In the Liberal Democrats general election manifesto, they will pledge to introduce a yellow card system to give any job seekers who breach the rules a final warning before imposing sanctions.
The party is concerned over the increase in the amount of sanctions in recent years, and says that claimants should be given a ‘fair warning’ before they lose their benefits. The move is another sign that the party wishes to distance itself from its Tory coalition partners.
The Lib Dems strongly believe that a reform of the system is necessary. Under the current rules, claimants can lose a months worth of benefits for what the party considers to be trivial matters, such as missing an appointment at the Job Centre. The party says that over the past decade, the amount of sanction referrals has increased from around 60,000 a month to 170,000. Sanctions are imposed if job seekers fail to meet requirements such as writing a CV, applying for enough jobs or turning up to interview.
To support its proposed reform, the Lib Dems say that there are figures from 2013 which show that around 6,700 sanctions were overturned each month as a result of a flaw in the original decision.
Steve Webb, work and pensions minister for the Lib Dems said:[quote] “The Liberal Democrats believe in offering opportunity for everyone in order to build a stronger economy and a fairer society. That’s why we are reforming the benefits system to make sure that work always pays.” [/quote]