Jim McGovern MP joins Scottish Unemployed Workers Network for sanctions protest

Dundee West MP Jim McGovern joined protestors today from the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network outside the Job Centre Plus building in Dundee.

The protest sought to highlight the draconian sanctions policy introduced by the Tory-led coalition government. Under this scheme jobseekers are often sanctioned for minor mistakes, such as arriving a few minutes late for an appointment, and which leads to them losing out on their benefit payments.

There are strong suggestions that the Jobcentre staff are being made to work to targets, leading to a rapid increase in the number of sanctions imposed with little or no consideration taken for the individual circumstances of the claimant.

The loss of their benefit payments is leading to many of those sanctioned finding themselves in financial hardship.

Jim McGovern said;

“I joined the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network in their protest because like them I believe the sanctions regime is unfair, counter-productive and is causing unnecessary hardship for people who are genuinely looking for work.”

“In recent months I have seen a huge increase in the number of jobseekers who have been sanctioned coming to my weekly advice surgeries. I regularly hear that they and their families are being left without income. I am strongly of the opinion that this is why so many more people are being forced to use food banks. They simply do not have the money to buy food. This is bad for all of those impacted, but it is particularly difficult for those with young families.”

“I raised this matter with DWP minister Esther McVey at a recently parliamentary committee meeting recently. Despite her assurances that the system was working the situation here in Dundee is just getting worse and worse. I hear similar stories from other MPs across the UK.”

“The government need to suspend the sanctions regime and they need to introduce a system that works. People who are looking for work need to be supported, not punished in order to meet arbitrary targets set in Whitehall. There is no excuse in the twenty first century for jobseekers and their families being unable to buy food, but that is what is happening because of this policy." 

“I will continue to press the government to see sense and put an end to this awful policy.”

Jim McGovern hails UK funding for Dundee Airport in House of Commons

Dundee West MP Jim McGovern today raised the UK funding for Dundee Airport during Scotland Office questions in the House of Commons.

Mr McGovern highlighted the £2.8million funding which secured the Dundee to London Loganair route. This sum was provided from the £20million Regional Air Connectivity Fund established by the UK government to support air transport connections to regions across the UK.

Jim McGovern said;

“The funding provided by the UK government has secured the Dundee to London route and the future of the airport. The support of the Scottish Government and Dundee City Council were important and welcome, but it was not enough; it required the support of the UK government.”

“This demonstrates why it is so important that we remain a part of the UK. Working together all levels of government can ensure that vital services are maintained. If Scotland were to lose access to the resources available to the UK I fear that such support would cease. This would be very damaging for Dundee and for Scotland.”

“I am delighted that the airport has been secured because of the UK government’s support. This will give it a sound foundation on which to expand its operations and become commercially successful. When it comes to the vote in September I hope the people of Dundee will remember that this success was because of the partnership between Dundee, Edinburgh and London working together.”