Alison welcomes Parliament vote to prevent devolved benefit sanctions

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, tonight (5 Oct) welcomed the vote in Parliament signalling that when employment programmes for people with health conditions, disabled people and those at risk of long-term unemployment are devolved next year no benefit sanctions will be applied.

In August, the Green MSPs published research showing that unless the Scottish Government changed its approach, 13,000 Scots a year would face sanctions worth a total of around £7m.

2,500 people signed the Greens' Scotland Against Sanctions petition.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

"It has taken time for Scottish Ministers to realise that they can prevent these cruel and ineffective sanctions. Today’s vote at Holyrood shows that apart from the Tories there is consensus that sanctions are wrong and Scotland can take a different approach to Westminster.

"The evidence presented in the Scotland Against Sanctions report is clear. Sanctions do not help people into appropriate long-term employment. In fact, they can trap people in low-wage work with a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing. 

"Greens have worked hard to ensure that sanctions play no part in programmes designed to help people in Scotland into work, and I look forward to continuing working with the government and other parties on this."


The motion agreed by Parliament tonight includes this line:

"...welcomes voluntary access to Scottish devolved services that will support people into work, as opposed to mandatory participation and the threat of benefit sanctions by the Department for Work and Pensions..."

Scotland Against Sanctions report for Green MSPs