A new report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation today focuses on conditional welfare arrangements, which require people to behave in a certain way to access welfare goods. Sanctions within the benefit system seek to incentivise work-seeking behaviour on the part of claimants, with the intention of tackling ‘welfare dependence’ by increasing the rate and speed of job entry.
Much recent controversy has surrounded the rapid escalation in the use of sanctions under Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Monthly JSA sanction rates have risen from 2 to 2.5 per cent of claimants in 2000-2006 to 6 per cent by late 2013, and now stand over 7% (see Figure 1). While the number of ESA claimants affected by sanctions is small by comparison, a rapid increase in sanctioning of claimants in the ‘work related activity group’ is now also evident. According to Dr David Webster, in 2013/14 there were just short of 1 million sanctions under ESA and JSA, the highest figure since JSA was introduced in 1996 by a considerable margin. Read More