MPs’ fury at unfair benefit sanctions
Reporter: Dawn Marsden
Date published: 29 July 2015
OLDHAM MP Debbie Abrahams has renewed her calls for a full independent review into social security sanctions.
The MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth followed the recommendations of a social security advisory committee that also called for “an urgent and robust review” of minister Iain Duncan Smith’s controversial sanctions regime.
The committee said stopping claimants’ social security payments for alleged breaches of benefit rules should be put on hold until “a firm evidence base” has been established.
Mrs Abrahams, a member for the work and pensions select committee, is a vociferous campaigner for a full independent inquiry.
Earlier this year a cross-party MP report said the sanctions regime was “unfair, punitive and ineffective”. The Government has yet to respond.
Mrs Abrahams said: “It seems only Iain Duncan Smith is left believing that his draconian social security sanctions regime is fit for purpose. I’ve told him to his face that vulnerable people are suffering and even dying as a result.
“The mountain of evidence pointed overwhelmingly to a system that is inhumane and deliberately created to skew unemployment figures.”
Michael Meacher, MP for Oldham West and Royton, has just as strongly accused the Government of being too ashamed to reveal how many people have died since having their benefit cut.
Mr Meacher is among a group of MPs who have demanded the Government publish the information immediately and properly - a demand suppoted by a 230,000-name petition.