The SNP is today repeating its call for an immediate moratorium on sanctions and for full powers over social security to be transferred to Scotland – after further ‘heartbreaking’ evidence of the impact of the UK Government’s sanctions regime.
As reported in today’s Daily Record, a Fife man found himself sanctioned after missing a Jobcentre appointment – despite the fact that he was in hospital recovering from emergency surgery after a major heart attack.
Today’s report comes as the New Policy Institute think-tank warns that the levels of sanctions imposed could double with the roll out of the Tory’s Universal Credit policy – increasing by as much as an extra 600,000.
Commenting, Paisley’s MSP George Adam said, “I find these reports heartbreaking. This is yet further evidence that the Tory government’s austerity policies are not working and forcing the most vulnerable in society to live without money after being sanctioned for often the most ridiculous of reasons.
“And the idea that the imposition of these cruel, punitive sanctions could in fact double as the Tories’ Universal Credit is rolled out is deeply worrying – and shows the need for urgent action.
“I had a young man attend my office. He was sanctioned for taking an unsanctioned holiday. The ‘holiday’ was in fact a two day trip to Aberdeen to seek employment in the oil industry. He walked around the granite city for 2 days handing in CVs and he slept on a relatives couch. He was actively looking for work, however on his return, he was told he has taken an unsanctioned holiday and his benefits were stopped.
“The SNP has already been clear that there needs to be an immediate review of the UK Government’s conditionality and sanctions regime – and the DWP should not be allowed to impose any more unfair sanctions on vulnerable people while the review is ongoing.
“But more than that, we need the powers to put a stop to this relentless assault on vulnerable people – and to design a new and better system which supports and empowers people who need help rather than punishing them as this Tory government seems intent on doing.
“The Tories have shown time and time again that they can’t be trusted to take decisions on social security on Scotland’s behalf – and it’s time that these crucial powers are in Scotland’s hands, rather than Iain Duncan Smith’s.”