The DWP just revealed it paid out £41m in bonuses last year. And that’s not the half of it.

Department for Work and Pensions Logo DWP
Steve Topple

On Thursday 15 February, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) released its finalised payroll data for 2017. And it showed that it spent £41.3m in total on staff bonuses last year. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the department’s spending.

Sorry, how much…?

The DWP’s monthly headcount and payroll data for 2017, when totted up, shows that the department spent:

  • £41.3m on bonuses between April 2016 and March 2017. This figure includes £5.3m on “in-month” bonuses and £36m in end-of-year bonuses.
  • £69.8m on “contingent labour”. This includes agency (clerical and admin) staff, interim managers and specialist contractors.
  • £7.8m on consultants or consultancy.
  • £28.2m on overtime pay.
  • £28.3m on allowances.

Meanwhile, it was revealed on 12 February that the DWP spent more than £100m on the administration of people’s appeals over benefit decisions, like Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). And so far in 2017/18, 68% of these ESA appeals have been won by the claimant.

A DWP spokesperson told The Canary:

In line with Civil Service pay guidance, DWP rewards employees for their performance through either end of year non-consolidated payments and/or in-year payments. Employees who have attained agreed performance levels as part of their performance review may receive an end of year non-consolidated payment based on their grade and end of year performance marking.

We operated within our departmental budget for the 2016/17 financial year and plan our spending accordingly.

The reaction

But funnily enough, when I tweeted about the DWP’s spending spree, people weren’t impressed:

So why did people react like this?

Cuts kill

As The Canary has been documenting, the DWP has come in for sustained criticism from the UN, campaign groups and politicians over its treatment of sick and disabled people.

For example, between October 2013 and October 2016, when people living on the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) were reassessed for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), 47% of them either lost money or had their benefit stopped.

It was then reported that, between December 2011 and February 2014, nearly 90 people a month were dying after the DWP told them they were fit for work. Also, 590 cases of people taking their own lives have been linked to the Work Capability Assessment.

Furthermore, in the past 20 months, there have been five international reports into successive Conservative-led governments. And all of them have been scathing about the treatment of disabled people.

“Grave” and “systematic” human rights violations

One UN committee accused the government of committing “grave” and “systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights.

In August 2017, it then said that the government had created a “human catastrophe” for disabled people, condemning the UK’s attempts to misrepresent the impact of policies through “unanswered questions”, “misused statistics”, and a “smoke screen of statements”.

And on 24 January this year, another report said that many welfare benefits – including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – were “manifestly inadequate”. That is, the DWP was not giving people enough money to live on; leaving them in poverty.

Move on. Nothing to see here.

But apparently, in the DWP’s world, all this deserves bonuses. Thank goodness the government spends public money wisely.

Get Involved!

– Support Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), fighting for disabled people’s rights.

Featured image via UK government/Wikimedia

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