Someone at The Independent just earned their pay for the week!
The online-only news outlet is to be praised for making the connection between Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct, where employees were sanctioned for arriving one minute late for work, and the Department for Work and Pensions as run by Iain Duncan Smith and Stephen Crabb, where benefit claimants were sanctioned for getting a job.
Debbie Abrahams, Labour’s shadow minister for people with disabilities, was definitely the right person to contact about these nonsense sanctions.
Alternatively, if you want to know more, you could type “DWP” or “Iain Duncan Smith” or “PIP” or “ESA” or the benefit/sanction/minister of your choice into the Vox Political search engine, as This Blog has covered the whole sordid saga very thoroughly.
Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley appeared before the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee yesterday, sparking a wave of dismay and surprise across social media about a number of illegal or immoral practices he admitted his business had taken part in.
One of the many revelations mentioned a previous policy of docking staff 15 minutes of pay for arriving just one minute late, although Ashley was apparently at a loss to know how this policy had come into existence, saying, “I honestly don’t know how that policy started. If my kids were subject to that rule I would say it was unfair.”
Anyone who has been in contact with the Department for Work and Pensions, however, might find such a policy very familiar. The principle of excessive punishment for trivial ‘offences’ has been happening at the DWP since the coalition began their ‘welfare reforms’.
There are well-documented cases of people who have been sanctioned for senseless reasons, including one case where a claimant’s wife went into premature labour and he had to miss an appointment to rush to hospital with her – so subsequently had his benefits docked – and a man who was sanctioned because he was hit by a car and in hospital for two weeks. According to Debbie Abrahams MP, a man with heart problems was sanctioned after he had a heart attack during a work capability assessment and therefore couldn’t complete it. Elsewhere, a man who had found himself a job was sanctioned for not looking for another role during the two weeks he had to wait for his job to start, and army veteran Stephen Taylor had his benefits stopped after selling poppies in memory of fallen soldiers.
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