Unemployment figures are a sanction-based stitch-up, research shows

Iain Duncan Smith: He's proud of the sanctions regime he introduced, in which Job Centre staff are expected to use possibly-fraudulent means to push people off benefits - and he doesn't care how many people they harm.

Iain Duncan Smith: He’s proud of the sanctions regime he introduced, in which Job Centre staff are expected to use possibly-fraudulent means to push people off benefits – and he doesn’t care how many people they harm.

The Coalition government will be crowing about the latest drop in unemployment today – according to official statistics. What a shame it’s all a load of bunk.

New research by Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has shown that only around one-fifth (20 per cent) of people who have been sanctioned off of Jobseekers’ Allowance have actually found work, leaving 1.6 million in limbo; they’re off the benefits system but researchers can only surmise that they are relying on food banks.

(Isn’t the Coalition government desperate to discredit food banks? Are ministers determined to drive the out-of-work population to starvation?)

This suggests that official Office for National Statistics figures are inaccurate. The latest batch – out today (January 21, 2015) – claim that unemployment dropped by 58,000 in the three months to November last year, when it totalled 1.91 million.

How can we trust these figures when it has been claimed there’s a sanction-based stitch-up going on?

The new figures are from the same ONS that is claiming wages are rising above inflation. Oh really? The figures show average earnings (excluding bonuses) rose by 1.8 per cent, which is more than the CPI rate of inflation – but not more than RPI, which is a more accurate measure of the costs affecting households.

What happens to those figures when executive pay is taken out of them? What’s the average for employees?

The revelation that sanctions have created a huge underclass of people – who have been refused benefits by Iain Duncan Smith’s homicidal system – casts all the ONS statistics into doubt.

If 1.6 million people are being denied benefits, that doesn’t stop them being unemployed.

Therefore the true unemployment figure should be almost twice as high as stated, at a massive 3.51 million.

That’s before other elements, such as the Work Programme, have been taken into account!

And what about the hidden cost of sanctions – to other taxpayer-funded services?

Professor David Stuckler of Oxford University explained this to The Guardian: “If, as we’re finding, people are out of work but without support – disappeared from view – there’s a real danger that other services will absorb the costs, like the NHS, possibly jails and food support systems, to name a few. Sanctions could be costing taxpayers more.”

Debbie Abrahams is a member of the House of Commons Work and Pensions committee, which was due to take evidence on benefit sanctions today. She told the paper: “This government has developed a culture in which Jobcentre Plus advisers are expected to sanction claimants using unjust, and potentially fraudulent, reasons in order get people ‘off-flow’. This creates the illusion the government is bringing down unemployment.”

[Image: The Void.]

[Image: The Void.]

Finally, there is the revelation that “physical punishment is now built into the benefit system, with sanctions both known and intended to cause a deterioration in health, says the DWP rule book”. Visit the Void blog for further details.

The evidence is stacking up, and shows that the Coalition government has falsified the figures to a shocking extent.

Any new government entering office after the general election will face an uphill struggle simply to uncover the depth of the depravity currently taking place.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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13 thoughts on “Unemployment figures are a sanction-based stitch-up, research shows

  1. Marcus de Mowbray

    IDS and the other crooks in this Mis-Government have also created several new “Car Parks” or “Sidings” where benefit claimants can be moved for variable lengths of time. By a strange coincidence, no-one in the Car Parks/Sidings is counted when it suits the Government’s statistics. When it DOES suit them (like saying how many “expensive scroungers” there are, then suddenly these Car-Parked people ARE counted. There are lies, damned lies, there are statistics, and there is Tory Party Chicanery!

  2. Jonathan Wilson

    Isn’t the DM guidance out of date? I thought the new sanctions start at 4 weeks now? and up to 3 years at the top end… what does the DM guidance say about letting someone have no support at all for 3 years and how no food for 3 years is likely to affect them?

    1. Tony Dean

      Up to date as of October 2014 page 30:-

      https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/391572/dmgch35.pdf

      Deciding if a decline in health will occur
      Comparing the decline in health with a healthy adult
      35098 The DM must consider if the health of the person with the medical condition would decline more than a normal healthy adult. The DM should make this comparison based on a normal healthy adult who is in similar circumstances to the person with the medical condition.
      35099 It would be usual for a normal healthy adult to suffer some deterioration in their health if they were without
      1.
      essential items, such as food, clothing, heating and accommodation or
      2.
      sufficient money to buy essential items
      for a period of two weeks. See Appendix 6 to this Chapter for further guidance.
      The DM must determine if a person with a medical condition would suffer a greater decline in health than a normal healthy adult and would suffer hardship (DMG 35142 et seq).

  3. jray

    Sanctions are used as a last resort(DWP statement in the Guardian) If so how do you account for over a million Sanctions,pull the other one!

    1. fathomie

      Hate is a strong word, and as a young man I used it with regard to Mrs T many times. But then when you are younger, emotions are much stronger, or so it seems. However, looking back, and comparing with now, I realise I didn’t hate the Tories. Despised yes, hate no. But I really do hate this sleazy, worthless, lying, vindictive, self serving govt.

  4. hstorm

    On the subject of RPI inflation, the failure to get that in line with wages is completely beyond excuse, given the astonishing crash in oil prices over the last six months.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Sure: If you’re claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance and a sanction is imposed on you, then you no longer appear in the claimant count and therefore don’t appear on the unemployment figures released at monthly intervels by the Office of National Statistics. Sanction periods lengthen every time you’re lumbered with one, also. It seems very many people have given up on the benefits system altogether as a result of being sanctioned repeatedly (sometimes for fraudulent reasons – allegedly) and have become a burden on the taxpayer in other ways. I wrote an article about it earlier today.

      1. mikey m

        Aren’t the number of JSA claimants and the unemployed counted separately?

        In fact, isn’t it true that you still count as a JSA claimant if you continue to sign on, even if you aren’t being paid?

  5. aussieeh

    Deciding if a decline in health will occur
    Comparing the decline in health with a healthy adult
    35098 The DM must consider if the health of the person with the medical condition would decline more than a normal healthy adult. The DM should make this comparison based on a normal healthy adult who is in similar circumstances to the person with the medical condition.
    35099 It would be usual for a normal healthy adult to suffer some deterioration in their health if they were without
    1.
    essential items, such as food, clothing, heating and accommodation or
    2.
    sufficient money to buy essential items
    for a period of two weeks. See Appendix 6 to this Chapter for further guidance.
    The DM must determine if a person with a medical condition would suffer a greater decline in health than a normal healthy adult and would suffer hardship (DMG 35142 et seq).

    I’ll give them a comparison.
    There are two 55 year old men both have a flat in an old block, both flats are very damp, extremely cold with cold drafts of wind blowing through ill fitted windows and doors. Both gentlemen have worked since leaving school, and both were extremely fit. Now one of the men through no fault of his own starts to have problems with his health at the age of 40, but he continues to work, till one day he becomes almost paralysed from the neck down. The doctor sends him for a MRI scan and he is found to have Multilevel Spinal Degeneration and Arthritis in the spine. Over time this starts to affect his mobility, he can no longer get to work and is signed on the sick, he loses his job. He has trapped nerves in his back that won’t allow him to raise his arms or turn his head without severe pain. He cannot walk because of the damage done to the Lumbar region of his spine when every movement of his legs feels like a kick in the groin.
    Slowly over the next ten years his health starts to really deteriorate. Because of the damage to the spine his breathing becomes laboured, because of the spread of Arthritis throughout his body every movement is made in excruciating pain, trying to open a bottle of milk or a tin of soup becomes almost impossible. The health problems start to mount up, he is later diagnosed with COPD Emphysema, Bursitis in both shoulders, Heart problems, and a host of other minor problems. At the age of 55 he is sent to Atos for a WCA, they put him in the WRAG when it should have been the WRSG. They send him to workfare, but he can only manage to go 2 days, this puts him on his back for 2 weeks, they think he is a malingerer so stop his benefits.
    Meanwhile the other man has kept his good health, but at the age of 45 was made redundant. Unemployment is high in their town and jobs are few and far between, he has managed to get a few temporary jobs here and there but now there is nothing. At the age of 55 he hasn’t worked for 5 years and has been sent for by JCP. He refuses to go on workfare so they sanction him.
    It is now winter and bitterly cold. The sick man is stuck in his flat; he has his coat, hat and gloves on trying to stay warm, but the cold affects his Arthritis and he is cold to the bone and can barely move. He has no savings left and the gas and electric run out 3 days ago, he has a tin of beans and a tin of soup in the cupboard, no bread, milk, tea or coffee, he lives alone and only one sick old relative left in his family. The things he worked for most of his life, the small comforts TV, stereo, DVD player, washing machine records, DVDs, CDs etc. have all been sold for a pittance and the rent arrears are building, he is being threatened with eviction. He has an appeal against the DWP decision but has to wait 6 month for the hearing. He hasn’t had a real cooked meal for almost 3 month, on the verge of hypothermia, and malnutrition, with the pain, hunger and cold he can’t even get to a food bank and is contemplating suicide.
    The healthy man can still get about the cold doesn’t bother him. He can’t use the food bank he has hit his limit, but he’s been into the local supermarket and filled his pockets with dried foods, packet soups, powdered milk, a few tins, even some teabags and a loaf of bread. One day he will get caught but he will eat this week and at least in prison you get fed. He has no gas or electric on at home but went out in the morning and collected a big load of wood from the forest; the exercise did him good and built up his appetite. When he gets home he will start a nice fire on his balcony or in the cut down oil drum in his kitchen and make a nice big pan of hash with the veg he stole off the allotments.
    It doesn’t matter if it is a week or a year the healthy man can always fend for himself even if it means breaking the law. The pain alone stops the sick man from doing anything, and unless you actually know how that pain affects you, you will never know how degenerative that pain can be. Of course the sick person will suffer more and twice as fast or even quicker. How F***ing stupid do you have to be to work at the DWP. Sorry Mike but I just can’t get my head around the mentality of the pricks that come up with this bulls**t.

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