Saturday, 03 November 2018 07:10

TORY GOVERNMENT GUILTY OF INTRODUCING EXTRA BARRIERS FOR MSPs RAISING UNIVERSAL CREDIT CASES

DWP ACCUSED OF CREATING TWO-TIER SYSTEM TO “DIMINISH STATUS OF MSPs”

The SNP has accused the Tory government of creating a “two-speed system” that intentionally restricts the ability of MSPs to raise constituency cases over the flawed Universal Credit system and access to benefits.

Earlier this year, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani wrote to the Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey warning that any changes to rules “could leave vulnerable constituents at a real disadvantage.”

Under the previous guidelines, MSPs were able to contact the Job Centre Complaints’ Resolution Team directly when a constituent faced issues regarding their benefits.

However the DWP has now confirmed new measures that impose new barriers in a “cynical attempt to diminish the status of MSPs." The rules now state that MSPs will have to email any enquiry and wait for a response. The change only applies to MSPs and Welsh Assembly Members - MPs are still able to directly contact the relevant Job Centre staff.

Commenting, Linda Fabiani MSP said:

“It has taken months for the DWP to come clean, but now we have it in black and white. They’ve changed their rules in a cynical attempt to diminish the status of MSPs, and put up needless barriers to us in helping the constituents we are elected to serve.

“The sad reality is the number of people in my constituency seeking help with benefits issues has risen because of Tory welfare cuts. Having a two-speed system where MSPs are treated as second class could leave vulnerable constituents at a real disadvantage.

“Esther McVey should be deeply ashamed of herself in presiding over a department which seeks to hammer, rather than help, those in need.

“But if she thinks this underhand change to the rules will stop MSPs from standing up for our constituents and continuing the fight against Tory cuts, she’s very much mistaken.”


The relevant pages of the updated guidance can be found at: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-0759/Consent__disclosure_v14_0.pdf

Outrage as Whitehall admits 'two-tier' benefits system for MPs and MSPs: https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/17198348.outrage-as-whitehall-admits-two-tier-benefits-system-for-mps-and-msps/

MSPs 'wilfully' blocked from helping constituents with problems claiming benefits by UK government: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/msps-wilfully-blocked-helping-constituents-12944219

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