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UK Jobcentres tricking the vulnerable to save money and meet government targets
04-05-2011, 06:39 PM,
#1
UK Jobcentres tricking the vulnerable to save money and meet government targets
Jobcentres 'tricking' people out of benefits to cut costs, says whistleblower. Soaring number of sanctions against unemployed amid claims that DWP staff are being told to trip people up with paperwork.
Rising numbers of vulnerable jobseekers are being tricked into losing benefits amid growing pressure to meet welfare targets, a Jobcentre Plus adviser has told the Guardian.

A whistleblower said staff at his jobcentre were given targets of three people a week to refer for sanctions, where benefits are removed for up to six months. He said it was part of a "culture change" since last summer that had led to competition between advisers, teams and regional offices.

"Suddenly you're not helping somebody into sustainable employment, which is what you're employed to do," he said. "You're looking for ways to trick your customers into 'not looking for work'. You come up with many ways. I've seen dyslexic customers given written job searches, and when they don't produce them -- what a surprise -- they're sanctioned. The only target that anyone seems to care about is stopping people's money.

"'Saving the public purse' is the catchphrase that is used in our office ... It is drummed home all the time -- you're saving the public purse. Feel good about stopping someone's money, you've just saved your own pocket. Its a joke."

The claims came as the big businesses handed contracts to get the long term jobless into worktoday said the government should privatise jobcentres so that their firms could work with people who have been jobless for less than a year.

Statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show the total number of cases where people have lost their benefits has soared since the beginning of 2010 to 75,000 in October, the latest month available. The figures also reveal the number of claimants with registered disabilities being cut off has more than doubled to almost 20,000 over the same period.

This follows a change in the rules in April last year where sanctions were extended to claimants who were late for jobcentre interviews and other less serious offences.

When a claimant is sanctioned their jobseeker's allowance is stopped. They then have to apply for hardship payments, which are usually about half the allowance, or just over £30 a week. John, in Wigan, has been sanctioned for six months and says he has to rely on food parcels and must sleep on his friend's couch. "It's left me in a state of depression. I've lost weight, I'm tired ... I feel like I've been attacked for no reason."



http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/apr/01/jobcentres-tricking-people-benefit-sanctions
“Everything Popular Is Wrong” - Oscar Wilde
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