I’ve recently heard about sanctions, when someone has been kicked off benefits after 3 months, despite their efforts to find work and their circumstances.

There have been reports in the broadsheet and tabloid press about people who have starved to death in their homes due to having nothing to live on.

Here’s a fictional scene (from my imagination) of MPs being sent to the job centre.


At first glance you might have thought you were in the recreation room in the House of Commons as several men in suits and ties and some plump women in twin-sets or skirt suits, all approaching or past middle age, fill all the chairs in the centre of the room.

AGENT: Montgomery. You’re next.

A dark suited man sits opposite a spotty man in his early twenties.

AGENT: I see you want to work in politics. We don’t have anything like that here at moment. What other experience do you have.

(A long silence)

MONTGOMERY: I cared for my elderly mother for a few years. I did cookery, electrical works, set up the home entertainment system for her and bought her groceries.

(A long silence)

AGENT: OK. That’s a start. What certificates do you have?

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 14.50.41MONTGOMERY: Here’s my degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from King’s College Oxford.

AGENT: No, I meant Hygiene for cookery, CORGI, People Handling, that kind of thing.

MONTGOMERY: No.  How would I get those?

AGENT: They can be bought through the regulation bodies. You just need to prove your work is up to a reasonable standard to apply.

MONTGOMERY: Can we look at other options. I don’t have much money to live on at the moment.

AGENT: Let’s see. Retail…..Retail…….what about becoming a parking attendant?

MONTGOMERY: This is ridiculous.

AGENT: I would take it as there are plenty of others over there who will if you don’t.

MONTGOMERY: And if I hold out for something more suitable?

AGENT: You would run the risk of your benefits being stopped.


See next blog on the effects of the welfare state on the creative industries.

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