William Eichler 11 December 2015

Benefit sanctions make it harder for people to find work says charity

Benefit sanctions make it harder for people to find work says charity image

Benefit sanctions are leaving people homeless, hungry and destitute, and making it even harder for them to find work, according to the homeless charity Crisis.

The report, based on a survey and prepared by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University, found that 53% of respondents said sanctions made it harder for them to secure or maintain a job.

It also learnt that 42% of those who took part in the survey found that sanctions made it harder to continue with training/courses/groups and 50% said it was more difficult to maintain their permanent or temporary housing.

The survey was based on more than 1,000 people from homeless hostels and day centres in 21 cities, along with 42 in-depth interviews, and discovered that benefit sanctions are hitting the most vulnerable, such as those who are already homeless, care leavers and those suffering from mental ill health.

According to the survey, of those sanctioned:

64% said it had a negative impact on their physical health.
61% had received a food parcel from a food bank.
28% had resorted to begging.
38% had stolen or shoplifted food.
19% had taken out a loan from a loan shark or pay day lender.

The report also shows that people who had been in local authority care were more likely to have been sanctioned compared to other homeless people (49% compared to 36%), and people with mental ill health were more likely to have been sanctioned compared to people without mental ill health (45% compared to 34%).

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: ‘Benefit sanctions are a major cause of homelessness and poverty. They’re hitting vulnerable people hardest and preventing them from finding work. Many will be trying to rebuild their lives or coping with trauma or illness. At times like this, losing the support of benefits can be disastrous.

‘Sadly, the vast majority of people we spoke to wanted to work and agreed there should be some sort of conditions attached to benefits, yet too often the system didn’t take their circumstances or aspirations into account and instead seemed to treat them with mistrust.’

He continued: ‘It’s clear that the regime isn’t working for the most vulnerable. The government’s recent proposal for a two week period of appeal doesn’t go far enough. We must make sure that homeless people and those at risk of homelessness are identified and protected from an early stage.’

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Service Director – Development & Regulation

West Berkshire Council
Up to £96,585 per annum
We are looking for a candidate with the passion for place making and a successful track record in leading and developing large multi-service teams.  Newbury, Berkshire
Recuriter: West Berkshire Council

Mayoralty & Business Manager

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£41,292 - £50,034
The Mayoralty & Business Manager will be responsible for maintaining the reputation of both Mayoralties and promoting a positive image of... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Joint Assistant Director - Communities and Wellbeing

Babergh & Mid Suffolk
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are at the forefront of joint working and are a progressive award-winning partnership Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Babergh & Mid Suffolk

Financial Case Management Officer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£22,627 - £24,491 per annum
The Financial Case Management Officer will sit within the Adult Social Care, Service Improvement & Efficiency service and will be responsible for... Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Social Worker - Family Support and Protection

Essex County Council
£32065 - £43839 per annum + + Free On-Site Parking % Local Gov Pension
This position is open to Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSWs) and Experienced Social Workers. The starting salary for a NQSW is £28,592 per annum a England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue