Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams said during the opposition debate yesterday that the government had finally acknowledged that UC was not fit for purpose, with delayed payments, increased reliance on foodbanks, evictions and rent arrears in the areas in which it is rolled out.
Labour attempted to use the same parliamentary procedure that forced the government to hand over 58 Brexit impact papers to bring about a binding vote demanding the publication of the “project assessment reviews” on UC.
The party was due to call a binding vote in the Commons to make a “humble address” to the Queen requesting that she order ministers to release the reports into UC, which is gradually being introduced across the country to replace six older benefits.
Labour said the government had ignored a ruling in August by the Information Commissioner that five of the reports, drafted between 2012-15, should be released to campaigners because their publication would be in the public interest.
It also believes that the reports may contain further information to back the party’s call on the government to pause and fix UC.
“Taxpayers’ money must not be used to hide the government’s embarrassment,” Ms Abrahams told MPs.
“These reports will help understand what needs fixing and how.”
Ms Abrahams said that the reports would expose the “deep flaws” in the UC scheme.
She added that Labour was committed to transforming UC so that it meets its “original ambitions of simplifying social security, reducing child poverty and making work pay.”
Work and Pensions Secretary David Gauke said the government will release the reports to the work and pensions select committee before MPs break for Christmas.