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People who have been stripped of benefits could be charged by the government for trying to appeal against the decision to an independent judge.

Critics said the proposal, contained in an internal Department for Work and Pensions document leaked to the Guardian, would hit some of the poorest people in Britain, who have been left with little or no income.

In the document about the department's internal finances, officials say the "introduction of a charge for people making appeals against [DWP] decisions to social security tribunals" would raise money.

Earlier this week figures showed that in the past year nearly 900,000 people have had their benefits stopped, the highest figure for any 12-month period since jobseeker's allowance was introduced in 1996. In recent months, however, 58% of those who wanted to overturn DWP sanction decisions in independent tribunals have been successful. Before 2010, the success rate of appeals was 20% or less.

Full story in the Guardian.


0 #4 Kate Fifield 2014-02-26 12:57
Maybe Atos/it's successor should be made to pay for successful appeals.
0 #3 Emma Samways 2014-02-22 13:09
This idea is just typical bullying and pushing toys out of the pram mentality from the government because they can't bear anyone winning against their cruel welfare reforms.
+7 #2 jima1 2014-02-21 13:15
In my opinion such action would be unlawful under common law, the rules of 'natural justice' i.e. fair play at work and the European Convention on Human Rights : Article 6 provides a detailed right to a fair trial, including the right to a public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal within reasonable time, the presumption of innocence, and other minimum rights for those charged with a criminal offence (adequate time and facilities to prepare their defence, access to legal representation, right to examine witnesses against them or have them examined, right to the free assistance of an interpreter).

Those accused of a criminal offence can have access to free legal advice and representation in Court. I am not familiar with all Tribunals, only Social Security Appeal Tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunals. In the latter if an appeal is considered 'vexatious or frivolous' then the Tribunal Judge has the power to award costs. There is to the best of my knowledge no similar provision for SSAT's and in my opinion, Judges hearing SSAT's have no powers to award costs. If the DWP want to change this, then it would need new primary legislation, which would have to be debated and voted on in both Houses of Parliament
+11 #1 carruthers 2014-02-20 23:59
I like the idea that this measure is designed simply to get a little more money to swell the DWP's depleted coffers, as though the money from all those well-off appellants would be a real help.

Of course, this has nothing to do with the idea that people who had to wait 9 months to be told they were going to get less than they were entitled to would not have the money to appeal against the decision. And the CAB, and the WROs who are helping out could not help with that as well.

And when the volume of appeals drops sharply, the DWP will (a) have saved money from all the benefit they're not paying and (b) be able to declare that the new policy has stopped "frivolous appeals". It will also show how many people really deserve their benefit - a statistic which will prove in the Daily Mail that all those who couldn't afford to appeal were really scroungers all along.

Well, done IDS - another PR triumph.

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