One-armed father chains himself up in JobCentre protest

Jonathan Colline, 28, who is currently living off just �21-a-week.
Jonathan Colline, 28, who is currently living off just �21-a-week.

A one-armed Ilkeston dad chained himself up in the town’s JobCentre in protest after his benefits were slashed, leaving him with just a few pounds a week on which to survive.

Jonathan Collinge, 28, was told he was fit to work after being assessed by a company working on behalf of the Government.

In turn he lost his Employment Support Allowance, leaving him with just £21 a week for himself and his five-year-old son, Blake.

Mr Collinge claimed he had been unfairly treated and launched an appeal for compensation.

But he received a letter from the HM Courts and Tribunals Service stating his appeal had been declined due to there being no “maladministration or financial loss”.

He reacted by heading for the JobCentre on South Street.

After asking to speak with the manager, the former fork lift driver chained his body to a pillar at the entrance and refused to leave until action was taken to help his case.

Mr Collinge eventually unchained himself once the manager agreed to assist him in filling out an emergency claim form.

“This was a last resort, I have no money whatsoever and it’s ridiculous that I am now being told that I’ve suffered no financial loss due to their decisions,” he said.

“This is the only way I could be heard, and it’s worked because I’m getting somewhere.”

He added: “Job Centre staff would usually send me to Citizens’ Advice to get help with the form, but I’m now hoping the manager’s assistance will speed things up.

“I’m not asking for compensation or backpay, just that my situation is reconsidered.

“If this protest doesn’t work then my next course of action will be to chain myself up outside the Houses of Parliament in London.”

JobCentre staff were unable to comment on Mr Collinge’s individual case.

When he was originally assessed by Atos Healthcare and his benefits cut, Mr Collinge was left with just £21 a week, as highlighted by the ‘Tiser.

A paper appeal was submitted on Mr Collinge’s behalf in February and was denied. However, the tribunals service has now arranged a new appeal to be sent to a judge, which would enable him to present his own case.

It is unclear how long this could take.