Concerns raised over high level of benefit sanctions

By Martin Neville

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


THE NUMBER of people needing help because of benefit sanctions on the Isle of Wight is among the highest in the country, according to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

Isle of Wight CAB chief executive Lee Hodgson warned the sanctions, when benefits are stopped for a minimum of four weeks for reasons such as failing to attend a job interview or leaving a job voluntarily, were having a counterproductive effect.

The minimum sanction period was increased from one week to four, last October. The government introduced the measures to ensure people were actively seeking work, however concerns have been raised that they fail to take into account wider circumstances and people have been wrongly penalised.

In the three months to December 2013, the organisation dealt with 47 JSA sanction problems — the highest number in the South East and among worst in the UK.

Mr Hodgson said: "We see people sanctioned who are desperate for money. Parents are often forced into the hands of payday lenders, which only make things worse.

"Some people don’t even know when they’ve been sanctioned, so by the time the money stops there’s no time for emergency budgeting, challenging the sanction or access to hardship payments.

"The minimum four week sanction is setting people up to fail and creating a barrier which can stop them from looking for work.

"Four weeks is a long time to go without money to get by and people are struggling to make ends meet."

He added: "People need a system that can take into account their situation, set suitable work search requirements and where necessary apply sanctions at a level that won’t limit their chances of employment."

Have you been affected by benefit sanctions please get in touch via


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Displaying the last 10 of 32 comments - Show All Comments

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by Tony Tiltman Jnr

19th April 2014, at 12:03:52

George your long winded post says "These people are a complete waste of space with no intention of doing any type of work. "How would you oversee these people performing these menial yet very important jobs in society because my guess is they would have you wrapped around their fingers, bunking off, not doing the task properly and generally being a hinderance rather than a help.

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by Debbie Hollebon

17th April 2014, at 09:24:46

My sister-in-law was on JSA briefly during the New Year after being made redundant. It was made very clear to her what she had to do each week to avoid being sanctioned and she followed the rules, applied for jobs and attended interviews ,simple. At the age of 40 she now has a new job, a trainee position in a completely new field of work, not exactly what she wanted (she has a degree and 18 years work experience) but it is full time work. Well done to her.

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by Owen Burson

16th April 2014, at 19:14:32

Well said George!

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by Gaby Hill

16th April 2014, at 14:15:00

Why is that when there are so many 'jobseekers' on the island that volunteers are requested for beach cleaning, etc?

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by matthew eldridge

16th April 2014, at 11:07:29

instead of highlighting the unemployed which a lot of s have been in the past through no fault of our own( i hope) howabout the abundance of people that are on disabililty that are actually fit enough to work there are plenty i could name a few not that i would

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by Ben Ridley

16th April 2014, at 09:57:12

Unfortunately it's not the few!!, it's become a way of life for many.

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by David Blackford

16th April 2014, at 09:45:43

No parent should allow their children to go hungry! - are their parents still paying for mobile phones? satellite TV? Cigarettes? alcohol?.
If not, then they have my every sympathy and truly deserve help

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by jan hickman

16th April 2014, at 08:42:55

I have read replies with interest. There aren't enough jobs to go around. Fact. Some people do prefer to live on the dole, know that for a fact. But to punish the children of families and make them go hungry, and force others to payday lenders.....what the hell??? This is Victorian and means testing and a hundred years out of date!!! School leavers need better job guidance, they are beaten before they leave and resigned to life on the, I'd rather starve than sign on again, it was so hideous. But some families rightly have no choice in the matter. Stop penalising everyone for every fault of the few.

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by David Blackford

16th April 2014, at 07:14:53

I still say take any job, no matter how menial, or below your capability - When you apply for a better job, your prospective employer will appreciate the fact that you are willing to work.
And Jan. A university degree does not qualify anyone for the top job they think they deserve - unless of course it is a good degree from a top university - Then employers would be looking for you!

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by alan naylor

16th April 2014, at 01:13:28

Give a man A fish and he will eat for a day Give him a fishing rod and a boat he will be fishing and drinking beer all day

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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