Friday, 18 July 2014

Burgess blasts UK benefits sanctions

Margaret Burgess MSP has revealed that figures obtained by the SNP have found a “staggering increase” in the number of people being hit by benefit sanctions imposed by the UK Government’s Department for Work & Pensions.

The MSP for the local constituency of Cunninghame South said, “Those hit by sanctions can have their benefits taken away for a fixed period of anything from a week to three years.

"These figures show that lone parents have been hit the hardest, with a staggering 563 percent increase in sanctions since 2009. There has also been a 65 percent increase in the number of disabled people being sanctioned and a 76 percent increase in women having their benefits removed.”

Mrs Burgess, also the SNP Scottish Government’s Minister for Housing & Welfare, said she is worried lone parents are the hardest hit group, saying, “This sets alarm bells ringing about the impact of the policy on children in North Ayrshire and across Scotland.

"We already have analysis from the Child Poverty Action Group showing that 100,000 more children in Scotland face being pushed into poverty by 2020.

“The 65 percent increase in disabled people being hit is also cause for major concern. A welfare system should be supporting and empowering people with disabilities, not making life more difficult for them.”

Mrs Burgess blasted the Tory-led UK Government, noting, “In the week when David Cameron promotes a few more female Tory MPs, supposedly to show his party’s commitment to equality for women, these figures give the game away: in the real world women are bearing the brunt with 69 percent of welfare cuts falling on them.

“Evidence of Westminster’s failure on welfare grows by the day, with a four-fold increase in the number of people relying on foodbanks as a result of the UK obsession with dismantling the welfare state.

“The Scottish Government continues to do what it can to mitigate the impact of welfare cuts, but with the full powers of independence we could do so much more. In an independent Scotland we can build a welfare state that empowers people, tackling poverty and helping to bring about the fairer Scotland we all want to see.”

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