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Jobseeker's Allowance

Volume 473: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what factors account for the recent changes in the number of jobseeker’s allowance sanctions or disallowances; (192922)

(2) what guidance was issued to Jobcentre Plus in 2006-07 on the application of sanctions or disallowances; and what effect this has had on numbers of such sanctions or disallowances.

In his Budget report of 2006 the Chancellor announced a strengthening and refocusing of jobsearch reviews to make sure jobseeker’s allowance is paid only to people who are able to demonstrate they have undertaken their responsibilities to look for work.

Following that announcement, guidance was issued to Jobcentre Plus staff, stressing the importance of ensuring all contacts with people claiming jobseeker’s allowance include a discussion about what they have been doing to find work. Where this raises a doubt about the adequacy of their jobsearch, a Jobcentre Plus decision maker is obliged to consider whether jobseeker’s allowance is payable.

Following the issue of this guidance there has been an increase in associated sanctions and disallowances.