No sanctions in new Scottish Government work programmes

Jamie Hepburn. Picture: SWNS
Jamie Hepburn. Picture: SWNS
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The Scottish Government has pledged that sanctions will not be a part of any work programmes it creates when responsibility for this is transferred to Holyrood.

Instead Employability and Training Minister Jamie Hepburn said the SNP administration would set up “voluntary programmes that will treat people with dignity and respect”.

He added: “We will work to ensure that people will not receive sanctions through this service and that they can access the right programmes and at the right time.”

New powers are being devolved to Holyrood that will mean from April 2017 Scottish ministers will for the first time have the ability to design their own employment services for disabled people and those at risk of long-term unemployment.

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Speaking ahead of a debate on how the Scottish Government will approach this, Mr Hepburn said: “Employability programmes should be seen as a way of helping people develop and get into work.

“Instead the UK Government’s approach to sanctions and conditionality has all too often turned them into a threat, rather than an enabling process about working with the individual to get into employment.

“While we will not receive powers over sanctions, we want to do what we can to protect those particularly affected, including young people, the disabled and lone parents, from this unfair treatment and stress.”

Mr Hepburn will also meet single parents who have been affected by sanctions in Edinburgh, describing this as an “opportunity to hear from service users first hand so that we can make sure employability support is fairer and is designed to suit those who use it”.

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