Social Security Benefits: Food Poverty:Written question - 51756

(Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
Asked on: 03 November 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Food Poverty
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his Department's policies of the conclusions of sociology working paper 2016-03, published by the University of Oxford on 27 October 2016, on the impact of benefit sanctioning on food insecurity: a dynamic cross-area study of food bank usage in the UK; and if he will make a statement.
Answered by: Damian Hinds
Answered on: 11 November 2016

The Work and Pensions Select Committee, in their report published in 2015, recognise that “[sanctions are] a key element of the mutual obligation that underpins the effectiveness and fairness of the social security system”.

The report the honourable member cites does not provide evidence of a causal link between sanctions rates and the use of food banks.

We know the most effective route out of poverty is work. That is why we are determined to help people find employment through a wide range of support targeted to each individual’s personal circumstances. Sanctions are only used in a small percentage of cases and in the year to March 2016 the number of JSA sanctions issued dropped by 56%.

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