The Secretary of State’S Handling of Universal Credit

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:32 pm on 11th July 2018.

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Photo of Margaret Greenwood Margaret Greenwood Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 1:32 pm, 11th July 2018

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. I am going to make some progress now because there have been so many interventions, although I am pleased that so many people are here today.

The head of the NAO said clearly in his letter of 4 July:

“Our report was fully agreed with senior officials in your Department. It is based on the most accurate and up-to-date information from your department. Your department confirmed this to me in writing on…6 June and we then reached final agreement on the report on…8 June.”

The Secretary of State refused to back down and said again in a letter to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee—my hon. Friend Meg Hillier—dated only yesterday that, although she had full confidence in the NAO and its head,

“that does not mean the Department will always agree with all of the judgements reached by the NAO.”

Will she tell us now, once and for all, whether or not her Department agreed the report with the NAO in writing on 8 June?