Those following the Commons Work and Pensions select committee inquiry will know that employment minister Esther McVey told MPs the number of Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions is falling (see our blog). The latest DWP statistics confirm that the number of JSA and ESA sanctions has indeed fallen to just under 900,000 in the year to September 2014.
But what lies behind the headline numbers? Dr David Webster of the University of Glasgow has made a detailed study. His latest newsletter finds that sanction numbers have fallen broadly in line with claimant numbers – so proportionally the figure is fairly stable at about 6.5 per cent of claimants per month. This monthly figure does not tell the whole story of cumulative figures. Dr Webster says that of all those claiming JSA during 2013/14, almost a fifth – more than 500,000 people – experienced sanctions.
The current newsletter also has the first analysis of ‘mandatory reconsideration’ figures, and his own estimate of the amount of benefit lost to service users through sanctions.
Read Dr Webster’s previous newsletters here.