William Eichler 06 November 2018

Disability benefit sanctions ‘arbitrarily punitive’, MPs say

Disability benefit sanctions ‘arbitrarily punitive’, MPs say image

The existing regime of benefit sanctions for those with disabilities or other health conditions is ‘arbitrarily punitive’ and needs reassessing, MPs have warned.

In 2012, the coalition Government introduced a series of conditions and sanctions on recipients of disability benefits in an effort to encourage more people with health conditions into work.

A new report into those sanctions, published by the Work and Pensions Committee, has said the effectiveness of sanctions is at best mixed and at worst counterproductive.

The committee said the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition ‘had little or no understanding of the likely impact of a tougher sanctions regime’ when they introduced it, and the current Government is ‘none the wiser.’

The report said that single parents, care leavers and people with a disability or health condition were ‘disproportionately vulnerable’ to the withdrawal of their benefit.

Until Whitehall could provide evidence that sanctions helped people into work, it cannot ‘justify these groups' continued inclusion in the sanctions regime.’

The Government should ‘immediately stop imposing conditionality and sanctions on anyone found to have limited capability for work, or who presents a valid doctor's note’ stating they cannot work,’ the committee said.

The report also noted that randomised Controlled Trials demonstrated that sanctions had no effect on in-work claimants' outcomes and that sanctioning people who are working is ‘too great a risk for too little return.’

‘We have heard stories of terrible and unnecessary hardship from people who’ve been sanctioned. They were left bewildered and driven to despair at becoming, often with their children, the victims of a sanctions regime that is at times so counter-productive it just seems pointlessly cruel,’ said the committee chair Frank Field MP.

‘While none of them told us that there should be no benefit sanctions at all, it can only be right for the Government to take a long hard look at what is going on.

‘If their stories were rare it would be unacceptable, but the Government has no idea how many more people out there are suffering in similar circumstances.’

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