Esther McVey says international evidence points to effectiveness of sanctions but concedes ‘no system is perfect’
The employment minister has defended the government’s policy of removing people’s benefit payments when they fail to meet certain conditions.
Giving evidence to MPs on the work and pensions select committee, Esther McVey said international evidence pointed to the effectiveness of benefit sanctions, but warned that “no system is perfect” and ideally nobody would need to be sanctioned.
McVey argued that the purpose of the government’s welfare changes had been to make the system more personalised and to “understand the need of the individual”. She said that once claimants were sanctioned it acted as a red flag and alerted the authorities that a person was vulnerable and in need of help.
Very few people are sanctioned, the employment minister said, with only 0.00057% of those referred given the maximum three-year sanction.