Sanctions to benefits are compounding the impact of welfare reforms, report says

  • A report has said that benefit sanctions are compounding the impact of the government's welfare reforms.

    Research by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has revealed that the recently-reformed Jobseeker's Allowance sanctions regime is "unfair" in its decision-making process and the sanctions imposed are "disproportionately harsh", reports 24dash. Piggy Bank 2

    The report titled ‘Cause for Concern' also reveals concerns about social housing tenants' housing benefit being stopped meaning many are unable to pay their rent and are put at risk of homelessness.

    The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations has said that housing associations are reporting significant levels of hardship among tenants. It is very significant for those facing both benefit cuts and receiving sanctions.

    Speaking after giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Welfare Reform Committee at Holyrood, David Ogilvie, SFHA Policy Manager said: "When you look closer at how the recent changes to JSA are being implemented and how they are actually impacting upon some of the most vulnerable in our society, a worrying picture emerges. We are at risk of seeing an increasingly unsympathetic and uncaring state where the ‘safety net' is now so loosely woven it is all too easy for vulnerable people to fall through it. We're really concerned about the clear trend that when a tenant receives a sanction on their benefit, all too often their housing benefit is being suspended, leaving them with no means of paying their rent and potentially at risk of homelessness. As rental income is the primary revenue stream for housing associations, we are very concerned about the combined impact of benefit cuts and sanctions on tenancy sustainment and, ultimately, the viability of the sector. That's why we are calling on the UK government, as a matter of urgency, to introduce appropriate measures to ensure that all sanctions are reasonable, proportionate and do not trigger a suspension of any existing housing benefit claims."

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    Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1102931

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