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

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:

Read on...

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

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed