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MPs give Secretary of State “one final chance” to publish commissioned research on Disabled people’s experiences of the benefits system

16 December 2021

The Work and Pensions Committee of MPs has written to the Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey to give her “one final chance” to reconsider her decision not to publish Government-commissioned research about Disabled people’s experiences of the benefits system.

If the report is not published before 11 January 2022, the Committee will use its parliamentary powers to acquire the report and publish it.

Ms. Coffey has refused to publish the report, “The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits”, that was commissioned to feed into the DWP’s Green paper on disability benefits, "Shaping Future Support", which was published in July.

But the Green paper made no mention of the report.

The report was written for the DWP by NatCen (The National Centre for Social Research), Britain’s largest independent social research agency.

After being shown the first draft of the report, the DWP told NatCen to reduce the number of references to “unmet needs” and to delete some of its analysis.

The NatCen report was based on interviews with 120 Disabled claimants  about their experiences of receiving PIP, ESA and universal credit, how they use their benefits, their unmet needs, and their quality of life.

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

“The Secretary of State has consistently failed to give the Committee a good reason why this piece of research should not be made public.

She even admits that it falls within the Government’s own protocol for publication.

The continued refusal to publish the results of the research, as promised to the participants who gave up their time, will do further damage to disabled people’s trust in the Department - which is already in short supply.

The Secretary of State now has a final opportunity to think again and publish the research. If not, the Committee is firmly agreed that we will be left with no choice but to publish the report ourselves.”

Full correspondence between the Committee and the Secretary of State is available here.

A transcript of the Chair’s exchange with Thérèse Coffey at last week’s evidence session is available here.

For further information see our news story DWP refuses to publish report that found Disabled claimants had “unmet needs”.