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Work and Pensions Committee to use parliamentary powers to publish report after DWP’s refusal

13 January 2022

Using powers given to it by the House of Commons, the Work and Pensions Committee is to obtain and publish a DWP-commissioned report on disabled people’s experiences of the benefits system after the Department once again refused to make the research public.

The Committee last month gave the Secretary of State one final chance to publish the report, which she herself admitted fell within the Government’s own protocol for publication.

Following confirmation from Thérèse Coffey that she will not be reconsidering her decision, the Committee has written to the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), which carried out the research, ordering it to provide a copy for publication by the Committee by Thursday 27th January.

Chair's comment

Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

“After repeated obstruction from the Secretary of State to keep from public view a piece of work that falls 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 from NatCen and publish it ourselves. 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.”

The report 'The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits' was received by the Government in September 2020. It followed a research project led by the NatCen, which interviewed disabled people about their experiences of receiving PIP, ESA and Universal Credit.

At this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, in response to a question from Vicky Foxcroft MP, Boris Johnson promised that the Government would publish the research ‘as soon as we can’.

Image: Parliamentary copyright