date: 19 February 2014
embargo: For immediate release
Over-zealous benefit sanctions undermine vital safety net, says TUC
Responding to government figures published today (Wednesday) that reveal Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants have had their benefits suspended more than 800,000 times because they failed to do enough to find work or turned down job offers, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Church leaders are only the latest to say that the harsh benefits sanctions regime is causing hardship and destitution. The number of sanctions has grown sharply amid allegations of pressure on job centre staff to penalise more claimants.
“Of course the unemployed should seek work, but when people are being sanctioned for going to family funerals rather than seeking work and those without IT skills are being penalised for not applying online we are not catching cheats but undermining a vital safety net that any of us might need one day.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The TUC is organising Fair Pay Fortnight from Monday 24 March to Sunday 6 April. It will be a series of events across England and Wales to raise awareness about falling living standards. www.fairpayfortnight.org
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews
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