Thanet Star

Will 13,000 from Thanet be forced choice between crime or starvation?

Hawley Square, Margate
As the top sanction for failing to fulfil any obligation reaches three years without access to benefits have we gone to far?

Thanet District Council's own figures estimate that there are 13,680 claiming out of work benefits. If any one of these people fall foul of Iain Duncan Smith's crackdown on benefits they could find themselves facing a life of crime or a slow death by starvation. Smith's own advisers have been urging him to reconsider the consequence of a benefits crackdown that could see claimants refused benefits for up to three years.

Margate  - 072
These figures also show that 8.5% of the population in the South East claim out of work benefits but in Thanet that figure is more than double at 17.3% or 13,680 people. Iain Duncan Smith's committee have told him that withdrawing benefits for people judged unwilling to seek work risks driving these claimants into "crime or prostitution".

After all if three and then six months of no benefits have been unable to change you then three years is more than likely going to fail as well.

We are not talking about people too lazy to work but people who when competing for jobs have lost. People who having found themselves unable to find work (like 13,679 other people) have now been told that they have a large list of rules to obey. Any failure no mater how minor can cost the person up to three years worth of out of work benefits.

For example Jason Johnson (not his real name) who lost his job when the firm he was working for went into receivership. Jason was left in debt as his company had withheld several months wages. Jason was given an appointment at the Job Centre. Having sold his car to make ends meet he took the bus from his flat in Cliftonville to the Job Centre in Margate. Unfortunately there was a delay which left him being three minutes late. There was a queue delaying Jason a further four minutes. Jason was sanctioned three months Job Seekers Allowance for being late to an appointment.

For example Linda Smith (not her real name) has a masters degree but was laid off two years ago when her firm downsized. Linda suffers from dyspraxia which means that she finds time keeping challenging. Linda missed an appointment recently and faces a second sanction which would mean that she and her daughter face homelessness as she tops up her rent from her JSA as her housing benefit does not cover the full amount.

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Public Comments

This Unhelpful Hidden comment was left by Peter Checksfield [score: -2]:

27/12/2012 22:30:28

This Normal comment was left by Matt B [score: 0]:

It is getting worse Peter. In theory they should have a warning first but...
28/12/2012 10:19:45

This Insulting Hidden comment was left by Peter Checksfield [score: -4]:

28/12/2012 11:09:04

This Normal comment was left by Peter Checksfield [score: 0]:

Congratulations, this story is now on "Thanet Life"!
29/12/2012 10:21:16