This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
ONE of the government’s own advisers called for the scrapping of benefit sanctions and the controversial “fit-for-work” tests yesterday.
Matthew Oakley, who sits on the social security advisory committee, called the current system “broken” and in need of a “complete overhaul.”
He warned that the threat of benefit sanctions “can do more harm than good” and had failed to boost employment.
Sanctions should instead be replaced with a system of voluntary assistance to help disabled people who need support to get into work, Mr Oakley suggested in a report for the Social Market Foundation think tank.
He said: “The government faces a massive challenge in meeting its ambition of halving the disability employment gap.
“The current system does not provide adequate financial support to disabled people who need it and pushes many further away from work. The system of benefits and requirements placed on disabled people needs a complete overhaul.”
Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) co-ordinator Linda Burnip welcomed any move to scrap benefit sanctions and “fit-for-work” but voiced concern over the details of any voluntary assistance system.
“The trouble is many disabled people no longer trust the government,” she said.
“There needs to be more detail on what voluntary assistance entails and how it would work in practice with employers, many of which are not at all accommodating to disabled workers’ needs.”
The report also recommends that benefit levels should be adequate to support those living with a disability to fully engage in society.
And it finds that if the government is to reach its target of halving the disability employment gap within 20 years, the disability employment rate will have to at least treble.
Mr Oakley’s criticism of benefit sanctions followed outrageous claims by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith that 75 per cent of those hit by them had said “it helped them focus and get on.”
Contradicting the report’s findings, Mr Duncan Smith said: “Even the people in the jobcentres think it’s the right thing to do … sanctions are the reason why we now have the highest employment levels ever in the UK and more women in work.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman claimed the government had increased spending on disability support and that sanctions were “an important part of the benefit system.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.