Amber Rudd: SNP ministers to blame for new benefits powers delay

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) only learned of the Scottish Government’s intention to delay the handover of 11 devolved benefits by three years when an announcement was made last week, Amber Rudd has claimed in a scathing letter to Scottish Conservative MPs.

Ms Rudd wrote that the DWP has been “pressing the Scottish Government for more detailed delivery timelines and for specific details of their benefit design for some time”, but said plans were unclear until last week’s announcement.

She claimed the Scottish said “slow development of the detail of their approach to the benefits being devolved and underestimating the task at hand” meant it was not ready to accept “significant caseloads in a safe and secure manner”. The DWP will administer the benefits until 2024.

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Holyrood social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said she would “take no lectures” given the controversy over Universal Credit, and claimed the DWP Secretary had “repeatedly cancelled or postponed meetings” with devolved counterparts.

Work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Ms Rudd announced yesterday that pensioners receiving disability benefits would no longer have to undergo repeated medical assessments.