Predictably this review will not look into whether sanctions are being misused, the impact of sanctions or whether targets are really being set for Jobcentre staff to sanction benefit claims. Instead the review will merely examine whether the information presented to claimants about sanctions is easily understandable.
The recent huge increase in the use of sanctions will not be considered and neither will the suffering that these brutal measures inflict. Citizens Advice recently warned that sanctions were driving some claimants to beg in the streets, go through bins to find food and even attempt suicide. Homelessness charities have said that benefit sanctions are causing people lose their homes and end up on the streets. This desperate poverty will be outside of the scope of Oakley’s report, as will any discussion into whether sanctions really ‘incentivise’ people to find work or whether they just drive people into the ground.
Matthew Oakley claims to be an expert on welfare but is actually just a wanker. His only expertise comes from his time in the right ring Policy Exchange think-tank where he wrote a string of swivel-eyed proposals calling for more benefit sanctions. Prior to this he worked in a government non-job where he helped to design the farce that became known as Universal Credit. Now he is being given yet more tax payers cash to do little more than look over a few letters.
This review was called for by Labour – the party that introduced mass sanctioning of benefit claims. This was their scabby justification for helping Iain Duncan Smith rush back-dated legislation through Parliament to deny compensation to tens of thousands of unemployed people who had been illegally sanctioned. This is why they “took difficult decisions on the Jobseekers’ Bill to secure an independent review of sanctions” Liam Byrne claimed at the time.
Labour helped the DWP deny compensation legally due due to some of the poorest people in the country. And all so some posh little prick like Oakley could make a few quid on the side writing a report that will not even come close to addressing the problems with benefit sanctions. Remember that.
At the very least we should try make sure Oakley has to do some work for a change. Evidence on the use of sanctions can be sent to: email@example.com
Oakley has also said he would like to meet some claimants who have had benefit sanctioned. Just drop him an email or contact him on twitter @MJ_Oakley
Oakley has now left the Policy Exchange and is now working in a new non-job at consumer organisation WHICH. You can give him a call at work on: 020 7770 7000
For more details of the review visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/jobseekers-allowance-sanctions-independent-review
Join the Week of Action Against Workfare and Sanctions beginning on December 3rd and please sign, share and tweet the petition to scrap all benefit sanctions without exceptions.
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