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Monday, 3 March 2014

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group says that figure of 68,000 benefit claimants wrongly sanctioned per year does not go far enough

The Daily Mirror reports that Tory think tank Policy Exchange is undoubtedly embarrassing the Con-Dem Government by flagging up figures of people wrongly sanctioned on benefits.

Swheatie of the KUWG responds:

Appeal-based evidence flagged up in a report by a Tory think-tank is embarrassing to the Con-Dem Government but does not go far enough.

Remember the right wing tabloid headlines about people who have claimed Incapacity Benefit having been found to be wrongly claiming that out of waged work benefit? Those reports were based on the 'evidence' provided via tests conducted by the now infamous Atos Healthcare. About 40% of those deemed 'fit for work' by the Department for Work & Pensions based on 'Work Capability Assessment' tests conducted by Atos won their appeals. Yet when people have gone to tribunal with an advocate who understands Employment & Support Allowance, that figure is more like 70%.

By extension, the same principle would operate with benefit sanction appeals, especially as many ESA claimants with mental health problems and / or learning difficulties are forced to claim Jobseekers Allowance or enter the ESA 'Work Related Activity Group' where they become sanctions fodder. There are also burnout issues when people fail to meet the targets of tens of job applications per week that seem intended more as punishment than a genuine way forward.

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group meets several such people at London jobcentres and offers them more help than Policy Exchange ever will, with much smaller funding.

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