Employment and Support Allowance sanctions

Published

Last updated 31 July 2020 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • in November 2016, claimants from the Other ethnic group were most likely to be sanctioned, and claimants from the White British and Asian groups were least likely to be

  • older claimants were less likely to be sanctioned than younger claimants

  • a smaller percentage of White claimants were sanctioned than claimants from other ethnic groups in every quarter between February 2013 and November 2016, with the exception of January, February and March 2016

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

This data measures the number and percentage of decisions to sanction people receiving work-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

A sanction is when someone claiming ESA has their benefit reduced if they don’t do things to prepare for work in the future, such as attending meetings with their adviser.

Numbers of sanctions are unrounded. Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

You can read more about ESA sanctions.

Not included in the data

The data does not include:

  • sanction decisions that have been reversed, for example on appeal
  • people claiming support-based ESA as they don’t get sanctioned

Data is suppressed (not shown) if the number of sanction decisions for a particular ethnic group is too small to make reliable generalisations.

How sanction rates are calculated

Percentages are worked out based on 3 months worth of data. The percentage of decisions to sanction is the average number of decisions each month divided by the number of people claiming ESA on the last day of the month.

The ethnic groups used in the data

To allow reliable generalisations to be made, data is shown for 4 aggregated groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Mixed
  • Other

Data is also shown for 2 White ethnic groups:

  • White British
  • White Other

For data analysed by ethnicity and another factor (such as age group), the data is shown for 2 ethnic groups:

  • White (White British and White ethnic minorities)
  • Other (all other ethnic minorities)

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for the data used on this page.

The data counts the number of decisions to sanction, not how many people were sanctioned. Because someone can have more than one sanction in a month, differences between ethnic groups could be due to:

  • more people in a particular group receiving sanctions
  • people in that group receiving multiple sanctions

In the data file

See Download the data for:

  • figures for the 9 regions of England, plus Scotland and Wales
  • numbers of people claiming ESA whose ethnicity was not known

3. By ethnicity

Percentage and number of claimants sanctioned, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of sanctions
All 0.3 1,278
Asian 0.3 37
Black 0.5 46
Mixed 0.4 18
White British 0.3 1,027
White other 0.4 38
Other 0.6 31

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Employment and Support Allowance sanctions By ethnicity Summary

As the numbers of claimants are low for some ethnic groups, a small change in the number of sanctions can have a large impact on the percentage.

This data shows that:

  • the Asian and White British groups had the lowest percentage of claimants sanctioned, at 0.3%
  • the Other ethnic group had the highest percentage of claimants sanctioned, at 0.6%

4. By ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of claimants sanctioned, by ethnicity over time
White Other
Month White % White Number of sanctions Other % Other Number of sanctions
Feb-13 0.2 863 0.3 129
May-13 0.3 1,374 0.4 182
Aug-13 0.3 1,624 0.6 244
Nov-13 0.4 2,027 0.7 322
Feb-14 0.6 2,556 0.9 417
May-14 0.7 2,887 0.9 411
Aug-14 0.5 1,925 0.7 309
Nov-14 0.4 1,782 0.7 290
Feb-15 0.4 1,648 0.6 237
May-15 0.3 1,082 0.5 213
Aug-15 0.2 774 0.4 135
Nov-15 0.2 792 0.4 144
Feb-16 0.2 773 0.2 90
May-16 0.2 827 0.4 132
Aug-16 0.2 842 0.3 96
Nov-16 0.3 1,062 0.4 131

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Employment and Support Allowance sanctions By ethnicity over time Summary

The figures shown in the chart and table for 3 calendar months. For example, the figure for ‘February 2016’ represents the results for January, February and March 2016.

As the numbers of claimants are low for some ethnic groups, a small change in the number of sanctions can have a large impact on the percentage.

This data shows that:

  • since February 2013, White claimants have nearly always had a lower percentage of sanctions than claimants from the Other ethnic group – the only exception was in January, February and March 2016, when the figure for both groups was 0.2%
  • between May 2014 and November 2016, the percentage of sanctions for the claimants from other ethnic groups fell from 0.9% to 0.4%, while for White claimants it fell from 0.7% to 0.3%

5. By ethnicity and age group

Percentage and number of claimants sanctioned, by ethnicity and age group
White Other
Age group White % White Number of sanctions Other % Other Number of sanctions
18-24 1.1 204 1.4 16
25-49 0.4 651 0.5 78
50-64 0.1 210 0.2 38

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and age group’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and age group’ (CSV)

Summary of Employment and Support Allowance sanctions By ethnicity and age group Summary

As the numbers of claimants are low for some ethnic groups, a small change in the number of sanctions can have a large impact on the percentage.

This data shows that:

  • for all age groups, the percentage sanctioned was higher for claimants from other ethnic groups than for White claimants
  • for both White claimants and claimants from other ethnic groups, 18 to 24 year olds were most likely to be sanctioned and 50 to 64 year olds were least likely to be sanctioned
  • both White claimants and claimants from other ethnic groups were nearly 3 times more likely to be sanctioned if they were aged 18 to 24 years than if they were aged 25 to 49 years

6. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Department for Work and Pensions

Note on corrections or updates

The figures on this page may not match other published data as figures can be changed after being published (for example, if an appeal is successful).

Publication frequency

Quarterly

Purpose of data source

The figures for the number of people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in the Work-Related Activity Group and the number of decisions to sanction the benefit are administrative data used to produce official and experimental statistics.

7. Download the data