Sanctions are not a new addition to the welfare legislation. They were part of Labour’s reforms to the Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB) in 2002, although at a time when the economy was adding jobs they attracted little attention.
Yesterday Carmel Sepuloni issued a press release:
In Labour's last year in government 23,000 sanctions were applied to work-tested benefits, including those with dependent children. Sanctions on the DPB were lower only because Labour didn't work-test that benefit. Sanctions could still be applied to the few thousand who had a Personal Development Employment Plan (PDEP).
“Figures, obtained through Parliamentary questions show 3000 more sanctions, affecting parents of children, were issued in 2014/15 than in the previous year. Sole parents fared the worst
“Being sanctioned is another way of saying ‘financially penalised’.
“Some of these families have sick or disabled children, some have just come out of abusive relationships and some have been left high and dry to look after children on their own.
“All of these parents have limited resources and are just trying to do the best that they can with very little constructive support from this government. Reducing their incomes even further can make it impossible.
In anticipation of requiring sole parents to be available for work, National's Future Focus reforms 2010 limited the sanction for anyone with dependent children to only 50% of their benefit.
Back to Carmel Sepuloni:
The employment of sole parents is gradually improving,
But if facts were allowed to get in the way, Labour would have little to moan about (I think there's an unintended pun in there somewhere.)