SNP condemn ‘worryingly’ high sanctions rate under Universal Credit

Universal Credit claimants are far more likely to be sanctioned than people still in receipt of legacy benefits, official DWP figures show.

The SNP’s Westminster Social Justice spokesperson has written to the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) demanding clarity over the “worryingly” high sanctions rate against Universal Credit claimants.

Statistics on benefit sanctions released this week revealed that the proportion of claimants sanctioned under Universal Credit (2.8%) is nearly ten times higher than under Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) (0.3%), and nearly 30 times higher than Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (0.1%).


It also revealed that the average Universal Credit sanction lasts for longer than JSA and ESA sanctions.

In a letter to Esther McVey, Neil Gray MP questions why more claimants are being sanctioned under Universal Credit than under legacy benefits and whether this is DWP policy

He also asks why Universal Credit sanctions are longer on average than sanctions under legacy benefits.

Neil Gray MP said: “The UK government’s Universal Credit system has been deeply flawed and harmful since its roll-out.

“With financial support being shamefully pulled from claimants who have already faced delays in Universal Credit, as well as the direct link between people who have been sanctioned and the rise in foodbank use and poverty, the UK government is pushing people into crisis. It needs to stop.

“The SNP has long opposed the Tories’ brutal sanctions regime, and believe it is both cruel and counter-productive. The DWP’s own data shows more people are being sanctioned under Universal Credit than under the previous legacy system.

“According to the last few Benefit Sanctions Statistics bulletins, this trend has been consistent in that the proportion of people sanctioned under Universal Credit is many, many times higher than under the legacy system.

“Esther McVey has many questions to answer over the distressing direction her department is heading. She needs to realise the damage her regime is causing to people she should be helping.”

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