Looking at alternatives to the Tory approach to Benefit Sanctions, I’ve looked at a few things proposed by the LibDems. Mahmud Henry Rogers (@MahmudHenryR) provide me with links to various policy items. I’ve a pulled out a couple of things which highlight some difference with the Tories.
The Tory approach is one of, “Let’s start with the threat of sanctions”. Is that the best place to start?
It’s only the best place if you want to increase the stress, pressure and poverty on already vulnerable people. Unpalatable as that may be to many Tories, that is exactly what Mr Duncan Smith is doing. Of course such an approach will make it easier to remove entitlement to benefit, an entitlement cleverly eroded by Mr Duncan Smith.
EXTRACTS FROM LIBDEM POLICY
B. Benefit sanctions are hitting those in most need of support, with the 14 day rule leaving people penniless and having to visit food banks.
3. A different approach towards conditions and sanctions so that they are only used as a last resort in a small number of cases where all other approaches to engagement have failed; as a starting point the Department of Work and Pensions should immediately implement the recommendations of the Oakley Review
4. Introduction of a single assessment process across different disability benefits, based on real world tests of capability and functionality, with better allocation into different groups and greater onus and incentives on assessment contractors to collect relevant evidence from health professionals working with those claimants, so that assessment decisions can be right first time and avoid reconsideration and appeal costs.
b) Introduce a more specialist support pathway for ESA claimants with more complex needs tailored services for enhanced support to assist those with long-term conditions and disabilities, supported by incentives for business to provide employment on flexible and accessible basis.
b) A Fairness Principle is implemented for mandatory schemes, so claimants made to work for their benefits receive the equivalent of minimum wage for their work.
Over to you Mr Fuller. Would you care to explain the Tory approach?