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DWP chops 35,000 Scots' benefits in last eight months

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DWP chops 35,000 Scots' benefits in last eight months

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Central Government and also in Communities, Finance, Regulation

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The Department for Work and Pensions' Jobseeker’s Allowance sanctions have led to over 35,000 Scots having their benefits stopped or reduced in the last eight months.

The DWP has used the sanctions against people it has judged to be doing too little to find work - but analysis by the Scottish government shows that claimants are often unable rather than unwilling to comply with the conditions placed upon them.

And the analysis all shows that it is disadvantaged groups – people with health problems, those lacking work experience, and lone parents – who are being disproportionately affected by the sanctions.

One in eight of those deprived of benefits in Scotland have had the highest level of sanctions imposed, which can result in benefits being stopped for up to three years.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “This research shows that some of the most vulnerable Scots are having their benefits stopped because they are simply not able to meet the conditions set by the UK Government. This may help explain why so many more people are being forced to use food banks.

“This is another demonstration of why we need a Scottish welfare system based on clear principles of fairness and dignity.

“Scotland’s system would support people who work while also providing support for people who cannot work, protect people from poverty, and help them fulfil their potential, in work and in life.

“The Expert Working Group on Welfare is considering these and other principles as it explores how the benefits system should enable people who can work to move into sustained employment, and how it can support people who can't work to participate in society as fully as possible.

“The recommendations of the Expert Working Group will be available in the Spring, well in advance of the referendum, in order to further inform the debate.”

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