Subject: The Jobcentre Sanctions Scandal
Samuel Miller <>

1:45 PM (1 minute ago)

to meacherm, Tom.Greatrex.Mp, Julie
Dear Michael, Julie, and Tom

I've written you in the past so I hope you'll forgive my informality.

Although I reside across the pond in Canada, for nearly sixteen months I have been reporting to senior UN officials on the plight of the sick and disabled in Britain. I'll try to be brief.

You are no doubt aware that The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) lied to Parliament: Jobcentres were in fact setting targets and league tables to sanction benefit claimants.

And they have been sanctioning claimants aggressively, probably as a cost-saving measure to the state.

According to this article, a total of 680,000 sanctions were handed out in the 10 months up to October 2012, already more than in the whole of 2011, according an analysis of figures from the DWP.

Claimants who are sanctioned and no longer recipients of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) often have no income whatsoever and must rely on referral food bank vouchers. A claimant will usually be limited to three or four consecutive referrals – each time giving them enough food for three days.

Sanctioned claimants therefore cannot rely on food banks on a regular and continuous basis, and are at high risk of destitution. The DWP does not currently track sanctioned claimants who are no longer recipients of JSA.

I am writing to recommend that you pressure the DWP to track and monitor the welfare of sanctioned claimants without any income. (I am aware that individuals have the right to an independent appeal, but appeals may not be resolved in in a timely fashion—as is the unfortunate case with the majority of the Work Capability Assessment appeals.)

Before I close, I would like to bring to your attention that I have requested that the UN send observers to Britain as the so-called "bedroom tax" comes into effect, for the purpose of monitoring the situation for 420,000 sick and disabled people who will be impacted by this reduction in housing benefit. On March 4th, 2013 Jorge Araya, UNCRPD Secretary, acknowledged my recommendation and I will keep him informed of developments.

Thanking you for your consideration, and I welcome any replies.

Best wishes.

Samuel Miller
Blog: Hephaestus: Disability Studies
Blog: My Disability Studies Blackboard
(Montreal, Canada)

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