Benefits Reduction Centres

Warning: this is a rant.  It’s a rant because I’m angry; angry about a single sentence in a newspaper article – or rather at what it implies.

On Friday, Polly Toynbee wrote an article in the Guardian about benefit sanctions, and the misery it causes.  In this, widely referenced on Twitter, she quotes a Job Centre employee as saying “Sanctions are applied for anything at all to hit the targets.”

This is the sentence that made me angry: the idea that there can be “targets” for applying benefit sanctions is appalling.  Has the Government really decided, on no evidence, that ‘n’ people or ‘x’% of benefit claimants must have their benefits suspended or removed, and that regardless of anyone’s individual circumstances a certain number of sanctions must be applied?  How arrogant, uncaring, irresponsible, and the complete opposite of compassionate!

Surely the only meaningful target that should be given to a Job Centre and its staff is “how many people have you helped to find employment?”

More and more in these days of so-called welfare “reform” I am reminded of George Orwell’s “1984” and the use of language which attempts to hide reality by calling it the opposite.

So perhaps this Government should be honest and re-name Job Centres as “Benefit Reduction Centres” – because this is what they want them to do and be.

Rant over – but the reality remains.

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