A cross-party group of MPs has called for a review of the governmentâ€™s controversial benefit sanctions regime after concluding that it was arbitrary, punitive and at times â€œpointlessly cruelâ€.
The Commons work and pensions committee inquiry said the human cost of stopping benefit payments to claimants judged to have breached job centre rules was too high and there wasÂ scant evidenceÂ that it helped or incentivised people to get a job.
It called for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions who have limited capability for work to be exempt from sanctions and said penalties for single parents and care leavers should be vastly reduced.
â€œWe have heard stories of terrible and unnecessary hardship from people whoâ€™ve been sanctioned. They were left bewildered and driven to despair at becoming, often with their children, the victims of a sanctions regime that is at times so counterproductive it just seems pointlessly cruel,â€ said the committeeâ€™s chair, Frank Field.
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