Photo credit: Department for Work and Pensions / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Esther McVey has once again refused to visit Holyrood to give evidence in support of cruel and callous benefit changes, it has been reported today.

It’s the third time the Tory Employment Minister has snubbed requests from the Scottish welfare reform committee to explain why the UK Government is “failing to support vulnerable people”, reports the Daily Record.

McVey’s excuse for failing to attend was that she was busy preparing evidence for a Westminster committee.

When she was last invited to give evidence to Scottish MSPs, cowardly McVey instead chose to send Neil Couling; who is now responsible for overseeing Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship Universal Credit project.

The Daily Record says Iain Duncan Smith has also refused invitations from the committee on FOUR occasions, while welfare reform minister Lord Freud has rejected one request.

MSPs have accused Esther McVey of “running scared” of the committee, and not caring about people affected by welfare reforms and punitive benefit sanctions.

SNP MSP Christine McKelvie said it was “totally unacceptable” for McVey to refuse to give evidence before the committee, on how Westminster cuts “imposed on Scotland” are affecting Scottish families.

She added: “A Tory minister has been repeatedly invited to come to Scotland and appear before the welfare reform committee to provide answers on their track record of failing to support vulnerable people, but this invite, and seven previous invitations, have all been snubbed.

“This refusal sends a clear message that McVey and her Government don’t care about Scotland.”

McVey defended punitive benefit sanctions in a letter to the committee, in which she wrote: “It is widely accepted that they play an important role in the benefit system.

“They are effective in encouraging compliance and we continue to manage the process so they are only imposed as a last resort.”

Figures show the number of people affected by benefit sanctions in Scotland has rocketed since 2009, with the biggest increases occurring under the new sanctions regime introduced by the UK Government in October 2012.

The same figures also show a 65% rise in the number of sick and disabled Scots having their benefits slashed by sanctions.

Opponents of the new sanctions regime claim too many unemployed and vulnerable people are being sanctioned for punitive and unfair reasons. Such as turning up five minutes late for a work focused interview, even though they had informed the Jobcentre that they had a hospital appointment.

16 COMMENTS

  1. My advice to those facing benefit sanctions. Appeal all benefit sanctions. The Benefit sanction is the Last resort. yet we know today the DWP use it as a first resort. If you appeal it the Tribunal will go in your favour as the DWP have to prove it was the last resort not you. In other words they have to prove you were warned in advance and you agreed to amend what was wrong in other words they have to get you to sign an agreement of future conduct. without you signing anything to say you have been warned they do not have a leg to stand on at appeal. As it proves the benefit sanction was the first thing they resorted to when you did something wrong like sign on five minutes late or not attend because you were sick or at a job interview.
    The appeal is long drawn out but you have lost the benefit anyway so you have nothing to lose in appealing all benefit sanctions. The appeal forms are straight forward and the judge will help you go through the appeal at time of hearing to make it fair.
    Your defence should always start by asking for proof from the DWP they had not resorted to the sanction first.
    adding the threat of sanction to a letter in advance of attending is not proof you were warned and certainly is not justification to sanction you the moment you do not comply with something in the way they think you should of. there has to be a separate warning after you have failed to achieve what they wanted. Its like having a job and first getting the verbal warning then a written warning and then finally the sack so to speak. Its certainly not turning up for an appointment late then getting sanctioned as a result of it.
    Remember welfare reform is also about saving the country money. which is why all should appeal. each appeal costs around £8.000 to process. the more appeals the less savings made. even if you do not win the appeal for some reason you have cost Ian Duncan Smith a small fortune to implement his unfair benefit sanction. and once the welfare cap is reached he has to go to parliament and explain himself.

  2. is there anyone here that really wants to prove we are bigger than them ? the jobcenters in Britain are now sanctioning people and depriving them of their sustenance. these are the poorest people in our nation, unemployed and without financial support, these poor people are being deprived of the money they need to live in times of hardship ! in order to falsify the unemployment figures, people are getting their dole stopped and are expected to live on fuck all because it is cheaper to pay them nothing that to feed them, so the Tory scum bought in sanctions, draconian measures that deprive the poor of their sustenance in order to condemn the poor to starvation in order to reduce the unemployment figures THIS IS DEALT WITH BY JOBCENTER STAFF ! are there any of you hackers out there that could use your talents to post names and addresses of jobcenter staff, who are involved in this on this page, it could really piss some people off that work there. just think about it, if some twat was going to stop you feeding your family, and you could produce their name and address on a mobile phone right in front of them, maybe they would think twice ? so how about , day by day we hack and post where these fuckers live , their names and addresses and maybe the sanctions will stop ! we dont need to threaten anyone, but if your moneys being stopped , and across the desk without saying a fucking word you can show that cunt on the other side of the desk that they live among us and we know where are, are they really going to stop your money and risk injury or violence to their family’s ? if info is in the public domain they got no where to hide ! no claimant needs to threaten anyone, they are just reminding the fuckers that we know where they live, just a thought , !

    • What you are proposing is against the law. And anyone producing staff names and addresses would find themselves in police custody pretty sharpish, as well as losing their mobile phone, which would be seized as evidence.

    • The Government relies on those Sanctioned to stay honest and go beg food from a food bank. Those who are sanctioned should turn to crime.and when caught just explain to a judge its less embarrassing to thieve then it is to beg. When crime rises due to welfare reform you will see a change in the DWP.
      I was made homeless once. I took to crime to get the money needed to get off the streets as there was no real help to get away from being homeless, today there is even less help. I admit once i had got enough to get a place ( pay bond and first months rent ) i stopped.
      But believe me if i was unemployed and ended up facing a benefit sanction i be back to crime in a flash. Mind you in today’s welfare climate i would turn to crime before signing on for job seekers because it just isn’t worth the hassle they give you and i certainly would not work for free on the dwp slavery program

  3. this sanction regime has disastrously affected people all over the UK, both IDS and McVey have ignored claims that their reforms have been the cause. the rise in foodbank use, even people killing themselves. the only way to actually stop them is to vote them out. last election the number of non-voters were more than any party got, they could have made all the difference but chose not to vote, if it happens again we get the tories again. my family won’t survive another 5 years of them.

  4. Why should we be surprised? Mcvey is a nasty piece of work who started in sewer politics (she was a failed local council candidate famous for muck raking in our area) and has carried that on into her ministerial role. The Tories are always big and tough when it comes to taking on those who can’t defend themselves, but are utter cowards when it comes to the EU, speaking before committee’s of their peers, or facing the Public. DC recently visited Merseyside but the chicken kept it so quiet no-one knew until after he’d gone. As for Benefit sanctions, there is clear evidence in the Public domain that the govt is using them to simply force people off Benefits. Worse, they are being used in the most dubious manner possible. People being sent to interviews then failing to attend their DWP session by three minutes – even though the staff knew they couldn’t make it as they arranged the interview. This sort of tactic is commonplace an encouraged by ministers. Targets are set (despite govt denial – as if that means anything) for sanctions to be handed out, and staff with a conscience have left over them. It’s an absolute disgrace to our society that govt does this – and gets away with it.

  5. Absolute rubbish that sanctions are applied as a ‘last resort’ – more like routinely applied for the slightest of ‘offences’, to the point that claimants have a 1 in 2 chance of having their JSA/ESA removed. Sanctions are nothing more than a way to fiddle the employment figures, while saving the government money at the same time – and causing tremendous hardship into the bargain!

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