This is just one way of protesting against the recent cuts made by the British government. Several demonstrations will take place in different locations across the United Kingdom on 30th March.
Juanjo Andrés Cuervo
Since 2012, the benefits system for job seekers has taken a serious hit. Consequently (if the original description is preferred then the previous sentence needs amending for the two clauses to follow each other i.e. ‘taken a serious hit’ must be replaced with ‘has been significantly reduced’) , the number of people affected by benefit sanctions has increased in recent years.
In fact, in 2005, about 1000 people were sanctioned per month, but in 2013 this number had gone up to 12,000. In general terms, benefit sanctions are a punishment imposed on a job seeker which mean that they lose some of their income when they do not meet certain conditions.
One example of when a penalty could be incurred is when someone is late for an appointment or missing it for serious reasons such as the death of a relative.
Undoubtedly this shows the excessive difficulty people who are looking for work face when trying to get benefits. Furthermore, according to experts, these sanctions can lead to stress and a lack of food, making it even more complicated to get a job.
A few years ago, the chief executive of the Employment Related Services Association, Kirsty McHugh, said that “for the great majority of job seekers, sanctions are likely to hinder them on their way to getting a job”.
On the other hand, statistics have shown that between 2010 and 2015, 24% of people’s Jobseeker Allowance had had at least one sanction against them.
Recently, in the last 12 months, half a million people have lost the right to these benefits.
Because of this they have been reduced to poverty, unable to heat their homes or put food on their tables.
Due to the increase in these recent cuts, the “National day of action against sanctions”, will serve as a platform to deal with this situation which has been worsened by the Conservative Government.
These protests will take place in different places across England in cities such as London, Sheffield, Leeds and Bristol. Marches will also take place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The event has been organised by Unite, the trade union which fights for equality, dignity and respect in all areas of society.
Date: 30th March. Location: Different locations across the United Kingdom. More information here.
(Translated by Peter Savin)