Scottish National Party (SNP) Media Release:

New figures obtained by the SNP have found a staggering increase in the number of people being hit by benefit sanctions at the hands of Westminster welfare reforms, further highlighting the need for a Yes vote and the full powers over welfare it would bring.

An answer to a Written Question from SNP MSP Kevin Stewart found that, since 2009, there has been a 65 per cent increase in the number of disabled people being sanctioned and a 76 per cent increase in women being sanctioned.

Lone parents have been hit the hardest, with a staggering 563 per cent increase in sanction since 2009.

Analysis from the Child Poverty Action Group has previously found that 100,000 more children in Scotland face being pushed into poverty by 2020.

Those hit by sanctions can have their benefits taken away for a fixed period of anything from a week to three years.

SNP MSP Kevin Stewart, who sits on the Welfare Reform Committee, said:

“These figures show a staggering increase in the number of people being hit by Westminster’s deeply unfair benefit sanctions. It is seriously worrying that lone parents are the hardest hit group with a 563 per cent increase since 2009 – this sets alarm bells ringing about the impact that this policy will be having on children across Scotland.

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

“Women already bear the brunt of welfare cuts, with 69 per cent of planned cuts falling on them – these figures show that despite David Cameron’s attempts to appear to be taking action on equality, the number of women being sanctioned is up by three quarters.

“Evidence of Westminster’s failure on welfare grows by the day. We have already seen a four fold increase in the number of people relying on food banks as a result of Westminster’s obsession with dismantling the welfare state, and now the UK Government’s own report on Bedroom Tax – sneaked out during the reshuffle – finds more than half of those hit by Bedroom Tax are in arrears.

“The Scottish Government is doing 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.”