TENS of thousands of disabled Scots will be forced to go through “cruel” Tory assessments because the SNP delayed the transfer of social security powers to Holyrood, according to new data from Scottish Labour yesterday.
The party’s figures show that nearly 130,000 working-age Scots currently claiming disability living allowance will have to be assessed for the new personal independence payments after the SNP asked the British government to retain responsibility for some benefits in Scotland until 2020.
Scottish Labour’s social security spokesman Mark Griffin MSP said his party was committed to ending these “cruel and inhumane assessments that have piled misery on vulnerable Scots.”
But he warned the SNP’s decision last year to delay the powers was an “astonishing failure” and means that 130,000 Scots will be assessed under the current system.
He said the decision represented a “dereliction of duty from the SNP” and warned that it revealed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was “not serious when she promises to take a different approach to the Tories.”
Mr Griffin accused the SNP of hypocrisy, saying: “For years SNP ministers have, rightly, criticised Tory reforms to welfare benefits for treating people with disabilities cruelly.
“They have promised that they would restore respect and dignity in the new Scottish social security system.
“But now they are prepared to leave some of Scotland’s most vulnerable citizens to the mercies of a Tory government until the end of the decade.”
Disabled People Against Cuts founder Linda Burnip told the Star that the news was “disappointing” and that “everyone in Scotland affected by the delay will be sad to hear the news.”
The SNP had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.
At the weekend Scottish Labour called on the Tories to halt the roll-out of universal credit, and highlighted yesterday how the Tories’ benefits cap is an attack on single parents.
Their research found that two-thirds of claimants who have had their benefits capped are single parents — nearly all of those single mothers.
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