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Government analysis “dramatically underestimates” impact of JSA sanctions, says Citizens Advice

6 Tachwedd 2013

National charity Citizens Advice has called for an overhaul of the benefits sanctions regime, as new figures published today show a huge increase in the number of jobseekers receiving sanctions.

Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:

"Government's analysis dramatically understates the full impact of sanctions on jobseekers. The DWP’s own figures show that from July 2012 to June 2013, there was a 24 per cent increase in the number of sanctions since the same period a year earlier.

"The dramatic increase in the number of sanctions, combined with the welcome decrease in the number of people receiving JSA, means that over the past year, jobseekers had a daunting one in four chance of losing their support."

“The sanctions system is all stick and no carrot. At Citizens Advice we've seen a 64 per cent increase in problems with JSA sanctions since this time last year.  From July to September this year, Citizens Advice Bureaux dealt with 3,895 issues to do with Jobseekers Allowance.  This is becoming a chronic problem, based on a bad system, which is getting worse.

"Far too often, all this system does is move people further away from the jobs market.  When you're already struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table whilst looking for work, a sanction ends up being an extra obstacle to the huge challenge of getting a job.

“If ministers are serious about wanting to help every individual looking for work then they must urgently get this system under control."


Notes to editors

  1. 1.Government is quoting a 6% rise in sanctions for jobseekers since the new regime was put in place. The percentage rise quoted is based on data from 22nd October 2012 (when the new sanctions regime came into force) to June 2013. DWP compares this figure with data from the whole of October 2011 to June 2012. This is not an accurate comparison as it does not compare two periods of the same length. A more accurate comparison is to compare the last full year of data available. Comparing July 2012 to June 2013 (which includes six months of the new tougher regime), with July 2011 to June 2012 shows a 24% rise in the number of sanctions over the period.
  2. 2.One in four faced a sanction over the period July 2012 to June 2013. 859,750 sanctions were imposed over this period, with nearly 3.5 million new claims for JSA applied for.
  3. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  4. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  5. To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit You can also get advice online at
  6. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or 08454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
  7. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.1 million clients on 6.6 million problems from April 2012 to March 2013. For full 2012/2013 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
  8. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 22,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.