Monday, 22 February 2016 12:37

‘STRIKING’ Link between sanction & mental health

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SNP RENEW CALL FOR HALT TO ALL SANCTIONS
 
 The SNP has today renewed its call for a halt to all benefit sanctions until a full independent review is carried out, as new research shows that there is a “striking” link between benefit sanctions and mental health.
 
 New research published by NHS Health Scotland has found that “the association between trends in mental health problems among low-income working-age adults and the level of sanction activity is striking.”


 
 In 2012 a new sanctions regime was introduced by the Tory government which increased the severity of the sanctions available for those on Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment Support Allowance who do not meet the conditions of their benefit.
 
 Commenting, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said:

 “This finding is very worrying but, unfortunately, it is not at all surprising. Sanctions leave a person with no benefit entitlement, in some cases for as much as three years, and often leave them reliant on foodbanks – it is no wonder this has an impact on their mental health.  
 
 “The UK Government must halt all benefit sanctions until a full independent review is carried out. The SNP has long called for this to happen as the only way we can ensure a fairer system is put in place that does not leave people pleading penury.
 
 “Unless and until such a review is carried out, the UK Government must ensure that people with mental health conditions get automatic access to hardship payments when they are sanctioned – no one should be at risk of destitution because their benefit has been stopped.”
 
 ENDS
 
 Notes:
 
 The NHS Health Scotland findings are reported here: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14291455._Striking____link_between_mental_health_problems_and_benefit_sanctions/