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Friday, 2 December 2011

DWP & Vested Interest - UNUM or anyone else - FoI Act request

2 December 2011
Dear Department for Work and Pensions,


You will be aware of widespread public concern over private companies who are invited to advise the Government or attend consultative meetings, but have a vested commercial interest in one or more of the potential outcomes. One such company is UNUM, whose website states (http://www.unum.co.uk/forAdvisers/Group/)


“With an unprecedented budget deficit to tackle, the government is cutting back on public spending, which includes welfare support.  While the government steps back, employers are being asked to step forward to take on more responsibility for their employees’ welfare in times of illness and injury.”


Q1: Does the Government accept that is must maintain a very clear and visible distance from this and similar private companies to ensure there can never be any  accusations of impropriety?


Q2: To what extent have representatives from UNUM had any contact with Government, civil service or any other public services employees to date?


Q3: The Government’s declared policy makes it clear that it will still provide support to individuals who need it. The UNUM statement above however indicates that the Government will be cutting welfare payments to claimants who do still need support, but will be expecting employers to take on the welfare cost responsibility. Is there any truth in the UNUM statement and if so, how will this manifest itself to employers and will their compliance be mandatory (i.e. encapsulated in law)or optional?


Yours faithfully,

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