New research shows more than 100 people a day with mental health issues are being sanctioned

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, UK unions, Health

Methodist ChurchThe TUC claims new research shows the government is more interested in punish vulnerable people than helping them find work.

Following a Freedom Of Information request by the Methodist Church, the Department of Work and Pensions showed that people who receive the sickness and disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because of a long-term mental health problem are being sanctioned at a rate of more than 100 per day.

According to the DWP data, the most common reason for being sanctioned is that a person has been late or not turned up for a Work Programme appointment.

Paul Morrison, Public Issues Policy Adviser for the Methodist Church, said: “Sanctioning someone with a mental health problem for being late for a meeting is like sanctioning someone with a broken leg for limping. The fact that this system punishes people for the symptoms of their illness is a clear and worrying sign that it is fundamentally flawed.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “These sanctions show a government that is more interested in punishing vulnerable people than supporting them in their attempts to find work.

“What’s more, sanctions are causing people with mental health conditions additional anxiety and presenting them with yet another hurdle they have to overcome in order to find a job.

“Rather than punishing claimants we need a genuine system of support that gives people with mental illnesses extra help and does far more to combat disability discrimination at work.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
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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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