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Demonstrators gather outside Bromley Jobcentre to protest against benefit sanctions

PUBLISHED: 10:45 07 September 2016 | UPDATED: 13:42 08 September 2016

The protest outside Bromley Jobcentre  Photo: Paula Peters

The protest outside Bromley Jobcentre Photo: Paula Peters

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"A terrible time to be a disabled person in this country," says protestor

A demonstration was held outside Bromley Jobcentre yesterday to demand an end to benefit sanctions and the abuse of claimants.

Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) held the protest as part of a national week of action, entitled RightsNotGames, to highlight the impact of welfare cuts on disabled people.

The organisation claims that between October 2012 and October 2014, Bromley sanctioned 7,524 people - the second highest number in London.

Bromley Jobcentre made the news last month when an employee accidentally left an offensive message on a claimant’s answerphone.

DPAC member Paula Peters, who attended the protest, said: “There were about 15 or 20 of us outside. We spoke to a lot of workers in the vicinity who were quite shocked by the number of sanctions the job centre had used, and some were on housing benefit who did not know about the universal credit reforms.

“We have got to continue the resistance against the Tory government. It is a different prime minister but she has said she will continue with the policy.

“We have started to get more awareness, so that is something that is getting more and more attention as more and more people are affected by the cuts.

“I am a disabled person, and I have lost friends to the welfare reforms. A friend of mine lost her life in 2010 after she was found fit to work. There are plenty of stories like that around.

“It is a terrible time to be a disabled person in this country.”

A DWP spokesman said: “Sanctions are an important part of our benefits system and it is right that there is a system in place for tackling those few who do not fulfil their commitment to find work.

“They are only used in a very small percentage of cases, and the number of sanctions has fallen substantially in the last year.”

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