By a Newsnet reporter
The Scottish National Party has criticised the UK government claiming a string of blunders on welfare reform have affected some of the most vulnerable people in society.
In the past few days the Department for Work and Pensions has been criticised by the Public Accounts Committee and Macmillan cancer support for mismanaging Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

The Department has also been made to defend its decisions on welfare reform after leaked memos showed the UK government could be about to breach its self-imposed welfare cap, and the UK government has been slammed by the Poverty Truth Commission for imposing “disproportionately and unfairly applied” welfare cuts.

  • – The Department of Work and Pensions has been heavily criticised following a damning report from the Public Accounts Committee on the introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) which described the scheme as a “fiasco.” The cross-party group of MPs warned that the PIP scheme has been “rushed” through with a “shocking” impact on claimants.
  • – MacMillan cancer support has criticised the Department of Work and Pensions as a report shows at least 4,500 cancer patients (29%) have waited six months or more to find out whether they will even be awarded their Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
  • – A leaked memo has revealed the government could be in breach of its self-imposed cap on welfare spending. The memos suggest Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) costs are rising with few cost-cutting options.
  • – A report by the Poverty Truth Commission has said benefit sanctions are being “disproportionately and unfairly applied” and are “breaking people’s spirits and damaging their physical and mental health.” It is also stated in the report that people are more and more “being blamed for being poor” – a damning indictment of Westminster’s increasingly right-wing rhetoric on the welfare state.

Commenting, SNP spokesperson for Work and Pensions Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“The Department of Work and Pensions is in an utter shambles.

“The failures of the UK government has meant some of the most vulnerable people in our society have been forced to turn to food banks and loans whiles their claims have been decided – including people who are terminally ill.

“We know the majority of Scots want all welfare decisions made in Scotland rather than Westminster, and a Yes vote in September will make that a reality.”

A Yougov poll carried out last year found that 53 per cent of people in Scotland wanted the Scottish Parliament to control welfare and pensions, against only 34% who wanted the power to remain with Westminster.

Last week, one of the key findings of a new poll commissioned by Yes Scotland found six in 10 people (60%) said they trusted the Holyrood Government more than the UK Government.  In contrast, only one in five people (21%) said they trusted Westminster more than Holyrood to take the best decisions for Scotland.

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