The Scottish National Party (SNP) has slammed was it described as a “relentless assault of the poor” by the Conservative government.
The Conservatives have yet to reveal how they plan to cut £12bn from the welfare bill, but the SNP has called for “urgent action” to prevent more people from being pushed into poverty.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published today, show that around one in three of the UK population experienced poverty for at least one year between 2010 and 2013. The figures reveal that poverty is most closely felt by single parents, with 60% experiencing life below the breadline at some point between 2010 and 2013.
Research from the Scottish Government shows how punitive benefit sanctions are pushing lone parents into financial distress. The proportion of sanctions applied to lone parents increased from 0.5% in 2008/9 to 4.8% in 2013/14.
More than 8,000 lone parents in Scotland have been supported through the Scottish Welfare Fund. The Scottish Government say they are doing everything they can to try and mitigate the impact of social security cuts on lone parents.
The SNP has backed calls from organisations such as Citizens Advice Scotland for a ‘moratorium of the sanctions regime’.
SNP MSP Kevin Stewart said: “These are damning new figures showing the appalling impact of the Tory government’s relentless assault on the poor – and demonstrate precisely why we need to take urgent action to ensure the Tories’ punitive, indefensible welfare policies aren’t allowed to continue to push more people into poverty.
“There now needs to be an immediate review of the UK Government’s conditionality and sanctions regime which is hurting some of the most vulnerable people in our society and undoubtedly pushing more people into poverty – and the DWP should not be allowed to impose any more unfair sanctions on vulnerable people while the review is ongoing.
“Westminster’s attitude to the savage welfare cuts that are inflicting such hardship on so many people underlines why they can’t be allowed to take decisions on social security on Scotland’s behalf any more.
“The Scottish Parliament needs full powers over the welfare state to allow us to support and empower people – rather than pushing more people into poverty like the Tories have done.”