By John Pring in Disability News Service.
Representatives of disability charities have given evidence to MPs about the impact of government social security reforms on disabled people, without disclosing that they signed contracts preventing them from attacking work and pensions secretary Esther McVey.
Senior figures from Shaw Trust and the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) both answered questions from members of the Commons work and pensions select committee yesterday (Thursday) about universal credit and the government’s new Work and Health Programme.
But neither of them made any attempt to place on the public record that the contracts could be seen as preventing them criticising McVey or her Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in the evidence session.
And the committee’s chair, Frank Field, failed to ask the two witnesses to place on the record the existence of the contractual agreements, even though Disability News Service alerted the committee to the concerns two days before the evidence session.
Charities including Shaw Trust, Leonard Cheshire and RNIB have confirmed that they have signed contracts – either with DWP or with one of the five main Work and Health Programme contractors – that include clauses that prevent them attracting adverse publicity to DWP or McVey.
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