Conservative MSP responds to SNP MSP letter

Friday May 27th 2016

Yesterday SNP MSP Colin Beattie wrote to Jeremy Balfour MSP seeking clarity on his position on the UK Government’s sanction regime and called on him to make clear that they are within the mainstream of Scottish politics and to join cross-party condemnation of what Mr Beattie described as a heartless DWP policy.

This comes as newly elected Tory MSP Brian Whittle admitted that he did not support his own party’s policy on the issue saying that the system of benefits sanctions “needs to be overhauled”.

Commenting, Colin Beattie said:

“Westminster’s unfair and punitive sanctions regime is causing misery in Midlothian and in communities across Scotland and hitting those who need help most, from single mothers to people with disabilities.

“As an MSP Jeremy Balfour can’t have failed to have heard from local people who’ve suffered the impact of this appalling policy. So he needs to come clean and make clear where they stand on this issue. Will he join with the mainstream of Scottish politics and condemn these heartless sanctions, or will he try and defend the indefensible simply to protect David Cameron?

“This is a real test for the new group of Tory MSPs in Scotland and failure to stand up against sanctions which are causing misery for thousands of people will simply show that the Tories haven’t changed a bit.”

Midlothian View asked Jeremy Balfour for comment and he replied to say

“I think broadly the regulations are fair and correct but I do have concerns about how they are implemented at a local level. I believe more training requires to be given to staff and how the polices are implemented requires reviewing.

If anyone locally has had a bad experience I would encourage them to contact me at the Scottish Parliament and I will look at their individual case.”

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