The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee is to conduct an inquiry into benefit sanctions policy, something the coalition government has been desperate to avoid happening. The committee is particularly interested in employment and support allowance (ESA) sanctions and why they have increased so steeply in recent months.{jcomments on}

Members of the public can provide evidence to the committee about their own experiences of sanctions.

According to the committee’s home page:

Submissions of no more than 3,000 words are invited from interested organisations and individuals.

The Committee is particularly interested in:

  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) sanctions, including: whether the current ESA sanctions regime is appropriate and proportionate for jobseekers with ill health and disabilities; and the reasons for recent sharp increases in the number of ESA sanctions.

  • Whether particular groups of ESA and JSA claimants (by impairment type; age; gender etc.) are proportionately more likely to be sanctioned than others.

  • To follow up the Committee's recommendation for a full independent review, to investigate the purpose, effects and efficacy of benefit sanctions, and to consider the issues such a review would need to take into account, including:

- What are the current sanctions regimes trying to achieve and what evidence is there that they work?

- To what extent are sanctions justified solely as a means of ensuring that unemployed benefit claimants fulfil the conditions of benefit entitlement?

- What evidence is there that benefit sanctions also encourage claimants to engage more actively in job-seeking and ultimately move into employment? How could this be measured?

- What are the wider implications of sanctions in terms of their impacts on claimants?

  • What are the alternatives to the current sanctions regimes? For example:

- How might the current system of financial sanctions be altered to make it more appropriate or effective?

- Is there a case for non-financial sanctions?

- What form could non-financial sanctions take?

- Are there examples of good practice from other countries?

Submissions do not need to address all of these points.

The deadline for submitting evidence is Friday 12 December.

For more information and details of how to make a submission, visit the parliament website.


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