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  • Kirsten

With a historic number of people out of work, the Tories should end their cruel sanctions regime

 @kirstenoswald: “Forcing people with a disability or suffering from ill-health into work isn’t just plain cruel, it’s a damning indictment of this failed government.”

 Scotland is proud to lead the way in supporting our most vulnerable.

Westminster must put an end to the cruel Tory sanctions regime following new data showing a record number of people are out of work due to a disability or ill health.The data, released last week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows there are now 2.8 million people who are economically inactive due to long-term sickness – one of the highest levels since records began in 1993. Despite this, the Tory government announced changes to the work capability assessment that could affect more people.The SNP has long said that those living with ill health or a disability should not be threatened with detrimental sanctions at any time, but particularly during a cost-of-living crisis. Individuals who have had a sanction applied have been denied vital cost-of-living payments.

The data also reveals an increase in sanctions during the Westminster cost of living crisis – from 45,000 in January 2023 to 53,000 in October 53,000.

SNP MPs have consistently campaigned for an end to the sanctions regime, highlighting the wealth of evidence showing it does not work.

Like so many Tory policies, it is an ill-thought out policy born of a desire to look tough and to be seen to be acting, rather than delivering results.

It has become standard Westminster practice to demonise and blame the vulnerable in times of difficulty – something of which both Labour and Tory governments are guilty.

And after thirteen years of brutal and punishing Tory austerity, which has pushed millions of people into poverty and poor mental health, it is truly despicable that UK Tory ministers are doubling down on these sickening sanctions.

But forcing people with a disability or suffering from ill-health into work isn’t just plain cruel, it’s a damning indictment of this failed government. This pathetic attempt to distract from their chaos, scandal and woeful record, says more about them than it does about our most vulnerable people. And it is even more disgusting that they plan to expand the cruel sanctions regime further.

With a record number of people out of work due to long-term sickness, this course of action, which has been proven not to work, makes absolutely no sense – particularly during the cost of living crisis which is forcing so many people to choose between heating and eating.

The SNP Government in Scotland has led the way on tackling poverty, through progressive policies like the Scottish Child Payment, but for every step we take forward Westminster drags us back with austerity and Brexit. Only with the full powers of independence will Scotland escape Westminster control.

As well as scrapping sanctions for good, whoever is next to get the keys to Number 10 must commit to follow Scotland’s lead by introducing a UK-wide child payment and reversing the two child cap and bedroom tax.

Sir Keir Starmer has ruled that out – SNP MPs will be sure to turn up the heat on an incoming Labour government that is fast becoming nothing but a pale imitation of the Tories.

Scotland has made it clear it wants and values a fairer, more equal society. Only SNP MPs can be trusted to make Scotland’s voice and values heard at Westminster – so vote SNP at the next general election to ensure Scotland cannot be ignored by the Westminster elite.


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