'There is “no evidence” that benefit sanctions encourage claimants to get into work or increase their earnings, according to a government report published last month.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been accused of “sneaking out” the findings, which cast doubt on the effectiveness of a key element of its flagship universal credit system.
The report, published with no ministerial announcement on 12 September, shows docking benefits as a punishment for alleged failures to comply with Jobcentre Plus rules does not encourage claimants to apply for additional work, and in some cases “damages the relationship between the work coach and the claimant”.
Frank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, accused ministers of trying to bury the findings rather than give parliament the chance to debate how to better help low-paid workers.
“Rather than set out a bold plan to help low-paid workers earn more money – with more direct support being offered as opposed to terrifying the life out of them with the threat of sanctions – the DWP has decided to sneak out this report without giving the House of Commons an opportunity to debate its contents or the actions that are required on the back of it,” he said.
“Under universal credit, sanctions are being used for the first time ever against low-paid workers as a means of pushing them to increase their hours or move jobs.'
Read more: No evidence that benefit sanctions work, finds secret DWP report
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