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.

Job Centre Plus
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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

This Bland Hidden comment was left by John Holyer [score: -1]:

30/12/2012 09:05:41

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

OMG Peter could you sound any more like an uninformed know-nothing? Quite aside from the fact that I too suffer from Dyspraxia as do a number of prominent people from Thanet dude, what you have said is most uncool. I expected more from a man of your intellect.

That's your choice John. The fact is that the current harsh changes are hurting people. Ignore it if you want but it is true.
01/01/2013 09:54:14

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

01/01/2013 11:19:26

This Funny Normal comment was left by A Clockwork Orange [score: 1]:

Excellent piece Matt, I don't think enough people realise the dire straits that we, as a nation, are in, and we are being divided by propaganda to boot.

It is most worrying.

ps: Don't be discouraged by the nobheads, I think at least one of them is 'on the payroll'.
01/01/2013 13:48:53

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

01/01/2013 17:25:37

This Off Topic Hidden comment was left by Matt B [score: -3]:

01/01/2013 21:34:45

This Normal comment was left by Concerned thanetonian [score: 0]:

We live in times where people are far too busy treading water to notice what is going on around us.

Fact

Jobs are getting cut all the time and more people are finding themselves in the benefits system.

Maybe we need to look at immigration again as this will have a big effect on benefit claimants.

For example people who cannot speak English surely cannot be actively seeking employment and if they have been here a while they have not taken the opportunity to master the English language.

In order for them not to be a safety risk in the workplace they have to be able to read the warning signs dotted around in the workplace.
01/01/2013 22:22:19

This Off Topic Hidden comment was left by Peter Checksfield [score: -3]:

01/01/2013 22:50:34

This Off Topic Hidden comment was left by Alice [score: -3]:

01/01/2013 23:22:17

This Funny Normal comment was left by Redilma [score: 1]:

Peter, dyspraxia is not an 'illness', it is a learning difficulty. Also it is 'beside' not 'besisde'. I thought as we were being overly pedantic here I'd give you your share. Nob.
03/01/2013 23:13:04

This Informative Normal comment was left by Steven Charlton [score: 3]:

@Peter Checksfield wrote:

Rubbish. No way would someone be stopped 3 months jobseekers allowance for being 7 minutes late for the first appointment.
27/12/2012 22:30:28

Actually I've personally seen people having their benefits sanctioned for attending job interviews!

I was once sanctioned for being a couple of minutes late at my advisors desk, even though I had been in the Job Centre several minutes earlier than my signing time (she didn't bother calling me over to sign on)...

I was also sanctioned another time because I made an official complaint against certain members of staff at Job Centre Plus who were taking the piss out of my disabilities. Had my benefits stopped for 4 months because I don't own a passport, and had my benefits stopped because they I applied for a job taking photos for an estate agents...

All of which makes me feel that I was being set up by members of staff at that Job Centre...
23/03/2013 18:54:25
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