Benefits sanctions inquiry - our response

In response to the Work & Pensions Committee report on benefit sanctions, Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group said:

“This powerful report should be read by everyone who wants to sort out the benefit system’s administrative problems or cut food bank queues.

“Parents looking for work too often find that at almost every stage it’s our sanctions system that is not working. Families are being left to struggle for food and the basics because of unrealistic job-seeking conditions they never had a chance of meeting, inflexible rules that stop good reason or good cause from being considered and poor DWP communications which leave sanctioned parents unaware they may receive hardship payments to prevent their children suffering severe hardship. The ground-breaking food bank report we published with other charities last year suggested that delays and sanctions in the benefit system are often the immediate trigger forcing people to use food banks.

“The committee’s recommendation for a full and independent review which looks at the legislative framework of sanctions gets to the heart of the problem. The law and rules on sanctions are a complicated and confusing mess which need urgent, comprehensive reform. Fixed-length sanctions are a particular cause for concern as they continue regardless of whether a claimant has complied with the rules. Politicians of all parties serious about helping families move into work should act on the committee’s recommendations so that we have a fair and effective system based on what works and what doesn’t, not based on what sounds tough.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

You can read more about the NGO foodbank report, including the impact of sanctions, here http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/road-food-bank-paved-failures-safety-net

CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children.

CPAG is the host organisation for the Campaign to End Child Poverty coalition, which has members from across civil society including children’s charities, faith groups, unions and other civic sector organisation, united in their campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goal of ending child poverty by 2020 is met.