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

Survey showing unpaid carers are socially isolated underlines need for greater support

16 August, 2017 - 15:06

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (16 Aug) said a survey showing more than three-quarters of unpaid carers in Scotland feel lonely or socially isolated underlines the need for greater support, such as the Green MSPs' proposal of a Young Carer's Allowance.

Duty on public bodies to reduce poverty is welcome aim but Scot Gov can make a difference right now

18 July, 2017 - 15:07

Responding to today's (18 July) proposal by the Scottish Government to place a duty on public bodies to make reducing poverty and inequality part of their decision making, Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman said:

Johnstone says EIS survey of poverty in education underlines need to tackle root causes

7 July, 2017 - 10:00

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security and Children spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (7 July) said a membership survey by the EIS teaching union into the impact of poverty in education "underlines the need to tackle the root causes."

Johnstone urges Scot Gov to act on young people poverty report

3 July, 2017 - 13:18

Alison Johnstone MSP, Children & Young People spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (3 July) urged the Scottish Government to act on the recommendations of its independent advisor on poverty, whose new report describes the gap between rich and poor young people as "deeply worrying", a "fundamental unfairness" and a "significant waste of talent and opportunity".

Naomi Eisenstadt's recommendations include:

Welfare cuts report shows why we must do things differently

Alison Johnstone MSP Fri 30 Jun

This week's Scottish Government report, highlighted by Patrick Harvie at First Minister's Questions, on the impact of UK welfare reforms makes for very sobering reading. It shows that a very large number of reforms – including, but not limited to the freeze on the value of benefits; the two-child limit on Child Tax Credits; the Benefit Cap; the scrapping of Disability Living Allowance for most claimants, and the Bedroom Tax – are removing thousands of pounds from Scottish households, many of them containing our very poorest and most vulnerable people.