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Welfare Reform and Work Bill Committee

Written evidence submitted by Harry Warner (WRW 57)

Dear Parliamentary Committee,

I am concerned about people who are genuinely seeking work or are low paid or are so ill that they cannot work.

In a publication titled Time to rethink Sanctions by Church Action on Poverty, Methodist, Baptist and URC churches it states on page 14 that 100 people with severe mental illness are sanctioned every day.  It is proposed that the period for which sanctions will apply will be increased 4 fold for the first infringement, from one week to four weeks and then six fold from then on.  This is the harshest system in Europe so we were told at a recent church meeting.  Also people are expected to communicate with the Benefits Office by computer and they are expected to go to their local library if they do not have a computer and rely on the voluntary goodwill of the staff if they are not computer literate (as is my wife).

I have had experience of a period when my son in law was out of work and my daughter was desperate for funds for their family.  I was able to help them through that. Many people do not have help.  They need a helping hand not repression!  There are a few who abuse benefits but the vast majority feel degraded when made redundant and they need a helping hand.

October 2015

Prepared 14th October 2015