McMillan hits out at Tory Government over sanctions

Stuart McMillan MSP has hit out at the UK Government’s sanctions regime after official figures released by the Government showed that almost half of all sanctions imposed on Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) have been overturned when reviewed.

The statistics show that since the new sanctions regime was introduced, there has been 1,824,877 adverse sanctions against claimants. 575,901 of these decisions were challenged with 285,327 being overturned, an incredible 49.5 per cent.

Commenting, SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said:

“The sanctions regime instituted by the Tory Government is causing stress and to hundreds of thousands of people across Scotland and the whole of the UK.

“The fact that nearly 50 per cent of challenged cases are overturned is deeply worrying, as it is clear to see that people are being sanctioned before proper consideration and an understanding of individual circumstances have been considered.

“We have all heard the stories of claimants being sanctioned whilst in hospital or sick, but these figures lay bare the ‘sanction now, ask questions later’ nature of the UK Government’s indefensible regime.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are being put through tremendous worry and stress, not to mention being left without money to live off, for absolutely no reason and through no fault of their own.

“The sanctions regime is a direct attack by the UK Government on the most vulnerable in our society. There needs to be an immediate review on this, with a halt put on any new sanctions whilst it is carried out.”

Notes:

Details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/jobseekers-allowance-and-employment-and-support-allowance-sanctions-decisions-made-to-march-2015

JSA claimants

“Additionally, the statistics give figures on three types of challenge, reporting that –

• 421,799 decisions were reviewed – in 234,701 cases the decision was overturned;

• 63,446 decisions underwent a mandatory reconsideration – in 19,696 cases the decision was overturned; and

• 42,651 were appealed – in 9,155 cases the decision was overturned.”

ESA claimants

“Reporting on the results of challenges, the statistics show that –

• 45,774 decisions were reviewed – in 20,400 cases the decision was overturned;

• 1,671 decisions underwent a mandatory reconsideration – in 1,207 cases the decision was overturned; and

• 560 decisions were appealed – in 168 cases the decision was overturned.”

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