The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report on Benefit Sanctions has just been released. This is highly critical of the way the system is run, and does point out that sanctions can have serious negative consequences – for people’s ability to find work as well as their wider well-being. But it never really questions underlying principles, or stops to ask what this is all for. Any changes that it manages to squeeze out of the government will only be nibbling at the edges, though they may make a difference to some people directly affected.
A system that is conditional on people looking for work will always include some form of sanctions to ensure that people comply. The current concern is that both the conditions put on people and the sanctions applied have grown exponentially in recent years – especially under the Tories but under New Labour too. By making…
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