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Jobseekers to be given 14 days warning before sanction


Jobseekers will be given a warning period of 14 days before they are faced with benefit sanctions under a new scheme that will be brought in next year, according to the government.

At the moment, sanctions which result in the loss of benefits can be imposed immediately if a jobseeker has an issue such as not turning up for a job interview or not meeting their job adviser. The extended time period has been put in place so people can provide a valid reason as to why they did not attend meetings or interviews and gather evidence to prove this.

Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has claimed that sanctions are a “necessary part of the system” but is open to keeping them under review. He said:

"We will trial arrangements whereby claimants are given a warning of our intention to sanction and a 14-day period to provide evidence of good reason before the decision to sanction is made.

"During this time claimants will have another opportunity to provide further evidence to explain their non-compliance."

Frank Field, the Labour MP who is chairman of the Work and Pensions select committee, has welcomed the change. He said:

"Conditionality is an important part of our benefit system, but sanctions must be fair, clearly understood and not plunge families into unjustifiable hardship.”

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