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Homeless charity claimed UK is “cruel” to benefit claimants


Homeless charity Crisis has claimed that a benefits sanction map from the Department of Work and Pensions shows how benefits claimants are treated with cruelty in the UK.

The map, which shows the amount of job seekers allowance sanctions in the UK per region, illustrates a “post code lottery” of people who have had their payments stopped. The sanctions rate varies from 15.4 per hundred claimants per month in Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, and 1.8 per hundred in the Western Isles.

The charity also warned that homeless people are being affected disproportionately.

More than six million people have had their benefits stopped since April 2000. The reasons for sanctions range from failing to keep appointments, to demonstrating that they are not available to work. Payments can be stopped for as little as one month, or as long as three years, depending on the individual.

The UK government has claimed that the number of people being sanctioned has actually fallen in the last year, and claimed that there were 170,000 fewer sanctions in the year to September 2014 than in the year before. They argue that benefit sanctions act as an incentive to help people find work.

Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of Crisis said:
"Evidence is mounting of a punitive and deeply flawed regime,
"Sanctions are cruel, and can leave people at severe risk of homelessness - cold, hungry and utterly destitute"

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said:
"The truth is that every day Jobcentre Plus advisers are helping people into work, with a record number of people now in jobs,
"Sanctions are only used as a last resort for the tiny minority who refuse to take up the support which is on offer."

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