The Sanction Regime
Sanctions are having a massive negative impact on our society not only are they are destroying families communities and lives.
Sanctions are also a flawed solution to a problem that does not exist.
A brutal uncaring regime that is intended to cause as much suffering and indignity as possible for those caught up in the system.
They like to call it encouragement, or nudging but as most of us know who have spent any time signing on it is simply bullying.
Everyone is treated with the same total disregard regardless how many years worked or how much of a contribution they may have made in the past.
If you are unable to work for any reason at all you are treated as a shirker and scrounger right from the offset and punished.
Punished to such an extent that life can become unbearable.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has admitted that 10 of the 49 benefit claimants whose deaths were subject to secret reviews had had their payments sanctioned.
.DWP told Bellows that 10 of the claimants covered by the 49 “peer reviewed cases” had had their benefits sanctioned at some stage.
To date there has been 130,000 austerity linked deaths driven by DWP cruelty and still the death toll continues to rise.
Suicides deaths and homelessness are all by products of this vicious regime, some seek refuge in the prison system unable to cope on the outside where at least they will have a roof, warmth and a regular meal if they tow the line or not. Unlike those on the outside.
Homeless Carl Jackson stole sunglasses so he swap the chilly weather for a prison cell.
And his plan worked after his solicitor told a court that he had been left with no money and no shelter.
An eight-week jail term was imposed on Jackson, 35, who admitted theft.
His solicitor told a court that Jackson had no shelter or cash.
When freed from an earlier jail term, he was handed £2.60 and told that a hostel would take him in, said Bill Soughton, mitigating.
Mr Soughton told a weekend court in Nottingham: “He lost all hope and all desire to continue trying to find a place and said ‘I will get myself back in prison,’ so he took the sunglasses.
“He knew he was going to be caught and he was. It is going to be snowy and I frankly don’t blame him.”
Some try to seek refuge or at least short re spite by claiming disability or illness benefit often due to the stress brought on by the endless pressure and soul destroying attitude of work coaches.
While the ill and disabled are wrongly found fit for work and faced with the same regime because their problems do not tick the right boxes completely ignoring the doctors advice and medical evidence under the illusion that work is good for everyone health.
Where has the respect for fellow human beings gone !
Our cities are becoming ghost towns doorways often become shelters for the homeless and the rise in cheap synthetic drugs and alcohol abuse is no coincidence as more and more people self medicate to escape the brutal reality.
And who can blame them when they have little future or hope to re-engage with the system when they will only be faced with the same conditions that got them there in the first place
The Government sell all this to the gullible public as a good thing they are just being caring and compassionate. Because Sanctions are just tough love. To help those that need a little nudge to do the right thing. They want us to believe they care about the sick and disabled and only want to ensure they have equality.
That all these efforts are designed to give dignity and improved mental and physical well-being through the miraculous healing powers of work.
The facts the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) would like us to believe are not like your common or garden facts. No, the DWP facts are not based on evidence nothing silly like that.
No the government is relying on bullshit assumptions and blind ignorance.
If you are doing a job you enjoy, the pay hours and holidays suit your lifestyle then YES work can be good for you, if that is what you want to do.
But for the those who are faced with dull repetitive work, low pay and long hours that often clash with family commitments work is no health giver.
And soon they to if not already will also be facing the extra burden of being lumped in with the sick, the disabled and unemployed when universal credit is fully rolled out.
Universal credit is a minefield you are 12 times more likely under to get a sanction than under the old legacy system it is broken and a disaster.
The Jobcenter say they are there to offer help and support
There is no help or support at the jobcenter.
They do not have the time resources contacts or training to do very little else. Work Coaches are often inadequately trained under paid, under resourced and under pressure from both sides of the desk.
They take a career they believed might help others. Then faced with the brutal reality that the job they signed up for has radically changed. They are just there to police the claimants. And in some cases although admittedly they may not be aware at the time, pronounce a death sentence !
Suspicion and Conflict
Ministers turned job centres from places to go for help into places of suspicion and conflict, and it is about time the regime was scrapped in favour of proper investment in staff and resources to provide genuine support to those who need it. According to Public and Commercial Services Union’s Mark Serwotka.
Some Work coaches see sense and take a less strict approach. Most are like the Witch finder general purging the Welfare System of anyone they suspect of shirking or even dislike and often unlawfully. You only have to look at the statistics to see how many people who had the energy and resources to fight back actually won during the appeal process.
The money gained from those who fail to appeal more than pays for the court fees for those that do so it cost them nothing to peruse anyone for anything should they so please.
Always appeal no matter what you think the outcome may be.
Do not deny yourself that right!
DO NOT LET THE BASTARDS GET AWAY WITH IT !!!
The odds are in your favour when you look at the statistics of securing a successful appeal and there are lots of great sites and self help forums that can help you out.
Benefit law is complicated and often appeals are refused on one point but could have been successful on another such as maladministration.
Between 1 August 2015 and 31 January 2018, 29% of Universal Credit mandatory reconsiderations ended in the sanction decision being overturned. At appeals, this figure was 83%.
Treated Like Criminals
Sanctions are based on political agendas and flawed ideologies, those in need are treated more harshly than Criminals.
They can be sentenced to undertake unpaid labour without committing a single crime , have no access to legal aid, will have to repay any fines imposed at a much higher rate than criminals and will lose 100% of their immediate income for up to 3 years for the simple crime of missing an appointment.
They can be sent to rehab in the shape of repetitive schemes courses and programmes that offer no help other than to add to the stress. The prison is the office, the padlock is losing the money, and the key is the advisor.
Threat and Fear
Instead of breaking rocks they will be punished by having to create endless CV’s, forced to apply for unsuitable jobs or face monitored repetitive job searching, speculative letters, interview techniques, whatever they can think up so they seem to seem doing something.
Inmates are treated with total disregard spoken down to and made to feel inferior all underpinned by the threat of raising a doubt and fear of having the money stopped
And waste valuable time !
They can be fined without trial, the fine is 100% of the offenders income to be paid instantly .
Those that police the system (Work Coaches ) are just as confused by the rules as everyone else.
Snowed under by memos and amendments, having to face the most vulnerable and see the effect the system is having on people. They are just told if you have a doubt, raise a doubt.
How can that induce a positive atmosphere or outcome for anyone.
If you need further evidence DWP Whistle blowers explain exactly what is going off.
Sanctions have a major impact on people’s lives, they are a flawed cruel and uncaring solution to a problem it cannot never fix.
The Social Impact of Sanctions
Latchkey kids are again more common now than ever as struggling parents do not have the time to provide the necessary care and support.
And they will often miss out on their own childhood taking on the burden of caring for a younger sibling often at the cost of losing touch with their own peers.
This infographic highlights the pressure placed upon single parents to work rather than parent their own children.
Is it a coincidence that suicide is on the increase ?
Anxiety and Depression is at epidemic proportions. The number of people attempting to claim sick/disabled is rising.
500,000 young people completely off the radar and are failing to engage living of family and friends or turning to the black market in order to survive,
Sanctions cause homelessness, Mental and Physical Health problems and places further barriers to get into work.
In an open letter to The Independent, doctors from Britain’s leading mental health organisations said that an urgent review of the system must be carried out to discover how deep an impact sanctions are having.
“We, the UK’s leading bodies representing psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors, call on the Government to immediately suspend the benefits sanctions system It fails to get people back to work and damages their mental health. ”
British Psychological Society
It is more than disgrace that we as a nation are idling sitting by and allowing our own Government commit acts of aggression on its own citizens with psychological warfare and starvation.They are also punishing the next generation who by default are subject to the same regime it imposes on their parents.
What crime have they committed ?
The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, British Psychoanalytic Council, British Psychological Society and UK Council for Psychotherapy between them represent more than 110,000 psychologists, counsellors, psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and psychiatrists who practise psychotherapy and counselling.
In a joint response to the recent report of the WelCond project, the organisations say:
“Our key concerns remain that not only is there no clear evidence that welfare sanctions are effective, but that they can have negative effects on a range of outcomes including mental health.
“We continue to call on the Government to address these concerns, investigate how the jobcentre systems and requirements may themselves be exacerbating mental health problems and consider suspending the use of sanctions subject to the outcomes of an independent review.”
The organisations reaffirmed the clear position against welfare sanctions that they took in a 2016 joint response.
Dr Lisa Morrison Coulthard the British Psychological Society’s acting director of policy said:
“We are delighted to sign this joint statement. The Society has seen increasing evidence that benefit sanctions undermine people’s health and well being, and that people with multiple and complex needs are disproportionately subject to them.”
Balance Of Power
Unemployment is an intentional element of a capitalist system, yes without unemployment the wheels of capitalism would grind to a halt. Capitalism need unemployment to grow. A army of unemployed waiting in reserve.
A army ready to take up the slack so new businesses can be staffed , existing businesses can grow.
Without this army the balance of power would shift.
Workers would be able to demand higher wages, better working hours, paid leave and conditions.
So why are the unemployed being punished and their resources depleted when they add such much value to the economy, this regime is making them less productive and less able to return to work ?
Would a football team do the same to those on the benches waiting as reserves! It makes no sense whatsoever.
Unless now collectively as a nation we have now decided if you do not cut the mustard, unable to compete in the jobs markets,ill/disabled then you will be sentenced to a long slow painful decline into the abyss.
The public have been fooled utterly and completely,
How much does it cost to keep someone in prison ? £100-£150 per day !
The actual cost to the public purse for each homeless person ? costs to police and courts, health workers,homeless agencies and the overall cost to administer the systems the cost to the NHS due to consent stress and the inevitable health issues that come with it, or those tying up the NHS trying to seek some sanctuary so they can recover enough to even contemplate going back to work.
Sticking plasters cost at least 10-20 times as much than actually solving the problem.
A underestimate would £10s of billions of pounds per year in savings if the attack on the disadvantaged was suspended by ending conditionality and therefore sanctions.
These savings could be then used to provide long term solutions as people begin to engage with the system once again without fear.
The Job market has changed with the second wave of AI and automation most Jobs are now at risk. It is an inevitable fact of modern life that there will never be enough Jobs to go around.
There will and always will be people who might not want to work now or in the future for a myriad of reasons.Personal problems, disability, or just not cut out to keep up with the demands of a working life. For them the penalty already exist in the shape of a payment set at a rate that only provides for the bare essentials.
It is not easy living on the bare essentials when all around you is a world of consumerism is constantly telling you what you’re missing out on. So why further add to peoples misery by imposing a Sanction. Is that not the incentive to go to work right there.
holidays, owning the latest and greatest gadgets, luxury goods and services like
toilet paper Designer clothes and pound cob shop and Restaurants. Who would want to deny themselves all that ?
Welcon a project, led by the University of York and involving the Universities of Glasgow, Sheffield, Salford, Sheffield Hallam and Heriot-Watt, analysed the effectiveness, impact and ethics of welfare conditionality from 2013-2018. The findings are based on repeat longitudinal interviews undertaken with 339 people in England and Scotland and drawn from nine policy areas, including Universal Credit, disabled people, migrants, lone parents, offenders and homeless people.
Key findings include:
- Little evidence welfare conditionality enhanced people’s motivation to prepare for or enter paid work
- Some people pushed into destitution, survival crime and ill health
- Benefit sanctions routinely triggered profoundly negative personal, financial and health outcomes
- The mandatory training and support is often too generic, of poor quality and largely ineffective in enabling people to enter and sustain paid work
The report quotes a homeless man who says he was forced into drug dealing due to welfare conditionality, while a disabled woman said she “sunk into depression” as a result of benefit sanctions.
The authors of the report say it is time for a “comprehensive review” of the use of welfare conditionality.
WelCond Director Professor Peter Dwyer, from the University of York’s Department of Social Policy and Social Work, said: “Our review reveals that in the majority of cases welfare conditionality doesn’t work as intended and we have evidence it has increased poverty and pushed some people into survival crime.
“What also became apparent was people were focusing on meeting the conditions of their benefit claim and that became their job – it is totally counter-productive.
“You are just making people do things to meet the conditions of the claim rather than getting them into work.”
“Successive governments have used welfare conditionality and the ‘carrot and stick ’ it implies to promote positive behaviour change.
“Our review has shown it is out of kilter, with the idea of sanctioning people to the fore. It is more stick, very little carrot and much of the support is ineffective.”
Life without Sanctions
If we just removed the Sanction element from the Welfare state it would go along way to fixing a lot of problems. The knock on effect would have a major impact on other services. And save a substantial amount of money if we do the maths.
The DWP then can use their time and effort to offer a quality service. Swiftly identifying those who want help and providing that help. Not just wasting time just policing everyone and offering no help whatsoever.
Removing the sanction element then makes the welfare state what it designed for.
A safety net those for whatever reason who are not working could then have at least some peace of mind they have some semblance of stability.
So they can concentrate their time and effort getting back to work with help from the job centre. Rather than having the stress and worry having to play cat and mouse at each interrogation.
Faced with the ever looming threat of sanctions mandating claimants to carry out tasks set by people who have no experience whatsoever in recruitment. The DWP are encroaching on more people’s lives now with the introduction of Universal credit.
No One Is Safe
No one will be safe from the Sanction regime who may need financial assistance. Due to low wages and or hours. Lets face it the world of work has changed with temporary jobs, zero hour contracts and part-time work becoming the normal.
The knock on effects of removing sanctions would offer up some surprising results. Furthermore it is possible to make Universal credit once fixed a role model throughout the world of how to work and manage a humane welfare system. A welfare state fit for the future and not stuck in some Dickensian past.