Permanent secretary says DWP has good relationship with National Audit Office despite watchdog’s critical report
The top government official overseeing universal credit has told MPs he has full confidence in the National Audit Office (NAO), the public spending watchdog that recently published a savagely critical report into the welfare benefit.
Since it was published in June, current and former ministers have sought to undermine the report, which concluded that universal credit failed to deliver mooted savings and employment benefits, and left many claimants in hardship.
The permanent secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, Peter Schofield, was asked by the public accounts committee chair, Meg Hillier, at an inquiry hearing into universal credit on Monday whether he had “full confidence” in the NAO report.
Schofield was initially evasive, saying it was a “strange question to ask me”. But pressed by Hillier, Schofield admitted: “Of course I have confidence in…