Thanks to all of you who have contacted me expressing concern about benefit sanctions.
I share your worry, not least because of the number of constituents who have been sanctioned who have been to see me in my advice surgeries.
There is also a problem that affects some of those sanctioned when their housing benefit is incorrectly withdrawn because Jobcentre Plus has notified the local authority of an 'end to entitlement'. I have discussed this with Leeds CAB and have raised the matter with ministers.
The government denies that there are any targets for sanctions, but frankly I am not persuaded that this is the case. As the Labour opposition we will press to ensure that rules and decisions around sanctions are fair and properly communicated and that the system of hardship payments is working properly.
Rt Hon Hilary Benn
MP for Leeds Central