80,000 strikes and counting: Let's stop the first Scottish sanction

Sign the Petition

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Our research shows that 13,000 people a year may soon face benefit sanctions through employment programmes devolved to Scotland.

Let's stop the first Scottish sanction.

What does the research show?

80,000 sanctions have been issued to people on employment programmes in Scotland since 2010. Employment programmes are to be devolved from April 2017. This means that, without a change in policy from the SNP, 13,000 people a year may soon face sanctions under benefits devolved to the Scottish Government.

How much money are we talking?

The average JSA sanction is worth £530. That means £7m a year is taken from people eligible for support through the employment programme that's coming under Scottish control. And remember, that's just 22% of all sanctions applied to people in Scotland.

But sanctions are needed, right?

Employment programmes are meant to help people get back to work, but we know only a third of people on the Work Programme successfully find a job for more than 6 months. Sanctions can push people into low paid, insecure or inappropriate jobs which force people into a cycle of regular unemployment. The ever-present threat of sanctions can lead to a deterioration in people's health and make it harder to get a job. We also know people who are most disadvantaged are the most likely to be sanctioned - this is wrongheaded.

Aren't sanctions reserved to Westminster?

They are, but for the DWP to implement a sanction they need information from the provider of the employment programme. The Scottish Government could, if it was willing, ensure that its procurement contracts with employment programme providers bans this sort of information being passed on.

Can that really be done?

Yes. It's already the case for a couple of small-scale schemes in Scotland. For example, young people on training courses through the Sector Based Work Academy (SBWA) could be sanctioned but the information needed for sanctions to happen is deliberately withheld on Scottish ministers' orders.

Let's do it then...

Let's make sure Scotland's social security system is sanction-free.

Sign our petition to show your support for a sanction-free Scotland.

Sign the Petition

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Latest Campaign Updates

Greens make case to strengthen Child Poverty Bill

22 June, 2017 - 15:24

The Scottish Greens have bolstered the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill by successfully including provision requiring the Scottish Government to indicate if it will use new powers to boost the incomes of some of Scotland’s poorest families, including by topping-up- Child Benefit.

Opposition parties joined with the Greens in supporting Alison Johnstone’s amendment at the Stage 2 debate during a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s social security committee.

Johnstone: Use devolved powers to provide financial support for thousands of young carers who currently miss out

19 June, 2017 - 10:30

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (19 June) called on Scottish Ministers to use new devolved powers to provide financial support for thousands of young carers who currently miss out.

Holyrood now has the power to begin to build a fairer system of helping disabled people

Alison Johnstone MSP Fri 9 Jun

Brexit and independence dominated the General Election campaign. Brexit deservedly so as it poses a huge risk to our social and environmental protections, our economy and public services, while the independence obsession of the pro-UK parties diverted attention from the Tories’ track record in office.
 
In particular, I’m disappointed there wasn’t more scrutiny of Westminster’s welfare reforms which have had a hugely negative impact on disabled people.
 

Greens enter final campaign week with fairness pledge

2 June, 2017 - 11:35

Greens will go to Westminster with a pledge to stand up for everyone’s “right to live with dignity”, Alison Johnstone MSP has said as she outlined her party’s policies on fairness while visiting Glasgow today.

Speaking at Glasgow West Carers Centre, Johnstone gave her backing to Patrick Harvie, who is standing in neighbouring Glasgow North, and said that by electing Scotland’s first Green MP, voters will get a local champion who will speak up and represent those who “continue to be ignored by Westminster”.

Johnstone to bring amendments to Child Poverty Bill to boost incomes

1 June, 2017 - 16:18

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (1 June) confirmed that she plans to bring amendments to the Scottish Government's Child Poverty Bill to ensure that full use is made of Holyrood's new social security powers.
 
Speaking in this afternoon's debate on Stage One of the Bill, Alison said:
 
"The latest Child Poverty statistics reveal a four per cent rise in Relative Child Poverty in just one year.  That is a rise of 40,000 children, to 260,000.