Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under ‘draconian’ new sanctions regime

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‘Thousands of young people have been forced to go without food or other essentials after their benefits were wrongly stopped under a “draconian” new sanctions regime, research suggests.

Since the Coalition introduced more punitive benefit sanctions in October 2012, more than 45,000 young people have been hit with an incorrect penalty, according to IoS analysis of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) figures.

A sanction can mean having welfare payments cut off entirely for a minimum of a month and as much as three years for “repeat offenders”. The hardline system, which means people can end up cast adrift for accidentally missing an appointment, is thought to be one of the reasons behind the vast numbers turning to food banks.

Experts say young people are being unfairly singled out by the strict new system of penalties. Despite making up only 27 per cent of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants, 18- to 24-year-olds have accounted for 42 per cent of all sanctions handed out.’

Read more: Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under ‘draconian’ new sanctions regime