Christina McKelvie MSP, the MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, has condemned the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This comes after the publication of a damning new report, which has found that the Department for Work and Pension’s (DWP) health assessment system has “contributed to the death of claimants”.
The report, published by the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee, comes five years on from its first inquiry which, at the time, found “significant problems”.
The Committee has since concluded that many of these problems still remain, and that “important changes” are required “to improve trust and transparency” within the system.
Commenting, Christina said:
“Five years ago, the Tories were warned by this same committee that the practises of the DWP were significantly problematic, and yet, as per usual, they had their head in the sand and did absolutely nothing about it.
“Now, unforgivably, some claimants have paid the ultimate price. My condolences go to all of the claimants’ families, friends and loved ones, whom are now suffering.
“This has sickened me beyond belief.
“The DWP should be there to support people, to offer lifelines in times of crises, to help guide people through their working life and into retirement. The DWP should be supporting those that have fallen out of work to get back in, or ensuring that those that have fallen out of work and can’t go back due to health – or other – conditions are supported and afforded their basic right to a good quality of life.
“Yet, on the Tories watch, these principles exist in no serious way, and subsequently, the absolute worst has occurred.
“We have sadly become accustomed to this, but we should always aim for better. The sanction regime introduced by this Tory government has plunged millions of families into poverty, forcing many to remain on Universal Credit and take lower paid jobs.
“In contrast, under a progressive SNP government, people in Scotland enjoy a social security system that is built on fairness, dignity, and respect – and provides a safety net for those on the lowest income.
“And all of this is achieved with one hand tied behind our back. Think about it: Scotland has a largely fixed budget. Scotland is constantly at the behest of an unstable and incompetent Westminster government. Yet we can still take decisions that benefit and look after our population. Obsessed with the bottom line or finding their second jobs, the Tories operate in a completely isolated, morally bankrupt world.
“And I will say this again: with the full powers of a normal, independent country, we could revolutionise the benefit system in Scotland beyond the steps we have already taken, and finally build a fairer, more equal Scotland – and eradicate poverty once and for all.”