The Guardian reports that evidence obtained by the research group, Corporate Watch, shows that private companies contracted by the government to find employment for people out of work under the Work Programme are suggesting more sanctions and punishments be applied to claimants taking part in the Programme.

Richard Whittell of Corporate Watch told the Guardian the Work Programme appeared to be focused on slashing benefit rather than putting people into work. He said “​These figures give the lie to the government’​s claims its welfare reforms are about helping people into work.”​

Working Links referred 11,910 cases to Jobcentre Plus for sanctioning between June 2011 and January 2012. As a result 6,210 sanctions were applied. A4e referred 10,120 cases and Jobcentre Plus approved sanctions for 3,000. Serco referred 9,090 cases of which 2,230 resulted in sanctions being applied. Overall in its first eight months, the Work Programme saw the sanctioning of 40,000 cases from a referral totalling 110,000 from companies running the Programme.

The companies told the Guardian they make referrals in line with government guidelines. The DWP commented only that the figures had not been confirmed by the Office for National Statistics. Chris Grayling, employment minister said “​there was no financial imperative for private firms to punish jobseekers”​ and that “​This government expects jobseekers to comply with the conditions of their benefit if they are receiving taxpayers’​ money.”​

The full report can be found in the Guardian


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