More sanctions imposed on jobseeker’s allowance claimants

13 May 2014

The number of sanctions imposed on jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) claimants rose to 227,629 in the last three months of 2013, which is an increase of 69,600 on the equivalent quarter in 2012.

Overall, 870,793 claimants were subject to an adverse decision to lose their benefit in 2013 because of a failure to meet Jobcentre Plus requirements to make themselves available for work. Moreover, in October alone, there were 88,489 adverse decisions, which marks a record number of sanctions for a single month since the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) started compiling the figures.

In 2013, an additional 530,957 JSA claimants were referred for a sanction, but the adjudicator rejected the proposed sanction, a further 95,400 decisions were reserved and nearly 500,000 referrals were cancelled.

Ministers argue that it is vital that they do not repeat the mistakes of the 1980s recession when hundreds of thousands were allowed to stay on incapacity benefit without any serious effort to keep them close to the labour market. Whilst critics claim the regime is punitive and that in effect some jobcentres are given targets to sanction a proportion of claimants.