Commenting on this afternoon’s Written Ministerial Statement from DWP SoS Esther McVey announcing an extension of the scope of ESA error repayments, Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
“This is a most welcome change of heart by the Department, which has now accepted that its obligation to repay is much wider than it originally tried to claim. The numbers who may be eligible for back pay will increase—from 70,000 to up to a quarter of a million. The Committee will press DWP further to find out what it plans to do for the people who missed out on other benefits as a result of the wrongful denial of ESA, for which they should also now be compensated.
“The parallels with Universal Credit are clear and troubling. The Department failed to listen to claimants, charities and even its own staff when they sounded the alarm. Their warnings fell on deaf ears, and tens of thousands of people lost out as a result. The Government must now learn the lessons from this catastrophic failure as it faces the challenges of migration onto Universal Credit.”
The WMS followed this morning’s report from the Public Accounts Committee: Thousands of claimants failed by DWP 'culture of indifference'
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