23rd April 2018


Figures from the House of Commons Library have this week shown that 825 individuals were sanctioned in the Motherwell and Wishaw constituency from October 2016 to 2017.

Sanctions involve welfare payments being cut or suspended leaving claimants without vital financial support for periods between 7 and 1,095 days – dependant on circumstances.

The figures also show that a total of 1,490 individuals have been sanctioned in the constituency from October 2014 to October 2017 and 56,275 across Scotland during the same period. Figures only reflect the individuals who have been sanctioned and not the actual number of sanctions which is expected to be much higher.

Elected representatives and welfare rights groups have been critical of sanctions for being issued for trivial reasons with some people sanctioned for being five minutes late for an appointment or for evidence justifying non-compliance ,like a doctor’s line, not being registered despite being submitted.

The House of Commons’ Work and Pensions Committee has launched an inquiry into the UK Government’s sanction regime. Local MP, Marion Fellows, is calling on all those affected to share their story.

Commenting, Marion said:

These figures show just how many local peoples’ lives have been impacted by the Tories’ despicable sanction regime with families being deprived of essential support – often through no fault of their own.

We as a society are able to look after all in our communities and it is unacceptable that people are being denied the most basic rights and are forced to use foodbanks in the name of saving money while the rich get richer.

Simply put, sanctions are an attack on our community and the most vulnerable in it.

I have assisted many people in overturning their sanctions. It is apparent that the system is deliberately designed to trip people up to penalise them with some reasons being unbelievably trivial. It shows just how low the Tories are prepared to go by depriving unemployed and disabled people of support.

If anyone locally has been sanctioned, I urge them not to allow the Tories to get away with it. They rely on people being unwilling to fight against them. Reach out to the various local services for help including my office, Welfare Rights and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau for help; and take part in the Select Committee’s inquiry.

Follow this link for more information on the Work and Pensions Committee’s inquiry into sanctions: