Doncaster MP welcomes £390 million of benefit repayments

Doncaster Don Valley MP Caroline Flint.
Doncaster Don Valley MP Caroline Flint.

A Doncaster MP has has welcomed a victory for one in twenty of the town's claimants of Employment and Support Allowance, who were underpaid by the Department for Work and Pensions following their transfer from Incapacity Benefit.

The Government announcement of repayments, which is expected to cost £390 million, follows a report from the Commons Public Accounts Committee, which Don Valley Caroline Flint is a member of.

At least 70,000 claimants lost out across England and Wales due to Government mistakes, according to the report.

Caroline said: "This is a victory for many people in Doncaster, and across the country, who were poorly treated by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) when they were transferred to the new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) benefit.

"This has affected at least one in every twenty claimants who were transferred from Incapacity Benefit. For some, after a seven year wait, justice cannot come too quickly.”

Sarah Newton, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, has admitted this will cost at least £390million to resolve and the numbers affected may go up.

“Many have waited seven years to be compensated for the losses and hardship these underpayments created through no fault on the part of the claimants. Sadly, for many, the Government payments will come too late.

“A corner stone of the welfare state is that it provides help when people need it and it is fair to the taxpayer and to those who may need support. Government incompetence has cost the taxpayer money and has caused hardship to thousands of people. I hope this announcement provides justice to some.”