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These initiatives were driven by Baroness Thomas of Winchester, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.
MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.
Baroness Thomas of Winchester has not been granted any Urgent Questions
Baroness Thomas of Winchester has not been granted any Adjournment Debates
This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 31st January 2013 and was enacted into law.
Baroness Thomas of Winchester has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course.
The DVSA has produced detailed standard operating procedures, which contains advice to help ensure the safety of staff and customers before, during and after the practical driving test.
Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry. This will help candidates prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.
The National Strategy for Disabled People is a manifesto commitment of this Government and its delivery is a priority. Its significance is even greater as we re-build the UK economy and society following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cabinet Office Disability Unit is now working on an approach and timescale that will allow meaningful engagement with an extensive range of stakeholders, and through a range of means that can be pursued safely in the context of the pandemic. Contributions from any organisation will be very welcome and particularly where this brings additional insight to the lived experience of disabled people.
The Department’s deductions policy strikes a fair balance between a claimant’s need to meet their obligations and their ability to ensure they can meet their day-to-day needs. From October 2019, Universal Credit deductions have been reduced to 30% of a claimant’s standard allowance down from 40% to better achieve these objectives.
Creditors can request debts to be collected through Universal Credit, typically where other repayment methods have been unsuccessful. We are led by the creditor, and at any time any creditor could inform us they wish to take back responsibility for collecting the debt from Universal Credit - such requests would trigger an end to deductions as soon as possible. The rate at which repayments are recovered from Universal Credit are set out in Schedule 6 to the Social Security Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (Claims and Payments) Regulations 2013 – SI 2013/380.
For any of the deductions laid out in the regulations, creditors can approach Universal Credit directly and typically there is no requirement for them to proactively get the claimant’s consent. Any requests for deductions are considered by the Department on an individual basis.
Where recovery relates to benefit overpayments, this is managed in a sensitive way. Maximum deduction rates are set out in legislation (Regulation 11 of the Social Security (Overpayments and Recovery) Regulations 2013) and where a claimant cannot afford the proposed rate of recovery they can contact the Department’s Debt Management team so this can be reviewed. If a reduction in the repayment rate is agreed, we will implement it quickly so that payments are adjusted accordingly.
The Department is always developing our understanding on the impact deductions can have on claimants, and has heard evidence from external organisations on this issue. Ultimately, we have to balance these impacts with the need for claimants to meet their obligations.
The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) requires service providers to make reasonable adjustments to improve access so that disabled customers of all ages are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled customers. This reasonable adjustment duty is an anticipatory duty, meaning that there is an expectation for businesses providing services, including theme parks, to anticipate the reasonable adjustments that disabled customers may require.
Anyone who believes that they or their children have been discriminated against in the provision of services may wish to contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS) which can provide them with free bespoke advice and in-depth support. The EASS can be contacted via its website - http://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/, by telephone on 0808 800 0082, or by text phone on 0808 800 0084. The EASS may contact a service provider on a customer’s behalf to discuss the scope for meeting the customer’s concern; it also liaises with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which has powers to enforce the provisions of the Act.
The independent ‘Building Better, Building Beautiful’ Commission was established in December 2018 to advise the Government on how to improve the design quality of new build homes and neighbourhoods. Its report was published on 30 January 2020. The Government welcomes the report and will provide a response in due course.
Building Regulations include optional technical standards for accessible and adaptable homes and wheelchair accessible homes. The requirements in the regulations are supported by statutory guidance. Government will consult shortly on accessibility of new homes. The consultation will consider making higher accessibility standards mandatory, recognising the importance of suitable homes for the elderly and disabled
The National Design Guide states that well-designed homes and places should be accessible to all, support the health and well being of their users and be adaptable to their changing needs over time. We have delivered over 34,000 new units of supported and sheltered housing since 2011 for older, disabled and other vulnerable people. The Government funding for the disabled facilities grant (DFG) has more than doubled since 2015, rising from £220 million in 2015-16 to £505 million in 2019-20.
HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has been working with the Tribunal’s judiciary both to appoint additional judges and panel members and to list more Personal Independence Payment (PIP) appeals into each tribunal session. Case-management “triage” sessions have also been introduced, with the aim of reducing the time taken for appeals to reach final determination. In addition, HMCTS has recently launched a new digital service with a view to enabling speedier processing of appeals.
All these measures have the aim of increasing the capacity of the Tribunal and reducing the time taken to deal with PIP appeals. The number of PIP appeals outstanding in the latest period for which data are available shows a decrease of 13% when compared to the same period in 2018.
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