Arbitrary sanctions hit children hardest

Increasing numbers of single parents are being penalised under a regime that is overly focussed on sanctions rather than getting more people into work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says.

“Figures, obtained through Parliamentary questions show 3000 more sanctions, affecting parents of children, were issued in 2014/15 than in the previous year. Sole parents fared the worst

“Being sanctioned is another way of saying ‘financially penalised’.

“Some of these families have sick or disabled children, some have just come out of abusive relationships and some have been left high and dry to look after children on their own.

“All of these parents have limited resources and are just trying to do the best that they can with very little constructive support from this government. Reducing their incomes even further can make it impossible.

“International studies show sanctions can have a major negative impact on children, whatever the suspension period.

“The Government claims to have a ‘relentless focus on work’ which is supposed to be about improving outcomes for children. That is not borne out in these figures.

“The truth is this government’s punitive approach is leading to entrenched poverty, not more jobs, and is hurting our children.”