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Topical Questions

Part of Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons on 9th March 2020.

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Photo of David Davis David Davis Conservative, Haltemprice and Howden

May I take up the Secretary of State on her comment at the beginning on sanctions in the context of coronavirus? Currently, jobseeker’s allowance requires claimants to attend jobcentres in person every two weeks and prove that they have been looking for work—they must show evidence that they have been applying for jobs and going to interviews.

Claimants can be sanctioned if they fail to attend the jobcentre, turn down a training course or fail to go to an interview. The Secretary of State said that the sanctions will not be applied if jobcentres are informed in advance, but the process of going through self-isolation may be shocking to the people involved; it may be disorganising what may already be disorganised lives. Can the Secretary of State tell the House that the Department will retain sufficient flexibility to ensure that people will not be punished for doing what the Government recommend?