Welfare BenefitsApril 29th, 2015
Labour is committed to restoring fairness to our social security system.
Sanctions have been part of our social security system since its foundation, based on the belief that the right to work goes hand in hand with the responsibility to prepare for, look for, and accept reasonable offers of work. But we must ensure that sanctions are both fair and proportionate, based on transparent procedures and with safeguards in place to protect the most vulnerable.
Under this government, we’ve seen an exceptional rise in the proportion of people sanctioned, in part driven by unofficial targets imposed on JobCentres by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Labour will abolish targets for benefit sanctions, raise awareness of hardship payments, and make sure protections are in place to protect the most vulnerable including those with mental health issues, carers, pregnant women and people at risk of domestic violence. We will also implement in full the recommendations of both the independent Oakley Review and the recent report of the Work and Pensions Select Committee into the operation of sanctions – as part of our plan to reduce dependency on foodbanks.
We have also pledged to overhaul the Work Capability Assessment which, under the Conservatives, is causing such stress and anxiety for many disabled people. We will introduce financial penalties on operators if they get assessments wrong, and we will involve disabled people in monitoring the assessment process to help ensure assessments are carried out in a fair way.
Thank you again for writing to me about these important issues.