When MPs on the Commons Work and Pensions Committee sat down to take evidence in the second instalment of their inquiry on sanctions yesterday, two media stories hung in the air.
Maria is one of thousands of parents up and down the country who have received support from their council through local welfare provision funding. She was living with her abusive partner and her child, with no access to the household’s money, and no family in the country.
"What is driving food bank use in the UK? Answering this research question is something of a challenge. There is no official data on food bank use – although the Trussell Trust does collect data on the numbers using their network, alongside reasons for referral – and no systematic evidence base telling us why people are referred for support.
Today’s the day that speculation about the content of the Autumn Statement reaches its peak. Will the Chancellor announce new spending cuts in light of lower-than-expected tax receipts? Or conversely, be in the market for some pre-election giveaways? Trails apart, we don’t yet know for sure what will be in the speech at 12.30pm tomorrow. But we have a pretty good idea what won’t.
If I need to take a day off work, I don’t usually lose one month’s salary as a result. However, if you’re claiming jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and delays to your bus journey mean you arrive ten minutes late for an interview at the Jobcentre, you could well find yourself having your benefit stopped for four weeks or more through a sanction.
This blog first appeared on Liberal Democrat Voice.
Four children are left home alone for five days. Social services step in to move the kids out to live with their father. But there’s a problem: the council have found a flat for the newly formed family, but it is unfurnished. The dad lives on a low income and does not have the savings to buy five beds and mattresses, and all the other furniture that is needed.