Midlothian MP calls for Universal Credit scripts apology

Midlothian MP Danielle Rowley speaking in the House of Commons.
Midlothian MP Danielle Rowley speaking in the House of Commons.

Midlothian MP Danielle Rowley last week challenged ministers to apologise for denying the use of Universal Credit deflection scripts.

Ms Rowley uncovered documents which she claims prove the DWP had repeatedly lied about the use of deflection scripts. In the House of Commons last week, Employment Minister Alok Sharma denied such scripts existed when pressed on the matter by Ms Rolwey.

Speaking afterwards Ms Rowley said: “The DWP has repeatedly denied the existence of a deflection script. We have heard Amber Rudd (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) dance around the facts and last week she was only prepared to acknowledge that ‘there shouldn’t be a deflection script strategy’ in the future.

“But the fact is that the DWP systematically adopted this strategy and then attempted to hide the truth – effectively calling the whistleblower, Bayard Tarpley, a liar in the process.

“Despite the department’s attempts to frustrate my requests to obtain the documents under the Freedom of Information Act, they failed. We have seen the evidence.

“It’s time for ministers to finally face up to the truth. It’s time for Amber Rudd to come clean and it’s time to change this unacceptable culture within the DWP.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “There has never been a policy to hurry callers off the phone and accusations that this is the case are completely false. Call handlers are encouraged to spend as much time as necessary on the phone and remind claimants that they are able to complete certain activities online where appropriate.”