Tag: cruelty

Over Half Million Universal Credit Claimants Sanctioned In Year For Not Attending Mandatory Interviews

Earlier this month (May) the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) released their latest Universal Credit sanction statistics. The statistics reveal that 541,000 UC claimants were sanctioned in the year to January 2023.

The greatest majority of those (530,000) were shown to have been sanctioned for failing to attend or failing to participate in a mandatory interview.

However these figures represent a very small fall from the previous peak sanction rate and the number of claimants sanctioned is shown to be still more than double the figures pre-pandemic.

In January 2020 18,462 claimants were sanctioned.

In January 2023, the figure was 44,888.

However the non attendance of mandatory interviews are mostly for genuine issues such as not recieving a letter or notification of having to attend an interview, I’ve blogged about this many times.

Other reasons for non attendance can be Not being able to get to their nearest Jobcentre for their interview because of cost, illness and appointments clashing with childcare obligations.

It is then that the claimant is left to the discretion of their work coach as to if they’re sanctioned or not.

This is incredibly worrying especially because the DWP is now planning to give work coaches the power to decide who is capable of work. Please see my previous blogs for details about this.

Please note that as already blogged it is planned that medically unqualified work coaches could be given the responsibility of making life changing decisions on behalf of UC claimants.

Decisions such as if a disabled or ill claimant is in their opinion able to take part in work-related activities.

Based upon their decision they could be given the power to recommend sanctions and suchlike.

As a result of not being medically qualified such decisions will be based purely on opinion and not fact.

Upon being sanctioned a claimant can try to show their work coach good causes for not attending a planned meeting. They can also do this if their work coach decides that even though they’ve attended a meeting but have failed on their eyes to participate as well as expected.

This can be for many reasons such as their disability preventing them for doing so or illness.

However the work coaches decision is purely based upon their decision or mood so it’s clear that unfair sanction decisions can be sent to the decision maker leaving the claimants payments being sanctioned.

Sanction decision can be appealed and their is an appeal process. Whilst the majority of appeals are successful the whole process is very long and extremely stressful, leaving the claimant in great distress and under enormous financial pressure.

The whole benefit sanction process is heavily biased against claimants, the balance of power unfairly being in the hands of work coaches and decision makers.

Once a sanction has reached the end of the appeal process and a decision made in the claimant’s favour the damage has already been done and many claimants never fully recover both mentally and physically from this.

Sadly this won’t be changing for the better any time soon and it would be nieve to expect this.

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Studies Show Childhood Hunger Seriously Effects Children’s Mental And Physical Development

An ever increasing number of children are now living in poverty as a result of the cost of living crisis, increasing energy costs, result of parents losing their jobs and DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) issues such as benefit sanctions.

As we are seeing this huge increase of people living in poverty little has been said about the effects of hunger upon children and their learning abilities.

It sounds like commonsense that childhood learning and hunger are both interconnected issues that are faced by many children in the UK. If you’re hungry it’s very hard to concentrate on anything else.

Recent studies have shown that hunger and malnourishment can have a severe impact on a child’s mental and physical development, which can ultimately affect their academic performance and life opportunities.


According to the End Child Poverty coalition, 4.2 million children in the UK are living in poverty, 2.4 million of whom are living in severe poverty. Poverty is a significant driver of hunger and food insecurity, with many families struggling to afford and find healthy and nutritious food.


Research by the Trussell Trust food bank network found that over 1.2 million emergency food supplies were given to children in the UK in 2020. This highlights the extent of hunger faced by children in the country and the need for action from the government.



The effects of hunger and malnutrition on a child’s learning can be very profound. Children who experience hunger often find it difficult to concentrate and focus, affecting their memory and cognitive abilities.

This can also lead to behavioral issues, affecting their interactions with others and their overall development.

Moreover, poor nutrition can significantly affect a child’s physical development, leading to a lack of energy, poor growth, and an increased likelihood of illness.

One recent study found that children who experienced hunger were more likely to have lower academic performance and to struggle with basic literacy and numeracy. Children who eat more healthily and more varied diets also have better cognitive abilities, and in many cases have better academic outcomes.


There is evidence, however, that basic interventions can help address these issues. Breakfast clubs at schools have been shown to improve pupils’ behaviour and academic performance. This is particularly noticeable with children that come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Whilst charities and organizations are also working to provide food parcels and other forms of support to families and children who are struggling with hunger, the food offered to them are usually of low nutritional standards but they do quench their hunger.

Childhood hunger and malnutrition in the UK continues to have a huge impact on a child’s learning and development.

Whilst there are interventions such as breakfast clubs and food banks that can help alleviate these problems, and it is vitally important for policymakers, schools, and charities to work together to ensure that all children have access to the resources they need to thrive.

Sadly at the time of writing the government is very reluctant to help at all. Instead the cost of living crisis and rising energy costs are continuing to increase plunging more children and their families further into poverty.

Is the government doing this purposely? It certainly makes me suspect this. The health and wellbeing of working class children appears to be unimportant to them and the less they learn the better for them.

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DWP Job Coaches With No Academic Qualifications To Potentially Make Life Changing Decisions For Disabled People


It’s been revealed in the publication of a government white paper and a subsequent report by John Pring from Disability News Forum that job coaches with no academic qualifications could be tasked with making life changing decisions as to whether a disabled person must carry out work related activities as part of their DWP commitments.

This is dependent upon whether the government goes ahead with its plans to scrap the “fitness for work” test.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has told Disability News Service (DNS) that there are no minimum academic qualifications required to undertake the role of a work coach in a Jobcentre.

It has also been revealed that it will be these work coaches who will be given the task of deciding if disabled claimants in receipt of universal credit are able to carry out tasks such as attending training courses or work-related interviews.

Read the full report here. https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/work-coaches-with-no-gcses-could-decide-on-fit-for-work-activity-dwp-admits/

Many thanks to John Pring for his continued hard work in revealing the latest news from the DWP and their scurrilous plans to hurt disabled people even more.

I’ve got no doubt that the government will try and push their plans through because as we already know they care little, if at all about the welfare of disabled and poor people.

They’ll continue to persecute disabled people until they’re out of government making sure that they can create as much damage as possible until they’re forced to leave.

DWP plans reveal That PIP Claimants Could Lose Support Group Status In 2026


According to new DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) plans existing PIP (Personal Independence Payments) claimants may lose their right to be in the support group.

Under these new plans they could also lose their LCWRA ( Limited capability for work and work related activity) status and be transferred to the universal credit health element.

Once there they may be required to carry out work-related activities, as early as 2026.



The government also announced plans in March to axe the work capability assessment (WCA).



Under the new proposed plans, claimants who get any element of PIP and who claim UC will automatically be eligible for an additional health element.

Sounds good doesn’t it…..

Shockingly at the time of writing the new system won’t automatically recognize any claimant as being unable to carry out any work-related activities.


Claimants might find themselves forced to undergo voluntary and mandatory work-related requirements by an appointed work coach.

Once there they could be subject to benefit sanctions if they don’t meet the mandatory requirements as set by their work coach.



At the time of the new plans announcement the government made a statement that current claimants would not begin being transferred to the new system until 2029 at the earliest.



Apparently only new claimants were said to be affected initially, with the system being rolled out by geographical area between 2026 and 2029.


Despite this announcement evidence given to the commons work and pensions committee by the DWP contradicted the above claim.


Conservative MP Nigel Mills asked: “What happens if I get a called for a new PIP assessment every couple of years and I get one of those in 2027? Does that drop me into the new rules or do I stay under the old ones?”

A senior DWP official responded:

“With the way we will roll this out, we start from 2026 with new claims only, but we will do it in a geographical, staged way. It would depend which area you were in in 2027. Yes, some people might come in under the new rules, and that means they would automatically get your UC health payment and would automatically get the support.”



As an ever increasing proportion of England and Wales will be moved to the UC health element beginning in 2026.

This suggests that thousands of existing PIP claimants when subjected to a review of their award will find themselves being forced onto the UC health element earlier than 2029.

So once again the DWP are lying.


However this does give us time to start campaigning against the new proposals but this needs to start now.

We need to prevent the DWPs plans to subject existing claimants to the attention of work coaches with targets to meet even though they deny this.

The government and their hench people will never stop persecuting disabled and poor people for their very existence.

Many have the view that they deserve to be persecuted like this. They’ll never change their opinions but we can fight them all the way.

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Secret Sanction Report Proves Sanctions Don’t Work


After many months of waiting and pressure from organisations and campaigners the DWP finally relented and published the secret sanction report that I’ve reported on previously.

This report concerned itself into the effectiveness of DWP (Department of Work and Pension) sanctions, afterall it’s a cruel tool used by them for a long time.

However in true DWP style they released it hours before the UK was closed to business for the Easter bank holiday.


The report shows that sanctioned claimants do take longer to move into paid employment and when they do so they’re most likely going to accept lower paid jobs than claimants that haven’t been sanctioned.

It also reveals that there’s no evidence that sanctions are effective in any way at all.


According to the report claimants that have been sanctioned also have 8% shorter UC claims than claimants who were not sanctioned.


The report proves that the majority of claimants with shortened claims disappear, they do not move into paid employment which is very worrying.



Claimants who are sanctioned and who eventually move into PAYE work then take longer to do so than those were not sanctioned and earn an average of £34 a month less than those not sanctioned.

The DWP rather unexpectedly argue in a ‘context note’ within the report that the research cannot be relied upon because it did not take into account the value of the ‘deterrent effect’ of the sanctions regime.



The DWPs ongoing theory is that claimants are more likely to meet their obligations because they fear being sanctioned thus sanctions are an effective tool.


In the three years since the draft report was created the DWP have chosen not to commission any independent research to test the truth of their deterrent effect theory.

Instead they intend to introduce a much harsher sanctions regime, when the only hard evidence they have about sanctions proves that they don’t work.

DWP Sanctions can and should be appealed however this takes a great deal of strength and determination of which not many have due to being completely worn down by the system.

So there we have it, the DWP once again ignoring important information that have a direct negative effect upon sanctioned claimants and their well-being.

The amount of people that decide to take themselves off the system when sanctioned is very concerning.

Don’t expect the DWP to care though, this is exactly what they want to happen and a claimants well-being isn’t even thought about let alone be a concern.

How many more deaths will there be as a result of being sanctioned before the cruel sanctioning system is forced to stop.

I predict thousands because not one political party is willing to campaign against this and apart from a few good MPs such as Debbie Abrahams they’re silent

Sanctions do kill and this report needs to be acted upon ASAP. One death is a death too many.

No one should be forced to suffer in this manner it’s inhumane and cruel.

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Sunak Launches New Attack On Private Rent Tenants

It appears that Sunak has been busy creating some extremely worrying new plans, rather predictably yet another so called crackdown on anti-social behaviour, promises to ban the sale of laughing gas and increasing fines for littering.

These plans also include a rather worrying proposal giving police extra powers to move on so called nuisance beggars with no details as to where the police are supposed to move them to and no plans to provide extra funding to give support needed for them once moved on.

I suspect he’s announced these plans to appeal to the ever dwindling Tory voters, after all theres nothing they like better than to attack people more unfortunate than themselves.



Hidden away amongst his list of proposals is an extremely worrying plan that would allow landlords to evict tenants with just two weeks notice if they are found to be disruptive to neighbours through noise, drug use or damage to property. This would automatically apply to all new private rental tenancies which are already becoming more restrictive than ever before.

Two weeks is a far too short amount of time for a tenant to find a new home, if this is indeed possible in todays climate with future private landlords requesting references from potential tenants and an extreme shortage of social housing.

Whilst I agree that no one should have to put up with neighbours that are behaving anti- socially, its extremely concerning that these tenants will suddenly find themselves homeless leaving them totally dependant upon their local authority to provide temporary accommodation.

Anyone that has either experienced homelessness can confidently tell you that getting temporary accommodation from a local authority can be nigh impossible. They’re often met with unfriendly and unsympathetic local authority employees which signpost people to local charities and organisations that are already working at maximum capacity which in turn puts extra strain on social housing.



These worrying proposals were first outlined last summer in a white paper published by the government. This new development proposes that as well as tenants that are found to be causing anti social behaviour, they could also potentially be evicted under the grounds that they might be regarded as being ‘capable’ of annoyance and disruption whilst not actually committing actual anti-social behaviour.



This is an extremely concerning development which is most likely to be published in the Renters Reform Bill, along with policies designed to protect tenants.

This Bill includes a renewed commitment to abolish Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions as well as including a ban on landlords increasing rents more than once a year. However it’s not all good news. The private rented sector is heavily biased in favour of landlords, leaving these new proposals to be taken advantage of by landlords using these new proposals to evict tenants quickly and unfairly. After all how is a tenant going to prove that they don’t have the potential to be capable of committing anti social behaviour.

Unscrupulous landlords could use this loophole to evict their old tenant and then put the property up for rent again at an increased rent. Under these proposals theres actually nothing to stop them doing this.

Domestic violence cases are also often reported as anti-social behaviour in the rental sector and tenants with some disabilities or mental health problems could well display behaviours that neighbours or landlords find to be potentially capable of potentially displaying anti social behaviour.This in itself is very discriminatory.

To counteract these potentials the prime minister must make it so that courts are aware of the circumstances of the tenants facing the loss of their homes but will he?

Those evicted from private rentals or social housing due to so called nuisance behaviour are also likely to be classed as intentionally homeless by local authorities and are therefore unlikely to be offered help. However families with children are offered help but those without children and who are not classed as vulnerable will become street homeless. 

 

At this present time there are 1.25 million people on waiting lists for social housing, many of them being children. These proposals of reducing the time tenants have to look for a new home and to challenge upcoming evictions is going to increase the pressure on social housing and massivley increase homelessness. 

Polly Neate, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said of the developments: ‘Millions of private renters across the country currently live under fear of eviction, which can happen with only a few weeks’ notice and no reason given. It makes renting deeply unstable and turns lives upside down. The government has rightly committed to scrap these Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions in the long-awaited Renters’ Reform Bill.

‘Once these evictions are finally scrapped, we can’t allow new loopholes for unfair evictions to open up. Private renters deserve genuine security in their homes. Without clear guidance and safeguards in place, there is a real risk that the new anti-social behaviour grounds for eviction could be abused by landlords’.

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Shocking Statistics Show 350,000 More Children in Poverty Than Last year

According to statistics released today by CPAG (Child Poverty Action Group) 350,000 more children are in poverty in the U.K than last year.



This shows that 29% of all children in the UK are growing up below what is regarded as the breadline. In total that’s 4.2 million children in the UK, I’ll repeat this again 4.2 million children in the UK are growing up in poverty.

One of the main contributors to this sudden rise since 2022 is the stopping of the £20 universal credit uplift that happened half way through 2022.

At the same time £3.1 billion has been spent on Pupil Premiums and Early Years Entitlement for two-year olds that were introduced in 2008 has risen since 2021 from £2.5 billion to £2.7 billion a year whilst spending on the Early Years Entitlement for two year olds has fallen from £0.5 billion to £0.4 billion.


Forecasts of continued growth in child poverty mean that the current estimated £39.5bn annual cost will reach £40.4 billion in 2027 in today’s prices.



Commenting on today’s DWP’s child poverty statistics and CPAG’s own research on the economic costs of child poverty, Chief Executive of the charity Alison Garnham said:

“Children pay the highest possible price for poverty – they pay with their health, their well-being and their life chances. Our research shows the country also pays a heavy financial price.

Today’s DWP figures show that investing in social security is the way to remove children from poverty. Indeed, the Government did lift many kids from poverty with the £20 universal credit increase, but it plunged them back again with a subsequent cut.

In the face of today’s grim figures, and with another rise in inflation, it’s inexcusable for Ministers to sit on their hands. The Government must extend free school meals, remove the benefit cap and two-child limit and increase child benefit. The human cost for the children in today’s figures is incalculable. The economic fallout for all of us is vast. But if the political will is there, child poverty can be fixed.”

Meanwhile as the cost of living and energy price crisis continues to worsen even more children will be plunged into poverty leaving many to go hungry and at the same time foodbank donations are falling as the price of groceries increases leaving many having to close their doors to those in need.

It takes a truly evil and callous government to knowingly put the health and wellbeing of those most vulnerable at risk whilst they continue to profit from doing so.

The sooner this government has left office the better, to deliberatlty cause the suffering of 350,000 children and more is totally unforgivable.

Those responsible for making these decisions sleep well at night because they don’t care one bit and it’s pointless reaching out to them for sympathy.







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WCA To Be Abolished But It’s Not Good News. Universal Credit Sanctions Set To become Harsher.

It was announced in yesterdays budget that the WCA (Work Capability Assessment) is likely to be abolished however details of conditionality agreements, sanctions and other conditionality details have nit been revealed yet.

Theres also been rumours of the introduction of automated sanctions possibly implemented by bots for UC (Universal Credit) claimants

With the abolition of the WCA the small protection from conditionality that exists for those who are placed in the support group has been removed but the question is how soon they can enact this and is it a done deal?

From my knowledge this can’t happen without it first being in the white paper which it already is but this then has to go through parliament as a bill and then become an act so none of this is a done deal and it’s uncertain that they’ll have time to do this before a future general election.



If all of the above is successful and the WCA is abolished there are no details as to how the DWP will make decisions upon who will qualify for extra payments because they’re unable to return to work because of illness and disability.



Theres also the question of will the LCWRA (Universal Credit Work Related Activity) continue to stay or will they remove this as well in the future?

Theres also no details given as to who or what will decide if you should be subject to sanctions if you can’t look for work because your condition prevents you from looking for work and attend meetings.



As well as abolishing the WCA, the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) is allegedly already planning to ‘strengthen’ UC sanctions, with rumours of using possible Bots and specially trained staff to do so. These measures could automate the issuing of sanctions notices.

If these rumours are correct, this could mean that sanctions which are already at a record level high could well increase even more when DWP bots possibly send out sanction notices. Sanction notices are notorious for arriving late leaving the claimant with no idea why they haven’t received their payments.

Not to forget that bots aren’t programmed to ask for and look for reasons as to why a claimant has allegedly missed an appointment and they certainly don’t take into account a persons ability to attend meetings.


Whilst any changes to the WCA are very likely to take years to introduce and there is time to challenge these decisions, changes to sanctions could well be introduced rapidly and without warning.

Another question that needs answering is will these changes apply to existing claims? If so this will most likely take a long time to transition. So don’t panic nothing is going to suddenly change if you are currently in support group / LCWRA.



So when will these changes happen?

They will be rolled out geographically for new claims first from 2026/27 to 2029. Only then would existing claimants begin to be affected. There will be some transitional protection for claimants who have LCWRA but do not get any element of PIP.

The degree of change in our proposals will require primary legislation, which we would aim to take forward in a new Parliament when parliamentary time allows. These reforms would then be rolled out, to new claims only, on a staged, geographical basis from no earlier than 2026/27

Below is a government link to their proposals in their white paper.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transforming-support-the-health-and-disability-white-paper

I’ve tried to be concise and to word things simply, I don’t want anyone to panic and think that these changes are going to happen soon because they aren’t and theres time to oppose these proposals and protest against them.

Regarding Universal Credit claimants they’re most likely to bear the brunt of this much sooner and we still need to continue to support them and campaign against the extremely harsh treatment being thrown at them.

It’s no surprise that the government has yet again chosen to target the most vulnerable and I can see no end to their cruelty. We need to support each other in these cruelest of times.

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1 In 7 Universal Credit Claimants Sanctioned

According to statistics released by the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) the rate of universal credit recipients hit an all-time high of 6.86% in October 2022.

This total decreased slightly to 6.51% in November 2022.

The statistics released by the DWP show that sanctions have risen by 4.16 percentage points in the last 12 months.



Sanctions given to universal credit recipients can be and are not excluding other reasons for failure to attend or participate in a mandatory interview, failure or inability to complete their online journal or being seen as not to be looking for work enough in their time allotted to do so.

Over the last year over half a million claimants were sanctioned which includes a total of 98.4% of all sanctions given for not attending an in-face or telephone interview.

Needless to say most universal credit recipients do not purposely miss important interviews and there is usually a good reason for doing so which are often not taken into consideration by the DWP.

At a time when most people are struggling because of the current cost of living and energy cost crisis the DWP continues to financially punish the most vulnerable.

It’s abhorrent that the DWP continues to do this, they extend a person’s punishment to such an extent that they can’t see a way out.

It needs to stop before even more people die as a result of the DWPs actions and decision making.

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A huge thank you to everyone that reads, subscribes to and supports my blog and the work that I do.

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New Cruel Universal Credit Sanction Traps Exposed

I’d like to say I was surprised upon hearing about a new sanction trap for Universal Credit (UC)) claimants but I’m not, afterall it’s not exactly the first time they’ve done this to unsuspecting claimants.

This time it’s been disguised as supposed help to move claimants into work.


The new scheme which has surprisingly been condemned by members of the DWP staff union PCS despite jobcentre workers are being offered a £250 ‘incentive’ to implement it.



The newly named Additional Jobcentre Support scheme requires UC claimants being forced by the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) to attend their allocated Jobcentre 10 times over a two week period.


Claimants that are unable to attend or failing to participate in one session will highly likely to lead to a sanction.



Undeterred however by the cruelty of this new scheme the DWP are being ‘trialed’ at 60 jobcentres across England and Scotland.

As already proven by myself and many other like-minded campaigners these so called trials are usually the start of a national roll out regardless if they’re successful or not.



To add incentive to roll out this terrible scheme the DWP are offering a £250 bonus in the form of a voucher “to recognise and reward jobcentre teams who furthest exceed their aspirational targets.”

These vouchers will be given to each member of staff in the best performing jobcentres.


No explanation has so far been given as to what the alleged “aspirational targets” consist of and if this involves taking people off benefitif claimants have failed to comply for whatever reason. Nor has the DWP commented if it involves sanctioning claimants or forcing claimants into unsuitable and insecure work.


The PCS union, which represents DWP staff commented saying that they have no doubt that the main purpose of the scheme is to make life harder for claimants, saying:

“Our members will see through this pilot for what it is – a government hellbent on making it more difficult for people to claim benefits and which will increase the risk of poverty for those customers who fall foul of this pilot. Asking more customers to travel more often into jobcentres does nothing to help our staff or their workloads and does nothing to help the customers find the work that they need.”

However as I have already stated this isn’t the first time that the DWP have issued financial targets to incentivise cruelty.

Previous examples of this are ‘Sandras Stars’ which consisted of a Jobcentre manager giving DWP employees a star on a leaderboard for every employee that ‘offloaded’ sanctioned a claimant.

https://wp.me/p1Awq-2cd Sandra’s Stars

And who could also forget this example back in 2015. Of course they denied that this happened but the truth was all too obvious.

If there’s one thing that the government likes doing the most is implementing cruelty to the poorest and most vulnerable the very people.

The government and their henchpeople the DWP target social security claimants the most because they’re less likely to fightback and demand they’re treated fairly.

Most are worn down with the constant compliance requests that they’re hounded with.

They know that people claiming any form of social security are already paying the highest price for the cost of living and energy bills prices.

Many are primarily focused upon trying to get by from day to day and are less likely to know their legal rights and how to appeal DWP decisions.

Let’s hope that the PCS DWP staff members rebel against the mandate given to them from the government and their managers. If they do they deserve our support.

Please read, share, tweet and email this blog post. It’s vital that we raise awareness on this subject and many of the others that I have published previously.

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