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The government’s imposition of sanctions on Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants has led to a significant rise in people leaving unemployment benefits, but they are not returning to work, according to researchers at the University of Oxford and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Sanctions linked to drop in benefits but few return to work

Sanctions are used to punish claimants who do not meet government conditions for actively seeking work and result in claimants having their benefit payments cut for a minimum of four weeks.

The senior author of the new working paper, Professor David Stuckler from Oxford, will appear as an expert witness before the Work and Pensions Committee today. He will brief MPs on the destinations of benefit claimants who receive sanctions.

Since 1996, successive governments have placed conditions on those receiving unemployment benefits. Starting in 2011, the UK Coalition Government introduced a series of reforms, increasing the conditions and penalties for failing to meet them. The study, based on official monthly and quarterly data from databases covering UK local authorities between 2005 and 2014, tracks the numbers claiming unemployment benefit, comparing them with rates of employment and the prevalence of sanctions.

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