Unemployed people who refuse unpaid work could lose their benefits for three years under new government plans.
The new rules increase the maximum time that someone can be denied all their benefits from 26 weeks to 156 weeks.
Work and pensions minister Mark Hoban told parliament that the longest sanctions would be for “failing to participate in mandatory work experience”. Those who refuse to take up a job, or leave a job voluntarily, would also face the three year sanction.
The new rules will introduce a “three strikes” rule, with the first sanction 13 weeks, the second 26 weeks and the third three years. The sanction time will continue to run if a claimant loses another job and tries to get back onto benefits.
The attack is part of changes to the jobseeker’s allowance currently going through parliament.