As we know benefit sanctions were suspended three months at the beginning of the pandemic in March. This was exactly the right thing to do during a pandemic even though I believe that they should be stopped.
Sanctioning is a cruel and heartless way of punishing an individual and their families.
Today in parliament Work and Pensions secretary has refused a call to extend the expiry date beyond June 30th.
So to put it plainly sanctions are returning tomorrow on the 30th of June and Jobcentres are reopening this week. This is despite the fact that Jobcentres haven’t got a how they’re going to open whilst keeping people safe. They don’t even care about keeping their staff safe let alone the public.
Therese Coffey has said that its “important’ for claimants to commit to look for work and to start attending appointments at Jobcentres as they reopen this week.
At the start of the pandemic the government did say that the sanctions ban would be reviewed and extended if required.
Obviously the government and Terese Coffey don’t believe that still being in the middle of a pandemic is good enough reason to extend the sanction ban.
Instead of being sympathetic towards the public and the claimants that are shielding for health reasons. Coffey is quoted as saying ” Well its actually important that as the Jobcentres fully re open this week, that we do reinstate the need for having a claimant commitment”
She went on to say “It’s an essential part of the contract to help people reconsider what vacancies there may be” At a time when thousands of people have lost their jobs and equal number of business have had to shut their doors, I really wonder what these jobs are that shes talking about.
She then said “There will be some people who’ve never had to look for a job for 20-30 years” From my experience of talking to these very people that Coffey is talking about, most people have worked but finding a job in this current climate is near impossible. She then went on to say the usual blurb about giving tailored support to claimants despite not being able to guarantee being able to keep claimants and DWP staff safe.
Unemployment has risen sharply, people are still shielding, schools haven’t fully reopened nor have doctors surgeries etc. We are still in the middle of a pandemic and the DWP clearly don’t care.
Jonathon Reynolds questioned Coffey asking if she would announce an immediate extension which she refused.
Jonathon Reynolds Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary said
“It is incomprehensible that the Government is bringing back conditionality and sanctions tomorrow. At a time when unemployment has risen sharply, vacancies have dropped, people are still shielding and the schools aren’t back, threatening people reducing their financial support if they don’t look for jobs is untenable.
“What’s more, Jobcentre Plus is still lacking guidance on how premises might even open safely. With the unemployment crisis looming, it is alarming that there is no thought being given on how to offer proper support to those seeking work at this time. We need a proper plan from the government to get Britain back to work – sanctions aren’t the answer.”
Even the acting Lib Dem Leader Ed Daley is quoted as saying that it is a terrible decision.
It goes without saying that Terese Coffey and the DWP have swinging bricks instead of hearts. Thousands of claimants are still shielding and will now have to put their own life’s and their loved ones life’s at risk.
Their decision will have serious ramifications for thousands of already vulnerable people.
Covid 19 is still here and its still killing people. When myself and others say that the government and the DWP don’t care it is evident to everyone now.
The questions are
How many people are going to have to miss DWP appointments because their shielding?
How many people are going to be sanctioned as a result of the above?
How many people are going to become ill or worse as a result of this decision?
It’s these people and more that I’m worried about.
We’ve already seen the beginning of people already being sent warnings that they’ll soon have to attend DWP medical appointments. No doubt they’ll start opening their doors soon.Please keep safe folks, easier said than done I know.
If you are shielding and the DWP insist on having you attend the Jobcentre for an appointment then tell them that you’re shielding. If they ignore this then please wear a mask and keep to the social distancing rules.
After years of being disgusted at the government and DWPs behaviour towards the public this has got to be one of the most callous things that they’ve done.
Please share this article, each and every terrible decision that the government and the the DWP have made regarding disabled people and claimants have had terrible ramifications.
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