SNP MP Mhairi Black will today (Friday) issue a heartfelt plea to all MPs to put party politics aside and support her initiative to reform the UK Government’s “cruel and damaging” benefits sanctions regime.
The legislation will ensure that Department for Work and Pensions staff in Jobcentres across the UK would be required to consider whether personal circumstances such as caring commitments, whether a person is at risk of homelessness or whether they suffer from a mental ill-health condition that could be exacerbated by a benefit sanction before one can be issued.
Director Ken Loach, whose film I, Daniel Blake deals with the effects of benefits sanctions, gave his support to the Bill earlier this week and also urged others to give it their backing.
Mhairi Black MP (pictured) said: “Today we have an important opportunity to make the cruel and damaging benefits sanctions regime fairer. This is about real people, real lives and the real and devastating consequences that sanctions have on individuals and their families.
“My bill will introduce a process of assessing a person’s circumstances such as their caring commitments, whether they are at risk of homelessness or whether they suffer from a mental ill-health condition that could be exacerbated by a sanction.
“If I could scrap sanctions completely I would do it in a heartbeat but I can’t and so I’m making this small ask in the hope that it will improve the lives of people who simply cannot afford to have their safety net stripped from them when they need it most.
“I call on MPs from all parties – Labour in particular – to prove that they can stand up for their constituents and support my Bill today.”
Update: Bill was shelved after MPs spoke for so long there wasn’t enough time for the government to respond.
This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP).