26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: MPs to force report’s publication

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United Kingdom MPs are to use their Parliamentary powers to force the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to release a report it commissioned on how people living with disability have experienced the benefits system.

After several unsuccessful attempts to obtain the report from the DWP, Parliament’s Work and Pensions Select Committee has written to the research institute that carried out the work to demand a copy, which it plans to publish itself.

Chair of the committee, Stephen Timms said that after repeated obstruction from the Minister responsible, Thérèse Coffey to keep from public view a piece of work that fell within the Government’s own protocol for publication “we have reached the end of the road”.

“We would have much rather the DWP had done the right thing and published the report itself, so it is with regret that we must now take the highly unusual step of using our Parliamentary powers to obtain a copy and publish it ourselves,” Mr Timms said.

“We have been forced to do this to ensure that the reality of disabled people’s experiences of the benefits system can see the light of day.”

He said the committee had written to Ms Coffey (pictured) several times in the past few months and, in December, gave her one final chance to publish the report, which she herself admitted fell within the Government’s protocol for publication.

In a letter on 10 January, Ms Coffey said she had “no intention to publish this research at present”, saying the Department was “protecting a private space for policy development”.

The committee has now written to the National Centre for Social Research, which carried out the research, ordering it to provide a copy for the committee to publish.

The report, entitled The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits, was submitted to the DWP in September 2020.

Speaking during Question Time in Parliament, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said the Government would publish the research “as soon as we can”.

London, 26 January 2022

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