Universal Credit was first rolled-out in Sheffield in August 2015. Initially, only a handful of people were moved over to the disastrous new system but, as of May 2019, 11,090 people in the city receive Universal Credit.
Those receiving Universal Credit can be have their payments sanctioned for up to three years if they fail to meet strict conditions set out by the DWP. In Sheffield, sanctions reached a peak in March 2018 when 363 people – 15% of sanctionable Universal Credit claimants – had their payments reduced in a single month. In Sheffield Heeley, the figure for that month was a staggering 18% – three times higher than the corresponding national figure of 6%.
These callous sanctions will have forced families into poverty and debt as they’re left without any money to pay bills and put food on the table. The Government needs to scrap this punitive sanctions regime that is pushing people into destitution and instead provide people with proper support to get into well-paid work.