We KNOW benefit sanctions are ineffective and dangerous – so why do the Tories REALLY inflict them on us?

There is nothing in the report that we did not know already. It is the government’s reaction that requires study.

The comment from the Department for Work and Pensions makes it clear that the Conservative government will continue with its regime of sanctions, that has been proven to cause serious harm to many claimants.

We must therefore conclude that the sanction system is not intended to “encourage” (ha ha) people into work.

Considering what the report says it does encourage – poverty, ill-health and crime – it is logical that we should question why any national government would want to push people into such dangerous extremes.

We won’t get straight answers from the Conservatives. We must form our conclusions from the evidence.

Benefit sanctions are ineffective at getting jobless people into work and are more likely to reduce those affected to poverty, ill-health or even survival crime, the UK’s most extensive study of welfare conditionality has found.

The five-year exercise tracking hundreds of claimants concludes that the controversial policy of docking benefits as punishment for alleged failures to comply with jobcentre rules has been little short of disastrous.

Despite claims by ministers in recent years that rigorously enforced conditionality – including mandatory 35-hour job searches – incentivised claimants to move off benefits into work, the study found the positive impact was negligible.

It calls for a review of the use of sanctions, including an immediate moratorium on benefit sanctions for disabled people who are disproportionately affected, together with an urgent “rebalancing” of the social security system to focus less on compliance and more on helping claimants into work.

In the “rare” cases where claimants did move off benefits into sustained work, researchers found that personalised job support, not sanctions, was the key factor. With few exceptions, however, jobcentres were more focused on enforcing benefit rules rather than helping people get jobs, the study found.

A DWP spokesperson said: “Our research shows that over 70% of JSA claimants say sanctions make it more likely they will comply with reasonable and agreed requirements, and it is understandable that people meet certain expectations in return for benefits.

“We tailor requirements to individual cases and sanctions are only used in a very small percentage of cases when people fail to meet their agreed requirements set out in their claimant commitment.”

Source: Benefit sanctions found to be ineffective and damaging | Society | The Guardian


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