SNP candidate calls for benefit sanctions ban

Councillor Peter Grant
Councillor Peter Grant

The SNP’s Glenrothes and Central Fife candidate in the forthcoming general election has called for the immediate suspension of benefit sanctions against claimants who have children in their household or who have mental health problems.

SNP group leader Peter Grant has submitted a motion to tomorrow’s (Thursday) meeting of the full Fife Council asking councillors to back the move.

“Most people who have never had to claim benefits probably don’t realise just how inhumane the new sanctions regime is,” said Mr Grant.

“If you get sanctioned the welfare state just abandons you for a minimum of two weeks and often longer. Just missing an appointment at the job centre is treated like a crime even if you’ve got a good reason.

Mr Grant added that there are two groups of people most often hit by sanctions; lone parents and people with mental health problems.

He highlighted a recently published report’s findings that a thousand sanctions per week are being applied against people who have been assessed as unfit to work because of mental health problems and 100,000 sanctions per year are against families with children.

“This is not a question of economics or politics, it’s about basic humanity,” said Mr Grant.

“The sanctions regime is hurting the very people who are most in need of help therefore I hope we can get unanimous support to send out a message that there should be an immediate end to sanctions against our most vulnerable citizens.”