The Scottish National Party has said the UK government must not get distracted by a potential Cabinet reshuffle on Monday and focus on the “utter shambles” at the Department of Work and Pensions. The department has been heavily criticised recently for a string of blunders which have hit some of the most vulnerable people in society.
*This week, the DWP failed to provide a straightforward answer to Parliament as to whether the Treasury had signed off the business case for the controversial Universal Credit welfare programme. Earlier in the week, top civil servant Bob Kerslake said the controversial scheme had not been approved by the Treasury, contradicting earlier assurances from welfare minister Esther McVey who told MPs that the Treasury had approved the "strategic outline business case".
* The DWP has refused to commission analysis into the link between foodbanks and welfare cuts – despite Scotland Office Minister David Mundell calling for the research only two weeks ago. A report in the Daily Record states Westminster is “scared of the truth” on welfare following UK Employment Minister Esther McVey’s admission there are “no immediate plans to produce or commission further research”. This is despite foodbank use increasing by 400 per cent in the last year, with 22,000 children in Scotland forced to rely on foodbanks.
* The Department of Work and Pensions was heavily criticised following a damning report from the Public Accounts Committee on the introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) which described the scheme as a “fiasco.” The cross-party group of MPs warned that the PIP scheme has been “rushed” through with a “shocking” impact on claimants.
Commenting, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:
“When it comes to welfare, Westminster is an utter shambles.
“While the UK government may be focusing on reshuffling their cabinet, they need to urgently act on some of the damage they are causing to some of the most vulnerable people in society.
“Scotland is an incredibly wealthy nation – richer per head than France, Japan and the UK as a whole – and yet thanks to Westminster’s attack on the welfare state more than 22,000 children in Scotland have to rely on foodbanks.
“With a YES vote in September, we can make Scotland’s wealth work for all the people who live here and create a fairer welfare system based on Scotland’s needs – in stark contrast to Westminster’s punitive cuts which are pushing more and more people into poverty.”