SNP MP vows to keep fighting ‘brutal’ benefit sanctions regime

Mhairi Black has vowed to be “a thorn in the side” of the UK Government over the “horrific and unfair” benefit sanctions regime.

Mhairi Black has today (3rd January) vowed to be “a thorn in the side” of the UK Government over the “horrific and unfair” benefit sanctions regime and called on Theresa May to outline exactly what she will do to improve the hated system if she refuses to scrap it completely.

The youngest MP in the Commons had consistently called for the hated system, which means an individual’s payments are frozen if they fail to adhere to often ludicrous claimant conditions, to be scrapped completely.

Last year she brought forward a private member’s bill that contained a small ask of the UK Government to consider an individual’s risk of homelessness, care commitments or whether a mental ill-health condition would be exacerbated before a sanction could be issued but the Tories failed to support it – despite recognising that there were some very real problems with the system.

Mhairi Black has written to the Prime Minister to ask, if she won’t scrap sanctions altogether, what she will do to ensure that improvements are made to the system and put an end to incorrect sanctions.

Mhairi Black MP (pictured) said: “I am determined to keep fighting against the horrific and unfair sanctions regime that this Tory government seems so fond of, the damage that this policy is doing is unimaginable and Theresa May has to explain how it is working for the “many and not just the privileged few”.

“The stories are heartbreaking with one young mum from London getting in touch with me saying that sanctions made her homeless, and another, a student from Dundee, saying sanctions had ruined her life and left her unable to feed, clothe and look after herself properly.

“We have even had a DWP manager telling of the terrifying and truly devastating Tory diktat just before Christmas that forced staff to concentrate solely on issuing sanctions rather than trying to help the individuals who had been sanctioned incorrectly.

“But these aren’t just stories to marvel over and then move on: these are real people and their lives are a misery because of benefit sanctions. Something has to change.

“I have written to Theresa May to ask what she will do to change the sanctions regime in 2017 and exactly how she plans to improve the lives of the many, starting with how she will ensure that no one is incorrectly sanctioned.

“I am determined to be a thorn in the side of this Tory government over the brutal and regressive sanctions regime and I won’t rest until there is change.”

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