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Government’s reviewer tells MPs how DWP kept vital deaths evidence from him.

What: The expert commissioned by the government to review the WCA in 2013 and 2014 tells MPs that DWP failed to hand him crucial evidence showing links between the test and the deaths of disabled claimants. Dr Paul Litchfield tells the Commons work and pensions committee that he believed he had not been passed copies of secret DWP reviews into benefit-linked deaths, or two reports sent to DWP by coroners aimed at preventing future deaths of ESA claimants. He suggests that this evidence could have led to him making further recommendations to improve the assessment.

Why significant: Litchfield’s evidence suggests that DWP’s decision to hide evidence from him may have prevented changes to the WCA that could have saved lives. It again raises the question of whether former DWP ministers and senior civil servants should be investigated by police for potential misconduct in public office, and it adds weight to calls for an independent inquiry into the links between DWP and countless deaths of disabled claimants.


Work and Pensions Committee Wednesday 1 December 2021