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The UK government is forcing families across Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven into destitution, local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes MP has warned, after figures revealed the amount clawed back from struggling households by the Department for Work and Pensions through their benefits sanctions regime.

The figures, obtained from the DWP, show that in August 2022 alone the DWP took £2.3 million off claimants in Scotland, with £58,000 taken from households in West Dunbartonshire at an average of £232 per month for every sanctioned household.

SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes said the approach highlighted the Westminster government’s cruelty, warning UK social security policy undermined the positive work carried out by the Scottish Government to tackle poverty and assist households through the cost-of-living crisis.

Commenting, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:

“Taking an average of £232 per month from struggling households in West Dunbartonshire during a cost-of-living crisis is a damning statement of how little this Westminster government cares about the struggles of ordinary people.

“These figures show the devastating impact of the UK government’s existing regime on people’s ability to feed themselves and fend off destitution. The DWP’s unfair sanctions are punishing the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society.

“In Scotland we’ve taken a much different, more progressive approach, opposing Westminster austerity by uprating benefits in line with inflation and increasing the Scottish Child Payment.

“The sad reality is though that all that work remains at risk and is ever-undermined while we remain attached to the broken Westminster system at the mercy of the callous Conservative Party.”

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