On the afternoon of Friday August 3rd 2012 Zacchaeus 2000 Trust paid £50 to a pregnant 19 year-old woman ‘Katie’ * who has been left literally penniless after her local Jobcentre Plus cut off all her Job Seeker’s Allowance for two weeks by way of a sanction. Continue reading
As the debate around the £26,000 household benefit cap lasted late into Monday night, Z2K’s two amendments [62A and 62ZC], which aim to protect benefit claimants from unfair sanctions and any resultant damage to thier mental health, will be moved early in Wednesday’s session. We are pleased about this as many Crossbench peers we hope will vote for our amendments had left the chamber by the end of last night.
Read about the amendments in Sunday’s Observer.
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Our Chairman, Rev Paul Nicolson, had this letter on Welfare Reform published in yesterday’s Observer:
This week peers will discuss two amendments to the welfare reform bill tabled by Baroness Hollins and Lord Ramsotham, related to the coalition’s careless imposition of damaging debt on our poorest fellow citizens. They are supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mind and 20 other NGOs. Officials of job centres and local authorities are currently legally prohibited from enforcing recovery of overpayment of benefits against claimants who could not have known they were being overpaid; that sensible bar has been removed by the Commons. Peers will try to retain it.
They will also endeavour to ensure that officials will make themselves formally aware of the facts and circumstances of claimants, including their health, before they decide to reduce their poverty incomes by imposing sanctions and penalties, and therefore debts. This is the normal legal procedure, but ministers have expressed their disdain for the law by saying they prefer officials to use “common sense” and that appeals to tribunals don’t need legal aid.