At the last UK General Election, in May 2010, the Tories finished 4th in Scotland, polling just 16.7%. Famously, Scotland has more giant pandas than Tory MPs (2 pandas – 1 Tory).
However, while Scotland remains part of the British Union, it is the people of England who decide which party (or parties) form the UK Government. So, despite being soundly rejected by the people of Scotland, the Tories are currently imposing there right-wing policies on us.
As part of ‘austerity measures’ targeting some of the poorest people in the country, the UK Department for Work & Pensions is imposing soaring numbers of ‘sanctions’ on the out-of-work. If someone is ‘sanctioned’ they instantly lose their income...all of it! Sanctions can last for anything up to 3 years.
Sanctions have been imposed for various reasons, including being unable to attend a Jobcentre appointment – even where the unemployed person was attending a job interview. Others report sanctions being applied against people because they could not use computers or e-mails and were therefore considered to have breached their Jobseeker’s Agreement by not doing enough to find work.
Of all sanctions applied to claimants of Jobseekers Allowance in the past year, 93% were imposed for first ‘offences’.
In total, 51,775 sanctions saw lone-parents stripped of their benefits.
One-in-five new sanctions have been imposed on people with disabilities.
In the past 12 months, 1,309 sanctions were imposed on people signing-on at Saltcoats Jobcentre. That is 1,309 local people who instantly found themselves without any income.
North Ayrshire has some of the highest levels of unemployment and poverty in the country.
All of this is the result of policies being imposed by a London-based government that the people of Scotland rejected.
By the way, bonuses for bank ‘high-fliers’ rose last year by 64%, according to the Tory-supporting Daily Telegraph. Bonuses for UK bankers paid more than €1m now average almost four times their salary.