PM Theresa May. Photo: Policy Exchange/Flickr

SNP MP David Linden has said that the prime minister’s refusal to apologies for the impact her government’s welfare policies are having on a local constituent “exposes a complete lack of compassion.”

David Linden’s question to Theresa May on the roll-out of Universal Credit centred on the case of a Glasgow woman facing homelessness after being wrongly sanctioned for over 9 months in total for failing to attend Jobcentre meetings, despite being found too ill by her doctor.

Margo Laird, from Tollcross in Glasgow, won her sanctions appeal case against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) when it was brought to tribunal last week.

The judge hearing the case found that the evidence supplied by the DWP to justify the sanction was “inadequate” and that the Government’s 7-month delay in coming to a decision was “wholly unsatisfactory”.

Glasgow East MP David Linden demanded a personal apology from Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions over Miss Laird’s ordeal. Responding, Ms May declined to apologise, instead undertaking to further look into the case.

Glasgow East MP David Linden commented: “The Prime Minister’s refusal to apologise for a cruel and wrongly-applied series of sanctions exposes the complete lack of compassion in Downing Street.

“The details of this case are truly shocking – yet another brutal example of this Conservative Government’s deeply damaging welfare policies.

“Here we have a woman pushed below the poverty line, reliant on food banks for survival, into rental arrears and to the brink of homelessness – all because of a litany of fundamental errors made by the DWP.

“Shocking as it is, this is sadly not an isolated case. The Tory sanctions agenda represents a failed ideology – one that is devastating lives up and down the UK.

“With cases such as this highlighting the abject failings of a broken welfare system, it is hardly surprising that food bank usage was recently found to have soared by 30% in Universal Credit pilot areas.

“There’s no place to run for the Prime Minister. She must accept responsibility for these failings, put an end to these shambolic systematic sanctions, and halt the flawed roll-out of Universal Credit.”