The Labour MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, Gerald Jones, has spoken out against the Government’s plans to sanction parents looking for work. Controversial changes from the UK Government’s Department of Work and Pensions include extending benefit sanctions to parents of three and four year old children who are out of work.

Speaking in Parliament, Gerald said

In a report by Barnardo’s it highlights that the current sanctions regime is unnecessarily punitive and not fit for purpose. The Work and Pensions Select Committee and many other organisations have repeatedly called for a broad independent review of conditionality and sanctions already. It is imperative that this review takes place before sanctions are extended to families with three and four year old children.”

Highlighting stories of people already affected by sanctions Mr Jones urged the government to take action

 We know that sanctions can be hugely disproportionate and we have heard some examples of just how bad this afternoon, A single mother missing an interview because her child became ill on the way. A father delayed for an appointment by just 10 minutes on the phone to his child’s school.

“We also know that loss of benefits for weeks on end can leave families struggling to feed their children and heat their homes. I know that many honourable members will be aware that many parents are being driven to food banks or into debt, I know in my own constituency of Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney this is a reality for many families.

“The Government must take urgent action”.

Research on the major contributor to the rise of food bank usage has been produced by House of Commons Library.  Copies can be found here: 

Barnardos report on the impact of Benefit sanctions can be found at

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