SNP Social Justice spokesperson at Westminster Neil Gray MP has said the Tories need to face up to the fact that they are still planning to ‘plunge hundreds of thousands more people into poverty’ with their Universal Credit policies (UC), and that the public must be allowed to see the internal assessment reports.
The comments come as a result of today’s UC debate in which the UK government minister responsible -David Gauke – made a concession which would mean he will make available redacted copies of Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) assessment reports on Universal Credit, to the Westminster Work and Pensions committee.
However, the Secretary of State confirmed to Neil Gray during the debate that he will still challenge the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ruling to publish the reports at the High Court.
The ICO has already said they should be published publicly and in full – as that is specifically in the public interest.
Tory MP Heidi Allen reduced to tears after hearing Universal Credit horror story.
Neil Gray MP commented: ‘’This partial cave in from the Tories has to be welcome – but they should be published in full and anything less is really not good enough. The ICO has already said anything less than full public publication would not be enough.
“We must know the real damage being done by the way the Tories have presided over this callous roll out
‘’So today’s partial U-turn by David Gauke looks like a tactic to get out of losing another embarrassing vote at Westminster on social security cuts, and it goes nowhere near enough.
‘’The Tories need to face up to the fact and the evidence that far from helping low income families they are in fact plunging hundreds of thousands more into poverty, as stated this week by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
‘’It is this UK Tory government that is the agent of poverty – and they need to face up to that.
“They should allow everyone to see these reports and then come together to invest in and fix the fundamental flaws of Universal Credit for those who desperately need that support.”
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams also welcomed the Government’s concession, added they must be published “unredacted and unedited”.
“Following Labour pressure, the Government has finally backed down and made a clear commitment to hand over the Universal Credit reports”, she said.
“This should give greater insight into the scale of their implementation and design failures during the mismanagement of the programme and must be published unredacted and unedited.
“Too many families have been pushed into poverty by the Tories’ disastrous mishandling of Universal Credit’s roll out and it is only set to get worse, with thousands facing a miserable Christmas.
“It is time we knew the true extent of the Government’s failures with Universal Credit in order to fix the multitude of problems.
“Labour will transform Universal Credit to ensure it reduces child poverty and always makes work pay.”