The Isle of Wight has the highest problems with JSA Sanctions in the South East

According to new figures just released, the South East sees 132 per cent increase in problems with JSA sanctions. Lee Hodgson from IW CAB says the minimum four week sanction is setting people up to fail and creating a barrier which can stop them from looking for work.

Despair - depressed man:

Thanks to Lee Hodgson, Chief Executive of Isle of Wight Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), for sharing this latest news with OnTheWight readers. Ed

Isle of Wight CAB warns the minimum four week sanction for JSA claimants risks pushing people on the Isle of Wight further away from work, according to new figures released today by the charity.

132% sanctions increase in the South East
The South East has seen a 132 per cent increase in the number of problems related to JSA sanctions compared to the same period the year before.

In the three months to December 2013 Isle of Wight CAB alone dealt with 47 JSA sanction problems the highest by someway in the South East and in the worst 10% of the UK

Longer minimum sanctions counterproductive
Citizens Advice is concerned that the longer minimum sanction period—when people are left without the financial support of their benefit—is having a counterproductive effect. Claimants are distracted from job-hunting as they focus on putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their head.

Since the extension of the minimum sanction in October 2012 over £7 million has been spent on JSA sanction appeal tribunals.

Struggling to make ends meet
Citizens Advice has found that many JSA claimants are already struggling to make ends meet. From October to December last 2013:

  • 1 in 4 Citizens Advice clients with a JSA sanction problem had dependent children
  • 1 in 4 identified as being disabled of suffering from a long term health condition
  • 1 in 6 also had a debt problem
  • 1 in 10 had issues with rent arrears or threat or reality of homelessness

Pushing people further into debt
The extra pressure and financial burden caused by sanctions risks parents struggling to put food on the table, pushing people further into debt and impacting upon their health.

Of the 100,000 foodbank vouchers issued by Citizens Advice Bureaux last year, 16 per cent were needed because of benefit sanctions.

Often forced into the hands of payday lenders
Chief Executive of Isle of Wight CAB, Lee Hodgson said:

“We see people sanctioned who are desperate for money. Parents are often forced into the hands of payday lenders, which only make things worse.

“Sanctioning can have a negative effect on somebodies mental health. Being sanctioned can actually put someone further away from the workplace; they’re so busy trying to put food on the table they can’t look for a job.

“Some people don’t even know when they’ve been sanctioned, so by the time the money stops there’s no time for emergency budgeting, challenging the sanction or access to hardship payments. For the first week they’ll struggle to get by, scraping the barrel of what they have. The second week they might borrow from family or friends, but by the third week they are desperate, and that’s when they come to us.”

“The minimum four week sanction is setting people up to fail and creating a barrier which can stop them from looking for work. Four weeks is a long time to go without money to get by and people are struggling to make ends meet.

“The success rate of sanction appeals reveals a culture of ‘sanction first and ask questions later’. This is not only ineffective and a huge waste of money but also has a devastating effect on thousands of people’s lives.

“People need a system that can take into account their situation, set suitable work search requirements and where necessary apply sanctions at a level that won’t limit their chances of employment. Whilst it is vital that people receiving taxpayers’ support do their utmost to find work, the model needs to work and not make it harder for claimants to find a job.

“To date, Work Programme contractors have been responsible for twice as many sanctions on the people referred to them as they have successfully helped people find work. Combined with Citizens Advice’s latest figures this paints the strongest picture yet that the system is not working as it should.”

JSA Sanctions map

Image: LloydM under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 15th April, 2014 2:45pm



Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Jobs, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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6 Comments on "The Isle of Wight has the highest problems with JSA Sanctions in the South East"

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Robert Jones
This, remember, is happening in an unemployment black-spot. It’s probably true that people give up looking for work out of season too quickly, but they need encouragement and support, not punitive measures like sanctioning benefit – which is low enough in the first place: try living on it. What depresses me about this story is not so much the government’s attack on the poor – I expect… Read more »
Mr Einsteins Ghost
When I had the misfortune to be unemployed 3 years ago, with one or two exceptions, I found the staff (Ryde JC) to be uninterested at best, and incredibly defensive in their attitude; Indeed, their was what I would call a siege mentality. The last time I went there was just a few weeks ago, just to look at vacancies. I found one (on their very cumbersome… Read more »

Lee get them organised, take them all down the Jobcentre and tell the Jobcentre to get them a job.See if they sanction them then.

People should do things themselves rather than rely on others to hold their hands, but yes demonstrate by all means because nobody thinks there’s a problem unless you do. The danger is becoming downtrodden by it all. On the other hand there are not a few who would sit back and happily let the liberals do it all for them. Ian Duncan=Smith has been allowed to get… Read more »
My son is constantly being sanctioned for what seem to be trivial reasons, no doubt the staff at Broadlands House are enjoying their power trip and inflating their egos this way. It doesn’t solve any problems in fact it makes them worse. The lad needs help and advice not blanco & bullsh*t when he asks for help from these people. These staff need to be reminded that… Read more »
S T Osmund
I am not by nature a political animal, but I can’t help contrasting the sanctions applied to the most deprived of our nations with the support given by David Cameron to Maria Miller when she walked away with nearly £1 million of tax payers money spent on her family including her parents. People on benefit are labelled “scroungers”. Mrs Miller apparently “did a good job” in pursuing… Read more »