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To: The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Reform the cruel sanctions regime

Reform the cruel sanctions regime

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions must follow the recommendation of the Work and Pensions Committee to urgently review and reform the sanctions system.

Why is this important?

Changes under Iain Duncan Smith have meant a surge in the use of financial sanctions for benefit claimants. The financial sanctions are much harsher too, lasting a minimum of 4 weeks and can be as long as 3 years.

Sanctions are being used unfairly and arbitrarily – and it’s not just claimants saying this, but Jobcentre Plus staff. Many Jobcentre advisers say they are given targets for sanction referrals and feel bullied by managers into sanctioning jobseekers who are doing their best to find work.

The safety net is being turned into a trap, and Jobcentre Plus is being pushed towards a culture of harassment, not help.

This is unfair on claimants and their families who are being set up to fail, then unfairly punished with severe hardship. And it is unfair on Jobcentre staff who are being put under stress and prevented from giving being the genuine help that gets good results and gives them pride in the work.

We believe that Jobcentres should have a culture of help, not harassment. We believe that the current sanction regime is failing and that needs to be urgently reformed.

We will present this petition to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, calling on them to take urgent action to clean up the cruel mess of the benefit sanctions regime, which is sanctioning people unfairly, arbitrarily and far too harshly.

We want to see Iain Duncan Smith to act immediately on the following recommendation of the Work and Pensions Select Committee:

"We recommend that DWP commission a broad independent review of benefit conditionality and sanctions, to investigate whether sanctions are being applied appropriately, fairly and proportionately, in accordance with the relevant Regulations and guidance, across the Jobcentre Plus network. This review should be established and report as soon as is practicable in the next Parliament."

Reasons for signing

  • These sanctions hurt the poorest while this Government reduces inheritance tax for the wealthiest.
  • I found out that the vast majority of British people don't care enough about this subject. We are talking about the most vulnerable people here, sanctioning their benefits is death sentence!
  • Undermines trust between DWP employees and customers. A cruel blunt instrument does little to address underlying causes of unemployment. Which ties many into silly unproductive job search routines merely to meet job search targets is counterproductive. I know of one person in recruitment who has criticised job applications they have received. People are sending off incomplete, rushed or unsuited applications solely to meet the numbers stipulated in their claimant commitment.


2015-06-04 08:40:58 +0100

10,000 signatures reached

2015-03-30 16:51:56 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2015-03-24 18:12:30 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2015-03-24 17:11:01 +0000

500 signatures reached

2015-03-24 16:49:01 +0000

For more background on sanctions and the Work and Pensions Select Committee report, see this post on the TUC's Touchstone blog:

2015-03-24 16:43:35 +0000

100 signatures reached

2015-03-24 16:41:29 +0000

50 signatures reached

2015-03-24 16:40:25 +0000

25 signatures reached

2015-03-24 16:39:56 +0000

10 signatures reached