Friday, December 6, 2019
Home Conservatives SNP demand an urgent review over ESA benefit underpayments 'scandal'

SNP demand an urgent review over ESA benefit underpayments ‘scandal’

The SNP has demanded that Amber Rudd come before Parliament to answer questions on the growing ESA payments scandal – after it emerged as many as 20,000 sick and disabled claimants have died while still potentially owed overdue back-payments by the UK government.

Neil Gray MP, SNP Social Justice spokesperson, said the UK government must finally “get a grip” of the spiralling scandal, speed up the repayments process, and launch an urgent DWP-wide review of procedures to identify and prevent further payment errors.

Work and Pensions Secretary, Amber Rudd MP. Photo: Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0]

The MP accused the Tory government of presiding over a catalogue of errors that have left sick and disabled people worse off and struggling to get by.

The call for action comes after the DWP was forced to admit that a further 30,000 claimants were owed money as a result of miscalculations in the transition to ESA, taking the total to around 210,000.

The error dates back to 2011 and was first identified in December 2016 but the situation has not been resolved and further errors continue to emerge.

Commenting, Neil Gray MP said: “The shameful admission by the UK government that as many as 20,000 people died while they were still potentially owed ESA back-payment money is yet another damning indictment of the Tories’ callous policies.

“It marks the latest chapter in a catalogue of errors in the UK government’s damaging approach to social security, which has demonstrably harmed peoples’ lives and plunged sick and disabled people into poverty and hardship.

“With nearly 210,000 claimants identified as being underpaid as a result of miscalculations in the botched transition to ESA.

Jobcentre Plus sign.

“Amber Rudd must urgently get a grip of this spiralling scandal, speed up the repayments process, and launch a department-wide review of procedures to identify and prevent any further errors in the benefits system.

“The UK government must also ensure that any payments found to be owed in the cases of those who have died must still go to the families.

“The Secretary of State must come before Parliament, and set out what steps are already underway regarding other social security payments to ensure that similar errors have not occurred, as well as guaranteeing that the resources going into these investigations and back payments are not coming out of the existing DWP budget.

“As Brexit chaos consumes Westminster, the Tory government is failing to get on with the day job and is failing some of the most vulnerable people across Scotland and the UK.

“It is high time the DWP got its head out of the sand and acted before it consigns more people into poverty and hardship.”

Disclaimer: This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP). Image added by Welfare Weekly.

Newsletter

Subscribe Now! Get weekly news updates delivered straight to your email inbox and never miss out on the issues that matter most to you (BETA). Or follow us on social media.

16,700FansLike
9,396FollowersFollow

Trending Now

A homeless person dies every 19 hours in austerity Britain

Services are failing to protect homelessness people, say campaigners.

Cancer patient forced to rely on food banks says DWP needs to ‘wake up’ to the ‘cruelty’ of Universal Credit

A cancer patient says she has been forced to rely on food banks after being refused Universal Credit.

Jo Swinson ‘sorry’ for backing Tory benefit cuts

Liberal Democrat leader grilled on her voting record while in coalition government with the Tories.

DWP forced to admit more than 111,000 benefit deaths

Department has been forced to release updated Employment and Support Allowance mortality statistics.

Benefit payment dates over Christmas and New Year 2019-20

You may receive benefit payments early over Christmas and New Year. Check here to see if this applies to you and your family.

More News

One million UK children face a Christmas without warmth or fresh food, charity warns

Action for Children says child poverty levels are at the worst they can remember.

Jo Swinson ‘sorry’ for backing Tory benefit cuts

Liberal Democrat leader grilled on her voting record while in coalition government with the Tories.

Cancer patient forced to rely on food banks says DWP needs to ‘wake up’ to the ‘cruelty’ of Universal Credit

A cancer patient says she has been forced to rely on food banks after being refused Universal Credit.

A child becomes homeless in Britain every eight minutes, report reveals

Shelter calls on every political party to put housing at the top of its domestic agenda.

C4 Dispatches: 4 million children growing up hungry under Tories

SNP calls on the next UK government to reverse "brutal" austerity cuts and end the benefits freeze.

Newsletter

Get weekly news updates delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe today!