David Webster has sent through his latest report on sanctions, and as usual I’m using the blog to host a copy. Be warned that it’s a big file (2.3 Mb). David summarises the salient points as follows: ” I have pointed out how misleading was the DWP’s press release covering the statistics … There is also coverage of the important House of Commons Work & Pensions Committee report, which mustn’t get lost in the new parliament, and of the embarrassments of three Tory politicians in relation to sanctions where they have been dropped in it by their political colleagues. Also Universal Credit – although the total number on the benefit remains trivial in relation to the UC universe, it is not now actually trivial as far as JSA is concerned, because the single people who are the focus of the pilots are disproportionately likely to be jobseekers.”
I’d pick out a simple point. Between Oct 2012 and and December 2014, “930,287 individuals received 1,663,215 JSA sanctions, after challenges.” Hundreds of thousands of people are being sanctioned. There are already fewer than 800,000 JSA claimants remaining – and now the government is proposing to abolish JSA for 18-21 year olds. At this rate, it can’t be long before most unemployed people are turned away without benefit.