MP: Labour will scrap Conservatives’ benefit sanctions regime

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09 May 2019
Wirral West MP Margaret Greenwood has responded to a statement by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd, by reaffirming Labour’s commitment to scrapping the Conservatives’ benefit sanctions regime which can leave someone without any income at all.

Margaret Greenwood MP, who is also Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, was responding to an announcement in which the government accepted that three-year sanctions, which, under current government policy, can be handed out to a claimant on Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance after they have failed to comply with a work-related requirement on three or more occasions, are “counter-productive and ultimately undermine (the government’s) goal of supporting people into work.”

Instead, the maximum sanctions length will be reduced to six months by the end of the year.

Labour, which is currently running a consultation into the future of social security in the UK, has said that the sanctions regime is failing and that the next Labour government will scrap the Conservatives’ punitive sanctions regime in its entirety.

Margaret Greenwood said:

“Labour has long been calling for the government to scrap its punitive sanctions regime. Six months is still a very long time to leave someone without any income at all. It is not just the individual who is affected, but their family too.

“There have been cases of people being sanctioned for attending a job interview instead of the JobCentre or for being a few minutes late due to bus delays. In one case the claimant’s wife went into premature labour and had to go to hospital. The impact of sanctions can be devastating.

“There is clear evidence that sanctions and excessive conditionality do not help people into sustained employment. They also cause stress and anxiety for many and are one of the key reasons that people ask for help at food banks.

“Labour will scrap the Conservatives’ sanctions regime for good, deliver personalised employment support and invest in skills and training to create the decent jobs that people need.”

If you would like to contribute to Labour’s consultation on the future of social security, please visit:

You can request an accessible version of the consultation documents from or by writing to Labour Central, Kings Manor, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6PA.

People can respond to the consultation, which runs until, Sunday 30 June 2019, online or by post.