour government

triangleLeeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy

triangleSunday trading: Government blinks first


triangleNews in brief

trianglePlastic waste ignored

Food Banks:

triangleThem & Us


trianglePrince Andrew outrage exposes establishment


triangleUnsafe Workplace? "It's up to you" PCS tells reps and members


triangleA timely read about a pandemic that overwhelms society


triangleLeicester Socialist Party: Universal Credit - Universal Misery


triangleCivil servants in Paisley protest after Covid outbreak

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Tory full return to school plans gamble with lives


Trans rights

Yes to self-identity



Plastic waste ignored



Tories put profit before lives



A socialist NHS fit for heroes


Labour Party

Workers need a new mass party to defend their interests



News in brief


Tory party

Capitalism and corruption go hand in hand



Boris's new big deal



Benefits system being used to force return to unsafe workplaces



A new movement for system change



Act now to cancel Covid crisis rents and debt


South Wales

Victory for Royal Glamorgan A&E!



Lifting the lockdown: workers must not pay the price


Young people

Young people fighting back: Jobs and homes, not racism

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020