James (not his real name) found his life massively disrupted when his benefits were sanctioned: “During the first three weeks of my sanction I continued to look for work as I was required to. By the fourth week however I was exhausted, unwell and no longer had it in me. I was not eating as I had no food and was losing a lot of weight. I told the Job Centre I was unwell through not eating but was sanctioned for another three months for not looking for work properly.”
In 2014, one million benefit sanctions were imposed on people. This means their payments stopped for a period of between one month and three years. The most common reason for being sanctioned is being late or not turning up for an appointment.
The sanctions regime disproportionately affects young people, homeless people, young people leaving care, single parents, those with long term illness and mental health problems.
We are calling for a full and independent review of the regime – will you join us?
Inspired by the #RethinkSanctions campaign and by the situations she’s encountering at her local foodbank, Deacon Tracey Hume has created the Red Fridays campaign. People pledge to wear red and skip a meal on a Friday in solidarity with those who will struggle to eat because that have had their benefits sanctioned. You can order your organic, ethically and fairly traded T-shirts here.
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