Jobseeker's Allowance sanctions

Published

Last updated 31 July 2020 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • from October 2013 to December 2016, the percentage of claimants receiving sanctions fell, both for those in the White ethnic group and those in other ethnic groups combined

  • in December 2016, the percentage of claimants sanctioned from ethnic minorities other than White ethnic minorities (1.7%) was slightly greater than the percentage of White claimants sanctioned (1.5%)

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

  • claimants of Mixed ethnicity were more likely to be sanctioned than claimants from any other ethnic group, but this group also has the highest percentage of claimants aged 18 to 24 (a group more likely to receive sanctions regardless of ethnicity) and the lowest percentage of people aged 50 and over (the age group least likely to be sanctioned)

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data measures the number and percentage of decisions to sanction people receiving work-related Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

A sanction is when someone claiming JSA has their benefit reduced if they don’t do something they’re asked to do by their Jobcentre adviser without good reason, for example, if they don’t accept or keep to their agreement to look for work.

Read more about JSA sanctions

Not included in the data

The data does not include sanction decisions that were successfully appealed.

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 monthly. The percentage of decisions to sanction is the average number of decisions each month divided by the number of people claiming JSA on the second Thursday 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

You can download the data for the numbers of people who didn’t report their ethnicity.

3. By ethnicity

Percentage of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants sanctioned, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of sanctions
All 1.6 7,420
Asian 1.6 489
Black 1.8 744
Mixed 2.0 206
White British 1.5 5,064
White Other 1.3 261
Other 1.7 226

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

Summary of Jobseeker's Allowance sanctions By ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • the Mixed ethnic group had the highest percentage of claimants sanctioned (2%)

  • the percentage of claimants sanctioned in the White ethnic groups was lower than in all other ethnic groups

4. By ethnicity and area

Percentage of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants sanctioned, by ethnicity and area
Area All Asian Black Mixed White British White Other Other
% % % % % % %
East Midlands 1.3 1.2 1.8 1.6 1.3 1.1 1.6
East of England 1.8 1.5 1.7 2.8 1.8 0.9 2.1
London 1.8 1.8 1.9 2.2 1.9 1.0 1.8
North East 1.5 1.4 2.0 3.2 1.5 1.0 2.4
North West 1.5 1.4 1.7 2.3 1.5 1.4 2.2
Scotland 1.4 1.1 1.7 withheld to protect confidentiality 1.4 1.6 1.3
South East 1.7 1.6 2.1 1.4 1.6 1.7 1.2
South West 1.4 withheld to protect confidentiality 1.8 2.1 1.3 1.4 1.7
Wales 1.4 2.8 1.3 2.2 1.3 1.9 withheld to protect confidentiality
West Midlands 1.2 0.8 1.3 1.4 1.1 0.8 1.3
Yorkshire and The Humber 2.2 2.7 2.2 2.4 2.1 2.0 1.5

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

Summary of Jobseeker's Allowance sanctions By ethnicity and area Summary

This data shows that:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in Yorkshire and The Humber were more likely to be sanctioned than claimants in other areas

  • Mixed ethnic claimants from the North East had the highest percentage of sanctions, at 3.2%

  • Other White and Asian claimants living in the West Midlands were the least likely to be sanctioned, at 0.8%

  • the South East, Wales, Yorkshire and the East Midlands were the only areas where Mixed ethnic claimants were not the most likely to be sanctioned

  • there were no areas where White British or Other White claimants were the most likely to be sanctioned

5. By ethnicity and age group

Percentage of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants sanctioned, by ethnicity and age
Aged 18-24 Aged 25-49 Aged 50+
Ethnic group Aged 18-24 % Aged 18-24 Number of sanctions Aged 25-49 % Aged 25-49 Number of sanctions Aged 50+ % Aged 50+ Number of sanctions
All 3.9 2,057 1.5 4,119 0.8 1,224
Asian 3.6 105 1.5 291 1.1 97
Black 4.7 181 1.8 453 0.9 111
Mixed 4.6 78 1.5 104 0.9 16
White British 3.9 1,495 1.5 2,707 0.8 856
White Other 3.4 56 1.4 169 0.6 32
Other 2.9 49 1.8 165 0.6 16

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

Summary of Jobseeker's Allowance sanctions By ethnicity and age group Summary

This data shows that:

  • younger claimants received more sanctions than older people

  • 3.9% of White British claimants aged 18 to 24 received sanctions, compared with 1.5% of claimants from the same ethnic group aged 25 to 49, and 0.8% aged 50 or over

  • the highest percentage of sanctions in the 18 to 24 age group was 4.7%, for Black claimants (compared with 3.9% overall)

  • the highest percentage of sanctions in the 25 to 49 age group was 1.8%, for both Black claimants and those from the Other ethnic group (compared with 1.5% overall)

  • Asian claimants aged 50 and over were most likely to be sanctioned in that age group (1.1% compared to 0.8% overall)

6. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants sanctioned, by ethnicity over time
White Other
Month White % White Number of sanctions Other % Other Number of sanctions
Nov-12 4.8 54,718 5.9 14,336
Dec-12 3.8 42,704 4.7 11,313
Jan-13 4.6 55,098 6.0 14,405
Feb-13 3.9 47,780 5.1 12,456
Mar-13 4.3 51,042 5.4 13,143
Apr-13 5.1 58,544 5.9 14,177
May-13 5.4 60,642 6.1 14,536
Jun-13 5.1 54,018 5.6 13,090
Jul-13 6.3 66,359 6.9 15,966
Aug-13 6.0 61,302 6.4 14,680
Sep-13 6.2 60,025 6.7 14,768
Oct-13 7.4 68,423 8.3 17,277
Nov-13 6.1 54,841 6.8 13,558
Dec-13 4.8 42,146 5.3 10,357
Jan-14 5.8 53,223 6.5 12,676
Feb-14 5.1 47,397 5.9 11,560
Mar-14 5.3 46,702 6.0 11,402
Apr-14 4.9 40,871 5.8 10,704
May-14 4.9 38,725 5.4 9,693
Jun-14 5.3 39,425 6.0 10,284
Jul-14 5.3 38,296 6.1 10,470
Aug-14 4.7 32,081 5.4 9,039
Sep-14 4.9 31,969 5.4 8,654
Oct-14 4.5 28,695 5.0 7,719
Nov-14 4.3 26,264 4.8 7,007
Dec-14 3.7 21,681 3.9 5,538
Jan-15 4.0 24,780 4.3 6,125
Feb-15 3.8 23,669 4.1 5,966
Mar-15 4.1 24,210 4.4 6,286
Apr-15 3.3 18,942 3.4 4,700
May-15 3.0 16,043 3.0 4,013
Jun-15 3.3 17,198 3.4 4,450
Jul-15 3.0 15,308 3.1 4,063
Aug-15 2.7 13,372 2.9 3,821
Sep-15 2.6 12,675 2.8 3,639
Oct-15 2.7 12,861 2.9 3,608
Nov-15 2.6 11,721 2.8 3,294
Dec-15 2.2 9,918 2.5 2,879
Jan-16 2.1 9,974 2.4 2,894
Feb-16 2.2 10,434 2.3 2,851
Mar-16 2.3 10,475 2.4 2,859
Apr-16 2.2 9,408 2.2 2,653
May-16 2.0 8,577 2.1 2,446
Jun-16 2.0 7,941 2.2 2,477
Jul-16 1.7 6,735 1.8 1,961
Aug-16 1.7 6,564 1.8 1,965
Sep-16 1.6 5,966 1.7 1,783
Oct-16 1.5 5,458 1.7 1,706
Nov-16 1.8 6,197 2.0 1,960
Dec-16 1.5 5,323 1.7 1,668

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

Summary of Jobseeker's Allowance sanctions By ethnicity over time Summary

This data shows that:

  • from November 2012 to December 2016, claimants from ethnic minorities (except White ethnic minorities) were generally more likely to be sanctioned than White claimants

  • since October 2013, the percentage of claimants receiving sanctions has fallen for all ethnic groups

7. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Experimental 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 Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and the number of decisions to stop benefit (‘sanctions’) are administrative data used to produce official and experimental statistics.

8. Download the data

JSA sanctions - Spreadsheet (csv) 3 MB

Region, month, ethnic group, numerator, denominator