The DWP just got an unwanted Christmas gift

The DWP logo around christmas items
Steve Topple

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has got an early Christmas present. But it’s one it probably won’t want.

The DWP: nothing to see here

Back in 2012, the WOW (War on Welfare) Campaign was launched. Centred around a petition that got over 100,000 signatures, it forced a debate on DWP reforms and their effect on people. Ultimately, it aimed to get the DWP to do a “cumulative impact assessment”. This is where the effects and consequences – both positive and negative – of actions or policies are assessed.

But despite the petition and the debate, the DWP and government still haven’t done an assessment. Both have also ignored calls from the UN to carry one out. The DWP claims it cannot do a cumulative impact assessment because it “cannot be reliably modelled”.

Time for a debate

This is despite a thinktank, Policy in Practice, doing a cumulative impact assessment on welfare reform; you can read it here. It found that, from a baseline amount in November 2016, by 2020 households hit by welfare reforms would be on average £40.62 a week worse off.

But still, the DWP refuses to do an assessment. So the WOW Campaign is back. And it’s now secured a debate in parliament:

It will happen after Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on 19 December at around 2pm. Labour MPs Debbie Abrahams and Kate Green have helped WOW Campaign get the debate. But it needs people’s support to make it as successful as possible.

WOW Campaign wants people to support the debate on social media:

It also wants people to write to their MPs, asking them to attend:

Meanwhile, Abrahams has been asking for people’s input for her speech:

And on the day, some people have organised a protest beforehand:

“In denial”

The WOW Campaign told The Canary:

The government is in denial of the cumulative effects of years of cuts and reforms, their official line is that they are now offering better support to severely disabled people. The signs that their policies are not working are there for everyone to see, with many disabled people hit not by one cut but by many at the same time. And even when the support is still there, it is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate a system that is trying to deny support by default, with severely disabled people having to jump through many hoops to get what they need and deserve. We have asked disabled people and carers to send us their experiences and the heartbreaking accounts we have been receiving are very different from the polished success story promoted by the government. We want the truth to be told and the hostile environment against disabled people and carers to end, and this debate is a way to promote more awareness to achieve that.

Ignoring misery

As the Canary exclusively revealed, despite its denials, the DWP has actually cut disabled people’s benefits in recent years. Moreover, the UN has now produced five separate reports following investigations into UK human rights violations. Yet nothing has changed. And amid all this, 10 claimants a day have been dying in recent years; ones who the DWP said were ready to move towards work.

It is staggeringly dogmatic of the DWP and government to refuse to assess the impact of the past eight years of welfare changes. But maybe now, with the weight of parliament, it and the government will be forced to properly assess the chaos and misery they have caused.

Featured image via giftpundits – pixabay and UK government – Wikimedia 

Get involved

  • Support WOW Campaign on Twitter and read more on its website.
  • Write to your MP asking them to attend the debate.


We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us