When Universal Credit is finally introduced, those earning less than the equivalent of the minimum wage for 35 hours a week will be forced to constantly look for more or better paid work to qualify for in-work benefits such as Tax Credits and Housing Benefit. Part time workers could face being sent on workfare in the hours they are not at work and will have to prove to Jobcentre busybodies that they are constantly looking for another, better paid job.
Currently sanctions are usually only inflicted on unemployed people, lone parents or those on sickness or disability benefits. Sanctions are often imposed for the most trivial reason such as being a few minutes late for a meeting with the Jobcentre. At present Housing Benefits, which allow people to at least keep a roof over their heads, cannot be sanctioned.
This will all change for part-time workers who will now face possible eviction if they upset the Jobcentre according to Inside Housing who warn this could affect up to a million workers. The number of people in work reliant on Housing Benefits has soared in recent years as social housing has been eroded, whilst wages stagnated and private sector rents climbed to eye-watering levels.
It is chilling to imagine how this vicious move may play out in practice, particularly given this week’s news that evictions are at an all time high. That it is to be inflicted on those in work just shows the depths that Iain Duncan Smith will stoop to in his attempt to bully the poor out of benefits. More children will become homeless because of this measure, their lives destroyed before they have even really begun.
Astonishingly one of the groups most affected by this policy is likely to be Jobcentre workers themselves who will now be forced to make each other homeless. If this doesn’t drag the so-called fighting PCS Union off their knees then nothing ever will. Don’t hold your breath though – motions passed at the PCS Conference instructing the union to take a tougher line on benefit sanctions have been brushed under the carpet by the leadership.
Visit Boycott Workfare’s website to join the fight against workfare and benefit sanctions and sign the petition to scrap all benefit sanctions without exceptions at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/benefit-sanctions-must-be-stopped-without-exceptions-in-uk
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