If benefit sanctions aren’t about hurting people, why impose them?

Of course benefit sanctions are intended to hurt people – any form of punishment does that.

They are the stick the Tory government uses to beat the vulnerable unemployed, who must comply with ridiculous demands or lose money.

The words of Tahira Sharif simply don’t ring true.

Too many thousands of people have died while claiming state benefits under the current, Conservative-controlled regime, for any claim that Job Centre staff are “supporting” people ever to be taken seriously – until a new government takes over and completely changes the system.

For those of us who toil under the current draconian system, that change cannot come soon enough.

A senior manager at the Department for Work and Pensions in Scotland has claimed benefit sanctions are “not the norm” and defended staff, insisting “it’s not about hurting people”.

Operations manager Tahira Sharif, who oversees five job centres north of the border, said she and her team have tried to implement the changes “in a supportive way” and their aim is to prevent people being penalised.

Job seekers can have benefits cut or stopped if they fail to adhere to a strict Claimant Commitment set out by job centre staff, who are now known as work coaches. Work coaches can make a sanction referral if people are late to appointments or don’t apply for jobs the coach flags up.

The practice has been criticised by charities who work with people facing hardship and was brought into sharp focus by Bafta award-winning film I, Daniel Blake, penned by Scots screenwriter Paul Laverty and directed by Ken Loach.

Sharif said sanctions are “there for a purpose” and will be used when people on benefits are unable to meet their “obligations”.

Read more: Benefit sanctions “not about hurting people” insists boss of Scots job centres

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6 thoughts on “If benefit sanctions aren’t about hurting people, why impose them?

  1. Justin

    Which is total rubbish ,it is not the norm really, i had a conversation with one of them at the dwp who was supposed to be helping me,I actually thought he need a ambulance when he mentioned that I may risk a sanction, he was nearly high,then he came down from his high when he was asked to put it in writing, he put me on hold and then tried to suggest that i had said this and that, what bullies never realise is that people like me dislike bullies,bullies never try to pick on someone there own size they get hurt, bullies try to pick on vunerable adults, they are going to get hurt, we will strike them of through the complaints procedure, were not afraid of the faceless zómbie at the end of the phone and when you have some inadequate two bit so called health care professional backed up by a adequately useless decision maker we see who get sanctioned, remember this bullies always lose in the end

  2. marcusdemowbray

    Sanctions are not just “a stick to beat to beat people with”, they are also a sly and dishonest way of manipulating the number of unemployed people, as are Zero Hours Contracts.

  3. Thomas

    A right to food, water and housing for everyone should be guaranteed, as long as said people agree in return to refrain from terrorism, violent crime, and stealing.

  4. damo

    I was in my job center and two guys came in it was hard to determin there ages they both looked like character from dickens litteraly emaceated dressed in rags …not well enough to fry and egg let alone do there f..king job search or ….update….there cv,s for f..k sake they were clearly street people homeless with two elderly staffys sat outside thesse are people on the very very margins of society invisable to most the most vulnerable clinging to each other and those elderly dogs its all they have and there being harrased and hounded in this foul corrupt greedy mean society nobody nobody nobody is going to employ those guys let alone give a **** for gods sake enough leave them be…

  5. Florence

    One only has to refer to the part of the DWP handbook where it is explicit in the intended effect of a sanction – to cause physical and mental suffering – to see the full horror of the bureaucratisation of suffering and death to be a simple “normal procedure” by their staff.

    “According to the rules, it would be “usual for a normal healthy adult to suffer some deterioration in their health” if they are left with no money to buy food or pay for essential items for two weeks. ” Johnny Void


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