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Figures released by the DWP this week show that claimants on universal credit (UC) are 20 times more likely to be hit by a sanction than claimants on jobseekers allowance (JSA) or employment and support allowance (ESA).

The figures show that 4.1% of claimants on UC had their benefits reduced because of a sanction in February 2018.

By contrast, only 0.2% of claimants on JSA received a sanction and only 0.2% of claimants on ESA. The figures for JSA and ESA apply to September 2017, but sanctions rates for these benefits have fallen even further since then.

The main reason for UC sanctions is failure to attend or participate in a work-focused interview, which accounted for 70% of all UC sanctions.

71% of UC mandatory reconsiderations resulted in no change to the decision.

However, the picture is dramatically reversed at appeal stage. 83% of UC sanction decisions are overturned by appeal tribunals.

Sadly, only 2% of claimants make it all the way to an appeal.

The fact that an overwhelming majority of claimants win appeals against UC sanctions, however, suggests that a very large proportion are being unfairly sanctioned.

You can download the full sanctions report.

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