DWP bosses who cut benefits causing poverty awarded £1m bonus by the Tory government

DWP bosses who cut benefits causing poverty awarded £1m bonus by the Tory government

Senior officials at the Tory Government’s benefits-cutting department have pocketed over £1m in bonuses.

Poverty has soared under the Tory Government but DWP civil servants have pocketed extra cash.

Civil servants were rewarded for their performance, even though critics believe the DWP has increased poverty.

Labour MSP Mark Griffin said: “Under the Tories we have witnessed our social security system being cut to the bone, with those most in need hit hardest. Senior civil servants, who implemented these policies, receiving such huge bonuses year after year is shocking. However, it is those who brought those policies into being, the Tories, who must shoulder the blame for their cruel cuts.”

SNP MSP Shona Robison said: “This is a really bad look and the UK government should look twice at a system that rewards senior officials while punishing those dependent on their service.

“After a decade of Tory austerity, families in Scotland deserve better.”

The DWP has been at the forefront of the Cameron, May and Johnson Governments’ drive to cut social security.

Universal Credit was supposed to streamline the benefits system, but it was underfunded and ended up plunging people into debt.

Lifeline benefits such as child benefit were frozen at the same time as taxes were cut for the rich.

Disabled people also had to pass strict ‘fit to work’ tests that were overseen by profit making companies.

More than 4million people in the UK are trapped in deep poverty and child poverty levels in Scotland have soared to 240,000.

However, top DWP mandarins have pocketed bonuses for their efforts.

In 2017/18, senior officials scooped £595,392 in “end of year” top-ups and another £544,745 in the following year.

Job Seeker’s Allowance for the unemployed is paid at up to £73.10 a week, while Universal Credit claimants have to wait five weeks for their first payment.

Robison added: “It beggars belief that DWP chiefs are taking big handouts while families across the country are struggling due to sanctions and the rollout of Universal Credit.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “As is standard practice across the Civil Service, only staff performing well in their role receive a bonus. All payments follow strict Cabinet Office rules.”

By Paul Hutcheon Political Editor, Daily Record

Poverty rising

Full Fact reported that around 14.3 million people in the UK now live in poverty. Of these

“8.3 million are working-age adults, 4.6 million are children, and 1.3 million are of pension age”.
“Working-age people in poverty are increasingly likely to be in working families”.
Tory MPs continually boast about “record high” employment. Yet, what they fail to mention is the number of these jobs that are precarious zero-hours contracts. As The Canary reported, not only is the UK’s wage growth far behind other countries, but 844,000 people in the UK are also on zero-hours contracts. Many people on low-wages now rely on Universal Credit.

In 2015, Iain Duncan Smith, then DWP secretary, claimed that Universal Credit “guarantees you will always be better off in work than on benefits”.

But as the past five years have shown, under Universal Credit, work doesn’t necessarily pay. Universal Credit has forced some people to use food banks and made others homeless.

And according to the Financial Times: The 2010s saw living standards in the UK grow at their slowest rate since the second world war, even though… employment grew at a record rate.

Fat-cat bosses

According to the High Pay Centre thinktank: FTSE 100 CEOs only need to work until just before 17.00 on Monday 6 January 2020 in order to make the same amount of money that the typical full-time employee will in the entire year.

But even this shocking figure doesn’t tell the full story. Because it’s based on an average full-time salary of “£29,559 in 2018, equivalent to £14.37 an hour”. Given that the current hourly minimum wage is £8.21, even Boris Johnson’s proposed raise to £8.72 won’t take most workers anywhere close to £29,000. This also masks the surge of insecure zero-hours jobs.

In 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics, the “proportion of low-paid part-time employee jobs” was triple that of full-time jobs. Dig deeper, and the government’s own statistics reveal:

Between April 2018 and April 2019, 35.7% of full-time employees experienced a real-term pay decrease or pay freeze.

This was, at least, “a reduction from 43.3% in 2018”.

Lavery’s on the ball

In 2019, Labour’s Ian Lavery quite rightly called the Conservatives the “party of the billionaires”. And Sultana’s spot on, because the Tories truly do have a “shameful record”. Johnson’s majority government pivots on the rich getting richer while even those working continue to get poorer. We can’t trust them at all. But at least with MPs like Sultana in the Commons, someone’s holding them to account.

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