Scottish Welfare Reform Committee hear evidence of Jobcentre staff bullying benefit claimants

This is another important piece from Kittysjones. On the plus side, it’s encouraging that MSPs are hearing testimony from claimants about the soul-destroying bullying they have had to endure from Work Advisors at the Job Centre. It’s distressing to the read the testimony of ‘Donna’, whose Advisor regularly reduced her to tears by continually playing down her problems, and telling her that ‘it wasn’t like she only had one leg’. And this is only one the examples of the abuse discussed here. It’s particularly heartening to hear the expressions of disgust by the two MSPs quoted her, Christina McKelvie for the SNP, and Neil Findlay for Labour. What is chilling is the complete lack of empathy Nicholas Young for Working Links has for claimants, despite his protestations to the contrary. He may claim that he cares deeply about them and they are incredibly important, but this is belied by his bland support for sanctions, and his complacent platitude that they are effective, when the statistics point to the contrary.

The Westminster parliament has repeatedly tried to hold Ian Duncan Smith to account for his degrading sanctions regime, which has seen tens of thousands suffer from misery and starvation. He repeatedly refused to attend, and when he did so, it was with an escort of armed guards. Just in case the disabled and their carers and friends in the public gallery started a riot.

He’s a bully and a coward, just like the ‘work coaches’ in the Job Centres, and the government contractors that employ them, like Working Links.

Politics and Insights

Image result for jobcentre

The Scottish Welfare Reform Committee has heard evidence at Holyrood about Jobcentres bullying claimants, often reducing them to tears.

The Committee heard from witnesses who are claimants on a first-name basis only because of fears that the disclosures may lead to sanctioning by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

However, one witness, Nicholas Young, whose firm Working Links has a £167 million contract to find jobs for people on the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Work Programme, said conditionality – specifically benefit sanctions – “has had a really positive impact over a number of years”. He claimed such “conditionality” is a way of “encouraging active participation.”

He didn’t provide evidence of his claim, and he didn’t elaborate how punitive state sanctions that remove people’s lifeline social security – calculated to meet only basic needs such as food, fuel and shelter –  could possibly be regarded as “encouragement.”


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