IT was around a fortnight ago now that Iain Duncan Smith was rumbled for releasing a benefits leaflet containing faking quotes from fictitious, stock photo JSA claimants about how wonderful and effective the system of benefit sanctions is.

Since then there have been various revelations which put this gaffe in chilling context.

Just in the past week we have found out that nearly 2,400 people died soon after being assessed ‘fit for work’ between December 2011 and February 2014 and that contemplation of suicide among benefit claimants has become so widespread that guidance on the issue has been issued to Job Centre staff.

However, last week’s most revealing story about the Department of Work and Pensions was told by a staff member who had simply had enough.

In a brave move, she spoke to a journalist of her experience working in a Job Centre, watching colleagues being pressured into sanctioning people who have done nothing wrong and the fear of losing her job if she speaks up.

Having worked on many cases relating to inappropriate sanctions – nearly half are overturned when challenged - I find myself somehow unsurprised by this Job Centre employee’s story.

It is no coincidence that the number of benefits sanctions being issued has doubled since the Tories first returned to government in 2010; for the numbers to rise this quickly there must have been a concerted effort to push sanctions as everyday recourse.

Neither can it be any coincidence that the need for foodbanks has exploded over the past four years.

Trussell Trust statistics show that about half of all foodbank referrals are related to benefits being stopped or delayed. Surely when foodbanks like the one in Glasgow South West have to make frequent appeals for emergency donations, because they keep running out of supplies, it should throw up a red flag for so called “compassionate Conservatives?"

These facts and anecdotes paint a chilling picture of the Department of Work and Pensions under Iain Duncan Smith, one which is rooted in suspicion and mistrust of the people it is meant to serve – the most vulnerable in our society.

We need a welfare system which properly supports people in their journey back into work and provides adequate protection to those who are genuinely unable to do so.

It is clear that the current system is not fit for purpose, and the SNP has called for all benefit sanctions to be stopped until a fundamental review has been carried out.

Finally, the SNP has always proudly supported the economic, cultural and societal contributions of migrants to Scotland.

However, following the release of most recent Net Migration figures, David Cameron has bowed to populist tabloid and UKIP-driven rhetoric by promising to cut immigration substantially.

I am glad to see that the Institute of Directors has spoken out to condemn this policy, contending that it will punish businesses in the UK that rely on skills and talent from overseas.