Esther McVey has been accused of misleading parliament over Universal Credit

The welfare secretary has come under fire from the National Audit Office, which claims she made incorrect statements to MPs about the rollout of Universal Credit following a damning report

The National Audit Office (NAO), the UK’s public spending watchdog, has accused Work and Pensions secretary Esther McVey of misleading MPs about its concerns around the controversial Universal Credit roll-out.

NAO chief Sir Amyas Morse criticised the cabinet minister in an open letter, seen exclusively by The Times newspaper, complaining over a number of inaccuracies in her presentation to parliament on its critical report of the roll-out.

Amyas said the minister’s response to the watchdog’s critical report of the rollout was “incorrect”, and accused the Cabinet minister of misrepresenting his report, before branding her behaviour “odd” amid suggestions she had refused to meet with him.

Amyas wrote that her statement claiming Universal Credit is working “has not been proven.”

He said the minister’s claim that the NAO was concerned the benefit is currently “rolling out too slowly” and needs to “continue at a faster rate” is also inaccurate. In the letter Amyas wrote: “What we do know from the department’s surveys is that although 83 per cent of claimants responding said they were satisfied with the departments’ customer service, 40 per cent of them said they were experiencing financial difficulties, and 25 per cent said they couldn’t make an online claim.”

The report from the NAO, published in June, found that the roll-out has not “delivered value for money and it is uncertain if it ever will.”

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