Almost half of ESA & JSA sanctions overturned when reviewed

Eilidh Whiteford
Eilidh Whiteford

Almost half of all sanctions imposed on the UK government’s Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) have been overturned when reviewed, according to official figures.

Government statistics show that 50 per cent of sanctions imposed against those on JSA and ESA are overturned on appeal since the new sanctions regime was introduced in October 2012 and December 2012 respectively.

Some 575,901 sanctions were challenged with 285,327 being overturned

SNP social justice and welfare spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford MP said hundreds of thousands of people have been put through “needless stress & worry”.

Ms Whiteford said: “The sanctions regime instituted by the UK government is causing heartache and misery to hundreds of thousands of people across the UK – and the fact that half of all those challenged are overturned is deeply concerning.

“We have already heard the heartbreaking stories of claimants being sanctioned whilst in hospital recovering from a heart attack or other medical emergency, but these figures lay bare the ‘sanction now, ask questions later’ nature of the UK government’s indefensible regime.

“With very nearly 50 per cent of reviewed cases being reversed, it is clear to see that these cruel and punitive sanctions are being slapped on people before proper consideration and understanding of individual circumstances have been established.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are being put through tremendous worry and stress for absolutely no reason. It also shows how important it this that claimants appeal when they believe they have been unfairly sanctioned.

“There needs to be an immediate review of the UK government’s conditionality and sanctions regime, with an immediate halt to any new sanctions whilst it is carried out.”

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