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Social security payments on track despite UK Government delays

Published: 20 May 2018 00:01

Department of Work and Pensions urged to deliver on its commitments.

Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman has written to the UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey for the third time to complain about her department reneging on agreements.

This latest letter follows notification from the DWP that they would no longer be able to meet formal agreements made on the 9 March to provide important data on carers. Ms Freeman expressed her frustration that this means that not all carers will be able to receive payments at the same time but confirmed the bulk of carers will still be paid later this summer and that all payments will be backdated to April.

This exchange follows correspondence where Ms McVey advised of delay in the jointly-agreed work required on Universal Credit in order to abolish the bedroom tax in Scotland. Ms Freeman has also written to Ms McVey highlighting a four-month delay in the supply of essential software code from the DWP to the Scottish Government.

Ms Freeman said:

“It is frustrating that the Scottish Government is all set to make Carers Allowance Supplement - our first social security payments – later this summer benefitting more than 70,000 carers but a delay from the DWP could means 0.04% carers experience a delay.

“However any carer who does not receive a payment due to the DWP failing to provide the necessary information to the Scottish Government, will receive their payment as soon as the Scottish Government is notified by the DWP of the details.

“In order to deliver, Scottish Government officials have been working to ensure the DWP understands our plans and requirements. However, we are repeatedly reaching agreements to then have the DWP to roll back on them. I am seriously concerned that if this continues that there could be delays due to the DWP moving goalposts.

“It is vital for our planning to know that the DWP has a parallel plan in place and that it is on track with the extensive work that it needs to undertake to facilitate a safe and steady transfer of benefits. So I am - again - urging the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to ensure that her department has plans and that these are given priority.”