WATCH: MSP praises Scottish Government benefits approach; supports “putting recipients first”

Emma stands in a Holyrood corridor smiling into the camera

Speaking in a parliamentary debate on addressing issues with take-up of social security benefits, Emma Roddick MSP highlighted the work of a number of organisations across the Highlands and Islands that are working to end food poverty and noted the importance of person-centred, humane approaches in the Scottish Government’s benefit take-up strategy.

Roddick said:

“As a disabled person with lived experience of dealing with the Department of Work and Pensions in my own right, I know well what a dehumanising and monstrous system the UK Government run.

“I have been through the gruelling process of applying – and seeking to keep – Universal Credit twice in my life, and I myself have witnessed the trauma and stress that it inflicts on people. In my first PIP assessment, I was intrusively questioned about my mental illness – even asked why I had not acted on suicidal ideation that I was experiencing at the time.

“I believe it is important for members of the Scottish Parliament, especially those of us who have experience of living on benefits, to share their experience of confronting such dehumanising interrogations and break the stigma that many years of marginalisation have imposed on benefits recipients. With Social Security Scotland and devolved benefits, we can at last begin some of the work of doing just that.”

Watch the full contribution below: