Once again the government is playing fast and loose with the figures. The FoI request is only partially answered – this time under a claim that it would cost too much – and Esther McVey has reneged on her promise to set up an independent investigation into the appropriateness of sanctions.
It seems clear that this is a department – and a government – with a large amount to hide.
One imagines many departmental budgets will be used to buy shredders over the coming 11-and-a-bit months.

Politics and Insights

Details originally posted on the Benefits and Work siteon May 15, 2014.
The number of sanctions applied to ESA claimants rose 334% between December 2012 and December 2013, according to new Department of Work and Pensions statistics.
The report shows that since the new Employment Support Allowance (ESA) sanctions regime was introduced on 3 December 2012, there has been a steady increase in the number of sanctions applied, from 1,102 in December 2012 to 4,789 in December 2013.
The total number of adverse sanction decisions over the period 3 December 2012 to 31 December 2013 was 28,702:
  • 5,889 were applied for failure to attend a mandatory interview and
  • 22,814 were applied for failure to participate in work related activity
In addition, the statistics show that, of the 28,702 decisions:
  • 13,994 were reviewed and in 8,508 cases, the decisions were overturned. This equals a “success” rate of…

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