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DWP received nearly £80m from Scotland’s social security agency last year


Scotland’s new social security agency paid the UK Government’s benefits-slashing department of work and pensions nearly £80m last year.

The payments, which covered the administration of devolved benefits, amounted to over half of the body’s running costs.

Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy said: “Not only are the SNP leaving key powers in the DWP ’s hands, but they are putting millions in their pocket.

“People who need help are being left at the mercy of the DWP’s systems – and we are paying for the privilege.”

Post- referendum legislation gave the Scottish Parliament partial control of the benefits system, including payments for disabled people and carers as well as top up powers.

However, full implementation has been delayed and so there are joint agreements in place with the DWP.

Social Security Scotland, set up by the SNP Government to deliver the new devolved system, had running costs of £130m in 2020/21.

Staffing made up £42.3m of the bill, £3.83m was spent on accommodation, £6.5m on “other office” and £2.3m on shared services.

The biggest chunk was the £75.4m to the DWP for “formal agreements” – nearly 60% of the total spend.

The DWP is hugely controversial as it has pushed through Tory cuts like the £20 a week reduction in Universal Credit.

Duncan-Glancy said: “It is astounding that after three years the SNP have still failed to deliver a functioning social security system.

“This is a total dereliction of duty from the SNP.

“We have an opportunity to create a fair, dignified and respectful social security system, but every day those powers lie with the DWP is a day wasted.

“We cannot waste any more time. The SNP need to stop putting money in the hands of the DWP and start getting it in the pockets of the people who need it.”

It comes after a DWP executive was unveiled as the next Permanent Secretary of the Scottish Government.

John-Paul Marks is currently a Director General in the department and will start his new job in January.

He was paid up to £30,000 in bonuses over the last three years, on top of his six figure salary.

Social Security Minister Ben Macpherson said: “We have now introduced 11 benefits, seven of them brand new and only available in Scotland. For replacement benefits, including complex disability benefits, our delivery timelines are as ambitious as possible. We are making sure that the transfer of benefits – that impacts on hundreds of thousands of people – is carried out in a responsible, safe and secure way.

“Whilst we do this, paying some benefits through the DWP is a cost-effective way of ensuring that people continue to receive the right payments at the right time.

“The costs of agency agreements we use will reduce over time as we progress with transferring the 700,000 cases that will move from the DWP to Social Security Scotland.”

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