Two benefit claimants from Dundee who were "sanctioned" by the Department of Work and Pensions have told their stories in videos on Facebook in advance of a march and rally in the city tomorrow (Saturday 6th) organised jointly by the SNP and the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network (SUWN)
One claimant, a mother of two, missed an appointment at employability firm Triage, but states she was never sent notification. Her benefit was then cut for four weeks and she had to rely on help from a foodbank. In the video she says that she went without so that her children were fed, "Because that's what you do for your bairns."
The other, a single man suffering from depression, was cut off for two and a half months and says he was not told about the discretionary hardship payments which can be available. He borrowed money and pawned his watch to survive, but he had no money for electricity. Both have received advice and assistance from the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network (SUWN) which runs a regular information stall outside the Jobcentre.
The videos have been released on the Dundee SNP Facebook page in advance of a march and rally organised jointly by SNP and the SUWN. Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie will address the rally which will start in Hilltown Park at 12 noon and reach City Square at approximately 12:45.
A Dundee SNP spokesman said, "No-one deserves to be fined several weeks' benefit for missing an appointment or not filling in a form. Of course we need to encourage people to look for work, but not this way."
The videos are on the Dundee SNP Facebook page, and can be accessed at https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=943061472390429 and https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=942761455753764