Responding to UK Government figures published today which show that approximately 53,270 JSA sanctions have been applied to people in Scotland since the introduction of a new stricter sanctions regime last October, CAS Chief Executive, Margaret Lynch said:
“These figures show that more and more people are suffering loss of benefits. But at the CAB we see a large number of cases where people have been sanctioned unfairly, and often for reasons that are in fact the fault of the jobcentre itself. For example, people who have been sanctioned for missing appointments they hadn’t been told about.
“If you are relying on benefits as your only source of income, life is hard enough. But to then lose that scarce income altogether – often for a period of months – is simply devastating. You can’t pay your rent or mortgage, or your fuel bills, or put food on the table. So you risk losing your home, or getting into huge debts that you can’t repay. And you have to rely on charity, like foodbanks, just to survive.
“This is bad enough for those people who have actually done something wrong, but our evidence is that many people have been sanctioned for no good reason, or because of errors in the system. And of course many of those sanctioned have children and other dependents, who suffer the deprivation along with them. How does this fit with the government’s vision of supporting vulnerable families and helping people into work?
“These sanctions are one of the main reasons for the rise in people needing emergency support like foodbanks. It’s clear that the system is not only too harsh but also deeply flawed.”