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Jeremy Hunt warned benefits crackdown will put people in work at risk of sanctions

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Glasgow South West MP Chris Stephens said that ‘sanctions do not work, ethically, practically or economically’.

The SNP have criticised the UK Government for its proposed crackdown on benefits claimants.

The Party’s Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson Chris Stephens said that “sanctions do not work, ethically, practically or economically”.

He also called on the Government to introduce a “yellow card” system so people are not punished for making mistakes on benefits claims.

Tory Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced in the Budget on Wednesday that the Government would be even more strict towards benefit claimants.

He said: “Sanctions will be applied more rigorously to those who fail to meet strict work-search requirements or choose not to take up a reasonable job offer.”

Stephens told MPs yesterday the new measures would not work and would cause more stress for working-class people.

He said: “For those struggling on low incomes, the measures in yesterday’s budget require them to jump through extra hoops, like attending job centres, even when they’re working in what we all agree are vital roles, like teaching assistants and care workers.

“The earnings threshold has more than doubled in the space of just a year. This puts hundreds of thousands more people at risk of benefits sanctions, when we know sanctions do not work, ethically, practically or economically.

“The Chancellor needs to understand, no matter what he’s promising for the future, far too many are struggling to survive now.”

Stephens also criticised the Government for not providing the Department of Work and Pensions review of the factors driving foodbank usage.

He said: “The Chancellor referred repeatedly in his speech to the Prime Minister’s ambitions and objectives. One which the Chancellor didn’t mention was the Prime Minister’s stated wish to eliminate the need for food banks.

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“Why no mention, why no review, and why no costed plan to deliver on that particular ambition?”

He also said that the Government should have reduced the rate of Universal Credit deductions.

The Daily Record reported earlier this week that £11.5 million had been taken away from Scots on Universal Credit in one month.

Stephens said: “One measure that would have cost very little, but could also have resulted in many fewer people needing to use food banks, was to ease significantly the rate of deductions from Universal Credit.

“Better still would have been to waive deductions resulting from official error, or to introduce a one-off amnesty on deductions.

“Why no action on this, the single biggest factor affecting people at food banks?

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

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