ESA Sanctions Are Counter-Productive And Dangerous, MPs Are Told

DWP Caxton House


By John Pring in Disability News Service.


Imposing benefit sanctions on disabled people is counter-productive, ineffective and “probably too dangerous”, a trio of experts have told MPs.

The Commons work and pensions committee also heard that the failure of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to research the impact of its sanctions regime was “a real dereliction”.

And the MPs were told that the only reason the government had not abandoned the use of sanctions for claimants of employment and support allowance (ESA) – the out-of-work sickness and disability benefit – was because of “embarrassment”.

Dr David Webster (pictured), a leading researcher on unemployment and sanctions at the University of Glasgow, told the committee that research was clear that sanctioning sick and disabled people was “counter-productive”.

He and other experts were giving evidence to the committee as part of its inquiry into the benefit sanctions regime.

Webster said that the increasingly harsh sanctions system had turned “a perfectly acceptable social insurance system into a sort of penal system”.


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