Personal blog: NYE: 31/12/2015
So, I’ve been sanctioned.
Mid November 2015, The Department for Work and Pensions via their plausibly deniable proxy, Pinnacle People had tried to put me on Mandatory Work Activity (or ‘MWA’ the latest name for workfare, the slave labour programme). They wanted me to work four, thirty hour weeks for my Job Seeker’s Allowance payment of £70pw. Or 120 hours, for £280. £4 per hour. The workplace was 14 miles away in Lancing, at a (taxpayer subsidised) cost of £45pw. I didn’t have the means to stump up the initial travel costs, so I would have had to walk there and back, 14 miles.
I refused to accept this ‘Mandatory Opportunity’ on the grounds that it would detrimentally impact my physical, mental and emotional health.
I discussed my rationale for refusing over the telephone and in person with various DWP staff. I discussed it at length with my Jobsearch Advisor and with the manager of my local Job Centre at my next signing appointment.
My dole was paid in that week, however I received a letter, explaining that I would be sanctioned if I could not provide in writing a reasonable explanation for my ‘failure to attend’. I wrote back. I briefly explained my rationale for refusing the ‘Mandatory Opportunity’, I referred to my previous conversations with my Jobsearch advisor and with the manager of the job Centre. I pointed out how on the 25th November, UK Gov Plc had quietly scrapped the MWA, on page 89 of George Osborne’s spending review.
I said I would be more than happy to expand further on my rationale, but must insist that I am remunerated for the time this is taking away from my job search. I attached an invoice for time spent already and for ‘a creative writing project’ to the email.
My next dole payment, due December 29th did not come through. I contacted my local Jobcentre and they confirmed that I have been sanctioned until March 2016.
Happy new year!
I’m going to fight the sanction, obviously. Not sure exactly how yet, but doubtless I’ll be blogging and vlogging about it. I have an appointment booked for Monday, 4th January to try to get a ‘hardship payment’ (40-60% of the dole).
If you want to commission me for some work, or if you’re able to make a small donation to help me eat over the next three months, please use this bespoke paypal button. Cheers.