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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:12 pm on 24th March 2014.

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Photo of Ronnie Campbell Ronnie Campbell Labour, Blyth Valley 6:12 pm, 24th March 2014

No, I do not have time.

I got hold of a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions. It says that before the austerity measures were brought in, an average of 12,530 people on jobseeker’s allowance were sanctioned each month in north-east England. Under the new arrangements brought in by this Government, that has gone up to an average of 29,000 people a month. People are being sanctioned and do not have any money. That is why the food banks are increasing. People have no money and do not know where they will get their next meal, so they have to be sent to the food bank.

Some people are sanctioned fairly and some are rightly sanctioned. Like other Members, I have had many people come to my office who have never looked for a job. I tell them that they have to go out and look for a job—that even if it is a job as a brain surgeon, they should apply for it. A lot of people are not doing that, but a lot of people are and they are being sanctioned unfairly.

The borrowing requirements are a bit of a joke. In this year alone, the Government will borrow £50 billion. Perhaps that is where all the money is going. That will leave us £111 billion in debt. That is the situation that this country is in. If that is the economy getting better and if that is the country reducing the deficit, I will eat my hat. Quite honestly, I think that we are heading for the rocks or for a car crash—one or the other.