Baroness Thomas of Winchester

Liberal Democrat - Life peer

2 APPG memberships (as of 17 Nov 2021)
Learning Disability, Muscular Dystrophy
1 Former APPG membership
Consolidation, &c., Bills (Joint Committee)
17th Jun 2015 - 27th Apr 2017
Equality Act 2010 and Disability Committee
11th Jun 2015 - 15th Mar 2016
Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee
9th Jun 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Procedure and Privileges Committee
27th Nov 2006 - 14th May 2014
Refreshment Committee (Lords)
15th Nov 2007 - 20th Jun 2012
Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee
23rd Nov 2006 - 8th Apr 2010

There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Monday 29th November 2021
Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Bill [HL]
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 49 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 147 Noes - 211
Thursday 2nd December 2021
Adult Social Care

My Lords, could the Minister say exactly what the Government are doing right now to recruit more carers, in view …

Written Answers
Tuesday 27th July 2021
Social Security Benefits: Disability
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans the Department for Work and Pensions has to contact all disability claimants who …
Early Day Motions
None available
Wednesday 20th June 2012
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Baroness Thomas of Winchester has voted in 188 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Baroness Thomas of Winchester 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
Lord Greenhalgh (Conservative)
Minister of State (Home Office)
(12 debate interactions)
Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Conservative)
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
(6 debate interactions)
Baroness Stedman-Scott (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
(3 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(10 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(6 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(3 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(1 debate contributions)
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View all Baroness Thomas of Winchester's debates

Commons initiatives

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

1 Bill introduced by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

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

10 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
8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their advice to vulnerable people to avoid the use of public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic, when driving tests and assessments will be permitted to resume. [T]

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.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans the Department for Work and Pensions has to contact all disability claimants who were appealing their decisions and were persuaded to accept a lower offer, to inform them of their right to continue with their appeal.

In a previous response HL2130, it was explained that all claimants who accepted the new decision and whose original appeal lapsed, were told that they had the right of appeal against the new decision. They were told this both by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Tribunals Service. This gave them the opportunity to have the revised award further increased and backdated. Accordingly, there are no plans to contact affected claimants.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that Department for Work and Pensions staff contacted disability claimants who were appealing their decisions to persuade them to abandon their appeals and accept a lower offer; and if such practices have been used, who authorised them.

The Department’s aim is to ensure that claimants are paid the correct amount of benefit at the earliest opportunity. Accordingly, if new evidence or information becomes available after an appeal has been lodged, it is right that decisions are reviewed and claimants put in the best position where they can choose either to continue with their appeal, or have the decision revised. At the same time claimants have, and have always had, a right of appeal against the revised decision, and to have their payments fully backdated if successful at appeal. Claimants are notified of this right of appeal in their revised decision letter.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they are relying on telephone assessments to determine a claimant’s level of disability rather than using a video service.

We are committed to improving the experience of health and disability benefits and we are currently delivering health and disability assessments via a variety of channels. Face-to-face assessments are being delivered alongside new telephone and video assessments introduced in response to the pandemic.

A programme of in-house analysis and externally commissioned research into the outcomes from and experiences of the newly introduced assessment channels is underway. The Health and Disability Green Paper will offer an opportunity to hear views on how we can improve assessments, including how we might provide a multi-channel health assessment service. Any future decisions about channel will be evidence-based and to ensure this we will draw on existing evidence as well as continuing to build our understanding via research and analysis.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which disability organisations and charities are helping to develop the National Strategy for Disabled People.

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.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, under Universal Credit to stop the automatic deduction of a claimant’s debts from the standard rate of Universal Credit if creditors have agreed a reduction in the rate of repayment.

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.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with theme parks about ensuring that (1) rides are accessible for disabled children, and (2) all reasonable adjustments are made to enable such children to participate; and what steps they intend to take in response.

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 -, 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.

6th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why there is no mention of accessible and adaptable homes in the report by the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission Living with beauty: health, well-being and sustainable growth, published on 30 January.

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.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
24th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to address the reported backlog of Personal Independence Payments tribunal claims.

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.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the longest waiting time for Personal Independence Payments tribunals for claimants in West Yorkshire.

The information requested is not held centrally.