Two churches have launched a blistering attack on the Government for using hunger as a punishment for people claiming unemployment benefit, warning that using benefit sanctions to reprimand claimants who miss meetings or fail to look for jobs amounts to a policy of “deliberate destitution”.
In a joint written submission to MPs, the Methodist and Unitarian churches say the Government is presiding over a benefits system that places a harsher punishment on people who have the misfortune to be unemployed than those found guilty of committing a crime. The maximum penalty possible – removal of living expenses excluding housing benefit for three years – represents a loss of £11,000, while the largest fine imposed by the criminal justice system is £5,000.
In evidence to the work and pensions select committee published this week, they state: “The use of hunger as a penalty is simply unacceptable. It is extraordinary that the…
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