As to be expected the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) has taken full advantage of their new ‘way to work’ campaign and the return to normal service after lockdowns during the pandemic.
It is estimated that nearly 110,000 people claiming Universal Credit were sanctioned in May. This figure has more than doubled in six months . It’s also important to remember that this is despite the cost of living crisis whilst people are struggling more financially than they ever have done in recent times.
Sanction levels were however rising steadily through autumn and winter, but increased dramatically after the DWPs Way to Work was implemented was in February. Compared to 74,746 people that had been sanctioned in January rising to 93,479 March compared to 106,710 in April.
The governments ‘Way To Work’ programme forces every claimant eligible to apply for every job available rather than jobs suited to them because of work experience and qualifications.
Not only is this damaging emotionally and physically to each claimant forced to do this I fear it’s equally as frustrating for employers as well leaving them forced to trawl through job applicants that aren’t suitable for the jobs advertised, after all. Doesn’t every employer want applications from people that not only aren’t qualified for the work advertised? They’ll most likely be very unenthusiastic about applying for said jobs but are forced to do so or else face a DWP sanction.
Not only are the job vacancies are often not local to where they live, the DWP fails to take into account that public transport is expensive and not always available. The cost of travelling to work using their own transport being equally as such.
Basically if a claimant doesn’t follow the DWP’s orders for legitimate reasons and concerns they will undoubtably face being sanctioned.
Whilst implementing this new ‘Way To Work’ programme the government and DWP are totally failing to recognise that the UK is going through a cost of living and energy price crisis.
Claimants are already struggling to feed themselves and their families, which to be honest is near impossible as it is and to be faced with a sanction will undoubtedly leave them destitute without any hope for the future.
Can you imagine not being able to turn a light on in your house ,not able to cook any food, unable to use any electrical equipment that aid your day to day living such as powered wheelchairs, stairlifts, fridges and suchlike?
The DWP by continuing with their cruel sanctioning system and low benefit payments is knowingly forcing people to become destitute, left in the cold and dark, unable to travel anywhere to find work or access help.
It is inevitable that many people will fall under the radar for any assistance that may be available. There will be deaths, possibly many deaths without a care for their welfare from the government and of course the DWP.
It’s also important to remember that many claimants have been refused the cost of living payment due to being sanctioned with guidance to DWP employees telling them to refuse the payment to certain claimants if their benefits were stopped.
According to Dan Bloom from The Mirror, the DWP internal website said that people weren’t eligible if they had a “nil award” due to their earnings, however it made no mention of benefit sanctions, and said if people had a nil award due to rent or debts being deducted, they “might still be eligible”.
To put it clearly the decision is made by the DWP and often, as we have seen throughout the years, their own personal opinion and pressure put on them by their supervisors and managers.
I predict that thousands of people will have undoubtably missed out on the payment, without the strength or the knowledge that’s needed to appeal against DWP decisions such as these.
With Rishi Sunak announcing during his leadership campaign that he will be “much tougher” on the benefits system saying “if there are hours to do and there’s a job going people should have to take the job.” The future for people claiming Universal Credit and disability benefits looks even bleaker than before.
Anyone claiming benefits for whatever reason should not be bashed in such a manner especially during an election campaign.
They deserve kindness and respect after-all they’re fighting a battle that no politician will ever have to fight, without not knowing if they’ll be able to survive the next day never mind the next year.