Sunday, 8 February 2015

Ashton jobseeker sanctioned for three-months for making a spelling mistake!

In his magnificent book " Religion and the rise of Capitalism", R.H. Tawney, stated: "Most tyrannies have contented themselves with tormenting the poor." You could say that this just about sums up the prevailing ideology that dominates policy within this wretched Tory led coalition government which is hell-bent on turning us into doormats for billionaires. The UK might be the sixth richest country on earth but last year, over 1 million sought help from the charity run foodbanks.

One of the things that is driving people to turn to foodbanks, is the staggering rise in the number of people on benefits who are being sanctioned. We also seeing an increase in the rate of suicides that are linked to benefit cuts and sactions which are often both unfair or possibly illegal. The emphasis is  now  on what the Jobcentre calls "off-flow" which measures the number of people coming off benefits and not necessarily the number who go into jobs. Campaigning groups like Tameside Against the Cuts, are now being set up across the country in opposition to the social injustice that is being meted out to unemployed people in receipt of state benefits. Last week (Thursday) one member of the group spoke to  a jobseeker who was sanctioned by the Ashton Jobcentre for three-months for making a spelling mistake. It is to be hoped that this person was told to appeal and to apply for a hardship payment. The following account by Charlotte is copied from her blog, the Poor Side of Life:

"You couldn’t make it up… Well actually it’s become the norm to be sanctioned for making a spelling mistake. A gentleman who spoke to us on our Thursday demo told us that he was put on a three month sanction at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre for making a spelling mistake. He wasn’t given a chance to correct it, or a chance to explain it. He was told very bluntly “we are sanctioning you for spelling this word incorrectly on a form. This will prevent you from getting work so therefore is a sanctionable offence”. This man received a three month sanction for this so called offence. No one bothered to ask him if he was dyslexic or had any other issues which may have prevented him from spelling the word correct. Neither is it a crime to spell a word incorrectly. Indeed we are all human and are prone to making mistakes. This is shocking but had become the norm at this Jobcentre and jobcentres up and down the country. It reminded me of why Jobcentres were created in the first place. They were created to help you find work. They also used to help you fill in forms and make telephone calls if this was required. They were very productive places in those days, you stood a chance of finding work and not being sanctioned. I prefer to call Jobcentres sanction centres now as their main aim is to get people off benefits in any way possible. If bullying, sanctioning, coercing claimants to commit suicide and taking away a persons every means of survival is needed to do this then they will do this…. They have targets to reach, and reach them they will by whatever means possible. "

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