Sutton’s 5,000 Universal Credit claimants risk sanctions by Tory ministers for not job-hunting- even though the number of vacancies across Britain has plunged.
After lock down was imposed due to Coronavirus, nearly 650,000 people across the country lost their jobs and the number of vacancies plunged by 63%.
The number of Sutton residents needing Universal Credit surged to 5,123 by June 2020. People claiming Universal Credit are required to show evidence they are searching for jobs- otherwise they are sanctioned by having their Universal Credit payments cut.
Tory ministers had initially paused the sanctions but have now said sanctions will resume- despite the collapsing jobs market.
Sutton Liberal Democrats said this decision was “heartless” and called Tory ministers “incredibly out of touch with the difficulties people are facing”.
Sutton Council’s lead councillor for Revenues and Benefits, David Bartolucci, commented:
“Let’s be clear: Tory ministers want to sanction people for not applying for jobs that don’t exist. This makes absolutely no sense and once again shows how out-of-touch Tories are with the hardships facing people across Sutton.
“The number of Sutton residents needing Universal Credit has surged to over 5,000 people. The Lib Dem council is working flat out to support them and ensure they can continue to feed their families and pay their bills. Sutton Council is also working with partner agencies at JobcentrePlus and local training providers to ensure skills training is available for those losing their jobs.
“Tory ministers must extend the pause on sanctions until the jobs market improves. Sutton residents have done their bit to control the spread of the virus in these tough times and they shouldn’t be forced by ministers to look for non-existent jobs.”
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