Ms Laird appealed the decision and won with the tribunal deciding the DWP evidence provided for sanction was “inadequate.
She was also at risk of homelessness as her rent was not being paid and her landlord had begun legal proceedings. She was unaware she was running up arrears as she thought her rent was still being paid with housing benefit. Meanwhile arrears of £900 had been accumulated over months when nothing was paid to the housing association on her behalf.
David Linden, Glasgow East SNP MP, took up her case last year and raised it once more with Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions. He asked if she would apologise to Ms Laird for the sanction and delay in resolving her case. The Prime Minister replied briefly: “Obviously I’m sorry to hear the case that the honourable Gentleman has set out.
“I’m very happy to ensure that that case is properly looked into.” Mr Linden said: “The Prime Minister’s refusal to apologise for a cruel and wrongly-applied series of sanctions exposes the complete lack of compassion in Downing Street.
“Here we have a woman pushed below the poverty line, reliant on food banks for survival, into rental arrears and to the brink of homelessness – all because of a litany of fundamental errors made by the DWP.”
A spokeswoman for the DWP, said:“Only a small minority of people are sanctioned [small minority my ar$e], and that only happens if someone doesn’t have a good reason for falling short of their claimant commitment.
“When decisions are overturned it’s very often because new evidence is provided.”