FM asked to work with Greens to stop sanctions in Scotland

Patrick Harvie asked the First Minister today to confirm there will be no Scottish sanctions when powers over welfare are devolved to Holyrood.

Scottish Greens research revealed that 13,000 people a year could soon face sanctions under benefits devolved to the Scottish Government without a policy shift. Early this month Angela Constance said that the Scottish Government will not “assist” the UK government in pushing through benefit sanctions in Scotland.

However, no official announcement on sanctions has been made.

Patrick Harvie MSP, the Scottish Greens’ co-convener, said:

“I welcome that the First Minister shares our commitment to mitigating the effects of Tory austerity as far as she possibly can. It’ll soon be possible, given the new employment powers and the First Ministers determination, that Holyrood can refuse to implement some of Westminster’s benefit sanctions.

“Green MSPs have put forward a credible, detailed proposal that would prevent 13,000 Scots being sanctioned by the DWP once Scotland has responsibility for employment programmes next year. Thousands of people have signed our petition backing this plan and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government to ensure the proposals are implemented.”

Patrick added:

“Our new powers also offer us a chance to recognise the value of unpaid care to our society, particularly young carers. There are 44,000 carers under the age of 16 in Scotland. A Young Carer's Allowance would be a step towards providing the support they need and it's encouraging that the Scottish Government is willing to explore this Green manifesto commitment.”