Scottish Tories have been urged to “brush up” on their welfare facts, after Tory MSP Adam Tomkins used discredited benefit sanction statistics to defend the UK Government’s “cruel sanctions regime“.
Academic experts have described the way that the DWP compiles its figures, which only capture a month-by-month snapshot, as a “gross and systematic misrepresentation” which suppress the full scale of how claimants are being penalised.
Motherwell and Wishaw MSP Clare Adamson, who spoke in Wednesday’s debate on welfare conditionality, has called on the Scottish Tories to “brush up” on their facts ahead of future Holyrood debates on social security and to pledge to ditch the discredited DWP figures when discussing benefits sanctions.
Commenting, Clare Adamson said: “It’s remarkable that the Tories are still bandying about these heavily massaged figures to downplay the impact of their cruel sanctions regime.
“The DWP tried to obfuscate the reality, but they’ve been caught out – and rightly they’ve faced severe criticism from welfare experts and from the UK Statistics Authority which has demanded they should start producing the figures in an objective and impartial way.
“Despite this, this week we saw the Tories at Holyrood persevere with their deceitful arguments based on discredited facts. And to simply write off the chronic problems with benefits sanctions as a “tiny” issue is an utter disgrace.
“If even one person is suffering at the hands of a cruel, defective system then that is one person too many.
“The Tories should shred their fundamentally flawed DWP briefing papers and brush up on their facts before returning to Holyrood to talk about welfare.
“It would be irresponsible at best and devious and dangerous at worst if they were to continue using this discredited set of faulty figures.”
This is a modified version of an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP).