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Debbie Abrahams MP: Over Half Of Claimants Who Leave JSA Don’t Go To Employment

January 12, 2015

From Facebook:

Wednesday’s Work & Pensions Select Committee hearing was pretty damning of the Government’s sanctions policy. We heard from Matthew Oakley who was commissioned by the Govt to do a limited review on JSA sanctions. Mr Oakley hoped that ‘as a matter of course the DWP would undertake further investigations’ into sanctions including their appropriateness. So the Government’s own reviewer of sanctions was saying that the review the Government commissioned from him wasn’t enough! And yet the Government have refused to do any further investigation, even after the tragic deaths of David Clapson and the other we hear about. This is one of the reasons I pushed for the Select Committee to do our own inquiry. What I found really useful from the hearing was confirmation from Professor Dwyer, one of the experts giving evidence, that people in low pay work in receipt of tax credits could be targeted next with sanctions as UC is rolled out; it is already in the autumn statement that tax credits will reduce over the next few years & this could be how the Government are intending to do it. That would hit a third of my Oldham & Saddleworth constituents who are in work. There were some harrowing accounts of very poorly people literally discharging themselves from hospital to make JCP appointments for fear of being sanctioned and there seemed a consensus from the witnesses that sanctions should not be used for people who are sick or disabled. There was more evidence on the association of people accessing food banks directly as a result of sanctions; it was confirmed that 30% of recipients of food parcels from the Trussell Trust have been sanctioned (in Oldham it is 60%). The final points for me were clues on why the Government is pushing sanctions so hard: it was confirmed that in 2013/14 it is estimated that £250m had been withheld as a result of JSA sanctions following the introduction of the new sanctions regime and that 1 in 4 people who are sanctioned leave JSA, for more than half of them this isn’t for employment. To the Government it is just about money and getting people off the unemployment register. PLEASE DO SHARE THIS.

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