'A “yellow card” scheme to cut the number of people pushed into poverty after being wrongly stripped of their benefits has been dumped.
The reform – giving claimants 14 days to challenge a decision to dock their benefits – would impose too much of a “burden”, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said, after a trial.
Campaigners have long pushed for the change, warning that benefits are being removed for trivial reasons, forcing hungry people to go to food banks and even making them homeless.
But Alok Sharma, the employment minister, said the 13 per cent of claimants who accepted the invitation to challenge a decision to sanction them was too low to justify “the additional burden”.
Furthermore, only around half of those could provide evidence that led to the DWP agreeing not to impose the benefit cut.
The Independent revealed in March that a decision on whether to extend the yellow card scheme had been shelved by the DWP – a stance confirmed today in a written statement to MPs.
It was criticised by Frank Field, the chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, who has highlighted the distress that benefit sanctions are still causing.
“The government’s initial data on the early impact of the yellow card trial looked encouraging,” he told The Independent.
“They suggested that the scheme was protecting hundreds of people in the trial area from being wrongly sanctioned. Applied to the country as a whole, that layer of protection would have covered many thousands of very vulnerable people.”'
Read more: Government drops scheme to stop people being wrongly stripped of their benefits because it is a ‘burden’
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