After a campaign by Oldham MP Debbie Abrahams, the Work and Pensions Committee has called for an independent probe to check that benefits sanctions and conditions are being applied ‘fairly and appropriately’.{jcomments on}

Ms Abrahams confronted Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith and employment minister Esther McVey after being approached by a whistleblower who works as a Job Centre Plus adviser in the north of England and constituents who have been hit by sanctions.

Ms Abrahams said: “Thanks to the bravery of our whistleblower we now know that the government are setting Jobcentre Plus staff targets to get as many claimants off benefits as they can just so they can distort the unemployment figures.

“The misery this government is causing to hundreds of thousands of people on benefits in Oldham and across the country is unforgivable.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said Jobcentre advisers were working successfully to move people off benefits.

He added: “It’s only right that people should do everything they can to find work in return for their benefits...If someone disagrees with a decision made on their claim they can appeal. There are no targets for sanctions.”

We, at ‘Benefits and Work’ deplore the use of the word ‘handout’ for Social Security benefits either by the media or by the DWP Press Office

You can read this article in full in the Manchester Evening News.


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