Scottish Government Refuses to Release DWP IT Payments
After an Audit Scotland report claimed that Scottish Government ministers had "not clearly estimated” the real cost of implementing the devolution of social security powers, the Scottish government refused to disclose how much it had paid to use the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) computer systems in response to a written question from Mark Griffin MSP.
The continued reliance on DWP IT systems has occurred because the Scottish infrastructure is not yet up and running. But that very system has recently come under fire after a series of welfare payments were delayed due to “system glitches.” This means that Scottish social security recipients could be left open to future delays for an extra five years thanks to the faulty system.
Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman refused to reveal just how much the Scottish Government had shelled out for the arrangement, claiming that the costs were provided “in confidence” by the DWP.
Scottish Labour’s Social Security spokesperson Mark Griffin MSP said:
“This veil of secrecy from the SNP is deeply concerning.
“Audit Scotland has already warned that SNP ministers have not properly budgeted to deliver the new powers over social security.
“Now it emerges they won’t even be honest about how much taxpayers are handing over to the callous DWP to deliver payments for up to 5 years.
“There are also widespread concerns about the capability of the DWP systems, with payments not being delivered on time because of a glitch just this week.
“Scotland has the opportunity to build a radically fairer country with these powers – but SNP ministers must be honest if we are going to ensure we get the foundations of this new system right.”