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Friday, 20 March 2015

United against Benefit Sanctions

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group yesterday took part in the national 'NO SANCTIONS' jobcentre action that was organised by Unite the Union Community Section.

Our 'pitch' was outside Willesden Jobcentre in Neasden Lane where it was very difficult to take photos in the face of moving traffic, but not as difficult as it is for JSA or Employment & Support Allowance Work-Related Activity Group claimants to avoid being sanctioned for the IT failings of the DWP, etc.
United against Universal Credit outside Willesden Jobcentre in Neasden Lane. Photo by Kate Belgrave
 The group photo above shows members of Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group and Brent Housing Action outside the Willesden sanctions centre in Brent. There we were joined by a Labour councillor, Rita Conneely also of Brent Housing Action whose views differ from those of Labour's Work & Pensions Spokesperson Rachel Reeves. Rita works for a youth charity.

Solomon Hughes in the Morning Star writes:
RACHEL REEVES is what happens, I think, when bankers are in charge of the Labour Party.
What would happen if youth workers had a greater holder on European politics?

The statement shown above on KUWG's alternative Budget Box states:
Sanctions fodder face huge deficits!
The Government is addressing the youth claimant count by applying benefit sanctions to youth with great intensity. What a way for young workers to start in life!
Another KUWG Budget Box statement: "Sanctions lower claimant count." Photo by Kate Belgrave
 (Universal Credit legislation will extend benefit sanctions-proneness to claimants of Working Tax Credit for skinflint 'blue chip' companies and housing benefit claimants in even 'affordable housing' who are in waged employment. Yet the offshoring of the Universal Credit database and the IT-only dominance of applying for Universal Credit will make it more necessary for claimants to have casework supports such as those given by Kwug members, and to take photos of jobcentre window-dressings.)

Later that day, we had our weekly business meeting while some members attended the 'no sanctions' event outside DWP HQ at Caxton House, SW1. And we were joined by a Unite member who signs on at Shepherds Bush Jcp and was horrified at the level of claimant and public ignorance he witnessed there to the coming of Universal Credit.

So the following minute was passed unanimously while it emerged that Brent Council seems to have not given enough information to the housing benefit claiming public. 
“The Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group thanks Robin (Sivapalan) for all his work in Unite Community especially regarding the No to Sanctions Day, and TUC Welfare Conference, with lead-up-to and follow-up meetings he has also  planned. This is in response to finding claimants ignorant of Sanctions and Universal Credit being introduced, and Robin via Unite Community is greatly helping claimants be informed, which they need to be.” It was agreed to put this statement on our Blog." 
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