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Tory figures :: Iain Duncan Smith
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Iain Duncan Smith
Tory work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has been caught out totally making up quotes. Imaginary people subject to welfare sanctions - punishment by cutting benefits - say it actually helped them!
It's no surprise to those of us who deal with benefit problems that his Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has to lie about the effects of these attacks.
Sanctions, apparently, motivate and inspire people to update their CVs and use every spare minute to seek non-existent work. They are grateful to be forced into poverty and reliance on food banks.
The young girl who came in to the centre where I volunteer might disagree. She was struggling to feed herself, reliant on her impoverished parents for money.
Her crime? In one Jobcentre adviser's opinion, not doing enough to find work. Her punishment? A three-year sanction.
Or the autistic man with no concept of time, who obviously struggled to get to Jobcentre interviews punctually. He was sanctioned for three months. We quickly got that one overturned.
If you work and make a minor error, you might be reprimanded. You wouldn't be made penniless.
If you've been sanctioned, you can and should appeal. Talk to Citizens' Advice or an unemployed workers' centre. A significant number of cases are overturned on appeal.
You could also be eligible for DWP hardship payments, and local council discretionary funds. Pressurised Jobcentre workers don't always tell you about these.
A strong campaign including claimants, Jobcentre workers and trade unions is needed to fight sanctions and cuts. Public service union PCS, which represents Jobcentre staff, has a proud record of campaigning on welfare.
If we are to ultimately defeat cuts, we need to take on the system which demands them. Capitalism in crisis tries to boost its profits by slashing jobs and wages, and cutting big business tax bills.
The alternative is to fight for socialism. Join the Socialist Party!
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Article dated 2 September 2015
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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