Row breaks out over benefit cuts 'suicide watch' claims
The SNP and Labour have hit out over claims that frontline benefits staff are getting guidance on how to deal with claimants threatening suicide.
The Sunday Herald reported that the advice has been given to Scottish Department for Work and Pensions staff.
The SNP said it highlighted the "devastating impact" of benefit cuts and sanctions, while Labour said cuts were hitting the vulnerable.
The DWP said staff can refer claimants for support and this was "nothing new".
The guidelines for call centre staff are designed to help staff deal with unsuccessful applicants for Universal Credit who are threatening to self-harm or take their own life, the newspaper reported.
SNP MSP Dennis Robertson said: "The evidence reported today shows that there is a clear link between a person's income and their health and wellbeing - particularly their mental health.
"That the UK government are issuing suicide guidance to their frontline staff is an acknowledgement by them of the devastating impact of their social security cuts on people's lives - it's not new guidance they need, it's a new approach."
Labour's equality spokeswoman Jenny Marra said: "The Tory's welfare cuts have hit some of the most vulnerable people across Scotland - many who are struggling to find work and are suffering because of an unfair sanctions regime.
"Government policies should not be pushing people into a position where they feel they have nothing left to live for."
A DWP spokesman said: "As you would expect, our frontline staff have always been trained to look for signs of vulnerabilities.
"They can refer individuals to specialist support - including specialist teams at Jobcentre Plus - and this is nothing new."