Thursday, 12 March 2015

Stop Benefit Sanctions Demo - 19th March

Anti-austerity campaigner Zarria explains the reason behind the forthcoming demonstration in Bath against benefit sanctions
Hello Everyone,

I am writing to invite you all to my Stop Benefit Sanctions Demo, on Thursday 19th March. 11 am start, outside of the jobcentre. It is a nationally organised Demonstration, organised by Unite in the Community. 

I would like to just explain (as briefly as I can) why I am doing this demo & why it is very important to me.
I’m sure I’m not contacting anyone who hasn’t seen the news, hasn’t heard the stories or isn’t aware of the austerity measures being handed out. We have all been hit, one way or another. We are all concerned about the rise in our utility bills, food & general costs of living. Our essential services are bearing the brunt of harsh cutbacks & so, it is having an effect on us all.

Under this particular Government, to save money from the welfare budget, some groups have been hit particularly hard. It isn’t just the people who are out of work & claiming welfare support. Working families, people on low paid zero hour contract, people on minimum wage & vulnerable people with disabilities have all been targeted. 2.3m families have affected by the bedroom tax and 380,000 families by council tax support cuts. Rising food, static incomes, underemployment and changes to benefits are some of the reasons why increasing numbers are being referred to food banks, for emergency food. In 2013/14 Food banks fed 913,138 people nationwide. Of those helped, 330,205 were children. They are conservative figures but I’m sure one does get the picture.
As long as you follow the rules of the benefit you’re getting, you should carry on receiving your payments. But if you don’t do something you’ve agreed to do, such as applying for a job or going to an interview, they may be temporarily stopped or reduced.  Offences, such as being minutes late for a meeting at the DWP, or going for an interview when you should be signing on, will get you sanctioned. This link below will allow you to look at some of the ridiculous reasons people have been sanctioned & for how long.
Stupid sanction reasons but nonetheless, they are real reasons used. Some people would say you know the rules, so don’t break them. Which would be fair enough but the rules aren’t at all flexible & as some in the link, not explained. Sanctions equal no food, no gas, no electricity, no credit for the phone, nothing for weeks. It’s hard enough to live without a job but it’s really hard on welfare.

I’m sure there are people who exploit the Benefits system but I haven’t met anyone who does. The Media (print & broadcast) portray the ‘benefit cheats’ as skivers, drinking, watching Sky TV (don’t start me on why they shouldn’t be doing that) & having hundred’s of children, whilst doing some odd cleaning jobs (e.g. for a Politician). I’m not defending anyone who gets away with cheating but I am standing up for those who find life hard, can’t get a job (for whatever reason) but try to make their lives better. I was doing two voluntary jobs, supporting people into work. Helping people look for jobs, use the Universal Credit job search website, helping them get ready for work, write CV’s, filling in forms for people who couldn’t write very well but I was made redundant. The funding was stopped & I really don’t know how they are fairing now. I’m standing up for the people who may get sanctioned because the system (IDS & Co) says they can be sanctioned.
If you can join me, on the 19th, fantastic. If you can’t, don’t worry. I’m doing it for everyone.

Thanks for reading

1 comment:

  1. May God make it successful, ameen.