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JRF response to DWP welfare sanctions statistics

DWP figures out recently show over half a million JSA claimants have been subject to an adverse sanctions decision between 22 October 2012 and June 2013.  As a result of welfare reform, the UK now has a much tougher sanctions system.

Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, commented:

“Figures published today show that half a million people face the threat of destitution as their benefits are taken away in a bid to mould behaviour and encourage people to take jobs. International evidence is that while conditionality, has its uses, it is a blunt and uncertain instrument for driving behaviour. In the USA the evidence is that people disappear below the radar altogether, which may recue the claimant count but creates huge risk.

Evidence from Europe suggests that the application of sanctions drives people to take inappropriate, insecure jobs which they are then unable to keep. The threat of destitution is a poorly evidenced high risk way of trying to influence the behaviour of the poorest people in the country.”

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