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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Benefit sanctions as a mechanism for rewriting economic history at whatever cost

I find reading bullshit from 'think tank' Reform in tandem with global accountancy corporation Accenture not good for my health but better than rolling over into an inertia of doing nothing to challenge injustice.

The Bullshit

The opening paragraph of the Reform/Accenture report 'The future of public services: digital jobcentres' reads:

Up to the job?

The financial crisis precipitated the deepest peacetime recession the UK had experienced since the Great Depression. As the banking sector went into meltdown and lending to businesses dried up, the economy contracted by 6 per cent in a year.1 Many lost their jobs, but unemployment during the downturn was less acute than in other periods of economic decline... While 10 per cent of the workforce were claiming unemployment benefit during periods of the 1980s, the financial crisis saw this measure of worklessness peak at 4.7 per cent. The labour market has also proved resilient in recent years. Unemployment returned to pre-crisis levels shortly after last year’s general election, leading the then Prime Minister David Cameron to herald a ‘jobs miracle’.(1)
Time for a response in British Sign Language:

And also in American Sign Language:

The reality, or as American English would have it, 'actuality'

In reality, benefit sanctions masked the reality of the true number of 'non-working poor'. The 'claimant count' is based on the numbers of people judged to be legitimately claiming benefits, and mass sanctions serve as a mass grave for the truth. If the DWP admitted that there were targets for the numbers of sanctions to apply as 'norms', that would undermine the perceived legitimacy of the figures cited above by Reform/Accenture.

Look to what Dr David Webster has written regarding sanctions data and how sanctions are 'administered' and you will not see such a rosy picture. 

Benefit sanctions: Britain's secret penal system

Benefits claimants are subjected to an 'amateurish, secret penal system which is more severe than the mainstream judicial system', writes Dr David Webster of the University of Glasgow....(2)

Years ago, companies such as Unum and Accenture under the respective guises of Unum Provident and Arthur Andersen Consulting were found guilty of fraud. Now they talk of [heavily distorted] 'data' as the solution to benefit fraud and a think tank that has 'charitable status' goes along with them!

Mass sanctions disguise reality
And on the false premises of what an investment banker turned 'welfare reform guru' — Baron Freud the Welfare Reform Minister — has said of benefit fraud levels, the State and fraudster corporations have blood on their hands on account of sanctions deaths.(3)

Mass sanctions create mass graves.

Sanctions deaths are not so numerous as the impact of fear of sanctions, as for example Kate Belgrave | Talking with people dealing with public sector cuts attests.(4) Whether benefit claimants are sanctioned or not, they are still treated by the DWP as subhuman.

Kate's latest blog post is No-one believes anybody now. Not even on [Domestic Violence] issues.  More stories from the jobcentre(5) Thus the DWP is in effect administering violence in a public facility on a routine and systematic basis. Two comments on that blog post affirm that the domestic violence survivor Kate accompanied and who got the authorisation she attended for would not have faired so well had Kate not accompanied her.

A problem benefit claimants face regarding accompanying people to jobcentre interviews is the fear of being vicimised by the DWP, yet the motto of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group is, "Never attend anywhere official alone." So, please, if you have the comparative liberty to accompany people to jobcentre interviews, make the attempt. You might learn from first-hand experience witnessing how Jobcentre Plus [sic] and its associate institutions actually operate!

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Link addresses

  1. http://www.reform.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/The-future-of-public-services-digital-jobcentres.pdf
  2. https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/benefit-sanctions-britains-secret-penal-system
  3. http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/?s=sanctions+deaths
  4. http://www.katebelgrave.com/?s=sanction+fear&submit=Search
  5. http://www.katebelgrave.com/2016/08/nobody-believes-anybody-now-even-on-dv-issues-more-stories-from-the-jobcentre/

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