I thank the Backbench Business Committee for allowing me to lead this debate on the Department for Work and Pensions public spending estimates. In so doing, I shall explain what I think are the purpose and principles of the Department; where I feel that, unfortunately, it is currently failing; and what needs to happen to change that.
Today is about public spending. Most people in the House will know that the Department for Work and Pensions is the largest spending Department of all; it spends around a quarter of the Government’s money. However, although this is an estimates day debate, we should not focus on the money. The money is interesting really only in so far as it is for something—in so far as we spend it for a purpose and we carry out that purpose in accordance with our principles.