Employment And Support Allowance Sanction Decisions: 2011 – 2014

by richardhutton

The DWP published a Freedom of Information response, on 9th April, which demonstrates how drastically the number of sanctions imposed on ESA claimants increased between 2011-2014:

Employment and Support Allowance adverse, non-adverse and cancelled sanction referral decisions: Jan 2011 to Sept 2014

The data on this is contained in the Excel sheet. What is remarkable is how dramatically both the number of referrals for sanction, and the number of adverse decisions, increased between 2011-14. From January 2011-April 2012 the total number of adverse decisions each month was less than 1,000. The highest volume of sanctions during this period was 895 in April; the lowest was 138 in June 2011.

It hit over a thousand for the first time in May 2012, and other than the following month, the number of adverse sanctions per month was never lower than a thousand  from this point on. It rose to above 2,000 in July 2013; and to 3,000 plus in January 2014. It represents an exponential rise, across three years, to c. 3,000 adverse sanctions for ESA recipients per month.

These are people the government knows cannot work, and provide for themselves. The vast majority of them are recorded as people with ‘Mental and Behavioural Disorders’: of the 3,828 people who received adverse sanctions in the last recorded month of September 2014, 2,047 were people in this category.