The Labour Party will seek to force the Government to publish its own reports into the rollout of its Universal Credit, in a move that could embarrass the Government further over its flagship benefits scheme.
In a debate in the House of Commons, in which the Conservatives are expected to abstain, the party will use the same arcane parliamentary procedure as it used several weeks ago to compel the Government to publish its Brexit impact assessments.
The reports, known as ‘Project Assessment Reviews’, are detailed assessments of the implementation of Universal Credit, which has come under criticism for driving debt, arrears and even evictions.
The independent Information Commissioner, has determined that five of the reports, drafted between 2012 – 2015, are in the public interest and called on the Government to release them. So far it has not done so.
Debbie Abrahams MP, Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “These reports could further expose the implementation flaws, design failures and the impacts of major cuts to Universal Credit, which is pushing people into poverty, debt and arrears. Labour has long called for a pause and fix of this programme, but the Chancellor failed to act in the Budget, meaning thousands of families will face a miserable Christmas.
“The Government should have abided by the Information Commissioner and released five of these reports into the public domain. Having already ignored Parliament’s unanimous approval of Labour’s motion to pause Universal Credit, the Government is now once again riding roughshod over the democratic process.
“Labour is calling for the release of this catalogue of failures on Universal Credit, to ensure that the lessons are learned from this Government’s mismanagement.
“Labour is committed to transforming Universal Credit, so that it meets its original ambitions of simplifying social security, reducing child poverty and making work pay.”