Baroness Lister of Burtersett Portrait

Baroness Lister of Burtersett

Labour - Life peer

Became Member: 31st January 2011


Citizenship and Civic Engagement Committee
29th Jun 2017 - 28th Mar 2018
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
16th May 2012 - 30th Mar 2015


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 6th February 2024
Automated Vehicles Bill [HL]
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 112 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 200 Noes - 204
Speeches
Wednesday 28th February 2024
UNICEF: Child Poverty Rankings
My Lords, paid work is hardly the answer, as the Minister suggested, given that the majority of children in poverty …
Written Answers
Monday 19th February 2024
Child Trust Fund
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the letter from the Economic Secretary to the Treasury to The Share Foundation …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Thursday 9th January 2020
Asylum Support (Prescribed Period) Bill [HL] 2019-21
A bill to introduce a minimum period of 56 days before an asylum claim is considered to be determined for …
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Baroness Lister of Burtersett has voted in 416 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

8 Dec 2021 - Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - View Vote Context
Baroness Lister of Burtersett voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 6 Labour No votes vs 59 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 211 Noes - 82
View All Baroness Lister of Burtersett Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative)
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
(63 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(200 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(46 debate contributions)
Ministry of Justice
(36 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Nationality and Borders Act 2022
(24,735 words contributed)
Illegal Migration Act 2023
(18,580 words contributed)
Domestic Abuse Bill 2019-21
(10,231 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Baroness Lister of Burtersett's debates

Lords initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Baroness Lister of Burtersett, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.


1 Bill introduced by Baroness Lister of Burtersett


A bill to introduce a minimum period of 56 days before an asylum claim is considered to be determined for the purpose of ending asylum support

Lords - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Thursday 9th January 2020
(Read Debate)

Baroness Lister of Burtersett has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


357 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
1st Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they have considered taking steps to reduce the single tiered registration fee to the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists for small consultant lobbyists or businesses working with charities below the level levied on larger companies working with profit making organisations; and, if not, why.

The Government believes it is right that registrants contribute to the costs of administering the lobbying register and we continue to keep the registration fee level under review. There are currently no plans to introduce a banded fee structure.

We look forward to the findings of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the operation of the Lobbying Act 2014 and will respond in due course.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, for statistical collaboration between the UK and the EU as set out in the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, with regard to data related to (1) poverty, and (2) living standards.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the noble peer’s Parliamentary Question of 03 March is attached.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

Baroness Lister of Burtersett
House of Lords
London
SW1A 0PW

14 March 2022

Dear Lady Lister,
As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking about plans for arrangements for statistical cooperation between the UK and EU, as set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, in regard to data on poverty and living standards (HL6621).


The UK Statistics Authority has been engaging with Eurostat on arrangements for statistical cooperation that would fulfil the role set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. It is our ambition that a future arrangement on statistical cooperation will cover a range of areas of mutual interest, though further engagement will be needed before the scope of any arrangement can be confirmed. The details of any arrangement will be made available once discussions conclude.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many men have (1) worked for their current employer for less than 26 weeks, (2) become unemployed, or (3) become self-employed, for each month (a) this year and (b) last year; and what estimate they have made of the equivalent figures for each month of 2021.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Dear Lady Lister,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking how many men have (1) worked for their current employer for less than 26 weeks, (2) become unemployed, or (3) become self-employed, for each month (a) this year and (b) last year; and what estimate they have made of the equivalent figures for each month of 2021 (HL9375).

Labour market estimates are available from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which is a survey of people resident in households in the UK. The LFS asks respondents which year and month they started working continuously for their current employer. For the purposes of answering this question, we are therefore defining 26 weeks as 6 months.

In the LFS, respondents are interviewed for five consecutive quarters over a 12-month period, which allows us to track respondents’ labour market status over their time in the survey. By comparing the labour market status reported by respondents in two consecutive calendar quarters, we can estimate the number of people who become unemployed or self-employed. Unemployed people are those without a job who have been actively seeking work within the last four weeks and are available to start work within the next two weeks.

The LFS only provides these estimates for three-month periods, rather than single months, and so estimates for the number of men who have worked for their current employer for less than 6 months are presented on a rolling quarter basis. It is not best practice to make direct comparisons between adjacent rolling quarters due to sample overlap. However, these estimates still provide an indication of recent trends in the data. Estimates of the number of men becoming unemployed or self-employed are only available for calendar quarters. All estimates are not seasonally adjusted.

Unfortunately, as we do not produce forecasts, we cannot provide estimates for 2021.

Table 1 contains estimates of the number of male employees, aged 16 years and over, who have been working continuously with their current employer for less than 6 months. These estimates are provided for each rolling quarter from January to March 2019 to June to August 2020, which is the most recent data available. Table 2 contains estimates of the number of men, aged between 16 and 64 years, who have become unemployed or self-employed since the previous quarter. These are provided for each calendar quarter from January to March 2019 through to April to June 2020, the latest estimates available. Note that, as with any sample survey, estimates from the LFS are subject to a level of uncertainty.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Table 1: Estimated number of men who are employees, aged 16 years and over, who have been working continuously with their current employer for less than 6 months prior to their interview, January to March 2019 to June to August 2020[1]

UK, thousands, not seasonally adjusted

Period

Thousands

Jan-Mar 2019

1,090

Feb-Apr 2019

1,002

Mar-May 2019

933

Apr-Jun 2019

1,016

May-Jul 2019

1,065

Jun-Aug 2019

1,095

Jul-Sep 2019

1,099

Aug-Oct 2019

1,132

Sep-Nov 2019

1,189

Oct-Dec 2019

1,209

Nov-Jan 2020

1,207

Dec-Feb 2020

1,169

Jan-Mar 2020

1,082

Feb-Apr 2020

992

Mar-May 2020

881

Apr-Jun 2020

846

May-Jul 2020

831

Jun-Aug 2020

809

Source: ONS Labour Force Survey

Table 2: Estimated number of men, aged between 16 and 64 years, who have become unemployed or self-employed since the previous quarter, January to March 2019 to April to June 2020

UK, thousands, not seasonally adjusted

Period

Unemployed

Self-employed

Jan-Mar 2019

311

198

Apr-Jun 2019

347

210

Jul-Sep 2019

381

179

Oct-Dec 2019

311

248

Jan-Mar 2020

342

168

Apr-Jun 2020

351

167

Source: ONS Labour Force Survey

[1]Quality indicator

Shaded estimates are based on a small sample size. This may result in less precise estimates, which should be used with caution.

Unshaded estimates are based on a larger sample size. This is likely to result in estimates of higher precision, although they will still be subject to some sampling variability.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
22nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the intersection between relevant dimensions of inequality and the impact of COVID-19.

This Government is learning as much and as quickly as possible about this virus, who it affects and how best to keep everyone safe and protect those who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19.

The Government is committed to supporting all people affected by COVID-19, including those that are disproportionately affected by it. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to monitor the virus’ impact using existing and new data sources.

The Government commissioned Public Health England to review how different factors - including ethnicity, gender and obesity - can impact on people’s health outcomes from COVID-19. The review was published on 2 June, and the Prime Minister has asked the Minister for Equalities, Kemi Badenoch, to act on its findings. On 4 June, the Minister for Equalities set out the Terms of Reference for this work, which include commissioning further data, research and analytical work to clarify the scale, and drivers, of the gaps in evidence highlighted by the report.

15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why there is a lower age limit of 18 on members of the public allowed to ask a question at the daily coronavirus briefing.

We are mindful of the value of young people being able to contribute their views on policy matters, including those relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, members of the public who ask questions, particularly those filmed, are placed in the public eye to a significant extent on television, and are subsequently subject to comment on social media.

There are practical issues with children being subjected to such scrutiny, without parental consent and involvement. As it stands, parents and carers can ask questions on behalf of under-18s as a way for them to raise issues in the daily press conferences.

The Government continues to actively consider alternative options for under-18s to submit questions to ministers. For example, the Prime Minister met with students aged 10 – 11 on Friday 19 June to answer their questions on coronavirus and returning to school.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK’s working population, broken down by gender.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

Dear Baroness Lister,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what plans have been made to publish data on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the UK’s working population, broken down by gender (HL3269).

Labour market statistics are produced every month and include analysis of the working population by sex. The main source for these statistics is the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS’s latest estimates[1] were published on 21 April 2020 and cover the period prior to the implementation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) social distancing measure (December 2019 to February 2020). The next publication is scheduled for 19 May 2020 and will cover the period from January to March 2020.

In addition to scheduled publications, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has a dedicated page[2] on the COVID-19 pandemic and any additional analysis is published there. We have also included some specific questions relating to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the LFS from April 2020 and launched an online Labour Market Survey from April, as announced in a statement[3] from the ONS. Both these sources will provide information by sex. We aim to publish as much as possible, as data becomes available, to aid understanding of the impact of the pandemic on the working population.

Our Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey (BICS) asks firms a number of questions about employment, including whether they had laid off staff, their employment expectations, and take-up of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Latest survey estimates are available here[4]. Although the data does not enable a breakdown by sex, the sectoral information does show the variation across female-dominated versus male-dominated industries. We have recently published an article on furloughed workers, based on BICS data[5]:

In addition, the weekly Opinions and Lifestyle Survey publishes survey responses by sex[6].

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

[1]https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/april2020.

[2]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases

[3]https://www.ons.gov.uk/news/statementsandletters/ensuringthebestpossibleinformationduringcovid19throughsafedatacollection

[4]https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/business/businessservices/bulletins/coronavirusandtheeconomicimpactsontheuk/23april2020

[5]https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/articles/furloughingofworkersacrossukbusinesses/23march2020to5april2020

[6]https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/datasets/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritaindata

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
17th Apr 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of employers who have been named under the Employment Tribunal naming scheme established in December 2018.

As stated in the answer to HL6685, data held on Employment Tribunal Penalties is derived from a live case management system used for internal purposes which has not been subject to sufficient validation that would be required for us to release this to Parliament at this time.

We will consider what data we may be able to publish on this subject in the future.

Linked to this, the Government is also currently reviewing at what point it is appropriate to start to use the powers that we have to name employers who do not pay relevant awards.

Lord Johnson of Lainston
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Apr 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Johnson of Lainston on 4 April (HL6685), how many previously unpaid Employment Tribunal awards have been recovered for claimants under the section 150 penalty regime since April 2016; and what is the total value of those awards.

As stated in the answer to HL6685, data held on Employment Tribunal Penalties is derived from a live case management system used for internal purposes which has not been subject to sufficient validation that would be required for us to release this to Parliament at this time.

We will consider what data we may be able to publish on this subject in the future.

Linked to this, the Government is also currently reviewing at what point it is appropriate to start to use the powers that we have to name employers who do not pay relevant awards.

Lord Johnson of Lainston
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
21st Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many (1) warning notices, and (2) financial penalty notices, were issued to respondent employers under section 150 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 for failure to pay an employment tribunal award in each year since 2016–17, including 2022–23 to date; how many of those financial penalties (a) have been paid, and (b) remain unpaid; how many previously unpaid awards have been recovered following (i) the issuing of a warning notice only, and (ii) the issuing of both a warning notice and a financial penalty notice; and how much money has been recovered for claimants in total in each category.

While we do hold data on Employment Tribunal Penalties, this is derived from a live case management system and has not been subject to sufficient validation that would be required for us to release this to Parliament at this time. We will give consideration to what data we may be able to publish on this subject in the future.

Lord Johnson of Lainston
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 8 March (HL Deb col 793), when they expect to publish (1) the report of the evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme that they initiated in early 2018, and (2) the findings of the Parental Rights Study 2019.

Evaluating Shared Parental Leave and Pay is an important part of the policymaking process. As part of the evaluation, we commissioned surveys which asked about a range of parental leave and pay entitlements as well as about Shared Parental Leave specifically. We are currently considering this information and will publish our findings in due course.

In 2019 the Government consulted on high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay. We are currently considering responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

Lord Johnson of Lainston
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
13th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Scott of Bybrook on 8 March (HL Deb col 793), where she stated that "the number of couples taking up shared parental leave and pay is increasing year on year; last year it was at 13,000", what was the total number of claimants of Statutory Shared Parental Pay in each year since 2015–16, broken down by gender.

Information provided by employers to HM Revenue and Customs show the number of individuals in receipt of Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP). This data provides a broad indication of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) take-up but does not include anyone taking unpaid Shared Parental Leave.

Table 1: Individuals in receipt of ShPP by gender, 2015/16 to 2021/22

Year (April to March)

No. of individuals in receipt of ShPP

Women

Men

Total

2015-16

1,100

5,100

6,200

2016-17

1,600

7,100

8,600

2017-18

1,700

7,500

9,200

2018-19

2,200

8,500

10,700

2019-20

2,600

9,900

12,600

2020-21

2,600

8,600

11,200

2021-22

3,200

9,800

13,000

  1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.
  2. Figures are based on the total number of individuals in a given year, irrespective of when the payment first started. Some individuals will be counted across two years.
  3. For 2015-16, those receiving Additional Statutory Paternity Pay cannot be distinguished from those claiming ShPP.

Lord Johnson of Lainston
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact that replacing the Energy Bill Relief Scheme with the Energy Bill Discount Scheme will have on the hospice sector.

The new Energy Bill Discount Scheme (EBDS) will run from April until March 2024 and continue to provide a discount to eligible non-domestic customers including hospices. An HMT-led review into the operation of the current Energy Bill Relief Schemes was conducted with the objective of significantly reducing the overall burden on the taxpayer/public finances, and ensuring support is targeted at those most in need and unable to adjust to recent energy price rises. The review considered a range of qualitative and quantitative evidence, including input from businesses and stakeholders. The new scheme strikes a balance between supporting non-domestic customers and limiting taxpayer’s exposure to volatile energy markets, with a cap set at £5.5 billion.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the benefits of a shorter working week.

Individuals and employers working together should be able to decide what flexible working arrangements work best for them.

The Government’s consultation and accompanying impact assessment on “making flexible working the default” showed there are benefits associated with all kinds of flexible working arrangements. These benefits include reduced vacancy costs; increased skill retention; enhanced business performance; and reduced staff absenteeism rates.

Our consultation closed on 1st December 2021. We are currently reviewing the responses and will respond in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when their response to the consultations on (1) shared parental leave, and (2) carers’ leave, will be published.

The Government is committed to delivering our manifesto commitments to make it easier for fathers to take Paternity Leave and to introduce a new employment right to one week of unpaid leave for carers. Information collected through public consultation will inform policy development in both areas.

We are currently assessing the responses to the consultation on high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay. Separate to this, we are also conducting a formal evaluation of the Shared Parental Leave and Pay scheme, which has included large-scale, representative, surveys of employers and parents which looked at a broad range of parental leave and pay entitlements.

Together, the consultation and the evaluation will give us a fuller picture of how well the current system of parental leave and pay is working for parents and employers. We intend to publish the Government Response to the consultation and the findings of the evaluation later this year.

The consultation on Carer’s Leave set out detailed policy proposals to create a new employment right for one week’s unpaid leave. The consultation received a significant number of responses, demonstrating the importance of this issue.

The Government response to the consultation will be published in due course, setting out the way forward.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what sanctions employers face if they breach the guidance set out in Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), published on 11 June, in relation to (1) people with caring responsibilities, and (2) new and expectant mothers.

The Government first published the safer workplaces guidance on 11 May setting out businesses can reopen safely. This guidance forms part of employers’ normal health and safety practice. Health and safety legislation is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive and by local authorities.

This guidance does not change employers’ responsibilities towards new or expectant mothers. Workers who are pregnant are part of the “clinically vulnerable” group who are at higher risk of coronavirus. If clinically vulnerable individuals, such as those who are pregnant, cannot work from home, they should be offered the safest available on-site roles. Employers need to assess whether this involves an acceptable level of risk. As part of this they should take into account their specific duties towards those with protected characteristics, including new or expectant mothers – who are ultimately entitled to suspension on full pay if a suitable role cannot be found.

If the enforcing authority finds that an employer is not taking action to properly manage workplace risk, a range of actions are open to them including specific advice or issuing enforcement notices. Employers should consult with unions and employees when carrying out their risk assessment. If employees continue to have concerns, they can raise them with their employer, any union safety representatives, or ultimately with the enforcing organisation - the Health and Safety Executive or their local authority.

Depending on the business, HSE and local authorities enforce health and safety in these workplaces and will monitor compliance including through inspections and following up on concerns raised by individuals with them. Local authorities enforce health and safety in workplaces, such as offices, shops, warehouses, and consumer services. They take action against any business who isn’t complying with their legal health and safety obligations, including providing guidance and issuing enforcement notices to require them to take the necessary action or taking tougher action like fines and jail sentences if they continue to not comply.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what tailored guidance they have made available to (1) businesses, and (2) service providers, on how to make social distancing accessible for people with sight loss.

The Government considered people with disabilities when developing the safer workplace guidance for businesses.

Our guidance does not replace existing employment, health and safety or equalities legislation. It provides information to employers on how best to meet these responsibilities in the context of COVID-19.

The safer workplaces guidance provides some suggestions to help employers make their workplaces COVID-19 secure for their employees, visitors and customers. We expect all businesses to approach reopening in a sensible way, taking account of the Government’s guidance and discussing with neighbouring businesses and their local authorities where applicable.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the entitlement to one week’s leave for unpaid carers included in the Queen's Speech December 2019: background briefing notes, published on 19 December 2019, refers to paid or unpaid leave.

This Government is determined to make Britain the best place in the world to work. That is why we are bringing forward an Employment Bill which will represent the largest upgrade to workers' rights in a generation.

The Government’s proposal is to introduce a week of unpaid Carer’s Leave. This will be complementary to other employment rights, such as the right to request flexible working, annual leave and the right to time off for family and dependants which help employees balance work with caring responsibilities.

21st Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Barran on 7 June (HL511), whether they will state on which dates the Creative Industries Council has held quarterly meetings since 6 July 2020; whether they intend to publish the minutes of such meetings; and if so, when.

The Creative Industries Council has met twice since 6th July 2020: on 27 October 2020 and 24 February 2021. Minutes for these meetings are being finalised for publication on the Gov.uk website shortly.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to regularly engage with representatives of the creative workforce to discuss the best route to recovery for the creative sector.

Throughout the pandemic, DCMS ministers and officials have been regularly engaging with stakeholders representing the workforce across the creative industries to ensure their concerns are understood.

Regular forums for engagement include quarterly meetings with the Creative Industries Council, which includes representatives from across the creative sector and is co-chaired by the Secretaries of State for DCMS and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. At the outset of the Covid pandemic, the Council developed a plan on transition and recovery that has been useful for helping shape our policy response. We are now looking to the future, and continue to work with the Council to consider further recovery and growth opportunities for the sector.

DCMS officials are also in regular contact with other stakeholders including ScreenSkills, Arts Council England, the Creative Industries Federation and the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the All Party Parliamentary Writers Group Supporting Writers through the COVID-19 Crisis, published on 11 May, what plans they have to engage with writers’ organisations to discuss the recommendations relating to maintaining diversity of talent in the creative industries following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Literature contributes greatly to the richness and diversity of our cultural environment, and we welcome the report by the All Party Parliamentary Writers Group.

The government is clear that it expects the cultural sectors to represent our diverse society in their artistic talent, workforce and audiences. As the national development agency for art and culture, Arts Council England (ACE) has a responsibility to ensure that public money benefits all of the public.

ACE supports a network of Writer Development Agents, which between them cover every one of the five regions in which ACE operates, all of which have an explicit remit to support writers that represent the diversity of our country. ACE has also focused additional funding on organisations whose work promotes diversity, most prominently via an Ambition for Excellence award to The Good Literary Agency, based in Bristol, which develops and then markets authors from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and via our support of a pair of reports (by BookTrust and the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) into the diversity and inclusivity of the children’s literature sector.

We hope that this ongoing support and engagement will help to nurture the next generation of writers to build on the success of today’s sector.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Charity Finance Group’s proposal to allow charities to furlough staff and enable them to volunteer at their own organisation, to help charities to mobilise during the winter period.

The Government remains committed to supporting charitable organisations and enterprises across the country. In March, the Government announced the unprecedented Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), designed to help employers to keep millions of people in employment. The CJRS was set to close on 31 October 2020 but, in light of the path of the virus, the CJRS has now been extended until the end of March 2021.

A furloughed employee can volunteer for another employer or organisation subject to public health guidance and agreement from their employer. However, employees are not permitted to volunteer for their own employer or an organisation linked or associated to their employer where the volunteering either makes money for, or provides services to, their employer or such an organisation. This is to prevent fraudulent claims and to protect individuals. If the Government allowed workers to volunteer for their employer or a linked organisation, the employer could ask them to effectively work full-time whilst only paying them 80% of their wages.

As part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting charitable organisations and social enterprises, the Spending Review confirmed a £750m support package for charities supporting vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis. The Government also matched public donations to the BBC’s “Big Night In” charity appeal, with over £37 million being distributed by Comic Relief, Children In Need and the National Emergencies Trust to charities on the frontline.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will amend the residency requirement for the Skills Bootcamp programme so that newly arrived citizens from the British overseas territories under the BOTC (F), BOTC (M), and the BIOT (Chagossian) routes can take advantage of the programme to help them settle into employment in the UK.

Adults are eligible to apply for a Skills Bootcamp if they are aged 19 or over, have the right to work in the UK, live in England and meet residency requirements.

Skills Bootcamps follow the same residency eligibility criteria as other funding streams for further education for adults aged 19+, including the Adult Education Budget. The government has to prioritise which learners to support within the finite resources available.

Learners who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least the previous three years on the first day of learning are eligible for funding, irrespective of citizenship or nationality. Eligibility also extends to those with a right of abode in the UK, who have been residing in British Overseas Territories for at least the previous three years on the first day of learning.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd May 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact that living more than 20 miles from home has on (1) the mental health and wellbeing, and (2) educational outcomes, of children in the care system in England.

Local authorities have a statutory duty set out in Section 22(3) of the Children’s Act 1989 to make sure that there is sufficient provision in their area to meet the needs of children in their care.

The department recognises that there are not enough of the right homes in the right places for children in care to live in. The way that local authorities currently plan for, commission and provide homes for children is at times not sufficient. This can result in some children living far from where they consider home and can have a negative impact on their wellbeing and outcomes. We want to reduce out of area placements, but sometimes circumstances mean it is the right decision for a child to be placed outside their home authority.

Information on placements, distance from the home placement and the location of the placement can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions/2022.

In response to the urgent calls from the Competition and Markets Authority and the Care Review to transform the way care is provided to children, the government is working to drive forward improvements at a national, regional and local level to increase sufficiency and improve standards of care and regulations.

By 2027, we will see an increase in the availability of high-quality, stable and loving homes for every child in care local to where they are from. To achieve this, the department is supporting local authorities to increase care placements and ensure they meet children’s needs, with £259 million of capital funding for secure and open children’s homes. We will also review legislation, regulations and standards of care to ensure the needs of all children in care are met.

We are also investing £10 million to develop Regional Care Co-operatives (RCCs) to plan, commission and deliver children’s social care placements. Through operating on a larger scale and developing specialist capabilities, the RCCs will be able to develop a wide range of places to better meet children’s needs. This, in turn, should lead to improved placement stability and fewer out of area placements.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of multiple placement moves on the well-being and mental health of children in the care system in England.

All placement decisions are subject to the duty set out in Section 22(3) of the Children’s Act 1989, which requires the placement decision to be the most appropriate way to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare. The welfare of children must always be paramount and local authorities have a duty to safeguard all children in their care. When the difficult decision is made to change a child’s placement, it must be in the best interest of the child. The department believes that social workers and the courts are best placed to make decisions for vulnerable children, in consideration of all the factors involved in often complex cases. Every child should experience a stable and loving home during their time in care.

Recognising the urgency of action in placement sufficiency, the department is prioritising working with local authorities to recruit more foster carers. This will include pathfinder local recruitment campaigns that build towards a national programme to help ensure those carers approved are the right match for children coming into care, and children have access to the right placements at the right time, including supporting those children who have suffered complex trauma.

Figures on the number of looked after children who moved more than once (three or more placements during the year) were published for the year ending 31 March 2018 to the year ending 31 March 2022 in the table ‘CLA on 31 March with three or more placements during the year – LA’ in the annual statistical release ‘Children looked after in England, including adoptions, 2022’. The table can be accessed here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/fast-track/53b32118-528e-4015-777b-08dab100bfc2.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the charity Become Home for Christmas, published on 2 January; and in particular, the finding that, on average, 150 children in the care system in England were moved each day in 2021–22.

All placement decisions are subject to the duty set out in Section 22(3) of the Children’s Act 1989, which requires the placement decision to be the most appropriate way to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare. The welfare of children must always be paramount and local authorities have a duty to safeguard all children in their care. When the difficult decision is made to change a child’s placement, it must be in the best interest of the child. The department believes that social workers and the courts are best placed to make decisions for vulnerable children, in consideration of all the factors involved in often complex cases. Every child should experience a stable and loving home during their time in care.

Recognising the urgency of action in placement sufficiency, the department is prioritising working with local authorities to recruit more foster carers. This will include pathfinder local recruitment campaigns that build towards a national programme to help ensure those carers approved are the right match for children coming into care, and children have access to the right placements at the right time, including supporting those children who have suffered complex trauma.

Figures on the number of looked after children who moved more than once (three or more placements during the year) were published for the year ending 31 March 2018 to the year ending 31 March 2022 in the table ‘CLA on 31 March with three or more placements during the year – LA’ in the annual statistical release ‘Children looked after in England, including adoptions, 2022’. The table can be accessed here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/fast-track/53b32118-528e-4015-777b-08dab100bfc2.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure all schools are aware of the extension of the right to free school meals to children in all families subject to the 'no recourse to public funds' rule.

The permanent extension of free school meal (FSM) eligibility to families with no recourse to public funds has been in place since the start of the 2021/22 summer term. The department updated its FSM guidance page at that time to reflect this change. The current guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/free-school-meals-guidance-for-schools-and-local-authorities.

On 20 April 2022, an article on the expansion of FSM eligibility was included in the Education and Skills Funding Agency Update, which was emailed to academies and local authorities directly. The article can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/esfa-update-20-april-2022.

On 26 April 2022, the department issued a notice to all schools and local authorities through its sector bulletin that this change had come into effect.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect on the level of support for (1) disabled children, and (2) families, of the proposed policy change in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) review to decide the services disabled young people receive on the basis of a new national banding system.

The Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper sets out the department’s proposals to improve the outcomes and experiences of children and young people with SEND and their families, so that they can fulfil their potential and lead happy, healthy, and productive adult lives. The proposals aim to drive national consistency in how needs are assessed, identified, and met across education, health, and care, through the introduction of national standards.

The department wants to ensure the most effective use of the investment in high needs funding and the proposal for a national framework of funding bands is to allow far greater consistency in funding arrangements throughout the system. We are consulting on how best to develop a national framework for funding bands and tariffs, to make it easier for children and young people, and their families, to understand not only the provision they can access locally, but also the funding levels that provision would attract, giving them greater assurance that their child’s needs will be met appropriately.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families on 24 March (HCWS714) regarding children with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF), whether the reference to "all families with NRPF" means that no family that meets the income and capital rules will be excluded from entitlement to free school meals; and what steps they are taking to inform schools of the decision to extend eligibility for free school meals permanently.

All children from families with no recourse to public funds will be entitled to free school meals. This is subject to income thresholds where appropriate.

This change will come into effect for the start of the summer term, commencing in April 2022. The department will shortly be providing updated guidance which will be communicated to relevant stakeholders.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what review they are undertaking, if any, into the long-term provision of free school meals to children in families with no recourse to public funds; and when the outcome of any such review will be announced.

We are working with departments across government to evaluate access to free school meals for families with no recourse to public funds. In the meantime, the extension of eligibility will continue with the current income threshold until a decision on long-term eligibility is made.

Once the review is complete, we will update our guidance accordingly. Our current guidance regarding the extension can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/guidance-for-the-temporary-extension-of-free-school-meals-eligibility-to-nrpf-groups.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Benyon on 17 November (HL Deb, col 282), what plans they have to make arrangements for the long-term provision of free school meals to children in families with no recourse to public funds; and when they intend to publish any such plans.

The department has temporarily extended free school meal eligibility to include some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds in light of the current unique circumstances many families face at this time.

We are currently working with departments across government to evaluate access to free school meals for families with no recourse to public funds.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to publish the statutory guidance on the cost of school uniforms under the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021.

The Department plans to publish the statutory guidance in Autumn 2021.

Schools do not need to make any changes before the guidance is released. The Department want schools to implement changes in a timely and considered manner to ensure that parents do not incur additional costs from sudden uniform changes.

Once the guidance is published, all schools will need to review their uniform policies and make necessary changes as soon as possible to ensure that parents see the benefits of the guidance.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Berridge on 11 June (HL 660), what assessment they have made of the report School Uniform: Dressing Girls to Fail, published on 5 July; and whether they took into account the finding in that report that uniforms are more expensive for girls than boys when drawing up the statutory guidance on the cost of school uniforms.

The department has reviewed the findings of the report ‘School Uniform: Dressing Girls to Fail’ and is engaging with stakeholders, including the authors of the report, ahead of publishing statutory guidance under the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021. This statutory guidance will be limited in scope to the cost aspects of uniform. Schools have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 not to discriminate unlawfully due to the protected characteristics of sex and gender reassignment.

Where a school has different dress codes for male and female pupils, they will need to carefully consider their obligations under equalities legislation not to discriminate unlawfully on the grounds of any protected characteristic.

The department published guidance to help schools understand how to fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010, this guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools. The department has also published non-statutory best practice guidance on school uniform which is clear that, “In formulating its school uniform policy, a school will need to consider its obligations not to discriminate unlawfully. For example, it is not expected that the cost of girls’ uniform is significantly more expensive than boys.”. This guidance is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/514978/School_Uniform_Guidance.pdf.

27th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to the proposal by the 'Let Clothes be Clothes' campaign for unisex school uniforms in finalising the statutory guidance on the costs of school uniforms.

It is for the governing body of a school to determine uniform policy. In making decisions about its school uniform policy, and all other school policies, a school must have regard to its obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty. Where a school has different dress codes for male and female pupils, they will need to carefully consider their obligations under equalities legislation not to discriminate unlawfully on the grounds of any protected characteristic. The department publishes guidance to help schools understand how the Equality Act affects them and how to fulfil their duties under the Act: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/equality-act-2010-advice-for-schools. This includes a duty on schools not to discriminate unlawfully due to the protected characteristics of sex and gender reassignment. The department also publishes non-statutory best practice guidance on school uniform which is clear that “in formulating its school uniform policy, a school will need to consider its obligations not to discriminate unlawfully”: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/514978/School_Uniform_Guidance.pdf. For example, it is not expected that the cost of girls’ uniform is significantly more expensive than boys.

Under the Education (Guidance about Costs of School Uniforms) Act 2021, the forthcoming statutory guidance will be limited in scope to the cost aspects of uniform, but we will continue to make our non-statutory guidance available to schools alongside it.

18th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the letter from Baroness Williams of Trafford to all peers on 22 October 2020 on issues raised during the Report stage of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, whether the Department for Education’s review of how immigration status and restrictions interact with free school meal and other educational entitlements was completed during the autumn term; if so, (1) whether, and (2) when, this review will be published; and if not, when this review will be completed.

We are working with departments across government to evaluate access to free school meals for families with no recourse to public funds. This review has not been formally concluded at present. In the meantime, the extension of eligibility will continue with the current income threshold until a decision on long-term eligibility is made.

Once the review is complete, we will update our guidance accordingly. Our current guidance regarding the extension is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/guidance-for-the-temporary-extension-of-free-school-meals-eligibility-to-nrpf-groups.

9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the review on how immigration (1) status, and (2) restrictions, in particular no recourse to public funds, interact with free school meals and other educational entitlements will be (a) completed, and (b) published.

We are working with departments across government to evaluate access to free school meals for families with no recourse to public funds. In the meantime, the extension of eligibility will continue with the current income threshold until a decision on long-term eligibility is made.

Once the review is complete, we will update our guidance accordingly. Our current guidance regarding the extension can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance/guidance-for-the-temporary-extension-of-free-school-meals-eligibility-to-nrpf-groups.

9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of mindfulness teaching in (1) schools, (2) colleges, and (3) universities.

The Department for Education remains committed to long term improvements to support children and young people’s mental health, set out in the government’s response to its Green Paper and NHS Long Term Plan. This includes the roll-out of mental health support teams and the provision of training for Senior Leads for Mental Health in schools and colleges.

As part of this, we are producing evidence about what works to support mental health and wellbeing in schools, so that they can make evidence-based decisions about how to best support their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing. The department is funding a large-scale programme of randomised control trials of mental health interventions in schools. The aim of this programme is to provide robust evidence on what works to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing and whether programmes can be delivered effectively in a school setting.

The programme is testing the effectiveness of 5 different approaches to supporting pupil mental health and wellbeing in primary and secondary schools across England. It includes a programme of brief mindfulness-based exercises to be run by teachers in the classroom, which provides teachers with a short training session and materials to run brief mindfulness-based exercises with their classes.

The government has not made an assessment of the effectiveness of mindfulness in colleges and universities. It is for higher education providers as autonomous bodies to identify and address the needs of their student body and decide what mental health and wellbeing support to put in place.

29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recommendation in the National Food Strategy Part One report, published on 20 July, that free school meals should be extended to all children in families receiving Universal Credit.

The government will carefully consider the findings of the National Food Strategy Part One?report and will be responding fully in due course.

Free school meals are an integral part of our provision for families on low incomes and our wider actions to promote social mobility. We are supporting around 1.4 million of the most disadvantaged children through free school meals, saving families around £400 a year. It is right that we are targeting our support towards those families that are most in need of it.

1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the call coordinated by Action for Children, Barnardo’s, National Children’s Bureau, NSPCC and The Children’s Society of more than 150 children's organisations to put the needs of children at the centre of their COVID-19 recovery plans, what steps they are taking to do so.

Children have been and remain at the heart of our recovery planning. Supporting children and young people to recover from the COVID-19 outbreak means encouraging school attendance and helping them to catch up on lost learning, but also ensuring they are safe and well. We look forward to continuing our close work with children’s charities and benefitting from their insights and experience to inform our long-term recovery plans to support the continued safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people.

Our guidance published on 2 July provides schools, colleges and nurseries with the details needed to plan for a full return, as well as reassuring parents about what to expect for their children. We know that school is a vital point of contact for public health and safeguarding services that are critical to the wellbeing of children and families. The guidance has been developed in close consultation with the sector and medical experts from Public Health England to ensure that both staff and students are as safe as possible.

Pupils in England will also benefit from a £1 billion COVID-19 catch-up package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time over the 2020-21 academic year. This includes £650 million to be shared across state primary and secondary schools and a National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million to increase access to high quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people.

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, we have prioritised vulnerable children and young people’s attendance in early years, schools and colleges and supported local areas to improve attendance rates.

As well as working in collaboration with children’s charities, we have also supported those that provide vital services that are helping vulnerable children and young people.

In April, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, set out the £750 million COVID-19 funding for frontline charities. The Department for Education and the Home Office were allocated a total of £34.15 million specifically for vulnerable children’s charities. As part of this, on 10 June, the two departments launched the £7.6 million Vulnerable Children National Charities Strategic Relief Fund to provide support to national children’s charities operating in England and Wales which offer services to safeguard vulnerable children, and which have suffered financially owing to the impact of COVID-19. The strategic aim of this funding is to ensure that large charities can continue to sustain their existing services.

As part of this funding, the department also announced £7.27 million for a consortium led by Barnardo’s, which will support their new See, Hear, Respond service supporting vulnerable children, young people and families affected by COVID-19. The department has also provided funding to other charities working with vulnerable children, including Grandparents Plus, Family Rights Group and FosterTalk. This adds to investment in the NSPCC’s Childline service, while some £10 million has already been committed to the Family Fund, helping families with children who have complex needs and disabilities through grants for equipment which makes their lives easier.

As well as charities, we are supporting local authorities during this outbreak by providing a package of support totalling £4.3 billion to help meet the immediate COVID-19 related pressures, including in Children’s Social Care and in delivering services for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether working parents are now permitted to use paid childcare providers but are not permitted to ask family members or friends to provide childcare while they are at work.

From 1 June, early years settings have been able to welcome back all children. Guidance for parents and carers about opening from 1 June is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/what-parents-and-carers-need-to-know-about-early-years-providers-schools-and-colleges-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

My right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, has announced that from 13 June, single adult households can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. This will mean that lone parent households may form a support bubble with another household to provide informal childcare, so long as no members of either household are shielding. This will enable grandparents and other family members to provide childcare support to lone parents, or for grandparents living on their own to look after grandchildren from one other household. The guidance is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing.

On 23 June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, announced that from 4 July, two households will be able to meet up in any setting subject to social distancing measures. Friends and family members providing informal childcare from that date will need to adhere to guidance on social distancing. The guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing-after-4-july.

10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the cost of providing the current free school meals voucher scheme during the upcoming summer holidays. [T]

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government fully understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a Covid Summer Food Fund which will enable children who are eligible for free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the 6-week holiday period. This is a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the outbreak.

The government has made significant wider support available for children and families at this time. On 10 June, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, confirmed an additional £63 million to be distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. In addition, the government has introduced an uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by around £1,000 a year for the next 12 months as part of an injection of over £6.5 billion by the government into the welfare system.

Additional support has been pledged by various departments across government with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announcing the provision of £16 million for food support through charities, including FareShare and WRAP. DEFRA have also issued 2 million food packages to those who are shielding.

The Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food programme ensures that thousands of disadvantaged children have access to enriching activities and nutritious healthy meals over the summer, and is receiving £9 million this year.

More widely, the government has supported families to cope with the impact of coronavirus by introducing a range of support measures, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. Support has also been provided to help families pay their rent or mortgage, access sick pay, and delay tax payments.

In relation to free school meals, this response applies to educational settings in England only. Education is a devolved matter and it will be for each administration to determine the actions they wish to take.

18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to continue to provide support for the National School Breakfast Programme over the May half-term holiday and summer holidays.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance for schools is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

Alongside our national approach to supporting free school meal pupils, we are committed to supporting schools and children who benefit from our breakfast club programme. Our suppliers, Family Action along with Magic Breakfast, are in contact with schools on the programme, where possible, and are working closely with them to target the children most in need to continue to provide them with a healthy breakfast.

Schools on the programme can choose to support target children in the way which works best for them. This may include parents collecting food parcels from open schools or breakfast food ‘drop offs’ to target families. This should be arranged alongside the school’s wider support for children on free school meals, and schools must follow Public Health England’s advice on social distancing at all times.

This programme operates during term time, and we would not expect provision to continue through schools during the May half term holiday week. We continue to work flexibly with Family Action and Magic Breakfast on the best ways to support schools during the COVID-19 outbreak.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the proportion of school children living in poverty who fall into the vulnerable category for the purposes of their education policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our latest guidance on vulnerable children is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.


During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, for the purposes of continued attendance at educational settings, vulnerable children and young people are defined as those who:

  • are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child
  • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan whose needs cannot be met safely in the home environment
  • have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who are therefore in need of continued education provision. This might include children on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services, adopted children, or those who are young carers, and others at the provider and local authority discretion

The official statistics on the number of children in poverty is based on the Annual Households Below Average Income Survey. It is not possible to separately identify children defined as ‘vulnerable’ from the survey data.

The department’s analysis of deprivation and low income in education uses free school meal eligibility as an indicator of children living in families that need additional support. Detail on free school meal eligibility is available at: https://www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals.

We do not hold data on the overlap between the numbers of children and young people included in the total of the three categories of vulnerable children and children eligible for free school meals.

Our published ‘characteristics of children in need: 2018 to 2019’ data shows that 54.1% of Children in Need at 31 March 2019 (aged 5-16, excluding those who were looked after at any point during the year unless they were also on a child protection plan) were eligible for free school meals. This data is available in Table 1 of the ‘Children in need outcomes national tables: 2019’ available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need-2018-to-2019.

Our published information on children with Special Educational Needs from the 2019 school census shows that, in January 2019, 32.7% of pupils with EHC plans were eligible for free school meals. This is published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/special-educational-needs-in-england-january-2019.

Educational providers and local authorities have the discretion to offer support to children and young people who they consider to be vulnerable, where the child or young person does not fall into either of the categories above.

Educational providers and local authorities may therefore choose to offer support to children and young people where their individual circumstances, including the impact of poverty, may suggest that they would benefit from this support and continued provision.

As this is based on ongoing, locally made decisions, we do not hold data on the number of children and young people that have been identified as otherwise vulnerable or the overlap between this cohort and their eligibility for free school meals.

These are rapidly developing circumstances; we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support families who have lost access to free school breakfasts; whether such breakfasts are provided elsewhere whilst schools are shut down; and if so, where.

Alongside our national approach to supporting pupils to continue to access free school meals, we are also committed to supporting schools and children who benefit from our breakfast club programme.

Our suppliers, Family Action along with Magic Breakfast, are in contact with schools on the programme, where possible, and are working closely with them to target the children most in need to continue to provide them with a healthy breakfast.

Schools on the programme can choose to support target children in the way which works best for them; this may include parents collecting food parcels from open schools or breakfast food ‘drop offs’ to target families. This should be arranged alongside the school’s wider support for children on free school meals, and schools must follow Public Health England’s advice on social distancing at all times.

Family Action have reported that more than 880 schools in disadvantaged areas are registered to receive breakfast deliveries from this programme during the coronavirus outbreak. These schools are located nationwide across England.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria will be applied to decide which disadvantaged school pupils will qualify for free laptops and broadband routers.

Devices have been ordered for the most disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for exams in Year 10, receive support from a social worker, or are a care leaver.

Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school, and disadvantaged children in Year 10 do not have an internet connection, we will be providing 4G connectivity access to them.

Local authorities, trusts and other relevant organisations overseeing schools will be given guidance on how to request government-funded and allocated devices. We recognise that local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices.

1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 29 June (HL5692), when they intend to issue guidance to local authorities on the use of money for local welfare assistance schemes.

We are allocating the funding according to the size of a local authority’s population and the level of deprivation. The exact amounts will be published on the GOV.UK website in due course. We issued guidance to local authorities on Friday 10 July, which is available to view at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-authority-emergency-assistance-grant-for-food-and-essential-supplies.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether local authorities that no longer operate a welfare assistance scheme will receive a share of the funding uplift announced on 11 June; what plans they have to monitor (1) the allocation by, and (2) the number of applications to, and grants made by, local authorities in regard to those funds; and what plans they have to publish that information.

Local authorities which no longer operate a welfare assistance scheme may receive a share of the funding, the proportion of which will be based on the agreed allocation model. We are taking a proportionate approach to monitoring. Details of this approach will be outlined in the guidance which we will issue to local authorities in receipt of this funding. We plan to publish monitoring and evaluation evidence in line with Government guidance and subject to approval by all relevant parties.

15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the £63 million announced for local authority welfare assistance schemes will be ring-fenced; and what guidance they plan to publish as to how it should be spent including with regard to cash versus in-kind help.

The £63 million announced for local authority welfare assistance schemes will not be ring-fenced. It will be administered by local authorities, who will retain discretion on the type of support that best meets local conditions and needs.

The strategic objective of the grant is to support individuals and families who are unable to afford food and other essential items during the Covid-19 pandemic. Central guidance will be issued to reinforce the stated outcomes of the scheme.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the poll by the Food Foundation, published on 4 May, which found that five million people in UK households with children have experienced food insecurity during the lockdown in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and what steps they are taking to address this. [T]

Defra has read the Food Foundation report and will continue to monitor flows of information about food insecurity. Over the last two years Defra has worked with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Food Foundation and other NGOs to improve monitoring of household food insecurity, and the Food Insecurity Experience Scale questions are now included in the Family Resources Survey.

The measures the Government has taken in recent weeks represent an injection of £7 billion into the welfare system and form part of one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

DWP's priorities are ensuring that people get their benefit payments and that the department can continue to support those who need it the most. Additional support is being made available through the national Free School Meals (FSM) voucher scheme. Schools can ensure that families with FSM-eligible children receive a weekly shopping voucher to the value of £15 per eligible child. A large number of schools have already signed up to this scheme.

The Government will continue to work closely with charities to identify the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak on vulnerable people, including children who have experienced food insecurity. We are also working through the Food and Essential Supplies to the Vulnerable Ministerial Task Force to identify where the Government can best support the economically vulnerable. Defra will work with other departments in the coming weeks on this.

11th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) social, and (2) economic, impact of poor transport links on young people on low incomes.

The Government is taking action to ensure young people can access work, leisure, education and apprenticeship opportunities, regardless of where they live. We have consistently invested in public transport to help make services more frequent, more reliable, cheaper and easier to use.

The Department undertakes a range of research to help inform our policy making and gives due consideration to the travel needs, behaviours and experiences of different groups, including young people. We are committed to meeting the obligations of the Public Sector Equality Duty, including giving due consideration to the needs of different age cohorts.

Lord Davies of Gower
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government when they plan to publish a response to the Managing pavement parking consultation, which ran from 31 August 2020 to 22 November 2020; and what assessment they have made of the merits of a ban on pavement parking to make it easier for those with a disability to walk or wheel on pavements.

The Department consulted on measures to address pavement parking in 2020 and the options included a nationwide pavement parking ban. The consultation received over 15,000 responses. We have been considering all views expressed, including from those with walking impairments or using a wheelchair. Ministers are reviewing the outcome of the consultation and the options for tackling pavement parking so that the best possible conclusion for all road users can be reached. We will publish the formal consultation response and announce next steps as soon as possible.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the views of disabled people are represented in transport policy decisions.

Department for Transport (DfT) officials engage regularly with stakeholders representing disabled people.

The Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) is the Department’s expert statutory advisor on the transport needs of disabled people. Involving DPTAC from the earliest stages of policy development helps us to ensure our policies deliver for disabled people.

The Inclusive Transport Stakeholder Group (ITSG), which includes members from local government, transport operators, disabled people’s organisations and charities, acts as a sounding board to the Department as it develops and delivers policy on inclusive transport, drawing on the experience of Disabled People’s Organisations and transport partners.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government how many English local authorities do not run a local welfare assistance scheme, and what assessment they have made of the impact on low-income residents in these local authority areas if the household support fund is not extended beyond this April.

Local Authorities in England have the flexibility and power to use the funding they receive from the annual Local Government Finance Settlement. We do not have robust data on the number of Local Authorities providing a local welfare scheme.

The Government is putting significant additional support in place for those on the lowest incomes from April. Subject to Parliamentary approval, working age benefits will rise by 6.7% while the Basic and New State Pensions will be uprated by 8.5% in line with earnings, as part of the ‘triple lock”.

To further support low-income households with increasing rent costs, the government will raise Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents, benefitting 1.6m low-income households by on average £800 a year in 24/25. Additionally, the Government will increase the National Living Wage for workers aged 21 years and over by 9.8% to £11.44 representing an increase of over £1,800 to the gross annual earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage.

The current Household Support Fund runs until the end of March 2024, and the government continues to keep all its existing programmes under review in the usual way.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for appointing specialist single parent work coaches within Jobcentre Plus to ensure that single parents can access tailored and relevant advice on childcare, benefits and appropriate flexible job opportunities that are available in the local area.

The department keeps the Work Coach role under regular review, to ensure they are well equipped to support a range of claimants, including single parents.

All Work Coaches undergo a learning journey that equips them with the tools, knowledge, skills, and behaviours to enable them to support individuals moving closer to work. This includes childcare modules to support working single parents.

All claimants are set requirements that take into account their circumstances and capability, including caring responsibilities, health conditions and disabilities. These requirements will be tailored by the Work Coach and will be achievable and realistic, and agreed within the Claimant Commitment.

Work Coaches are also signposted to tools, guidance, and websites (internal and external), so that they have access to the most up to date advice and expertise to help them better support claimants, including single parents.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether the social security benefit cap will be lifted in line with inflation in April 2024; and if not, why.

The Secretary of State has a statutory obligation to review the levels at least once every five years. There is no requirement until November 2027.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government why, from the next release of the benefit cap statistics, information on the youngest child in capped households will be suspended; and whether they propose to resume publication of those data in later releases.

The Department advised users on GOV.UK on 7 November 2023, that information on the age of youngest child for capped Housing Benefit households will be suspended from the next release of Benefit Cap statistics (due to be published on 12 December 2023). This is due to an issue with the quality of the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) statistical Child Benefit data, which is currently being investigated. We will reinstate the breakdown in the statistical series as soon as possible, in line with the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) Code of Practice for Statistics.

In May 2023, 91% of capped households were on Universal Credit (UC) and are not affected by this issue. The statistics for the age of youngest child in UC capped households will be published as normal on 12 December 2023.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Oct 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what progress they have made on meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 1 in the UK.

The Government is committed to reducing poverty and supporting low-income families. We will spend around £276bn through the welfare system in Great Britain in 2023/24 including around £124bn on people of working age and children, and around £152 billion on pensioners. Of this, around £79 billion will be spent on benefits to support disabled people and people with health conditions.

From April, we uprated benefit rates and State Pensions by 10.1%, and in order to increase the number of households who can benefit from these uprating decisions the benefit cap levels also increased by the same amount.

In 2021/22 there were 1.7 million fewer people in absolute poverty after housing costs than in 2009/10, including 400,000 fewer children, 1 million fewer working age adults and 200,000 fewer pensioners.

With almost one million job vacancies across the UK, our focus remains firmly on supporting individuals to move into and progress in work. This approach which is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment - particularly where it is full-time - in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. The latest statistics show that in 2021/22 working age adults living in workless families were 7 times more likely to be in absolute poverty after housing costs than working age adults in families where all adults work.

Through the ambitious package announced at the Spring budget we are delivering measures that are designed to support people to enter work, increase their working hours and extend their working lives.

To help people into work, our core Jobcentre offer provides a range of options, including face-to-face time with work coaches and interview assistance. In addition, there is specific support targeted towards young people, people aged 50 plus and job seekers with disabilities or health issues.

To support those who are in work, from 1 April 2023, the National Living Wage (NLW) increased by 9.7% to £10.42 an hour for workers aged 23 and over - the largest ever cash increase for the NLW. In addition, the voluntary in-work progression offer started to roll-out in April 2022. It is now available in all Jobcentres across Great Britain. We estimate that around 1.4m low-paid benefit claimants will be eligible for support to progress into higher-paid work.

This government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living which is why we are providing total support of over £94bn over 2022-23 and 2023-24 to help households and individuals with the rising bills.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to review the eligibility for Carer’s Allowance for young adult carers in England who are studying for more than 21 hours each week, to support them to stay in full-time education while managing their caring responsibilities.

Carer's Allowance was introduced principally to provide a measure of financial support and recognition for people who forgo the opportunity of full-time work in order to care for a severely disabled person for at least 35 hours a week.
  
The Government thinks it is right that people in full-time education should be supported by the educational maintenance system, via its range of loans and grants, and not the social security benefit system. That is why, as a general principle, full-time students are usually precluded from entitlement to income-related and income-maintenance benefits.

There are currently no plans to change the full-time education rules for Carer’s Allowance, but carers are able to undertake part-time education and still receive Carer’s Allowance.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what are the current annual savings to the Exchequer provided by (1) the benefit cap, and (2) the two-child limit on social security payments.

The saving to the Exchequer provided by the benefit cap in 2021/22 – the latest year for which data are available - was £400m.

For the policy that provides support for a maximum of 2 children in Universal Credit (UC) and Child Tax Credits, it is not possible to provide a current annual savings measure and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

In our previously published analysis on the cost of ending the policy that provides support for a maximum of 2 children in Universal Credit (UC) and Child Tax Credits over the period 19/20-23/24 we estimated that the cost of ending this policy to be around £5bn up to 23/24.

The Government’s view is that providing support for a maximum of two children or qualifying young persons in Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit ensures fairness between claimants on the one hand and, on the other, those taxpayers who support themselves solely through work. Where they are able to, Individuals should consider whether they are financially prepared to support a new child without relying on benefits.

We recognise that some claimants are not able to make the same choices about the number of children in their family, which is why exceptions have been put in place to protect certain groups. On migration to Universal Credit families’ existing entitlement will be protected, so long as they remain responsible for the same children and entitled to benefit.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the reply by the Viscount Younger of Leckie on 9 March (HL5842), where the management information on the household support fund is published; and what steps they have taken to analyse this information.

The published management information for the Household Support Fund covering the period 6 October 2021 to 31 March 2022 can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/household-support-fund-management-information-6-october-2021-to-31-march-2022.

The information for the subsequent Household Support Fund schemes are the subject of an upcoming statistical release and will be released following the usual quality assurance.

In terms of analysing this information, The Government collects high level data on the types of households supported to ensure that funded activities are within the scope of the Fund’s guidance and uses this to inform the design of future schemes.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they have commissioned research on people’s experiences of claiming and receiving Carer’s Allowance; if so, whether they will publish this research; and if so, when.

The department commissioned research on experiences of claiming and receiving Carer’s Allowance; and is reviewing the research results as part of our wider policy development and thinking around Carer’s Allowance. We need to ensure that policy makers and Ministers are able to do so based on the evidence and without fear of premature disclosure. Therefore, we will not publish the report while this process is ongoing. If Ministers decide to publish its findings, they will be made available to Parliament and online.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the statement in the Spring Budget 2023 factsheet – Labour Market Measures that over 700,000 lead carers of children in receipt of Universal Credit will be made to look for work or increase the number of hours they work, what is their estimate of how this number will be broken down by (1) age of youngest child, and (2) by lone parent/other; and what additional work-related requirements will be applied to such claimants.

The information requested is provided in the tables below.

1) Estimate of the proportion of lead carers broken down by age of youngest child

Age of youngest child

Proportion

1

14%

2

12%

3

11%

4

9%

5

10%

6

9%

7

8%

8

7%

9

6%

10

6%

11

5%

12

4%

2) Estimate of the proportion of lead carers broken down by family type

Family Type

Proportion

Single, with children

70%

Couple, with children

30%

Caveats & Data Definitions:

  • We do not hold data that explicitly identifies lead carers, as a result, figures are estimated assuming that if one member of the household has age of youngest child as required, and is in the relevant conditionality regime, then they are a “lead carer”.
  • Universal Credit conditionality regimes included are Intensive Work Search, Working with requirements, Planning for work and Preparing for work
  • Based on average volumes 2022/23
  • Based on internal Universal Credit Household dataset

Lead carers of children aged 1-2 will be required to have regular work focussed conversations with a dedicated Jobcentre work coach more often.

For lead carers of children aged 2, work coaches can offer claimants more support with work preparation activities such as, job readiness workshops; help with developing a CV; practicing interviewing skills; skills assessment; participating in training or employment programme.

Lead carers of children aged 3-12 will be supported by their work coach to increase their work search and preparation activity and will be required to be available for higher paid or longer hours jobs to align with Department for Education’s 30hr free childcare offer.

Work search activities could include carrying out work searches, making job applications and creating and maintaining online job profiles. The requirements will be tailored to a claimant’s circumstances (e.g., location of job, claimant eligibility for free childcare provision, availability and location of childcare provision, and transport).

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 8 February (HL5087), what evidence sources they are relying on to support their position that there is “clear evidence that it is in the best interest of children to be in working households”.

The Improving Lives publication has shown that workless families are considerably more likely to experience problems with their relationships, have poor mental health, and be in problem debt. The publication includes these figures:

- Children growing up in workless families are almost twice as likely as children in working families to fail at all stages of their education.

- 37 per cent of children in workless families in England failed to reach the expected level at key stage 1 (aged 7) compared with 19 per cent in lower-income working families.

- 75 per cent of children in workless families failed to reach the expected level at GCSE, compared to 52 per cent in lower-income working families.

National Statistics on the number of in-work poverty are published annually in the ‘Households Below Average Income’ publication. It is not possible to provide a robust estimate for 2020/21 due to the impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had on data quality in 2020/21.

Statistics for 2021/22 will be published in the next Households Below Average Income publication in March 2023.

The latest available data on in-work poverty shows that in 2019/20, there was only a three per cent chance of children being in poverty (absolute, before housing costs) where both parents worked full-time compared with 42 per cent where one or more parents in a couple was in part-time work.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the press statement by the Department for Work and Pensions on 27 January 2022, what assumptions were made (including regarding family type) to inform the statement that "people are at least £6,000 better off in full time work than on benefits".

The actual amount an individual could gain from work depends on wage rates, the number of hours worked and family circumstances, such as having children, and whether the claimant receives the UC housing element.

The main assumption the Department used was that people earn the minimum wage of £9.50 an hour and that full time work is 35 hours a week. The Department’s publication Completing the Move to Universal Credit (publishing.service.gov.uk) shows that:

  • A single claimant with housing costs and no children would have a net income of nearly £7k more a year (if they did not have housing costs the gain would be higher)
  • A single claimant with 2 children with housing costs would have a net income of over £9k a year more
  • A couple with 2 children with housing costs (if they both worked full time compared to both not working) would have a higher net income of over £17k a year.
Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 24 January (HL Deb cols 93–94), what plans they have, if any, (1) to publish regular data on the numbers of families and children affected simultaneously by the benefit cap and the two-child limit, and (2) to monitor the impact on these families and children.

The Department does not currently have plans to publish this data on a regular basis. However, the estimate, provided on 24 January, is based on published statistics for April 2022 which show the percentage of UC Households with three or more children who were not receiving a child element amount for at least one child. This percentage was applied to UC households that were benefit capped in April 2022 and have 3 or more children. Consequently we are able to estimate the number affected on an ongoing basis from the analysis that is already published.

The Department takes the impact of its policies very seriously and is why we introduce certain exceptions to these policies. We acknowledge that some households are affected simultaneously by both policies as such there is other support available. For example families can apply to their Local Authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment if they need help to meet rental costs. There is also help with the cost of essentials through the Household Support Fund. Our focus, however, remains firmly on supporting people to move into and progress in work; an approach which is based on clear evidence that it is in the best interest of children to be in working households.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they intend to publish the report on the discovery phase of the managed migration of Universal Credit; and if so, when they intend to do so.

We intend to publish our learnings and observations from the initial Discovery tests in due course.

28th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 27 October (HL2434), on what basis a 70 per cent completion rate has been determined as a necessary criterion for publication of  data; and whether they will deposit a copy of the guidance or document specifying a requirement for a 70 per cent completion rate threshold to be met before data are published in the Library of the House.

Details of the plan for the publication of ethnicity data for Universal Credit claimants can be found under the heading of ‘Ethnicity for Universal Credit claimants’ in the background information section of the ‘Universal Credit Statistics Background Information & Methodology’ document on the GOV.UK website which can be accessed in the Library of the House.

For reporting on and interpreting non-mandatory self-declared diversity fields, the minimum threshold set by the Department for Work and Pensions is a completion rate of 70%. The level of non-completion represents both the level of uncertainty around the figures and also means the likelihood of responder bias is more prominent. The effect of responder bias could be quite substantial, yet unquantifiable. Therefore, any attempt to infer meaning from these figures until they reach a minimum level of completion would likely be misleading.

The minimum level of 70% has been determined by analysis of the completion rates for those on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Ethnicity breakdowns have been published for JSA since August 2007, with a completion rate at the time of 90%, and for ESA since November 2008, with a completion rate of 74%. Due to this the threshold of 70% was chosen as the minimum level required before publication can be considered. Once the minimum threshold is achieved analysis will be performed to check the data is of sufficient quality to publish.

Meanwhile, work is on-going to improve the completion rate. The approach to capturing ethnicity information is being addressed to ensure that claimants are supported in providing the information. Claimants can be reassured that ethnicity information is used solely for statistical purposes in an aggregate fashion, non-attributable to individuals

2nd Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how they are publicising to (1) claimants, and (2) advisers, the facility that exists for claimants to make and maintain a universal credit claim not online in cases where they would have difficulty with a digital claim; and what steps have they taken to ensure that (a) universal credit work coaches, and (b) subcontracted telephony agents, are aware of this facility.

Guidance is available on GOV.UK Universal Credit: Universal Credit: How to claim - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) outlining how claimants can make a claim to Universal Credit and the provision available to claim via the Universal Credit helpline telephony service for those who can’t claim online. Guidance is available to both Work Coaches and telephony agents regarding the option for claimants to make and maintain their Universal Credit claim by phone. In addition, DWP staff regularly receive reminders via senior leader calls of the facility to make claims by phone for those claimants who need it.

DWP also grant funds Citizens Advice (CA), in partnership with Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), to provide Help to Claim support to any persons making a new claim to Universal Credit. If they identify that a claim by phone is appropriate, then they will support the person in completing this.

10th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many of the first 500 people issued with universal credit migration notices in Bolton and Medway from 9 May, (1) claimed universal credit by their initial (un-extended) deadline, (2) claimed universal credit by their extended deadline, (3) did not claim universal credit by their final deadline, and (4) missed their deadline and had their legacy benefit stopped.

We will set out our learnings and observations from the first phase of discovery process in due course.

10th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many of the first 500 people issued with universal credit migration notices in Bolton and Medway from 9 May, who had a complex need or disability missed their final deadline.

We will set out our learnings and observations from the first phase of discovery process in due course.

10th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to their Completing the move to Universal Credit report, published on 6 June, which estimated that one million families receiving tax credits in April 2022 may need to move to universal credit, what estimate they have made of (1) how many of these families were in receipt of Child Tax Credit, and (2) how many children were living in those families.

There were a total of 1.2 million households in receipt of Tax Credits in April 2022 who we estimated to be in scope for Moving to UC. Of these 880,000 were in receipt of Child Tax Credits. We do not have a current estimate of how many children were living in those families at that time.

10th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many universal credit claims were subject to deductions in the most recent month for which data are available, broken down by ethnicity; how much on average was deducted for each minority ethnic group; what was the total sum of deductions for each minority ethnic group; and what proportion of each of those sums was deducted to repay advance payments.

The information requested by ethnic group is not available. As the ethnicity of Universal Credit (UC) claimants is collected through voluntary self-declaration and the completion rate has been and still is deficient, we have determined that this does not actually reflect the ethnicity breakdown of those on UC. Once 70% of those on UC have provided their ethnicity information (excluding those who prefer not to say) the Department will then hold sufficient information to consider publishing the ethnicity breakdown of those on UC.

5th Sep 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of Universal Credit claimants who did not qualify for the first cost of living additional payment because of the way their wages were paid during the qualifying month.

We do not currently hold this information. We have deliberately kept the rules for these payments as simple as possible. This is the only way we can ensure that we can develop the systems and processes required to make these payments.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to distinguish between those that have had a permanent increase to their earnings, and those whose earnings are temporarily fluctuating. If a UC claimant’s income subsequently falls, these claimants will return to having a positive award after the cut-off date and may be eligible for the second Cost of Living Payment, worth £324.

5th Sep 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, and if so when, they will publish the research on barriers to carers’ employment mentioned in the letter from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to the Chair of the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee, dated 15 July; and if not, why not.

We are currently considering the results from the research, and should we decide to publish any findings, we will of course ensure that they are made available to both Houses.

5th Sep 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what would be the level of the benefit cap, set in 2016, if it had kept pace with (1) inflation, (2) average earnings, and (3) Universal Credit rates.

There is a statutory duty to review the levels of the cap at least once in every five years and this will happen at the appropriate time. The current unusual economic period with potentially counter intuitive and shifting trends will need to be considered in the context of any decision regarding a review.

The benefit cap provides a strong work incentive and fairness for hard-working taxpaying households and encourages people to move into work, where possible. The Government firmly believes that where possible it is in the best interests of children to be in working households and the benefit cap provides a clear incentive to move into work.

The table below shows the weekly benefit cap level if it had kept pace with (1) inflation and (2) average earnings. To provide the levels of the benefit cap had it kept pace with Universal Credit rates is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Inflation

Average earnings

London couples/lone parents

£496.51

£529.06

London single adult

£332.67

£354.47

Excluding London couples/lone parents

£431.75

£460.05

Excluding London single adult

£289.27

£308.23

The earnings and inflation measure used for uprating DWP benefits have been used.

Inflation and earnings source: House of Commons, Benefit Uprating 2022/23, Table 5 (February 2022).

12th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the repeal of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011 required a provision to amend the Welfare Reform Act 2012 to review the benefit cap every five years, rather than in each Parliament; and why this five year period began in March 2022.

When the review was undertaken once in each Parliament this created potential uncertainty, given the possibility of an early election. This was dealt with by a specific reference to the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011.

The repeal of that Act meant that there would be no certainty as to the time period in which the duty had to be complied with and therefore, a significant risk of inadvertent non-compliance.

For this reason, The Welfare Reform Act 2012 was amended to impose a statutory duty to carry out a review of the levels within a certain time frame.

The new five-year period begins in March 2022 as this is when the amending legislation came into force.

11th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the letter from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to the Chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee on 3 February, when they intend to complete their evaluation of the Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance (Work Search and Work Availability Requirements – limitations)  (Amendment) Regulations 2022; and whether the evaluation will take account of the Social Security Advisory Committee’s letter to the Secretary of State on 23 June.

We have achieved our Way to Work target of moving 500,000 claimants into work by the end of June. The Department is looking at how it might be able to evaluate different aspects of the campaign. The analysis is in ongoing development and the advice from SSAC will be considered.

6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 28 April (HL7970) and the subsequent correspondence on 11 May, of the six notified persons who missed their initial deadline date, which benefits were each of the six persons claiming; and how many had (1) ill health or a disability, and (2) some form of complex needs (including, but not limited to ill health and disability).

Of the 6 people who did not claim Universal Credit by their deadline each was in receipt of:

  • 1 person was claiming Employment Support Allowance
  • 2 people were claiming Job Seekers Allowance
  • 3 people were claiming Income Support
  • 2 people were claiming Tax Credits
  • 5 people were claiming Housing Benefit

The information we hold does not go into the specifics of each case including complex needs and/ or disabilities.

6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria they are using to select the first 500 universal credit claimants to be migrated other than geographical area.

The purpose of the Discovery is to work with small numbers of existing benefit claimants from different places across the country to learn how best to smoothly move claimants to Universal Credit. The first 500 claimants span the full range of legacy benefits - including those with a combination of legacy benefits - and are broadly representative of the wider legacy benefit caseloads in Bolton and Medway, respectively.

6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 28 April (HL7970) and the subsequent correspondence on 11 May, out of the six people who missed their initial deadline day for claiming universal credit, how many of the extensions were made at the claimant's request and how many were on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions’ initiative.

The Department does not hold this data.

6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 28 April (HL7970) and the subsequent correspondence on 11 May, out of the 80 people invited to make a claim for Universal Credit during the Universal Credit managed migration pilot in Harrogate, how many had been (1) notified of a deadline day for claiming universal credit and (2) reached that initial deadline day, prior to the pilot being paused.

Of those contacted during the pilot, 53 people were given a deadline to claim universal credit. Before the pilot was paused, 41 people reached the deadline.

26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many notified persons involved in the Universal Credit managed migration pilot in Harrogate missed their deadline day for claiming Universal Credit; and of this group, how many notified persons (1) did not subsequently have their deadline extended, (2) subsequently had their deadline extended, (3) claimed Universal Credit by their final deadline, and (4) did not claim Universal Credit by their final deadline.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 24 March (HL6871), what plans they have, if any, to publish (1) the evaluation strategy, (2) the evaluation, and (3) the equality impact assessments for managed migration updated to take into account the experience gained from each stage of (a) the Harrogate managed migration pilot, and (b) the managed migration discovery phase.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 6 April (HL7286), what steps they are taking to ensure that deductions to Universal Credit payments never exceed the standard cap rate of 25 per cent.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

6th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of renters unable to cover rents as a result of the freezing of the Local Housing Allowance rate.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates determine the maximum housing support for Housing Benefit and Universal Credit claimants in the private rented sector. LHA rates are not intended to meet all rents in all areas.

In April 2020 we increased LHA rates to the 30th percentile of local rents, costing nearly £1 billion and providing 1.5 million claimants with £600 more in housing support, on average over 2020-21, than they would have otherwise received.

LHA rates have been maintained at their increased levels in 2021-22 and will remain at those levels for 2022-23, so that everyone who benefitted from the increase will continue to do so.

A claimant’s ability to cover their rental costs will be unique to the individual. For those who require additional help with housing costs Discretionary Housing Payments are available from local authorities (LAs). Since 2011 we have provided almost £1.5 billion to LAs to help support people who face a shortfall in meeting their rental housing costs.

23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what training they provide to work coaches to help them to support women with criminal records or who are on probation, when they are applying for jobs.

Work Coach learning is designed to be gender neutral, and support tailoring actions to individual customer needs. It does not specifically reference women with criminal records or who are on probation, when they are applying for jobs.

Specific Universal Credit Prison Work Coach (PWC) learning is provided for Work Coaches who will be undertaking a role with prison leavers. This comprises of 47 hours of learning, blended to include facilitation, self-study and group work. The learning content can be tailored to learners’ requirements.

This PWC learning aims to provide skills and knowledge without any reference to gender, preparing the PWC to support prison leavers with their Universal Credit claim and journey into employability. There is a focus on building relationships with employment partners to help create workshops and job vacancies for prison leavers.

All Work Coaches including PWCs complete Complex Needs learning. This is upskilling to identify a claimant who has complex needs and be aware of the support that they can give. Concerns, such as prevalent employer attitudes to ex-offenders, stigma and common misconceptions are discussed. Learning highlights that ex-offenders are often vulnerable because they may have lived outside of the modern world for a period and may be less used to managing their own affairs.

The learning provides information on what has to be declared and supports giving advice to ex-offenders on disclosure. Learning stipulates that a Work Coach must get a customer's consent before declaring that they have a conviction to an employer.

23rd Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that deductions to Universal Credit payments are capped at no more than 25 per cent.

In April 2021 we reduced the standard cap rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 30% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance enabling them to take home more of the award. These changes were brought forward from October 2021(March 2020 Budget) to April 2021 and supported Universal Credit claimants to manage financial difficulties.

15th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to use statutory instruments under the (1) affirmative, or (2) negative, procedure to introduce the full move to the Universal Credit programme, following the pilot scheme.

The Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2014 provided for transition to UC and these were amended in 2019 by the Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 providing for managed migration.

A short instrument containing some amendments to the 2014 and 2019 Regulations is being considered. This instrument will be subject to the negative procedure.

10th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Department for Work and Pensions will fulfil their commitment to publish the evaluation strategy for the managed migration pilot; and when they will publish (1) the evaluation of the managed migration pilot, and (2) the Equality Impact Assessments of managed migration plans.

The Harrogate pilot was suspended as the Department focused on delivering its part of the Government’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. An announcement on our latest Move to Universal Credit plans will be made in due course.

10th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will begin the roll-out of managed migration.

The department will make an announcement in due course on Move to Universal Credit.

10th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there will be any further piloting of managed migration before it is rolled out.

The department will make an announcement in due course on Move to Universal Credit.

10th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to publish the research report, The Uses of Health and Disability Benefit, commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions now that it has been published by the Work and Pensions Committee on the 3 February 2022; and, if so, when they plan to do this.

Protecting a private space for policy development has always been an important factor in the formation of Government policy.

We are currently considering a range of policy options for changes to health and disability benefits and support, reflecting on the 2021 Green Paper and subsequent consultation. As part of this, we will regularly draw on a wide range of evidence, research and analysis.

We plan to officially publish the research as soon as we can once policy development work has concluded and therefore publish it alongside the Health and Disability White Paper.

18th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish the findings from the 289 Internal Process Reviews undertaken by the Department of Works and Pensions into the death or serious harm of claimants which have been related to the actions of that department since 2012.

We do not routinely publish Internal Process Reviews (IPRs) or their findings.

18th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Internal Process Reviews conducted by the Department of Work and Pensions relate to cases that have also been subject to Safeguarding Adults Reviews.

From September 2020 to present (January 2022) the Department has conducted

10 Internal Process Reviews for cases in which we are aware that a Safeguarding Adults Review has also been undertaken.

18th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what changes have been implemented by the Department of Work and Pensions in response to the 289 Internal Process Reviews into (1) the death, or (2) serious harm, of claimants related to the actions of that department since 2012.

Recommendations from Internal Process Reviews (IPRs) are a critical source of insight and learning.

Improvements the Department has made following the completion of IPRs in the last few years include:

  • Introducing a holistic check of a customer’s circumstances prior to issuing them with a large payment.
  • Improving staff guidance to ensure vulnerable customers’ benefits are not automatically stopped when they cease engaging with the Department.
  • Following two unanswered visits to a claimant’s address - where there remains concern for their vulnerability - the claim will now not automatically be closed and payments will not cease. Instead, the case will be escalated to a manager to convene a case conference to ensure consideration of all the circumstances. Where applicable, the case can be further escalated to the area Advanced Customer Support Senior Leader (if not yet involved) who could then liaise with relevant external agencies such as the Police or social services to assure the customer’s safety as appropriate.
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the increase in Universal Credit sanctions in June and July 2021; and when they plan to publish their report on the effectiveness of Universal Credit sanctions.

No assessment has been made of the increase in Universal Credit sanctions in June and July 2021. The increase is a result of the re-introduction of conditionality following its suspension at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sanctions rate remains low at 0.78%.

We do not plan to publish a report on the sanctions evaluation as we were unable to assess the deterrent effect and therefore this research doesn’t present a comprehensive picture of sanctions

8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 1 November (HL3172), (1) whether the decision not to publish the report commissioned from NatCen on the uses of health and disability benefits is consistent with the Publication Protocol for Government Social Research, and (2) what plans they have, if any, to explain how the private space for policy development is relevant to the decision not to publish the NatCen report.

The Publication Protocol for Government Social Research provides guidance on the publication of social research, but it is important that Ministers consider research and its publication on a case by case basis and in the best interests of Government policy formation.

The report in question engages an exemption from disclosure because it relates to the formulation or development of this government policy – Section 35(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act. This exemption protects the private space within which Ministers and their policy advisers can develop policies without the risk of premature disclosure.

I am satisfied that in this instance the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure. Therefore, I do not intend to publish this research at present.

18th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the research commissioned from NatCen on the uses of health and disability benefits was not referenced in the Shaping future support: the health and disability green paper, published on 20 July.

The DWP Green Paper reflects a wide range of issues that were shaped by engagement with disabled people, representative organisations and charities, with relevant research and analysis playing a role in supporting the content which was presented.

I have no intention to publish this research at present. It is important to protect the private space within which Ministers and their policy advisers can develop policies without the risk of premature disclosure.

18th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish the report commissioned from NatCen on the uses of health and disability benefits; why it has not yet been published; and whether non-publication is consistent with the Publication Protocol for Government Social Research.

The DWP Green Paper reflects a wide range of issues that were shaped by engagement with disabled people, representative organisations and charities, with relevant research and analysis playing a role in supporting the content which was presented.

I have no intention to publish this research at present. It is important to protect the private space within which Ministers and their policy advisers can develop policies without the risk of premature disclosure.

21st Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the decision to freeze the Local Housing Allowance in cash terms on the ability of recipients to cover their rental costs.

In April 2020 Local Housing Allowance rates were increased to the 30th percentile of local rents. This investment of nearly £1 billion provided 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received.

LHA rates have been maintained at the same cash level for 2021/22 rather than reverting to previous rates which were much less generous. This provides a reasonable amount of support and ensures that all claimants who benefitted from the increased levels of housing support will continue to do so.

For those who require additional support with housing costs Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available. Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in DHP funding. We have allocated a further £140 million for Discretionary Housing Payments for 2021/22 in England and Wales.

24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 13 February 2020 (HL1489), when they expect to publish their literature review of the factors driving the use of food banks.

The Department reallocated resources to prioritise work to help the COVID-19 effort. This caused delays to some work, including this literature review. The review summarises publicly available information and does not contain any new research carried out by the Department.

The Department has recently published new data from the Family Resources Survey on household food security, giving us a better understanding of who is most at risk. This underlines how seriously we take the issue of food insecurity.

11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many, and (2) what proportion of, new universal credit payments have deductions as a result of repayment of (a) budgeting loans and advances, (b) universal credit advances, (c) universal credit overpayments, and (d) tax credit overpayments, in each month from March 2019 to the most recent month for which data are available.

We carefully balance our duty to the taxpayer to recover overpayments with our support for claimants. Safeguards are in place to ensure deductions are manageable; from 12 April 2021, we further reduced the cap on deductions from Universal Credit awards to 25 per cent and lengthened the payback period from 12 months to 24 meaning in effect someone can receive 25 payments over 24 months, giving them more flexibility over the payments of their UC award. This will also allow claimants to retain more of their award, giving additional financial security.

New Claims Advances are available which allows claimants to receive up to 100 per cent of their estimated UC payment upfront. Advances are designed to ensure that the most vulnerable claimants receive the money they need to live on during their transition to UC. Claimants have the option to spread twenty-five UC payments over twenty-four months, giving them more flexibility over the payments of their UC award.

From 3rd April 2020, deductions from Universal Credit for some government debt, such as Tax Credits, benefit overpayments and Social Fund Loans were suspended for 3 months, which resulted in many claimants seeing an increase in the amount they received while allowing staff to prioritise processing the unprecedented number of new benefits claims.

Customers can contact the Department if they are experiencing financial hardship in order to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment, depending on financial circumstances.

The information requested is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many, and (2) what proportion of, couples with children claiming Universal Credit since July 2019 have nominated the main carer's bank account for payment.

Analysis of the proportion of first payments that go to the main carer has been carried out. However, it is not possible to draw robust conclusions based on the limited evidence available

11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much it would cost to write-off overpayment tax credit debt accrued by Universal Credit claimants (1) in total, and (2) for the time periods of (a) 12 months and under, (b) 12 months to under 36 months, (c) 36 months and above; and in each case how many claimants would have their overpayment tax credit debt written off.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) does not store information in a format entirely commensurate with the question, but I can confirm that approximately £3 billion Tax Credit debt associated to Universal Credit claimants has been transferred to DWP. This debt relates to 2.4 million claimants, some of whom could appear more than once in this total. The following table breaks this down and shows how much has been recovered to date.

Tax Credit debt transferred to date

Financial Year

Customer Count

Values

Total Recoveries

2016-17

110.8k

£147.933m

£6.261m

2017-18

155.8k

£190.472m

£37.987m

2018-19

531.3k

£676.984m

£109.091m

2019-20

724.5k

£964.170m

£213.693m

2020-21

593.0k

£679.055m

£206.041m

2021-22 YTD

285.4k

£364.141m

£61.838m

Totals

2400.8k

£3,022.76m

£634.910m

During the same period, the Department wrote off £9.4 million Tax Credit debt for approximately 5,700 customers. The latest HMRC forecasts suggest that a further £2.4 billion is due to migrate to DWP Debt Management for future recovery. Therefore, based on the value of debt transferred to date and the forecast of further debt that will transfer, if all Tax Credits debt associated to UC claimants was written off it would cost in the region of £5.4 billion associated to approximately 4 million customers.

The Department has a duty to protect public funds and an obligation to ensure that overpaid benefit payments are recovered in accordance with the appropriate social security legislation.

The Department seeks to recover benefit overpayments as quickly as possible without creating any undue financial hardship to the claimant. The rate of deduction is determined by legislation and can only be calculated once other higher priority deductions have been taken into account. The maximum deduction that can be taken from someone’s UC Standard Allowance was reduced to 25 per cent in April 2021.

We want to ensure that repayment of all debt owed to the Department is sustainable and takes into account the customer’s ability to pay. Claimants are encouraged to contact DWP if they are unable to afford the rate of recovery. The recovery rate of Tax Credit overpayments can be reduced where a claimant is experiencing financial hardship.

11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the source of the statistic that around 60 per cent of Universal Credit payments go to the main carer, which is stated in their response to the report from the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill, published on 16 July 2019 (CP 137).

Since Summer 2019, the online claim process has featured messaging that encourages joint claimants to select the bank account of the main carer when choosing where Universal Credit payments should be paid to. This seeks to balance encouragement of positive financial management behaviours, whilst also allowing claimants to choose how to best manage their own finances.

It is not currently possible to reliably identify whether payment has been made to the main carer in couples with children. While we have analysed data on payments to male and female members of couples (as below), we cannot yet confidently identify the main carer. It has not been possible to draw robust conclusions based on this limited evidence. Further work is planned.

The ‘Universal Credit Statistical Ad Hoc: Gender of bank account holders on Universal Credit’, published January 2019, shows that for couple claimants where the gender of the account holder could be identified, 59% of accounts are held by a female with 41% held by a male. This is the source of the statistic stated in the Government’s response to the report from the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill, that ‘around 60 per cent of Universal Credit payments go to the main carer, usually a woman’, although I regret that response should more accurately have said that ‘around 60 per cent of Universal Credit couple payments go to the woman, usually the main carer.’

11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the commitment made in their response to the report from the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill, published on 16 July 2019 (CP 137), what steps they have taken to review the effectiveness of the policy to encourage Universal Credit claimants to nominate the main carer's bank account for payment.

Since Summer 2019, the online claim process has featured messaging that encourages joint claimants to select the bank account of the main carer when choosing where Universal Credit payments should be paid to. This seeks to balance encouragement of positive financial management behaviours, whilst also allowing claimants to choose how to best manage their own finances.

It is not currently possible to reliably identify whether payment has been made to the main carer in couples with children. While we have analysed data on payments to male and female members of couples (as below), we cannot yet confidently identify the main carer. It has not been possible to draw robust conclusions based on this limited evidence. Further work is planned.

The ‘Universal Credit Statistical Ad Hoc: Gender of bank account holders on Universal Credit’, published January 2019, shows that for couple claimants where the gender of the account holder could be identified, 59% of accounts are held by a female with 41% held by a male. This is the source of the statistic stated in the Government’s response to the report from the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill, that ‘around 60 per cent of Universal Credit payments go to the main carer, usually a woman’, although I regret that response should more accurately have said that ‘around 60 per cent of Universal Credit couple payments go to the woman, usually the main carer.’

13th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many claimants are in receipt of (1) income-related Employment and Support Allowance, (2) income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, (3) Income Support, and (4) Housing Benefit; and how many claimants of each of those awards receive a Severe Disability Premium.

The statistics are shown in the following table:

Number of people in receipt of income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Income Support and Housing Benefit, and estimates of the number of those receiving Severe Disability Premium (SDP), February 2020, Great Britain

Recipients1

SDP recipients2

All income-related ESA

1,445,400

515,000

All income-based JSA

119,300

7,000

Income Support

319,600

16,000

Housing Benefit

3,218,600

..

Sources: Stat-Xplore, DWP Work and Pensions 5 per cent Sample, DWP 100 per cent Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) data, and 100 per cent Jobseekers Allowance Payment System Atomic Data Store

Notes:

  1. Benefit Caseloads have been rounded to the nearest hundred.
  2. SDP estimates have been rounded to the nearest thousand.
  3. “..” indicates that an SDP estimate for Housing Benefit is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.
  4. The SDP estimates supplied are derived from unpublished management information, which was collected for internal Departmental use only and has not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. The data should therefore be treated with caution.

13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish poverty statistics based on the measures recommended in the report by the Social Metrics Commission A new measure of poverty for the UK, published in September 2018; and, in preparing these statistics, whether they are incorporating the proposals of that report that indicators of the lived experience of poverty should not be included as part of the central measure used to assess the number of people in poverty.

With re-prioritisation of workloads during Covid-19, this project was paused. We will provide an update on this work in due course.

13th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they conduct A/B tests on applicants for, and recipients of, Universal Credit; and, if so, (1) for how long they have been doing so, (2) how many tests have been conducted, and (3) for what purpose each test has been carried out.

As part of the continuous development and improvement of the Universal Credit service, the Department has conducted and completed two sets of A/B tests since December 2019. These tests are robust and effective analytical tools which offer a high degree of confidence in the statistical validity of results gathered to evaluate the impact of changes that are being made to the Universal Credit service.

The first set of tests were used to analyse and validate the usage of two-factor authentication for our claimants. The second set of tests were used to measure the benefit of introducing the Confirm Your Identity service on to the Universal Credit system.

15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the consensus statement by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies Housing, household transmission and ethnicity, published on 26 November, and in particular its recommendations on (1) the under-occupancy levy, (2) the benefit cap, and (3) the No Recourse to Public Funds rule.

No assessment has been made.

(1) The removal of the spare room subsidy has been an important tool to help to manage housing support expenditure and enable mobility within the social rented sector. Making a change to this policy would not increase the size of properties people are currently living in or increase their bedroom entitlement under local authority lettings policies.

(2) There are currently no plans to change the Benefit Cap. The Benefit Cap ensures fairness between those receiving out-of-work benefits and taxpayers. The Government firmly believes that, where possible, it is in the best interests of children to be in working households and the benefit cap provides a clear incentive to move into work. A child living in a household where every adult is working is about 5 times less likely to be in relative poverty than a child in a household where nobody works.

Universal Credit claimants with household earnings of at least £604 in an assessment period are exempt from the cap along with the most vulnerable claimants that are entitled to disability benefits and carer benefits.

(3) The decision to apply a no recourse to public funds (NRPF) condition as part of a non-UK national’s immigration status is a Home Office policy matter. Non-UK nationals and family members who are issued with a residence permit with a NRPF condition are not eligible to access taxpayer-funded benefits such as Universal Credit, Child Benefit or housing assistance for the duration of their leave to remain. DWP has no powers to award taxpayer-funded benefits to an individual whose Home Office immigration status specifies no recourse to public funds. Public funds do not include contributions-based benefits such as New Style Job Seekers Allowance.

Non-UK nationals can apply for a change to their NRPF condition if, since being granted leave to remain, their financial circumstances have changed and they have become destitute or there are now particularly compelling reasons relating to the welfare of their child on account of their very low income, or there are now exceptional circumstances in their case relating to their financial circumstances.

Winter support package funding is being provided to local authorities, with more scope for distribution to individuals with no recourse to public funds. It will be at the discretion of local authorities to ensure those who need it most receive it. Local authorities may also provide basic safety net support if it is established that there is a genuine care need that does not arise solely from destitution, for example, where there are community care needs, migrants with serious health problems or family cases where the wellbeing of a child is in question.

10th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the Department for Work and Pensions will use the information it collects from councils on the implementation of the Winter Grant Scheme to inform future approaches to supporting vulnerable low-income families.

We are working across-government to tackle a range of cost of living issues that affect not only the poorest in society but other households including those who are struggling financially due to the pandemic. The information provided by local authorities on how they are using the Covid Winter Grant Scheme to support vulnerable households will feed into our future policy thinking as part of this work.

11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether people with no recourse to public funds will be eligible for assistance under (1) the Covid Winter Grant Scheme, and (2) the Holiday Activities and Food programme.

The eligibility rules relating to immigration status have not changed. Local authorities can and do use their judgement in assessing what support they may lawfully give those who are ineligible for public funds or housing support, on an individual basis and taking into account their specific needs and circumstances. This includes providing basic safety net support if it is established that there is a genuine care need that does not arise solely from destitution, for example, where there are community care needs, migrants with serious health problems, or family cases where the wellbeing of a child is in question.

The £220m Holiday Activities and Food programme will be expanded across England next year. The Department for Education will work closely with local authorities as they prepare for delivery of the programme to begin at Easter. More details about the scheme, including eligibility, will be available over the coming weeks.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to publish their evidence review of the drivers of food bank use, commissioned in August 2018.

The Department reallocated resources to prioritise work to helping the COVID-19 effort. As such, we will update on literature reviews in due course.

28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 23 September (HL7973), how many Universal Credit applications were made between 16 March and 1 September; and how many of those were claims from couples.

Between 16 March and 23 June, the latest date this information is available, 3,240,610 individual applications/declarations were made to Universal Credit (UC).

Between 16 March and 23 June, the latest date this information is available, 664,180 applications/declarations were made by couples to UC.

The Department published Management Information each week on the numbers of declarations to UC since the 1 March to 23 June. This information is available in the attached Annex A and can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-declarations-claims-and-advances-management-information.

The Department publishes monthly statistics on the number of claims to UC and on the number of households, by family type, on UC. The next update will be on Tuesday 10 November 2020 at 9:30am.

28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the report by Independent Age The cost of pensioner poverty and non-take up of Pension Credit, published on 14 September, whether they have developed a written strategy to increase the take-up of pension credit; and if not, whether they plan to prepare and publish such a strategy within this parliamentary session.

Since its introduction in 2003, successive governments have attempted to promote Pension Credit but with limited results. For a number of years now, the take-up rate for Pension Credit has remained at around 60 per cent. Previous research by the Department suggested that the main reason for people not claiming is people believing they are not eligible, for example because they think they have too much money or own their own home.

While over 1.5 million pensioners currently receive Pension Credit, the Government wants to make sure that all pensioners eligible can claim the Pension Credit to which they are rightly entitled. That is why in February this year we launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit and help dispel some of the misconceptions that people might have about Pension Credit eligibility. We wanted to make it clear that having savings, a pension or owning a home are not automatic barriers to receiving Pension Credit. We also wanted to highlight that even a small award of Pension Credit can provide access to a range of other benefits such as help with rent, council tax reduction schemes, heating costs and for those aged 75 or over a free television license.

We are also continuing to work with our stakeholders to help spread the key messages from the campaign because we know that often the best ways to reach eligible pensioners is through trusted stakeholders working in the community. Our online Pension Credit toolkit has been updated with the recent awareness campaign materials to supplement the resources it already contains for those working with pensioners, such as guides to Pension Credit and information designed to help older people understand how they could get Pension Credit.

In May this year we launched an online claim service for Pension Credit to supplement the existing telephone and postal claim services. The new online service enables pensioners to apply for Pension Credit at a time that suits them. Around 50 per cent of new claims to Pension Credit are currently being made using the service and more than 34,000 online claims have been made since it was launched.

9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many declarations for Universal Credit were made between 16 March and 1 September; and how many of those were claims from couples.

The Department publishes monthly statistics on the number of households, by family type, on Universal Credit. The latest available information is for May 2020, and is provided below:

Total number of households on Universal Credit as of May 2020 was 4,239,779. Of these, the number of couple households stood at 866,056

Further breakdowns are provided in the accompanying tables. This information is published here: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

The next update will be on Tuesday 10th November 2020 at 9:30am.

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of declarations for Universal Credit made between 16 March and 1 September were closed due to ineligibility regarding (1) partner earnings, and (2) partner capital.

The requested information is not held as the level of detail to determine whether ineligibility was due to partner earnings is not available.

8th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people have (1) moved, and (2) are in the process of moving, onto Universal Credit as part of the 'Move to Universal Credit' pilot currently taking place in Harrogate.

The Move to Universal Credit Pilot was temporarily suspended following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the unprecedented increase in Universal Credit new claims. This has allowed the Department to process in excess of three million new claims during the pandemic, showing that scalability and resilience is inherent in the design of Universal Credit.

It is likely that lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic will have helped with our wider learning about how to support people most effectively and we will take that learning into account when considering our next steps with the Move to Universal Credit Pilot.

In the first phase, we planned to have around 70 cases in the pilot. By the point we temporarily suspended the pilot, the actual number of cases in the pilot was 69.

The Department committed to updating Parliament and stakeholders on progress and were due to provide the first update in Spring 2020, however, due to COVID-19 we have been unable to do so.

8th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the 'Move to Universal Credit' pilot, currently taking place in Harrogate, and its wider roll out.

The Move to Universal Credit Pilot was temporarily suspended following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the unprecedented increase in Universal Credit new claims. This has allowed the Department to process in excess of three million new claims during the pandemic, showing that scalability and resilience is inherent in the design of Universal Credit.

It is likely that lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic will have helped with our wider learning about how to support people most effectively and we will take that learning into account when considering our next steps with the Move to Universal Credit Pilot.

In the first phase, we planned to have around 70 cases in the pilot. By the point we temporarily suspended the pilot, the actual number of cases in the pilot was 69.

The Department committed to updating Parliament and stakeholders on progress and were due to provide the first update in Spring 2020, however, due to COVID-19 we have been unable to do so.

3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) how couples living in the same household in receipt of social security benefits intended for children share their income, and (2) how money from social security benefits intended for children is spent in such households; and what research is being undertaken to assess income distribution at an individual rather than household level.

The Department does not specify how benefit recipients should spend the money they receive and does not monitor the spending decisions they make.

There are no current plans to undertake specific research to assess income distribution at an individual rather than household level.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 6 August (HL7232), how many prisoners currently being held on remand have had (1) Housing Benefit, and (2) Universal Credit housing costs support, discontinued because the anticipated period in detention on remand exceeds the relevant time limits; and what plans they have to prevent this from happening, in the light of the delays to remand hearings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department does not centrally collect data for claimants who are serving a custodial sentence, or who are remanded in prison and in receipt of housing benefit, or the housing element of Universal Credit. To provide this would incur a disproportionate cost.

The written answer of 6th August (HL7232) explained that the Department is routinely notified by Prison Services across England, Wales and Scotland when offenders enter custody, including those on remand. For those who exceed the time limits for retaining housing costs support whilst remaining detained on remand, the specialist teams referred to previously ensure that the appropriate action is taken. The Department has no plans to extend the time limits for retaining housing costs support.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment, if any, they have made of the potential cost in financial year 2021/22 of (1) maintaining the current uplift to Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit, and (2) introducing a similar uplift to income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and Income Support.

The information requested is not available.

The Government has introduced a package of temporary welfare measures worth around £9.3 billion this year to help with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chancellor announced a series of policies to support people, jobs and businesses on 20 March 2020 during which he confirmed an increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance for 12 months until March 2021, in addition to planned uprating of 1.7 percent. Further decisions on spending will be made at the next fiscal event.

23rd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further (1) to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 22 July (HL6637), (2) reports that remand prisoners’ hearing dates are being set for more than 12 months in the future, and (3) the normal time limits relating to such prisoners anticipating returning home, what steps are being taken to ensure that (a) Housing Benefit, and (b) Universal Credit in respect of rent, is being paid to prisoners on remand.

The Department is routinely notified by Prison Services across England, Wales and Scotland when offenders enter custody, including those on remand. We have specialist teams to identify claimants who are in receipt of either Universal Credit or legacy benefits so that the appropriate action can be taken.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of new claimants of Universal Credit are moving from legacy benefits in each month of this year.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what provision is made in the Reducing Parental Conflict programme for welfare rights advice.

The Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) programme aims to join up services locally to help disadvantaged families to reduce parental conflict, and to embed this support in the local offer for families. If a Practitioner feels that another service is able to help as well as or instead of the RPC programme, such as a welfare advice service then the channels are available to make a referral.

21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the judgment in R (Pantellerisco) -v- The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions that the "earned income calculation is irrational and unlawful" in relation to the Universal Credit and the benefit cap. [T]

It is not appropriate to comment at this time as court proceedings are live.

10th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of eligible pensioners are claiming Pension Credit; and what steps they are taking to improve its take-up following the BBC’s decision to confine free TV licences to those in receipt of Pension Credit.

The latest estimated proportion of eligible pensioners who are claiming Pension Credit is 61 per cent. Official statistics on the take-up of income-related benefits at Great Britain level, can be found in the ‘Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up in 2017 to 2018’ publication, which is available on Gov.uk.

The Government wants to make sure that all eligible pensioners can claim Pension Credit. That is why in February this year we launched a targeted twelve-week nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit.

Part of the campaign was to dispel some of the misconceptions that people might have about Pension Credit eligibility. We wanted to make it clear that even a small award of Pension Credit can provide access to a range of other benefits such as help with rent, council tax reduction schemes, heating costs and for those aged 75 or over, a free television licence.

We continue to work with stakeholders to help spread the key messages from the campaign because we know that often the best ways to reach eligible pensioners is through trusted stakeholders working in the community. Our online Pension Credit toolkit has been updated to help older people understand how they could claim Pension Credit.

In May this year we also launched an online claim service for Pension Credit to supplement the existing telephone and postal claim services. The new online service provides an additional claim facility and enables pensioners to apply for Pension Credit at a time that suits them.

8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that (1) Housing Benefit, and (2) Universal Credit in respect of rent, is paid to prisoners on remand.

The Department is routinely notified by Prison Services across England, Wales and Scotland when offenders enter custody, including those on remand. We have specialist teams to identify claimants who are in receipt of either Universal Credit or legacy benefits so that the appropriate action can be taken.

1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether guidance to Universal Credit work coaches on the resumption of conditionality, including claimant commitment, includes an exemption in relation to COVID-19; and whether the guidance will be published.

To support our re-implementation of Claimant Commitments in July, we are issuing guidance to Work Coaches and Case Managers. We are managing this in a phased approach to deliver a tailored and effective service for our customers, recognising the individual and prevailing circumstances including COVID restrictions. We have not needed to issue new guidance on benefit sanctions. We trust and empower our job centre managers and Work Coaches to work with their customers appropriately.

We regularly update the guidance and up-to-date information about the employment and benefits support available, including Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay, New style Jobseeker's Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance, can be found here:

www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/.

29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 24 June (HL5528), what proportion of claimants making (1) successful, and (2) unsuccessful, new claims for Universal Credit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have been able (a) also, and (b) instead, to claim (i) contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance, and (ii) contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance, successfully.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Carers UK and the Universities of Sheffield and Birmingham Caring and COVID-19: hunger and mental well-being, published on 17 June, in particular the finding that unpaid carers are twice as likely to have used foodbanks as the general population during the pandemic; and in the light of that finding, what plans they have to increase the rate of Carer’s Allowance on a (1) temporary, and (2) permanent basis.

The Government appreciates the support that Carers UK, and other carers organisations offer to unpaid carers who provide such vital support to some of the most vulnerable people in society, including pensioners and those with disabilities.

For those who find themselves in severe financial difficulties, the Prime Minister has announced over £60 million for local authorities in England to support local welfare assistance programmes. In addition, on 8 May, the Government announced funding of up to £16 million for charities to provide millions of meals over a 12-week period; this includes the £3.5 million Food Charities Grant Fund to support charities with grants of up to £100,000 so they can continue to provide food to vulnerable people.

Unpaid carers in financial need are able to access the full range of Social Security benefits, which include Universal Credit and Pension Credit. Carer’s Allowance is also available to provide a measure of financial recognition for those who give up the opportunity of full-time work in order to provide regular and substantial care.

We continue to support those carers in most need through additional amounts (premiums) in means-tested benefits and have also announced increases to the standard allowance in Universal Credit. Meaning claimants will be up to £1040 better off this financial year, which some carers receiving Universal Credit will benefit from.

The rate of Carer’s Allowance was also increased in early April as part of the annual uprating process. Since 2010, the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning nearly an additional £700 a year for carers. By 2024 – 25, spending on Carer’s Allowance is forecast to be £3.6 billion in real terms, almost doubling from £1.8 billion in 2010/11, meaning we would be helping almost twice as many carers.

During the current emergency we have focussed on ensuring carers do not inadvertently stop receiving Carer’s Allowance because of changes to patterns of care. This includes allowing emotional support to count towards the 35 hours of care being provided by the carer as well as relaxing the rules around breaks in care. These changes aim to support carers whose role has, in many cases, become harder due to the need to self-isolate or shield the person they care for.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of Universal Credit recipients are subject to the (1) two-child benefit limit, and (2) benefit cap, broken down by ethnic group.

The Department cannot precisely quantify the proportion of households by ethnic group that are affected by these policies since recording of ethnicity on benefits administrative data is voluntary and, as such, not sufficiently reliable.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the (1) average, (2) longest, and (3) shortest, clearance time for a (a) claim, (b) mandatory reconsideration, and (c) successful appeal outcome to be implemented, in relation to Personal Independence Payment in each of the last 13 months.

Tables 1 shows the Median, Lower Quartile and Upper Quartile of the number of weeks taken for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim to receive an initial decision from registration. This data covers both PIP New Claims and Reassessments from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for each month from April 2019 – April 2020, the most recent 13 months for which data is available.

Table 2 shows the Median, Lower Quartile and Upper Quartile of the number of calendar days taken for a PIP Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) to be cleared from registration. This data covers all MRs cleared each month from April 2019 – April 2020, the most recent 13 months for which data is available.

A copy of the tables is attached.

Please note that information about the extremes of a distribution (e.g. the maximum clearance time) risks being disclosive. We would not release this information publicly. Therefore, we have presented information on the lower quartile, median and upper quartile of clearance times.

The information requested on the clearance times for a successful appeal outcome to be implemented is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the (1) average, (2) longest, and (3) shortest, clearance time for a (a) mandatory reconsideration, and (b) successful appeal outcome to be implemented, in relation to Employment and Support Allowance in each of the last 13 months.

Table 1 below shows the Median, Lower Quartile and Upper Quartile of the clearance time of Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This data covers ESA MRs from Work Capability Assessments (WCA) for each month from April 2019 – April 2020, the most recent 13 months for which data is available.

Table 1: Clearance time of MR decisions for ESA Work Capability Assessments, in calendar days, by month of decision, April 2019 to April 2020: Great Britain

Month

Median

Lower Quartile

Upper Quartile

Apr-19

12

9

14

May-19

9

7

10

Jun-19

8

6

9

Jul-19

8

5

9

Aug-19

6

3

8

Sep-19

6

4

8

Oct-19

6

3

7

Nov-19

7

4

11

Dec-19

12

10

14

Jan-20

16

10

22

Feb-20

7

5

8

Mar-20

6

3

8

Apr-20

7

3

12

Please note that information about the extremes of a distribution (e.g. the maximum clearance time) risks being disclosive. We would not release this information publicly. Therefore, we have presented information on the lower quartile, median and upper quartile of clearance times.

The information requested on the clearance times for a successful appeal outcome to be implemented is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Data Source: Decision Maker and Appeals Case Recorder Computer System claimant records

Notes

  • The average clearance time is derived by calculating the median number of days taken from the date when the Benefit Centre has determined that the Mandatory Reconsideration is a true MR, to the date the decision is cleared by the decision maker in the Dispute Resolution Team.
  • The table shows the median clearance time of mandatory reconsiderations cleared within a given calendar month. The median number of days is the middle value if you were to order all the times within the distribution from lowest value to highest value. The median is presented as the average instead of the mean because the mean can be unduly affected by outlying cases.
  • Definition of Quartiles: The lower quartile is the value for which 25 per cent of all clearance times fall below if you were to order the distribution from lowest value to highest value. The upper quartile is the value for which 75 per cent of all clearance times fall below if you were to order the distribution from lowest value to highest value.
  • MR refers to Mandatory Reconsideration - the formal review process requested by the customer. MR incorporates all MRs raised in the WCA process and also includes Reconsiderations raised following the WCA.
  • Only claims with a cleared MR decision are included.
  • There may be an element of retrospection in the figures for the latest month; they may change when more up to date information is included.
  • MR median clearance times are published here: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/
16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the (1) average, (2) longest, and (3) shortest, clearance time for a (a) mandatory reconsideration, and (b) successful appeal outcome to be implemented, in relation to Universal Credit in each of the last 13 months.

Table 1 below shows the Median, Lower Quartile and Upper Quartile of the number of days taken for a Universal Credit (UC) Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) to be cleared from registration. This data covers all UC MRs for each month from May 2019 – May 2020, the most recent 13 months for which data is available.

Table 1: Average Clearance Times from UC MR registration to clearance in days from May 2019 – May 2020

Month

Lower Quartile

Median

Upper Quartile

May-19

17

48

88

Jun-19

9

24

44

Jul-19

11

24

40

Aug-19

9

22

34

Sep-19

10

22

38

Oct-19

9

22

53

Nov-19

9

23

78

Dec-19

8

21

73

Jan-20

10

27

158

Feb-20

8

23

95

Mar-20

12

30

92

Apr-20

6

22

43

May-20

6

38

79

Please note that information about the extremes of a distribution (e.g. the maximum clearance time) risks being disclosive. We would not release this information publicly. Therefore, we have presented information on the lower quartile, median and upper quartile of clearance times.

The information requested on the clearance times for a successful appeal outcome to be implemented is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Notes

  • Figures are for Great Britain only.
  • This is unpublished data. It should be used with caution and it may be subject to future revision.
  • The median is presented as the average instead of the mean because the mean can be unduly affected by outlying cases.
  • Definition of Lower Quartile: The lower quartile is the value for which 25 per cent of all clearance times fall below if you were to order the distribution from lowest value to highest value.
  • Definition of median: The median time is the middle value if you were to order all the times within the distribution from lowest value to highest value.
  • Definition of Upper Quartile: The upper quartile is the value for which 75 per cent of all clearance times fall below if you were to order the distribution from lowest value to highest value.
15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 4 June (HL4841), whether those who are not already in receipt of an ‘exempt benefit’ but who are in the process of claiming one will be subject to the benefit cap.

New claims for benefits which could provide an exemption to the Benefit Cap for an eligible household continue to be taken and processed, as such an exemption will apply once benefit entitlement is established.

Claimants can approach their Local Authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment if they need additional help to meet rental costs.

15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking in response to research by the Royal National Institute of Blind People to ensure that the two-thirds of blind and partially sighted people identified as feeling that they have lost their independence during lockdown are able to access services as the restrictions in place to address COVID-19 are lifted.

The Government is fully committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access

to updated guidance, including workplace and transport related guidance during the COVID-19 outbreak. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We worked with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to transcribe gov.uk pages on general coronavirus guidelines and financial advice into spoken word formats. This guidance is available on RNIB phone lines. This ensures that visually impaired people without access to the internet are able to receive the same advice as sighted people with internet access.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit continues to work with stakeholders, such as the RNIB, and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the Government’s response to COVID-19.

10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of new claims for Universal Credit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have been unsuccessfull; and of those, what proportion were unsuccessful because of the income and capital rules; and what proportion of (1) successful, and (2) unsuccessful, claimants for Universal Credit in this period were eligible for contributory (a) Jobseeker's Allowance, and (b) Employment and Support Allowance.

The Department has been working to ensure we get support as quickly as possible to those individuals and households most financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It has been a longstanding principle of Universal Credit (UC) that an assessment of earnings, other income and capital is needed to establish eligibility to target support to those most in need. There may be several reasons why someone is not eligible to receive UC, will have received a nil award or withdrew their claim. Among other reasons, this includes:

  • speculative claims which were subsequently withdrawn;
  • found new employment (which may at present include being rehired under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or taken advantage of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme);
  • redundancy payments affecting their entitlement;
  • the last month’s salary taken account. The key principle of UC is that it’s calculated based on income, so if someone’s income from work drops, their UC payment will rise to top it up;
  • their claim may have been found to be fraudulent; and
  • Individuals may have capital saved above the £16,000 limit for UC entitlement.

Between 16 March and 3 May there were 1,875,000 declarations made to UC, all of which are processed. Of these:

  • 70 per cent have received a UC payment;
  • 12 per cent had a nil award due to earnings;
  • seven per cent were withdrawn by the claimant;
  • one per cent closed due to ineligibility regarding capital rules;
  • eight per cent closed due to other ineligibility reasons; and
  • one per cent have outstanding verification preventing payment.

Claimants move from existing benefits to UC when they experience a significant change in their circumstances that triggers a new claim to benefit. We do not centrally collate the number of claimants that have made a new claim to UC as a result of such a change in circumstances.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 2 June (HL Deb, col 1279), why they do not suspend the repayment of universal credit advance payments for six months as opposed to converting advances into non-repayable payments, as recommended by the Resolution Foundation.

Nobody has to wait five weeks for a payment under Universal Credit. Advances are a mechanism for getting claimants faster access to their entitlement; allowing claimants to receive 13 payments over 12 months with up to 12 months to repay the advance.

New Claims Advances of up to 100 per cent of potential entitlement are available if a claimant needs support during their first assessment period. Face-to-face checks for Universal Credit advances have been scrapped due to COVID-19, so people get the support they need despite COVID-19 restrictions.

The Government has already taken steps to help ease the burden of the repayment of advances.

We have reduced the maximum deduction from 40 per cent to 30 per cent of a claimant’s standard allowance. The Budget 2020 set out that the maximum level will be further reduced, so that standard deductions will not exceed 25 per cent of a claimant’s Standard Allowance from October 2021.

The repayment time for advances has already been extended from six months to 12 months, and a further extension to 24 months from October 2021 was announced in the budget. Claimants can ask for repayments to be delayed for up to three months if they can’t afford them.

We continue to review our policies but have no further planned changes at this time.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Children's Society Leave No Family Behind: Strengthening local welfare assistance during COVID-19, published in May, in particular in relation to the effectiveness of Local Welfare Assistance Schemes.

The Government has noted the report by the Children’s Society Leave No Family Behind.

Local Authorities were provided with the notional sum of £131.7 million for local welfare assistance in 2020/21. In response to the COVID-19 emergency, significant action has been taken across Government to support those affected by coronavirus, including the most vulnerable. This support includes; income protection schemes, mortgage holidays and additional support for renters. For those most in need we’ve injected more than £6.5 billion into the welfare system, including an increase to Universal Credit of up to £1,040 this financial year.

A further £3.2 billion has also been made available to local authorities, through an un-ring-fenced grant, so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The package recognises the additional costs and pressures councils are facing as a result of the current emergency.

On June 10 the Prime Minister announced an additional £63 million for local authorities, to help those who are struggling financially due to the impact of COVID-19. Local authorities are working hard to support those who are vulnerable and this additional funding will allow them to quickly step in and provide discretionary financial help, for food and other necessities, to those facing severe hardship.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to restart checks on work-related conditionality requirements for Universal Credit claimants; and what factors will be considered when deciding to restart such checks.

We took the decision to temporarily suspend the requirement for face-to-face Jobcentre Plus appointments for all claimants in Universal Credit, New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), old-style JSA and ESA, and Income Support.

Arrangements after the suspension will be communicated in due course.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many claims there have been for (1) contributory Job Seeker's Allowance, and (2) contributory Employment and Support Allowance, in each quarter since January 2014.

Quarterly data on the number of a) Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants by benefit entitlement, and b) Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) caseload by phase of ESA claim and payment type, from February 2014 to November 2019 are given in the spreadsheet attached.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 1 June (HL4513), what assessment they have made of whether the COVID-19 pandemic would constitute an appropriate point to conduct a review of the benefits cap.

There are currently no plans to change the benefit cap. The Benefit Cap restores fairness between those receiving out-of-work benefits and taxpayers.

21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Universal Credit claimants have been subject to increased repayments from their weekly benefit following the increase in the Universal Credit standard allowance announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer; and what proportion of all claimants making repayments that represents.

The data for deductions from March 2020 is not yet available. From 3 April 2020, deductions from Universal Credit for benefit overpayments were suspended for three months. This was done to ease the financial pressure of debt recovery on benefit claimants and to also allow Debt Management staff to be re-deployed to focus on the unprecedented volume of new claims received during the covid-19 outbreak.

21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that any new claimants of Universal Credit who are also claiming an ‘exempt benefit’ are not subject to the benefit cap because of the current three month pause in the assessment of entitlement to some exempt benefits.

Review and reassessment activity on related benefits is currently suspended meaning payment of those benefits will continue. As such, those claimants will also continue to be exempt from the benefit cap.

21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the rationale for applying the benefit cap to Universal Credit claimants who have been furloughed, or whose working hours have reduced, but who do not qualify for the grace period when those in a similar situation but claiming working tax credit are still able to receive their full entitlement.

Universal Credit is fundamentally different to legacy benefits and claims cannot be compared like for like.

Claimants can approach their Local Authority for a Discretionary Housing Payment if they need additional help to meet rental costs. Exemptions will also continue to apply for the most vulnerable claimants that are entitled to disability benefits and carer benefits.

18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they expect Universal Credit claimants to take during the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid the application of the benefit cap.

There are exemptions to the application of the benefit cap that do not require a claimant to take additional steps. Claimants may benefit from a nine-month grace period where their benefit will not be capped if they have a sustained work record. Exemptions will continue to apply for the most vulnerable claimants who are entitled to disability benefits and carer benefits.

In addition, Universal Credit households are exempt from the cap if they receive earnings of at least £604 in each assessment period. We would encourage claimants to continue to prepare and look for work where it is safe to do so. There are jobs available in key sectors such as agriculture, distribution and health and social care. In addition, retailers have announced tens of thousands of new jobs in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Claimants are encouraged to explore these opportunities and others, where able to do so. The online service Find a Job can be used to search and apply for them. We continue to offer support to our claimants through their online journal.

Claimants can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payments from their local authority if they need additional support to meet housing costs and over £1 billion has been provided to Local Authorities since 2011 to help the most vulnerable claimants. There is already £180 million in Discretionary Housing Payments for local authorities to distribute for supporting renters with housing costs in the private and social rented sectors in 2020/21. This includes an additional £40 million as announced at the spending round last year.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the deployment of staff to address Universal Credit claims on the average times taken to process disability benefit claims and appeals.

The latest published Personal Independence Payment statistics, which cover the period April 2013 to January 2020 are published on the Department for Work and Pensions statistics webpages. The tables below show the average actual clearance times covering the period January 2019 to January 2020 for claimants under a) normal rules (table 1), and b) special rules for terminal illness (table 2); Data covering the period April 2013 to April 2020 will be published on June 11th. Appeal clearance times from the date lodged to the date of disposal are published by the Ministry of Justice, and show that the mean clearance time for Personal Independence Payment appeals was 32 weeks in the period October to December 2019.

We continue to monitor processing times across the different benefits to ensure that eligible claimants receive the financial support they are entitled to in a timely manner.

Table 1: PIP Average Actual Clearance Times (Median number of weeks) - Normal Rules

Great Britain

(January 2019 - 31st January 2020)

(i) Registration to issue of Part 2

(ii) Issue of Part 2 to return of Part 2

(iii) Referral to AP to return from AP

(iv) Return from AP to DWP decision

(v) Registration to DWP decision
(end to end)

(vi) Referral to AP to DWP decision
(end to end)

New Claims

Jan-19

0

4

7

2

15

10

Feb-19

0

4

7

2

15

10

Mar-19

0

4

6

2

15

9

Apr-19

0

4

6

2

13

9

May-19

0

5

7

3

14

10

Jun-19

0

5

6

3

16

11

Jul-19

0

4

5

4

16

10

Aug-19

0

5

5

4

16

9

Sep-19

0

5

5

3

15

9

Oct-19

0

5

6

2

14

8

Nov-19

0

5

6

2

15

8

Dec-19

0

6

7

3

17

10

Jan-20

0

5

8

5

19

12

DLA Reassessments

Jan-19

0

4

7

8

20

15

Feb-19

0

4

8

5

17

12

Mar-19

0

4

6

2

16

10

Apr-19

0

4

4

2

12

7

May-19

0

5

4

3

12

7

Jun-19

0

5

3

3

12

7

Jul-19

0

4

5

3

13

7

Aug-19

0

5

5

4

14

9

Sep-19

0

5

6

5

16

11

Oct-19

0

5

7

6

17

12

Nov-19

0

5

7

6

19

13

Dec-19

0

6

8

6

20

13

Jan-20

0

5

10

8

23

15

Source: PIP Computer System claimant records.

Notes:

1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest whole number of weeks.

2. The status of claims as 'normal rules' and 'new claim/reassessment' is shown as at the point of issue of the Part2/return of the Part2/return from the AP/DWP decision, in accordance with the measure. It is possible for claims to transition between normal/special rules and new claims/reassessments during the course of the claimant journey.

3. The figures in the table are the average clearance time of claims cleared within that calendar month.

4. The median time is the middle value if you were to order all the times within the distribution from lowest value to highest value. The median is presented here instead of the mean because the mean can be unduly affected by outlying cases (e.g. cases where the person has been hard to reach due to being in prison, hospital, failed to attend the assessment on numerous occasions etc.)

5. The 'Registration to issue of Part 2' clearance time is measured as the average time between the date of registration of the claim (i.e. the date of the PIP 1 registration phone call) and the date the Part 2 form is sent to the claimant. It does not include claims that were withdrawn by the claimant during this phase or claims that were disallowed prior to the issue of the Part 2 form because of failure to meet basic eligibility criteria.

6. The 'Issue of Part 2 to return of Part 2' clearance time is measured as the average time between the date the Part 2 form is sent to the claimant and the date the form is received back by the Department. It does not include claims that were withdrawn by the claimant during this phase or claims that were disallowed because the Part 2 form was not returned within the time limit.

7. The 'Referral to AP to return from AP' clearance time is measured as the average time between the date of referral to the Assessment Provider and the date of return of the Assessment Provider’s recommendation to DWP. This is a proxy for the length of time the claimant has waited for an assessment, because data on the dates that assessments took place is not held by DWP. It does not include claims that were withdrawn by the claimant during this phase or claims that were returned to DWP without a report and disallowed because the claimant failed to attend the assessment without good reason.

Note: the new claims data given for this measure is slightly different from the data previously published within the ad hoc statistical release of 28th January 2015. This is because the measure published in the ad hoc included all claims that were no longer outstanding with the Assessment Providers and hence included claims that were withdrawn by the claimant during this phase or claims that were returned to DWP without a report and were disallowed because the claimant failed to attend the assessment without good reason.

8. The 'Return from AP to DWP decision' clearance time is measured as the average time between the date of return of the Assessment Provider’s recommendation to DWP and the date of the DWP decision to either award or disallow the claim. It does not include claims that were withdrawn by the claimant during this phase or claims that were returned to DWP without a report and disallowed because the claimant failed to attend without good reason.

9. The 'Registration to DWP decision (end to end)' clearance time is measured as the average time between the date of registration of the claim and the date of the DWP decision to either award or disallow the claim. It does not include claims that were withdrawn by the claimant or claims that were disallowed by DWP pre-referral to the Assessment Providers (e.g. for failure to meet basic eligibility criteria or failure to return the Part 2 form within the time limit).

10. The 'Referral to AP to DWP decision (end to end)' clearance time is measured as the average time between the date of referral to the Assessment Providers and the date of the DWP decision to either award or disallow the claim. It does not include claims that were withdrawn by the claimant or claims that were disallowed by DWP pre-referral to the Assessment Providers (e.g. for failure to meet basic eligibility criteria or failure to return the Part 2 form within the time limit).

11. Note: the individual parts of the claimant journey average times may not sum to the end to end claimant journey average times. This is because each measure is based on the median clearance time of cases cleared at that stage, while the end to end measure is based on the median clearance time for all cleared cases. As the size and distributions of clearance times for the individual stages will vary, the sum of the individual medians will not sum to the end to end median.

12. '-' Fewer than 50 claims in this category.

13. Great Britain only.

Table 2: PIP Average Actual Clearance Times (Median number of working days) - Special Rules

(January 2019 - 31st January 2020)

Registration to referral to the AP

Referral to AP to return from AP

Return from AP to DWP decision

Registration to DWP decision (end to end)

New Claims

Jan-19

4

1

1

5

Feb-19

4

1

1

5

Mar-19

4

1

1

5

Apr-19

4

1

1

6

May-19

4

1

1

6

Jun-19

4

1

1

6

Jul-19

4

1

1

6

Aug-19

5

1

1

6

Sep-19

4

1

1

6

Oct-19

4

1

1

6

Nov-19

4

1

1

5

Dec-19

4

1

1

6

Jan-20

4

1

1

5

DLA Reassessments

Jan-19

5

1

3

7

Feb-19

4

1

3

6

Mar-19

4

1

2

6

Apr-19

4

1

2

6

May-19

3

1

2

6

Jun-19

3

1

2

6

Jul-19

2

1

3

6

Aug-19

1

1

2

5

Sep-19

3

1

3

6

Oct-19

4

1

3

6

Nov-19

5

1

5

8

Dec-19

5

1

5

6

Jan-20

4

1

3

7

Source: PIP Computer System claimant records.

Notes:

1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest working day, i.e. Monday to Friday (including bank holidays).

2. The status of claims as 'special rules' and 'new claim/reassessment' is shown as at the point of referral to the AP/return from the AP/DWP decision, in accordance with the measure. It is possible for claims to transition between normal/special rules and new claims/reassessments during the course of the claimant journey.

3. The figures in the table are the average clearance time of claims cleared within that calendar month.

4. The median time is the middle value if you were to order all the times within the distribution from lowest value to highest value. The median is presented here instead of the mean because the mean can be unduly affected by outlying cases (e.g. cases were the person has been hard to reach due to being in prison, hospital, failed to attend the assessment on numerous occasions etc.)

5. The 'Registration to referral to the AP' clearance time is measured as the average time between the date of registration of the claim and the date of the referral to the Assessment Provider. It does not include claims that were withdrawn by the claimant or claims that were disallowed by DWP pre-referral to the Assessment Providers (e.g. for failure to meet basic eligibility criteria).

6. The 'Referral to AP to return from AP' clearance time is measured as the average time between the date of referral to the assessment providers and the date of return of the Assessment Provider’s recommendation to DWP. It does not include claims that were withdrawn by the claimant during this phase.

8. The 'Return from AP to DWP decision' clearance time is measured as the average time between the date of return of the Assessment Provider’s recommendation to DWP and the date of the DWP decision to either award or disallow the claim. It does not include claims that were withdrawn by the claimant during this phase.

9. The 'Registration to DWP decision (end to end)' clearance time is measured as the average time between the date of registration of the claim (or the date of transition if the claim moves from being a normal rules claim to being a special rules claim during the claimant journey) and the date of the DWP decision to either award or disallow the claim. It does not include claims that were withdrawn by the claimant or claims that were disallowed by DWP pre-referral to the Assessment Providers (e.g. for failure to meet basic eligibility criteria).

10. Note: the individual parts of the claimant journey average times may not sum to the end to end claimant journey average times. This is because each measure is based on the median clearance time of cases cleared at that stage, while the end to end measure is based on the median clearance time for all cleared cases. As the size and distributions of clearance times for the individual stages will vary, the sum of the individual medians will not sum to the end to end median.

11. '-' Fewer than 50 claims in this category.

12. Great Britain only.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the last statutory review of the benefit cap under section 96A(1) of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 took place; when they plan to conduct the next review; and what factors determine when the review takes place during a parliament.

The Secretary of State has a statutory obligation to review the levels of the benefit cap at least once in each Parliament unless an early election is called, as it was last year. A review will take place at an appropriate point in the future. When the Secretary of State decides to undertaking that review she will consider the national economic situation and any other matters that she considers relevant.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish the independent evaluation of the benefit cap.

We are aiming to publish the results of the two strands of benefit cap evaluation by Summer 2020. We are still hoping to meet that timescale although given the current COVID-19, we advise that there could be further delay, we will endeavour to confirm a publication timetable as soon as possible.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 13 May (HL Deb, cols 677–8), what estimate they have made of the proportion of new Universal Credit claimants since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic who will be exempt from the benefit cap for the nine month grace period; whether they plan to raise the current level of the cap during the pandemic; and if not, why not.

Information relating to Universal Credit claimants who will be exempt from the benefit cap for the nine-month grace period is not readily available, to provide it would incur disproportionate costs. There are currently no plans to change the current benefit cap levels. The Government has quickly and effectively introduced over £6.5bn of measures that benefit those facing the most financial disruption during the current situation. DWP is experiencing significant increased demand as such the safety and stability of the benefits system must be prioritised.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what would the levels of the benefit cap be if they represented the same percentage of average earnings as they did when introduced in 2016; and what would be the cost of raising the cap to those levels.

The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how long they estimate it will take to implement an increase in social security legacy benefits.

The Department has no plans to uplift Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support.

6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of (1) the number, and (2) the proportion, of new Universal Credit claimants since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic who are covered by the nine month grace period.

Information relating to Universal Credit claimants who will be exempt from the benefit cap for the nine-month grace period is not readily available, to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of calls from a coalition of charities for a coronavirus emergency income support scheme to be developed in collaboration with charities in the anti-poverty sector.

The Government has been clear in its commitment to support those affected in these difficulties times and we have made a number of changes to the welfare system to ensure people are receiving the support they need. These changes include:

  • making it easier to access benefits. Those applying for Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who may have coronavirus, are self-isolating, or caring for a child (or qualifying young person) who falls into either of those categories, or individuals who have been advised to ’shield’ because they are at high risk of severe illness, will be entitled from day 1 of their claim – as opposed to day 8 - and we have removed the need for face-to-face assessment. Both Universal Credit (UC) and ESA can now be claimed by phone or online;
  • increasing the standard allowance of UC and working tax credit for this year by around £1000 per year;
  • temporarily relaxing the application of the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed claimants affected by COVID-19 to ensure that the self-employed can access UC at a more generous rate;
  • making Statutory Sick Pay available from day 1 – as opposed to day 4 - where an eligible individual is sick or self-isolating; and
  • increasing in the Local Housing Allowance rates for UC and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest 30% of local market rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.
  • To allow staff to be re-deployed to the front line, we have suspended recovery of some Government debts such as Tax Credits, benefit overpayments and Social Fund Loans.
  • The Department has also made Regulations which remove restrictions preventing prisoners on temporary release due to the COVID-19 measures from claiming means-tested benefits, including UC, during the period of that release.

Taken together, these measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, including the Business Retention Scheme and the Self Employed Income Support Scheme, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Government remains committed to supporting the essential work the Voluntary, and Community and Social Enterprise Sector do in our communities which is why the Chancellor recently announced a £750 million package of support to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak. Following the Chancellor’s announcement last month, the bidding process for direct cash grants through the National Lottery Community Fund has now launched for those in England.

The Coronavirus Community Support Fund aims to support the tens of thousands of charities and organisations at the heart of local communities that are making a big difference during the COVID-19 outbreak, including delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice, which includes welfare support and advice. The funding is to help organisations ensure they can meet increased demand as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as continuing their day to day activities supporting vulnerable people in need.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why maternity allowance is not treated the same way as statutory maternity pay for the purposes of calculating Universal Credit; what estimate they have made of (1) the cost of doing so, and (2) the number of women claiming maternity allowance who are affected by that disparity, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is a longstanding principle of the welfare system that benefits are not paid to claimants with income available from other sources to support themselves. Where claimants have income available to meet their everyday living costs, such as Maternity Allowance (MA), it is right that their entitlement to Universal Credit (UC) is adjusted accordingly. The general principle is that unearned income, which is provided to meet everyday living costs, is taken into account in the calculation of UC. Where claimants have income available to meet their everyday living costs, their benefit entitlement is adjusted accordingly. This is particularly the case where there would be double provision of social security benefits and the same approach is applied to Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance.

The difference in the treatment of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and MA in UC is not unintended and is a consequence of the simplification of the treatment of earned income in UC. One of the simplifications introduced by UC is for information on people’s earned income to be collected automatically through revenue information which we receive from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. This enables a claimant’s UC entitlement to be reassessed quickly in response to any changes in earnings.

As statutory benefits (such as SMP) are paid by employers, and are an earnings equivalent, they are treated as earned income. However, other benefits paid to meet living costs, such as MA will continue to be taken fully into account in the UC assessment, as they have been with other legacy benefits.

This simplification in the process of the treatment of earned income in UC is essential to make it responsive to changes in a claimant’s circumstances, and has been key to the vital role it has played in supporting people through this pandemic to date.

The Department has made no estimate of (1) the cost, and (2) the number of women affected by the disparity, in the treatment of MA and SMP for the purposes of calculating UC, during the COVID 19 pandemic.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many couples making joint claims have been so far included in the Move to Universal Credit pilot scheme; how many of those have been moved to Universal Credit; and whether participants in that pilot scheme have to have been claiming legacy benefits for a specified time.

No couples have been included so far in the Move to UC pilot. There is no requirement for claimants to have spent a specified time on benefits to be included in the pilot.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the increase in Universal Credit new claims since March 2020, the Move to UC pilot has been temporarily suspended.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what provisions are in place to support Universal Credit claimants who need to make a non-digital claim.

The Department takes seriously the need to support claimants, and wants Universal Credit to be easy to access. It is designed to be a ‘digital-first’ service, ensuring we make best use of technology to deliver a modern and effective working-age welfare system. This allows our staff to concentrate on those people who require additional support through different channels.

Our Universal Credit Claimant Survey, found that 98 per cent of claimants have internet access and did claim online, and the majority of those said they found the claim process overall to be straightforward. A copy of the survey is attached.

For those that are still unable to access or use digital services, or are not able to travel, assistance to make and maintain their claim is available via the Freephone Universal Credit helpline – which is clearly displayed on GOV.UK. In addition, Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have been delivering the ‘Help to Claim’ service since April 2019. The Citizens Advice ‘Help to Claim’ service offers tailored, practical support to help people make a Universal Credit claim up to receiving their first full correct payment on time, and is currently available online and by telephone.

Although the Department offers comprehensive support for claimants to use our digital service, there will be occasions when people are unable to make their claim online, so telephone applications can be accepted. In these instances, information normally available through a claimant’s online account will be communicated in an alternative format, which is best suited to an individual’s circumstances.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the number of informal carers living in poverty, and (2) the adequacy of the Carer's Allowance.

A considerable amount of academic research has been published on the finances of carers, including from Carers UK and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Carer’s Allowance itself is designed to provide a measure of financial support and recognition for people who give up the opportunity of full-time employment in order to provide regular and substantial care for a severely disabled person.

Income replacement benefits help people and households on lower incomes, and can include a carer premium, currently £37.50 a week. An equivalent additional amount applies in Pension Credit. Universal Credit also includes a carer element at the rate of £162.92 per monthly assessment period. These amounts recognise the additional contribution and responsibilities associated with caring and mean that lower-income carers can receive more money than others who receive these benefits.

The rate of Carer’s Allowance was increased in early April as part of the annual uprating process. Since 2010, the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning nearly an additional £700 a year for carers. The standard allowance in Universal Credit has been temporarily increased for the 20/21 tax year by £86.67 per month (equivalent to £20 per week) on top of the planned annual uprating. This additional increase means claimants will be up to £1040 better off. Carers receiving Universal Credit will benefit from this.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) proportion, and (2) number, of people who have made new Universal Credit claims since COVID-19 pandemic related policies were introduced in the UK have dependent children; and of those, what (a) proportion, and (b) number, are subject to the two-child limit benefit policy.

The information requested is not currently available as most COVID claims have not yet got to the stage where they are due their first payment. We plan to release an assessment of how many claimants are affected by the child-limit policy as part of our regular statistics on the two child limit. This assessment is due to be released in summer 2020.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether furloughed employees will have continuity of service in order that, for example, prospective parents do not lose out on statutory parental pay which requires a qualifying period.

Being placed on furlough does not have an impact on an individual’s continuity of service. The Government is committed to supporting all workers at this time, including working parents. We have amended Regulations to ensure that prospective parents do not lose out on parental pay as a result of being furloughed. The changes will apply to workers starting a period of family-related statutory pay on or after 25 April 2020, and mean that individuals will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings rather than a furloughed pay rate.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the increases to financial support as a result of COVID-19 will include (1) Income Support, (2) Job Seeker's Allowance, (3) Employment and Support Allowances, (4) ‘New Style’ Employment and Support Allowance, (5) child tax credits or (6) child benefits.

The COVID-19 emergency continues to be a rapidly evolving situation. The Government has announced measures that can be quickly and effectively operationalised and that benefit those facing the most severe financial disruption. DWP and HMRC are experiencing significant increased demand and the Government has to prioritise the safety and stability of the benefits system overall.

Alongside the temporary increases to Universal Credit standard allowances and the basic element of working tax credits which came into force on 6 April and will remain in place for the tax year 2020/21 other announced measures include:

  • Regulations have been made which mean Statutory Sick Pay will now be temporarily payable from day one of an employee’s absence from work, where that absence is related to Coronavirus.
  • People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus can obtain an isolation note through a new online service.
  • We are temporarily relaxing the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed Universal Credit claimants affected by the economic impact of COVID-19. This means a drop in earnings during the outbreak will see a claimant’s UC payment increase.
  • We are providing more support for benefit claimants in the Private Rented Sector by increasing Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile, helping to alleviate affordability challenges.
  • The additional earnings disregard in Housing Benefit has been increased from £17.10 a week to £37.10.
  • People applying for or receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for three months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020.
  • All ESA claimants suffering from coronavirus or required to self-isolate in line with government guidance, including those in the shielded group, will:

- be treated as having limited capability for work without the requirement for a fit note or undergoing a Work Capability Assessment; and,

- subject to satisfying the normal conditions of entitlement, waiting days will be removed meaning that ESA will be payable from day one of their claim

  • Disabled and sick claimants who cannot attend a reassessment for Personal Independence Payments, Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit will continue to receive their payments while their assessment is rearranged.

We continue to keep the situation under review and if there are any further changes we will update Parliament accordingly.

11th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether participants in the Innovation in Democracy Project who are in receipt of Universal Credit, or other means-tested support, are eligible to receive payment.

The Department of Culture Media and Sport is the lead government department responsible for the Innovation in Democracy Programme. Participants in the citizens' assemblies, run as part of the Innovation in Democracy Programme, receive £75 per day to thank them for participating, which totals £300 for the four days of the citizens assembly. In addition, participants are reimbursed for costs of travel, childcare and other caring costs.

Participants in receipt of means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit, should report any income received through the Innovation in Democracy Programme to the Department. Awards of Universal Credit are calculated on the basis of the set benefit rate against money coming in to ensure fairness of treatment for all claimants against the money that they have earned. This means, as earnings increase, Universal Credit is gradually reduced in a predictable way. In households where a work allowance applies, only earnings above the work allowance are taken into account, and a single taper of 63 per cent per £1 is applied as earnings rise. Monthly assessment periods allow Universal Credit to be adjusted each month so if a claimant’s income falls or rises, they will not have to wait several months for a change in their Universal Credit.

Those people claiming Universal Credit, or other means-tested support, should seek advice from the Department before agreeing to receive money for involvement in the citizens' assembly to understand how it will affect their benefit entitlement. There is an option to attend the Citizen’s Assembly without payment.

10th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish the findings of their investigation into the use of food banks.

The Department is conducting a literature review on the factors driving the use of food banks, which will be published before the summer.

29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 28 January (HL402), whether the results of the benefits cap evaluation will be published by the end of April 2020.

We are aiming to publish the results of the two strands of benefit cap evaluation by Summer 2020.

15th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 13 January (HL56), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, how many claimants have been moved on to Universal Credit under the managed migration pilot being undertaken in Harrogate.

As we have agreed with stakeholders at the outset of our work, the Move to Universal Credit pilot is designed, in its first phase, to test a series of hypotheses about the best way to move claimants from legacy benefits and tax credits onto Universal Credit. To do that we need to keep the numbers low, so we can observe and adapt in the light of claimants’ experiences and reactions. We plan to add volume later in the pilot, once we are convinced we have workable propositions, to test our ability to scale the hypotheses, learn the safest way to do that and to draw conclusions from significant volume on likely patterns of claimant behaviour.

At Christmas the number of cases in the pilot was 69. Cases are in the pilot not just at the point of moving, but we track after a move to Universal Credit because we are interested in how claimants adapt to the differences Universal Credit brings, relative to the old system of benefits and tax credits. By taking the approach of encouraging rather than forcing claimants to move, we want to understand why some claimants agree to move and others don’t, together with what supports claimants to make a positive decision. That can only be done by restricting the number of cases to a low number to allow for qualitative discussions.

It is too early to draw any definitive conclusions of the discovery work we are engaged in or to make public statements, but we have committed to stakeholders and Parliament to share findings when we have them. The first of these updates will be produced in the Spring.

14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to publish the evaluation of the benefit cap undertaken by the National Centre for Social Research and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The results of the two strands of benefit cap evaluation will be published together in due course. The research comprises:

a) A quantitative longitudinal survey of capped households under both Housing Benefit and Universal Credit together with qualitative case studies of local authorities, undertaken by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen).

b) Quantitative analysis of capped households undertaken by officials from the Department for Work and Pensions, and peer reviewed by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many claimants have been moved on to Universal Credit under the managed migration pilot being undertaken in Harrogate.

The Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019 allow the Department to pilot moving no more than 10,000 claimants across to Universal Credit from legacy benefits and is expected to last until November 2020.

The Move to Universal Credit pilot commenced, as scheduled, in the area served by Harrogate Jobcentre in July 2019. The goal of the pilot is to learn as much as possible about how to safely move people from legacy benefits onto Universal Credit. As a result, we will increase numbers as slowly and gradually as necessary.

We are adapting the design of this service and its processes frequently to ensure we provide the best possible support to those claimants who move to Universal Credit from their legacy benefit claims.

The Department has already committed to updating Parliament and stakeholders on progress. We expect to provide our first update in the Spring. We will also set out an evaluation strategy, developed in consultation with stakeholders, before coming to Parliament in the Autumn with the findings and our proposals for the next phase of the delivery of Universal Credit.

28th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking (1) to identify unpaid carers, and (2) to share these data across (a) different Government departments, (b) the NHS, and (c) local government.

The People at the Heart of Care: Adult Social Care Reform White Paper addressed identifying unpaid carers through increasing the use of markers in National Health Service electronic health records by simplifying current approaches to data collection and registration.

On 17 October 2022, NHS England wrote to all general practitioner (GP) practices about the importance of identifying carers and advising how caring status should be recorded on patient records. Extraction of this data from GP systems will commence shortly. There are no current plans to share this data with other Government Departments and local government.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of the progress of the Carers Action Plan 2018–20, published on 5 June 2018 and updated on 13 September 2018; and what plans they have to complete any outstanding actions.

No recent assessment has been made. The Carers Action Plan concluded in December 2020 and there is no ongoing delivery plan.

Lord Markham
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that those not registered with a GP are able to access COVID-19 vaccinations.

Individuals do not need to be registered with a general practitioner (GP) to use a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site. Under the General Practice COVID-19 vaccination programme 2020/21 Enhanced Service Specification, GP practices are able to vaccinate unregistered patients when they are eligible.

Local systems have plans for full coverage of all health inclusion groups, which may include people not registered with a GP. The National Health Service and local partners will contact these patients to ensure they are offered appropriate support to receive the vaccine. We are also working with community leaders and partners on initiatives to encourage people to register with a GP.

17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the need to incorporate Inclusion Health populations within NHS England strategies.

NHS England’s vision for health inequalities is to ensure exceptional quality healthcare for all, through equitable access, excellent experience and optimal outcomes. NHS England’s Health Inequalities Quality Improvement Programme is committed to deliver this vision by:

- Ensuring inclusion health is embedded across all core programmes and system policies to enable the restoration of NHS services inclusively;

- Mitigating against ‘digital exclusion’;

- Improving the ability to identify need and monitor/measure health outcomes by ensuring datasets are complete and timely;

- Accelerating preventative programmes; and

- Strengthening leadership and accountability across integrated care systems and national, regional and place-based systems.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Core20PLUS5 is a national approach to support the reduction of health inequalities at both national and system level, including for inclusion health populations. In support of Core20PLUS5, integrated care systems will be required to develop inclusion health plans. These will highlight key national, regional and local priorities.

11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Disabled Children’s Partnership Then There Was Silence, published on 10 September, which found that nearly three quarters of disabled children had seen their progress managing their condition regress during the pandemic.

As part of COVID-19 recovery planning, we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health and care services for disabled children. Children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) who require additional provision will receive an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan assessment. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 make clear that local authorities must complete an EHC plan assessment within twenty weeks after the request is received unless exceptional circumstances apply. The Department for Education monitors local authority performance on EHC plan assessments to establish where there are long-standing delays and provide support.

The forthcoming Spending Review will set out the Government’s spending plans for health and social care for future years. We have announced an additional £5.4 billion for the National Health Service to support the COVID-19 response over the next six months. This includes £2 billion to reduce waiting times for patients, including disabled children.

We welcome the findings of the five reports by the Disabled Children’s Partnership between February and September 2021 and we are considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled children and their families.

11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to tackle the backlog in health and social care assessments for disabled children and young people.

As part of COVID-19 recovery planning, we are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health and care services for disabled children. Children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) who require additional provision will receive an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan assessment. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014 make clear that local authorities must complete an EHC plan assessment within twenty weeks after the request is received unless exceptional circumstances apply. The Department for Education monitors local authority performance on EHC plan assessments to establish where there are long-standing delays and provide support.

The forthcoming Spending Review will set out the Government’s spending plans for health and social care for future years. We have announced an additional £5.4 billion for the National Health Service to support the COVID-19 response over the next six months. This includes £2 billion to reduce waiting times for patients, including disabled children.

We welcome the findings of the five reports by the Disabled Children’s Partnership between February and September 2021 and we are considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled children and their families.

24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 1 February (HL12508), what assessment they have made of the recommendation of the Irish Joint Committee on Health for people in that country to take a daily dose of Vitamin D at least two times higher than the dose recommended by Public Health England; and what steps they intend to take as a result.

Public Health England has not made a formal assessment.

12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Royal Society Open Science Vitamin D and COVID-19: evidence and recommendations for supplementation, published on 1 December 2020; and what plans they have to adopt any actions as a result of any such assessment.

Public Health England (PHE) is aware of the Royal Society’s paper but has made no formal assessment.

Current Government advice on vitamin D and health is based on recommendations from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Public Health England and the SACN published COVID-19 rapid guideline: vitamin D in December 2020 which concluded that there is currently not enough evidence to support taking vitamin D solely to prevent or treat COVID-19. The expert panel supported current Government advice for everyone to take the supplement throughout the autumn and winter for bone and muscle health. A copy COVID-19 rapid guideline: vitamin D is attached.

From this month the Government is providing a free four-month supply of daily vitamin D supplements to adults on the clinically extremely vulnerable list that have opted in to receive the supplements and residents in residential and nursing care homes in England to help support general health, in particular bone and muscle health.

12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the paper by the Public Health England Transmission Group PHE: Factors contributing to risk of SARS-CoV2 transmission in various settings, published on 26 November 2020, and in particular the finding that strengthened income relief could improve adherence to isolation guidelines.

The Government has assessed the need for financial support noted in the Public Health England’s paper and has implemented the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme to provide targeted support to individuals on low incomes who will lose income as a result of having to self-isolate. The Government has provided £70 million to local authorities to meet the costs of payments under the scheme, with a further £39 million being released at the end of February.

The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme will continue into the summer and will be expanded to cover parents who are unable to work because they are caring for a child who is self-isolating. The Government keeps all elements of its COVID-19 response under review, including the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. We will continue to work closely with the 314 unitary and district authorities in England to monitor the effectiveness of the scheme.

9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people have (1) applied for, (2) had an application rejected for, and (3) received, the Test and Trace Support Payment.

We are working closely with all 314 lower tier and unitary local authorities to collate information on how the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is progressing, and will release information on the number of applications, number of successful applications and amounts paid out in due course.

9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 19 November (HL9485), why parents of children who have to self-isolate because of contact with someone outside their household who has tested positive are not eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment when they also have to self-isolate; and whether there are any plans to extend that payment to parents in that situation.

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is for people on low incomes who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, either because they have tested positive or because they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive. We have worked closely with local authorities to monitor the effectiveness of the scheme and have listened to feedback from charities and support groups. We are now extending the scheme to the summer and are expanding eligibility to cover parents and guardians who have to take time off work to care for a child who is self-isolating.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether parents who need to care for children who are self-isolating as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for the one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

The Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 was introduced on 28 September, to support people on low incomes who are unable to work from home if they are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and will lose income as a result.

Eligibility for a Test and Trace Support Payment is restricted to people who have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because they have tested positive for COVID-19 themselves, or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

If a child is self-isolating because they have tested positive, other household members will also need to self-isolate and will be able to claim under the scheme, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria. Parents or guardians of children who have to self-isolate because of contact with someone outside their household who has tested positive are not eligible.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a payment of £500 from the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme can be received by the same person more than once; and, if so, whether there is a limit on the number of times it can be received.

A person can claim a Test and Trace Support Payment for each period of self-isolation required by NHS Test and Trace, provided they meet the eligibility criteria for each individual claim, and their periods of self-isolation do not overlap. There is no limit to the number of times that it can be received.

20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by Carers UK Caring behind closed doors: 6 months on, published on 20 October, what additional support they intend to provide for carers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises the vital role unpaid carers play, especially during this difficult period and we continue to work closely with carer’s organisations to support them.

During the pandemic, we have provided funding to Carers UK. They have extended their support phoneline, produced a leaflet to help carers identify themselves on discharge from hospital and published guidance specifically for carers and young carers, which includes further information about sources of support.

We have worked with the Social Care Institute for Excellence to publish guidance to help make decisions on restarting services and to provide quality care safely. In addition, through the Government’s Infection Control Fund, we have extended some of this funding to be used to support day services adopt infection control measures to help them reopen safely.

21st Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 17 September (HL7674), whether it is only possible to apply for the NHS Test and Trace Self-Isolation Payment after the period of self-isolation has ended; if so, why; and how many such payments have so far been (1) claimed, and (2) paid, in each of the pilot areas.

Individuals can claim for a Test and Trace Support Payment up to 14 days after their period of self-isolation ends.

We are working closely with all 314 lower tier and unitary local authorities to collate information on how the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is progressing and will release information on the number of applications, number of successful applications and amounts paid out in due course.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the self-isolation payments currently being piloted will be payable to those who have claimed but are not yet in receipt of Universal Credit because of the five week wait.

Individuals who meet the eligibility criteria for the NHS Test and Trace Self-Isolation Payment can apply to receive it within two weeks of their period of self-isolation ending, for the duration of the scheme. They will need to submit the necessary evidence to prove their eligibility.

Someone who is not in receipt of any of the benefits listed in the eligibility criteria, but who applies for one or more of them after testing positive or being identified as a contact, can still apply for the new payment subsequently, provided:

- They have been approved for the benefit they have applied for by the time they apply for the self-isolation payment; and

- They apply for the self-isolation payment no later than two weeks after their period of self-isolation ended.

22nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the national test and trace system in deprived areas.

All local councils have published Local Outbreak Control Plans, which include sections on identifying and managing outbreaks in high-risk communities and supporting vulnerable communities to self-isolate. Local areas are taking targeted practical action through these, engaging with local networks to get to the heart of communities. A range of activities are being implemented across the areas on the watchlist, which are typically deprived areas, to raise awareness and compliance with NHS Test and Trace as well as public health behaviours, with close attention to shared learning to ensure best practice.

21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the current expected annual revenue from the immigration health surcharge; of that, how much is collected from (1) NHS workers, and (2) care workers; and in each case what proportion of the total NHS budget this represents. [T]

This information is not available in the format requested.

21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that Public Health England's advice on year-round Vitamin D supplementation for care home residents and people from BAME communities is promoted widely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public Health England (PHE) re-issued existing Government advice on vitamin D supplementation in April 2020. This advice was published online on NHS.UK. PHE’s Change4Life and Start4Life online resources were also updated to reflect the vitamin D advice.

Industry representative groups were also advised of the reissuing of advice to allow them to prepare for potential uptake and maintain supplies in retail, chemists and health shops.

There is existing National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance on increasing supplement use to prevent vitamin D deficiency among specific population groups for commissioners, managers and other professionals with public health as part of their remit, working within the National Health Service, local authorities and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors. A copy of the NICE guidance, Vitamin D: supplement use in specific population groups, is attached.

14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford on 18 February 2019 (HL13524), when they plan to publish the revised version of the F10 prescription form, featuring a tick box for Universal Credit claimants who meet the criteria for free NHS prescriptions.

The new FP10 National Health Service prescription form, which includes a tick box for Universal Credit claimants who meet the criteria for free prescriptions, is now being printed. Once the contractor has built sufficient stock to meet orders from the NHS, the form will be distributed.

8th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Statement by the Secretary of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office on 3 November (HCWS354), what steps they are taking to take account of the views of the Chagossian communities, including those based in the UK, with regard to issues relating to the former inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago and their descendants.

The UK and Mauritius have decided to begin negotiations on the exercise of sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory/Chagos Archipelago. We know there are a wide range of views among Chagossian communities about the future of the British Indian Ocean Territory / Chagos Archipelago and will ensure we have conversations with communities.

5th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to address the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

The UK has played a leading role in responding to the humanitarian crisis, committing over £1 billion in aid since the conflict began. Over the course of our coming financial year, the UK will provide at least £88 million in aid to the people of Yemen. UK funding will be provided through multiple agencies, including the World Food Programme and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. This will help feed at least 200,000 people every month, provide lifesaving health care for 800,000 women and children and treat 85,000 severely malnourished children. We will work with our delivery partners to ensure aid is disbursed quickly and effectively.

The UK is playing a leading role in supporting UN led efforts to sustain, extend and expand the UN brokered truce which came into effect on 2 April. An inclusive political settlement is the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and to address the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, if any, in response to the petition highlighting the disenfranchisement of around five million Zimbabweans in the diaspora, which was presented at 10 Downing Street by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation on 2 December 2021.

We are aware of the petition submitted by the groups MyRight2Vote, Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation, and Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe. The onus is on the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that all citizens have the ability to vote in line with the constitution, section 67 of which states that "Every Zimbabwean citizen above 18 years has the right to vote secretly in elections". However, the UK continues to urge the Zimbabwean Government to fulfil their own constitution and their commitments to reform electoral laws.

5th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the letter from the Economic Secretary to the Treasury to The Share Foundation on 23 January where he stated that "the government currently has no plans to introduce a 'Default Withdrawal at 21' process" for unclaimed and unregistered HMRC-allocated child trust funds, what are their reasons for declining this proposal.

The government carefully considered the proposal outlined in The Share Foundation’s letter of 24 November 2023 and decided it was not deliverable for several reasons.

The Share Foundation have proposed a complex scheme which would require the co-operation of ISA and Child Trust Fund (CTF) managers, other Government Departments and banks and building societies to identify the relevant young people (and whether they are in receipt of benefits or government payments) and to facilitate the transfer of information and funds between those agencies. Such a scheme is likely to engage with data protection issues and interfere with an individual’s right to manage their own financial affairs.

The Government attaches great importance to ensuring young people can access their matured CTFs. HMRC assists these young people through its online tracing service and through targeted communications appropriate to the age group. It will continue its work with providers, industry representatives and other stakeholders exploring ways of increasing the profile of CTFs and enabling account owners to be aware of and trace their accounts.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to inform young adults with unclaimed child trust funds, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, how to access their accounts.

For the tax years 2020-2021 to 2022-2023 HMRC replied, in total, to over 157,000 requests to trace Child Trust Fund (CTF) accounts. HMRC does not hold data on how many of those who made the request successfully linked to their CTF accounts. Some may be below 18 and seeking to trace their account in anticipation of account maturity. Others may have traced the account but decided not to access it at that point, withdrawn their CTF savings or may have transferred the savings to an ISA or other type of current or savings account. (HL2166)

Primary responsibility for communicating with account holders and their registered contact (usually a parent) lies with the CTF account providers. The government is committed to helping people identify and access the savings they are entitled to and continues to explore new routes to reunite young people with their matured CTFs.

HMRC actively engages with the industry, other government departments, organisations such as the Money and Pensions Service, and youth focused charities to raise awareness of CTFs amongst young people. HMRC also issues a range of communications and provides resources for key intermediaries such as the University and Colleges Admissions Service, who have greater influence and visibility amongst the CTF audience.

The government’s current plans will reunite most accounts with their owners, but there may be some cases where further action will be required. The government will monitor how many matured accounts remain open and judge when it is appropriate to intervene in other ways.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what is the total number of unique search requests for child trust funds which have been entered to date by young people aged 16 to 21 into the Government Gateway and which have resulted in successful linkage to their accounts.

For the tax years 2020-2021 to 2022-2023 HMRC replied, in total, to over 157,000 requests to trace Child Trust Fund (CTF) accounts. HMRC does not hold data on how many of those who made the request successfully linked to their CTF accounts. Some may be below 18 and seeking to trace their account in anticipation of account maturity. Others may have traced the account but decided not to access it at that point, withdrawn their CTF savings or may have transferred the savings to an ISA or other type of current or savings account. (HL2166)

Primary responsibility for communicating with account holders and their registered contact (usually a parent) lies with the CTF account providers. The government is committed to helping people identify and access the savings they are entitled to and continues to explore new routes to reunite young people with their matured CTFs.

HMRC actively engages with the industry, other government departments, organisations such as the Money and Pensions Service, and youth focused charities to raise awareness of CTFs amongst young people. HMRC also issues a range of communications and provides resources for key intermediaries such as the University and Colleges Admissions Service, who have greater influence and visibility amongst the CTF audience.

The government’s current plans will reunite most accounts with their owners, but there may be some cases where further action will be required. The government will monitor how many matured accounts remain open and judge when it is appropriate to intervene in other ways.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take to ensure that young people do not lose track of their investments in Child Trust Funds.

HMRC has worked closely with Child Trust Fund (CTF) providers, the wider industry and the Money and Pensions Service to ensure that young people are aware of, and can access, their CTFs.

HMRC has:

  • worked closely with CTF providers to ensure they are meeting regulatory requirements to communicate with CTF customers approaching and reaching maturity.
  • developed and improved the ‘Find my CTF’ service on GOV.uk to help customers locate their account.
  • added information to the National Insurance Notification (NINO) letter, which is sent out prior to a child’s 16th birthday, to raise awareness of the CTF scheme with children in the appropriate age bracket.
  • required CTF providers to write to their customers informing them of their options in their 17th year and to provide statements annually after the account holder turns 18.
  • issued a range of communications through regular press releases and social media posts


Children with maturing CTFs also receive a significant amount of written information pertaining to their account directly from their account provider.


The government is committed to helping people access the savings and money they are entitled to and continues to explore new routes to reunite young people with their Child Trust Funds.

Baroness Penn
Minister on Leave (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State)
5th Sep 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of adults (1) in paid work, and (2) not in paid work, who have incomes below the income tax threshold.

Estimates of the number of adults in paid work and not in paid work who have incomes below the Income Tax Personal Allowance during the 2019-20 tax year, the latest year for which these figures are available, are set out below.

Estimated number of adults in 2019-20 (millions)

Paid work

10.2

Not in paid work

6.7

Total

16.9

Source: Survey of Personal Incomes, tax year 2019 to 2020

The Income Tax Personal Allowance for the 2019-20 tax year is £12,500. The adult population (individuals aged 18 and over) in paid work is based on individuals with employment and/or self-employment income. Other income amounts such as occupational or State pension is not included as paid work but individuals with incomes such as pensions could be in either category. The data underlying the Survey of Personal Incomes is based on a large sample of over 820,000 individuals with incomes reported to HMRC. As is the case with the published Personal Incomes Statistics, these figures are statistical estimates and will be subject to sampling variation.

Baroness Penn
Minister on Leave (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State)
13th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many claimants are in receipt of (1) Working Tax Credit, and (2) Child Tax Credits.

As at 2 December 2020, the latest published statistics, there were 1.99 million families in receipt of Child Tax Credit (CTC) and/or Working Tax Credit (WTC).

Of this figure, approximately:

  • 524,000 were out of work, receiving CTC only
  • 373,000 were in work and receiving CTC only
  • 868,000 were receiving both WTC and CTC
  • 225,000 were receiving WTC only.

These figures are published in HMRC’s latest provisional tax credits awards statistics published on 26 February 2021[1]. These provided a snapshot of awards in December 2020.

Finalised awards statistics are also published once a year, showing an average position for the entire year after tax credits awards have been finalised[2].

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-and-working-tax-credits-statistics-provisional-awards-december-2020

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-and-working-tax-credits-statistics-finalised-annual-awards-2018-to-2019

4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to meet their obligation under the Public Sector Equality Duty to have due regard to the impact of the 2021 Budget, published on 3 March, on equality; and whether they intend to publish an equality impact assessment of the 2021 Budget.

The measures at Budget 2021, such as the continuation of the measures to respond to the impact of COVID-19, will support many people across society and promote this government’s belief in fairness. The Treasury carefully considers the impact of its decisions on those sharing protected characteristics, including at Budgets and other fiscal events, in line with both its legal obligations and with its strong commitment to promoting fairness. At Budget 2021, Ministers have paid such due regard to the equalities implications of their decisions and these decisions have been announced to Parliament. In interests of transparency we publish impacts in summary form for tax measures in tax information and impact notes (TIINs) alongside Finance Acts.

11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the letter sent by Carers UK to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 3 February, and of the proposal that a £20 supplement to the Carer’s Allowance be made in the Budget to support carers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Government continues to protect the value of benefits paid to carers whilst also spending record amounts in real terms. The level of Carer’s Allowance is protected by uprating it each year in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The purpose of benefit uprating is to ensure that the value of benefits stays in line with the general level of prices. For the April 2021 increase, the Department for Work and Pensions used the September 2020 CPI, which was 0.5 per cent. Since 2010, the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £67.25 a week, meaning around an additional £700 a year for carers. Between 2020/21 and 2025/26 real terms expenditure on Carer’s Allowance is forecast to increase by nearly a third (around £1 billion). By 2025/26, the Government is forecast to spend just over £4 billion a year on Carer’s Allowance.

In addition, Carer’s Allowance isn’t the only benefit available to carers. Carers have access to the full range of social security benefits depending on their individual circumstances. Income replacement benefits help individuals and households on lower incomes, and can include a carer premium, which is currently £37.50 a week. An equivalent additional amount applies in Pension Credit. Universal Credit also includes a carer element at the rate of £162.92 per monthly assessment period. These amounts recognise the additional contribution and responsibilities associated with caring and mean that lower-income carers can receive more money than others who receive these benefits.

29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on low income consumers of the Financial Conduct Authority’s decision to close down Wirecard's operations on 26 June; and what steps they plan to take to protect anyone without access to resources as a result of that decision. [T]

Wirecard AG, the German payments provider, entered administration last week. It has a UK subsidiary, Wirecard Card Solution Ltd (Wirecard UK), which is FCA regulated. This subsidiary is not in administration.

Last week, the FCA temporarily applied restrictions to Wirecard UK’s business while the firm ensured it could safeguard customers’ money. The government worked closely with the FCA to understand and mitigate the impact of this measure – for example, the DWP worked to ensure those who received benefits into accounts using Wirecard UK had an alternate means of receiving payments.

The firm has now been able to demonstrate that it has met the necessary conditions, and the restrictions were lifted on Tuesday 30 June. Customers can access their money as usual.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Agnew of Oulton on 22 June (HL5695), what financial support will be made available to people who do not have COVID-19 but are required to self-isolate under the COVID-19 contact test and trace system who are unable to work from home; and what consideration they have given to including such people as eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. [T]

The Government has committed to an unprecedented package to support individuals through this difficult time. This includes the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention and Self-Employment Income Support Schemes, as well as through injecting an additional £8bn into the welfare system.

For employees unable to work from home, DWP has laid new regulations to ensure that people asked to isolate by the Test and Trace service will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). This is in addition to changes already made which make SSP payable from day one rather than day four of an absence from work. Employees will still be entitled to claim SSP from their employer even if they are asked to self-isolate several times. A SSP Rebate Scheme was also announced at Budget to support SMEs which may face a financial strain due to staff absences caused by COVID-19.

Self-employed people are eligible for “new style” Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if they are incapable of work due to COVID-19, including all those who are required to self-isolate according to Government guidance. The Government has made it easier for people to claim by removing the seven-day waiting period, which means people can get support from day one.

The Government is committed to helping the lowest paid through the coronavirus outbreak, and the welfare system is best placed to provide this support.

15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial support will be made available to people required to self-isolate under the COVID-19 contact test and trace system who are unable to work from home; and what consideration they have given to including such people as eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. [T]

Employees who are on sick leave or self-isolating as a result of coronavirus have access to Statutory Sick Pay subject to other eligibility conditions. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is not intended for short-term absences from work due to sickness.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether employees on Maternity Allowance can categorise that Allowance as earnings for the purpose of calculating furlough payments.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is designed to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to keep their employees and protect the UK economy.

Under the CJRS, an employer will be entitled to claim for a grant that covers 80% of their furloughed employee’s usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month. They can also claim for the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions, up to the level of the minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contribution, on that subsidised furlough pay.

For employees on fixed pay, claims for full or part time employees furloughed on return from family-related statutory leave should be calculated against their salary, before tax, not the pay they received while on family-related statutory leave. The same principles apply where the employee is returning from a period of unpaid statutory family-related leave.

Claims for those on variable pay, returning from statutory leave should be calculated using the highest of either:

  • 80% of the same month’s wages from the previous year (up to a maximum of £2,500 a month)
  • 80% of the average monthly wages for the 2019 to 2020 tax year (up to a maximum of £2,500 a month)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that residents without recourse to public funds will have financial protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has introduced a range of measures to provide financial protection for those affected by Covid-19, including those with no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

Employers will be able to apply for grants under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for workers on the PAYE system. The government has also extended Statutory Sick Pay to be payable from Day 1 rather than Day 4 and made Contributory Employment and Support Allowance available from the first day of sickness rather than the eighth, subject to other eligibility criteria. For those who file Self-Assessment returns, the government has deferred Income Tax Self-Assessment payments from July 2020 to January 2021.

In addition, the government has announced that banks and building societies will offer a three-month ‘mortgage holiday’ for borrowers in financial difficulty, including landlords with tenants in financial difficulty, as a result of Covid-19. Alongside this, the government has legislated to prohibit tenant evictions for three months.

4th Mar 2020
Pay
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the proportion of (1) the male, and (2) the female, working population that earn (a) £25,600 or over, (b) £23,040 to £25,599, and (c) £20,480 to £23,039, per year.

Estimates of the proportion of the male and female working population by income band are provided in the following table:

The proportion of the (1) male, and (2) female working population (employment and/or self-employment income only) in the tax year 2017 to 2018

Employment / self-employment income before tax

(1) Male

(2) Female

(a) 25,600 and over

19%

10%

(b) £23,040 to £25,599

3%

2%

(c) £20,480 to £23,039

3%

2%

(d) under £20,480

28%

33%

Total

53%

47%

Source: Survey of Personal Incomes, tax year 2017 to 2018

Notes on the table

  1. The proportions are for individuals with employment and/or self-employment income and are based only on their employment and/or self-employment income.
  2. The tax year 2017 to 2018 is the latest year for which these figures are available.
  3. The Survey of Personal Incomes (SPI) is based on a sample of taxpayers.
  4. Where income exceeds the threshold for the operation of PAYE (£11,500 for 2017-18), the SPI provides the most comprehensive and accurate official source of data on personal incomes. However, as HMRC do not hold information for all people with personal incomes below the tax threshold, the SPI is not a representative data source for this part of the population.
  5. As is the case with the published Personal Incomes Statistics, these figures are statistical estimates and will be subject to sampling variation.

19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was their total spending, in constant prices, on (1) child benefit, and (2) income-related benefits, for children for each year since 2000.

  1. Child Benefit

Total Child Benefit payments, in real terms at 2019/20 prices, since 2000 can be found in the Benefit expenditure and caseload tables 2019 published by the Department for Work and Pensions. This information has been presented below (Table 1) for the years for which outturn data is available.

Table 1 - Child Benefit expenditure, real terms (2019/20 prices),

£billions

2000-01

12.6

2001-02

12.6

2002-03

12.5

2003-04

12.9

2004-05

12.8

2005-06

12.7

2006-07

12.8

2007-08

13.1

2008-09

13.5

2009-10

14

2010-11

14.1

2011-12

14

2012-13

13.7

2013-14

12.6

2014-15

12.6

2015-16

12.6

2016-17

12.3

2017-18

12

Notes:

- Real terms, 2019/20 prices

- Figures presented are based on outturn data

Source:

- Benefit-expenditure-and-caseload-tables-2019

2. Income-related benefits

The information requested relating to Universal Credit is not held and can only be made available at a disproportionate cost.

Expenditure in real terms is available in respect of Income Support and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance on child elements in DWP Benefit expenditure and caseload tables. Again, to be helpful, this information has been presented below (Table 2) for the years for which outturn data is available.

Table 2 - Income Support and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance on child elements, real terms (2019-20 prices),

Income Support (£millions)

Jobseeker's Allowance (£millions)

2000-01

4,270

442

2001-02

4,774

408

2002-03

5,121

406

2003-04*

5,151

351

2004-05

4,381

191

2005-06

3,290

31

2006-07

2,593

15

2007-08

2,144

-

2008-09

1,749

-

2009-10

1,039

-

2010-11

737

-

2011-12

518

-

2012-13

329

-

2013-14

190

-

2014-15

130

-

2015-16

87

-

2016-17

63

-

2017-18

44

-

Notes:

- Real terms, 2019/20 prices

- Figures presented are based on outturn data

- *since Apr 2004, financial support for children is normally provided through Child Tax Credit

Source:

- Benefit-expenditure-and-caseload-tables-2019

Annual expenditure on tax credits cannot be broken down between Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits. However, this breakdown is available for the closely related measure of annual tax credits entitlement, and provided in Table 3 below. The main difference between tax credits entitlement and tax credits payments is that entitlement figures are based on the amounts households are entitled to once awards have been finalised, whereas payments are based on provisional awards which may differ from final awards, and can include payments and repayments in respect of earlier years.

Table 3 - Annual entitlement to Child Tax Credit (introduced 2003-04), real terms (2019-20 prices),

£millions

2003-04

n/a

2004-05

18,128

2005-06

18,255

2006-07

18,874

2007-08

19,351

2008-09

21,653

2009-10

23,336

2010-11

23,815

2011-12

24,648

2012-13

24,405

2013-14

23,902

2014-15

23,519

2015-16

23,112

2016-17

21,935

2017-18

20,494

Notes:

- Figures for 2003-04 are not readily available and can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Source:

- Nominal figures taken from Table 1.1 of HMRC’s Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics

- Real terms 2019-20 prices. To convert the nominal figures into real terms, the GDP deflators published in March 2019 were used.

- The estimates for 2016-17 and 2017-18 are affected by the introduction of Universal Credit.

- This table does not include entitlement to Working Tax Credit or Working Families Tax Credit as they are not considered income related benefits for children, although they do contain some child related elements.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to (1) monitor the mental health of residents, and ongoing safeguarding concerns, and (2) reduce the risk of further suicides, on the Bibby Stockholm and at MDP Wethersfield; and what assessment they have made of the findings of the report Ghettoised and traumatised: the experiences of men held in quasi-detention in Wethersfield, published by the Helen Bamber Foundation and Humans for Rights Network on 15 December 2023, and their implications for housing asylum seekers at MDP Wethersfield.

The welfare of asylum seekers is our utmost priority. The Home Office ensures that accommodation provided is adequate and meets the regulatory standards.

The Home Office assesses an individual’s suitability to reside at the sites and only accommodates single adult males who are considered suitable to reside there. Guidance on the suitability criteria used can be found here: Allocation of accommodation.

Each person’s suitability is assessed at regular intervals and if they are no longer suitable for any reason, they will be moved to alternative accommodation.

The Home Office operates a Safeguarding Hub to support vulnerable individuals. Both the Home Office and its accommodation providers have robust processes in place to ensure that where someone is at risk, they are referred to the appropriate statutory agencies of the police, NHS, and social services, to promote appropriate safeguarding interventions.

As well as making safeguarding referrals to the appropriate statutory agencies, other actions include attendance at adult protection meetings with the police and the Home Office liaise with external and internal partners to share information. The statutory agencies retain responsibility for all decisions on intervention activity.

All asylum seekers in the UK may contact Migrant Help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year if they need help, advice, or guidance. This includes raising issues relating to safeguarding.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the proposed increase in the minimum income threshold for family visas on Chagossians granted citizenship under the Nationality and Borders Act 2022.

A Chagossian who has been granted British citizenship under the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 will be in the same position as any other British citizen with regard to bringing family members to the UK. Where the family member is a non-Chagossian, they will be required to make an application under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules and meet all of the requirements of the chosen route. As a result, the impact of the proposed change to the Minimum Income Requirement element of the family rules will be no different for Chagossians than for other individuals in a similar position.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Sharpe of Epsom on 5 December (HL Deb col 1464), whether the family test was applied before the decision was made to raise the minimum income threshold for family visas to £38,700; and if so, whether they will now publish the outcome; or if it was not applied, why.

The Family Test (The Family Test - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) ) helps ensure that the impacts on family relationships and functioning, both positive and negative, are recognised in the process of policy development, and helps inform the policy decisions made by Ministers. Whilst there is no statutory requirement to explicitly undertake a Family Test for all policy changes, as with all policy development the impact on families was considered as part of the development of changes to the minimum income requirement, and will continue to be as we work through the further policy details which will be announced in due course.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Sharpe of Epsom on 4 April (HL6672 and HL6673), and further to the remarks by Lord Sharpe of Epsom on 12 July (HL Deb cols 1727–1730), whether they have now published (1) their response to the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s report Safety before status: the solutions, published on 13 December 2022, (2) their decision on the reservation on Article 59 of the Istanbul Convention, and (3) the migrant victims’ protocol.

The Government’s response to the Domestic Abuse Commissioner’s report Safety Before Status: The Solutions was published in July 2023 and can be found at Gov.UK.

The reservation on Article 59 of the Istanbul Convention will be kept under review as policies which address support for migrant victims of domestic abuse develop. Official advice will be provided to Ministers on the reservation, in due course.

The Migrant Victims Protocol is in the final stages of development. The Department expects this to be published in early 2024.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Dec 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government when they intend to respond to the letter from the Chair of the Brook House Inquiry to the Home Secretary dated 19 October, which asked what steps they are taking to review and respond to the inquiry’s recommendations and which requested a response by 9 November.

The Government is carefully considering the findings of the Brook House Inquiry in its detailed report, including the recommendations and the Chair’s letter, in relation to the management of the immigration detention estate and the welfare of detained individuals.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Oct 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many streamlined asylum processing questionnaires have been issued; how many claims have been withdrawn or refused following the non-return of a questionnaire; how many of the applications were successful on the basis of the questionnaire; and how many were referred for a further interview.

The information requested is not held in a reportable format and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost as it would require a manual trawl of case records to retrieve.

16th Oct 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what evidence they have received from (1) local authorities, and (2) voluntary sector organisations, regarding the impact on refugees of the changes to the move-on period for people whose asylum claim has been granted.

To reduce the number of people currently accommodated in hotels and other accommodation types, and therefore reduce costs and limit the burden on the taxpayer, we are reliant upon people who are no longer eligible for asylum support leaving the asylum accommodation estate as quickly as possible. This number is increasing due to significant efforts underway to clear the asylum backlog.

An individual remains eligible for asylum support for a prescribed period from the day they are notified of the decision on their asylum claim. Where someone is given notice that their asylum claim has been granted, their appeal has been allowed or their asylum claim has been refused but they have been given leave to enter or remain, the prescribed period in legislation is 28 days. There has been no change to the prescribed period.

Individuals should make plans to move on from asylum support as quickly as possible. We offer support through Migrant Help or their partner organisation in doing this. This includes providing advice on accessing the labour market, on applying for Universal Credit and signposting to local authorities for assistance with housing. Newly recognised refugees are entitled to housing assistance from their local authority and are treated as a priority need if they have children or are considered vulnerable. Individuals do not need to wait for their BRP to make a claim for benefits and are encouraged to do so as early as possible if they require them.

We are engaging the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, as well as our accommodation and support contractors including Migrant Help, on ensuring individuals can move on from asylum support as smoothly as possible.

We will consider evidence received from voluntary sector organisations and local authorities and will respond to them via the usual routes.

A notice to quit (NTQ) will only be issued once a person has been issued a biometric residence permit (BRP).

16th Oct 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what proportion of people granted refugee status in the second quarter of 2023 having applied for asylum were supported by the Home Office under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 at the time they received the decision on their claim.

To reduce the number of people currently accommodated in hotels and other accommodation types, and therefore reduce costs and limit the burden on the taxpayer, we are reliant upon people who are no longer eligible for asylum support leaving the asylum accommodation estate as quickly as possible. This number is increasing due to significant efforts underway to clear the asylum backlog.

An individual remains eligible for asylum support for a prescribed period from the day they are notified of the decision on their asylum claim. Where someone is given notice that their asylum claim has been granted, their appeal has been allowed or their asylum claim has been refused but they have been given leave to enter or remain, the prescribed period in legislation is 28 days. There has been no change to the prescribed period.

Individuals should make plans to move on from asylum support as quickly as possible. We offer support through Migrant Help or their partner organisation in doing this. This includes providing advice on accessing the labour market, on applying for Universal Credit and signposting to local authorities for assistance with housing. Newly recognised refugees are entitled to housing assistance from their local authority and are treated as a priority need if they have children or are considered vulnerable. Individuals do not need to wait for their BRP to make a claim for benefits and are encouraged to do so as early as possible if they require them.

We are engaging the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, as well as our accommodation and support contractors including Migrant Help, on ensuring individuals can move on from asylum support as smoothly as possible.

We will consider evidence received from voluntary sector organisations and local authorities and will respond to them via the usual routes.

A notice to quit (NTQ) will only be issued once a person has been issued a biometric residence permit (BRP).

16th Oct 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to their change of policy around the moving-on period for migrants in August 2023, what assessment they have made of the capacity of Migrant Help to provide support to refugees to navigate the move-on period through the Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility contract.

To reduce the number of people currently accommodated in hotels and other accommodation types, and therefore reduce costs and limit the burden on the taxpayer, we are reliant upon people who are no longer eligible for asylum support leaving the asylum accommodation estate as quickly as possible. This number is increasing due to significant efforts underway to clear the asylum backlog.

An individual remains eligible for asylum support for a prescribed period from the day they are notified of the decision on their asylum claim. Where someone is given notice that their asylum claim has been granted, their appeal has been allowed or their asylum claim has been refused but they have been given leave to enter or remain, the prescribed period in legislation is 28 days. There has been no change to the prescribed period.

Individuals should make plans to move on from asylum support as quickly as possible. We offer support through Migrant Help or their partner organisation in doing this. This includes providing advice on accessing the labour market, on applying for Universal Credit and signposting to local authorities for assistance with housing. Newly recognised refugees are entitled to housing assistance from their local authority and are treated as a priority need if they have children or are considered vulnerable. Individuals do not need to wait for their BRP to make a claim for benefits and are encouraged to do so as early as possible if they require them.

We are engaging the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, as well as our accommodation and support contractors including Migrant Help, on ensuring individuals can move on from asylum support as smoothly as possible.

We will consider evidence received from voluntary sector organisations and local authorities and will respond to them via the usual routes.

A notice to quit (NTQ) will only be issued once a person has been issued a biometric residence permit (BRP).

16th Oct 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remark by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 3 February 2022 (HL Deb col 1070) that the 28-day moving-on period "does not start until refugees have been issued with a biometric residence permit", why they have changed their policy towards the moving-on period; and, following the policy change, what actions they will take to ensure that people granted refugee status receive their Biometric Residence Permit at the same time they are informed that their claim for asylum has been granted.

To reduce the number of people currently accommodated in hotels and other accommodation types, and therefore reduce costs and limit the burden on the taxpayer, we are reliant upon people who are no longer eligible for asylum support leaving the asylum accommodation estate as quickly as possible. This number is increasing due to significant efforts underway to clear the asylum backlog.

An individual remains eligible for asylum support for a prescribed period from the day they are notified of the decision on their asylum claim. Where someone is given notice that their asylum claim has been granted, their appeal has been allowed or their asylum claim has been refused but they have been given leave to enter or remain, the prescribed period in legislation is 28 days. There has been no change to the prescribed period.

Individuals should make plans to move on from asylum support as quickly as possible. We offer support through Migrant Help or their partner organisation in doing this. This includes providing advice on accessing the labour market, on applying for Universal Credit and signposting to local authorities for assistance with housing. Newly recognised refugees are entitled to housing assistance from their local authority and are treated as a priority need if they have children or are considered vulnerable. Individuals do not need to wait for their BRP to make a claim for benefits and are encouraged to do so as early as possible if they require them.

We are engaging the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, as well as our accommodation and support contractors including Migrant Help, on ensuring individuals can move on from asylum support as smoothly as possible.

We will consider evidence received from voluntary sector organisations and local authorities and will respond to them via the usual routes.

A notice to quit (NTQ) will only be issued once a person has been issued a biometric residence permit (BRP).

4th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer of Lord Murray of Blidworth on 28 June (HL8499), why long delays are occurring for the delivery of BOTC (F) and BOTC (M) registration certificates to the British High Commissions located in the Caribbean region.

We aim to decide all straight-forward applications within the six-month service standard. After a decision is made, the certificate is securely sent to the overseas post via the diplomatic bag through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Delivery times can vary depending on when the next bag is dispatched, which ranges from weekly to fortnightly depending on the destination. These bags can be tracked by the Home Office if details of dispatch date and destination are provided to FCDO.

4th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government why many applicants on the BIOT (Chagossian) citizenship registration route must wait longer than the six-month target to receive approval notifications, ceremonies and certificates at the High Commission in Port Louis; why the first people who have been approved under the Chagossian route since March 2023 are past the 12-week wait for an invitation to attend their British Overseas Territory Citizenship and British Citizenship ceremony, including where their certificates have already been sent by post; and why it is not possible to track applications.

We aim to decide all straight-forward applications within the six-month service standard. After a decision is made, the certificate is securely sent to the overseas post via the diplomatic bag through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Delivery times can vary depending on when the next bag is dispatched, which ranges from weekly to fortnightly depending on the destination. These bags can be tracked by the Home Office if details of dispatch date and destination are provided to FCDO.

4th Jul 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Murray of Blidworth on 28 June (HL8499), whether the forthcoming amendment to the British Nationality (Overseas Territories) Regulations 2007 will delay active UK-based BIOT (Chagossian) approved applicants from proceeding with their ceremonies in the UK; and if so, whether the right to waive on a case-by-case basis will be extended to the local authority registrars administering that part of the oath.

We do not anticipate that the forthcoming amendment to the British Nationality (Overseas Territories) Regulations 2007 will delay Chagossians in the UK from proceeding to attend their citizenship ceremony in the UK. The power to waive elements of a citizenship ceremony in the UK is exercised by the Home Office, on behalf of the Secretary of State, on a case by case basis. There are no plans to amend the British Nationality Act 1981 to allow local authority registrars to waive citizenship ceremony requirements.

14th Jun 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what are the reasons for delays in scheduling citizenship ceremonies and issuing certificates to British Overseas Territories citizens approved for British citizenship under the BOTC(F) process.

For applicants in the UK, we are amending the British Nationality (Overseas Territories) Regulations 2007 so that registrars in the UK can administer the oath and pledge for British overseas territories citizenship. In the interim, Governors of overseas territories can waive the need for a citizenship ceremony on a case by case basis. We will shortly be holding citizenship ceremonies where applicants can receive both certificates.

For applications made outside the UK, Governors and FCDO staff are permitted to conduct ceremonies for both British overseas territories citizenship and British citizenship. Customers in these territories, which represent the majority of cases, are unaffected.

24th Apr 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what measures they intend to take to prevent the transmission of malaria to asylum seekers who are removed to Rwanda.

All individuals relocated to Rwanda are offered malaria prophylaxis treatment in the UK. Malaria medication will be provided via individual prescription to each individual, even if they refuse to engage with Immigration Removal Centre healthcare staff, which will include an additional 7 days' supply for use on arrival in Rwanda.

Upon relocation to Rwanda, individuals will be provided with the healthcare and other support needed to ensure their health, security, and wellbeing.

When in Rwanda, appropriate medication will be available to relocated individuals where needed, free of charge. Mosquito nets and insect repellents are also available and accessible to relocated individuals in initial reception accommodation.

17th Apr 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support newly recognised refugees; and what plans they have to reconsider extending the move-on period from 28 to 56 days in line with the prevention duty contained in section 195 of the 1996 Housing Act.

If an asylum seeker is granted refugee status, they gain immediate access to the labour market and receive advice to help them transition to the mainstream benefit system if they still require support.

We offer support through Migrant Help or their partner organisations. This includes providing advice on accessing the labour market through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), providing advice on applying for Universal Credit and signposting to local authorities for assistance with housing. In some circumstances, Migrant Help may also book appointments for newly recognised refugees with the DWP to apply for Universal Credit.

Newly recognised refugees are entitled to housing assistance from their local authority and are treated as a priority need if they have children or are considered vulnerable.

The asylum accommodation estate is under huge strain and increasing the ‘move on’ period would exacerbate these pressures. There are no current plans to change the time period (of 28 days) for how long individuals remain on asylum support once they have had a grant of asylum.

29th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the report by Women for Refugee Women See Us, Believe Us, Stand with Us, published on 2 March, and (2) the implications of their Illegal Migration Bill on the experiences of lesbian and bisexual women seeking asylum in the UK.

An equalities impact assessment will be published for the Illegal Migration Bill in due course.

29th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Murray of Blidworth on 22 March (HL6242), what were the figures for each year from 2013 to 2022.

Between 2013 and 2022, 30,055 people have been resettled to the UK through UNHCR resettlement routes. The UK ranks 3rd highest of European countries over this period.

The Home Office publishes data on resettlement in the ‘Immigration System Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on refugees resettled in the UK by scheme can be found in table Asy_D02 of the ‘asylum and resettlement detailed datasets’. Information on how to use the datasets can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbooks. The latest data relate to the year ending December 2022.

UNHCR resettlement routes include the Gateway Protection Programme, Mandate Scheme, Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), Vulnerable Children Resettlement Scheme (VCRS), UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), Community Sponsorship Scheme and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme Pathway 2.

6th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government why only 22 Afghans have been resettled under Pathway 2 of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme as of December 2022.

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) will see up to 20,000 people from Afghanistan and the region resettled to the UK over the coming years.

Under the second pathway, which opened in 2022, we have now begun to receive the first referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of vulnerable refugees who have fled Afghanistan for resettlement to the UK. Further detail can be found on the UNHCR website: UNHCR UK Information and Links on Afghanistan Situation - UNHCR United Kingdom

We will continue to receive referrals to the scheme in coming years.

The pace of actual arrivals will depend on a range of factors including the flow of referrals from UNHCR and the availability of suitable accommodation and support in the UK. As with existing and previous resettlement schemes, we will manage flows based on need and in support of the wellbeing of the people and communities involved.

Those referred will be assessed for resettlement by UNHCR using their established processes.

8th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what support, including (1) legal support, (2) mental health support, and (3) medical provision, they are providing to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children placed in hotels.

The rise in the number of small boat crossings has placed significant pressures on local authority care placements for young people. Out of necessity, and with the best interests of the child in mind, we have had no alternative but to temporarily use hotels to give some unaccompanied children a roof over their heads whilst local authority accommodation is found.

The safety and welfare of those in our care, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC), is our primary concern and the Home Office has robust safeguarding procedures in place to ensure those in our accommodation are as safe and supported as possible as we seek urgent placements with a local authority. Young people are supported by team leaders and support workers who are on site 24 hours a day, alongside social workers and nurses.

The National Transfer scheme (NTS) has already transferred 3,148 children to local authorities with children’s services between 1 July 2021 and 30 September 2022. This compares to 739 children transferred in the same time period in the previous year. We are providing local authorities with children’s services with an additional £15,000 for every eligible young person they take into their care from a dedicated UASC hotel, or the Reception and Safe Care Service in Kent, by the end of February 2023.

All UASC in interim emergency hotels are referred to local authorities under the mandated NTS within the shortest time frame possible. The time it takes for a local authority to identify a placement varies and has meant some UASC experiencing delays in transferring.

8th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to end the use of hotels accommodating unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

The rise in the number of small boat crossings has placed significant pressures on local authority care placements for young people. Out of necessity, and with the best interests of the child in mind, we have had no alternative but to temporarily use hotels to give some unaccompanied children a roof over their heads whilst local authority accommodation is found.

The safety and welfare of those in our care, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC), is our primary concern and the Home Office has robust safeguarding procedures in place to ensure those in our accommodation are as safe and supported as possible as we seek urgent placements with a local authority. Young people are supported by team leaders and support workers who are on site 24 hours a day, alongside social workers and nurses.

The National Transfer scheme (NTS) has already transferred 3,148 children to local authorities with children’s services between 1 July 2021 and 30 September 2022. This compares to 739 children transferred in the same time period in the previous year. We are providing local authorities with children’s services with an additional £15,000 for every eligible young person they take into their care from a dedicated UASC hotel, or the Reception and Safe Care Service in Kent, by the end of February 2023.

All UASC in interim emergency hotels are referred to local authorities under the mandated NTS within the shortest time frame possible. The time it takes for a local authority to identify a placement varies and has meant some UASC experiencing delays in transferring.

7th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord True on 14 December 2022 (HL Deb col 702) in which he committed to providing information previously requested by Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede about protection for people fleeing domestic violence when making asylum applications from countries designated as "safe" countries, when they will provide this information.

Detailed Home Office policy guidance provides a framework for considering asylum claims, including those based on domestic violence, and every asylum claim is carefully considered on its individual merits. This includes those from nationals of countries which are designated as “safe”; assessing all the evidence provided by the claimant against a background of published country information.

Protection status is normally granted where a claimant has a well-founded fear of persecution under the Refugee Convention or a claimant faces a real risk of serious harm. Refusals will attract a right of appeal unless the claim is certified. We will not remove anyone to their own or any other country where they would face persecution or serious harm.

7th Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to Written Answer by Lord Murray of Blidworth on 6 February (HL 5085), what steps they are taking to determine the details of any family members who were separated from people evacuated to the UK from Afghanistan as part of Operation Pitting.

The government remains committed to providing protection for vulnerable people fleeing Afghanistan. However, the situation is very complex and presents significant challenges, including how those who are eligible for resettlement in the UK can leave the country. This includes the eligible family members of those being resettled under the ACRS. For those evacuated from Afghanistan under the ACRS without their immediate family members, further information will be made available in due course about options for reuniting with them.

Whilst the Home Office are currently not able to provide a breakdown of family members data, work is underway to assure information relating to all the individuals relocated under the ARAP and ACRS is on case working systems. Once this work concludes, further statistics on both schemes - including the number of people resettled under each - will be included in the published Immigration Statistics.

2nd Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of (1) the total number of people who are currently eligible for the five-year route to settlement introduced in 2022 as Appendix Private Life to the Immigration Rules, and (2) the number of those people who would meet the threshold to be granted a fee waiver for a limited leave to remain applications.

Eligibility for the Private Life routes is set out in the Immigration Rules. Each application is considered on its merits and on a case by-case basis taking into account the individual circumstances.

Any applications for a fee waiver are considered against published criteria on a case by-case basis.

2nd Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the benefits of providing a fee waiver for indefinite leave to remain applications for people aged under 25 who can demonstrate that they cannot afford the fee after meeting essential living costs.

The Home Office keeps the fees for immigration and nationality applications under review. No specific assessment on the potential merits of providing a fee waiver for Indefinite Leave to Remain for people aged under 25 has been undertaken.

The Home Office provides exceptions to the need to pay application fees in a number of specific circumstances. These exceptions ensure the Home Office’s immigration and nationality fee structure complies with international obligations and wider government policy.

2nd Feb 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what number and proportion of people aged under 25 making an application for limited leave to remain under the Immigration Rules Appendix Private Life were granted a fee waiver in (1) 2021, and (2) 2022.

The Home Office does not hold published data on the number and proportion of people under 25 making an application for limited leave to remain under the Immigration Rules Appendix Private Life were granted a fee waiver in (1) 2021, and (2) 2022.

25th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of how many people evacuated from Afghanistan under Operation Pitting in August 2021 were separated from (1) their partner, and (2) children under the age of 18.

The recent update to the published 'Afghan Resettlement: Operational Data', shows that, at 4th November 2022:

  • 22,833 individuals from Afghanistan have been brought to safety in the UK (since the end of June 2021).

Whilst Home Office are currently not able to provide a breakdown of this data for family members, work is underway to assure information relating to all the individuals relocated under the ARAP and ACRS on case working systems. Once this work concludes, further statistics on both schemes - including the number of people resettled under each - will be included in the published Immigration Statistics.

25th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what processes they have put in place to allow people on Pathway 1 of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme to be joined by family members who were not evacuated to the UK under Operation Pitting; and why those resettled under this Pathway do not have access to the right to refugee family reunion so as to sponsor relatives to join them in the UK.

In line with our existing policy, those resettled under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) may be able to be accompanied by their immediate family members including their spouse or partner, and dependent children under 18.

This government’s family reunion policy allows those recognised as refugees or granted humanitarian protection in the UK to sponsor pre-flight, immediate family members to join them here. Only those referred by UNHCR, under Pathway 2 of the ACRS, will have refugee status. They will, therefore, be able to access the refugee family reunion route.

For those evacuated from Afghanistan under the ACRS without their immediate family members, further information will be made available in due course about options for reuniting with them.

Those already in the UK under ACRS Pathway 1, wishing to bring family members other than immediate family members would need to apply through the regular family visa route under Appendix FM of the Immigration rules.

The government remains committed to providing protection for vulnerable and at-risk people fleeing Afghanistan. The situation is very complex and presents significant challenges, including how those who are eligible for resettlement in the UK can leave the country. This includes the eligible family members of those being resettled under the ACRS.

9th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Murray of Blidworth on 30 December 2022 (HL4257), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, what factors they will consider in deciding whether to publish the report of the Independent Age Estimation Advisory Committee.

The report from the Age Estimation Science Advisory Committee was published on 10 January 2023. The Home Office will now consider the recommendations and will set out further details in due course.

9th Jan 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government, following the comments by Lord Murray of Blidworth on 20 December 2022 (HL Deb cols 1072 and 1076), and by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 21 July 2022 (HL Deb col 2122), whether there are any circumstances in which unaccompanied asylum-seeking children could be removed to Rwanda; and if so, what they are.

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children will not be considered for relocation to Rwanda under the MEDP, in line with our inadmissibility guidance.

No one undergoing an age assessment, or legally challenging the outcome of an assessment, will be relocated until that process is fully concluded.

Everyone considered for relocation will be screened and have access to legal advice. Decisions will be taken on a case-by-case basis, and nobody will be relocated if it is unsafe or inappropriate for them.

13th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Murray of Blidworth on 6 December (HL Deb cols 85 and 88), what factors they will consider in deciding whether to publish the report of the Independent Age Estimation Advisory Committee.

In December 2021, the Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser set up the independent Age Estimation Science Advisory Committee to provide her with independent scientific and associated ethical advice, recommendations for best practice, and advice relating to issues raised by key stakeholders on the implementation of scientific methods of age assessment.

We are continuing to work with the committee regarding their report and considering their advice alongside other sources.

21st Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the answer of Lord Murray of Blidworth on 21 November (HL3244), whether they plan to publish the report of the independent Age Estimation Science Advisory Committee.

In December 2021, the Chief Scientific Adviser at the Home Office set up an independent Age Estimation Science Advisory Committee to provide her with independent scientific and associated ethical advice, recommendations for best practice and advice relating to issues raised by key stakeholders on the implementation of scientific methods of age assessment.

We have always been clear that any decision to implement scientific methods of age assessment would be subject to independent scientific advice. No official decisions have been made about if and how to implement scientific methods.

7th Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government when they expect to receive the report on age assessment of asylum-seeking children from the expert panel they established; and whether this report will be published.

In December 2021, the Chief Scientific Adviser at the Home Office set up an independent Age Estimation Science Advisory Committee to provide her with independent scientific and associated ethical advice, recommendations for best practice and advice relating to issues raised by key stakeholders on the implementation of scientific methods of age assessment.

We are continuing to work with the committee to finalise their report and considering their advice alongside other sources.

10th Oct 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many young people deemed to be adults and issued with a Notice of Intent for removal under the Rwanda scheme have subsequently been found to be children.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’, which can be found on gov.uk.

Data on age disputes raised can be found in table Asy_D05 of the ‘asylum and resettlement detailed datasets’, which is attached (annex A). Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to the year ending June 2022.

The Home Office does not publish a breakdown on the number of age assessments related to inadmissibility.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Sep 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 6 July (HL Deb cols 1067–71), what discussions they have had with the Project for the Registration of Children regarding the criticisms made of the (1) guidance, and (2) application process, for the discretionary waiver; and what further consideration they have given to (a) the deletion from the guidance of reference to the impact on the funding of the immigration system, and (b) how to report to Parliament on the ongoing monitoring of the application of the waiver.

Whilst no discussions have taken place with the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens on the guidance and application process for the discretionary fee waiver for child registration applications to date, the department is open to feedback on where improvements could be made. It is actively undertaking its own evaluation of this new service to identify opportunities for continuous improvement.

Regarding the reference in the guidance to the impact on the funding of the immigration system, as noted in Baroness Williams’ remarks of 6 July, nationality fees are part of a system of fees and funding that was established through the Immigration Act 2014 and the Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Order 2016, that underpins the overall policy of minimising the reliance on the UK taxpayer. The department maintains the view that the reference in the guidance is a relevant consideration in the overall affordability assessment undertaken by caseworkers.

The Home Office is monitoring the numbers of applications received, approved or rejected. It is considering the best mechanism for updating Parliament with this information at the earliest appropriate opportunity.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Sep 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 6 July (HL Deb cols 1067–1071), how many applications for the discretionary fee waiver on grounds of non-affordability have been received; how many of those applications (1) were successful, and (2) were rejected; and what other options were considered with reference to the fee itself in advance of the final stage impact assessment.

Following introduction of the discretionary fee waiver for child citizenship registration applications on 16 June 2022, the Home Office will be carrying out regular review of the number of applications received, as well as the proportion of applications that have been successful or rejected. Information to support this review is currently in the process of being collated, reviewed and assured, and we are therefore not in a position to share figures at this time. We are however considering the best mechanism for updating Parliament with this information and will do so at the earliest appropriate opportunity.

A range of options were considered in relation to the child citizenship registration fee prior to the final stage impact assessment, including a fee reduction. As the then Minister for Safe and Legal Migration outlined in his Written Ministerial Statement of 26 May, the department’s view, having considered the different options, is that the introduction of a fee waiver based on affordability represents the most effective means of better facilitating children’s access to citizenship, while protecting the sustainable funding of the borders and migration system. This funding supports delivery of the department’s key functions, while reducing reliance on the UK taxpayer.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many refugees who had entered the UK through safe and legal routes were granted leave to remain (1) every year since 2015, and (2) broken down by route.

Information on safe and legal routes is available via the link below:

Nationality and Borders Bill: Factsheet Safe and Legal Routes - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Home Office publishes data on resettlement in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on the number of refugees resettled by resettlement scheme are published in table Asy_D02 of the asylum and resettlement detailed datasets. Information on how to use the datasets can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to Q1 2022.

The resettlement data in Asy_D02 does not cover data relating to the individuals relocated under the Afghanistan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) or Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP). The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) opened in January 2022, with the first eligible person relocated under the scheme on 6 January 2022.

The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) launched on 1 April 2021, and provisional data show more than 7,000 people have been relocated under the scheme so far. Statistics on these schemes will be included in future editions of Immigration Statistics.

Further details on the ACRS and ARAP can be found in the FACTSHEET: ACRS and other routes and Operation Warm Welcome: progress update.

Data on the number of Family Reunion visas granted are published in table Fam_D01 of the asylum and resettlement detailed datasets. Information on how to use the datasets can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to Q1 2022.

The Home Office publishes data on the number of applications and grants of leave on the British National Overseas (BN(O)) route in the “How many people come to the UK each year (including visitors)?” topic and underlying datasets of the Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Information on the number of visas granted under the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine Scheme can be found in our published data on the GOV.UK webpage: Ukraine Family Scheme and Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) visa data - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

11th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to respond to the Wendy William's report Windrush Lessons Learned Review: progress update, published on 31 March; and what mechanisms they plan to put in place to monitor future progress in implementing the findings of the Lessons Learned Review.

In response to Recommendation 2 of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, Wendy Williams returned to the Department in September 2021 to review our progress in implementing the recommendations of that Review and the commitments we made in the Comprehensive Improvement Plan. Her Progress Update was published in March this year.

Wendy concludes that there is no doubt the Department has risen to the challenge she set for us, and she acknowledges there are several areas where very good progress has been made. Wendy also rightly holds us to account where we have not made sufficient progress and we know there is more to do.

The progress update does not include new recommendations and we will continue to drive forward progress on Wendy’s original 30 recommendations. We have laid the foundations for radical change in the department and a total transformation of culture. We are committed to long-lasting meaningful improvement of how the Home Office delivers.

Turning to the review of the compliant environment – recommendation 7 of the Review - evaluation of these measures individually and cumulatively will be an ongoing process. The compliant environment is made up of a complex set of measures. The approach to evaluation is staged, delivering a range of outputs at different times as is standard practice in establishing an evaluation. I can offer an assurance that we will not wait to make changes where they are needed and policies will be kept under review.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
11th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to complete the Home Office review of the ‘compliant environment’.

In response to Recommendation 2 of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, Wendy Williams returned to the Department in September 2021 to review our progress in implementing the recommendations of that Review and the commitments we made in the Comprehensive Improvement Plan. Her Progress Update was published in March this year.

Wendy concludes that there is no doubt the Department has risen to the challenge she set for us, and she acknowledges there are several areas where very good progress has been made. Wendy also rightly holds us to account where we have not made sufficient progress and we know there is more to do.

The progress update does not include new recommendations and we will continue to drive forward progress on Wendy’s original 30 recommendations. We have laid the foundations for radical change in the department and a total transformation of culture. We are committed to long-lasting meaningful improvement of how the Home Office delivers.

Turning to the review of the compliant environment – recommendation 7 of the Review - evaluation of these measures individually and cumulatively will be an ongoing process. The compliant environment is made up of a complex set of measures. The approach to evaluation is staged, delivering a range of outputs at different times as is standard practice in establishing an evaluation. I can offer an assurance that we will not wait to make changes where they are needed and policies will be kept under review.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
28th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports that children have been treated as adults and issued 'notices of intent' for removal to Rwanda, how many asylum seekers claiming to be children have been assessed to be adults by the Home Office on the basis that their physical appearance and demeanour very strongly suggested that they were significantly over 18 years of age since 1 January.

Immigration officers operating at the border perform a difficult but vital function in preventing abuse of the immigration system and protecting genuine children from the safeguarding risks associated with allowing adults to access safe spaces which are properly reserved for children.

The UK Supreme Court recently considered and fully endorsed the lawfulness of the ‘significantly over 18’ policy for initial age assessments conducted at the border by immigration officers in the case of BF Eritrea UKSC 2019/0147.

Furthermore, the initial age assessment process represents only the first stage of a broader age assessment procedure. It has been designed to allow those who wish to maintain their claim to be a child to seek assessment by a local authority. It is long established Home Office policy to give significant weight to a local authority age assessment.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on the number of age disputes and outcomes are published in table Asy_D05 of the asylum and resettlement detailed datasets. Information on how to use the datasets can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data covers up to March 2022.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar

The published statistics for age disputes indicate there were 428 disputes raised on the basis of physical appearance and demeanour in the first quarter of 2022. Of the 255 disputes resolved in the same period, 126 cases were resolved with an outcome the person was an adult and 129 concluded the person was a child.

The statistics do not distinguish between those who have been assessed to be significantly over 18 and others who have been age disputed but referred directly to a local authority for further assessment. Detail of the volume of age dispute cases for the following quarter will be made available in future planned statistical publications.

Anyone who is the subject of an age dispute will be excluded from inadmissibility procedures as a matter of policy, where either the individual is undergoing assessment by a local authority, where there are ongoing legal proceedings on the subject of age or where the Home Office accepts a subsequent assessment by a local authority that the individual is a child.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to lay regulations to bring section 68 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 into force.

We know that controlling or coercive behaviour does not stop at the point of separation. Indeed, it can persist and often increase as the perpetrator seeks to retain control over the victim. That’s why Section 68 of our landmark Domestic Abuse Act amended the definition of ‘personally connected’ which removed the ‘living together’ requirement for the controlling or coercive behaviour offence. This means the offence will apply to intimate partners, ex-partners or family members, regardless of whether the victim and perpetrator live together. In order for the new offence to be effectively implemented and to further support frontline agencies in identifying, investigating and evidencing domestic abuse offences, we are updating the Controlling or Coercive Behaviour Statutory Guidance which will be published later this year.

On 30th April, we launched a public consultation on the updated draft guidance to garner wider views, with the opportunity for all interested stakeholders, including victims and users of support and prevention services, to respond. The consultation will run for eight weeks, closing on 25th June. It is important we get this guidance right to best support victims of controlling or coercive behaviour. This wide-reaching public consultation will allow us to produce a robust and comprehensive document which reflects the needs of victims and ensures that professionals can recognise and respond to controlling or coercive behaviour appropriately.

We are making good progress implementing the Domestic Abuse Act and have already implemented important provisions including the offence of threatening to disclose intimate images; the offence of non-fatal strangulation; new duties for local authorities around the provision of accommodation-based support; and providing automatic eligibility for special measures (e.g. giving evidence from behind a screen) for victims in the family court. We are working at pace to implement the remaining provisions, including the extension of the controlling or coercive behaviour offence.

As the Government needs to update the Controlling or Coercive Behaviour Statutory Guidance and provide the police and courts with sufficient time to prepare for the implementation of the new offence, Section 68 of the Domestic Abuse Act will be implemented later in 2022. We hope to be able to provide clearer timeframes post-consultation and will keep stakeholders updated throughout this process.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
13th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have now set up the independent Monitoring Committee under the Memorandum of Understanding with the government of Rwanda concerning the asylum partnership arrangement; if so, who are the members of the Committee; and if not, when will it be set up.

The Monitoring Committee for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership is in the process of being set up. Details will be provided in due course.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
13th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recommendation by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists that they should set minimum standards for asylum accommodation for pregnant woman and their babies.

Our Asylum Accommodation and Support Contracts (AASC) govern the relationship between the Home Office and the three companies contracted to provide asylum accommodation. They contain a detailed list of requirements for accommodation, including initial accommodation, dispersed accommodation and required accommodation standards. These requirements all meet or exceed the Government’s Decent Homes Standard for the private rented sector.

In contracting with our accommodation providers, we are ensuring that pregnant women are dispersed into accommodation suitable for both the mother and the baby, both before and after birth. This is in line with our existing published guidance on healthcare needs and pregnancy dispersal.

Accommodation provider performance in relation to accommodation standards is monitored on a regular basis and we have tight timescales in which accommodation providers must resolve issues within our accommodation.

Detailed specifications on the services which have to be provided are set out in a published Statement of Requirements for the contracts.

Additionally, the Home Office meets regularly with health colleagues, including a Maternal Health Sub Group, with relevant clinicians, to discuss further improvements to the asylum support system for women with maternal health needs.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statement by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 26 May (HLWS61), whether and when they will publish their assessment of children’s best interests in relation to children’s statutory rights to British citizenship that underpins the review fees.

Answer to HL637:

Local Authorities were notified of the introduction of a fee exception in the Local Government Bulletin issued on 27 May by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

The Home Office is continuing to reach out to a wide range of organisations who have an interest in the fee exception and waiver to notify them of their introduction.

Answer to HL638:

There are no plans to publish the assessment of the children’s best interests in relation to the child registration fee. The Written Statement provided a summary of the conclusions of that assessment, outlining why the Home Office has opted for the specific approach of a waiver and exception.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
6th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statement by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 26 May (HLWS61), what steps they are taking to ensure that all local authorities are made aware of the fee exception.

Answer to HL637:

Local Authorities were notified of the introduction of a fee exception in the Local Government Bulletin issued on 27 May by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

The Home Office is continuing to reach out to a wide range of organisations who have an interest in the fee exception and waiver to notify them of their introduction.

Answer to HL638:

There are no plans to publish the assessment of the children’s best interests in relation to the child registration fee. The Written Statement provided a summary of the conclusions of that assessment, outlining why the Home Office has opted for the specific approach of a waiver and exception.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
26th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many in-person legal visits in total took place between 1 January and 31 March at (1) Brook House, (2) Tinsley House, (3) Yarl's Wood, (4) Dungavel, (5) Harmondsworth, (6) Colnbrook, and (7) Derwentside, immigration removal centres (IRC); and how many in-person legal visits in total have taken place at each of these IRCs since 1st April 2022.

Detained individuals are advised of their right to legal representation, and how they can obtain such representation, within 24 hours of their arrival at an Immigration Removal Centre (IRC).

The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) operates free legal advice surgeries in IRCs in England. Individuals who are detained are entitled to receive up to 30 minutes of advice regardless of financial eligibility or the merits of their case. There is no restriction on the number of surgeries an individual may attend. If an individual who is detained requires substantive advice on a matter which is in scope of legal aid, full legal advice can be provided if the statutory legal aid means and merits criteria are met.

Legal visits can take place from both legal providers attending under the Legal Aid Detained Duty Advice Scheme and other legal providers visiting their clients who are in detention. In line with Government advice on social distancing, during the pandemic, face to face legal visits were facilitated in exceptional circumstances, and only if other means of contact (Skype, telephone, email) were not feasible or appropriate. In light of changes to Government guidance, face to face legal visits can now be facilitated. Safe systems of work are in place to ensure the safety of detained individuals, onsite staff and visitors during these visits.

The number of in-person legal visits, which includes both legal providers attending under the Legal Aid Detained Duty Advice Scheme and other legal providers visiting their clients who are in detention, that took place between 1 January and 26 May 2022, is set out in the table below:

In person legal visits

Detained Duty Advice Scheme

Total: all other in-person legal visits*

1 January– 31 March 2022

1 April 2022 to date

1 January– 31 March 2022

1 April 2022 to date

Brook House

4

10

90

22

Colnbrook

0

0

25

55

Derwentside

0

0

4

1

Dungavel

N/A

2

1

Harmondsworth

0

0

34

111

Tinsley House

0

0

0

0

Yarl’s Wood

6

11

36

28

*Does not include in-person legal visits carried out under the DDA Scheme

This is provisional Home Office management information that has not been assured to the standard of official statistics.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
26th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many in-person legal visits took place under the Detained Duty Advice Scheme (DDAS) between 1 January and 31 March at (1) Brook House, (2) Tinsley House, (3) Yarl's Wood, (4) Dungavel, (5) Harmondsworth, (6) Colnbrook, and (7) Derwentside, immigration removal centres (IRC); and how many in-person legal visits have taken place under the DDAS at each of these IRCs since 1 April.

Detained individuals are advised of their right to legal representation, and how they can obtain such representation, within 24 hours of their arrival at an Immigration Removal Centre (IRC).

The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) operates free legal advice surgeries in IRCs in England. Individuals who are detained are entitled to receive up to 30 minutes of advice regardless of financial eligibility or the merits of their case. There is no restriction on the number of surgeries an individual may attend. If an individual who is detained requires substantive advice on a matter which is in scope of legal aid, full legal advice can be provided if the statutory legal aid means and merits criteria are met.

Legal visits can take place from both legal providers attending under the Legal Aid Detained Duty Advice Scheme and other legal providers visiting their clients who are in detention. In line with Government advice on social distancing, during the pandemic, face to face legal visits were facilitated in exceptional circumstances, and only if other means of contact (Skype, telephone, email) were not feasible or appropriate. In light of changes to Government guidance, face to face legal visits can now be facilitated. Safe systems of work are in place to ensure the safety of detained individuals, onsite staff and visitors during these visits.

The number of in-person legal visits, which includes both legal providers attending under the Legal Aid Detained Duty Advice Scheme and other legal providers visiting their clients who are in detention, that took place between 1 January and 26 May 2022, is set out in the table below:

In person legal visits

Detained Duty Advice Scheme

Total: all other in-person legal visits*

1 January– 31 March 2022

1 April 2022 to date

1 January– 31 March 2022

1 April 2022 to date

Brook House

4

10

90

22

Colnbrook

0

0

25

55

Derwentside

0

0

4

1

Dungavel

N/A

2

1

Harmondsworth

0

0

34

111

Tinsley House

0

0

0

0

Yarl’s Wood

6

11

36

28

*Does not include in-person legal visits carried out under the DDA Scheme

This is provisional Home Office management information that has not been assured to the standard of official statistics.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
26th May 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any detention capacity for women is currently available at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre; if not, whether they plan to make such capacity available; and if so, when.

The immigration removal estate is kept under ongoing review to ensure that the Home Office has sufficient capacity, in the right places and that it provides value for money.

The Home Office opened Derwentside immigration removal centre (IRC) for women in November 2021. We plan to supplement the new IRC by continuing to provide some detention capacity for women at Colnbrook, Dungavel and Yarl’s Wood IRCs. We have already completed design work to ensure the women’s space at Yarl’s Wood will be entirely separate from male resident space and we are planning to transition part of the Yarl’s Wood site back to an immigration removal centre for around 60 women. We will open the refurbished accommodation in late summer.

In order to meet operational needs and demands, we will continue to operate the immigration removal estate, including Yarl’s Wood, in a flexible manner and in line with the STHF Rules 2018 and the Detention Centre Rules 2001, as appropriate.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
14th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much revenue they have raised in total from the fee charged to children to register their entitlement to citizenship under the British Nationality Act 1981 in each year since the current fee level was set.

The Home Office does not hold the information in the format requested. Fees received from citizenship applications are not differentiated between the various categories in which they are received.

We do not have a separate code or field for fees collected for children’s citizenship applications.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
14th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government by how much the revenue raised from the fee charged to register children's entitlement to citizenship exceeds the administrative costs of processing such applications for (1) looked after children, and (2) those who are not looked after, for each year since the current fee level was set.

The Home Office does not hold the information in the format requested. We do not have a separate code or field for fees collected for children registering their entitlement to citizenship under the British Nationality Act 1981.

Details of the fee payable and estimated unit cost from the date the current fees to register as a British citizen became effective, (from 8th October 2018) can be accessed via the following link: Visa fees transparency data - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
14th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the costs of (1) abolishing the fee charged for looked after children to register their entitlement to citizenship under the British Nationality Act 1981, and (2) charging other children a fee equivalent to the average administrative cost of processing applications.

The Secretary of State is considering her policy response to a review of the fee for a child to register as a British Citizen.

The review, which was undertaken in line with duties under Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009, takes into account a number of factors. We expect to provide a further update shortly.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
14th Mar 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much revenue they have raised above the relevant administrative costs from the fee charged to adults to register their entitlement to citizenship under the British Nationality Act 1981, for each year since the current fee level was set.

The Home Office does not hold the information in the format requested.

We do not have a separate code or field for fees collected for adults to register their entitlement to citizenship under the British Nationality Act 1981.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
5th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 13 December 2021 (HL4899), what assessment they have made of how the creation of an Immigration Enforcement Competent Authority will streamline decision making with regard to the identification of victims of trafficking through the National Referral Mechanism.

The Immigration Enforcement Competent Authority (IECA) was created to streamline decision-making and ensure, wherever possible, that the various factors which may be pertinent to decisions about an individual are taken by those who can consider their circumstances most fully.

The data on decisions taken by the IECA will be set out in the quarterly publication of NRM statistics and a breakdown by competent authority will be published once there is sufficient data to ensure individuals are not identifiable. We will regularly review this data to understand the impact of the change and ensure polices are being applied consistently.

The creation of the IECA was an internal restructure within the Home Office. A full assessment of the Public Sector Equality Duty was undertaken and, in line with our ongoing duty, will be kept under review.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
13th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Home Secretary has (1) received, and (2) is complying with, advice from the UK Health Security Agency, regarding (a) the ongoing use of Napier Barracks, (b) the current COVID-19 outbreak in Napier Barracks, and (c) the current cases of active tuberculosis in Napier Barracks.

We have not received any advice from UK Health Security Agency on the ongoing use of Napier however we continue to engage with UK Health Security Agency to ensure that COVID 19 is managed effectively on site.

I am not aware of any known COVID positive people at Napier.

There are no known cases of active tuberculosis at Napier, the one person identified by the NHS with active TB was, on the advice of UK Health Security Agency, moved to alternative accommodation on 14 December 21.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
13th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals are currently accommodated in Napier Barracks who indicated in their asylum screening interview or ASF1 form that they are (1) a victim of trafficking, (2) torture, or (3) suffering from mental health problems; and what is the total number of people who have been accommodated in Napier Barracks since April.

All individuals accommodated at Napier meet the suitability criteria. This is assessed via service user’s asylum screening interview, ASF1’s and any supporting evidence submitted by the service user or their representative.

Individuals considered vulnerable under the Asylum Seekers (Reception Conditions) Regulations 2005 regulation 4(3) and/or those who have been referred to the National Referral Mechanism as potential victims of trafficking are not suitable to be accommodated at Napier. Further suitability criteria can be found at: Allocation of accommodation policy, on gov.uk. Asylum seekers allocated to the accommodation have full access to the advisory services provided by Migrant Help and are able to raise issues about their suitability to be accommodated at the site.

According to local data held by Clearsprings Ready Homes, 1033 service users have been accommodated at Napier Barracks since 9th of April 2021.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
13th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Sharpe of Epsom on 8 December (HL Deb col 1976) that draft guidance issued under Clause 65 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is "open to anyone who wishes to comment", whether there is a formal consultation on the draft guidance; to whom comments should be made; and what is the deadline for such comments.

The draft statutory guidance was published on gov.uk on 20 October to inform parliamentary debate of the new measures before votes on them were taken. The Government also carried out two full public consultations on the measures in 2018 and 2019. All responses to these consultations were taken into account when the measures were designed, and the guidance drafted. Clause 65 of the Bill does not require further formal consultation on the statutory guidance.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
13th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the creation of the Immigration Enforcement Competent Authority, what training has been delivered to First Respondents to ensure that all adults identified as potential victims of trafficking are able to give informed consent to a referral.

The Immigration Enforcement Competent Authority (IECA) will streamline decision-making and ensure, wherever possible, that the various factors which may be pertinent to decisions about an individual are taken by those who can consider their circumstances most fully.  IECA decision makers will receive the same training as the Single Competent Authority (SCA) on National Referral Mechanism (NRM) decision making.

Both competent authorities will be held to account through existing quality assurance processes and the Multi-Agency Assurance Panels will continue to quality assure all negative conclusive decisions. Decisions will continue to be made in line with the definitions and standards of proof in the published Modern Slavery Statutory Guidance.

The data on decisions taken by the IECA will be set out in the quarterly publication of NRM statistics and a breakdown by competent authority will be published once there is sufficient data to ensure individuals are not identifiable. Naturally, we will regularly review this data to understand the impact of the change and ensure polices are being applied consistently.

This Government remains committed to identifying victims quickly, enhancing the support they receive and improving the training given to First Responders, who are responsible for referring potential victims into the NRM.

The Home Office has produced e-learning to help First Responders to identify potential victims of modern slavery and make referrals into the NRM when appropriate to do so. The e-learning is available through the Modern Slavery Organised Immigration Crime (MSOIC) website.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
13th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the existence of two trafficking and slavery decision makers (the Single Competent Authority and the Immigration Enforcement Competent Authority) does not result in differences in decision making based on immigration status.

The Immigration Enforcement Competent Authority (IECA) will streamline decision-making and ensure, wherever possible, that the various factors which may be pertinent to decisions about an individual are taken by those who can consider their circumstances most fully.  IECA decision makers will receive the same training as the Single Competent Authority (SCA) on National Referral Mechanism (NRM) decision making.

Both competent authorities will be held to account through existing quality assurance processes and the Multi-Agency Assurance Panels will continue to quality assure all negative conclusive decisions. Decisions will continue to be made in line with the definitions and standards of proof in the published Modern Slavery Statutory Guidance.

The data on decisions taken by the IECA will be set out in the quarterly publication of NRM statistics and a breakdown by competent authority will be published once there is sufficient data to ensure individuals are not identifiable. Naturally, we will regularly review this data to understand the impact of the change and ensure polices are being applied consistently.

This Government remains committed to identifying victims quickly, enhancing the support they receive and improving the training given to First Responders, who are responsible for referring potential victims into the NRM.

The Home Office has produced e-learning to help First Responders to identify potential victims of modern slavery and make referrals into the NRM when appropriate to do so. The e-learning is available through the Modern Slavery Organised Immigration Crime (MSOIC) website.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
13th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they created the Immigration Enforcement Competent Authority on 8 November; what were the reasons for the timetable for its creation; and what plans they have to monitor its activity to ensure there are no inconsistencies in decision making based on immigration status.

The Immigration Enforcement Competent Authority (IECA) will streamline decision-making and ensure, wherever possible, that the various factors which may be pertinent to decisions about an individual are taken by those who can consider their circumstances most fully.  IECA decision makers will receive the same training as the Single Competent Authority (SCA) on National Referral Mechanism (NRM) decision making.

Both competent authorities will be held to account through existing quality assurance processes and the Multi-Agency Assurance Panels will continue to quality assure all negative conclusive decisions. Decisions will continue to be made in line with the definitions and standards of proof in the published Modern Slavery Statutory Guidance.

The data on decisions taken by the IECA will be set out in the quarterly publication of NRM statistics and a breakdown by competent authority will be published once there is sufficient data to ensure individuals are not identifiable. Naturally, we will regularly review this data to understand the impact of the change and ensure polices are being applied consistently.

This Government remains committed to identifying victims quickly, enhancing the support they receive and improving the training given to First Responders, who are responsible for referring potential victims into the NRM.

The Home Office has produced e-learning to help First Responders to identify potential victims of modern slavery and make referrals into the NRM when appropriate to do so. The e-learning is available through the Modern Slavery Organised Immigration Crime (MSOIC) website.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
6th Dec 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the implications for Afghan refugees who have been housed in 'bridging' hotels and have voluntarily moved to temporary accommodation as regards their (1) immigration status, and (2) long-term support.

Whether residing in bridging hotels or alternative temporary accommodation, Afghans who were evacuated to the UK will retain the same temporary grant of leave issued to them upon arrival in the UK and, upon fulfilment of caseworking criteria, will receive indefinite leave to remain.

Afghans who were evacuated to the UK during, and post, Operation Pitting will receive integration support appropriate to their individual circumstances.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
24th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to allow descendants of the natives of the Chagos Archipelago to have the right to register as full British citizens.

The Nationality and Borders Bill will introduce measures which will allow children of British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) mothers, who were born before 1983; and the children of BOTC unmarried fathers who were born before 2006, to register as BOTCs.

Children of Chagossian mothers who left the Chagos Islands before 1969 would also be able to benefit from this change.

These changes to British nationality law will also allow these groups to acquire British citizenship more easily.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
24th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Domestic Abuse Commissioner Safety before Status, published on 20 October.

As per section 16 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, the Government has 56 days beginning with the day on which the report is published to respond to recommendations by the Domestic Abuse Commissioner.

The Government is carefully considering the recommendations in the ‘Safety Before Status’ report and will publish a response in due course.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
17th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the No Recourse to Public Funds policy for migrants on support for families, including with childcare costs.

To be granted leave to enter or remain in the UK, most temporary migrants must demonstrate they can maintain and support themselves and their families without recourse to public funds. There are, nonetheless, strong and important safeguards in place to ensure people subject to the NRPF condition can receive support. People with leave under the Family and Human Rights routes, and those who have been granted leave on the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa route as a British National (Overseas) status holder or a family member of a British National (Overseas) status holder can apply, for free, to have their NRPF condition lifted by making a ‘change of conditions’ application. They can apply if they are destitute or at risk of destitution, if the welfare of their child is at risk due to their low income, or where there are other exceptional financial circumstances. Local authorities are required to provide financial support and/or accommodation through section 17 of the Children Act 1989, where a child is in need, regardless of their immigration status or that of their parents. Government support for families is generally led by the Department for Work and Pensions, HMRC, and the Department for Education, and they may have conducted further assessment of the impacts of the NRPF policy.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will start operating the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme; whether they will establish a working group for its implementation; and if so, whether it will include the civil society organisations funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to develop the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security and other related programmes in Afghanistan.

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) is not yet open. Officials are working urgently to stand up the remaining elements of the scheme, amid the complex and changing picture.

The Government will continue to work closely with other government departments, non-governmental organisations, charities, local authorities and other partners and relevant organisations in the development and implementation of the ACRS.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) number, and (2) proportion, of asylum claims made before August had been awaiting an interview for more than (a) 6 months, (b) a year, and (c) two years.

The Home Office does not publish this data as it could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Therefore, the Home Office is unable to state the number and proportion of asylum claims made before August, awaiting interview for more than 6 months, a year and two years.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
6th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish the revised policy guidance on applications for registration of minors as British citizens by discretion under section 3(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981, following their commitment to conduct a review of the policy guidance in settling proceedings brought by five teenagers assisted by the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens in the High Court in April.

We are committed to our review of the policy, but due to ongoing litigation, we do not anticipate completing it until a more appropriate time.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
6th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 13 July (HL1540), how long after the Supreme Court's final judgment they expect to publish the outcome of the section 55 review of child citizenship fees.

The Home Office will publish the outcome of section 55 review at the earliest opportunity following consideration of the implications of the Supreme Court’s judgment.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
6th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 27 July (HL1966), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, whether a child rights impact assessment was carried out for the Nationality and Borders Bill; and if it was, whether it will be published.

An Equality Impact Assessment has been completed for the policies being delivered through the Nationality and Borders Bill. This includes consideration of possible impacts on children. The Equality Impact Assessment was published on 16 September.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
13th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a child rights impact assessment was carried out for the Nationality and Borders Bill; and if it was, whether it will be published.

This Government has a strong track record of helping child asylum seekers. In the year ending March 2021, we granted protection or other leave to over 2,333 vulnerable children, and over 46,000 since 2010.

Through the Nationality and Borders Bill, we will strengthen our ability to help those who need our help, while preventing abuse of the system and the criminality associated with it.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
29th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 28 June (HL 1071), (1) how long they anticipate the ongoing review of child citizenship fees will take, and (2) when they anticipate the results will be published.

A Supreme Court hearing on Child Registration fees took place on 23rd and 24th June.

We await the final judgment and the ongoing section 55 review before publishing results.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the High Court judgment in ST & VW v Secretary of State for the Home Department on 29 April, what steps they are taking regarding the application of section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009; and in particular how the judgment will affect the application of the No Recourse to Public Funds condition.

In the judgment in the case of ST & VW v Secretary of State the Secretary of State for the Home Department was successful in five out of the six challenges brought against the No Recourse to Public Funds policy.

We are currently reflecting on the judgment relating to Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 and the nature of any amendments required to the Immigration Rules and guidance.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
14th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Court of Appeal judgment in PRCBC & O v Secretary of State for the Home Department on 18 February, whether they will complete the assessment provided for in section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009; and if so, (1) when the assessment will be completed, and (2) whether it will be published.

The Home Office has acknowledged the Court of Appeal’s judgment and has committed to reviewing the child citizenship registration fee in line with its duties under Section 55.

This review is on-going and the results will be published in due course.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what records they will maintain relating to the timing of applications for settled status, particularly of individuals applying before 1 July but whose applications are granted on or after that date.

The Home Office records the date on which all applications to the EUSS are received and concluded.

Our aim is to process all applications to the EU Settlement Scheme as expeditiously as possible. Complete applications are usually processed in around five working days.

More information about processing times for applications under the scheme is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-application-processing-times/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-current-expected-processing-times-for-applications

The latest published information shows the total number of concluded applications to the EU Settlement scheme was 5.27 million up to 31 May 2021.

The latest figures can be found on the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme statistics’ web page available at:

EU Settlement Scheme statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Applications concluded by month and decision type are published in the detailed quarterly release – EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics, March 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will provide access to the records relating to section 10A of the British Nationality Act 1981, to be added on 1 July 2021, to the parent, local authority or other guardian with responsibility for the child.

The British Nationality Act 1981 (Immigration Rules Appendix EU) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 will be an important means by which we protect the nationality rights of children who might otherwise be adversely affected in consequence of, or in connection with, the ending of free movement.

We will publish their introduction and operation using our usual methods such as gov.uk, but will also ask those who have been dealing with the EU Settlement Scheme more generally to raise awareness through the stakeholders they already engage with, including Local Authorities.

We anticipate many children who need to benefit from the provision will already have access to the requisite information to establish their nationality, not least as much of it will have been supplied by their parent as part of the EU Settlement Scheme application. Nonetheless, where there are evidence gaps, we are establishing processes to assist any applicants, and ideally without the need to ask for further information from the child or their parent. This includes the EUSS record itself given its importance to the operation of these provisions.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to provide access to the records to any child to whom section 10A of the British Nationality Act, to be inserted on 1 July 2021, relates to; and what other steps they will take to ensure that a child is able to confirm their British citizenship acquired under this section, whether during childhood or adulthood.

The British Nationality Act 1981 (Immigration Rules Appendix EU) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 will be an important means by which we protect the nationality rights of children who might otherwise be adversely affected in consequence of, or in connection with, the ending of free movement.

We will publish their introduction and operation using our usual methods such as gov.uk, but will also ask those who have been dealing with the EU Settlement Scheme more generally to raise awareness through the stakeholders they already engage with, including Local Authorities.

We anticipate many children who need to benefit from the provision will already have access to the requisite information to establish their nationality, not least as much of it will have been supplied by their parent as part of the EU Settlement Scheme application. Nonetheless, where there are evidence gaps, we are establishing processes to assist any applicants, and ideally without the need to ask for further information from the child or their parent. This includes the EUSS record itself given its importance to the operation of these provisions.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
9th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to section 10A of the British Nationality Act 1981, to be inserted on 1 July 2021, what information will be provided to EU citizens who settle in the UK on or after 1 July 2021 regarding the effect of that section and its application to any child born of such citizens while in the UK.

The British Nationality Act 1981 (Immigration Rules Appendix EU) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 will be an important means by which we protect the nationality rights of children who might otherwise be adversely affected in consequence of, or in connection with, the ending of free movement.

We will publish their introduction and operation using our usual methods such as gov.uk, but will also ask those who have been dealing with the EU Settlement Scheme more generally to raise awareness through the stakeholders they already engage with, including Local Authorities.

We anticipate many children who need to benefit from the provision will already have access to the requisite information to establish their nationality, not least as much of it will have been supplied by their parent as part of the EU Settlement Scheme application. Nonetheless, where there are evidence gaps, we are establishing processes to assist any applicants, and ideally without the need to ask for further information from the child or their parent. This includes the EUSS record itself given its importance to the operation of these provisions.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they are ending pilot schemes for community-based alternatives to detention for female asylum seekers.

As part of the Department’s immigration detention reform programme, we are conducting a series of two pilots exploring alternatives to detention. In line with international best practice, each pilot will run for two years before a final evaluation.

The first of these pilots, Action Access, has provided women who would otherwise be detained with a programme of support in the community. This pilot concludes on 31 March 2021 after operating for two years. The second pilot, the Refugee and Migrant Advisory Service, is supporting both men and women and is running until June 2022.

We are working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on these pilots and they have appointed the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) to independently evaluate this work. These evaluations will be published, with the evaluation report of the Action Access pilot scheduled for early Summer 2021. We will use the evaluations of these pilots to inform our future approach to case-management focused alternatives to detention.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to open an immigration removal centre for women on the site of the former Hassockfield Detention Centre in Medomsley; and what plans they have to expand the use of engagement-focused alternatives to detention to resolve women’s immigration centres in the community.

The immigration removal estate is kept under ongoing review to ensure that the Home Office has sufficient capacity, in the right places and that it provides value for money.

The Home Office has acquired the former Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham and will open it as an immigration removal centre for women by the autumn. Initial discussions with the planning authority have taken place and work has commenced at the site. An Equality Impact Assessment will be completed as part of this programme of work.

Now in its second year, the Action Access pilot has provided women who would otherwise be detained with a programme of support in the community, including case management support. We are working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and they have appointed the National Centre for Social Research to independently evaluate this work, once the pilot concludes in March 2021. The evaluation is scheduled for publication in June 2021. We will use the evaluation to inform our future approach to case-management focused alternatives to detention.

In order to meet operational needs and demands we will continue to operate the immigration removal estate in a flexible manner.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the agreement reached by the UK and the government of France on 28 November to address migrant activity in the English Channel, what plans they have for monitoring and evaluating the impact of (1) this agreement, and (2) any funds spent on its implementation; how, and by what body, any monitoring and evaluation will be conducted; and whether they intend to publish any such evaluation.

In November the UK and France agreed a package of £28.1m to support a range of activity as part of ongoing efforts to address illegal migration. The impact on migration pressures of this investment is regularly assessed by France and the UK through jointly agreed results frameworks. We are not intending to publish detailed information on the evaluation of the funding agreed with the French Government, as it relates to sensitive operational activity.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 22 July (HL Deb, col 2294) and the “pledge to resettle a further 5,000 vulnerable people seeking refuge, from not just Syria but anywhere in the world”, when they estimate they will begin to resettle the 5,000 refugees pledged to occur within one year under the new global resettlement scheme.

The UK will shortly restart UK resettlement arrivals to fulfil our commitment of resettling 20,000 refugees affected by the conflict in Syria under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and we are working closely with partners to deliver this commitment.

Due to the lead times for refugee arrivals, it is likely that we will see most refugees start to arrive early in the new year

Decisions regarding resettlement beyond the completion of this scheme are yet to be made and will need to take account of the impact of COVID-19 and the ongoing pressures on the asylum system. We have committed to a review of safe and legal routes to the UK. We are aware that the pause in resettlement has had an impact on our resettlement partners and will continue to work with them as future plans are developed.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions have taken place between the Home Office and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government about ensuring that the new Immigration Rules applying from 1 January 2021, including those which make rough sleeping grounds for refusing and cancelling someone’s right to remain in the UK, do not deter people experiencing homelessness from accessing support.

The new Immigration Rule which makes provision for the refusal or cancellation of permission to stay in the UK on the basis of rough sleeping will be used sparingly, and only where individuals have refused support offers such as accommodation and are engaged in persistent anti-social behaviour.

The Home Office and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government are working together to encourage local authorities and approved charities to resolve the immigration status of eligible rough sleepers and unlock access to any benefits and entitlements that rough sleepers may be eligible for.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 23 November (HL Deb, col 12) that “it is essential that migrant victims of domestic abuse, including those with no resource to public funds, are treated first and foremost as victims”, what plans they have to ensure that migrant victims of domestic abuse do not have immigration enforcement action taken against them under the proposed Support for Migrant Victims Scheme.

We are currently reviewing the competition for the Support for Migrant Victims scheme following sector feedback, including considering how information is shared and recorded as part of the scheme to enable an evaluation of the needs of migrant victims.

In particular, we are looking at practical solutions that will provide reassurance to migrant victims of domestic abuse using the scheme that they will be able to access safe accommodation and support as a priority. We will conduct further engagement with the sector on the competition for funding in the near future.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 23 November (HL Deb, col 12) what plans they have to meet representatives of the Step Up Migrant Women campaign to discuss the proposed Support for Migrant Victims Scheme.

We engaged with representatives of the Step Up Migrant Women campaign at our recent webinar with the sector on 22 October.

We greatly value the feedback provided by the sector and are considering their concerns as we review the Support for Migrant Victims Scheme prospectus. We will be arranging meetings with sector organisations in the coming weeks to discuss proposed changes and would welcome a meeting with representatives of the Step Up Migrant Women campaign.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
11th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they are not planning to restart the refugee resettlement schemes until early 2021.

We have been working closely with key domestic and international stakeholders on plans to safely resume UK resettlement arrivals against the backdrop of unprecedented restrictions and pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of this work, and as announced by Baroness Williams of Trafford in the House of Lords on 9 November the UK will shortly restart UK resettlement arrivals to fulfil our commitment of resettling 20,000 refugees affected by the conflict in Syria under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and we are working closely with partners to deliver this.

Due to the lead times for refugee arrivals it is likely that we will see most refugees start to arrive early in the new year.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what strategy they currently have in place on the use of immigration detention for women; and what plans they have (1) to build on the Action Access pilot, and (2) to expand the use of case management-focused alternatives to detention for women.

As part of the Department’s immigration detention reform programme, we are conducting a series of pilots exploring alternatives to detention, with the first pilot being ‘Action Access’.

Now in its second year, Action Access has provided women who would otherwise be detained with a programme of support in the community, including case management support. In June 2020 the Home Office signed a contract with the King’s Arms Project in Bedford for the second pilot in the series, the Refugee and Migrant Advisory Service, which is supporting both men and women. The first participants joined this second pilot last month.

We are working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on these pilots and they have appointed the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) to independently evaluate this work. These evaluations will be published, with the evaluation report of the ‘Action Access’ pilot scheduled for Summer 2021. We will use the evaluation of these pilots to inform our future approach to case-management focused alternatives to detention.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 13 August (HL7533), whether Hong Kong citizens who do not hold British National (Overseas) status are able to apply to enter the UK under the British National (Overseas) visa scheme rules; and if so, what the process is for doing so.

The bespoke new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa route recognises our historic and moral commitment to British National (Overseas) citizens in Hong Kong, giving them the option to live in the UK if they decide that is an appropriate choice for them. Hong Kong citizens who do not hold BN(O) status or are not the close family member of a BN(O) will not be eligible to apply for the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa route.

Consistent with the wider Immigration Rules, individuals in Hong Kong will be able to apply under the new Points-Based System to come to live, work or study in the UK, provided they meet the necessary requirements. Those wishing to come to the UK under the new Points-Based-System will need to apply for a visa in advance of travel.

The existing youth mobility scheme is also open to people in Hong Kong aged between 18-30, with 1000 places currently available each year.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
26th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish the outcome of the Coercive or Controlling Behaviour Offence—Review of Effectiveness before the Second Reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill; and if not, when they plan to publish it.

Coercive or controlling behaviour is an insidious crime with far reaching impacts for victims. That is why it has been explicitly included in the definition of domestic abuse in the Domestic Abuse Bill.

The Government is committed to ensuring that abuse in all its forms is properly identified and effectively tackled. We are, therefore, carefully considering the review of the coercive or controlling behaviour offence. It remains our intention to publish the review in time to inform the Lords’ stages of the Domestic Abuse Bill.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 19 October (HL Deb, col 1275), whether the "task and finish" exercise promised at the Report stage of the Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill will address the barriers to children registering their right to citizenship.

I intend to meet with noble Lords to discuss citizenship and belonging, and will listen to concerns they wish to raise on that subject.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 5 August (HL7163), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, when the report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration into family reunion was delivered; and what plans they have for publication of the report before the end of September.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s report on Family Reunion Applications was received on 7 January 2020. The report was laid before Parliament on Thursday 8 October 2020.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what rights to enter the UK will be accorded to Hong Kong residents who were British Overseas Territories citizens until 1997.

Individuals in Hong Kong who were British Dependent Territories Citizens before 1997 and chose not to register for British National (Overseas) status may apply under existing immigration routes to come to live, work or study in the UK. Those that hold Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports can visit for up to 6 months without needing a visa.

Those British Dependent Territories Citizens who elected to retain close ties with the UK through registering for British National (Overseas) status will have the option of applying for a new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa from January 2021. Successful applicants will be able to come and stay in the UK for up to 5 years, with a view to settlement and then citizenship if desired.

Further details on this new immigration route can be found on gov.uk:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hong-kong-bno-visa-policy-statement

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
24th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Home Secretary on 21 July (HC Deb, col 2022), what are the terms of reference for the evaluation of the compliant environment policy and measures; whether that evaluation will be designed in partnership with external experts as recommended in the report by Wendy Williams Windrush Lessons Learned Review, published in March; when that evaluation is due to be completed; and whether the findings of that review will be made public.

As the Home Secretary set out on 21 July, it is right that those with no legal right to be in this country are not allowed to exploit the system, but the right protections must be in place for those who status should have been assured. We will undertake a full evaluation of the compliant environment policy and measures – individually and cumulatively - to make sure this crucial balance is right. This is a complex area of policy and scoping of this work has begun, including on the detail of the evaluation. More information will be available in due course.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration into family reunion was delivered; and when they plan to publish it.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s report on Family Reunion Applications was received on 7 January 2020. The report was laid before Parliament on Thursday 8 October 2020.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 17 June (HL5219), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, how many people have been transferred from (1) a prison to an immigration removal centre or (2) one immigration removal centre to another, since 23 March.

The Government published statistics relating to COVID-19 and the immigration system https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-relating-to-covid-19-and-the-immigration-system-may-2020 on gov.uk on 28 May and the latest Immigration Statistics publication includes the numbers of individuals detained under immigration powers in prisons. Statistics on people in immigration detention during the second quarter of 2020 (April to June) will be published in August in the immigration statistics quarterly release.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020

Management information indicates that in the period from 23 March to 8 July 2020, 710 people have entered the immigration estate from the HM Prison Estate. This number includes those placed in the immigration estate temporarily prior to voluntary removal. All entrants to the immigration estate are placed in reverse cohort units in line with Public Health England guidance and those with particular health vulnerabilities offered the opportunity to ‘shield’.

During this period there have also been 228 moves between immigration removal centres, with most of these internal moves within the Heathrow centres (Harmondsworth and Colnbrook) and the Gatwick centres (Tinsley House & Brook House).

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
1st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they expect to complete the annual review of cash allowances paid to asylum seekers by the end of July; and if not, when they expect to complete the review.

We have been reviewing the level of the cash allowances provided to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute, as we do each year to ensure that they remain capable of meeting their essential living needs (the legal test).

As a result of this work, the standard allowance has been raised to £39.60 per week from £37.75 per week, an increase of around 5%. This increase is significantly higher than the current general rate of inflation, which Office for National Statistics data shows was only 0.5% in the 12 months period to May.

Confirmatory work, including taking account of possible Covid 19 impacts, is ongoing and the result of the full review will be published indue course.

The UK has a generous record in supporting asylum seekers. Last year, we made around 20,000 grants of asylum or protection (one of the higher figures in Europe), as well as offered protection to 3,000 Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children – the highest number of any country in Europe. In addition, we have directly resettled around 20,000 people from the most dangerous areas of the world (especially Syrians) in the UK over the last 5 years. Finally, we spend around £14 billion per year in Overseas Aid, helping millions of people around the world. This is the highest amount of any country in Europe and we are the only G7 country to meet the 0.7% of GNI Overseas Aid target.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
17th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of extension beyond 30 June of the halt on the eviction of (1) asylum-seekers, and (2) newly-granted refugees, whose claims have been decided.

Asylum seekers who are granted refugee status are normally given notice that they must leave any accommodation that has been provided to them by the Home Office within 28 days, as they may now take employment and have access to mainstream benefits and housing assistance from their local authority. Whilst this process was paused on 27 March for a period of three months, we are currently reviewing plans about appropriate timing to resume issuing notices in individual cases in a carefully phased and measured way and have been having discussions with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Local Authorities and others on the arrangements.

The timing of those decisions is not affected by the current restrictions on evicting tenants from private rental properties. Those arrangements do not apply to those in asylum support accommodation. This is confirmed in paragraph 2.2 of the Government’s guidance to landlords and tenants, which can be found at: MHCLG guidance (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888843/Updated_Landlord_and_Tenant_Guidance.pdf)

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
17th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Local Government Association's call on 12 June to suspend the No Recourse to Public Funds status for immigrants for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Home Office is working closely with other government departments such as the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to support people, including migrants with NRPF, through this pandemic.??Departments?are?sharing?what they are?learning from other bodies and charities?with each other?to ensure we continue to?take?a pragmatic approach to an unprecedented?situation.

Many of the wide-ranging Covid-19?measures?the government has put in place are not public funds and therefore are available to migrants with NRPF.?? The?Government has published advice and information about the support available to migrants living here,?including where they are subject to NRPF?https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-get-support-if-youre-a-migrant-living-in-the-uk

We will keep the situation under review and consider further measures if needed.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 12 May (HL4183), what proportion of the increase of 26p a day in asylum support is attributable to the additional costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as those arising from increased hygiene needs.

We review the level of financial support provided to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute annually, using a methodology that has been in place since 2014 and which the courts have agreed is rational and lawful. The methodology takes account of the costs of food, clothes, toiletries and other items.

The standard weekly allowance has been raised to £39.60 from £37.75, an increase of around 5%, because the methodology showed this is now the amount the average asylum seeker needs to meet their essential living needs. This increase is considerably higher than current year to year rise in general inflation, which was reported to be 0.8% in April.

This allowance is only one part of the package of support provided. We also provide free accommodation, utilities are paid for, council tax is paid for, and there is free access to the NHS and free education for their children.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that a temporary reduction in earnings due to the COVID-19 pandemic does not affect entitlement to a family visa for a spouse or partner.

The Home Office has put in place a range of measures to support those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the situation closely and take these exceptional circumstances into account.

To ensure a spouse or partner applying for entry clearance, leave to remain or indefinite leave are not unduly affected by circumstances beyond their control, for the purpose of the minimum income requirement:

  • A temporary loss of employment income between 1 March and 31 July 2020 due to COVID-19, will be disregarded provided the requirement was met for at least six months up to March 2020.

  • An applicant or sponsor furloughed under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be deemed as earning 100% of their salary.

  • A temporary loss of annual income due to COVID-19 between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 will generally be disregarded for self-employment income, along with the impact on employment income from the same period for future applications. Income received via the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will also be taken into account.

  • Evidential flexibility may be applied where an applicant or sponsor experiences difficulty accessing specified evidence due to COVID-19 restrictions.

These concessions are set out for customers on GOV.UK here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents.

The minimum income requirement can also be met in several ways in addition to or instead of income from employment or self-employment. For example, income from the couple’s investments, property rental or pension may also be taken into account, together with their cash savings.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people are currently detained under immigration powers in (1) immigration removal centres, and (2) prisons, in the UK.

The Home Office publishes data on people in detention and returns from the UK in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release)

Data on the number of people in detention under immigration powers by quarter and nationality are published in table Det_D02 of the immigration detention detailed datasets (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/returns-and-detention-datasets#immigration-detention).

Data on the number of returns from the UK by type of return and destination are published in Ret_D02 of the returns detailed datasets (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/returns-and-detention-datasets).

The term 'deportations' refers to a legally-defined subset of returns which are enforced either following a criminal conviction or when it is judged that a person’s removal from the UK is conducive to the public good. Information on those deported is not separately available and therefore the published statistics refer to all enforced returns.

Additionally, the Home Office publishes a high-level overview of the data in the ‘Summary tables’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/immigration-statistics-data-tables-year-ending-march-2020#returns). The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on detention.

A statistical report Statistics relating to Covid-19 and the immigration system, May 2020 (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-relating-to-covid-19-and-the-immigration-system-may-2020), released on 28 May 2020 provides further high-level information relating to detention and Covid-19 up to the end of April.

Figures covering the second quarter of 2020 will be published in the next Immigration Statistics release on 27 August 2020. Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’ (https://www.gov.uk/search/research-and-statistics?content_store_document_type=upcoming_statistics&organisations%5B%5D=home-office&order=release-date-oldest).

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many removals and deportations from the UK have been effected since 23 March, and to which countries.

The Home Office publishes data on people in detention and returns from the UK in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release)

Data on the number of people in detention under immigration powers by quarter and nationality are published in table Det_D02 of the immigration detention detailed datasets (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/returns-and-detention-datasets#immigration-detention).

Data on the number of returns from the UK by type of return and destination are published in Ret_D02 of the returns detailed datasets (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/returns-and-detention-datasets).

The term 'deportations' refers to a legally-defined subset of returns which are enforced either following a criminal conviction or when it is judged that a person’s removal from the UK is conducive to the public good. Information on those deported is not separately available and therefore the published statistics refer to all enforced returns.

Additionally, the Home Office publishes a high-level overview of the data in the ‘Summary tables’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/immigration-statistics-data-tables-year-ending-march-2020#returns). The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on detention.

A statistical report Statistics relating to Covid-19 and the immigration system, May 2020 (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-relating-to-covid-19-and-the-immigration-system-may-2020), released on 28 May 2020 provides further high-level information relating to detention and Covid-19 up to the end of April.

Figures covering the second quarter of 2020 will be published in the next Immigration Statistics release on 27 August 2020. Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’ (https://www.gov.uk/search/research-and-statistics?content_store_document_type=upcoming_statistics&organisations%5B%5D=home-office&order=release-date-oldest).

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government to which countries it is currently not possible to remove or deport people as a result of COVID-19 global travel restrictions; and whether they will publish a weekly list of these countries, updated with any new changes.

The Home Office continues to monitor the on-going changes to international flight restrictions and entry requirements imposed by receiving countries caused by the global response to COVID-19.

Enforced and voluntary returns continue on a case by case basis where we are able to do so.Given the difficulty of returning to many countries in the current situation and the constantly evolving conditions worldwide, it would not be practical to publish a list of countries where return is still not possible..

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many new detentions under immigration powers there have been since 23 March; in which centres people were so detained and what was their country of origin; and of these how many involved (1) people transferred from prisons into immigration detention at the end of their prison sentences, (2) people detained after chance encounters with immigration enforcement, and (3) planned detentions.

The Government published statistics relating to COVID-19 and the immigration system on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-relating-to-covid-19-and-the-immigration-system-may-2020), on 28 May and the latest Immigration Statistics publication (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020) includes the numbers of individuals detained under immigration powers in prisons.

Since the UK lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020 (up to the 30 April 2020), 295 people have entered detention, 231 of which were clandestine entrants held by UKVI for processing before being dispersed through appropriate routes. Those being held for processing spend very short periods of time at a short-term holding facility and can only be held for a maximum of seven days. This does not include those who were transferred to the detention estate from prison. Statistics on people in immigration detention during the second quarter of 2020 (April to June) will be published in August in the immigration statistics quarterly release.

Immigration offenders encountered by Immigration Enforcement by chance or as part of a planned operation, will be considered for detention for the purpose of removal, on a case-by-case basis, by applying the published detention and adults at risk in immigration detention policies. Information on the current situation in any given country is used when making decisions to detain.

The safety and health of people in the detention estate are of the utmost importance. We are following all Public Health England guidance and have robust contingency plans in place. As of 17 June 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in immigration removal centres.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many transfers of detainees, whether from a prison to an immigration removal centre or from one immigration removal centre to another, have occurred since 23 March.

The Government published statistics relating to COVID-19 and the immigration system on gov.uk (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-relating-to-covid-19-and-the-immigration-system-may-2020), on 28 May and the latest Immigration Statistics publication (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2020) includes the numbers of individuals detained under immigration powers in prisons.

Since the UK lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020 (up to the 30 April 2020), 295 people have entered detention, 231 of which were clandestine entrants held by UKVI for processing before being dispersed through appropriate routes. Those being held for processing spend very short periods of time at a short-term holding facility and can only be held for a maximum of seven days. This does not include those who were transferred to the detention estate from prison. Statistics on people in immigration detention during the second quarter of 2020 (April to June) will be published in August in the immigration statistics quarterly release.

Immigration offenders encountered by Immigration Enforcement by chance or as part of a planned operation, will be considered for detention for the purpose of removal, on a case-by-case basis, by applying the published detention and adults at risk in immigration detention policies. Information on the current situation in any given country is used when making decisions to detain.

The safety and health of people in the detention estate are of the utmost importance. We are following all Public Health England guidance and have robust contingency plans in place. As of 17 June 2020, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in immigration removal centres.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the University of Birmingham Forced migration, SGBV and COVID-19, published in May, and what action do they intend to take as a result.

The Government acknowledges the University of Birmingham’s report “Forced migration, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and COVID-19”. This Government is committed to protecting the most vulnerable. We will examine the recommendations in greater detail and I will write to you following our consideration.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 27 May (HL4183), whether the outcomes of the review of asylum support will be published by the end of June.

We review the level of financial support provided to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute annually, using a methodology that has been in place since 2014 and which the courts have agreed is rational and lawful. The methodology takes account of the costs of food, clothes, toiletries and other items.

The standard weekly allowance has been raised to £39.60 from £37.75, an increase of around 5%, because the methodology showed this is now the amount the average asylum seeker needs to meet their essential living needs. This increase is considerably higher than current year to year rise in general inflation, which was reported to be 0.8% in April.

This allowance is only one part of the package of support provided. We also provide free accommodation, utilities are paid for, council tax is paid for, and there is free access to the NHS and free education for their children.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 5 May (HL3266), whether local authorities have specifically been told they should offer support to survivors of domestic abuse with a condition of no recourse to public funds; if so, whether it has been advertised so women in communities experiencing such abuse are aware of that.

Local authorities may already provide basic safety net support, regardless of immigration status, if it is established that there is a genuine care need that does not arise solely from destitution. Local Authorities have been asked to work closely with the domestic abuse services in their area, providing support where they deem it necessary in order to protect victims of domestic abuse, for example by providing crisis funding to safe accommodation services.

The Government has announced £28m of funding to support domestic abuse charities of which £10m has been allocated to support additional refuge bed spaces and specialist support. The Home Office has announced an additional £2 million in funding to help bolster specialist helplines and online services so that victims can continue to seek support.

The Government domestic abuse awareness raising campaign under the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone, signposts victims to sources of advice and support. Details of these services can be found at www.gov.uk/domestic-abuse.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 6 May (HL Deb, col 441), when the current review of asylum support commenced; when that review is due to be completed; and whether that review will take additional costs into account, such as those associated with hygiene needs, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current review of the level of the cash allowances began with the publication of the latest Family Spending data by the Office of National Statistics on 19 March, as that data is one of the main sources of information used to assess the appropriate level of the allowances. The review also takes account of research into the actual costs of purchasing essential items and whether Covid 19 has impacted on these costs.

The outcome of the review will be published in due course.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the open letter to the Prime Minister from a coalition of charities and church leaders asking that all migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees are given temporary leave to remain.

We have received the letter and will respond in due course.

The Government remains committed to an immigration policy which welcomes and celebrates people here legally but deters illegal immigration. The Immigration Rules already provide for undocumented migrants, who have not broken the law except for remaining here without lawful immigration status and who have been in the UK for a long time, to regularise their status. Migrants may make an application for leave to remain where there are grounds to do so.

If appropriate, in light of the situation in their country of origin, irregular migrants may claim asylum. The UK has a long and proud history of providing protection to those who need it and we will continue to uphold our obligations under the Refugee Convention during this time. Therefore, whilst ensuring that the Home Office is adhering to Public Health England’s advice in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak, claims can still be made, and decisions are continuing to be served on asylum claims on a case by case basis where there is sufficient evidence for us to make an accurate and well-informed decision in-line with published policy.

Even if an application is refused, measures we have implemented guarantee that an individual can remain safely accommodated and able to follow public health guidance, whilst maintaining access to financial support and healthcare until the end of June, and this will be kept under review.

As a result of this, there are no plans to provide temporary leave to remain to all asylum claimants or those with insecure status.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they have committed in funding to reception centres for displaced people at the border in northern France, as pledged in Articles 2(a) and 4 of the 2018 Sandhurst Agreement; whether such funding has increased to assist efforts by the authorities in France to shelter greater numbers of people and allow them to confine indoors and other efforts in relation to handling the COVID-19 pandemic.

From the €50 million allocation made following the Sandhurst Treaty, £1.1 million was committed in 2018 to support the development of reception centres for migrants in France. These centres provide support to vulnerable migrants, such as those who have been victims of violence and human trafficking.

As indicated in previous responses, £3.6 million of the Sandhurst package was specifically allocated to supporting the development of the Dublin and Dubs process to support transfers of eligible children to the UK, including training for those working with unaccompanied children, family tracing and targeted information campaigns.

We continue to work closely with France on border and migration issues, including in response to Covid-19, but we have not been asked for funding to support reception centres during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown in France, over 600 migrants have been moved from camps to accommodation centres to aid with social distancing measures. Within these centres, individuals are provided with medical and administrative support, and given the opportunity to lodge an asylum claim.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are continuing to return people crossing the Channel by boat directly to France during the COVID-19 pandemic.

People crossing the Channel to enter the UK have come from a safe country – usually France – and so there is no reason why they need to make this trip in order to claim asylum. Those fleeing persecution should seek protection in the first safe country they enter.

The UK continues to work closely with France and other countries to return migrants who have entered the UK by small boat in order to provide a strong deterrent against these dangerous crossings.

As a result of COVID-19 the vast majority of EU member states have temporarily paused accepting returns under the Dublin Regulations, but we are tracking those individuals and where appropriate will seek to return them when routes are available.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK Border Force is continuing to detain people in short-term holding facilities on the northern French coast during the COVID-19 pandemic; and if so, what health and sanitation measures are being taken in those facilities to ensure that detainees and staff are not put at risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Short term holding rooms in Northern France are still in operation. High-risk individuals displaying symptoms of COVID-19 are referred to the French authorities in the first instance.

All Border Force staff continue to adhere to Public Health England guidance to ensure we follow the latest scientific advice and seek specific guidance for our frontline operations.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure the level of subsistence support given to asylum seekers during the COVID-19 pandemic is sufficient to ensure they are able to meet their essential living needs.

We are currently reviewing the level of the cash allowances, as we do each year, to ensure that they remain capable of meeting the essential living needs of asylum seekers.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the immigration health surcharge on NHS and care workers; and what plans they have to suspend the charge for this group in the light of their contribution to health and social care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government is immensely grateful for the dedication of all those working to tackle coronavirus.

On 31 March the Home Secretary announced that the Home Office will automatically extend the visa of any NHS doctor, nurse or paramedic, where it will expire before 1 October, for 12 months, free of charge. This includes an exemption from payment of the immigration health surcharge.

We will continue to look at whether we can provide further assistance during the fight against this virus.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they intend to take to ensure that victims of domestic abuse can access support and protection during the COVID-19 pandemic; and what plans they have to provide publicly funded services to migrant victims without recourse to public funds in line with the commitment of the Welsh Government.

Domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what the stresses. We are working closely with the sector, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner and the police to understand the impact of COVID-19 on domestic abuse.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chancellor has announced a funding package of £750 million to support charities including those providing domestic abuse services. The Home Office has announced an additional £2 million in funding to support technological capability such as specialist helplines and websites.

We have also launched a new campaign to signpost victims to the support services available. The campaign, under the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone, aims to reassure those affected by domestic abuse that support services remain available during this difficult time.

Non-British victims of domestic abuse who are residing in the UK and who are not already eligible for the Destitute Domestic Violence Concession are able to apply for support from local authorities regardless of their immigration status. A £3.2 billion package of funding has been allocated to local authorities to help them respond to pressures across all the services they deliver and support individuals on the basis of need.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of (1) homeless people, and (2) asylum-seekers, who are sharing emergency or asylum accommodation and are unable to self-isolate if necessary; and what steps they are taking to address this issue. [T]

(1) This is a public health crisis more than anything and so requires a health response. To enable this our priority is to bring vulnerable people inside so they can self-isolate and stop the virus spreading. More than 5,400?rough?sleepers and people who have been living in accommodation with communal sleeping spaces such as night shelters ?– over 90% of those known to local authorities at the beginning of the crisis?have now been made offers of safe accommodation – ensuring some of the most vulnerable in society are protected from the pandemic. This is a truly remarkable achievement, and one which is the result of the hard work of local government, agencies and charities across the country, who have helped to get people off the street and into safe accommodation, protecting the most vulnerable in society and ultimately saving lives.? We announced that councils across England will receive another £1.6 billion in additional funding to enable them to respond to other COVID-19 pressures across all the services they deliver, stepping up support for services helping the most vulnerable, including homeless people. This takes the total funding to support councils to respond to the pandemic to over £3.2 billion. This is in addition to £3.2 million in targeted funding for councils to support vulnerable rough sleepers.

(2) The Accommodation providers recognise the challenge of managing COVID 19 within our accommodation estate and are working closely with Public Health England (PHE) on how their guidance on social distancing and self-isolation is properly applied, while ensuring that people can continue to access essential services.

In Initial Accommodation facilities, which tends to be hostel based, PHE Guidance recommends that separate rooms and segregation be provided for symptomatic people, or they should be moved to hotels. Our providers have configured their accommodation estate to meet this guidance.

In Dispersed Accommodation, which is houses or homes of multiple occupancy accommodating small numbers, Service Users have been provided guidance to ensure they socially distance or self isolate in line with the advice provided to the general public. Additionally, services providers have enhanced their contact management and wraparound services to ensure access to medical care, food packages and other essential items.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to suspend all terminations of asylum support temporarily as part of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following public health guidance, we have put in place a number of measures to support people in the asylum system who are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, including working closely with providers to make sure the most vulnerable people within the system receive the support they need.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
24th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that all UK residents, regardless of immigration status, are able to access accommodation in order to self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are taking a compassionate and pragmatic approach to an unprecedented situation and we are keeping the situation under review to consider if further measures are needed.

The Government has provided £1.6 billion of additional funding to local authorities to enable them to respond to Covid-19 pressures across all the services they deliver, including stepping up support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable.

Using the General Power of Competence set out in s.1 Localism Act 2011, local authorities may provide support to a person who is ineligible for assistance due to immigration status.

Additionally, the Home Office has confirmed in light of the pandemic, anyone who would normally cease to be eligible for accommodation because their asylum claim and any appeal has been resolved, is being allowed to remain in their current accommodation for at least the next three months. This applies both to those who have been refused asylum and granted asylum.

All people in asylum accommodation have been provided with guidance and advice on Covid-19 in a language they understand to help them self-isolate, including spotting the symptoms and hygiene guidance.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
11th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 26 February (HL1592), whether they intend to publish the details of any proposed resolution within (1) one month, (2) three months, (3) six months, or (4) one year.

This matter is still under consideration. Changes to nationality law could only be made by amending primary legislation, and we cannot provide a timescale.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
11th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 25 February (HL Deb, col 148) that they will publish an equality impact assessment for all Government bills, whether they have produced such an impact assessment for the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill; and if so, where it has been published.

The Policy Equality Impact Assessments for the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill were published on 5 March 2020 on the GOV.UK website following the introduction of the Bill into the House of Commons.

Two Policy Equality Impact Assessments have been published: one on the immigration clauses and a separate one on the Social Security Co-ordination clause, where DWP is the lead department.

The documents can be found at the following links:

On immigration:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/870581/Policy-equality-impact-assessment-immigration.pdf

On social security co-ordination

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/870582/Policy-equality-impact-assessment-social-security-co-ordination.pdf

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to appeal the judgment made in Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens v Home Office, issued on 19 December 2019; and if they have no such plans, why they have not revised the fees for children applying for British citizenship, as set out in their policy paper Home Office immigration and nationality fees, published on 20 February.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department has been granted permission to appeal against the Court’s finding the Home Office did not have full regard to Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 when setting the fee in fees regulations.

The Immigration and Nationality Fees Regulations 2018 were not found to be unlawful and the court case remains on-going. We will therefore continue to charge the fees set out in the fees regulations.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
12th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 10 February (HL802), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, what discussions they have had with British Overseas Territories about the access to citizenship by children of fathers from such territories who were not married to the children's mothers; and what plans they have to address this issue in any forthcoming immigration bill.

We are aware the provisions regarding the children of unmarried British Overseas Territories citizen fathers do not match those for British citizens.

We have set out the matter for all Overseas Territories and sought their views. We have also explained what might be required in pratical terms, by reference to the registration arrangements which already exist for British citizen fathers.

We will provide details of any propsed resolution in due course.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
12th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government on what date they expect to provide details of their resolutions in regard to the access to citizenship of children of unmarried British Overseas Territories citizen fathers.

We are aware the provisions regarding the children of unmarried British Overseas Territories citizen fathers do not match those for British citizens.

We have set out the matter for all Overseas Territories and sought their views. We have also explained what might be required in pratical terms, by reference to the registration arrangements which already exist for British citizen fathers.

We will provide details of any propsed resolution in due course.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
27th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with British Overseas Territories about the access to citizenship by children of fathers from such territories who were not married to the children's mothers; and what plans they have to address this issue in any forthcoming immigration bill.

We are aware that the provisions regarding the children of unmarried British Overseas Territories Citizen fathers do not match those for British citizens, and have sought the views of the Overseas Territories on the issue. We will provide details of any suggested resolution to this matter in due course.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords)
14th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they collect data on the reading ages of new army recruits under the age of 18; and if so, what those data indicate.

The Army does not collect data and centrally record the reading ages of all new Army recruits under the age of 18.

It does collect the scores of the ‘Functional Skills Literacy Assessment’ which show the following for all under-18 recruits in Recruiting Year 2022-23:[1]

FS Score

Percentage of U18 recruits 2022-23

Entry Level 2

8%

Entry Level 3

27%

Exempt

27%

Level 1

25%

Level 2

13%

These Functional Skills levels are based on the 2011 Skills for Life Survey: A

Survey of Literacy, Numeracy and ICT Levels in England: 2011 Skills for Life Survey: A Survey of Literacy, Numeracy and ICT Levels in England (publishing.service.gov.uk).

The majority of under-18 recruits complete Basic Training at the Army Foundation College (Harrogate) where 100% leave with a GCSE equivalent in English.

[1] Recruiting year runs from April - March

Earl of Minto
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
14th Nov 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government when the British Army most recently evaluated the feasibility of a transition to all-adult recruitment; and what the findings of any such evaluation were.

The last evaluation specifically focussed on transitioning to all-adult recruitment was the 2019 Junior Entry Review whereby the two non-enlistment options for under-18s were rejected, due to expected negative implications on the Army's overall strength and operational effectiveness. A more recent evaluation has been conducted exploring bespoke Terms of Service for under-18s.

British Army Terms of Service are routinely reviewed to ensure best practice and operational effectiveness.

Earl of Minto
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
14th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what data will be recorded by polling stations on the impact of the new Voter ID legislation on access to voting; how that data will be recorded; and what plans they have to report that data to parliament after the local elections in May.

With regards to the Noble Lady’s query on data recorded at polling stations, I refer her to the response given to question UIN 162192 (attached) on 14 March 2023.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government how many people in England had applied for the Voter Authority Certificate by 1 March; how many applications had been rejected; how many Voter Authority Certificates had been issued; what estimate they have made of the number of voters that will need a Voter Authority Certificate; and what estimate they have made of the number of people who will apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

I refer the Noble Lady to the Commons UQ response here, to the Cabinet Office published survey on levels of ownership of photographic identification, and to the New Burdens funding methodology for the Elections Act 2022 available here.

Information regarding applications for Voter Authority Certificates is published online. The rejection of an application is a matter for the relevant Electoral Registration Officer.

The Association of Electoral Administrators is providing relevant training for Returning Officers.

The Office for Students encourages higher education providers to promote electoral registration. Students can register at their home address or their term-time address or both.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Mar 2023
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how successfully local authorities will be able to implement the new Voter ID legislation at the local elections in May.

I refer the Noble Lady to the Commons UQ response here, to the Cabinet Office published survey on levels of ownership of photographic identification, and to the New Burdens funding methodology for the Elections Act 2022 available here.

Information regarding applications for Voter Authority Certificates is published online. The rejection of an application is a matter for the relevant Electoral Registration Officer.

The Association of Electoral Administrators is providing relevant training for Returning Officers.

The Office for Students encourages higher education providers to promote electoral registration. Students can register at their home address or their term-time address or both.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the decline in social housing lettings to young people aged 16 to 25 over the last decade; and in any such assessment, what conclusions they have drawn as to the explanation for this.

The Department does not hold this information in the format requested.

Local authorities are responsible for allocating social housing through schemes they set locally and therefore they ensure that the priority for social housing goes to those who need it most.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Dec 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government how many young people aged 16 to 25 are currently on social housing waiting lists in England.

The Department does not hold this information in the format requested.

Local authorities are responsible for allocating social housing through schemes they set locally and therefore they ensure that the priority for social housing goes to those who need it most.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide long-term sustainable funding to local government for councils (1) to undertake preventative work to address the causes of hardship and disadvantage, and (2) provide support to those households who need it.

Spending Review 2020 confirmed that Core Spending Power is forecast to rise by 4.5 per cent in cash terms- a real terms increase. This package means local authorities will be able to access an estimated additional £2.2 billion to support Adult and Children’s Social Care and to maintain universal services.

Within their Core Spending Power, councils will have access to an additional £1billion for social care next year, made up of a £300 million increase to the social care grant and 3 per cent Adult Social Care precept. The additional £1 billion of grant funding announced at SR19 for Adult and Children’s Social Care will be continuing, along with all other existing social care funding including the improved Better Care Fund. The Settlement is unringfenced to ensure local areas can prioritise based on their own understanding of the needs of their local communities.

We also recently announced that the Troubled Families Programme, which provides early, effective and joined up support for families with complex needs, will continue into a new phase in 2021-21. Up to an additional £165 million has been available for the programme, which will continue to drive system change, both locally and nationally, to serve vulnerable families with the intensive, integrated support they need to overcome their problems before they escalate


The Troubled Families Programme’s evaluation shows that it has been successful in improving outcomes for vulnerable families and driving progress towards intensive, integrated support services. As of September 2020, the programme had funded areas to work with 439,956 families?in most need of help.?However, we know that local authorities are working in a whole family way with at least 865,000 families. As of September 2020, 382,626 families have made sustained improvements with the problems that led to them joining the programme. In 31,798 of these families one or more adults has moved off benefits and into sustained employment


At the Spending Review we announced an unprecedented package of support for local authorities to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, including measures worth an estimated circa £3 billion of additional support for Covid-19 pressures next year, along with extending the current Sales, Fees and Charges scheme (which refunds 75 per cent of eligible income loss beyond a 5 per cent threshold) into the first three months of 2021-22.

This is on top of the support committed this financial year, including over £7.2 billion for local authorities, even before the extension of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund for those authorities under the highest level of restriction – potentially worth over £200 million a month – announced as part of the Covid-19 Winter Plan. This takes the total support committed to councils in England to tackle the impacts of Covid-19 to over £10 billion.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to provide funding to councils for the provision of payment holidays and forbearance for households unable to pay council tax due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council tax plays a vital role in funding the delivery of essential frontline services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each council has its own local council tax support scheme which provides reductions in council tax for low income residents. The Government has also provided a £500m hardship fund to enable councils to provide further council tax relief. Councils have powers to implement alternative payment arrangements locally and many have used these to help individuals who are struggling to pay.

22nd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of migrants sleeping rough; and what guidance they have issued to local authorities about the provision of emergency accommodation for such migrants.

My Department’s latest official annual Rough Sleeping Snapshot Statistics published on 27 February 2020 provide information about the estimated number of people sleeping rough across all local authorities on a single night between 1 October and 31 November 2019. These statistics provide a way of estimating the number of people sleeping rough across England on a single night and of assessing change over time.

The majority of people sleeping rough on a single night in England in 2019 were from the UK. In 2019, there were 2,735 people from the UK (64 % of the total) estimated to be sleeping rough on single night, 937 people (22 % of the total) who were EU (Non-UK) nationals and 151 people (4 % of the total) who were from outside the EU and the UK. The nationality of 443 people (10 % of the total) was ‘not known’.

For more information please see the following (attached) link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rough-sleeping-snapshot-in-england-autumn-2019/rough-sleeping-snapshot-in-england-autumn-2019.

We are providing £3.2 million in targeted funding to help support individuals who are sleeping rough off the streets, and an additional £3.2 billion for local authorities as part of the wider Government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is at the discretion of local authorities, using their exiting legal powers, to decide who they can accommodate during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether this is British citizens or foreign nationals.

25th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide additional support to domestic violence refuges during the COVID-19 pandemic in response to any increase in domestic violence and abuse.

The Government will do everything it can to support refuge service providers to keep these vital services open, up and running.

My Department has been engaging with domestic abuse service providers on a daily basis to understand the additional challenges they are facing and the support needed to ensure essential provision is kept open and available to victims and their children.

We have published guidance to assist domestic abuse service providers in service delivery during these unprecedented times. The guidance, in line with current Public Health England advice, sets out the advice for daily service operation within the context of domestic abuse safe accommodation provision

The guidance can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-domestic-abuse-safe-accommodation-provision/covid-19-guidance-on-isolation-for-domestic-abuse-safe-accommodation-settings

In addition, we have confirmed that front line domestic abuse workers are key workers for the purposes of their children accessing schools, colleges and other educational establishments.

26th Apr 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wolfson of Tredegar on 21 February (HL5934), when they plan to (1) submit, and (2) publish, the UK’s 7th Periodic Report under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Prison Reform Trust report Safe Homes for Women Leaving Prison, published in October 2020, particularly the recommendation that official data should account for women falling into "hidden homelessness" after leaving prison.

We welcome the findings from the Safe Homes for Women Leaving Prison report and while there is no specific recommendation regarding “hidden homelessness”, we recognise the importance of consistent data as referenced within the report.

To ensure consistent and accurate data recording, HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), in collaboration with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) and the Welsh Government, has recently updated the Accommodation Recording Guidance to ensure probation regions have a clear and consistent understanding of the accommodation status definitions, and how to record accurately. The Guidance defines homelessness as where an individual is rough sleeping, squatting, residing in night shelters, emergency hostels or campsites.

Data on accommodation outcomes for supervised prison leavers disaggregated by gender is currently recorded and published in the Community Performance Annual, update to March 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

The Target Operating Model for probation services in England and Wales, published in February 2021, included a target on the number of individuals being housed on release from custody (90%), and a target concerning settled accommodation for all supervised individuals (those released from prison and those on community sentences) three months after commencement of their supervision (80%).

3rd Feb 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they have not yet submitted the UK state party’s report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as part of the seventh periodic review, which was due by 30 June 2021; and when they expect to submit it.

The submission of the UK’s 7th Periodic Report under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has been delayed due to a number of factors, including the Covid-19 pandemic.

A letter alerting the Secretariat of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to the delay was sent in December 2020 and a revised timeframe of early 2022 has since been agreed.

The Government now aims to submit and publish its report shortly.

5th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the link between homelessness and reoffending for women leaving prison.

We recognise how important it is that everyone leaving prison should have somewhere to live, as accommodation enables offenders to hold down a job and reduces the likelihood of them re-offending.

Community Probation Practitioners and Homelessness Prevention Teams take proactive steps before release with prison leavers at risk of homelessness, including referral to Local Housing Authorities and working with partners and providers.

Evidence shows that there is a link between homelessness and reoffending; Prison leavers without settled accommodation are 50 per cent more likely to reoffend. The Government has, therefore, made addressing rough sleeping a priority and the Ministry of Justice is committed to working across government to end rough sleeping.

The Target Operating Model for probation services in England and Wales, published in February 2021, included performance measures for prison leavers housed on release from custody (90%), and settled accommodation for all supervised individuals (those released from prison and those on community sentences) three months after commencement of their supervision (80%). Accommodation circumstances for offenders are reported annually as official statistics. Data for the period 01 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 will be published in July 2022 in the Community Performance Annual report.

The Prisons Strategy White Paper, published in December, sets out our vision for reducing reoffending. This includes our aim that no-one subject to probation supervision is released from prison homeless. We are therefore expanding our new Community Accommodation Service to support the thousands of people in England and Wales who leave prison each year without accommodation. The service takes account of the needs of women, including those with complex needs, with accommodation provision dedicated to single gender usage as required. Community Probation Practitioners, working together with local partners, are responsible for ensuring that vulnerable female prison leavers receive appropriate support and are provided with housing beyond the 12 weeks emergency accommodation.

5th Jan 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures are available to the Community Accommodation Service to account for the needs of women leaving prison.

We recognise how important it is that everyone leaving prison should have somewhere to live, as accommodation enables offenders to hold down a job and reduces the likelihood of them re-offending.

Community Probation Practitioners and Homelessness Prevention Teams take proactive steps before release with prison leavers at risk of homelessness, including referral to Local Housing Authorities and working with partners and providers.

Evidence shows that there is a link between homelessness and reoffending; Prison leavers without settled accommodation are 50 per cent more likely to reoffend. The Government has, therefore, made addressing rough sleeping a priority and the Ministry of Justice is committed to working across government to end rough sleeping.

The Target Operating Model for probation services in England and Wales, published in February 2021, included performance measures for prison leavers housed on release from custody (90%), and settled accommodation for all supervised individuals (those released from prison and those on community sentences) three months after commencement of their supervision (80%). Accommodation circumstances for offenders are reported annually as official statistics. Data for the period 01 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 will be published in July 2022 in the Community Performance Annual report.

The Prisons Strategy White Paper, published in December, sets out our vision for reducing reoffending. This includes our aim that no-one subject to probation supervision is released from prison homeless. We are therefore expanding our new Community Accommodation Service to support the thousands of people in England and Wales who leave prison each year without accommodation. The service takes account of the needs of women, including those with complex needs, with accommodation provision dedicated to single gender usage as required. Community Probation Practitioners, working together with local partners, are responsible for ensuring that vulnerable female prison leavers receive appropriate support and are provided with housing beyond the 12 weeks emergency accommodation.

8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will ensure women prison leavers supported by the Ministry of Justice’s temporary accommodation service are supported into permanent accommodation.

We are investing more than £20m in supporting prison leavers at risk of homelessness into temporary accommodation. Individuals released from prison will be provided up to 12 weeks of temporary accommodation and will be supported into long-term settled accommodation before the end of that 12-week period. Initially launching in five national probation regions, the service will support around 3,000 offenders in its first year and will be commencing this Summer. It will be in operation during the financial year 2021-22, with a view to scaling up and rolling out nationally.

The service will take account of the needs of women, including those with complex needs and accommodation provision will be dedicated to single gender usage as required. Community Probation Practitioners, working together with local partners, will be responsible for ensuring that vulnerable female prison leavers receive appropriate support and are provided with housing beyond the 12 weeks’ emergency accommodation.

In 2020, Hestia Battersea was changed from a male to female Approved Premises to give better geographic spread of AP provision for women, becoming the first AP for women in London since 2008.

In addition, Eden House, the first new AP in over thirty years, will open in this month supporting female offenders.

HMPPS will work in conjunction with MHCLG’s announced funding to support both male and female prison leavers at risk of homelessness into private rental tenancies. Funded schemes to support women will be developed to recognise their specific needs and will be part of plans to secure settled accommodation by the end of the 12 weeks’ temporary accommodation provided by HMPPS.

8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure no woman is released from prison to homelessness.

We are committed to doing all we can to address the issues around female offending. It is vital that we do so to better protect the public and deliver more effective rehabilitation. This includes supporting women when they are leaving prison.

In June 2018, the Government published the Female Offender Strategy. This set out a programme of work to improve outcomes for female offenders and make society safer by tackling the underlying causes of offending and reoffending. Its publication was the start of a new and significant programme of work to deliver better outcomes for female offenders that will take some years to deliver. We recognise the important role that the women’s community services play in supporting female offenders. We have invested some £7m in the sector since 2018 and announced a further £2.5m funding on 11 June 2021.

As part of our commitment to tackling the issues female offenders face, we have a Reducing Re-offending lead specifically for the Women’s Estate which allows us to make sure that we are focused on the outcomes specifically from within the women’s prisons. As part of our commitment to eliminate rough sleeping, we are working across Government with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Welsh Government and Other Government Departments, to address the barriers offenders face in securing suitable accommodation.

We are investing more than £20m in supporting prison leavers at risk of homelessness into temporary accommodation. Individuals released from prison will be provided up to 12 weeks of temporary accommodation and will be supported into long-term settled accommodation before the end of that 12-week period. Initially launching in five national probation regions, the service will support around 3,000 offenders in its first year and will be commencing in Summer. It will be in operation during the next financial year 2021-22, with a view to scaling up and rolling out nationally, though the Spending Review 2021 will set out the approach for future years.

The service will take account of the needs of women, including those with complex needs and accommodation provision will be dedicated to single gender usage as required. Community Offender Managers, working together with local partners, will be responsible for ensuring that vulnerable female prison leavers with complex needs receive appropriate support and are provided with housing beyond the 12 weeks’ emergency accommodation.

We are introducing and testing a new specialist housing advisor role in twenty prisons, including within the female estate. The new role will seek to strengthen links between prisons, through the gate teams and local authorities to improve accommodation outcomes for those at risk of homelessness. Subject to evaluation, the intention is to scale up and roll-out nationally across all resettlement prisons.

In 2020, Hestia Battersea was changed from a male to female Approved Premises to give better geographic spread of AP provision for women, becoming the first AP for women in London since 2008.

In addition, Eden House, the first new AP in over thirty years, will open in this month supporting female offenders.

Following a comprehensive review, the ‘Subsistence Payment’ (currently known as the Discharge Grant) will be uprated from £46 to £76 to reflect increases in the UK’s Consumer Prices Index (CPI). This is planned to come into effect during Summer 2021. Going forward, the Subsistence Payment will be increased year on year in line with the CPI until 2024/25.

14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether legal aid will be available for individuals seeking to initiate legal proceedings based on an alleged diminution of rights, safeguards or equality of opportunity, as set out in the Belfast Agreement.

A legal challenge asserting an alleged diminution of rights, safeguards or equality of opportunity, as set out in the Belfast Agreement, would likely be brought through the Northern Ireland court system. Given legal aid is a matter devolved to Northern Ireland, whether it is or would be available for such a challenge in Northern Ireland is not a matter for Her Majesty’s Government.

14th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following withdrawal from the EU, individuals will be able to initiate legal proceedings, independent of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission or the Equality Commission, if there is an alleged diminution of rights, safeguards or equality of opportunity as set out in the Belfast Agreement; and, if so, how this is provided for in the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill.

The amendments made, via schedule 3 of the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, to sections 6 and 24 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 mean that the Northern Ireland Assembly, ministers and departments will be acting outside their competence or powers if they legislate or act in a way that breaches the “no diminution” commitment; this would be actionable by judicial review in the normal way. The Government also considers that Article 2(1) of the Protocol is capable of direct effect and that individuals will therefore be able to rely directly on this article before the domestic courts. Individuals will be able to bring proceedings independently or, where the case meets certain criteria, with the assistance of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission or the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.