It often happens that the people I talk to can tell me far more than I can tell them, and today was another of those days: I was discussing welfare reform with a group of specialists on work and employability support. People who don’t have a settled way of life are not outstandingly employable, and to get them to the point where they stand a chance of holding down a job, the first task is to make sure that they can have a regular lifestyle. However, claimants are also liable to routinely sanctions when they fail to comply with DWP instructions, to turn up to meetings, or to take the actions that are required of them. Predictably, people who don’t have a settled way of life aren’t very good at jumping through the hoops or complying with instructions, and it follows that they’re particularly likely to be sanctioned. The most immediate effect of a sanction is that the rent doesn’t get paid; and if a claimant gets evicted, everything else necessary for employability collapses. So the agencies who are supporting the claimants have to spend their time trying to save people from being evicted, and that – rather than positive support – is where their effort is currently focused. The effect of current policy in such cases is not then to encourage people into work, but to destroy any reasonable prospect that they might be employed in the foreseeable future.