Monday 22 October 2012

New Sanctions regime will punish the poorest

On Monday 22nd October the government’s new sanctions regime for the unemployed will come into force. It is a brutal punishment for being

Pic: Guy Smallman

unemployed that will leave many people destitute.

The existing sanctions regime was already savage. Anybody who failed to attend an appointment or was accused of not actively seeking work could be fined with a 2 week suspension of their JSA benefit for a first ‘offence’. Those accused of refusing employment could also be sanctioned. The maximum sanction period was 26 weeks – half a year.

The new regime will mean that a first ‘offence’ will be punished with a 4 week sanction of benefits, rising to 13 weeks for a second ‘offence’ within 12 months. For refusing employment, which can simply mean not applying for a job you have been instructed to apply for, the maximum sanction will be 3 years! This will effectively force some people off benefit.

Over half a million sanctions were handed out in 2011 and Jobcentre managers are being directed to continue to increase the pressure on benefit claimants.

With 2.5 million people currently unemployed due to the recession and government austerity measures many people are already in desperate circumstances. The number of food banks is growing weekly and many people referred to them report having no gas or electric as they cannot pay for them.

At the same time as attacking the unemployed the government is launching an attack on civil servants, including jobcentre workers. They are ‘reviewing’ working hours, leave, childcare, job sharing and much more.

Neither unemployed workers nor the hundreds of thousands of low paid civil servants are responsible for the crisis – the blame lies at the feet of the ConDems and their friends running the banks and big business.

As the new sanctions regime bites there will be thousands more people driven to desperation by a government which cares only about the rich and powerful.

Click here to read the DWP sanctions article

Click here to read the Boycott Workfare article on the new sanctions



  1. Jemima said:

    Hows this? Ph.D. Physics -forced to remove qualifications from JSAgreement after a few months and apply for ‘care work’. Given 3 from the board – each required the applicant to pay for their own CRB check @£25 a throw..only receiving £67.50 JSA…sanctioned for failing to apply.

    28 October 2012 at 6:05pm
  2. Liz said:

    You need to complain about that to the head of the jobcentre and your M.P. You cant be expected to pay for those CRB’s on that money.
    If they try to force you into care work say you cant because you have a criminal record for assault. they cant check this themselves and it will stop this.

    14 November 2012 at 11:28pm
  3. Paul said:

    I work in the job center and I have been unemployed. I have mixed feelings about this. This sanctions regime is tough but I have seen it have some very positive effect on some people who have needed a jolt into action. I remember how lazy and unmotivated you can get on benefits with all your rent an council tax paid up for you. The better way to motivate people into work would be to ensure employers are paying a decent wage. Then people would want to work.

    10 December 2012 at 8:23pm
  4. Paul said:

    Jemima. With respect. The British Tax payer isn’t going to pay for you to wait for your dream job to turn up. You don’t have to stop job searching because you have a job. Get a part time job then keep applying for a better one with your qualifications. You maybe a very highly qualified astronought but they have to point you towards jobs which are actually available in the jobs market. Benefits should be temporary measures for people who are between jobs or incapable of work. Not a life style choice. I don’t think people in this country realize how generous our welfare system is. In Spain if you are out of work you get nothing at all x 71 a week doesn’t sound like allot but when you add housing benefit and council Tax benefit into the mix then you get a pretty high figure.

    10 December 2012 at 8:43pm
  5. abi said:

    i think the jobcentre is a load of crap with these rules of sanctions so harsh. ive been sanctioned from sep this year till may next year all because i ended up in hospital with an asthma attack and had to go to my gp the day of my appoinment which they were informed about, i actually try my hardest to find a job day in day out get no help with it from work programme or the jobcentre. theirs people who dont give a crap about looking for a job and get benefits for going out drinking on drugs and whatever but people who try get punished for having a health condition or dont even get infomed of appoinemts.

    i think they need sort it because on some people who try like me get treated by sactions and having no money to pay bills and try to live. its hard

    13 December 2012 at 8:50am
  6. Douglas Johnstone said:

    My friend has been sanctioned for a month on JSA. His crime was that his job searches were too monotonous, in that he was going for the same type of jobs. He has no qualifications and no experience so he was applying for factory, warehouse and retail. So what did he do wrong to have his benefit stopped for four weeks? He is a father and lives with his girlfriend and their baby son. Who is going to be punished by taking away of his benefit? It does not take long to work that one out. While the rich are soaking it up and getting tax breaks, the poor are receiving the sharp end of the stick again!!!!!

    22 December 2012 at 5:54pm
  7. Mark Laidler said:

    Its ridiculous the amount of sanctions there are just for missing an appointment and they know they have us over a knife’s edge when in comes to the job centre and housing benefits as once your job centre money gets stopped for a month the housing benefits automatically stop and you get deeper into debt. I became homeless because of the fact that I was busy on the day of my appointment and I wasn’t prepared to ring a 0845 number on my mobile when I can’t afford the expense to do so.

    15 January 2013 at 12:32pm
  8. Roy Taylor said:

    Iv a lady friend, she was sent to various : so called job start agencies !: they have no toilet paper, hot water for washing hands etc !. No printer paper or ink ! No phone lines most of their pc’s don’t work. There run on a tight Bridget = in fact struggling alonge !.= no help to find jobs ! = no interest at all Wales hopes . It was situated just off Caledonen road in Islington in a so called community centre that couldn’t pay it’s rent ?.now she going to another off Montegue Road Edmonton, London ! Same conditions but now they fill in you’re : fictitious work details for you’re applications ! Then ask you to sign then ???, other wise you’re loose you’re benefits ?. What a bloody state of affairs eh !

    15 September 2013 at 10:02pm
  9. JSA said:

    So George Osborne thinks that people on Jobseeker’s Allowance should have to “earn” their benefits by cleaning up litter and the like?

    What he fails to mention is that private sector companies like SEETEC will be paid up to £800 for each person partaking in this new scheme.

    If the Chancellor truly wants to help find unemployed people work, then might I suggest giving them a job and using the £800 to pay them a liveable wage. This would actually have the effect of reducing the cost to the taxpayer, instead of spending millions more with little, if any, reduction in the numbers claiming unemployment benefits.

    30 September 2013 at 6:03pm

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