Esther McVey: She doesn’t care if a few thousand benefit claimants are wrongly sanctioned because the benefit savings will make her look good among her Tory cronies.

On whom?

Is it just me, or does it seem that the Tory government will impose measures that take money away from vulnerable people at a moment’s notice – but anything that offers protection is said to be too much trouble and binned before it can be examined properly?

The fact that Work and Pensions Committee chair Frank Field has called “foul” on this one suggests that something isn’t right here.

The DWP says it “appeared to make little difference to the outcomes of claimants” while Mr Field said it “was protecting hundreds of people [out of a trial group of 6,500] from being wrongly sanctioned”, and national roll-out could have protected “many thousands of vulnerable people”.

Who do we believe?

Mr Field. Obviously.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has abandoned plans for a “yellow card” warning system that could have protected thousands of people from having their benefits wrongly “sanctioned”, following a short trial involving just 6,500 claimants.

The trial gave claimants facing a benefit sanction an extra 14 days in which to contest the decision and provide evidence to show why their payments should not be stopped or reduced.

However, the DWP claim the short trial, which took place between April and September 2016, “appeared to make little difference to the outcomes of claimants”.

The department will now explore “an alternative process to give claimants written warnings, instead of a sanction”.

But the Commons’ Work and Pensions Committee chairman, Frank Field, said data from the trial “suggested the scheme was protecting hundreds of people from being wrongly sanctioned”.

“Applied to the country as a whole, that layer of protection could have covered many thousands of very vulnerable people”, he added.

Mr Field called on the Government to devise a new scheme as quickly as possible, to prevent vulnerable people from being “left destitute” and dependent on charity.

Source: DWP drop benefit sanctions ‘yellow card’ scheme because it’s not worth the ‘additional burden’

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