Thousands of orders have been issued to stop Wiganers’ benefits temporarily by Government staff since controversial rule changes were made.
Shocking statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show 6,063 sanctions were handed out by the Jobcentre Plus in Wigan to people receiving Jobseekers’ Allowance (JSA) between October 2012 and June 2016.
A further 3,504 penalties were issued in the same time period to claimants of JSA in Leigh.
The figures show hundreds of reprimands were dished out each month when new, harsher benefits rules were brought in, with the number in Wigan jumping from 79 in October 2012 to 248 the following month.
However, since the end of 2014 numbers of sanctions per month in Wigan have dwindled below 100, with the Jobcentre Plus staff this year dishing out between 17 and 45 sanctions per month.
Sanctions have been handed out to claimants for falling foul of DWP rules, with claimants facing penalties for being late to interviews or appointments or not being thought to do enough job searching.
A local MP today branded the whole system “cruel”.