The unemployed and the moral case for benefit sanctions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article assesses the Conservative-led Coalition Government’s (2010–2015) record on benefit sanctions and work-for-your-benefit (workfare) policies. It is argued that while the schemes largely built upon previous Labour Governments’ (1997–2010) policies, the Coalition Government also switched back to a traditional Conservative discourse, according to which jobseekers are part of a “work-shy” minority who live at the expense of the “hard working” taxpaying majority. The crackdown on unemployment benefits was broadly popular with the public, which explains why the Coalition Government was able to implement a relatively harsh benefit sanctions regime. Work-for-your-benefit policies, by contrast, were faced with a series of political and legal challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-150
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social Security Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in the Journal of Social Security Law following peer review. The definitive published version Daguerre, Anne (2015) The unemployed and the moral case for benefit sanctions. Journal of Social Security Law, 22 (3). pp. 130-150. ISSN 1354-7747 is available online on Westlaw UK or from Thomson Reuters DocDel service.


  • Welfare Reform
  • Benefit sanctions
  • UK Coalition government


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