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Sanctions system that sets people up to fail requires urgent reform, says TUC

Commenting on the report Benefit Sanctions Policy Beyond the Oakley Review published today (Tuesday) by the Work and Pensions Committeewhich calls for an urgent review of the sanctions regime and an independent commission to look at the deaths of sanctioned claimants, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The MPs who produced this report looked at extremely worrying evidence that claimants are being set up to fail instead of being given positive help back to work.

“Targets are being used by Jobcentre bosses to force staff to unfairly sanction people who are trying their best to find work. The safety net is being turned into a trap, and Jobcentres are being pushed towards a culture of harassment, not help.

“One of the first tasks for the next Secretary of State for Work and Pensions after the election must be to act on the Committee’s call for an urgent review of how the failing sanctions system should be reformed. And a new independent commission must be established to investigate the deaths and suicides of people given sanctions.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- A survey by the Public and Commercial Services Union of Jobcentre Plus advisers in January 2014 found that 23 per cent of advisers said they had been set, or told, that there was a target for sanctions referral; and 81per cent said they had been set an expectation for sanction referrals.

- Examples of the ridiculous reasons for which people have received benefit sanctions can be found athttp://stupidsanctions.tumblr.com/

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews

 

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