A letter a day to number 10. No 1,511
Wednesday 03 August 2016.
Dear Mrs May,
I wrote yesterday about a man who reported he was sanctioned for three months for making a spelling mistake. Such brutality for trivial reasons is not rare and I wonder if you have any idea what it really means to deprive someone of the means of survival?
The DWP sanctions regime is Britain’s secret penal system in which people are convicted and sentenced without trial and the penalties are far harsher than any court would impose.
Last year Dr David Webster of the University of Glasgow reported that in 2013 alone 1,122,526 sanctions were imposed compared to 849,000 fines by the courts. The scale of penalties from the DWP were more severe than the courts, £286.80 – £11,185.20 compared to £200 – £10,000 and that ‘Most sanctions are applied to poor people and involve total loss of benefit income’.
What is even more shocking and horrifying is that this state brutality, which has driven many to suicide, is treated as normal and routine. Oxford and Liverpool researchers found that suicides had increased in benefit test areas which could not be explained away by other factors, although the DWP has routinely denied any causal links between its treatment of claimants and death and suicide.
Alongside this regime of poverty and homeless inducing economic punishment, the DWP has adopted psycho-coercive techniques which both infantilize and dehumanise those on social security, even rebranding worklessness and disability as psychological disorders. The DWP has made extensive efforts to impose ‘mental health’ services and psycho-coercive treatment in Jobcentres and GP practices to coerce people into work.
Such practices are, for want of a better word, diabolical, as Psychologist and Psychoanalyst Dr Bruce Scott put it, “The joining of Government Health and Work Departments is not helpful, and current DWP policy intended to reduce the socio-economic causes of mental illness to the one simple fact of unemployment is clinically and intellectually ridiculous.” Worse, it is toxic and harmful to those it is imposed upon. It is not therapy, it is state imposed indoctrination or the imposition of the ‘Big Brother State’ which must never be tolerated.
The Labour party now has more members than all the other parties put together, you might like to wonder why? More and more people have had enough of state brutality.