By Chaminda Jayanetti
More than 40,000 benefit sanctions were imposed on claimants with dependent children in 2013/14, according to figures released by the government.
The data, published by the Department of Work and Pensions (pdf) in response to a Freedom of Information request, indicates that anything up to 80,000 children aged 18 and under may have been in affected households.
The request was submitted by a third party via the website www.whatdotheyknow.com, which allows members of the public to submit FOI requests to public bodies.
Benefit sanctions can be imposed by job centre staff for a variety of perceived failings by claimants to do enough to find work. If a sanction is imposed, benefit payments are stopped for a certain amount of time, leaving claimants with little or no money to live on.
They are blamed by campaigners for driving up levels of food poverty, particularly among mothers who…
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