[Image: Black Triangle Campaign]

Why on Earth would the DWP want to hide the real number of benefit sanctions from the public? Here’s why:

Remember the joint report on the government’s Green Paper ‘Improving Lives’ by the British Psychological Society (BPS), British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC), British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP), and UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)?

It warns that sanctions imposed on sick and disabled people have hugely harmful consequences.

The report states: “The sanctions process is undermining mental health and wellbeing [and] there is no clear evidence of payoff in terms of increased employment.

“Whilst the utility of the sanctions process rests on the assumption that job centre claimants are insufficiently motivated to seek work; reported data estimates 86-90% of people with mental health conditions that are not in employment want to work.

“People with specific vulnerabilities and individuals with multiple and complex needs have been disproportionality affected by the increased use of welfare conditionality. This has had a range of unintended consequences including disengagement from the welfare system, destitution and hardship, displacing rather than resolving issues such as long term worklessness, substance misuse and negative impact on children.

“Research from the Centre for Welfare Conditionality at the University of York highlights that the link between the continuation of welfare payments to mandatory behavioural requirements under the threat of sanctions has resulted in widespread anxiety and feelings of disempowerment.”

So we know that sanctions are creating mental ill-health in benefit claimants and worsening their ability to secure employment, and the assumption on which sanctions are based – that they are workshy – is almost completely wrong.

But the DWP is not only going ahead with these sanctions – it is lying about the number it has imposed.

Why?

It seems to This Writer that there can be only one answer: It is the intention of the DWP to cause the illnesses mentioned in the psychologists’ report – to drive claimants to destitution and mental ill-health, possibly in the hope that they will take their own lives in ways described in other articles on This Site.

What other explanation can there be?

If the DWP has one, I would certainly like to hear it.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been accused of grossly underreporting the number of benefit sanctions imposed on unemployed people in the UK, as research suggests the true number could be double that reported by the DWP.

Research by Dr. David Webster, from the University of Glasgow, found 300,000 sanctions were imposed on unemployed people in the year leading up to September 2016, double the amount admitted by the DWP.

Dr. Webster’s research also found that Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) claimants are seeing their benefits docked for longer, while the number of sanctions imposed on sick and disabled people in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) has risen sharply.

Detailed analysis of official DWP data found 71,366 sanctions were imposed against disabled ESA claimants between 3 December 2012 and 30 September 2016, affecting 41,510 disabled individuals.

Further analysis found 260,000 sanctions were also imposed on disabled JSA claimants over the same period.

However, Dr. Webster’s analysis suggests these figures could be a drop in the ocean. The potential number of unemployed people affected by sanctions could be far higher than anyone has reported.

Source: DWP accused of misleading the public on benefit sanction numbers

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