Posts Tagged ‘statistics’

Tackling Britain’s misleading benefit sanctions statistics

April 12, 2016     Leave a Comment

IMG_7809A DWIn this guest opinion piece, David Webster from the University of Glasgow gives his critical view on the presentation of sanction figures

After their election in 2010, ministers embarked on a campaign of ‘sanctions’, that is, withdrawals of benefit, against claimants of Jobseeker’s Allowance. They inherited a level of 533,000 a year, but drove it up to a peak of over one million in the year to October 2013, while also increasing the length of the penalties. Numbers of sanctions have since fallen, but only to a rate which is similar to the highest seen before 2010. Employment and Support Allowance sanctions have also increased. Britain’s voluntary sector has produced a forest of reports documenting the huge negative impact of the sanctions campaign on their vulnerable service users. But throughout, the government has tried to minimise it. It happened without any announcement, taking claimants and voluntary organisations by surprise. While official statements since 2013 have frequently highlighted the falls that have taken place, during the run-up to the peak they always denied that there was any clear trend. And the DWP routinely claims that ‘sanctions are only ever used as a last resort,’ ‘in a small (or ‘tiny’) minority of cases’. Similarly, it has persistently denied that sanctions drive people to food banks, in spite of  the evidence. Read More

ESRCAn ESRC large grant
University of Glasgow Heriot Watt University University of Salford Manchester Sheffield Hallam University University of Sheffield University of York