MPs to debate ‘cruel and damaging’ benefit sanctions regime

SNP MP Mhairi Black has urged MPs from all parties to back her Bill calling for a "fairer" benefit sanctions system.


SNP MP Mhairi Black will today (Friday) issue a heartfelt plea to all MPs to put party politics aside and support her initiative to reform the UK Government’s “cruel and damaging” benefits sanctions regime.

The Benefits Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons today and Mhairi Black, the youngest MP in the Commons, is the second SNP MP to ever bring forward a Private Member’s Bill.

The legislation will ensure that Department for Work and Pensions staff in Jobcentres across the UK would be required to consider whether personal circumstances such as caring commitments, whether a person is at risk of homelessness or whether they suffer from a mental ill-health condition that could be exacerbated by a benefit sanction before one can be issued.

Director Ken Loach, whose film I, Daniel Blake deals with the effects of benefits sanctions, gave his support to the Bill earlier this week and also urged others to give it their backing.

Mhairi Black MP (pictured) said: “Today we have an important opportunity to make the cruel and damaging benefits sanctions regime fairer. This is about real people, real lives and the real and devastating consequences that sanctions have on individuals and their families.

“My bill will introduce a process of assessing a person’s circumstances such as their caring commitments, whether they are at risk of homelessness or whether they suffer from a mental ill-health condition that could be exacerbated by a sanction.

“If I could scrap sanctions completely I would do it in a heartbeat but I can’t and so I’m making this small ask in the hope that it will improve the lives of people who simply cannot afford to have their safety net stripped from them when they need it most.

“I call on MPs from all parties – Labour in particular – to prove that they can stand up for their constituents and support my Bill today.”


Update: Bill was shelved after MPs spoke for so long there wasn’t enough time for the government to respond.


This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP).


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  • StephenH

    Why not report which MPs were guilty of talking out this bill

  • SwindonPA

    Just wondering who really is controlling Parliament? Nazis perhaps?

  • neal marshall

    IDS when Works & Pensions secretary created a dictatorship within a democracy (DWP) while paying himself £145,000 a year,( how many JSA,s is this, even before sanctions?) sanctions are used as a weapon of oppression against the unemployed, forcing people to accept jobs with employment agencies, these jobs are from 1930,s, zero hour contracts, bit of jobs, absolute garbage! Jocetreplus is a playground for any mind sadist or bully whom chooses to work there

    • mark vincent

      A lot of these so-called ‘health care professionals’ who work for Atos and the like would have been in charge of selections on the ramp at Auschwitz if they had been around in the 30s and 40s.