Labour call for Esther McVey to have her pay docked in ‘sanction’ over Universal Credit rollout

Posted On: 
10th July 2018

Esther McVey should have her pay docked as a "sanction" for her handling of Universal Credit, Labour has said.

Ms McVey faces an embarassing parliamentary challenge
PA Images

The Work and Pensions Secretary was forced to apologise last week for misleading Parliament after she wrongly claimed that the National Audit Office (NAO) had called for the benefit to be rolled out faster.

In an unusual step, the auditor general of the NAO, Sir Aymas Morse, wrote an open letter to Ms McVey chastising her for misrepresenting their report on the welfare reforms.

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On Wednesday, Labour will call on MPs to back their calls for the minister's salary to be docked, in the same way that Universal Credit claimants can also be penalised if they fail to meet their responsibilities.

Shadow Work and Pension Secretary Margaret Greenwood said: "Universal Credit’s roll out has caused real hardship for many people. It has pushed people into debt, rent arrears and forced some to rely on foodbanks.

"Esther McVey needs to get her act together, pause the roll out and come up with a plan to address the serious flaws in Universal Credit."

Ms McVey has repeatedly defended the use of sanctions by the department.

Giving evidence to a Commons committee in 2013, when she was a junior minister in the DWP, she said: “What does a teacher do in a school? A teacher would tell you off, or give you lines and detentions, or whatever it is, but at the same time they have your best interest at heart.

"They are teaching you, they are educating you, but at the same time they will also have the ability to sanction you."