Data obtained from the Department of Work and Pensions shows that the number of Universal Credit claimants being sanctioned fell between March and August 2018 in Scotland. (August 2018 is the latest month that data is currently available for).
Despite the total number of people claiming Universal Credit rising from 78,975 in March to 113,831 in August the number of people subject to sanctions fell from 3,397 to 2,380 over the same period. That represents a change from 4.3% of claimants being sanctioned down to 2.1%.
The biggest fall was in the SNP held constituency of Perth and North Perthshire where the percentage of claimants being sanctioned dropped from 10.5% to 2%.
Not every constituency had a fall however, with Tory held Stirling seeing a rise from 1.9% to 3.2%. Other constituencies that showed a rise in claimants being sanctioned were Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Midlothian, Ochil and South Perthshire and Ross, Skye and Lochaber.
You can view the breakdown for each constituency here.
What isn’t clear from the raw data are the reasons for the reduction in the number of people being sanctioned. It could be that the DWP are getting less strict, more people winning appeals or MPs fighting harder for their constituents that come to them for help. Not withstanding that the numbers are down the fact that 2,380 people in Scotland were still being sanctioned shows that there is still a lot of work to be done on this issue.