SNP MP Mhairi Black urges end to 'cruel' benefit sanctions
The Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP puts forward her private members' bill for a second reading.
SNP MP Mhairi Black will call on fellow parliamentarians to back her bid to reform the "cruel and damaging" benefits sanctions regime later on Friday.
Black is aiming to change the law around a benefit sanctions issued by Jobcentre staff through a private members' bill.
The Paisley and Renfrewshire South MP will put forward the Benefits Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill for its second reading by MPs in the Commons.
The legislation aims to provide a code of conduct for Jobcentre staff to ensure an individual's personal circumstances are assessed when deliberating whether to issue a financial sanction or not.
Supporters of the bill hope it will stop sanctions being made against those already in a poor financial situation or in a vulnerable state.
Black said: "Today we have an important opportunity to make the cruel and damaging benefits sanctions regime fairer.
"This is about real people, real lives and the real and devastating consequences that sanctions have on individuals and their families.
"My bill will introduce a process of assessing a person's circumstances such as their caring commitments, whether they are at risk of homelessness or whether they suffer from a mental ill-health condition that could be exacerbated by a sanction."
She added: "If I could scrap sanctions completely I would do it in a heartbeat but I can't and so I'm making this small ask in the hope that it will improve the lives of people who simply cannot afford to have their safety net stripped from them when they need it most.
"I call on MPs from all parties - Labour in particular - to prove that they can stand up for their constituents and support my Bill today."
The MP has recently received support in her efforts from film director Ken Loach.
The 'I, Daniel Blake' director tweeted his approval of the proposals.
He said: "Sanctions need to stop - @MhairiBlack is an MP who is working hard to make a difference - support her private members bill."