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MP Debbie Abrahams has revealed that Oxford academics will report next month on what has happened to half a million jobseekers allowance (JSA) claimants who were sanctioned and subsequently disappeared from official employment statistics.

The Oxford University study led by Professor David Stuckler and Dr. Rachel Loopstra, is in the process of analysing what has happened to the 4.5 million people who have been sanctioned under the Coalition government's sanctioning regime.

Their research will be published in full later this month for full peer review. According to Abrahams:

“Since the government’s regulations came into effect in October 2012 about half of all sanction decisions have led to people on JSA having their social security payments cut for a least 4 weeks, affecting over 2 million people.

“Of those sanctioned, one in four leave JSA, and their preliminary statistical analysis is revealing that most of those who leave do so for reasons other than employment.”

The research suggests more than 500,000 Job Seekers Allowance claimants have ‘disappeared’ since the sanctions regime was toughened in October 2012.

This could mean the claimant count - one of the ways of measuring unemployment – is actually 20,000 to 30,000 higher each month than government figures.

This suggests that, in August 2014, the claimant count could have hit one million instead of being at 970,000.

Abrahams said: "Sanctions are being applied unfairly to job-seekers as well as the sick and disabled. And we shouldn't forget that most people on social security are actually in work but are struggling to make ends meet.

“I’ve always maintained that the real reason the government is doing this is to get them off the JSA claimant figures, so it looks like there are fewer people who are unemployed.

It directly contradicts the government's current claims about these people coming off JSA because they've gone into work.

“Iain Duncan Smith will try and say these statistics are unreliable but the fact is these are the DWP’s own statistics so they can’t wriggle out of it using that excuse!”

Stuckler and Loopstra, who have analysed data from 375 local authority areas have said they are ‘shocked’ by what they have found so far.

Talking about his research findings Professor Stuckler said: “The data clearly show that many people are not leaving JSA for work but appear to be being pushed off in unprecedented numbers in association with sanctions.”

 

Comments  

+2 #3 Paul Richards 2014-11-08 20:59
Hi carruthers,
Yes, this horrible IDS will (as long as he is in power) try to push all of this through - with Cameron & Osborne's backing also no doubt.
After all, they have to try to reduce this quickly increasing deficit!
The debarcle over the £1.7Bn payment to the EU bears this out as to just how stupid THEY are. As I understand it, the UK now has to pay £850 million and then, they are going to reduce our £3 billion rebate by £850 million to cover the outstanding amount to make a total of £1.7Bn. As has been reported on Sky News today (via Ed Balls!!) - they must think that the British people are fools.
I have a feeling that they are going to be the 'fools' maybe when UKIP wins the Rochester By-Election on 20th November.
The Tories are squirming, - trying to make a load of party political points - but, hopefully if they do win it - the Tory Gentry will be calling for Cameron's head - and if Cameron goes - perhaps, and only then just perhaps, IDS could lose his sorry head and ministerial post also, as well as throwing his toys out of his very juvenile pram. (By the way, I have noted your other comments and they are all right and correct).
UC in the future, could hopefully be dead in the water.
At the next General Election these dangerous, self-helping and utterly arrogant Tories must be defeated, at all costs, by some means or other.
If not - and they then win the next G.E, then God help us all.
+3 #2 carruthers 2014-11-08 07:39
And once IDS's beloved UC is introduced, it will be possible to sanction people on low-paid work for not spending more time looking for better work or more hours.

And that sanctioning can be extended to housing benefit, council-tax benefit etc. So look for whoever runs UC "you must try harder" schemes to be able to get people evicted.

And after all of this remember that the warning has gone out that there must be more cuts and that what has happened so far is the easy bit. Current measures are just "the low-hanging fruit" - give Osborne the chance and he will start making what he and IDS would regard as serious cuts to the the welfare budget.
#1 Paul Richards 2014-11-07 14:13
I wouldn't have thought that Ed Miliband is going to be publicly speaking out against it all any time soon!

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