Evidence Submitted to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee Inquiry Into Benefit Sanctions Policy Beyond the Oakley Review (SAN0110)

Webster, D. (2014) Evidence Submitted to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee Inquiry Into Benefit Sanctions Policy Beyond the Oakley Review (SAN0110). Technical Report. House of Commons, London.

Webster, D. (2014) Evidence Submitted to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee Inquiry Into Benefit Sanctions Policy Beyond the Oakley Review (SAN0110). Technical Report. House of Commons, London.

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Abstract

This submission follows earlier submissions on JSA sanctions by the author to the Committee’s Inquiry into the Role of Jobcentre Plus in the reformed welfare system. It updates the main facts and figures about JSA and ESA sanctions; corrects misrepresentations about sanctions by Ministers and officials; points out that many of the Oakley review’s recommendations are not being acted upon; exposes the weaknesses in the justifications which the DWP and its predecessors have put forward for their sanctions regime; and argues that the system of sanctions imposed by officials should be scrapped. Sanctions are not an evidence-based system designed to promote the employment, wellbeing and development of the labour force. This is a chaotic system, based on ideology and characterised by cruelty, incompetence, inefficiency, malpractice and dishonesty, which is doing immense damage to the least privileged in our society, and working against many other public and voluntary programmes aimed at addressing social ills. A combination of ‘silo’ thinking by officials in the DWP and its predecessors, and ideological gestures by politicians, has led to the growth of what is a huge secret penal system, rivalling in its severity the mainstream judicial system but without the latter’s safeguards. Sanctions should simply be abolished. Entitlement conditions would have to remain, but they should be based on respect for the claimant and accompanied by an effective safety net for those who do not meet them. ‘Active labour market policies’ which have something to offer the claimant would carry on and indeed be enhanced by the removal of threat and compulsion.

Item Type:Research Reports or Papers (Technical Report)
Keywords:Benefit conditionality, benefit sanctions, unemployment.
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Webster, Dr David
Authors: Webster, D.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Publisher:House of Commons
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