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Mum Shoplifted To Feed Family After ESA Stopped

October 24, 2014

BENEFIT sanctions have been dubbed as “pure evil” after a woman had to steal food and groceries to feed her family when her money was stopped.

Lucy Hill, of Westcott Road, Kidderminster, was caught taking chicken and washing powder from a Spar store on October 1, after first stealing more meat two days earlier.

The 35-year-old’s Employment Support Allowance had been sanctioned after she missed an appointment at the Job Centre and her defence solicitor, John Rogers, said it was “necessary that she committed this offence” for the good of her partner and their 18-month-old baby.

And now the public have rallied behind her agreeing they would have to steal as well in her position, with Kate Bennett from the Wyre Forest Citizen’s Advice Bureau saying sanctions are doing more harm than good.

“The whole idea of sanctions is to stop people from taking the Mickey, and that’s fine, but this is starting to get too much now and to be a punishment,” she said. “You can get a four-week sanction for a silly mistake or for being late and it might not be your fault, and they are sometimes counter productive, as you can see that some people shoplift as they haven’t got enough money to live on.”

ESA claimants in the work-related activity group, where an adviser assists them with training and skills, like Hill who was convicted of two counts of theft which she said was a result of the suspended payment at Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, October 16, are subject to sanctions. These are handed out for failing to attend a mandatory interview or failing to take part in a work-related activity.

In the district in the last 12 months, there has been a 30 per cent increase in the amount of people getting their benefits sanctioned.

“People who have tax payers’ money should do all they can and have to to get it but we should be helping people like this woman,” Ms Bennett said.

“It’s not just the job seekers that suffer from being sanctioned, it’s the families.”

On The Shuttle’s Facebook page, members of the public shared the same view.

Sue Longley said: “Sanctions are pure evil and should be outlawed completely.”

Sy Hawkes said he would do the same as Hill.

“I am in full support of anyone who needs to steal food because the Government has essentially taken away their right to live.

“How can they reasonably expect people to help themselves and be respected in society both by other people or employers when they are made to suffer. It’s no easy ride even when you do get benefits, but when they sanction those benefits it leaves people with no choice at all. You either have to beg, steal or borrow to stay alive or you commit crime after crime to put food in your belly.”

Another victim of a sanction was Bonnie Bullen who said she was sanctioned for two months after being five minutes late for an appointment, despite having to support three children.

The benefits sanctions system is set to be overhauled by the Department for Work and Pensions as it was revealed suspended payments have gone up 64 per cent across the country, and some claimants will be able to apply for hardship payments in place of sanctioned benefits.

Anyone experiencing sanctions should visit a local CAB or foodbank for help.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 24, 2014 10:47 am

    Reblogged this on chunkyfunkymunky.

  2. October 24, 2014 11:04 am

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. Winslie Gomez permalink
    October 24, 2014 11:06 am

    Reblogged this on HAPLOGROUP – bit that makes us human..

  4. sherri permalink
    October 24, 2014 6:37 pm

    Sinister Government trying to kill off families its not enough that they,ve wiped out 60,000 disabled people…Divine intervention PLEASE!!

  5. October 24, 2014 7:43 pm

    Reblogged this on .

  6. October 24, 2014 11:11 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

  7. October 25, 2014 1:46 am

    Reblogged this on stewilko's Blog and commented:
    What a joke and total disgrace this is. For somebody to have to steal to feed themselves and their children. What a country are we becoming. Yet lets see how Cameron and Conservatives escape the European backlash of being told they how billions. He doesn’t like it does he. To whiteness in 2014 England, a poor woman becoming sanctioed and left with no money to feed herself and family disgusting.

  8. October 26, 2014 1:53 pm

    … “The benefits sanctions system is set to be overhauled by the Department for Work and Pensions as it was revealed suspended payments have gone up 64 per cent across the country, and some claimants will be able to apply for hardship payments in place of sanctioned benefits.” …

    A petition on for an inquiry into benefit sanctions got 200,000 signatures and will now be held. This took from 2013 to get enough signatures even with The Daily Mirror’s help. The person heading the petition was a family member of someone who died with not a morsel of food in his stomach found on autopsy.

    Food banks in the UK are not universal in giving food to those sanctioned, as many sources of food vouchers will not grant them to those not on benefit.

    You only get 3 food vouchers in a year, when in the EU between local councils / charities, free cafes provide daily cooked meals and hot drinks to the working poor, poor pensioners and the unemployed.

    97 per cent of the benefits bill in the UK goes to the working poor, who are getting poorer and will remain poor and are the majority going to food banks as low waged or low income self employed.

    Fareshare, the source of food to the food banks, is not subsidised by government, so loses the bulk of surplus food in the UK.

  9. October 26, 2014 4:11 pm

    Reblogged this on lawrencerowntree.


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