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DWP loophole means those finding work still get sanctioned

This news post is almost 8 years old

​MP calls on Iain Duncan Smith to urgently close sanction loophole

An MP is calling for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to urgently close a loophole that enables people claiming benefits to be sanctioned after being offered work.

Scottish National Party MP Alison Thewliss has written to secretary of state Iain Duncan Smith after a constituent - who has chosen to remain anonymous - was sanctioned by the DWP for not looking for work in the intervening period before being offered a job and starting their new job – ironically at the DWP.

In the letter she has asked for urgent guidance to be given to all DWP staff informing them sanctions shouldn't be applied on cases such as this.

Thewliss said: “Week in, week out, I sit in the House of Commons and listen to this callous Tory government batter on about getting people back into work, often at any cost - be that disgraceful zero hour contracts or on appalling national minimum wage rate jobs.

The Secretary of State needs to come clean once and for all

“What we can see from this case is people trying very hard to get back into work. So they find a job but then have the rug pulled from under their feet at the eleventh hour with a sanction.

“My parliamentary question reveals a serious discrepancy in DWP policy which effectively means it is pot luck whether you get a sympathetic work coach or not. That is no way to run a social security system.”

The MP added that it was also time the wider issue of sanctions was investigated after leaked evidence from the PCS, the civil servants’ union, suggested that they are target driven, despite the government’s “less than convincing claims” they are not.

“The Secretary of State needs to come clean once and for all and he should make this government’s new year’s resolution to ditch its unhealthy obsession with sanctions,” said Thewlis.

Around 918,000 claimants were sanctioned between April 2013 and March 2014 in the UK.

A DWP spokesman said: “Claimant commitments are always tailored to individual circumstances. Because universal credit is an in-work as well as an out-of-work benefit, claimants continue to be eligible for support – to improve their wage and their hours – even when they move into a job.

“Alongside this, they are expected to continue fulfilling the conditions they agreed to in their claimant commitment as long as they are receiving benefits.”



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over 7 years ago
Really they are criminals in place at westminster, attacking the people they are meant to represent and who pay their huge wages. Everyone pays tax, even if out of work, via VAT and even things like the lottery.Westminster is a disgrace and not fit for purpose with the unionist parties voting for austerity and keeping the poor, poor. Scotland is on a different, forward looking and life affirming path. Quite the opposite to the agenda in London.