THE SNP has described as “deeply concerning” the revelation that the UK Government spent more than £120 million on benefit and child support claimant appeal tribunals last year.

Bob Doris, MSP for Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, slammed the welfare system, labelling it “not fit for purpose”.

Figures obtained by the SNP through freedom of information laws show the Government spent £121.5m on social security and child support tribunals in 2017/18, up 15% on the previous year.

Official figures show of the 51,256 appeal disposals in the quarter up to December 2018, 41,171 (80%) were cleared at hearing. Of these, 70% were found in favour of the claimant – an increase of 5% on 2016/17.

This overturn rate varied by benefit type, with Employment Support Allowance (ESA) at 74%, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at 73%, Disability Living Allowance at 66% and Universal Credit at 58%.

Doris said: “These figures are deeply concerning and expose a system which is systematically hostile towards people who need support the most.

“The grim reality is that the Tories are letting the most vulnerable people in our society down first.

“Mismanagement such as this is driving more and more people to food banks – something which DWP [Department for Work and Pensions] ministers have finally admitted to, but done nothing to fix.

“It’s becoming clearer every day that the Tory Government’s current welfare system is simply not fit for purpose.”

A spokeswoman for the UK Government said more would be done to gather the evidence “to make sure that we make the right decision earlier” and that “only a very small proportion” of decisions are overturned on appeal.