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Sanction threat to health: Duncan Smith replies with lies

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Iain Duncan Smith has responded to the concerns of fellow Catholics over the harmful effects of benefit sanctions on health – by lying to them.

Earlier this year, Catholic magazine The Tablet published an open letter from fellow Catholics to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, urging him to rethink his welfare reforms, and warning that vulnerable people will be harmed by cuts.

Now the man we call the Gentleman Ranker, in tribute to his failure as an Army officer, has responded with a letter published in the current edition. Thanks to Samuel Miller for bringing the matter to This Blog’s attention.

In it, he claims that “safeguarding the vulnerable” is at the heart of the Conservative Government’s changes to the benefit system, and goes on to say, “Let me be clear that there is no evidence to suggest that sanctions have caused claimants’ health to deteriorate.”

Oh, really?

Take a look at this excerpt from the Department for Work and Pensions’ own guidance on the effect of benefit sanctions:

150121dmg-sanctions

Note that it does not say anything about there being no evidence that claimants’ health will decline – it automatically assumes that this will happen.

“It would be usual for a normal healthy adult to suffer some deterioration in their health,” according to the DWP’s official guidance.

It goes on to say that, in the case of claimants with a medical condition, a DWP decision maker (DM) must decide whether they would suffer a “greater” decline in health than a “normal healthy adult”.

Yet again, Iain Duncan Smith is revealed to be a liar and, more importantly, a man who would deceive the public in order to continue inflicting harm on his fellow human beings.

Is this a Catholic attitude?

Is it a Christian point of view?

Remember, Iain Duncan Smith lied to Parliament recently, when he claimed that statistics on the deaths of incapacity benefit and Employment and Support Allowance claimants are not collected by the Department for Work and Pensions. Not only are they collected, they are being prepared for release to the public.

The data has been delayed for several years, however – because he wants it released in a form that will not reveal what is suspected to be a horrifying amount of blood on his own hands.

The claims in the rest of the letter pale into irrelevance next to these facts.

How can anyone trust the claims of a habitual liar?

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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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but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
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Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook