Welfare Conditionality: Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change project leader Professor Peter Dwyer gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee today. He was one of 10 witnesses asked to appear before the MPs to assist their inquiry into benefit sanctions and support. The inquiry follows last year’s Oakley Review with a remit to inquire beyond the scope of that report.
Read our written evidence submission here.
View the evidence session here.
Read the transcript here.
The latest DWP statistics show ever more sanctions being imposed on claimants. Is there a link with food poverty? Janis Bright comments on Dr David Webster’s latest statistical briefing
People sanctioned by the welfare system are having to ‘rely on the kindness of strangers’, according to the YMCA. The UK’s oldest youth charity cites the sanctions regime introduced in 2012 as the ‘main cause’ of the rise in food banks. To an extent, the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into hunger agrees, saying sanctions are among the reasons for more people turning to food banks. And then there are widely publicised individual cases like that of John McArthur, Read More
Following the publication of ‘Welfare sanctions and conditionality in the UK’ by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation last week, responses have been posted by academics working in the field.
Ken Gibb, an applied economist at the University of Glasgow, had this to say about the report:
“I have just read the new Joseph Rowntree Foundation Round-up ‘Welfare Sanctions and Conditionality in the UK’ by Beth Watts, Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Glen Bramley and David Watkins. This draws on the ESRC Welfare Conditionality: Sanctions, Support and Behaviour Change research programme (based on a series of briefings related to that programme). This is an excellent summary of the breadth and depth of the issues, the evidence that exists on the perceived effects, impacts and mechanisms of different forms of conditionality and also includes a valuable discussion of the ethics of welfare sanctions and increased conditionality.” Continue reading the full blog
Meanwhile, Alex Marsh, Professor of Public Policy at the University of Bristol, wrote this:
“One of the most striking developments in policy design in the UK is the rise of conditionality. It most prominently affects those who are out of work and seeking assistance from the welfare system, but it features across a range of other policy areas including housing and health.
Commentators might, quite rightly, rail against IDS and his insensitive disciplinary regime of seemingly indiscriminate sanctions, but he has only taken a system that was initiated by the Blairites in the 1990s and distilled it into something purer. He has made the conditions placed on receipt of assistance more stringent and the sanctions for transgression harsher. Indeed, it could be credibly argued that in some cases the system is now ludicrously harsh and vulnerable people are being set up to fail.” Continue reading the full blog
Followers of our blog will likely have seen the comment and analysis of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) statistics from Dr David Webster in previous posts (The Great Sanctions Debate: Evidence and Perspectives). On 13th August, the DWP released the latest statistics relating to sanctions on Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) Sanctions.
Dr Webster has kindly allowed us to publish his briefing paper, which summarises the information provided in these statistics, as well as commenting on other recent developments in relation to sanctions. Among the headlines are the increase in the number of JSA/ESA sanctions being applied in recent years. The document also contains links to the original DWP data.
Webster, D. (2014) The DWP’s JSA/ESA Sanctions Statistics Release, 13 August 2014