SNP call for halt to sanctions amid targets claims

SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford is calling for an immediate halt to all sanctions in response to concerns that DWP staff are put under pressure to hit targets.


Dr Whiteford has written to Minister for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith saying that a “root and branch” independent review must be carried out immediately following a sorry catalogue of errors at the government department.


In recent weeks it has emerged that the DWP shamelessly fabricated success stories for a leaflet, that half of JSA and ESA sanctions were overturned when reviewed and today a whistle-blower has revealed that staff are under pressure from bosses to impose sanctions.


Commenting, Social Justice and Welfare spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, said:


“There is clearly a culture of pressure within the DWP which forces staff to refer people for sanctions for fear of retribution against themselves.


“Staff should instead be encouraged to make well-thought through decisions in the first place which would allow more people to move through the system and there would be less people desperately waiting to find out if they will have enough to make ends meet.


“We also recently learned that half of all ESA and JSA sanctions were overturned when reviewed which just goes to show that there is a crisis at the heart of this discredited system and the DWP.


“I have asked for the publication of all sanctions decision for every centre across the UK so that the full picture of the apparent shambles within the DWP can be revealed.


“All sanctions need to be halted immediately until a fundamental root and branch independent review of the DWP’s sanctions and conditionality can be carried out.”