The DWP could face an almighty debate over eight years of cuts

The Houses of Parliament and the DWP logo
Steve Topple

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) could be debated in parliament once again. But this time it’s different. Firstly, because the potential debate has cross-party support. But also because it will call on the DWP to properly assess the impact of eight years’ worth of policies. And the debate needs your help.

The DWP: ignoring the impact of policy?

Back in 2012, the WoW (War on Welfare) Campaign was launched. Centred around a petition that got over 100,000 signatures, it held a debate into 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 have not done an assessment. Both have even 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”.

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, WoW Campaign is back. And it’s pushing for another parliamentary debate into the need for a cumulative impact assessment.

A much-needed debate

It says on its website:

Many MPs from all parties back a BBBC (Backbench Business Committee) debate… on the need of a cumulative impact assessment for all the cuts to services used by disabled people and carers.

For instance, failing a PIP or ESA claim can be very hard.

But losing some benefits AND having one’s social care package reduced AND moving to Universal Credit AND having to cope with cuts to local mental health services AT THE SAME TIME is a disaster. But it is a reality for an increasing number of some people.

Over 20 MPs have agreed to the debate already. But WoW Campaign now needs your help to get more; specifically Conservative MPs. You can find out more here.

The fight continues 

As WoW Campaign’s Michelle Maher told The Canary:

We have been fighting for this debate for the past seven years… We now have the support of all parties – except the Tory party. It has blocked calls for a cumulative impact assessment… in the past. We are only after the truth, the impact, the reality of cumulative cuts. We want the government to follow the UN’s call for an assessment as a duty of care to disabled children and adults. They claim individual impact assessments count. But they hide behind this as they don’t want the truth known.

The DWP would probably prefer not to have to assess the devastating impact of its policies. That’s why it’s so important that WoW Campaign’s debate moves forward. So email or write to your MP. The time to expose the DWP is now.

Get Involved!

Find out more about WoW Campaign and contact your MP about it.

Featured image via Maurice / Wikimedia and UK government / Wikimedia 

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Steve Topple