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25 July 2016
Sanctioned - a victim of government callousness
A job seeker sent the following account to the Socialist of his recent experience of having his benefits withdrawn.
I have been benefits sanctioned by the Department for Work and Pensions for four weeks, leaving me in a desperate situation. I do not know what I am going to do. I have no savings nor was I informed of this decision, so I had no time to prepare.
The absolute 'cherry on the top' however is the attitude of my adviser, who claimed I must be living a 'luxurious lifestyle' for receiving money from the state without putting in any work. This reveals a lack of compassion among some sections of society.
The reason for the sanction was a six-day lull in my job searching activities as logged in my universal jobmatch account to which the decision maker determined that I had not spent the required 35 hours looking for work each week.
I've previously completed a six-month work placement programme - working to keep receiving payment of jobseekers allowance. I have attended my work placement every day for those six months making sure I have jumped through all the hoops to avoid this very thing from happening.
As you come into the local jobcentre in Scunthorpe there are posters from the Ministry of Defence to your right and on the left there are zero-hour contract jobs advertised.
The advisers are not there to help, they are there to determine whether you have done as you have been told. I understand that this is because the system is to blame, not any individual workers, who I stand in solidarity with.
I have sent a letter about what has happened to my local Labour MP, Nic Dakin - who previously abstained in a vote on the workfare bill - and I'm waiting for a reply. The next few weeks are going to be slightly less 'luxurious' than usual, but I know that with my comrades I shall get through this.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 25 July 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.
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