More than 1200 disabled people in East Lothian could be forced to go through cruel Tory assessments because the SNP Scottish Government has delayed the transfer of social security powers to Holyrood.
New figures from Scottish Labour show that tens of thousands of working-age Scots currently in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are due to be assessed for the new Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
Last year it emerged that the SNP Government asked the UK Government to retain responsibility for certain benefits in Scotland until 2020.
As part of the powers delivered through the post-referendum Smith Commission, Holyrood will be able to end the assessments – but as a result of the SNP’s decision that will come too late for the 1237 disabled Scots in East Lothian currently receiving DLA.
Iain Gray MSP said:
“Labour wants to end these cruel and inhumane assessments that have piled misery on vulnerable Scots.
“But the SNP’s decision to delay the powers means that over 1200 disabled people in East Lothian will be assessed under the current system. That is a dereliction of duty from the SNP and shows that Nicola Sturgeon is not serious when she promises to take a different approach to the Tories.
“The decision to delay the transfer of responsibility for disability benefits from Westminster to Holyrood exposes an astonishing failure from the SNP.
“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.”