Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, is not a very nice or clever man; in fact quite the opposite, he is a vindictive and downright ignorant specimen of humanity.
For years Leicester-based health campaigner Jayne Linney has been holding IDS’s feet to the fire — all of which is eloquently documented on her informative blog https://jaynelinney.wordpress.com
Indeed it was not so many years ago that Mrs Linney spearheaded an online petition that gathered over 105,000 signatures from the public, calling for the sanctioning of IDS for deliberately misrepresenting government statistics.
It seems however that IDS is a committed offender when the public interest is concerned, and this week he was at it again, being filmed lying, saying: “Seventy-five per cent of all those who have been sanctioned all say it helped them suddenly focus and get on.” Apparently, sanctions “clarify the mind”.
On this point is seems IDS was referring to government research that made it abundantly clear that there was “no evidence” that sanctions “led to actual movement into work.” (“Labour to refer ‘groundless’ Iain Duncan Smith claim to statistics watchdog,” March 12, 2016, The Guardian.)
So thankfully, Unite Community organised a National Day of Action against Sanctions, with demonstrations held outside job centres across the UK and Ireland earlier in the week.
Just in the last 12 months, half a million people have had their benefits suddenly stopped by sanctions. And according to IDS, it is precisely such actions, that is, plunging the already poor and vulnerable into further poverty, that enables them to find work!?
Of course nothing could be further from the truth, which is why the local sanctions protest in Leicester on Wednesday was so well received from both the public and job centre attendees.