DWP still stopping social security payments, says report

dwpIt is shocking the Department for Work and Pensions continues to stop people’s social security payments without understanding the full impact of the policy, the PCS says in response to an auditors’ report.

The union says sanction rates have fallen from a peak in 2013 when it first exposed how jobcentres were setting targets for stopping benefits, but the stricter regime imposed by the coalition government in 2012 is still in place.

DWP introduced this “with little evidence about the likely effect”, has resisted calls for a wide-ranging review and does not track the costs and benefits of sanctions, the National Audit Office says in a report published on Wednesday (30).

The report also notes the limited available evidence suggests sanctioning claimants is more likely to drive them into short term, lower paid jobs, or no work at all.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We have said time and again that benefit sanctions are cruel and counter-productive, so it is shocking that years on the government still has no real clue about the effects of its policy.

“Ministers turned jobcentres from places to go for help into places of suspicion and conflict, and it is about time the regime was scrapped in favour of proper investment in staff to provide genuine support to those who need it.”

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