PCS calls for sanctions to be scrapped immediately

pcsThe cost to claimants of having their social security payments stopped under this government’s controversial sanctions regime has rocketed by 3,000%, analysis by the PCS shows.

Using Department for Work and Pensions data, the union has calculated the value of jobseeker’s allowance payments sanctioned in the year to September 2014 (the latest for which figures are available) was £355 million, compared to £11 million in 2009/2010.

This massive rise explains why sanctions have been so closely linked to the increase in the use of foodbanks, the union says.

The new figures came ahead of a Dispatches investigation broadcast last night into the government’s sanctions regime that was stepped up in October 2012.

Under the stricter system, the length of time sanctions can be imposed for has increased, with the minimum set at four weeks, rising to 13 weeks and up to three years.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This government is imposing much harsher penalties on people who rely on social security at the same time as seeking to blame and vilify them for being out of work.

“Sanctions do nothing to help unemployed people find sustainable jobs. They only poison the relationship between claimants and jobcentre staff, and they should be scrapped immediately.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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