The number of Universal Credit (UC) sanctions is rocketing and is now almost back to pre-pandemic levels, statistics released this month by the DWP show. Almost 50,000 claimants were hit in November 2021, the most recent months for which figures are available.
Prior to the pandemic, sanctions were running at a rate of around 2.51% for UC, but due to changes made to work requirements through 2020 and early 2021 this figure dropped dramatically
However, face-to-face appointments began to be reintroduced from April 2021 and within months sanctions levels began to rise again. They now stand at 2.37% and are continuing to rise extremely fast.
In May 2021 there were 3,834 sanctions.
By September this had rocketed to 26,782 and by November it had leapt again to 49,944.
Sanctions expert Dr David Webster of the University of Glasgow told the Daily Mirror:
“Sanctions drive people further into debt, because obviously people can’t stop spending money altogether – they have to find something to eat and so on.
“They have to keep spending money, so if money isn’t coming in they’re going to have to borrow it, and they get further in debt.
“That has damaging effects on their mental health, because there’s all the anxiety and stress. And for a minority of people there’s obviously the question of potential eviction.”
Benefits and Work members can download a copy of our 30 page guide to Ways to prevent and overturn ESA and UC sanctions from the ESA and UC page.
Plus, our 140 page guide to ESA and UC claims gives detailed information on the points system for universal credit and ESA , including seven ways to get into the work-related activity group without scoring any points and the four ways to get into the support group without using the descriptors.