4th March 2015

Westminster sanctions hitting lone parents hardest

Ahead of the Scottish Parliament’s Stage Three debate on the Welfare Funds Bill, the SNP is highlighting new evidence of the impact of welfare cuts and sanctions on lone parents – and is reiterating its call for a full investigation into reports that DWP staff are pressured into applying sanctions.

New research published this week has shown that lone parents in Scotland will be around £1,800 worse off annually as a result of Westminster welfare cuts – before the impact of sanctions are even taken into account. Research published by the Scottish Government in 2014 found that the proportion of sanctions applied to lone parents increased from 0.5 per cent in 2008/9 to 4.8 per cent in 2013/14.

The Scottish Government has already taken strong action to mitigate the impact of welfare cuts on lone parents – with figures showing that the Scottish Welfare Fund has helped more than 8,000 lone parents since 2013.

The financial loss to lone parents has also been mitigated due to Scottish Government action on Council Tax benefit cuts and the Bedroom Tax – meaning that the overall loss for lone parents in Scotland is £180 less for parents with one child and £270 less for parents with two children, compared to the UK average.

Steven Paterson

Parliamentary candidate Steven Paterson

SNP candidate for Stirling, Steven Paterson, said:

“More needs to be done to make the welfare system fair and fit for purpose, as lone parents are hardest hit by sanctions. The Scottish Government can take some action to make things better for some of our most vulnerable families, but we need a strong group of SNP MPs at Westminster to work to make sure our welfare system supports those who need it.”