The other day I wrote a blog which exposed a leading cybernat, Stu Campbell, as being a bit of a liar (5295 views). Three days later he concocted a response. My quite cynical eyes spotted a few small problems with what he had written, but there was a substantial point which attracted my attention. These are his words concerning a £1.3b rise in the SNP’s budget for “Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth”:
“Andrew Neil is telling us that’s extra cash for the Scottish Government to spend. But really it’s just money which used to be paid directly to [Police and Firefighter pension] recipients by the DWP, but has now been given to the SPPA to pay out instead. Not a single extra penny will come into Scotland. All that’s changed is the postmark on the envelope.”
He is suggesting that the DWP previously paid Police and Firefighter pensions, but this has been transferred from Westminster to Holyrood as AME funding and this corresponded with a similar cut in DEL resources. I was a little surprised by that as I understood that DWP only covered the State Pension & Pension Credit.
I checked the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) website:
“In September 2013 the Scottish Ministers announced that following the creation of a unitary Scottish Fire and Rescue Services for Scotland with effect from 1st April 2013, the administration of all the current and new 2015 Schemes for the Fire Pension Schemes in Scotland would transfer from the current regional administrators to the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) by 1st April 2015.”
This suggests the pensions were transferred from Local Authorities (not DWP) to SPPA. I checked the Scottish Government website (the White Paper!) – they say that in 2013 Police and Firefighters had an “Unfunded scheme supported by Scottish DEL” and managed by Local Authorities (not DWP).
It therefore appears that the rise AME and fall in DEL may, at least in part, be due to the actions of the SNP and has nothing to do with the DWP. If I am correct, this is quite awkward for the lying cybernat.
PS: The DWP website is a positive thing. A key priority of Ian Duncan Smith’s department is “helping to reduce poverty and improve social justice” and “enabling disabled people to fulfil their potential” (no irony there).