Helen Smith: ‘Because I was working I just didn’t understand why I was sanctioned.’ [Image: Howard Barlow].

The Conservative Party’s plan for Universal Credit was always to use it to force the low-paid to work longer or get extra jobs in order to make ends meet.

The idea, it seems, was rather than legislate to make employers pay a living wage, people would be made to work themselves into an early grave, simply to get off in-work benefits that could be sanctioned at any moment, leaving them in debt.

Result: Higher profits for rich employers; serious health issues for poor workers who must cope with overwork and overwhelming stress, every day of their lives.

That is how the Tories stand up for against working people.

Fines imposed on full-time workers who claim universal credit amount to “punishing the working poor”, experts have suggested, as it emerged that one woman was docked £220 for missing a jobcentre appointment because she took a family holiday.

The fines, part of a little-known “in-work conditionality” programme introduced by the then work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, have been called “political dynamite” by academics, who warn that it may undermine unemployed people taking low-paid jobs.

Ministers have been widely criticised for imposing strict sanctions on people claiming unemployment benefit, dishing out millions of often arbitrary financial penalties in recent years for apparent breaches of jobcentre rules, despite there being no clear evidence that the fines helped those affected to get a job.

Now similar penalties are being extended to thousands of workers in receipt of universal credit (UC). They are expected to prove, as a condition of receiving low wage top-ups, that they are actively seeking to work more hours or take on extra jobs to earn more cash.

Source: DWP ‘punishing’ low-paid full-time workers under new benefits rule | Society | The Guardian

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