I made a point of order in the House of Commons accusing the government of being ‘undemocratic’ by deliberately releasing the Oakley report on Jobseeker Allowance sanctions, late and on the day Parliament rose for the summer recess.
I raised the matter on the first day back in Parliament, my first opportunity to do so.
How can the House scrutinise the Government when they behave in such an undemocratic way? I asked the with the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP, when we can expect a statement from the Government on the inquiry, as it is of immense importance to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country.
The Speaker admitted he did not know the answer but pointed out that: “…the Leader of the House (William Hague MP), who is the ultimate parliamentarian, is in his place. He will have heard what she had to say.
Ministers in the DWP have a track record of using every trick in the book to avoid being held to account. The Oakley report was due out in March but it is absolutely clear that the government delayed publication until the very last day of Parliament because they knew it is critical of the way they are communicating the use of sanctions to people on JSA (Jobseeker’s Allowance).
The Government has to explain why there is such unjust use of sanctions as well as explaining the discrepancy, exposed by the report, which shows the increase in JSA sanctions is 28% compared to 11% which is what the Government have claimed the increase is.
Many sanctions are being applied unfairly and the reason the government do this is to make it look as if unemployment is lower than it actually is.