The number of ESA claimants referred to the Work Programme has increased by more than half over the last 2 years and as such we would expect to see a consequential increase in sanction referrals as more people join the programme.
ESA claimants are not sanctioned for not finding or taking up work and all activities claimants are referred to must be reasonable given their circumstances and capabilities. In any month less than 1% of ESA claimants are sanctioned.
Evidence suggests that work and work related activity is good for people with health conditions. Through the Work Programme ESA claimants have access to the support they need to improve their skills and move closer to the labour market. With this increased support, comes increased expectations and where claimants fail to meet reasonable requirements, proportionate sanctions are applied.