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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The new Prime Minister as ultimate mandator of safeguarding for vulnerable people

This blog has just published a guest blog post by Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty: 'The Monstrous Unfairness of Benefit Sanctions'.(1)

The guest blog post cites a Guardian article 'If Theresa May [the new Prime Minister] is serious about tackling inequality she'll ditch Osborneomics'.(2) Of course, a keyword or keyword combination in the guest blog post is 'benefit sanctions'; a search for 'benefit sanctions' on that Guardian article revealed zero mention of 'benefit sanctions'. The sub-title of the guest blog post is 'PM must look below the statistics to tackle the inequalities of income, wealth, health & administration of justice', and of course the issuing of benefit sanctions' involves the application of someone's idea of punishment, a word associated with the administration of justice. Prof. David Webster of U. Glasgow has written that the application of benefit sanctions and lack of scrutiny regarding the application of benefit sanctions gives rise to statistics that are an indictment on our society.(3)

The gathering of statistics presupposes an awareness of what the researcher and policy makers are looking for. A search for the term 'benefit sanctions' in the new PM's speech draws a blank.(4) Theresa May's predecessor as Prime Minister who heralded a surge of benefit sanctions in a speech to Conservative & Unionist Party Autumn Conference 2007 in a speech calling for tougher benefit sanctions, when a lack of official safeguarding for vulnerable jobcentre clients was a major issue.(5) Further, regardless of who the new Conservative & Unionist Party Prime Minister is, elected in the absence of a General Election, an extension of the sanctioning regime is built into Universal Credit, while the emphasis goes from low pay to low income.(6) That extension of sanctions owes much to the abstentions of 184 Labour MPs before Jeremy Corbyn was elected its leader.

The forgetfulness and other health and competence issues that frequently accompany vulnerability make it more likely that poor people will not be able to fulfil their Claimant Conditionality; thus they are more likely to be sanctioned on Jsa, ESA WRAG [Work Related Activity Group] or Universal Credit.(7) and (8)

Now, it is even more likely that even more vulnerable people will be benefit sanctioned, as there will be fewer specialist Disability Employment Advisers to intervene when the inevitable happens.(9)

So, new UK Prime Minister Theresa May, have you mandated your newly appointed Secretary of State for Work & Pensions to address that matter?

Link addresses

  1. http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/the-monstrous-unfairness-of-benefit-sanctions.html
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/19/theresa-may-industrial-inequality-osbornomics-austerity
  3. https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/benefit-sanctions-britains-secret-penal-system
  4. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2016/jul/13/theresa-mays-speech-what-she-said-and-what-she-meant
  5. http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/benefit-claimants-require-firmer-safegards-not-tougher-sanctions.html
  6. https://scottishunemployedworkers.net/2016/07/15/sharing-knowledge-in-the-face-of-further-attacks/
  7. http://www.katebelgrave.com/2014/10/you-must-do-your-jsa-jobsearch-online-even-though-we-know-you-cant/
  8. http://www.katebelgrave.com/2016/03/closed-claims-lost-housing-benefit-how-ids-contempt-for-sick-or-disabled-claimants-played/
  9. http://www.katebelgrave.com/2016/07/video-jobcentre-adviser-says-disability-support-is-wrecked-fix-this-mr-green/

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