“Unfair” benefit cut says Martin (28)

A MONTROSE man has claimed he has been “punished” for not being computer literate after his unemployment benefits were suspended for two months.

Martin MacLeod said the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had taken action after he missed an online job application because he has no internet access and had been assigned a four-week work placement at the same time.

He also said he was given little warning by the DWP and had received a letter dated April 2 informing him the suspension would be effective from April 3.

Mr MacLeod (28), who is appealing the decision, fears the cut in his money could also render him homeless as his housing benefit has been affected.

He said: “Basically they’ve stopped my money because I didn’t apply for a job, which was an online application only. I’d told them previously that I have no internet access and don’t know how to use a computer. I was using one at Angus College to work on my CV but I had to be walked through it as I’ve never had much use for a computer up to now.

“I discussed the possibility of a computer course with the Job Centre but was given a four-week work placement in a charity shop at the same time so I didn’t have time to finish my CV. I had to do that and I’ve got my certificate but I just feel I’m being victimised because I don’t know how to use a computer.

“I’ll lose my housing benefit now and I’ve saved for ages to get a deposit for a flat, so I’m in danger of being made homeless. I also have a son who I see quite regularly but I can’t take him now because I’ve no money.”

A former painter and decorator, Mr MacLeod said he worked for a small local company until it went out of business in 2010 and has had difficulty finding work since.

He added: “I’ve worked since leaving school, paid tax and while I was working I worked in the homes of people I knew were abusing the system. I’m on the most basic dole you can get but it’s me who has lost £67.50 a week and it seems to me that they just want to make an example of certain people. I’ve no idea what I’m supposed to do in the meantime and it just seems unfair.”

When contacted by the Review, no-one from the DWP was available for comment.