11% rise in benefits suspensions

The number of benefit payments suspended since a tougher regime was introduced last year has risen by 11%, the Department for Work and Pensions said.

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Challenge to decision to scrap Independent Living fund for disabled people

When the government scrapped the Independent Living Fund for disabled people, ministers had not reckoned on the determination of a group of people who said they could not live without it. Today they won the legal right to challenge the decision.

But it is not the first setback to the government's benefit reforms.

ITV News Political Correspondent Romilly Weeks reports:

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Jobseekers payment freezes 'a deterrent'

Employment minister Esther McVey said benefit suspensions for jobseekers, were a "deterrent, at the end of a process" and not a measure taken lightly.

Tougher new rules mean that the number of benefit payments suspended has risen by 11%, the Department for Work and Pensions said.

She said the government did not want to be giving out "sanctions" in the form of minimum four-week benefits freeze, but that those receiving the jobseekers allowance are obliged to look for work.

Govt: Benefits penalty if people fail to play by rules

This Government has always been clear that, in return for claiming unemployment benefits, jobseekers have a responsibility to do everything they can to get back into work. We are ending the something-for-nothing culture.

People who are in a job know that if they don't play by the rules or fail to turn up in the morning, there might be consequences, so it's only right that people on benefits should have similar responsibilities.

We always make the rules very clear - it's only right that there is a penalty if people fail to play by them.

– Employment Minister Esther McVey

Rise in jobseekers who have had benefits cut

The number of benefit payments suspended since a tougher regime was introduced last year has risen by 11%, the Department for Work and Pensions said.

Benefit payments were suspended nearly 600,000 times. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Jobseeker's allowance claimants who failed to do enough to find work, turned down jobs or have not turned up to appointments had their payments suspended 580,000 times between October 2012 and June, new figures showed.

Around 400,000 people were involved - with some having their benefits suspended more than once.

The most common reason for a sanction was a failure to actively look for work.

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