Wednesday, May 23, 2018

More stick than carrot

Benefit sanctions are largely ineffective and in some cases push people into poverty and crime, a major study has found. The research found little evidence that benefit sanctions enhance people’s motivation to prepare for or enter paid work and, by contrast, routinely trigger profoundly negative personal, financial and health outcomes. Some people are pushed into destitution, survival crime and ill health as a result of welfare conditionality.

The study reveals that the mandatory training and support is often too generic, of poor quality and largely ineffective in enabling people to enter and sustain paid work.

 Professor Peter Dwyer, from the University of York’s Department of Social Policy and Social Work, said the review revealed that in the majority of cases, welfare conditionality didn’t work as intended. Mr Dwyer accused successive governments of using welfare conditionality and the “carrot and stick” it implies to promote positive behaviour change.

“Our review has shown it is out of kilter, with the idea of sanctioning people to the fore. It is more stick, very little carrot and much of the support is ineffective,” he added.

Typically, if conditions are not met, benefits are docked for four weeks, which can mean a loss of £300 for a claimant over the age of 25 – but a sanction can last for three months, or even a year.

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