A man was sanctioned by the DWP while in hospital after suffering a heart attack, the Work and Pensions secretary has been told.

Esther McVey was appearing before Holyrood’s Social Security Committee when she was told of the case by Paisley SNP MSP George Adam.

He said that the man was in the Royal Alexandra hospital and was sanctioned while he was being treated for a heart attack.


The minister said that no-one who has had something as serious as a heart attack should be sanctioned and should receive “full mitigation”.

However Mr Adam told her: “I’m saying that in my experience that’s not happening. That isn’t happening out there with people. They’re not getting that support.

“The situation is they come to our constituency offices as their last best hope to try and help them. By that time, there’s already been problems. Specifically in the case with the gentleman with the heart attack which we managed to sort out ourselves, but it shouldn’t get to that to that stage.”


Ms McVey, said: “Should anybody have such an issue as you’ve described, with illness or a heart attack or a condition, something like that, they would have full mitigation and would not have any sanctions imposed upon them.

“We need to help those people and make sure it’s not a frightening experience, it’s a positive experience and get them the money they need, the support they need, and if it’s help to work, ensure that they get that best help.”

After the meeting, Mr Adam, said: “That was like speaking to a brick wall – despite the overwhelming evidence of the negative impact of the Tory welfare agenda, Esther McVey just insisted that all was well.”