Action calling for a review of the sanctions regime has been launched by the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) of the Baptist Union, the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church and the Church of Scotland, together with Church Action on Poverty.
According to their research, in 2013-14 nearly a fifth of all jobseekers were sanctioned and in that same period 100 people who were unfit to work due to mental health problems were sanctioned each day – severely affecting their health and well-being. These problems were highlighted in the March report Time to Rethink Benefit Sanctions which was also produced with the Church in Wales.
The group is calling on the new Government to:
- commit to a ‘full independent’ review of the benefit sanctions system;
- in the meantime, remove the two-week waiting period before ‘non-vulnerable’ people can receive a hardship payment;
- suspend sanctions for families with children and for people suffering from mental ill health.
To email your MP to ask them to support this call, you can find a template message that can be edited and sent to your MP on the Church Action on Poverty website.