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Labour MPs hit out at DWP's 'reward for failure' over £20k bonuses

2 min read

Five senior civil servants in the Department for Work and Pensions have received bonuses of up to £20,000 – leading a Labour MP to accuse the Government of giving a “reward for failure”. 

The payments in the past two years come despite reports of claimants of the flagship new Universal Credit system having had no money for up to six weeks as a result of computer issues and slow phone helplines in some trial areas.

Furthermore, the scheme – which brings together jobseeker’s allowance, housing benefit, income support, child and working tax credit and some disability benefits into one payment – is also behind schedule.

Last month 30 Labour MPs and the Citizens Advice charity called for the programme to be delayed until its shortfalls are addressed.

Among recipients of the payments were Sir Robert Devereux, the DWP permanent secretary, who received £20,000 last year on top of his £185,000 salary. He was not paid a bonus this year but his salary rose to £190,000.

Mayank Prakash, director general of digital technology, received £20,000 this year on top of his £200,000 salary.

Meanwhile, Neil Couling, director general of universal credit, was awarded a bonus of up to £20,000 last year and a £125,000 salary. He did not receive a bonus this year, but his salary went up to £145,000.

Jeremy Moore, strategy director, had a £20,000 bonus last year and this year, taking his annual total pay to £155,000.

Labour MP Kevan Jones told the Sunday Mirror that the payments were an “insult” to those facing tough circumstances.

“These bonuses are a reward for failure and an insult to constituents who are on the breadline. In my constituency they plan to introduce this in November, which could leave thousands of people without any money in the run-up to Christmas.”

Fellow Labour MP Catherine McKinnell added: “I’ve been deluged with complaints about a system struggling to cope and failing to deliver support claimants need.”

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