We must rethink benefit sanctions now

Ask your MP to call for a long-overdue review of unjust benefit sanctions

The Government claims that benefit sanctions improve people's employment prospects. But a recent report from the National Audit Office (NAO) showed that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has no direct evidence for the effectiveness of sanctions, has failed to analyse the data it holds about sanctions, and has refused to share data with other researchers or assist those researchers.

The DWP made itself deliberately blind to the failures of the sanctions regime. But we have seen the harm these sanctions cause. In 2015, our report Time to Rethink Benefit Sanctions revealed that 100,000 children were affected by benefit sanctions in one year. The NAO now tells us that, on average, these sanctions reduced people’s short- and long-term job prospects, and led to reduced earnings for those who got work.

It is an outrage that harsh punishments are given to people in already difficult circumstances without proper investigation of the consequences. The NAO and many other government, charity, church and parliamentary bodies have now called for a full review of the benefit sanctions regime. Please add your voice to the calls - email your MP today.

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