Don’t be fooled by Tory government rhetoric; this is a serious victory for Labour.
Discussion of those parts of the Universal Credit reports that the government doesn’t insist are kept confidential will put them in the public domain.
And we will be able to work out what’s in the confidential parts by their omission from such debate.
The social media have already started a debate of their own, of course.
Here’s Debbie Abrahams, speaking at the Commons debate:
During opposition day debate, I called on the Government to release #UniversalCredit project assessment reviews.
If Gov't is so sure that no changes are necessary, why are they scared to publish their own workings as instructed by Information Commissioner? RT if you agree. pic.twitter.com/A6t8XupYY8
— Debbie Abrahams MP (@Debbie_abrahams) December 5, 2017
After Mr Gauke agreed to provide the reports, Steve Topple had this to say:
So, Labour has "forced" the Tories #ToryWinterCrisis to release the #UniversalCredit 'files' to the Work and Pensions Select Committee #StopandScrap And they'll probably look something like…
— Steve Topple (@MrTopple) December 5, 2017
Judy Hamilton added:
— Judy Hamilton (@secretspartacus) December 5, 2017
They’re not wrong, are they?
David Gauke has accepted a Labour motion to provide reports into the rollout of Universal Credit to the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee.
In a victory for Jeremy Corbyn’s party, the Work and Pensions Secretary told MPs on Tuesday that he will honour an opposition request for the unpublished files to be passed to the committee on an “exceptional” basis.
Yet despite the Information Commissioner ruling the documents should be fully published, the government still won’t release them to the public.
And with the Government insisting some key elements are kept confidential, questions have been raised over how the influential select committee can use the information it gains through reading the files.
As part of its bid to pause the nationwide roll-out of Universal Credit, Labour used the same ancient Parliamentary procedure that it deployed to force the publication of confidential Brexit impact assessments last month [a “humble address” to the Queen, asking that she order the government to pass on the information].
Labour’s formal motion stated:
“That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, That she will be graciously pleased to give directions that the five Project Assessment Reviews carried out into Universal Credit between 2012 and 2015 by the Government’s Major Projects Authority now known as the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, and any subsequent Project Assessment Reviews carried out into Universal Credit by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority between 1 January 2016 and 30 November 2017 that have been provided to Her Majesty’s Ministers at the Department of Work and Pensions, be provided by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to the Work and Pensions Committee.”
The Information Commissioner’s Office has previously ruled that the DWP should publish the files concerned in full, a decision the government has said it will challenge.
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