Guest blog post by Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty
The monstrous unfairness of benefit sanctions
PM must look below the statistics to tackle the inequalities of income, wealth, health & administration of justice
The Prime Minister ( Guardian If Theresa May is serious about inequality she will ditch Osborneomics) must look below the headline statistics to tackle the dire inequalities of income, wealth, health and the administration of justice she has inherited.
I helped John Smith, name changed, through the traumatic aftermath of a benefit sanction.
Three powerful government departments had descended on a single unemployed adult with a history of depression.
The DWP [Department for Work & Pensions] stopped his income and the DCLG [Department for Communities & Local Government]/Local authority enforced rent and council tax arrears, and the MOJ [Ministry of Justice] enforced a TV license fine, all with threats of eviction, the bailiffs and prison.
During a three month sanction the unmanageble debts pile up. When it ends they are enforced against £73.10 a week JSA.
He was then told his block of flats was due for demolition. He was speaking about his thoughts of throwing himself off the balcony of his 5th floor council flat.
These extreme punishments imposed by the State, extending to over a year due to the enforcement of debts, were totally disproportionate to the offence of missing an appointment.
John Smith did not receive a fair trial at the Jobcentre.
When the bailiffs called on John Smith I told them I was taking the case back the the Magistrates Court - this is the case I put to them - they remitted £135 fine and dismissed the bailiffs.
from the Reverend Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
No citizen without an affordable home and an
adequate income in work or unemployment.
93 Campbell Road, Tottenham, London N17 0BF, 0208 3765455, 07961 177889,