Mark Hoban, the employment minister, is reported in the Telegraph as saying that the unemployed should "roll up their sleeves and find jobs". It's because the new sanctions rules start tomorrow. 13 weeks, then 26 weeks then off altogether for 3 years, if you don't comply with the rules. The article says that, "Those stripped of benefits would have to apply for special 'hardship payments' and if successful are paid 60% of the amount they were getting in benefits.
There's huge public support for this, of course, and people will be confirmed in their opinion by the very dodgy figures from the DWP. Last year, "Jobcentre advisers took action against 495,000 claimants for not doing enough to find work." Presumably that includes the people sanctioned not by the Jobcentre but at the behest of the WP providers. Naturally, no one mentions the fact that a good number of those were completely unjustified. We're told that the figure includes 72,000 "who had refused an offer of employment". Really? I very much doubt that it was as simple as that.
The DWP should ensure that there is a complete paper trail for every "sanction doubt" as it's called. There should be a dated copy of every appointment letter sent out, and a log of all letters posted. There should be a separate system for such "sanction doubts" when the provider or JC has accepted the explanation of the client. At present far too much power is in the hands of people who are not equipped to wield it.
Hoban is determined to talk tough. "I make no apology for this," he says. For people who refuse to play be the rules it will be "a rude awakening". Along with the bedroom tax, I assume.