Labour promises to remove benefit sanction targets – kittysjones

Here’s positive news from Rachel Reeves and Stephen Timms, coming to this site via kittysjones:

We in the Labour movement have always believed that the right to work goes hand in hand with the responsibility to prepare for, look for, and accept reasonable offers of suitable work.

But, under Iain Duncan Smith’s regime at the Department for Work and Pensions, we have seen an exceptional rise in the proportion of people sanctioned – with one in four sanctions overturned on appeal. The government has refused to provide any explanation of this increase – but numerous sources have reported that the increase is being driven by unofficial targets imposed on jobcentres by the DWP. At the same time the limited, but nonetheless revealing government review of JSA sanctions secured by Labour has confirmed a systemic failure adequately to inform claimants of rules, reasons for decisions, their rights to appeal or to apply for hardship payments.

We have pledged that there will be no targets for sanctions under a Labour government so that jobcentre staff are focused on helping people into work, not simply finding reasons to kick them off benefits. We will also ensure that rules and decisions around sanctions are fair and properly communicated, and that the system of hardship payments is working properly.

It is deeply concerning that rather than preventing hardship, our social security system at present seems to be exacerbating it. And while we applaud the work of charities like the Trussell Trust, Oxfam and the volunteers and churches who are on the frontline of responding to these problems, our aim in the 21st century must surely be that the inspiring energy and generosity they exemplify can be directed to higher goals than simply ensuring people have enough to eat.

Read the full article here.

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8 thoughts on “Labour promises to remove benefit sanction targets – kittysjones

  1. discodogg

    Too little too late if they even do see it through. The party who enabled the workfare scene to pass through a party wide abstention should not be called the labour party.

  2. bookmanwales

    It’s an empty gesture brought on by a need to be seen supporting the working class, an unofficial target is still unofficial whether it be a Labour one or a Tory one. Labour are not going to allow unemployment to suddenly soar by a million or more in order to ease the sanction regime.

  3. maureen dinham.

    They need to dump the a$$holes who are supposed to be saying us disabled people dont need our benefits; if they were to do that maybe they’d get my vote. Worked hard all my life, now a pensioner and disabled since 2003, seen by a doctor (not someone who’s not a doctor) i rest my case.

  4. Michele Witchy Eve

    Labour were not above some of the tactics listed, such as inadequate information and a suspiciously uniform spread of the application of sanctions (suggesting a target policy) while they were in power. Some of us learned to jump through hoops pre-2010, the only real difference being the sheer scale of the sanctioning regime and it’s enhanced cruelty.

  5. Mike Sivier Post author

    Ian Duncan sent this reply. Unfortunately another commenter has complained about an offensive word in his avatar. Rather than continue causing offense, I’ve decided to repeat his words in a comment of my own. I won’t keep doing this forever though, Ian, so if you want to continue being seen here, please change your avatar to one that won’t cause offence!

    Ian Duncan writes: Didn’t the lunatic Smith deny there were sanctions targets.? I hope so, it will be good to see him having to lie yet again or admit there are targets, in which case he’ll be tacitly admitting he lied before…

Comments are closed.