The UK’s most extensive study of welfare conditionality has found that welfare sanctions are “ineffective” at “supporting” people into work and are more likely to reduce those affected to poverty, ill-health or survival crime.
Despite dogmatic claims by Conservative ministers in recent years that rigorously enforced conditionality – including mandatory 35-hour job searches – “‘incentivised’ claimants to move off benefits into work”, the research found the positive impact was negligible.
The Economic and Social Research Council-funded study of welfare conditionality was carried out between 2013 and 2018 by researchers at six universities. It included repeat qualitative interviews over two years with 481 welfare service users in England and Scotland as well as interviews with 57 policy experts and 27 focus groups.
The five-year research programme that has been following the lives of hundreds of claimants concludes that the controversial policy of cutting benefits as a punishment for alleged failures…
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