From record numbers of successful disability benefit appeals to unfair benefit sanctions, damning new figures expose how “deeply flawed” the welfare system has become under the Tories.
Over half of disability benefit appeals in Scotland are successful, figures uncovered under FOI show – exposing the complete failure of the Tory approach to welfare.
The FOI response shows that over 55% of appeals to overturn Personal Independent Payment (PIP) assessments in Scotland were successful in 2016/17.
Just under 8,000 Scots and around 67,000 people in the whole of the UK appealed the private assessors’ decision to take away their disability benefits last year – and 65% of these decisions were overturned overall.
In 2016/17, the DWP spent nearly £255m on private assessors, representing a £40m increase in funding on the previous year.
Commenting, SNP MSP Clare Adamson said: “This revelation exposes how deeply flawed the Tories’ welfare policies are. They are pursuing a punitive, ideologically driven approach that puts penny-pinching before the needs of disabled people.
“PIP assessments can cause angst, grief, stress, and health issues. They are dragging people through the mud, all for nothing.
“Theresa May’s vow to fight against ‘burning injustices’ in her first speech as Prime Minister was simply a lie. The Welfare state under the Tories is a contradiction in terms – they are harming rather than helping people in need in this country.
“With our limited powers over welfare in Scotland, we are building a social security agency with dignity and respect at its heart – but we need full powers over social security, the Tories cannot be trusted to put people’s welfare first.”
Scots sanctioned by DWP 400,000 times since 2010
Scots have been sanctioned by the DWP over 400,000 times since 2010, figures compiled by the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe) show.
The staggering figure does not include sanctions that were later overturned on appeal. The punitive sanctions regime has been a key driver in the rapid growth in foodbanks under the Tories, with sanctions increasing after extreme new rules were introduced in 2012.
Claimants have seen their support suddenly withdrawn because strict, and often ludicrous, conditions have not been met. Some of the absurd reasons for sanctions include claimants missing appointments due to being at a job interview or being hospitalised.
Commenting, SNP MSP Ruth Maguire said: “This is a staggering figure, that shows the extent of the deliberate cruelty inflicted by the DWP axemen.
“Sanctions have been shown to leave people in complete destitution and are a key factor in the rise of foodbanks under the Tories.
“With our limited powers over welfare, we’re building a Scottish social security agency with dignity and respect at its heart – and we’ve refused to use the discredited sanctions regime in our new employability service.
“But the extent of Westminster cuts to the welfare state show why we need full powers over social security in Scotland – not in the hands of the Tories.”