Benefits-cutting DWP received nearly £80m from the Scottish social security agency last year

Scotland’s new social security agency paid nearly £80 million to the UK government last year to cut working conditions and pensions.

The payments, which covered the administration of the transferred benefits, amounted to more than half of the company’s operating expenses.

Labor MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy said: “Not only does the SNP leave behind key powers in the DWP ‘s hands, but they put millions in their pockets.

“People who need help are at the mercy of the DWP systems — and we’re paying for the privilege.”

After- referendum legislation gave the Scottish Parliament partial control over the benefit system, including payments for the disabled and carers, as well as additional powers.

However, the full implementation has been delayed and that is why there are joint agreements with the DWP.

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

Staff accounted for £42.3 million, £3.83 million was spent on housing, £6.5 million on ‘other office’ and £2.3 million on shared services.

The largest share was the £75.4 million to the DWP for “formal agreements” – almost 60% of the total expenditure.

The DWP has been hugely controversial for having implemented Tory cuts such as the £20 a week cut on Universal Credit.

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

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

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

“We can lose no more time. The SNP must stop putting money into the hands of the DWP and putting it in the pockets of the people who need it.”

It comes after a DWP director was revealed as the next permanent secretary to the Scottish Government.

John-Paul Marks is currently director general of the department and will start his new job in January.

He’s been paid up to £30,000 in bonuses over the past three years on top of his six figure salary.

Social Security Minister Ben Macpherson said: “We have now introduced 11 benefits, seven of which are brand new and available only in Scotland. For replacement benefits, including complex disability benefits, our delivery times are as ambitious as possible. We ensure the transfer of benefits – which affects hundreds of thousands of people – is carried out in a responsible, safe manner.

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

“The cost of agency agreements we use will decrease over time as we progress with the transfer of the 700,000 cases that will go from the DWP to Social Security Scotland.”

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