NOTHING BUT TOTAL ABOLITION OF BENEFIT SANCTIONS WILL DO jobcentres do not and cannot administer justice

 

I AM HIGHLIGHTING THESE TWO COMMENTS ON POSTS ON  TAP FACEBOOK ABOUT BENEFIT SANCTIONS TO SUGGEST THAT CHANGING THE BENEFITS SANCTIONS REGIME WILL NOT DO.

NOTHING BUT TOTAL ABOLITION WILL DO.

FIRST POST

I am a single 58 year old lady out of work not out of choice. I have done continued voluntary work for the past 4 years and struggled to feed myself. Hastings Job Centre chose to steal from me right over the Christmas period 2014. it left me with No Electric which left me in Pitch dark after 4pm. I was unable to cook what tin food I had and unable to buy food over the Christmas period. I could not do any washing or listen to the radio. They sent me an email this week asking me to make a Donation to their Party. Well I think I made that Donation over Christmas or should I say they stole it from me. If I stole from them or anyone else I would go to prison.

SECOND POST

1) as an unemployed man, I go to the Job Centre once a fortnight. I take both email evidence of job applications with me, as well as a written log of activities relating to job searching. I receive a much varied response, from a cursory glance at my evidence to the advisor not even looking at it at all. My point being that there is not even a standard approach within one JCP, so it seems fair to assume that attitudes toward job seekers and potential sanctions also vary across the country, so there is little or no consistency of approach.

2) if I go next door and chin my neighbour, the police would no doubt arrest me, charge me with assault and sent me to court. In court I may get a prison sentence or a non-custodial one. Whatever the consequences the law WILL NOT try to starve me and/or prevent me from eating, paying bills etc. If I turn up late or miss a DWP appointment, they can take my JSA away for months at a time. I live alone and have a serious medical condition, so my health, mental and physical would be immediately compromised. Please tell me how the 2 ‘crimes’ compare!!!!

TAP COMMENT ON THE TWO POSTS

We have laws about fraud that are properly dealt with by the courts. Benefit sanctions administered by jobcentre officials have no place at all in this supposedly just nation; rich and poor are all human and should be equal before the law but they are not. Why is it that you are assumed not motivated by self interest if you are among the poorest residents; but highly motivated if you are already rich.

Even Adam Smith writes about the “necessaries” that no one should be without. Beveridge sought to slay his five giants including “want”. The two major parties seem to have forgotten the wisdom of their gurus.

The level of unemployment benefits has been set with the all the moral hazards of idleness in mind – £72.40 a week single adult JSA has been shrinking in value since 1980. It is now only marginally better than having do income at all.

It is not only the sanction that creates misery it it the months of consequential debts after having no income for three months or so.

I can add that the courts impose fines and punishments that are proportional to the income of the offenders. I volunteered for Zacchaeus 2000 who had a contract with Wycombe Magistrates Court to help people fill in their means statements for the magistrates when they could not pay their fines. I often got the fines reduced or remitted. I did that on most Wednesdays for ten years while I was a Vicar in Bucks.

No such just procedure exists in the jobcentres.

Regeneration in Tottenham does nothing to keep homes of thousands of tenants secure warm or put food on their tables.

 

Regeneration in Tottenham does nothing to keep the homes of thousands of tenants secure warm or put food on their tables.

Rowan Moore, writing in The Observer on Sunday, is right (After the riots in Tottenham………..) the attention given by Haringey Council to Tottenham could become a model of regeneration for the next generation of the people, by the people and for the people. But that can only happen if the council treats the interests of home owners and tenants differently. The 2011 consensus shows that of the 101,955 households in the borough home ownership had decreased to 38% while renting had increased to 62%.

The interests of home owners, landlords, developers and Spurs football club are being served by Haringey Council as the value of property has escalated in a chaotic London housing market; but 62,000 households in Haringey, with nothing to gain from the increase in the value of land, have been hit by ever increasing rents.

A regeneration by the council of, for and by the people would tailor make a sustainable housing policy truly affordable for all the tenants in the borough; but Haringey proposes to reduce “affordable” housing targets from 50% to 40%, demolish over 4000 council tenancies and move thousands of tenants out of the borough. .

“Affordable” rents are unrealistically defined as 80% of the rising market rents while increases in lower middle to low incomes do not keep up; rents are increasingly unaffordable.

Present regeneration in Tottenham will do nothing to keep the  homes of thousands of tenants warm or put food on their tables.

Rev Paul Nicolson, Tottenham, London N17

Tell Cameron ONS reports richest fifth paid 14% indirect taxes 11/12 unchanged bottom fifth paid 31% an increase

CAMERON’S “WIND AT THEIR BACKS” IS CHILLY

Someone should remind David Cameron about the Office of National Statistics report that in 2012/13, the richest fifth of households paid 14% of their disposable income in indirect taxes. This is unchanged from 2011/12. The bottom fifth of households paid 31% of their disposable income in indirect taxes, an increase from 2011/12.

Cameron suggests to Sunday Times readers that “the rewards of recovery are being spread more fairly. The share of tax paid by the richest is rising and that the hardworking lowest paid are feeling the wind at their backs as they pay less in tax – or none at all.”

Its a chilly wind.

Since April 2013 in 244 of 326 councils those residents paying no income tax, due to the rise in the threshold in the budget, are still paying council tax out of their benefits and still pay 30% of disposable income in indirect taxes.

Debts and arrears are enforced even if they have had their income stopped by a sanction.

Rev Paul Nicolson

Innocent citizens are being sacrificed on the altar of extreme free market policies – a strong case against sanctions

Innocent citizens are being sacrificed on the altar of extreme free market policies

A STRONG CASE FOR THE ABOLITION OF SANCTIONS

This wealthy economy can carry the very few skivers and scroungers, who can anyway be punished for fraud, without punishing the innocent.

As voices for all taxpayers, in and out of work, we should all be thinking about abolishing the benefit sanctions regime to save our money.

Time and money is wasted in the jobcentres deciding whether to stop JSA, and then dealing with the inevitable appeals, that could be better spent helping people find work.  Hardship payments are then available  from the same jobcentre that stops the JSA.

The jobcentre computer that stops JSA sends a signal to the local authority computer to stop housing and council tax benefit. Claimants are told to reapply, a totally unnecessary repetition for local authority staff of a previous applications when entitlement to the two benefits remains unchanged by the sanction. I

n the mental turmoil of having no income to pay off existing debts claimants fail to reapply leading to more work for the local authorities – and fall into more debt.

Further financial and social costs are incurred in the NHS.

  • People’s mental and physical health is damaged by having no income.
  • Pregnant women cannot buy a healthy diet which impacts on the health of their babies.
  • Stressed children of sanctioned families leave home in no condition to learn with long term affects for the economy.

It is assumed that the rich are motivated by self interest so they are given tax cuts while their poorest fellow citizens get their social security payments cut to force them into work.

It should now be left to the good sense and self interest of  all British citizens to find themselves work without punitive benefit sanctions that cost the taxpayer more than they are worth.

This wealthy economy can carry the tiny number of skivers and scroungers, who can be punished for fraud, without punishing the innocent.

Rev Paul Nicolson

I did demonstrate with UNITE COMMUNITY  against sanctions at the Tottenham Jobcentre from 12-2 pm and at the DWP headquarters at  3 pm. - and shared this prayer with my fellow demonstrators.

A PRAYER FOR THE END OF SANCTIONS and the renewal of social and economic justice at DWP headquater’s front door. . 

I will remember all who have died while their income was sanctioned, who were overcome by any feelings of humiliation or shame, by fear or distrust, insecurity or loneliness; or by a sense of being trapped and powerless under the abuses of power by the State in a time of austerity.

And pray in solidarity with the 1000s of UK citizens currently suffering sanctions, which are imposed with the maximum use of the media to blame decent people for their own unemployment and povert, including those who would like to be demonstrating out side the DWP on the 19th March but cannot be.

For the millions of UK citizens who are suffering under unmanageable debts due to high rents, the council tax, the caps and cuts in social security imposed by Parliament, made worse by sanctions.

I pray  too for those in power and seeking power on the 7th May that they may find;

The courage to work for and implement social and economic justice.

The will to build a well-being state on the ashes of the welfare state in which rich and poor and Parliament are in solidarity with each other.

The policies to ensure that no one will have to choose between heating or eating, the rent or the streets, or life or death due to the unjust enforcement of debts against inadequate incomes, or no incomes at all, due to a sanction.

In the name of Jesus Christ,

Amen
Rev Paul Nicolson

A prayer for the end of sanctions and the renewal of social and economic justice outside DWP headquater’s front door

 

I will be demonstrating with UNITE COMMUNITY  against sanctions at the Tottenham Jobcentre from 12-2 pm and at the DWP headquarters at  3 pm. 

A PRAYER FOR THE END OF SANCTIONS and the renewal of social and economic justice at DWP headquater’s front door. . 

I will remember all who have died while their income was sanctioned, who were overcome by any feelings of humiliation or shame, by fear or distrust, insecurity or loneliness; or by a sense of being trapped and powerless under the abuses of power by the State in a time of austerity.

And pray in solidarity with the 1000s of UK citizens currently suffering sanctions, which are imposed with the maximum use of the media to blame decent people for their own unemployment and povert, including those who would like to be demonstrating out side the DWP on the 19th March but cannot be.

For the millions of UK citizens who are suffering under unmanageable debts due to high rents, the council tax, the caps and cuts in social security imposed by Parliament, made worse by sanctions.

I pray  too for those in power and seeking power on the 7th May that they may find;

The courage to work for and implement social and economic justice.

The will to build a well-being state on the ashes of the welfare state in which rich and poor and Parliament are in solidarity with each other.

The policies to ensure that no one will have to choose between heating or eating, the rent or the streets, or life or death due to the unjust enforcement of debts against inadequate incomes, or no incomes at all, due to a sanction.

In the name of Jesus Christ,

Amen
Rev Paul Nicolson