Church Action on Poverty has published a report condemning sanctions, which they say affect not only claimants but also 100,000 dependent children.
The report points out that:
“If you commit a crime, no criminal court in the UK is allowed to make you go hungry as a punishment. But if you’re late for an appointment at the Jobcentre, they can remove all your income and leave you unable to feed yourself or your family for weeks at a time.”
The report also quotes one sanctioned claimant explaining that he received a three month sanction for getting ill because of severe weight loss during a one month sanction:
“During the first three weeks of my sanction I continued to look for work as I was required to. By the fourth week however I was exhausted, unwell and no longer had it in me. I was not eating as I had no food and was losing a lot of weight. I told the Jobcentre I was unwell through not eating but was sanctioned for another three months for not looking for work properly.”
The report is likely to enrage the DWP and Iain Duncan smith as they struggle to continue to convince people that only a “tiny minority” of claimants are sanctioned and only ever as a “last resort”.
You can download the full report, “Time to Rethink Benefits Sanctions”, watch videos and TV programmes and email your MP on this issue.