Charities: Most vulnerable bear brunt of welfare reforms

The Government wants to change the benefit culture. Credit: Julian Stratenschulte

The Government is determined to change the benefit culture. Tougher sanctions is part of a bigger plan to end what they see as widespread welfare dependency.

A sanction - the freezing of a benefit payment - is applied if the claimant doesn't fulfil their part of the jobseeking deal and fails to show sufficient determination to find a job.

Today's figures show that the number of sanctions has risen since the new system was introduced last year.

Nearly 90,600 more sanctions have been applied this year than in the same period (Nov - June) last year. That's an 11% rise.

The numbers claiming employment support allowance who have been sanctioned in the same period has doubled to 11,000. These are a group of people who are ill or disabled who need help to get back to work and receive support until they do so.

According to charities and campaign groups, today's rise reflects the increasingly difficult circumstances some of the most vulnerable claimants find themselves in.

They say it is the most vulnerable in our society who often bear the brunt of these welfare reforms.

OXFAM put us in touch with one disabled man, Stephen Brook, who has struggled through benefit sanctions he felt were unfair and another man Darren Head, came to our attention through Child Poverty Action Group.

Both complained of bureacratic delay and confusion in the system and of the hardship it caused.

The Government points out the most serious sanctions have reduced in number, that they have public support to get tougher on welfare, and that their aim is to transform a system which can't be done overnight or without some complaints.