Beth Winter Portrait

Beth Winter

Labour - Cynon Valley

First elected: 12th December 2019


Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Bill
30th Nov 2022 - 7th Dec 2022
Charities Bill [HL]
19th Jan 2022 - 25th Jan 2022
Dormant Assets Bill [HL]
15th Dec 2021 - 11th Jan 2022


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 150 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 179 Noes - 294
Speeches
Thursday 29th February 2024
Welsh Affairs
Diolch yn fawr, Mr Dirprwy Lefarydd, a dydd gŵyl Dewi hapus i bawb. Rydw i’n caru Cymru, yn enwedig Cwm …
Written Answers
Wednesday 28th February 2024
Parking: Private Sector
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he has made an assessment of the …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 18th January 2024
Public sector pay 2024-25
That this House notes the Government's public sector pay remit letters to the Chairs of the Pay Review Bodies published …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 17th April 2023
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Communication Workers Union
Address of donor: 150 The Broadway, Wimbledon SW19 1RX
Amount of donation or nature …
EDM signed
Wednesday 28th February 2024
Conduct of the hon. Member for Ashfield and the Rt hon. Members for Fareham and South West Norfolk
That this House is shocked and appalled by the recent conduct of certain Members in respect of their remarks relating …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 22nd March 2022
Shared Prosperity Fund (Wales) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on the merits of devolving management and administration …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Beth Winter has voted in 686 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Beth Winter voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 21 Labour No votes vs 176 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
14 Dec 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Beth Winter voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Labour No votes vs 124 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 385 Noes - 100
View All Beth Winter 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
Nigel Evans (Conservative)
(12 debate interactions)
David T C Davies (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Wales
(12 debate interactions)
Rishi Sunak (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
HM Treasury
(37 debate contributions)
Wales Office
(37 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(26 debate contributions)
Home Office
(23 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Elections Act 2022
(1,310 words contributed)
Nationality and Borders Act 2022
(1,296 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Beth Winter's debates

Cynon Valley Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Cynon Valley signature proportion
Petitions with most Cynon Valley signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

The British State pension is far too low. We want the Government to increase the basic state pension to £19,760 a year (£380 a week), and extend this to anyone aged 60 or over. This should lift thousands out of poverty, and give our elderly folk more spending power and help grow the economy.

We demand the Government restore England’s publicly funded, publicly provided NHS by reversing all privatising legislation, ending ongoing PFI contracts, and scrapping plans for Integrated Care Systems and for-profit US-style ‘managed care’.

Government should support vulnerable children & #endchildfoodpoverty by implementing 3 recommendations from the National Food Strategy to expand access to Free School Meals, provide meals & activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger & increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme


Latest EDMs signed by Beth Winter

26th February 2024
Beth Winter signed this EDM on Wednesday 28th February 2024

Conduct of the hon. Member for Ashfield and the Rt hon. Members for Fareham and South West Norfolk

Tabled by: Dawn Butler (Labour - Brent Central)
That this House is shocked and appalled by the recent conduct of certain Members in respect of their remarks relating to Islam; believes that the recent remarks made by the hon. Member for Ashfield and the Rt hon. Members for Fareham and South West Norfolk are Islamophobic and constitute a …
24 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 13
Scottish National Party: 6
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
20th February 2024
Beth Winter signed this EDM on Monday 26th February 2024

Household Support Fund (No. 2)

Tabled by: Ian Byrne (Labour - Liverpool, West Derby)
That this House expresses deep concern that the UK Government has not committed to extending the Household Support Fund (HSF) beyond March 2024; notes that via this fund the Government has invested significantly in local crisis support as a response to the cost-of-living crisis; further notes that more than £2 …
34 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 27
Independent: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
View All Beth Winter's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Beth Winter, 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.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Beth Winter

Tuesday 4th July 2023

1 Adjournment Debate led by Beth Winter

Tuesday 19th September 2023

Beth Winter has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


745 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
6 Other Department Questions
10th Oct 2022
To ask the President of COP26, if he will hold discussions with the President of COP27 on the potential climate impact of the North Sea Transition Authority's latest round of offshore licenses.

The COP President meets with the COP27 President, Minister Shoukry, on a regular basis to discuss a range of issues from negotiations outcomes to energy security and demand, including the climate impact of oil and gas.

Energy security has had a raised profile this year due to Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. We continue to discuss with our counterparts what is required domestically to meet both global energy demand and climate commitments.

The UK is a world leader in renewable energy, particularly offshore wind which is set to increase by 50GW of offshore wind power by 2030. This expansion is part of our British Energy Security Strategy, which sets out how the UK will become more self-sufficient and move away from our reliance on oil and gas imports.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the President of COP26, if he will hold discussions with the President of COP27 on the potential climate impact of increased gas (a) exploration and (b) extraction in the North Sea.

The COP President meets with the COP27 President, Minister Shoukry, on a regular basis to discuss a range of issues from negotiations outcomes to energy security and demand, including the climate impact of oil and gas.

Energy security has had a raised profile this year due to Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. We continue to discuss with our counterparts what is required domestically to meet both global energy demand and climate commitments.

The UK is a world leader in renewable energy, particularly offshore wind which is set to increase by 50GW of offshore wind power by 2030. This expansion is part of our British Energy Security Strategy, which sets out how the UK will become more self-sufficient and move away from our reliance on oil and gas imports.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of potential impact of the requirement for a global target for financial donations for loss and damage funding by developed nations, separate to the establishment of a global finance facility for loss and damage funding, on helping to secure a successful outcome at the COP27 meeting in November 2022; and if he will make a statement.

At COP26, Parties recognised loss and damage is already impacting lives and livelihoods and agreed to scale-up support. The Glasgow Dialogue was established to discuss the arrangements for the funding of activities to avert, minimise and address loss and damage.

In June 2022, at the Bonn Intersessional meeting, the Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage was launched to discuss the funding arrangements for addressing loss and damage. There will be further dialogues taking place every year to 2024, though these are not formal negotiations.This will continue to be a critical forum to discuss practical ways finance can be scaled up and effectively delivered. I regularly discuss Loss and Damage with international counterparts, including non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

The UK is committed to deliver on the Glasgow Climate Pact working with Parties and Civil Society organisations to advance progress through the Glasgow Dialogue and operationalising the Santiago Network.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the President of COP26, if he will publish a list of (a) countries, (b) groups of countries and (c) non-governmental organisations he has met with to discuss the the establishment of a finance facility for Loss and Damage since COP26.

At COP26, Parties recognised loss and damage is already impacting lives and livelihoods and agreed to scale-up support. The Glasgow Dialogue was established to discuss the arrangements for the funding of activities to avert, minimise and address loss and damage.

In June 2022, at the Bonn Intersessional meeting, the Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage was launched to discuss the funding arrangements for addressing loss and damage. There will be further dialogues taking place every year to 2024, though these are not formal negotiations.This will continue to be a critical forum to discuss practical ways finance can be scaled up and effectively delivered. I regularly discuss Loss and Damage with international counterparts, including non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

The UK is committed to deliver on the Glasgow Climate Pact working with Parties and Civil Society organisations to advance progress through the Glasgow Dialogue and operationalising the Santiago Network.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Glasgow Dialogue on Loss and Damage on ensuring the establishment of a finance facility for Loss and Damage by the conclusion of the COP27 meeting in November 2022.

At COP26, Parties recognised loss and damage is already impacting lives and livelihoods and agreed to scale-up support. The Glasgow Dialogue was established to discuss the arrangements for the funding of activities to avert, minimise and address loss and damage.

In June 2022, at the Bonn Intersessional meeting, the Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage was launched to discuss the funding arrangements for addressing loss and damage. There will be further dialogues taking place every year to 2024, though these are not formal negotiations.This will continue to be a critical forum to discuss practical ways finance can be scaled up and effectively delivered. I regularly discuss Loss and Damage with international counterparts, including non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

The UK is committed to deliver on the Glasgow Climate Pact working with Parties and Civil Society organisations to advance progress through the Glasgow Dialogue and operationalising the Santiago Network.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
17th Oct 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 19 January 2023 to Question 124115 on Public Sector: Pay, whether he has had discussions with the Commissioner for Public Appointments on (a) engagement with unions, (b) time of settlements, (c) the delivery of multiyear deals, (d) revising the appointment process and (e) other reform of the public sector pay review bodies.

The pay review bodies are listed in the Schedule to the Public Appointments Order in Council. Appointments to these bodies are therefore regulated under the Order in Council and should be made in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments published by the Cabinet Office. This process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, who may also conduct thematic reviews on elements of the process to help inform best practice. Further to my previous answer, I have not discussed with the Commissioner the reform of the public appointments process with regard to public sector pay review bodies. The other issues raised in the question fall outside of the Commissioner’s remit as set out in the Order in Council and the Governance Code.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the oral contribution by the Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office of 22 June 2023, Official Report, columns 1004-05, when the Small Ministerial Group on the Infected Blood Inquiry's second interim report is expected to reach a conclusion on the recommendations on the inclusion of people affected by Hepatitis B.

As set out in the debate held on Thursday 22nd June, the Government intends to respond to Sir Brian’s recommendations following the publication of the Inquiry’s final report in the autumn. This does not preclude the possibility of making earlier announcements on these matters, and I am committed to updating the House as appropriate as the Government progresses this work.

30th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the oral contribution by the Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office of 22 June 2023, Official Report, columns 1004-05, when the Small Ministerial Group on the Infected Blood Inquiry's second interim report is expected to reach a conclusion on the recommendations on payments to bereaved parents and children.

As set out in the debate held on Thursday 22nd June, the Government intends to respond to Sir Brian’s recommendations following the publication of the Inquiry’s final report in the autumn. This does not preclude the possibility of making earlier announcements on these matters, and I am committed to updating the House as appropriate as the Government progresses this work.

30th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the oral contribution of 22 June 2023 by the Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Official Report, col. 1005, when the Small Ministerial Group expects to reach a conclusion on the recommendations of the second interim report of the Infected Blood Inquiry on the (a) structure and membership and (b) date of establishment of an independent arms length body to administer the compensation scheme.

As set out in the debate held on Thursday 22nd June, the Government intends to respond to Sir Brian’s recommendations following the publication of the Inquiry’s final report in the autumn. This does not preclude the possibility of making earlier announcements on these matters, and I am committed to updating the House as appropriate as the Government progresses this work.

9th Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to pages 65 and 66 of the Cabinet Office Annual Report 2021-22, published 15 Dec 2022, if he will take steps to specify emissions and costs relating to air travel for official business trips for the Prime Minister and other ministers in his Department the next annual report.

Ministerial travel is undertaken using efficient and cost-effective travel arrangements.

As a whole, domestic flights within the United Kingdom allow Ministers to visit more parts of the United Kingdom in the time available, particularly areas further away from London, and reduce the need for overnight accommodation for Ministers and accompanying staff. Security considerations are also taken into account.

All flights are carbon offset.

Details of departmental business travel are published in the Cabinet Office audited annual report and accounts, including departmental figures on emissions for domestic and international flights.

It has been the practice of successive Administrations not to publish granular information relating to the official movements of protected individuals and those accompanying them within the United Kingdom.

9th Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2023 to Question 127921 on Prime Minister: Aviation, what information his Department records on the Prime Minister's use of flights within the UK, for official visits related to his role as Prime Minister.

Ministerial travel is undertaken using efficient and cost-effective travel arrangements.

As a whole, domestic flights within the United Kingdom allow Ministers to visit more parts of the United Kingdom in the time available, particularly areas further away from London, and reduce the need for overnight accommodation for Ministers and accompanying staff. Security considerations are also taken into account.

All flights are carbon offset.

Details of departmental business travel are published in the Cabinet Office audited annual report and accounts, including departmental figures on emissions for domestic and international flights.

It has been the practice of successive Administrations not to publish granular information relating to the official movements of protected individuals and those accompanying them within the United Kingdom.

20th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an estimate of the (a) scope one, (b) scope two and (c) scope three carbon dioxide equivalent emissions for the flights taken by the Prime Minister and officials from London to (i) Leeds on 9 January 2023, (ii) Inverness on 12 January 2023 and (iii) Blackpool on 19 January 2023.

This information is not centrally held.

19th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) officials and (b) advisers accompanied the Prime Minister on flights from London to to (a) Leeds on 9 January 2023, (b) Inverness on 12 January 2023 and (c) Blackpool on 19 January 2023.

I refer the hon. Member to PQ 120061.

It has been the practice of successive Administrations not to publish granular information relating to the official movements of protected individuals and those accompanying them within the United Kingdom.

19th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the official business travel cost to the public purse was of the flights taken by the Prime Minister and officials from London to to (a) Leeds on 9 January 2023, (b) Inverness on 12 January 2023 and (c) Blackpool on 19 January 2023.

I refer the hon. Member to PQ 120061.

It has been the practice of successive Administrations not to publish granular information relating to the official movements of protected individuals and those accompanying them within the United Kingdom.

16th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a pay review body for the civil service.

Pay arrangements for civil servants below the Senior Civil Service is delegated to departments as separate employers. This has been the case since 1996. The delegated pay system allows departments to be able to put in place pay and reward arrangements tailored to their own business needs. Ultimately it is for departments to decide on their pay award and how it is structured in light of their own affordability and priorities, and to negotiate with their trade unions. There are no plans for an independent review body for Civil Service pay.

16th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the membership of each public sector pay review body including whether they have (a) an employer background and (b) an employee background.

The Membership criteria and its appointment process is set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointments. The Code states that the panel should include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive, non-chair members of a board, the panel should also include a representative from the public body concerned.

The job description and specific criteria for individual public appointment roles are provided as part of the application process and published on the public appointments website. Membership of public sector pay review bodies is published by sponsor departments on Gov.uk. The current membership of individual public sector review bodies are published by their sponsor departments on each of the review body’s Gov.uk websites.

16th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the qualification criteria for appointment to a public sector pay review body.

The Membership criteria and its appointment process is set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointments. The Code states that the panel should include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive, non-chair members of a board, the panel should also include a representative from the public body concerned.

The job description and specific criteria for individual public appointment roles are provided as part of the application process and published on the public appointments website. Membership of public sector pay review bodies is published by sponsor departments on Gov.uk. The current membership of individual public sector review bodies are published by their sponsor departments on each of the review body’s Gov.uk websites.

16th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the membership criteria for an Advisory Assessment Panel that considers an appointment to a public sector pay review body.

The Membership criteria and its appointment process is set out in the Governance Code on Public Appointments. The Code states that the panel should include a departmental official and an independent member. For competitions recruiting non-executive, non-chair members of a board, the panel should also include a representative from the public body concerned.

The job description and specific criteria for individual public appointment roles are provided as part of the application process and published on the public appointments website. Membership of public sector pay review bodies is published by sponsor departments on Gov.uk. The current membership of individual public sector review bodies are published by their sponsor departments on each of the review body’s Gov.uk websites.

16th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what discussions he has had with the Commissioner for Public Appointments on reform of the public sector pay review bodies process.

The appointments process for all public appointments covered by the Public Appointments Order in Council was reviewed in 2016, and led to the publication of the current Governance Code on Public Appointments. The implementation of this process, in accordance with the principles set out in the Code, is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, who may also conduct thematic reviews on elements of the process to help inform best practice. I have not discussed with the Commissioner the reform of the public appointments process with regard to public sector review bodies.

16th Jan 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the appointments process for public sector pay review bodies was last reviewed.

The appointments process for all public appointments covered by the Public Appointments Order in Council was reviewed in 2016, and led to the publication of the current Governance Code on Public Appointments. The implementation of this process, in accordance with the principles set out in the Code, is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, who may also conduct thematic reviews on elements of the process to help inform best practice. I have not discussed with the Commissioner the reform of the public appointments process with regard to public sector review bodies.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the interim report by Sir Brian Langstaff, Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, published on 29 July 2022, and the endorsement in that report of the interim payment recommendations of Sir Robert Francis QC, when the funds will be made available to the eligible recipients identified in that interim report.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQ 42184 on 6 September 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
13th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make the payment of Living Wage Foundation’s real Living Wage and occupational sick pay a requirement of all contracts let by the Government.

The Government awards contracts on the basis of the best value for money for the taxpayer.

Government departments, as Contracting Authorities, are responsible for setting out the terms and conditions of the contracts they enter into with suppliers, and for those suppliers to establish the pay, terms and conditions for their employees.

We insist that employers pay at least the National Minimum Wage, or the National Living Wage for workers over 25. Departments can already require suppliers to pay above these rates, such as the London Living Wage, where it is relevant and proportionate to do so. This is also the case for requiring suppliers to pay above the statutory requirement for sick pay.

13th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether Parliament will be consulted on the functions and services that the Government will have to cease or reduce as a result of plans for 20, 30 and 40 per cent reductions in civil service posts.

Given that planning is still underway and no decisions have yet been made, as well as the sensitivities involved, it would not be appropriate to share departmental scenario planning. We are committed to a robust process of scrutiny and challenge in the months ahead, including focusing on impacts on public services, and will engage more broadly at the appropriate time.

13th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if his Department will publish plans for 20, 30 and 40 per cent reductions in civil service posts that it has received from departments that have an associated Select Committee.

Given that planning is still underway and no decisions have yet been made, as well as the sensitivities involved, it would not be appropriate to share departmental scenario planning. We are committed to a robust process of scrutiny and challenge in the months ahead, including focusing on impacts on public services, and will engage more broadly at the appropriate time.

13th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, on what dates (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have met with the (i) PCS, (ii) Prospect and (iii) First Division Association civil service trades unions since the publication of the Civil Service Pay Remit guidance 2022 to 2023 on 31 March 2022.

There have been numerous meetings between officials and national representatives of PCS, Prospect, FDA and other Trade Unions on a wide range of Civil Service wide workforce matters, including pay and the proposed reductions, since that date.

Specific dates where meetings have taken place are:

7th April

11th April

12th April

17th April

20th April

25th April

28th April

12th May

17th May

31st May

16th June

27th June

30th June

14th July

13th Jul 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have met with the (i) PCS, (ii) Prospect and (iii) First Division Association civil service trades unions to formally consult those trade unions on the proposal to reduce civil service jobs by 91,000 over three years.

There have been numerous meetings between officials and national representatives of PCS, Prospect, FDA and other Trade Unions on a wide range of Civil Service wide workforce matters, including pay and the proposed reductions, since that date.

Specific dates where meetings have taken place are:

7th April

11th April

12th April

17th April

20th April

25th April

28th April

12th May

17th May

31st May

16th June

27th June

30th June

14th July

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to Statement HCWS756 of 31 March 2022, if he will publish the percentage change in real incomes, at each spine point for (a) his Department and (b) each Government Department, in each year since 2010.

Pay below the Senior Civil Service is delegated to departments. It is for departments to decide on their pay award and how it is structured in light of their own affordability and priorities including considering any recruitment and retention challenges, and to negotiate with their trade unions. The impact on recruitment and retention should be considered by departments when determining their pay award. The pay remit guidance is a cost control document and allows departments to seek further flexibility for a pay award above the headline award, as demonstrated by recent pay deals in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Ministry of Justice.

This year’s pay remit guidance is framed by the commitment of this Government to deliver on its extensive agenda that will require reform of the capacity and capability of the Civil Service. It is important that public sector pay awards are affordable, as well as fair to both staff and the taxpayer.

The pay remit guidance considers economic conditions while balancing the need for sustainable public finances. The government will continue to prioritise the lowest paid, and has accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations to increase the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 per hour from April 2022.

The Cabinet Office publishes summary figures on salaries across the Civil Service as part of the Civil Service Statistics publications. Median salaries by grade and department since 2010 can be found in Table 25 of this publication:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/civil-service-statistics.

The Cabinet Office does not hold complete data on the delegated pay structures across all Departments, such as ‘spine points’. These have previously been part of the Civil Service pay framework, but are no longer a feature of the pay system for most Civil Service organisations.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Written Statement of 3 February 2021, HCWS756 on Billing Authorities Update, what metrics his Department has used to ensure that the Civil Service Pay Remit guidance 2022 to 2023 rewards hard-working staff fairly.

Pay below the Senior Civil Service is delegated to departments. It is for departments to decide on their pay award and how it is structured in light of their own affordability and priorities including considering any recruitment and retention challenges, and to negotiate with their trade unions. The impact on recruitment and retention should be considered by departments when determining their pay award. The pay remit guidance is a cost control document and allows departments to seek further flexibility for a pay award above the headline award, as demonstrated by recent pay deals in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Ministry of Justice.

This year’s pay remit guidance is framed by the commitment of this Government to deliver on its extensive agenda that will require reform of the capacity and capability of the Civil Service. It is important that public sector pay awards are affordable, as well as fair to both staff and the taxpayer.

The pay remit guidance considers economic conditions while balancing the need for sustainable public finances. The government will continue to prioritise the lowest paid, and has accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations to increase the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 per hour from April 2022.

The Cabinet Office publishes summary figures on salaries across the Civil Service as part of the Civil Service Statistics publications. Median salaries by grade and department since 2010 can be found in Table 25 of this publication:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/civil-service-statistics.

The Cabinet Office does not hold complete data on the delegated pay structures across all Departments, such as ‘spine points’. These have previously been part of the Civil Service pay framework, but are no longer a feature of the pay system for most Civil Service organisations.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Written Statement of 3 February 2021, HCWS756 on Billing Authorities Update, what steps he is taking to measure the impact of the 2 per cent average pay award in the Civil Service Pay Remit guidance 2022 to 2023 on attracting high quality applicants to the Civil Service.

Pay below the Senior Civil Service is delegated to departments. It is for departments to decide on their pay award and how it is structured in light of their own affordability and priorities including considering any recruitment and retention challenges, and to negotiate with their trade unions. The impact on recruitment and retention should be considered by departments when determining their pay award. The pay remit guidance is a cost control document and allows departments to seek further flexibility for a pay award above the headline award, as demonstrated by recent pay deals in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Ministry of Justice.

This year’s pay remit guidance is framed by the commitment of this Government to deliver on its extensive agenda that will require reform of the capacity and capability of the Civil Service. It is important that public sector pay awards are affordable, as well as fair to both staff and the taxpayer.

The pay remit guidance considers economic conditions while balancing the need for sustainable public finances. The government will continue to prioritise the lowest paid, and has accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations to increase the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 per hour from April 2022.

The Cabinet Office publishes summary figures on salaries across the Civil Service as part of the Civil Service Statistics publications. Median salaries by grade and department since 2010 can be found in Table 25 of this publication:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/civil-service-statistics.

The Cabinet Office does not hold complete data on the delegated pay structures across all Departments, such as ‘spine points’. These have previously been part of the Civil Service pay framework, but are no longer a feature of the pay system for most Civil Service organisations.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of (a) value for money and (b) supplier performance for each Government contract issued in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The private sector has played a vital role in the government’s response to the covid-19 outbreak. Being able to procure at speed has been critical in providing the government's response, however we have been clear that all contracts, including those designed to tackle coronavirus issues, must continue to offer quality public services and achieve value for money for taxpayers.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the Government’s policy is on tariffs on goods entering Northern Ireland in the event that the dual UK and EU tariff system is not ready by 1 January 2021.

I refer the hon. Members to the answer given to PQ 71822 answered on 15 July 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken to ensure enhanced monitoring of contracts awarded using the exemptions in Regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 during the covid-19 outbreak.

Details of central government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

The Government has rigorous controls in place to challenge spend robustly and ensure that the actions of central government contracting authorities are open, fair and transparent.

24th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many contracts awarded using the exemptions in Regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 during the covid-19 outbreak have been published more than 20 days after being awarded.

Details of central government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

The Government has rigorous controls in place to challenge spend robustly and ensure that the actions of central government contracting authorities are open, fair and transparent.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the (a) (i) content and (ii) value was of and (b) process was for contracts awarded to (A) Deloitte, (B) KPMG, (C) Serco, (D) Sodexo, (E) Mitie, (F) Boots and (G) Palantir in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Details of central government contracts above £10,000 are published on Contracts Finder: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Search

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of the Electoral Commission's recommendations that the May 2020 elections be postponed; and if he will make a statement.

Further to the Written Ministerial Statement HCWS174 which I laid on 19 March 2020, The Government has confirmed local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections that were due to take place in May this year will be postponed until May 2021.

The decision was taken following advice from the Government’s medical experts in relation to the response to the Covid-19 virus and the advice of those delivering elections.

12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to her oral answer of 30 November 2023 on Arms Export Licences: Israel, Official Report column 1050, if her Department will publish the (a) classification and description of the goods, (b) stated end use and (c) licence type including (i) direct transfers and (ii) transfers via third countries of the 114 standard individual export licences granted for sale of military goods to Israel last year.

HM Government publishes data on export licensing decisions on a quarterly basis in the Official Statistics on GOV.UK, including data on outcome, end user destination, overall value, type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. This data also specifies whether the goods covered by a particular licence are for ultimate use by the destination country or whether the goods are due to be incorporated into another product for use by a third-party destination (ie incorporation licences).

This data is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data.

The most recent publication was on 30th August 2023, and covered the period 1st January – 31st March 2023. Information covering 1st April – 30th June 2023 will be published on 16th January 2024.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if her Department will publish an assessment of whether UK-produced military goods components have been used in military activity in the (a) Israel-Hamas conflict and (b) West Bank since 7 October 2023.

The government continues to monitor closely the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria. We will not issue an export licence to any destination where to do so would be inconsistent with the Criteria.

Licences are kept under careful and continual review as standard and we are able to amend, suspend or revoke extant licences, or refuse new licence applications, as circumstances require.

In the event such decisions were taken, for any licences, we would issue a Notification to Exporters.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department has held discussions with the German government on the impact of firework free zones on firework sale and use in Germany.

The Department for Business and Trade has not held discussions with the German Government on the impact of fireworks free zones on firework sale and use in Germany.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department has held discussions with the Scottish Government on the impact of measures to control firework sale and use under the Fireworks and Pyrotechnics Articles Act (Scotland) 2022.

The UK Government has held discussions with the Scottish Government on the impact of measures to control firework sale and use under the Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles (Scotland) Act 2022 and we continue to engage with them on this matter.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether her Department is taking steps to encourage employers to offer (a) leave and (b) pay for neonatal care before the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 comes into force.

The Government is committed to introducing Neonatal Care Leave and Pay as soon as possible. Once in place, up to 12 weeks of paid leave will be available to all eligible parents of babies who are admitted into neonatal care.

The Government encourages employers to respond with compassion and understanding to any employee who is dealing with the challenge of having a child in neonatal care. It will be up to individual employers to consider whether they can offer leave or pay to their employees before the Act comes into force.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the 1 January 2024 Ofgem price cap increase on the number of households in fuel poverty.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has not yet assessed the potential impact of the Ofgem price cap increase on the number of fuel poor households. Updated fuel poverty estimates for England will be published in February.

The price cap announcement means prices will be lower than at the start of 2023.

The Government continues to provide targeted financial support to vulnerable households through the Cost of Living Payments, Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment.

Multiple targeted energy efficiency schemes remain in place to deliver measures to fuel poor households including the Energy Company Obligation.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of the 1 January 2024 Ofgem price cap increase on the number of households that require additional support for fuel bills.

The Government frequently assesses the merits of energy cost support policies and the impacts various policy ideas would have on the most vulnerable households.

Energy prices have significantly fallen in the past year alone and the Q1 2024 price cap of £1,928 has more than halved compared to the previous year when the Q1 2023 price cap peaked at £4,279.

The Government also recognises the challenges posed by cost-of-living pressures, including the impact of energy bills, and is already providing extensive financial support to households. This includes a package of support to assist households and individuals with rising costs of living that will total over £104 billion, or £3,700 per household on average, over 2022-2025. Millions of vulnerable households will receive up to £900 in further Cost of Living Payments.


These payments are in addition to established financial support which is available for low income and vulnerable households this winter through the Winter Fuel Payment worth between £250 - £600 and the Cold Weather Payment providing £25 during very cold weather. The Government continues to provide support through the Warm Home Discount, which provides low-income and vulnerable households with an annual £150 rebate off their energy bill every winter.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether she has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of introducing a social tariff on energy as a result of the Ofgem price cap increase from 1 January 2024.

The Government recognises the challenges posed by cost-of-living pressures, including the impact of energy bills, and is already providing extensive financial support to households. This includes a package of support to assist households and individuals with rising costs of living that will total over £104 billion, or £3,700 per household on average, over 2022-2025.

As cost-of-living pressures decrease, the Government is continuing to support those most in need as prices come down. The Government is providing £900 of cost-of-living payments throughout 2023/24 to help vulnerable households, and this is an increase on the £650 provided the previous year.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what data her Department holds on the extent of energy provider compliance with Energy Ombudsman decisions since 2010.

The ombudsman services are an independent body that provides a free service for energy consumers who are not able to reach a settlement about a dispute with their regulated energy provider. Although the Department has close links to the Energy Ombudsman, we do not directly regulate them or hold the data in question.

The Energy Ombudsman Complaints Data is published quarterly and their Alternative Dispute Resolution data annually which you can find here https://www.energyombudsman.org/reports-and-data

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what data her Department holds on the number of complaints submitted to but not accepted by the Energy Ombudsman since 2010.

The ombudsman services are an independent body that provides a free service for energy consumers who are not able to reach a settlement about a dispute with their regulated energy provider. Although the Department has close links to the Energy Ombudsman, we do not directly regulate them or hold the data in question.

The Energy Ombudsman Complaints Data is published quarterly and their Alternative Dispute Resolution data annually which you can find here https://www.energyombudsman.org/reports-and-data

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of the trends in the number of complaints (a) accepted and (b) resolved by the Energy Ombudsman since 2010.

The Energy Ombudsman (‘EO’) is an independent body providing a free service for energy consumers unable to settle a dispute with their supplier. Although the Department has close links to the EO, we do not regulate it. Ofgem is responsible for appointing the EO and assesses its performance every two years (latest assessment is here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/biennial-assessment-ombudsman-services-under-adr-regulations-2019-2021.

DESNZ ministers meet regularly with the EO and I visited its offices recently. Ministers also meet regularly with Ofgem and suppliers to make clear that the Government expects suppliers to provide a high standard of service and do more to prevent customer disputes.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the total value of all financial remedies from complaints resolved by the Energy Ombudsman since 2010.

The Department has not assessed the trends in the total value of all financial remedies from complaints resolved by the Energy Ombudsman since 2010. The Energy Ombudsman is an independent, not for profit company appointed by Ofgem as the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) body for the energy sector under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes Regulations 2015. Under the Regulations, Ofgem is required to carry out an assessment on the Ombudsman’s performance every two years.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of Time and Trouble Awards issued by the Energy Ombudsman.

The Department has not made an assessment of the adequacy of Time and Trouble Awards issued by the Energy Ombudsman. The Energy Ombudsman is an independent, not for profit company appointed by Ofgem as the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) body for the energy sector under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes Regulations 2015. Under the Regulations, Ofgem is required to carry out an assessment on the Ombudsman’s performance every two years.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding payments were awarded by type of accommodation applied for in (a) Cynon Valley constituency, (b) Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority, (c) Wales and (d) the UK.

The table below provides a breakdown of the numbers of households by accommodation types that were paid or approved for payment under the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) in Wales and the UK.

Breakdowns of the same data at constituent or local authority level would be disclosive.

EBSS AF: Total number of households paid or approved for payment as of 11 July 2023

Region

Wales

UK

Care Homes

1,100

20,740

Farmers

350

7,750

Heat Networks

850

17,930

Home Owner

360

6,590

House Boats

10

2,950

Park Homes

1,800

42,230

Tenants in Council, Association or Temporary Accommodation

890

12,270

Tenants in Private Accommodation

700

21,480

Travellers and All Others

830

16,540

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many households were (a) eligible for, (b) made an application for and (c) received an Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding payment in (i) Cynon Valley constituency, (ii) Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough, (iii) Wales and (iv) the UK.

To deliver the energy support at pace the Department developed working assumptions based on estimates. For that reason, estimates of potential eligible households below should not be viewed as populations of households that were eligible for the scheme – but rather working assumptions used to develop policy and ensure funding was made available to local authorities for them to deliver the scheme in a timely fashion.

Region

Number estimated to be potentially eligible

Cumulative Number applied as of 11 July 2023

Cumulative Number paid or approved for payment as of 11 July 2023

Cynon Valley constituency

Not available

180

110

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough (data refers to local authority)

2,200

390

230

Wales

38,300

10,160

6,890

UK

930,000

216,490

148,480

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to his oral contribution of 3 July 2023 on Road Fuel Prices, Official Report, col 559, what steps the Government plans to take to (a) monitor and (b) assess the effectiveness of the proposed (i) statutory open data scheme for retail fuel prices and (ii) road fuel prices monitoring function.

The Government has committed to consult on the design of the statutory open data scheme and monitoring function for road fuel prices this autumn.

The consultation will consider how to monitor and assess the effectiveness of the open data scheme and monitoring function ensuring consumers have the information they need to shop around and get the best prices.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the letter by Ofgem entitled Open letter on changes in the energy supply market and Ofgem’s approach to regulation, published on 4 July 2023, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the commitment by Ofgem to review the adequacy of the price cap formula.

As the expert independent regulator, Ofgem is responsible for operating the price cap. Ofgem remains the sole decision-maker over how it is calculated and has consulted extensively on the methodology for determining the cap level. The Government always keeps its energy supply market policies under review to ensure they are working for consumers.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the Competition and Markets Authority's report entitled Supply of road fuel in the United Kingdom market study - Final Report, published on 3 July 2023, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of that report's recommendation at para 7(b) for the Government to consider whether further action may be needed to protect consumers.

The Government has committed to consult on the design of the monitoring function, including which public body is best placed to be tasked with taking on this role.

Once the function is established, as the Government has done throughout the Competition and Market Authority’s market study, any reports and recommendations that may emerge from the monitoring function will be carefully considered by the Government.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will hold discussions with relevant stakeholders on the potential impact of using domestic medical equipment on household energy costs.

As set out in the autumn statement, the Government is exploring the best approach to consumer protection from April 2024, as part of the wider retail market reforms. Currently, the government has no plans to provide any additional energy support other than the existing Energy Price Guarantee.

Officials have had discussions with disability organisations, including Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Carer’s Trust, Centre for Sustainable Energy, Citizen’s Advice, Fair by Design, Leonard Cheshire, Leukaemia Care, Parkinson’s UK and SCOPE. As part of this work, they are working on assessing the need for specific support for disabled people and their households.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will take steps to provide support for energy costs associated with the use of domestic medical equipment before April 2024.

As set out in the autumn statement, the Government is exploring the best approach to consumer protection from April 2024, as part of the wider retail market reforms. Currently, the government has no plans to provide any additional energy support other than the existing Energy Price Guarantee.

Officials have had discussions with disability organisations, including Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Carer’s Trust, Centre for Sustainable Energy, Citizen’s Advice, Fair by Design, Leonard Cheshire, Leukaemia Care, Parkinson’s UK and SCOPE. As part of this work, they are working on assessing the need for specific support for disabled people and their households.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of linking the energy suppliers standing charges to number of units of energy used.

Ofgem reviewed the components of the standing charge to see if they could be reduced, including the merits of a volumetric standing charge. Ofgem published the findings of their review in August last year and concluded that retaining the current methodology would protect higher consuming users with greater energy needs, such as disabled users and users with electric heating in areas off the gas grid. As a result, they would not be directing industry parties to make changes to the methodology.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment he has made of the impact of changes in energy suppliers standing charges on the use of energy in low-income households.

How suppliers choose to set the standing charge and unit rate is a commercial decision. However, the default tariff cap, set by Ofgem, puts a limit on the unit rates and standing charges that suppliers can charge for their default tariffs.

In August 2022, Ofgem reviewed the components of the standing charge to see if they could be reduced. Ofgem concluded that, if the methodology for the standing charge were to change, there are numerous high consuming, vulnerable users, such as disabled users, who would pay more. Therefore, retaining the current methodology protects vulnerable users with greater energy needs.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing systems to compare energy suppliers' standing charges to consumers' ability to pay for energy.

Changing standard charges would inevitably create trade-offs. Ofgem recently reviewed the components of the standing charge to assess if it could be reduced. They concluded that whilst some low consuming users might benefit, there are a number of higher consuming users, including vulnerable individuals and users with electric heating in areas off the gas grid, that would end up paying more through higher unit rates. As a result, Ofgem decided not to mandate changes to the standing charge calculation methodology.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps he has taken to develop a Just Transition Work Programme in line with the Sharm-el Sheikh Implementation Plan agreed at COP27; and what consultations have been held with trade unions to date.

The Government recognises that a just transition will support the creation of quality jobs in developing countries and enable enhanced climate mitigation. As such, the Government is working constructively towards a COP28 decision on the Just Transition Work Programme which catalyses increased climate ambition and underscores the importance of supporting workers and impacted communities. Trade Unions are engaged through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 3 May to Question 182453, on Energy: Telephone Services, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a minimum standard performance requirement for the administration of the Priority Service Register by each individual company.

Ofgem, the independently energy regulator, requires energy companies to set up and maintain best practices in supporting vulnerable people on the Priority Service Register and ensure they receive consistent and high-quality priority services in a timely manner. Ofgem constantly assesses the experience of consumers in vulnerable situations and take action to address the issues they face as energy users.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
9th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 3 May 2023 to Question 182452, on Energy: Telephone Services, whether she expects Ofgem to publish evidence of compliance on areas needing improvement.

The Government want domestic consumers to be able to access their energy supplier’s telephone services easily and without incurring high charges. OFGEM has undertaken a compliance exercise with suppliers and the Government would expect OFGEM to publish the results of this exercise in due course.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of requiring energy suppliers to operate dedicated phone lines for customers on a Priority Services Register.

Ofgem rules require energy suppliers and network operators to establish a Priority Service Register of their domestic customers in vulnerable situations and provide a range of services free of charge such as, wherever possible, advanced notice of schedules power cuts, priority support in an emergency, regular meter reading service. The administration of the register, however, is a commercial matter for individual companies.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of capacity of energy supplier customer service phone lines to meet customer demand.

Ofgem is currently undertaking proactive market-wide assessments of energy suppliers’ performance on key areas in the form of Market Compliance Reviews. Their review published on 2 February looked at customer service and complaints performance from information submitted by 17 of the biggest domestic energy suppliers. The review found weaknesses across all suppliers and Ofgem has since communicated the ratings to all suppliers and has started compliance engagement on areas needing improvement.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what recent assessment his Department has made of the extent to which energy suppliers are advising customers to make less frequent use of medical equipment which impacts their energy usage.

Energy suppliers can provide advice on how to reduce household energy bills. They should not, however, advise on the energy usage needed for medical equipment. Consumers in vulnerable situations can access free support services to help manage their energy via their supplier or network.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the guidance by Ofgem entitled Involuntary PPM: Supplier Code of Practice, published on 18 April 2023, whether Ofgem plans to publish inspection reports on each supplier's activities related to involuntary prepayment meter installation.

Ofgem has agreed the Code of Practice with suppliers, consumer groups and charities. The regulator will authorise suppliers to re-start installing prepayment meters only when it is satisfied that the suppliers have the right procedures in place. The Government sees the Code of Practice as a step in the right direction, with increased scrutiny of supplier practices and redress measures where prepayment meters were wrongly installed.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the guidance by Ofgem entitled Involuntary PPM: Supplier Code of Practice, published on 18 April 2023, whether Ofgem plans to publish supplier board reports on all activities related to involuntary prepayment meter installation.

Under Ofgem’s Supplier Code of Practice, Supplier Boards must have regular and ongoing oversight of all activities related to Involuntary PPM. This must include Director level sign-off of reporting provided to Ofgem. It is a matter for Ofgem as the independent regulator, but Government will be watching closely to see that this is enforced, as required.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the guidance by Ofgem entitled Involuntary PPM: Supplier Code of Practice, published on 18 April 2023, whether (a) Ofgem and (b) his Department has adopted standard (i) financial assessment protocols and (ii) decision matrices to assess the ability to pay of any household they have reason to believe has a medium risk characteristic.

Ofgem has agreed the Code of Practice with suppliers, consumer groups and charities. The regulator will authorise suppliers to re-start installing prepayment meters only when it is satisfied that the suppliers have the right procedures in place.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the guidance by Ofgem entitled Involuntary PPM: Supplier Code of Practice, published on 18 April 2023, whether Ofgem plans to make the record of supplier attempts to contact a customer available to each customer.

As per the Code of Practice, suppliers will be required to maintain a record of each attempted contact with a customer. If the customer wishes to request a copy of this record they may do so, but this would be a matter for the customer and supplier.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
21st Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the guidance by Ofgem entitled Involuntary PPM: Supplier Code of Practice, published on 18 April 2023, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the requirement for a supplier to make at least 10 attempts to engage with a customer before the involuntary installation of a prepayment meter.

The Government sees the Code of Practice as a step in the right direction, with better protections for vulnerable households and increased scrutiny of supplier practices.

The Government has always been clear that, action is needed to crack down on the practice of forcing people onto prepayment meters, especially the most vulnerable.

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero will continue to work closely with Ofgem and industry to see that the code leads to positive changes for vulnerable consumers and won't hesitate to intervene again if necessary.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the policy paper entitled Heat and buildings strategy, published on 19 October 2021, CP 388, how her Department will assess whether it is (a) cost-effective, (b) practical and (c) affordable for homes to meet energy performance certificate band C by 2035.

The Government’s 2017 Clean Growth Strategy set out our aspiration that as many homes as possible are improved to EPC Band C by 2035, where practical, cost-effective and affordable. The definitions of “practical”, “cost-effective” and “affordable” will vary depending on the context. Defining these too prescriptively could lead to undesirable outcomes as such definitions may not result in least cost decarbonisation. As a result, the Department does not have a universal definition of “practical”, “cost-effective” or “affordable”.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the policy paper entitled Heat and buildings strategy, published on 19 October 2021, CP 388, whether her Department has made a recent estimate of the number of homes for which it would not be (a) cost-effective, (b) practical and (c) affordable to meet energy performance certificate band C by 2035.

There is no 'one-size fits all' approach to improving the UK's housing stock and whether it is practical, cost-effective and affordable for an individual home to reach EPC C will depend on the context; therefore, no estimate has been made.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department has set a target by which all low-income homes will meet energy performance certificate band C.

In England, the Government has set a fuel poverty target to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable achieve a minimum fuel poverty energy efficiency rating of Band C by 2030.

The fuel poverty energy efficiency rating contains an uplift to the energy performance certificate rating where qualifying households’ costs are reduced through the Warm Home Discount rebate.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department has set an annual target for the proportion of low-income homes meeting energy performance certificate band C in each year between 2022-23 and 2034-35.

In England, the Government’s target is to ‘ensure that as many fuel poor households as is reasonably practicable achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of a Band C by 2030’. The Government has an interim milestone for as many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable to reach Band D by 2025.

The Government set an ambition for all homes to reach EPC band C by 2035 where practical, cost-effective and affordable, in line with the Government's Net Zero target.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department has set an annual target for the proportion of homes meeting energy performance certificate band C in each year between 2022-23 and 2034-35.

The Government has set an ambition for all homes to reach EPC band C by 2035 where practical, cost-effective and affordable, in line with the Government's Net Zero target. Good progress has been made with 47% of homes in England in 2021 EPC level C, up from 14% in 2010.

The Government is investing £6.6 billion over this Parliament on clean heat and improving energy efficiency in buildings, reducing our reliance on fossil fuel heating. In addition, £6 billion of new Government funding will be made available from 2025 to 2028. This provides long-term funding certainty, supporting the growth of supply chains, and ensuring the Government can scale up its delivery over time.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero to the Westminster Hall debate on Energy Charter Treaty on 21 March 2023, Official Report, columns 52WH to 53WH, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of ending the UK's membership of the Energy Charter Treaty.

The UK has been a strong advocate for modernising the Energy Charter Treaty, recognising the urgent need to align it with modern energy priorities, international treaty practice and commitments on climate change. Since the decision to adopt the modernised Treaty has been postponed, the Government has been assessing the situation in order to respond appropriately, considering the views of stakeholders in business, civil society and Parliament. The Government will keep the House informed of developments as soon as it is able to do so.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what assessment his Department has made of the views of stakeholders in (a) business, (b) civil society and (c) Parliament on the UK's membership of the Energy Charter Treaty.

The UK has been a strong advocate for modernising the Energy Charter Treaty, recognising the urgent need to align it with modern energy priorities, international treaty practice and commitments on climate change. Since the decision to adopt the modernised Treaty has been postponed, the Government has been assessing the situation in order to respond appropriately, considering the views of stakeholders in business, civil society and Parliament. The Government will keep the House informed of developments as soon as it is able to do so.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, when his Department plans to make a decision on the modernisation of the Energy Charter Treaty.

The UK has been a strong advocate for modernising the Energy Charter Treaty, recognising the urgent need to align it with modern energy priorities, international treaty practice and commitments on climate change. Since the decision to adopt the modernised Treaty has been postponed, the Government has been assessing the situation in order to respond appropriately, considering the views of stakeholders in business, civil society and Parliament. The Government will keep the House informed of developments as soon as it is able to do so.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2023 to Question 156174 on Warm Home Discount Scheme, whether his Department have asked household energy suppliers to provide an estimate of the number of households who were previously eligible for the Warm Homes Discount and are no longer eligible.

The evaluation of the reformed Warm Home Discount scheme is expected to commence in Summer 2023. We do not collect claimant data from previous years held by energy suppliers, and there are no current plans to compare previous and current recipients in the evaluation.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 9 March 2023 to Question 156174 on Warm Home Discount Scheme, if his Department will make an estimate of the number of households that were previously eligible for the Warm Homes Discount and are no longer eligible.

The evaluation of the reformed Warm Home Discount scheme is expected to commence in Summer 2023. We do not collect claimant data from previous years held by energy suppliers, and there are no current plans to compare previous and current recipients in the evaluation.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, with reference to the quarterly energy price cap update announced by Ofgem on 27 February 2023, if he will make it his policy to reduce the level of the Energy Price Guarantee in line with the reduction of the energy price cap between 1 April and 30 June 2023.

As announced in the Autumn Statement in November, the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) will continue to limit the amount suppliers can charge per unit of energy from April.

In April the EPG will bring a typical household bill to £3,000 per year. As the Energy Price Guarantee is lower than the price cap, households will continue to pay less for their energy than they would have otherwise with no Government intervention. From April the EPG will cost the taxpayer less than planned, whilst targeting support to those most in need.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
23rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what representation his Department has received from Hospice UK on the hospice sector's capacity to meet the cost of energy following the conclusion of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.

The Department has received 3 ministerial correspondences from Hospice UK.

The new Energy Bill Discount Scheme will run from April until March 2024, and continue to provide a discount to eligible non-domestic customers, including the hospice sector.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answers of 11 January to Question 14828 and of 31 January to Question 130110 on Energy: Meters, if his Department will bring forward legislative proposals to require energy suppliers to demonstrate they are acting as a last resort in seeking a warrant to install a prepayment meter in a household with vulnerable residents.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced a five-point plan to tackle concerning behaviour by energy suppliers, including a call for suppliers voluntarily to stop forced prepayment switching. Following recent findings by the Times, Ofgem has asked suppliers to pause the installation of prepayment meters under warrant until they have assured Ofgem that they are compliant with all relevant regulations and obligations. The Secretary of State has asked domestic energy suppliers what steps they are taking to identify consumers who may have had a prepayment meter installed inappropriately, and confirm that where such customers are identified, appropriate action will be taken.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 31 January to Question 130106 on Energy: Meters, tabled on 23 January 2023, what the deadline is for energy suppliers to share the number of warrants that they have applied for in recent months; and when he plans to publish that information.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to suppliers on 21 January. I also wrote to suppliers on 27 January and confirmed that the Government expects to receive the warrant data within two weeks. The Government will examine the data carefully and publish it as soon as possible.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to suspend the right of retail energy companies to seek warrants for pre-payment meter installations while the Ofgem market-wide review investigates the use of such meters.

Ofgem have asked energy suppliers to pause the installation of prepayment meters under warrant until they have assured Ofgem they are compliant with all relevant regulations and obligations.

The Government’s 5-point plan on PPMs includes coordination with Ofgem in ensuring they take a more robust approach to make sure suppliers are complying with rules.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State has asked suppliers to report back on the steps they have planned to identify customers who may have had a PPM installed inappropriately and confirm that appropriate action will be taken in these instances.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how many households in which a resident is (a) a pensioner, (b) under 18 years old, (c) disabled and (d) chronically sick have had a pre-payment meter force-fitted since 1 October 2022.

The Department does not hold this data. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to suppliers on 4 February setting out that suppliers must identify customers who may have had a prepayment meter inappropriately installed, and where such customers are identified, take appropriate action.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 9 January to Question 114831 on Powers of Entry: Meters, if his Department will request Ofgem to (a) make an estimate of how many households in which a resident is (i) over state pension age, (ii) under 18 years old, (iii) disabled and (iv) chronically sick have had a pre-payment meter force-fitted since 1 October 2022 and (b) publish that estimate.

Ofgem does not hold this data.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s recent letter to suppliers sets out that suppliers must identify where a vulnerability, such as the above mentioned, exists among prepayment customers, and take appropriate action.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2023 to Question 124129 on Energy Bills Rebate: Standards and to the Answer of 3 February 2023 to Question 135481 on Energy Bills Rebate: Park Homes, for what reason the opening of the application portal was delayed.

The Government is still working through several aspects of the scheme that are vital for its successful delivery. There are significant complexities in delivering a novel scheme with a wide variety of eligible groups with different energy arrangements. In addition, the Government must always ensure consumers are protected, public money is well spent, including robust verification and anti-fraud checks, and that local authorities are suitably prepared to deliver the support. The online application portal, and accompanying contact centre helpline for those without online access, will be launched by 27 February.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2023 to Question 124129 on Energy Bills Rebate: Standards and to the Answer of 3 February 2023 to Question 135481 on Energy Bills Rebate: Park Homes, what steps his Department is taking to roll-out financial programmes in a timely manner.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) is currently in its pilot phase and is accepting live applications in some pilot local authority areas, which is helping the government and local authorities to refine the end-to-end user journey before full scheme launch. The online application portal, and accompanying contact centre helpline, will be open to all eligible households by 27 February, and the Government is working closely with local authorities to ensure they are suitably prepared to provide this support by this date.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2023 to Question 124130 on Energy Bills Rebate, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of potential delays in implementing the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding programme on household finances.

The Government is committed to delivering support for those households without a direct relationship to a domestic energy supplier as quickly as possible. The Government is working closely with local authorities to ensure that they are suitably prepared to deliver support to eligible households. Further updates on the scheme's launch will be provided in due course and therefore no assessment will be made.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 16 January 2023 to Question 124130 on Energy Bills Rebate, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing compensation to people who have been financially affected by the delay in providing access to the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding programme portal.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) will provide a £400 support payment to those households without a direct relationship to a domestic energy supplier and who have not received this support automatically through their energy provider. As such, these households will receive the same level of support with their energy bills as those consumers who have received their support automatically under the EBSS. Therefore, the Government will not be making an assessment on providing compensation to these households receiving the EBSS AF support.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department has made a comparative assessment of disparities in retail prices for motor fuel in (a) Rhondda Cynon Taf authority and (b) South Wales.

The Government is aware that motor fuel prices can vary widely between local areas. Amongst other issues, the Competition and Markets Authority was asked to look at this concern in the initial market review in 2022. The CMA is investigating this in its market study and will publish its initial findings in an update report on 6 December 2022 that prices are likely to be higher at petrol stations where there are few or no competitors nearby. The Government welcomes the CMA’s decision to investigate these issues further and will carefully consider any recommendations made when it conclude its market study by 7 July 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department has made a recent assessment of policy solutions to local geographic price variations in retail fuel prices.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is continuing its road fuel market study. The CMA’s investigations will focus on the relationship between wholesale and retail fuel prices, factors driving local and regional variations in prices, and the role played by major supermarkets in the road fuel retail sector. The final report, including any recommendations on next steps, will be published in the Spring with the final report published before the statutory deadline of 7 July. The Government will carefully consider the recommendations, as well as looking at pro consumer options, which could give drivers better access to fuel price data.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
25th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of response times to customer complaints on the installation of Government-funded telecommunications infrastructure carried out by Openreach.

The Government follows an established response procedure for any external queries that are received. The Welsh Government is responsible for overseeing the delivery of Openreach’s superfast contract in Wales and should be able to assist with any queries regarding this programme.

Ofcom has imposed measures to ensure that Openreach improves the services it offers by giving the company a number of performance targets. These include commitments for installing new lines on its existing network and repairing faults more quickly. Ofcom has also expanded the remit of its Openreach Monitoring Unit to include issues relating to the deployment of gigabit-capable networks following the introduction of the Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review 2021-2026.

Following the introduction of the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022, which received Royal Assent in December last year, the Government intends to make regulations creating a legal requirement for operators to have a complaints procedure in place to handle complaints relating to their conduct, and setting out minimum standards which this process must meet.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
25th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what recent assessment the Government has made of the effectiveness of the Cabinet Siting and Pole Siting Code of Practice.

The Cabinet Siting and Pole Siting Code of Practice (the “Code of Practice”) was developed in 2016 by the Government, in collaboration with two major fixed-line operators and other interested parties. The Code of Practice provides guidance on ways operators can ensure these installations are placed appropriately, and that local authorities and communities are engaged with regarding the proposals.

The Code of Practice is not mandatory, but the operators who helped develop and are signatories to it carry out a high proportion of all network delivery across the UK. We also understand a number of other operators are aware of, and adhere to, the Code of Practice. The Government has not undertaken any formal assessment of its effectiveness to date, but we are aware that Parliamentarians and constituents have concerns about the approach some operators are taking to deployment, particularly telegraph pole installations. Officials are working to raise awareness and encourage sign up to the Code of Practice across the sector and we will monitor progress.

Separately to the Code of Practice, the Electronic Communications Code (Conditions and Restrictions) Regulations 2003 set out statutory requirements for telecoms operators subject to the Electronic Communications Code. We are focusing our attention on making sure that deployment happens in accordance with these existing regulations so that the impact on communities and the environment is taken into account and that broad support is maintained for the rollout of this critical infrastructure. We do not want to see poor operator practice undermine a programme that will ultimately be of huge value to the people we represent.

With that in mind, I have written to all Local Planning Authorities, asking that they notify Ofcom and provide evidence of any instances where they believe operators have failed to comply with their duties under the Electronic Communications Code (Conditions and Restrictions) Regulations 2003. These duties include requirements to share apparatus where practicable; to use underground, rather than overground, lines where reasonably practicable, with certain exceptions; and when installing apparatus, to minimise the impact on the visual amenity of properties, potential hazards and interference with traffic as far as reasonably practicable.

I have also written to the Chief Executive of Ofcom. As the independent regulator for telecommunications operators, Ofcom is able to investigate and take enforcement action in respect of breaches of the restrictions and conditions contained in the above regulations. I have asked that Ofcom ensure their enforcement powers are used when appropriate and that they keep me informed of any developments.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what discussions her Department has had with broadband and mobile phone providers who do not offer a social tariff on the provision of such a tariff.

Currently, 22 social tariff packages are available from 19 providers, in various regions of the UK, from as little as £10 a month. Based on coverage of the current providers, social tariffs are available across 99% of the country. We continue to urge those providers who do not currently offer a social tariff to consider the steps they might take to bring a low-cost offer to the market. My department engages with the industry on these issues on an ongoing basis.

We have taken steps to raise awareness of the availability of social tariffs. In November 2022, as part of Help for Households (and in collaboration with operators, charities and consumer groups), we launched a marketing campaign to raise awareness of social tariffs, using radio, press and television advertising to highlight that offers are available to households at this difficult time. Ofcom’s latest April 2023 Affordability Report shows that awareness has increased to 47% up from just 16% in January 2022. While we are pleased with the progress, we have also called on the telecoms industry to do more to ensure their customers know about the support available.

Ofcom’s Report also showed that 5.1% (220,000) of the 4.3 million households eligible were taking up a social tariff. This is a four-fold increase from January 2022. There are a range of complex reasons why take up may not be as high as might be expected, including: the availability of existing low cost, commercial packages; the availability of bundled services allowing consumers to save money over a range of products (such as landline, mobile and pay TV); and public misconceptions about the reliability of the cheaper deals.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the number of applications for broadband and mobile phone social tariffs among households eligible to apply.

Currently, 22 social tariff packages are available from 19 providers, in various regions of the UK, from as little as £10 a month. Based on coverage of the current providers, social tariffs are available across 99% of the country. We continue to urge those providers who do not currently offer a social tariff to consider the steps they might take to bring a low-cost offer to the market. My department engages with the industry on these issues on an ongoing basis.

We have taken steps to raise awareness of the availability of social tariffs. In November 2022, as part of Help for Households (and in collaboration with operators, charities and consumer groups), we launched a marketing campaign to raise awareness of social tariffs, using radio, press and television advertising to highlight that offers are available to households at this difficult time. Ofcom’s latest April 2023 Affordability Report shows that awareness has increased to 47% up from just 16% in January 2022. While we are pleased with the progress, we have also called on the telecoms industry to do more to ensure their customers know about the support available.

Ofcom’s Report also showed that 5.1% (220,000) of the 4.3 million households eligible were taking up a social tariff. This is a four-fold increase from January 2022. There are a range of complex reasons why take up may not be as high as might be expected, including: the availability of existing low cost, commercial packages; the availability of bundled services allowing consumers to save money over a range of products (such as landline, mobile and pay TV); and public misconceptions about the reliability of the cheaper deals.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what steps her Department is taking to raise awareness of the availability of broadband and mobile phone social tariffs amongst those households eligible to apply.

Currently, 22 social tariff packages are available from 19 providers, in various regions of the UK, from as little as £10 a month. Based on coverage of the current providers, social tariffs are available across 99% of the country. We continue to urge those providers who do not currently offer a social tariff to consider the steps they might take to bring a low-cost offer to the market. My department engages with the industry on these issues on an ongoing basis.

We have taken steps to raise awareness of the availability of social tariffs. In November 2022, as part of Help for Households (and in collaboration with operators, charities and consumer groups), we launched a marketing campaign to raise awareness of social tariffs, using radio, press and television advertising to highlight that offers are available to households at this difficult time. Ofcom’s latest April 2023 Affordability Report shows that awareness has increased to 47% up from just 16% in January 2022. While we are pleased with the progress, we have also called on the telecoms industry to do more to ensure their customers know about the support available.

Ofcom’s Report also showed that 5.1% (220,000) of the 4.3 million households eligible were taking up a social tariff. This is a four-fold increase from January 2022. There are a range of complex reasons why take up may not be as high as might be expected, including: the availability of existing low cost, commercial packages; the availability of bundled services allowing consumers to save money over a range of products (such as landline, mobile and pay TV); and public misconceptions about the reliability of the cheaper deals.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, if she will make an estimate of the number of households that are eligible for broadband and mobile phone social tariffs in (a) Cynon Valley constituency, (b) Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority and (c) Wales.

The Government has worked with industry to bring a range of low-cost, high quality broadband and mobile social tariffs to the market, starting from just £10 per month, available in 99% of the country.

Providers vary on their eligibility criteria for their social tariffs, therefore we do not hold the exact data regarding those eligible in the requested areas. However, receipt of Universal Credit is the most common eligibility criterion across providers. The Department for Work and Pensions Portal Stat-Xplore includes data on the number of people claiming Universal Credit, and this shows that there were approximately 6,000 households in Cynon Valley Parliamentary Constituency, 17,000 households in Rhondda Cynon Taf Local Authority and 215,000 households in Wales in this category in November 2022. This provides a useful proxy for social tariffs eligibility in those areas.

The Department does not hold data relating to take-up in any geographical area. However, Ofcom’s Affordability Report (April Update) showed that 5.1% (220,000) of the 4.3 million households eligible were taking up a social tariff nationally. This represents a four-fold increase from January 2022.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a cap on mid-contract price rises for broadband and mobile phone providers.

We recognise that this is a difficult time for families across the country who are struggling to pay their bills as a result of the global rise in the cost of living.

The sector remains highly competitive and UK consumers currently access some of the lowest broadband and mobile pricing in Western Europe. To support low-income households stay connected, my department has negotiated a range of high-quality, low-cost social tariffs for households in receipt of Universal Credit and other means tested benefits from as little as £10 per month. These are available in 99% of the UK.

In addition, leaders from broadband and mobile operators agreed on a set of industry commitments to help people through the global rise in the cost of living. These include manageable payment plans and allowing households, who may be mid-contract but struggling with their bills, to switch to cheaper packages without penalty.

On 23 January, as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, met with Chief Executives from major broadband providers and made clear her concerns about the impact price rises may have on those who are struggling due to the rise in the cost of living.

On 9 February 2023, Ofcom launched a review into the transparency of in-contract price rises. We will examine Ofcom’s findings once they are published.

22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of reviewing mid-contract price rises for broadband and mobile phone providers.

We recognise that this is a difficult time for families across the country who are struggling to pay their bills as a result of the global rise in the cost of living.

The sector remains highly competitive and UK consumers currently access some of the lowest broadband and mobile pricing in Western Europe. To support low-income households stay connected, my department has negotiated a range of high-quality, low-cost social tariffs for households in receipt of Universal Credit and other means tested benefits from as little as £10 per month. These are available in 99% of the UK.

In addition, leaders from broadband and mobile operators agreed on a set of industry commitments to help people through the global rise in the cost of living. These include manageable payment plans and allowing households, who may be mid-contract but struggling with their bills, to switch to cheaper packages without penalty.

On 23 January, as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, met with Chief Executives from major broadband providers and made clear her concerns about the impact price rises may have on those who are struggling due to the rise in the cost of living.

On 9 February 2023, Ofcom launched a review into the transparency of in-contract price rises. We will examine Ofcom’s findings once they are published.

23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister on 23 January 2023, whether his Department has conducted an assessment to compare the potential effect of customers of his call for suppliers to voluntarily stop the practice of forced prepayment switching with requiring energy suppliers by regulation to stop forced prepayment switching.

The Government is focused on helping energy customers, especially those in vulnerable circumstances, through the cost-of-living crisis. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s call for suppliers to stop voluntarily the practice of forced prepayment switching is one part of the 5-point plan on prepayment meters. A blanket ban on prepayment meter switching as a last resort could lead to an increase in bailiff action and physical disconnections. The Government has no plans to remove this option.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister on 23 January 2023, if he will publish a list of supplier redemption rates for the Energy Bills Support Scheme vouchers.

In the first 3 months of the Energy Bills Support Scheme energy suppliers issued 6,020,560 (99%) vouchers to customers with traditional prepayment meters, of which 4,261,940 (71%) had been redeemed by end December, an increase from 66% in the previous month.

Supplier redemption rates have now been published. Full details are here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/energy-bills-support-scheme-payments-made-by-electricity-suppliers-to-customers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2023 to Question 114828 on Powers of Entry: Meters, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of amending legislation to require energy suppliers to demonstrate that they are acting as a last resort in seeking a warrant to install a prepayment meter.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has set out a 5-point plan on prepayment meters including coordination with Ofgem to ensure that it takes a more robust approach to the protection of vulnerable customers and conducts a review to make sure energy suppliers are complying with rules.

Additionally, the Secretary of State is working with Ofgem and my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice to ensure that the process by which suppliers bring cases to court to obtain a warrant is fair, transparent and supports vulnerable customers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister on 23 January 2023, if he will publish supplier data on the number of warrant applications that have been made to forcibly enter homes to install energy prepayment meters.

As part of my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s 5-point plan regarding prepayment meters, he has written to energy suppliers asking that they share the number of warrants that they have applied for in recent months, and Ofgem has encouraged suppliers to be fully transparent with their data around prepayment meter warrants.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister on 23 January 2023, whether his Department has proposed specific levels of additional credit and debt forgiveness that energy suppliers have been asked to consider to help consumers in payment difficulties.

The Department has not proposed specific levels of additional credit and debt forgiveness. I discussed matters related to support for energy customers on prepayment meters with stakeholders, including energy supply companies, at a roundtable on Wednesday 25 January.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister on 23 January 2023, if he will publish his letter to energy suppliers of 22 January 2023.

The letter from my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State to energy suppliers has been published and is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/business-secretary-warns-energy-suppliers-to-end-mistreatment-of-customers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons his Department did not submit an Impact Assessment for the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill to the Regulatory Policy Committee in advance of its First Reading.

The Department is currently finalising an impact assessment of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill. This will be published shortly.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to his oral contribution of 16 January 2023, Official Report, column 55, if he will publish details of all ministerial meetings held by his Department with representatives of the International Labour Organisation since 2010.

The Department has not had any meetings or correspondence with the ILO about this specific legislation. However, the ILO has been clear over many years that minimum service levels can be appropriate in public services of fundamental public importance. Accordingly many countries in Europe and around the world who are signatories to the ILO have had these in place for many years.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to his oral contribution of 16 January 2023, Official Report column 55, whether he has had discussions with the International Labour Organisation on introducing minimum service levels in workplaces.

The Department has not had any meetings or correspondence with the ILO about this specific legislation. However, the ILO has been clear over many years that minimum service levels can be appropriate in public services of fundamental public importance. Accordingly many countries in Europe and around the world who are signatories to the ILO have had these in place for many years.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has submitted an Impact Assessment for the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill to the Regulatory Policy Committee.

The Department is currently finalising an impact assessment of the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill. This will be published shortly.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of establishing delivery service targets for parcel operators other than Royal Mail.

The Postal Services Act 2011 designates Ofcom as the independent regulator for the postal sector with the powers to impose and enforce regulatory requirements on postal operators to fulill its functions in relation to postal services.

In its review of postal regulation in 2022, Ofcom committed to ongoing monitoring of operators’ performance and keep under review the need for additional regulation to protect consumers.

The Government has no plans to seek change to the statutory requirements in this sector.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of increased regulation in the private parcel market to ensure user needs are being met by the market.

The Postal Services Act 2011 designates Ofcom as the independent regulator for the postal sector with the powers to impose and enforce regulatory requirements on postal operators to fulill its functions in relation to postal services.

In its review of postal regulation in 2022, Ofcom committed to ongoing monitoring of operators’ performance and keep under review the need for additional regulation to protect consumers.

The Government has no plans to seek change to the statutory requirements in this sector.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of reviewing the regulation of the parcel delivery sector in order to increase public satisfaction with that sector.

The Postal Services Act 2011 designates Ofcom as the independent regulator for the postal sector with the powers to impose and enforce regulatory requirements on postal operators to fulill its functions in relation to postal services.

In its review of postal regulation in 2022, Ofcom committed to ongoing monitoring of operators’ performance and keep under review the need for additional regulation to protect consumers.

The Government has no plans to seek change to the statutory requirements in this sector.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of reviewing the regulation of the parcel delivery sector in response to the recent performance of companies operating in that sector.

The Postal Services Act 2011 designates Ofcom as the independent regulator for the postal sector with the powers to impose and enforce regulatory requirements on postal operators to fulill its functions in relation to postal services.

In its review of postal regulation in 2022, Ofcom committed to ongoing monitoring of operators’ performance and keep under review the need for additional regulation to protect consumers.

The Government has no plans to seek change to the statutory requirements in this sector.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of publishing service performance against expectations targets for (a) Royal Mail and (b) non-Universal Service Obligation parcel operators.

The Postal Services Act 2011 designates Ofcom as the independent regulator for the postal sector with the powers to impose and enforce regulatory requirements on postal operators to fulill its functions in relation to postal services. The Government has no plans to seek change to the statutory requirements in this sector.

Ofcom requires Royal Mail to publish quarterly reports and an annual summary of its performance against its delivery standards.

In its review of postal regulation in 2022, Ofcom committed to ongoing monitoring of operators’ performance and keep under review the need for additional regulation to protect consumers.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the maximum timescale is for households to receive a payment upon completion of an application in the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding application portal.

Applications for the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) are expected to open later in January and be available until the end of April. Those who are eligible for the EBSS AF will need to submit a short form via the Government's GOV.UK pages. These details will be shared with local authorities across England, Scotland, and Wales, which will deliver the one-off, non-repayable support this winter. The exact date that an eligible household will receive support will depend on when the application is made and when the payment can be processed by the relevant local authority.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department will take to maximise uptake of payments under the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding scheme.

On 19th December, the Government publicly announced that the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding (EBSS AF) will launch in January 2023 to eligible households in Great Britain. The Government will communicate when the new scheme is live and work closely with stakeholder groups and representative bodies to ensure those eligible are made fully aware of the offer and encouraged to apply.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
16th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact on household finances of any delay in implementing the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding programme.

The Department has made no such assessment. However, the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding will provide support of £400 for energy bills for around 900,000 households without a relationship to a domestic electricity supplier. On 19 December the Government announced that the application portal is due to go live in January, with the one-off, non-repayable support being delivered by local authorities. The exact date that an eligible household will receive support will depend on when the application is made and when the payment can be processed by the relevant local authority.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he is taking steps to ensure that company directors whose businesses close due to insolvent liquidation cannot re-open under a different company name.

Directors of an insolvent business may run a similar business unless they are prevented from doing so, such as due to being disqualified or subject to a bankruptcy order.

Where the system is abused, for example where a director repeatedly causes harm to creditors the Insolvency Service will investigate and, where there is evidence and it is in the public interest, bring disqualification proceedings or take prosecution action against a director.

The Government is constantly seeking to improve protections to creditors and consumers. Last year, new powers were introduced to allow for the investigation and disqualification of former directors of dissolved companies, which will deter delinquent directors from abusing the dissolution process to leave creditors unpaid.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons might an individual be refused application to join a Priority Services Register.

Ofgem requires all energy suppliers to provide and maintain a Priority Services Register for eligible vulnerable consumers. Ofgem provides details of those that are eligible for the Priority Services Register on their website: www.ofgem.gov.uk/get-help-your-supplier-priority-services-register.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to monitor (a) the numbers of and (b) reasons for refused applications to the Priority Services Register.

The Government does not monitor the Priority Services Register. Ofgem requires all energy suppliers to provide and maintain a Priority Services Register for eligible vulnerable consumers. Ofgem provides details of those that are eligible for the Priority Services Register on their website: www.ofgem.gov.uk/get-help-your-supplier-priority-services-register

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much his Department spent on (a) advertising the availability of and (b) registration of individuals onto a utilities Priority Services Register.

Condition 26 of Ofgem’s gas and electricity supply licence conditions requires suppliers to identify consumers who are eligible for the Priority Service Register and offer to add any or all of the Minimum Details to the Priority Services Register during interactions.

Details regarding the PSR are available to the public on Ofgem’s website, which can be accessed here: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/get-help-your-supplier-priority-services-register

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to help register people onto a utilities Priority Services Register.

Condition 26 of Ofgem’s gas and electricity supply licence conditions requires suppliers to identify consumers who are eligible for the Priority Service Register and offer to add any or all of the Minimum Details to the Priority Services Register during interactions.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many people are on a Priority Services Register and for which utility company in (a) Cynon Valley constituency, (b) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority and (c) Wales.

The Government does not collect this data. According to Ofgem’s statistics, as of 31st December 2021, 406,819 and 347,146 consumers in Wales were on the Priority Services Register for electricity and gas respectively. Ofgem does not collect data at a constituency or local authority level.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department made of the effectiveness of the enforcement of compliance measures by Ofgem to limit incorrect direct debit overpayments by utility providers.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State recently wrote to energy suppliers and Ofgem asking them to do more to ensure the direct debits are being set at appropriate levels.

BEIS Ministers continue to have regular discussions with Ofgem on this and range of other issues.

Ofgem is the independent energy regulator and is directly accountable to Parliament for the performance of its functions.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what record is maintained by (a) his Department or (b) Ofgem of significant incorrect direct debit overpayments by utility providers.

The Department does not have access to customer or supplier data.

As part of its Market Compliance Reviews, Ofgem collects information to assess whether suppliers are complying with their licence obligations, with the accurate setting of direct debit levels being a key focus of such activity by Ofgem.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what data his department holds on the number of energy supply customers whose direct debit was increased by 100 per cent or more between 1 February and 30 April 2022.

The Department does not collect this data. Suppliers should ensure that their billing and payment arrangements are effective and fair. The regulator, Ofgem, monitors and enforces compliance with the licence obligations on suppliers.

Customers can challenge an increased direct debit amount and their supplier must justify how they calculated the new amount and the meter readings they have used.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an estimate of the number of energy supply customers (a) whose direct debit was increased by 100 per cent or more in the period between 1 February and 30 April 2022 and (b) were awarded a goodwill payment; and what the (i) mean and (ii) median goodwill payment was.

The Department does not collect this data. Suppliers should ensure that their billing and payment arrangements are effective and fair. The regulator, Ofgem, monitors and enforces compliance with the licence obligations on suppliers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 1 December 2022 to Question 94849 on Energy Bills Rebate: Rented Housing, whether he has made a recent assessment of the adequacy of Ofgem’s enforcement of its Maximum Resale Price rules on requiring landlords not to charge tenants more than they have paid a supplier for the energy.

Ofgem is not responsible for the enforcement of the Maximum Resale Price. If a tenant suspects they are being overcharged for their energy, they can either make a complaint to the trading standards office or pursue their complaint via the courts. To ensure recent government support is reaching consumers, the Government has introduced new requirements in the Energy Prices Act, which require third-party intermediaries, such as landlords, to pass support through to end users, such as tenants

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 30 November 2022 to Question 93691 on Energy: Meters, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the (a) monitoring and (b) enforcement by Ofgem of energy suppliers' assessments of customer's ability to pay in calculating prepayment meter repayment rates.

There are no plans for an assessment.

Ofgem’s rules require suppliers to put customers in arrears on realistic and sustainable repayment plans. Suppliers are also required to have appropriate credit management policies and guidelines in place and to monitor arrangements for repayment after they have been set up.

Ofgem’s recent Market Compliance Review found that most suppliers need to make improvements to meet their obligations. Two suppliers were served with immediate enforcement notices, and the regulator will also consider whether enforcement action is warranted for other suppliers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the cold weather alert issued by UK Health Security Agency on 5 December 2022, whether his Department plans to issue advice to energy suppliers regarding payment of energy bills support scheme vouchers.

On 4 December, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to all energy suppliers with customers on traditional prepayment meters, reiterating the importance of ensuring these customers receive their vouchers, have clear information about how to redeem them, and receive prompt service and accurate information from supplier call centres.

I met CEOs of suppliers on 7 December to press for significant improvements in their service to these customers. The requirements the Government places on suppliers are clear that they need to make every effort to reach all their customers and ensure a quality service.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 30 November 2022 to Question 93695, on Energy: Meters, if he will require Ofgem to collect and publish data on (a) numbers of customers whose energy suppliers have switched their smart meters from credit mode to prepayment in the past year and (b) numbers of customers who have been left without energy supply as a result of an energy supplier's decision to switch smart meters from credit mode to prepayment in the past year.

The independent regulator Ofgem collects and publishes a range of data on prepayment meters. It has also provided data on the number of customers whose energy suppliers have switched their smart meters from credit mode to prepayment in the past year. I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave the Hon. Member for Newport East on 9th November 2022 to Question 75843.

Ofgem is responsible for ensuring suppliers comply with their regulatory obligations, which include particular protections for vulnerable consumers, or those in payment difficulty. The Government supports the steps Ofgem is taking to ensure compliance, including in response to its Market Compliance Review into customers struggling with bills.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
1st Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions he has had with OFCOM on the delivery of the universal postal service minimum requirement obligations by the Royal Mail.

Ministers and officials meet Ofcom regularly to discuss a range of issues in relation to the delivery of the universal postal service by Royal Mail.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to his oral contribution of 21 November 2022, Official Report, col 35, what steps he is taking to ensure all jobs at the Newport Wafer Fab site are protected following the Final Order notice under the National Security and Investment Act.

The Government understands the importance of Newport Wafer Fab (renamed Nexperia Newport) to the local economy and the South Wales semiconductor Cluster and that this will be an uncertain time for employees. Decisions regarding the day-to-day running of the Newport site is a matter for the owners, but officials will work closely with Nexperia BV to implement the Secretary of State’s decision.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to his Department's decision entitled Acquisition of Newport Wafer Fab by Nexperia BV: notice of final order, published 16 November 2022, for what reasons it was determined that Nexperia BV should sell at least 86 per cent of Nexperia Newport Limited.

Following a detailed national security assessment, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy considered that the Final Order requiring Nexperia BV to divest at least 86% of its shareholding in Nexperia Newport is necessary and proportionate to mitigate the national security risks. The Government cannot comment on the detail of those risks, but they are summarised in the notice of the Final Order which is published on GOV.UK.

Nusrat Ghani
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) (jointly with the Cabinet Office)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many individual bankruptcies were recorded in (a) the Cynon Valley constituency, (b) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority area and (c) Wales in each month in the last year.

Individual bankruptcy data for Wales are sourced from the Insolvency Service case information system. Below is a table of the number of bankruptcies by month in each of Cynon Valley (parliamentary constituency), Rhondda Cynon Taff (local authority) and Wales in 2021.

Information on individual insolvency by location for 2022 will be available in Official Statistics published in March 2023. To ensure compliance with the rules relating to the pre-release of Official Statistics the Insolvency Service is unable to provide the requested information for 2022 until this time.

Month

a) Cynon Valley constituency

b) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority

c) Wales

January 2021

2

4

38

February 2021

1

2

53

March 2021

1

4

73

April 2021

0

0

45

May 2021

1

2

31

June 2021

1

1

31

July 2021

2

6

35

August 2021

2

7

35

September 2021

1

5

38

October 2021

0

2

30

November 2021

1

3

36

December 2021

0

0

20

Total

12

36

465

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many registered company insolvencies were recorded in (a) Cynon Valley constituency, (b) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority area and (c) Wales in each month in the last year.

The data used for insolvency statistics is compiled from information at Companies House and the Insolvency Service, and the registered office address for a company may not be representative of its trading location. Subject to this caveat, the table below sets out the data on estimated company insolvencies by month between 1st November 2021 and 31st October 2022, in the Cynon Valley constituency, Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority and Wales.[1]

Source: Insolvency Service and Companies House

Month

a) Cynon Valley constituency

b) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority

c) Wales

November 2021

2

3

29

December 2021

1

1

36

January 2022

1

1

43

February 2022

0

1

34

March 2022

2

2

36

April 2022

2

2

50

May 2022

3

3

39

June 2022

1

2

37

July 2022

0

0

37

August 2022

2

2

42

September 2022

0

0

35

October 2022

1

1

26

Total
(Nov 2021 – Oct 2022)

15

18

444

[1] Location is based on registered company address at date of insolvency, which may not be representative of a company’s trading location.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of imposing a temporary dividend ban on the profits of distribution network operators.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, uses the price control process to set the amount that Network Operators can spend and the returns they can make on investment. This allows for funding needed for a more resilient, low-carbon network while protecting consumers from excessive costs. The Government engages regularly with Ofgem and the network companies throughout the development of the price controls. The next electricity distribution network price control will commence in April 2023, with Final Determinations from Ofgem expected shortly.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment with Cabinet colleagues of the potential merits of levying a windfall tax on the profits of distribution network operators.

Ofgem, as the independent energy regulator, uses the price control process to set the amount that Network Operators can spend and the returns they can make on investment. This allows for funding needed for a more resilient, low-carbon network while protecting consumers from excessive costs. The Government engages regularly with Ofgem and the network companies throughout the development of the price controls. The next electricity distribution network price control will commence in April 2023, with Final Determinations from Ofgem expected shortly.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many customers have had their electricity supply disconnected for (a) debt and (b) other reasons between October 2020 and October 2022.

Ofgem collects data on disconnections of supply for debt. From October 2020 to end of December 2021 (latest data published) energy suppliers disconnected the electricity supply to 21 customers for debt. Suppliers must only use disconnection as a last resort. They must not disconnect customers in debt unless they have offered a range of repayment options and have exhausted all other means to recover a debt.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many energy customers did not receive at least seven working days notice in advance of a change from credit mode to the prepay method on a smart meter.

The Department does not hold this data. The energy regulator Ofgem is responsible for ensuring energy suppliers comply with their regulatory obligations, including the requirement that suppliers must provide notice of at least seven working days in advance of the change from credit mode to the prepay method on the smart meter.

The Government welcome the steps Ofgem is taking to ensure energy supplier compliance with their obligations, including through their Market Compliance Review into customers struggling with bills.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many customers have been left without energy supply as a result of an energy supplier's decision to switch smart meters from credit mode to prepayment in the past year.

The Department does not hold this data. The energy regulator Ofgem is responsible for ensuring energy suppliers comply with their regulatory obligations, including the requirement that suppliers must provide notice of at least seven working days in advance of the change from credit mode to the prepay method on the smart meter.

The Government welcome the steps Ofgem is taking to ensure energy supplier compliance with their obligations, including through their Market Compliance Review into customers struggling with bills.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what data his Department holds on breaches of the requirement that energy suppliers must provide notice of at least seven working days in advance of a change from credit mode to the prepay method on a smart meter.

The Department does not hold this data. The energy regulator Ofgem is responsible for ensuring energy suppliers comply with their regulatory obligations, including the requirement that suppliers must provide notice of at least seven working days in advance of the change from credit mode to the prepay method on the smart meter.

The Government welcome the steps Ofgem is taking to ensure energy supplier compliance with their obligations, including through their Market Compliance Review into customers struggling with bills.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to enforce energy suppliers' Standard Licence Condition 28 which stipulates that prepayment meters should only be used where it is safe and reasonably practicable.

The enforcement of licence conditions is the responsibility of Ofgem, the independent regulator of the GB gas and electricity markets.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that energy suppliers are (a) identifying and (b) supporting customers self-disconnecting from prepayment meters.

The Government expects suppliers to take proactive steps to identify vulnerable consumers and offer them the necessary support. Under Ofgem’s licence conditions, energy suppliers have an obligation to identify self-disconnecting and self-rationing Prepayment Meter customers proactively.

Ofgem’s rules also require energy suppliers to agree repayment rates with a customer in arrears and to take into account a customer’s ability to pay, when calculating repayment rates for Prepayment Meter customers in debt. Energy suppliers are also expected to provide extra support by making emergency and friendly-hours credit available to all Prepayment Meter customers.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that energy suppliers have policies and procedures to identify vulnerable customers.

The Government has every confidence in Ofgem as the independent regulator of the energy market in Great Britain. Having completed a review of how suppliers support customers in vulnerable situations, Ofgem is working with seven suppliers found to have minor weaknesses in their processes. The ten suppliers found to have moderate to severe weaknesses are required to implement rapid and robust improvements to their processes. Failure to act fast enough may result in Ofgem taking enforcement action. More details are available at:

https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/ofgem-completes-review-how-suppliers-support-customers-vulnerable-situations.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 14 November to Question 79319 on Fireworks: Regulation; if he will make an estimate of the cost of establishing a licensing system for the (a) purchasing by and (b) sale of fireworks to members of the public.

The Department has no plans to make such an estimate of the cost of establishing a licensing system for the (a) purchasing by and (b) sale of fireworks to members of the public.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will require energy suppliers to ensure that Energy Support Scheme vouchers for traditional pre-payment meter users can be redeemed beyond their current expiration date.

Suppliers should take action to encourage all traditional pre-payment customers to redeem their EBSS payment during the scheme month. Replacement credit can be issued up until the scheme closing date of 30 June 2023.

Suppliers have an obligation, and must be able to evidence, that they have attempted to make a minimum of three attempts by at least two different methods to contact customers who have not redeemed their payment – Including at least one month before the expiry of the unredeemed EBSS payment. If a customer requests an expired voucher be reissued, suppliers should comply with the request.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will take steps to ensure that people who use prepayment meters and do not redeem their Energy Support Scheme vouchers before their expiration date are provided with financial support.

Suppliers should take action to encourage all traditional pre-payment customers to redeem their EBSS payment during the scheme month. Replacement credit can be issued up until the scheme closing date of 30 June 2023.

Suppliers have an obligation, and must be able to evidence, that they have attempted to make a minimum of three attempts by at least two different methods to contact customers who have not redeemed their payment – Including at least one month before the expiry of the unredeemed EBSS payment. If a customer requests an expired voucher be reissued, suppliers should comply with the request.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made with Cabinet colleagues of the number of residents failing to pay (a) gas and (b) electricity bills as a result of increases in the cost of living in (i) the UK, (ii) Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority and (iii) Cynon Valley constituency.

Information about customer accounts is held by suppliers, however, Ofgem’s licence conditions include an Ability to Pay Principle, which obligates suppliers to provide appropriate support for those struggling to pay their bills by setting up appropriate repayment plans based on a customer’s ability to pay, and by directing the customer to further support services.

The Government’s Energy Price Guarantee will save a typical British household around £700 this winter. This is on top of the £400 discount off the energy bills of all households and additional cost of living support being provided to vulnerable households.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to page nine of the Explanatory Notes to the Energy Prices Bill, published on 12 October 2022, with which interested bodies his Department held discussions on the cost-plus revenue facility; and when these discussions took place.

The Government has spoken to a wide range of interested bodies about the temporary Cost-Plus Revenue Limit and will invite further engagement through an appropriate consultation, to be launched shortly. The Government has held a series of confidential discussions with a range of low-carbon generator companies who will be directly affected by the policy, as well as with a wider group of generators, retail suppliers, and investors, including via the trade bodies RenewableUK and Energy UK. Discussions have been ongoing since the beginning of September 2022.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to Annex A of the Explanatory Notes to the Energy Prices Bill, published on 12 October 2022, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the cost-plus revenue limit facility on (a) private and (b) public sector investment in renewable energy.

The mechanics of the temporary Cost-Plus Revenue Limit will be subject to a consultation to be launched shortly, with final details to be announced and an Impact Assessment conducted ahead of regulations coming into force from the start of 2023. The Government will set a price that is fair for consumers, taxpayers and industry, recognising the need to ensure the design reflects generators’ investment commitment and risk. Under the scheme, generators will retain entitlements under the Renewables Obligation and Capacity Market.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 28 September to Question 51639 on Offshore Industry: North Sea, whether he plans to undertake analysis of the potential impact of increased domestic gas exploration and extraction in the North Sea on domestic wholesale price specifically.

The Government works closely with Ofgem, National Grid Gas and other key industry organisations to monitor the gas supply horizon and the impacts on the wholesale market. The Government has also set up the Energy Supply Taskforce, which has begun negotiations with domestic and international suppliers to agree long-term contracts that reduce the price they charge for energy and increase the security of its supply.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of including an analysis of global gas production levels in the Climate Compatibility Checkpoint used by the North Sea Transition Authority in its (a) most recent and (b) future licensing rounds.

We have published the design of the Climate Compatibility Checkpoint, along with the Government’s response to the information received in the public consultation. There are currently no plans to revisit this design.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of including an analysis of scope three emissions in the Climate Compatibility Checkpoint used by the North Sea Transition Authority in its (a) most recent and (b) future licensing rounds.

We have published the design of the Climate Compatibility Checkpoint, along with the Government’s response to the information received in the public consultation. There are currently no plans to revisit this design.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of including an analysis of clean energy investment by license bidders in the Climate Compatibility Checkpoint used by the North Sea Transition Authority in its (a) most recent and (b) future licensing rounds.

We have published the design of the Climate Compatibility Checkpoint, along with the Government’s response to the information received in the public consultation. There are currently no plans to revisit this design.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of applying the climate compatibility checkpoint design to the development of existing licenses for domestic gas exploration and extraction.

Development under existing licences is already subject to rigorous examination by our expert regulators. This includes an environmental impact assessment by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED), net zero related assessments by the North Sea Transition Authority which assesses the full societal cost of greenhouse gas emissions of proposed projects and has a clear emissions reduction focus in its stewardship activities.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the compatibility of potential increased gas exploration and extraction in the North Sea with (a) the UK's Nationally Determined Contribution and (b) the Government's Net Zero Strategy carbon emissions reduction timetable.

UK gas production has been declining for some years, and the UK is likely to be a net importer of gas to 2050. New exploration is part of delivering an orderly and net zero compliant management of that decline. Gas produced from the North Sea has a lower global emissions footprint than imported LNG. In the North Sea Transition deal the UK’s offshore sector further committed to 50% production emission reductions by 2030. The Government's Net Zero Strategy sets out how that target is consistent with the UK meeting its Nationally Determined Contribution and Carbon Budgets.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will undertake analysis of the potential impact of increased domestic gas exploration and extraction in the North Sea on achievement of UK net zero carbon emissions reduction targets.

UK gas production has been declining for some years, and the UK is likely to be a net importer of gas to 2050. New exploration is part of delivering an orderly and net zero compliant management of that decline. Gas produced from the North Sea has a lower global emissions footprint than imported LNG. In the North Sea Transition deal the UK’s offshore sector further committed to 50% production emission reductions by 2030. The Government's Net Zero Strategy sets out how that target is consistent with the UK meeting its Nationally Determined Contribution and Carbon Budgets.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Chancellor of the Exchequer oral contribution of 23 September 2022 on the floor of the House, Growth Plan, and the announcement that the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to require trade unions to put pay offers to a member vote, what consultation the Government held in advance of that announcement with (a) the TUC, (b) ACAS, (c) the CBI and (d) any other stakeholders.

The proposals mentioned above will require Primary legislation. The Government intends to bring this forward when parliamentary time allows. The passage of any Bill will give stakeholders the opportunity, via Members of Parliament, to share any concerns or constructive suggestion they may have on this policy.

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the impact of the five pence per litre reduction in fuel duty in March 2022 on retailers of (a) petrol and (b) diesel.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in June carried out an urgent review of the fuel market. The initial findings, published in July, found that retailers of petrol and diesel likely incurred an immediate cost as they cut prices to users but continued to sell fuel previously purchased at a higher duty rate.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
7th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to take steps to reform the remission of accountancy scheme fines levied by the Financial Reporting Council.

The Government Response on Restoring trust in audit and corporate governance, published in May, set out the Government’s intention to legislate for a new statutory enforcement regime for accountants, which would replace the Financial Reporting Council’s non-statutory Accountancy Scheme.

Under the new arrangements, all financial sanctions imposed would be paid into HM Treasury’s consolidated fund in line with the general principles applying to the treatment of fines or other penalties imposed by public bodies in central government.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Written Statement of 23 June 2022 on Business Update, Official Report, HCWS137, whether he has had recent discussions with representatives of the (a) Welsh Government, (b) Wales TUC, (c) CBI Wales and (d) Secretary of State for Wales on the Senedd's Trade Union (Wales) Act 2017.

While we continue to work with the Welsh Government in a number of areas, it has always been the case that employment and industrial relations law is a reserved matter for the UK Government.

It is right that we seek to apply trade union law equally and fairly across Britain to ensure that services, such as train lines, are run as effectively as possible.

21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the outcomes of funding awards provided by the Future Flight Challenge to date.

The Future Flight challenge has to date supported 48 ambitious R&D projects, committing £32m of funding, most of which is supporting smaller businesses. The evaluation is underway, and we are seeing promising signs such as high levels of industrial support, the creation of skilled jobs and several industry ‘firsts’ being delivered.

4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to require energy suppliers to take the burden of increases in wholesale energy price costs when the OFGEM energy price cap announcement takes effect in October 2022.

It is Ofgem’s role, as independent regulator, to set a fair level for the price cap. Legislation sets out that Ofgem must review the level of the cap at least once every 6 months to ensure the cap level appropriately reflects the underlying costs of energy, and the need to ensure that energy suppliers who operate efficiently are able to finance their activities.

The Government has confidence in Ofgem, as the independent regulator of the British gas and electricity markets, to appropriately execute its judgement in this regard.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to mitigate the impact on household budgets of the OFGEM energy price cap announcement due to take effect in October 2022.

The Government is in regular contact with Ofgem and industry to discuss the impact of unprecedented global gas prices and the Government will continue to monitor the situation closely.

The Government are already taking action to support households with rising energy bills. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced a package of support worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23. This includes a £200 rebate for households delivered via their energy bill this autumn, a £150 non-repayable reduction in Council Tax bills for all households in Bands A-D in England and £144 million of discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax reduction.

This is in addition to the support Government will continue to provide through the Warm Home Discount Scheme, which this winter is providing over 2 million households a £140 rebate off their energy bill. The Government has also announced that it would be increasing to £150 and help an extra 780,000 households next winter. Further, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments help ensure the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes over the colder months.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to make an assessment of the impact of the Energy Bills Rebate and Council Tax Rebate ahead of the next OFGEM energy price cap announcement that will take effect in October 2022.

Decisions on the level of the price cap are for Ofgem. The Government is in regular contact with Ofgem and industry to discuss the impact of unprecedented global gas prices and will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure consumers are protected.

This includes a package of support worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23 which includes a £150 Council Tax rebate for bands A-D, £144 million discretionary funding for local authorities and a £200 energy bill reduction which will help over 28 million households.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the statement by the chief executive of Energy UK on 3 March 2022 that household energy bills could be anywhere between £2500 and £3000 in October 2022.

The Government recognises the difficult position that many households are in with the impact of rising energy prices. The rising energy tariffs that consumers may be experiencing is largely driven by increases in wholesale gas prices worldwide.

In order to help people with the costs of energy, the Government has announced a package of support measures:

  • A £200 rebate for households delivered via their energy bill this autumn, paid back automatically over the next 5 years, spreading the increased costs of global prices over time in a way that is more manageable for households.

  • A £150 non-repayable reduction in Council Tax bills for all households in Bands A-D in England.

  • £144 million of discretionary funding for Local Authorities to support households who need support but are not eligible for the Council Tax reduction.

Additionally, the Energy Price Cap will remain in place at least till the end of 2022 to protect 22 million customers on default tariffs and ensure they pay a fair price for their energy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what forecast his Department has made of the potential change in the level of individual insolvencies over the next 12 months.

The Department does not produce any official forecasts for individual insolvencies. The Insolvency Service does, however, undertake analysis to assist with operational planning.

Over the last year individual insolvencies have begun returning to levels seen prior to the pandemic and this trend is expected to continue over the next 12 months.

2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he will take to review the impact of measures undertaken to support the recovery of public houses, within the hospitality sector, from the impact of the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the start of the pandemic I have worked closely with representatives from across the hospitality sector, listening to their concerns and representing their interests across Government. That close working relationship helped shape the Government’s £400 billion package of support for businesses, which included business grants, loans, business rates relief, and VAT discounts.

In July 2021, the Government published a Hospitality Strategy, which aims to support the sector’s post-Covid recovery and create a resilient, dynamic, innovative, and green sector that plays a leading role in local communities, high streets and city centres across the country.

BEIS officials and I continue to work closely with the sector, including through the newly-established Hospitality Sector Council, to address current challenges and help it improve its resilience against future challenges.

2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to specifically support the recovery of public houses, within the hospitality sector, from the impact of the covid-19 outbreak.

In response to the pandemic, we put in place one of the world’s most comprehensive economic responses worth £400 billion, including business grants, loans, business rates relief, and VAT discounts.

This Department has also published a comprehensive strategy to help the wider hospitality sector recover. The Hospitality Strategy focuses on domestic solutions to support the sector’s recovery post-Covid and we aim to build on the sector’s strengths and address its challenges to create a resilient, dynamic, innovative, and green sector which plays a leading role in local communities, high streets and city centres across the country.

The recently established Hospitality Sector Council (HSC) has also been set up to support delivery of the commitments set out in the Hospitality Strategy and identify wider measures to improve the resilience of the sector.

Officials in the Department and I continue to speak regularly with representatives from across the hospitality sector so that we can understand the challenges they face and work with them to boost demand and enabling businesses to trade more flexibly.

8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what additional support is being offered to small businesses to deal with the rise in energy prices.

The Government’s priority is to ensure costs are managed and supplies of energy are maintained. The Secretary of State is in regular contact with the energy industry and Ofgem to manage the impact of high global gas prices and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of number of households currently in fuel poverty in (a) Cynon Valley constituency and (b) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter and different metrics of fuel poverty are used in the Devolved Administrations.

BEIS has responsibility for the measurement of fuel poverty in England therefore no estimate has been made by BEIS on levels of fuel poverty in the Cynon Valley constituency or the Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority in Wales. Such estimates are managed by the Welsh Government.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
4th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of number of additional households likely to enter fuel poverty as a result of OFGEM decision to raise the price cap by £693 to £1971 in (a) Cynon Valley constituency and (b) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority.

Fuel poverty is a devolved matter and different metrics of fuel poverty are used in the Devolved Administrations. BEIS has responsibility for the measurement of fuel poverty in England, therefore no estimate has been made by BEIS on levels of fuel poverty in the Cynon Valley constituency or the Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority in Wales. Such estimates are managed by the Welsh Government.

The Government is committed to protecting customers from price spikes, particularly vulnerable customers. The Warm Home Discount, Winter Fuel Payment and Cold Weather Payment help ensure the most vulnerable are better able to heat their homes over the colder months. Energy efficiency support is also available through programmes such as the Energy Company Obligation Scheme. Additionally, households in Great Britain will receive a £200 cash rebate on their energy costs from October.

The Energy Price Cap will remain in place at least till the end of 2022 to ensure millions of customers pay a fair price for their energy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to prevent rural post office closures.

The Government is committed to ensuring that everyone in the country can access essential services via the Post Office conveniently and locally. The Government continues to safeguard the Post Office network and protect existing rural services through the access criteria that Government sets.

27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many (a) existing and (b) former recipients of the mineworkers’ pension scheme live in (i) Cynon Valley, (ii) Rhonda Cynon Taf, and (iii) Wales.

The mineworkers’ pension scheme is not administered by the Government but by the Scheme Trustees. The Department does not, therefore, hold this information and such requests should be made to the Trustees.

However, I understand that the Trustees have already provided some information on scheme membership, including post codes, to the House of Commons Library. The Library should therefore be able to provide the information sought for existing scheme members.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the capacity of UK textiles manufacturers to produce face masks on a large scale in the event that the Government requires the general public to wear non-medical face masks during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government are in contact with various UK manufacturers and business representative organisations regarding support to boost the availability of non-surgical face masks.

The Government welcomes efforts by manufacturers who are pivoting their businesses to producing non-surgical face masks.

Additionally, Lord Deighton is leading the national effort to produce essential personal protective equipment for frontline health and social care staff. These efforts will support smaller companies to scale-up their engineering , thereby increasing their contribution to the supply chain.

6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what funding has been allocated to (a) FareShare and (b) other food redistribution organisations from (i) the Dormant Assets Scheme and (b) other sources.

Dormant assets funding in England can currently only be distributed to youth, financial inclusion, or social investment wholesalers. Given these restrictions, no funding has been directly allocated to food redistribution organisations such as FareShare.

However, the independent organisations that currently receive dormant assets funding are free to determine the most impactful initiatives in their sectors. We understand that some of their work has indeed benefitted food redistribution organisations. For example, through the Access Foundation, social investment has been provided by the Key Fund to FoodWorks Sheffield, which works to divert food waste and use it to provide affordable food in various neighbourhoods across the city. FoodWorks has grown to save over 500 tonnes of food waste per year, work with hundreds of volunteers, and feed thousands of people each month.

In terms of other sources: since 2018, a series of grant awards have been taken forward by the Food Waste Prevention team in the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to make sure more surplus food is diverted from animal feed and disposal for human consumption. Around £13 million has supported both large and small redistribution organisations across the country to increase their capability and capacity, with FareShare benefitting with around £3 million of grant awards.

During the COVID-19 response, Defra also provided two separate streams of funding to the food distributor FareShare totalling £26.5 million to support food charities with the purchasing and distribution of food to the vulnerable.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if she take steps to (a) reopen and (b) reconsider submissions made to her Department's consultation on a potential change of ownership of Channel 4 Television Corporation.

Channel 4 is a great UK success story and, in a rapidly changing media landscape, the government wants it to thrive in the long-term while maintaining its distinctiveness.

As set out in our recent white paper, Up Next - the Government’s vision for the broadcasting sector, Channel 4 - along with all broadcasters - is facing challenges to its future success and sustainability. This is due to the rapidly evolving media landscape, including unprecedented competition for viewers, programmes and talent from overseas as well as new, rapidly growing, streaming platforms.

As the Prime Minister has said, it is right that we look at the business case for a sale of Channel 4, and the Secretary of State has confirmed she is doing that. We will set out further detail in due course.

The Government consulted extensively on the future of Channel 4 last year and has no plans to reconsult at this time.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether she plans to publish a new consultation on the future ownership of Channel 4 Television Corporation.

Channel 4 is a great UK success story and, in a rapidly changing media landscape, the government wants it to thrive in the long-term while maintaining its distinctiveness.

As set out in our recent white paper, Up Next - the Government’s vision for the broadcasting sector, Channel 4 - along with all broadcasters - is facing challenges to its future success and sustainability. This is due to the rapidly evolving media landscape, including unprecedented competition for viewers, programmes and talent from overseas as well as new, rapidly growing, streaming platforms.

As the Prime Minister has said, it is right that we look at the business case for a sale of Channel 4, and the Secretary of State has confirmed she is doing that. We will set out further detail in due course.

The Government consulted extensively on the future of Channel 4 last year and has no plans to reconsult at this time.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what role the Welsh Government will have in the determination of future funding arrangements of S4C and BBC Radio Cymru, in the context of her statement of 16 January 2022 that the most recent licence fee announcement will be the last.

The Government has committed to maintain the current licence fee funding model for the duration of this eleven year Charter period, until 2027.

We will be reviewing the licence fee funding model well in advance of the next Charter period.

The UK Government has a strong record of demonstrating its commitment to minority language broadcasting to ensure that our broadcasting sector services all audiences of the UK nations and regions.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of connectivity and broadband speeds in (a) Cynon Valley constituency, (b) Rhondda Cynon Taf and (c) Wales.

Current superfast broadband coverage in Cynon Valley constituency is 98% of premises and in Rhondda Cynon Taf it is 98.5%. Coverage in Wales is 95.2%. Further detail on broadband availability is set out in the table below.

The government is now working with the Welsh Government on ensuring progress as quickly as possible to provide access to gigabit-capable connectivity. The government expects that the private sector will provide gigabit connectivity to 80% of the country by 2025 and to support this, the government will continue to work to remove barriers to deployment. The government will also undertake procurement projects under Project Gigabit with public funding to add to this coverage. We are targeting a minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage by 2025 but will seek to accelerate rollout further to get as close to 100% as possible.

2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the independent report entitled the independent review of children’s social care: final report, published 23 May 2022, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of that report's recommendations.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

On 2 February 2023, the department published the consultation and implementation strategy: Stable Homes, Built on Love, which sets out how we will achieve broad, system-wide transformation.

Ireland is not affected by the proposed reforms in Stable Homes, Built on Love, although the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) report contained recommendations for England, Scotland, and Wales. Throughout delivery, we will continue to engage with the devolved administrations across relevant reform areas.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 1 November 2022 to Question 69827 on Carers: Leave, what progress her Department has made on creating an allowance and a new entitlement to kinship leave for all special guardians and kinship carers with a Child Arrangements Order in place.

Kinship carers play an extremely important role in both their kin children’s lives and in the Children’s Social Care system.

The department published the consultation and implementation strategy: Stable Homes, Built on Love, on 2 February 2023, which sets out how we will achieve broad, system-wide transformation. Through this strategy we have made a commitment to implement each of the Review’s recommendations on kinship care.

The department has committed to working across government to explore possible additional workplace entitlements and options for an extension of legal aid for kinship carers with a special guardianship order (SGO) or child arrangement order (CAO). The department is also exploring the case for mandating a financial allowance for kinship carers with SGOs and CAOs in every local authority.

The department is committed to publishing a national kinship care strategy by the end of 2023. This will provide an update on reform activity such as exploring financial allowances. The strategy will set out a long-term vision for kinship care, and detail how we can better support children and carers. The department sees this as a pivotal moment for kinship care and will be an opportunity to make real and lasting change.

Statutory guidance issued to local authorities already makes it clear that children and young people should receive the support that they and their carers need to safeguard and promote their welfare. There is no limit on the level of support, including financial support, that local authorities can provide. All local authorities should have in place clear eligibility criteria in relation to the provision of support services.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact on industrial relations and service provision of a 3.5 percent pay increase recommendation to the School Teachers Pay Review Body for 2023-24, as set out in her Department's evidence document of 21 February 2023.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, continues to work with Cabinet colleagues to seek a fair and reasonable resolution to the pay dispute with teachers. She has made a serious offer to the leaders of the National Education Union (NEU) to pause the planned strikes so that we can talk about pay, conditions and reforms. The NEU, however, refused to call off strike action last week, once again causing disruption to families and thousands of children who missed out on their education.

Teacher pay is set by the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) and the Government respects its independence. The Government published its written evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) on 21 February 2023, giving views and input to help them form their recommendations for teachers’ pay. This evidence sets out how a 3.5% overall award, which includes raising starting salaries to £30,000, would be manageable within schools’ budgets, on average. The Department recognises that this year this judgment is particularly finely balanced, with the possibility that changing conditions, such as an improvement to energy prices, might allow schools to accommodate a higher award.

The Department has asked the STRB to carefully consider this evidence setting out the Department’s views on a fair pay award for teachers, the recruitment and retention challenges, and the impact that pay rises will have on schools’ overall budgets.

The Government values the independent advice of the STRB and the final pay award decisions for the 2023/24 academic year will be determined in light of the STRB’s recommendations.

Pay rises for teachers in the 2023/24 academic year must strike a careful balance between recruiting and retaining the best teachers and recognising their vital importance, alongside considering both affordability for schools and the wider economic context.

The Secretary of State has been clear that her offer to the NEU still stands. It is in the best interests of children, parents, and teachers for the NEU to take up her offer an engage in talks on all areas of their dispute.

19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will review the eligibility criteria for free school meals before the beginning of the next school year.

Education, including free school meals (FSM), is a devolved matter and the response outlines the information for England only.

The latest published statistics from the Department are available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics. The figures show that around 1.9 million pupils are claiming FSM. This equates to 22.5% of all pupils, up from 20.8% in 2021. Together with a further 1.25 million infants supported through the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy, over one third of school children are now provided with FSM, at a cost of over £1 billion a year. The Department currently has protections in place, ensuring that eligible pupils keep their FSM entitlement even if their household circumstances improve.

The Department believes that the current eligibility threshold level, which enables children in low income households to benefit from FSM while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools, is the right one. The Department will continue to keep FSM eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them, as well as continuing to monitor current issues that impact disadvantaged families, such as the rising cost of living, and its impact on FSM.

19th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children living in (a) relative and (b) absolute low income are not eligible for free school meals in each constituency.

Education, including free school meals (FSM), is a devolved matter and the response outlines the information for England only.

The latest published statistics from the Department are available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/school-pupils-and-their-characteristics. The figures show that around 1.9 million pupils are claiming FSM. This equates to 22.5% of all pupils, up from 20.8% in 2021. Together with a further 1.25 million infants supported through the Universal Infant Free School Meal policy, over one third of school children are now provided with FSM, at a cost of over £1 billion a year. The Department currently has protections in place, ensuring that eligible pupils keep their FSM entitlement even if their household circumstances improve.

The Department believes that the current eligibility threshold level, which enables children in low income households to benefit from FSM while remaining affordable and deliverable for schools, is the right one. The Department will continue to keep FSM eligibility under review to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them, as well as continuing to monitor current issues that impact disadvantaged families, such as the rising cost of living, and its impact on FSM.

24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of establishing a right to kinship leave for special guardians and kinship carers with a child arrangements order.

The recently published Independent Review of Children’s Social Care set out recommendations on how the government can better support kinship families. The department is currently considering how we can take these recommendations forward, including the recommendations to create an allowance and a new entitlement to kinship leave for all special guardians and kinship carers with a Child Arrangements Order in place.

The department is rapidly working up an ambitious and comprehensive implementation strategy in response to the recommendations in the Review, which will be announced in due course.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the potential cost of providing kinship carers with a non-means tested allowance at the same rate as foster carers who look after a child in care.

The recently published Independent Review of Children’s Social Care set out recommendations on how the government can better support kinship families. The department is currently considering how we can take these recommendations forward, including the recommendations to create an allowance and a new entitlement to kinship leave for all special guardians and kinship carers with a Child Arrangements Order in place.

The department is rapidly working up an ambitious and comprehensive implementation strategy in response to the recommendations in the Review, which will be announced in due course.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his Department’s policies on (a) the teaching arrangements for religious education and (b) collective worship in primary schools of the judgment of Mr Justice Colton of the Northern Ireland High Court handed down on 5 July 2022 relating to Christian-focused education in primary schools in Northern Ireland.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

The Department has read and considered the legislative framework for teaching religious education in Northern Ireland and is of the view that it is not authoritative on the teaching of religious education or delivery of collective worship in England.

The Department currently has no plans to amend or repeal the legal duty on schools to provide a daily act of collective worship. The Government believes that the law in England is both inclusive and flexible in allowing all schools to tailor their provision to suit their pupils’ needs and it provides a unique opportunity for schools to develop and celebrate their ethos and values. Collective worship also allows schools the opportunity to promote the moral and social development of their pupils in a way that best suits the needs of the community.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to conduct a review of the statutory requirements for daily collective worship in schools.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

The Department has read and considered the legislative framework for teaching religious education in Northern Ireland and is of the view that it is not authoritative on the teaching of religious education or delivery of collective worship in England.

The Department currently has no plans to amend or repeal the legal duty on schools to provide a daily act of collective worship. The Government believes that the law in England is both inclusive and flexible in allowing all schools to tailor their provision to suit their pupils’ needs and it provides a unique opportunity for schools to develop and celebrate their ethos and values. Collective worship also allows schools the opportunity to promote the moral and social development of their pupils in a way that best suits the needs of the community.

18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing an expert body for identifying XL Bully dogs.

We have produced a definition and guidance which have been published on gov.uk to help owners and enforcement officers understand whether a dog should be defined as an XL Bully. Dog Legislation Officers are responsible for identifying prohibited breed types for the purposes of Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and enforcing the ban once it comes into force. We will be supporting the police to deliver additional training to Dog Legislation Officers to ensure they are able to enforce the ban effectively.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make it her policy to bring forward legislative proposals for a ban on live exports before the end of the current Parliament.

The Government recognises the long-standing public concern with livestock and horses being exported for slaughter and fattening. We are determined to deliver our manifesto commitment to end this trade and will be bringing forward a live exports ban as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of existing regulations to protect bee (a) nests and (b) hibernation sites.

There is a wide range of legislative powers in place to protect pollinators. Current legislation includes provision to regulate the use of pesticides; provide protection for honey bee health; protect our best wildlife sites and most threatened species; provide incentives for habitat creation through our new environmental land management schemes and a legal requirement for public bodies to take account of biodiversity in carrying out their functions.

There has been no recent assessment of the adequacy of existing regulations to protect bee nests and hibernation sites, however there is limited evidence to suggest that bee nests or hibernation sites are being intentionally destroyed and therefore we would not look to protect them under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Given bees and other pollinators can be found in, and utilise a range of habitats, protecting such a generalist habitat from destruction or disturbance could have the unintended consequence of making it a criminal offence to tend gardens and maintain land for other purposes.

Pollinators are a priority for this government, and we are taking action alongside many partners to implement the National Pollinator Strategy’s provisions and deliver the National Pollinator Strategy Action Plan which was published in May 2022.

One of the five simple actions to protect pollinators in the National Pollinator Strategy urges all people to avoid disturbing or destroying nesting or hibernating insects, in places like grass margins, bare soil, hedgerows, trees, dead wood or walls.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Written Statement of 10 July 2023 on Future funding for the Canal and River Trust, HCWS924, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the progress the Canal and River Trust has made in securing alternative sources of funding.

Since it was established as a charity independent of Government in 2012 with the clear objective of reducing reliance on Government funding and moving towards greater self-sufficiency, the C&RT’s total income has grown by 11% between 2013/14 and 2022/23, while the proportion of that from the Government grant has remained relatively stable over this period at around 24%. Examples of C&RT’s alternative sources of alternative income in this period include a near-300% increase in charitable donations, a 14% increase in charitable activities income, a 9% increase in trading activity income (boat licences, mooring fees, utilities easements, etc), and a 3.5% increase in investment returns from the investment portfolio endowed by the Government to the C&RT in 2012 that is currently worth over £1 billion.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Written Statement of 10 July 2023 on Future funding for the Canal and River Trust, HCWS924, what performance targets she has set for the Canal and River Trust for its role in delivering her Department's Environmental Improvement Plan.

Following the 10 July announcement of the future Government grant funding settlement for the Canal and River Trust (C&RT) from 2027 to 2037, Defra officials will be engaging with the C&RT in the coming months to agree appropriate monitoring arrangements in relation to a range of Government policy objectives.

The very substantial £401 million of new grant funding for the C&RT between 2027 and 2037 will provide the C&RT with certainty about the level of Government grant funding for its future business planning over the next three years or so, and continue to support the C&RT to maintain its canal network.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the oral statement by the Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries on 25 May 2023, Official Report, column 494, when she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ban the import of (a) dogs with cropped ears and (b) other mutilated dogs.

We plan to take forward measures in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, including those relating to puppy smuggling, individually through other means during the remainder of this Parliament. That is why we would be supportive of legislating to ban the import of dogs with mutilations, such as cropped ears and docked tails, as a single-issue Bill when Parliamentary time allows.

In August 2021, we consulted on proposed changes to the commercial and non-commercial movements of pets into Great Britain.

We are carefully reviewing the feedback from our consultation and wider engagement with stakeholders, and a summary will be published in due course.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it remains her policy that the draft Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars) (England) Regulations 2023 will come into force by 1 February 2024.

We remain committed to introducing a ban on electronic collars controlled by hand-held devices that deliver an electric shock to cats or dogs. Parliamentary business will be scheduled and announced in the usual way.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the oral statement by the Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries on 25 May 2023, Official Report, columns 494 and 495, when she plans to bring forward (a) proposals to raise the age of import of brachycephalic dogs, (b) proposals to limit the import of pregnant bitches and (c) other proposals to stop the illegal importation of brachycephalic dogs.

It is not illegal to import brachycephalic dogs into Great Britain.

We plan to take forward measures in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill individually through other means during the remainder of this Parliament. That is why we would be supportive of legislating to ban puppies under six months (including brachycephalic dogs) and heavily pregnancy dogs as a single-issue Bill when Parliamentary time allows.

In August 2021, we consulted on proposed changes to the rules governing the commercial and non-commercial movement of cats, dogs and ferrets into Great Britain.

We are carefully reviewing the feedback from our consultation and wider engagement with stakeholders, and a summary will be published in due course.

1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department is taking steps to (a) promote the Brachycephalic Working Group Strategy 2022-2025, (b) prevent images of dogs with brachycephaly being used in (i) advertising, (ii) marketing and (iii) social media and (c) help prevent the illegal importation of brachycephalic dogs.

Defra officials participate in the UK Brachycephalic Working Group’s (BWG) meetings to assist in identifying opportunities for improvements and engagement in relation to responsible dog ownership and dog health and welfare. The department also supports the work of the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG) and endorses their Advertising Standards, which can be found here: How to buy a pet - Advertising Standards (paag.org.uk). Defra promotes the work of the UK BWG and PAAG when press or communications opportunities arise.

To support consumers and reduce the opportunities available to unscrupulous breeders and sellers, Defra maintains a national communications campaign (Petfished) to raise awareness of issues associated with low-welfare and illegal supply of pets, which provides a list of red flags for buyers to look out for when searching for a pet online. The step-by-step guide on buying a dog includes a reminder to ensure that the dog’s physical features have minimal adverse impacts on their physical well-being and welfare.

It is not illegal to import dogs into Great Britain solely on account of them being brachycephalic.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether any staff in her Department have full-time responsibility for policies on the use of cages for (a) laying hens and (b) other animals.

Defra has a small team responsible for developing and implementing farm animal welfare policies. This includes examining the use of cages/crates for different species.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many full-time equivalent staff in her Department are working on a consultation on the use of cages for (a) laying hens and (b) other animals.

Defra has a small team responsible for developing and implementing farm animal welfare policies and is currently examining the use of cages/crates for different species.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, from which organisations her Department has received representations on the use of cages for laying hens in the period since the publication of the policy paper entitled Action Plan for Animal Welfare on 12 May 2021.

We have received representations from a wide range of organisations on the use of cages for laying hens since publication of the Action Plan, including the British Egg Industry Council, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, the RSPCA, Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, The Humane League UK, Compassion in World Farming, FOUR PAWS UK, Humane Society International UK, Animal Equality UK, UK Centre for Animal Law, Mahavir Trust, Animal Interfaith Alliance, Christian Vegetarian Association and Catholic Concern for Animals.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she plans to take steps to review the legal requirements to register (a) ownership and (b) breeding of (i) raptors and (ii) other birds of prey.

The Government does not currently have any plans to amend legal requirements for the ownership and breeding of raptors.

24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential implications for her policies of the release of non-native (a) raptors and (b) other birds of prey into the wild.

Release of non-native birds of prey (also known as raptors) in England is regulated by section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA) which prohibits the introduction into the wild of any animal of a kind which is not ordinarily resident in, and is not a regular visitor to, Great Britain in a wild state, or any species of animal or plant listed in Schedule 9 of the Act.

Section 16 of the WCA provides for the release of such non-native species into the wild if it is done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence. Any potential implications of the release would be assessed as part of the license issuing process.

The refreshed GB Invasive non-native species strategy, published in early 2023, follows internationally recognised principles and priorities of prevention, rapid eradication and management, which we are committed to continuing.

23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has made a comparative assessment of (a) food price inflation and (b) trends in the level of profits of (i) major UK food and drink retailers and (ii) major food and drink manufacturers over the last five years.

Defra does not actively monitor the profits of food retailers and manufacturers. Defra relies on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for monthly food price inflation statistics, which stood at 18.2% for food and non-alcoholic beverages in the year to February 2023.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of (a) anticipated pricing decisions and (b) anticipated profits of food and drink (i) manufacturers and (ii) retailers in the next 12 months.

Defra works with stakeholders across the food sector to promote and deliver HMG policy priorities. We do not actively monitor the profits of food retailers and manufacturers.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the implications for her policies of trends in the level of profit made by large food and drink (a) retailers and (b) manufacturers in the last five years.

Defra works with stakeholders across the food sector to promote and deliver HMG policy priorities. We do not actively monitor the profits of food retailers and manufacturers.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if her Department will (a) introduce and (b) expand permissive wild camping rights in each National Park.

Permissive wild camping is a matter for each National Park Authority and the respective landowners. We have no plans to introduce or expand wild camping rights in National Parks centrally.

2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to improve public awareness of permissive wild camping rights in National Parks.

Improving public awareness of permissive wild camping is a matter for each National Park Authority and the respective landowners. The Government is supporting our National Parks to deliver access to nature, including through an additional £4.4 million funding grant for National Park Authorities to support services such as visitor centres, ranger support and efforts to increase access to nature.

5th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of trends in the level of the spread of superbugs into water courses from farms in the last 12 months.

A cross-departmental project called Pathogen Surveillance in Agriculture, Food and the Environment (PATH-SAFE) was established in 2021. It brings together the Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Environment Agency, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the UK Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England) to understand how pathogens and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is spread. PATH-SAFE contains a workstream focused on AMR prevalence in three river catchments and this work will strengthen our understanding of AMR in the environment, including the relative importance of different sources, transmission routes and, the implications are for people, animals, food and ecosystems. This will enable us to increase public awareness and inform effective control measures to protect human and animal health and the ecosystem, through a better understanding of the transmission pathway by which resistance develops and  spreads.

The Environment Agency (EA) have also been working with water companies on chemicals investigations which have included a range of pharmaceuticals and veterinary medicines discharged from treated sewage effluent. The system allows the EA to sift and to screen any chemical substance nominated using, where available, hazard data and environmental monitoring data to prioritise whether a substance may be a possible chemical of concern in England. Many pharmaceuticals are included on this list. Monitoring also takes place for a wide range of pharmaceuticals within the water environment using a semi-quantitative screening methodology.

Background to the work can be found in Antimicrobial resistance surveillance pilot site selection and data-base extension - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and Framework for understanding environmental antimicrobial resistance in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the regulation of canine fertility clinics.

Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, only veterinary surgeons are permitted to perform canine artificial insemination. Any non-vet undertaking canine artificial insemination, including the taking of blood samples, is therefore in breach of the Act.

My Department has not made an estimation of the number of canine fertility clinics operating in the UK and Ministers have not had recent discussions with the RSPCA, the British Veterinary Association or the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on this specific matter. However, the Department is aware of this issue and takes the matter very seriously. Where breaches of legislation have been identified, enforcement action, including the successful prosecution of individuals, has been taken by Defra Investigation Services; where appropriate, this is in collaboration with local authorities.

If a member of the public has any concerns for the operation of a canine fertility clinic they should contact the relevant local authority who has responsibilities for enforcement under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has had recent discussions with the (a) RSPCA, (b) British Veterinary Association, (c) Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on regulating canine fertility clinics.

Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, only veterinary surgeons are permitted to perform canine artificial insemination. Any non-vet undertaking canine artificial insemination, including the taking of blood samples, is therefore in breach of the Act.

My Department has not made an estimation of the number of canine fertility clinics operating in the UK and Ministers have not had recent discussions with the RSPCA, the British Veterinary Association or the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on this specific matter. However, the Department is aware of this issue and takes the matter very seriously. Where breaches of legislation have been identified, enforcement action, including the successful prosecution of individuals, has been taken by Defra Investigation Services; where appropriate, this is in collaboration with local authorities.

If a member of the public has any concerns for the operation of a canine fertility clinic they should contact the relevant local authority who has responsibilities for enforcement under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has made an estimate of the number of canine fertility clinics operating in the UK.

Under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, only veterinary surgeons are permitted to perform canine artificial insemination. Any non-vet undertaking canine artificial insemination, including the taking of blood samples, is therefore in breach of the Act.

My Department has not made an estimation of the number of canine fertility clinics operating in the UK and Ministers have not had recent discussions with the RSPCA, the British Veterinary Association or the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons on this specific matter. However, the Department is aware of this issue and takes the matter very seriously. Where breaches of legislation have been identified, enforcement action, including the successful prosecution of individuals, has been taken by Defra Investigation Services; where appropriate, this is in collaboration with local authorities.

If a member of the public has any concerns for the operation of a canine fertility clinic they should contact the relevant local authority who has responsibilities for enforcement under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will take steps to prevent the (a) replacement and (b) upgrade of incineration plants in England.

Defra has no plans to introduce a moratorium on new Energy from Waste capacity in England. There is no financial advantage for either the public sector or the market to deliver excess Energy from Waste capacity and proposed developments must not result in overcapacity of Energy from Waste treatment at a national or local level. We want to see greater plant efficiency through, for example, wider utilisation of the heat released during combustion in district heating networks.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of updating regulations under existing legislation to regulate use of antibiotics on farms.

The UK Government remains committed to reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics in animals while safeguarding animal welfare.

Changes to the law on veterinary medicines is one of the tools which can be used to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescribing in animals and, as one element of a programme of interventions to help deliver the UK's 5-year national action plan, it is our intention to strengthen our national law in this area.

The Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013 (VMR) set out the controls on the production, distribution, possession, dispensing and administration of veterinary medicines in Great Britain. Over the past year the Veterinary Medicines Directorate has engaged in a comprehensive dialogue with stakeholders about a broad range of changes that we propose to the VMR including new measures to help tackle anti-microbial resistance.

We are now preparing to publish a formal consultation paper setting out our proposals which will provide the opportunity for all affected stakeholders to express their views. Following the public consultation, we anticipate laying new legislation in 2023.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if her Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing a national surveillance programme of the spread of antibiotic (a) resistance and (b) residues from farms into the environment.

A cross-departmental project called Pathogen Surveillance in Agriculture, Food and the Environment (PATH-SAFE) was established in 2021. It brings together the Food Standards Agency, Food Standards Scotland, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Environment Agency, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the UK Health Security Agency (formerly Public Health England) to understand how pathogens and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is spread. PATH-SAFE contains a workstream focused on AMR prevalence in three river catchments and this work will strengthen our understanding of AMR in the environment, including the relative importance of different sources, transmission routes and, the implications are for people, animals, food and ecosystems. This will enable us to increase public awareness and inform effective control measures to protect human and animal health and the ecosystem, through a better understanding of the transmission pathway by which resistance develops and  spreads.

The Environment Agency (EA) have also been working with water companies on chemicals investigations which have included a range of pharmaceuticals and veterinary medicines discharged from treated sewage effluent. The system allows the EA to sift and to screen any chemical substance nominated using, where available, hazard data and environmental monitoring data to prioritise whether a substance may be a possible chemical of concern in England. Many pharmaceuticals are included on this list. Monitoring also takes place for a wide range of pharmaceuticals within the water environment using a semi-quantitative screening methodology.

Background to the work can be found in Antimicrobial resistance surveillance pilot site selection and data-base extension - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and Framework for understanding environmental antimicrobial resistance in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 16 November to Question 77605 on Pets: Fireworks, what steps her Department has taken to evaluate the benefits to household pets and wildlife of reducing the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale from 120dB to 90dB.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy leads on legislation regarding the sale of fireworks. We engage with BEIS to ensure that animal welfare needs are represented in the development of policy. Defra has not evaluated the benefits of reducing the maximum permitted noise level of fireworks for public sale.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether she has had recent discussions with (a) food retail organisations and (b) retailers on the potential merits of establishing a list of staple food items subject to temporary price control measures.

Defra officials have regular discussions with retailers about a range of issues, including the impacts that inflationary pressures have on consumers. However, it is not for the UK Government to set retail food prices nor to comment on day-to-day commercial decisions by the companies but through our regular engagement we continue to explore the measures retailers can take to ensure the availability of affordable food.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a list of staple food items subject to temporary price control measures.

Defra officials have regular discussions with retailers about a range of issues, including the impacts that inflationary pressures have on consumers. However, it is not for the UK Government to set retail food prices nor to comment on day-to-day commercial decisions by the companies but through our regular engagement we continue to explore the measures retailers can take to ensure the availability of affordable food.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government's 2019 election manifesto, when the Government will eliminate plastic waste exports to non-OECD countries.

HM Government has committed to banning the export of plastic waste to countries which are not members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), consulting with industry, NGOs, and local councils on the date by which this should be achieved.

Defra is developing timelines and a proposal for a public consultation and has recently published independent research [1] which was commissioned to inform the policy development process.

[1] https://sciencesearch.defra.gov.uk/ProjectDetails?ProjectId=20615

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what target date his Department has set to entirely eliminate single-use plastic.

HM Government's 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. Avoidable plastic waste is waste that it is technologically, environmentally and economically practicable to prevent from becoming residual waste. Plastics have an important role to play in certain applications and we must think carefully about how we solve the problems that arise from plastic waste to avoid unintended consequences.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to introduce mandatory corporate reporting on plastic reduction.

HM Government currently has no plans to bring forward legislative proposals to introduce mandatory corporate reporting on plastic reduction.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will take steps to establish a moratorium on new incineration capacity in England.

Defra has no plans to introduce a moratorium on new incineration capacity in England.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what target date his Department has set to introduce an all-in deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.

Further details on when a Deposit Return Scheme will be introduced will be set out in a HM Government response to last year's consultation. We are working towards publication in late 2022.

10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to set a target for the reduction of the use of single-use plastic by 50 per cent by 2025.

We have no plans to set a target for the reduction in single use plastic. We want to set an Environment Act 2021 target in the area of resource efficiency and waste reduction that ensures a holistic view to waste and reduces waste overall. We believe that setting a wider reaching target that encompasses plastics as well as other materials will achieve the best environmental outcome as it will prevent switching to other materials which could have a greater environmental impact. To address the significant public concern towards plastic waste, HM Government is taking a range of measures that will contribute to reducing single-use plastic waste, including introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and extended producer responsibility for plastic packaging. We also plan to publish HM Government response on our consultation to restrict further the number of single-use plastics placed on the market.

HM Government recently consulted upon a proposed Environment Act target to cut residual waste kg per capita by 50% by 2042 from 2019 levels. We received over 180,000 responses to the environmental target consultation from a range of individuals and organisations. As required by the Environment Act 2021 (EA2021), we are required to set a target on resources and waste. HM Government remains committed to the Environment Act 2021, and will publish ambitious, achievable, and robust targets soon.

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whjether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of a temporary ban on bottom trawling in Marine Protected Areas whilst it monitors the impact of that practice on designated pilot sites.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a devolved competency and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Marine Management Organisation and the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities assess on a site-by-site basis which fishing activities could prevent MPAs from achieving their conservation objectives. Byelaws are developed using an evidence-led process to determine what management is required to protect sites and to not unduly restrict legitimate fishing activity.

98 MPAs in English inshore waters already have byelaws in place to protect sensitive features from damaging fishing activities and the first four offshore byelaws have now been established. A Call for Evidence on byelaws in 13 more MPAs has recently closed. We aim to have protection in place for all our offshore MPAs by 2024. In July, we also launched a consultation on five candidate Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) in English waters. With the highest level of protection in England’s seas to enable the ecosystem to fully recover, many activities including commercial and recreational fishing would be prohibited. HPMAs would complement the existing MPA network. Any HPMAs HM Government decides to designate following the consultation would be designated by July 2023.

We are developing criteria to evaluate HPMAs from an ecological, social and economic perspective and intend to take a natural capital approach to evaluation. Our arms-length bodies will lead on monitoring pilot HPMAs.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to prevent bottom trawling in offshore Marine Protected Areas while the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction discusses a potential maritime biodiversity treaty.

In line with UN resolutions and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Guidelines, the United Kingdom is committed to working within the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations to which it is a member, to protect Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VMEs) and ensure the long-term sustainability of deep-sea fish stocks in the high seas.

Domestically, the UK is at the forefront of marine protection with Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) protecting over 38% of UK waters.

We have developed an ambitious programme for assessing sites and implementing regulations to manage fishing activity, including bottom trawling, in all 40 English offshore MPAs.

The first 4 offshore regulations have recently been announced and involve a complete ban on bottom trawling in two of the sites, one of which - the Dogger Bank - covers some 12,000km2, and partial bans in the other two where sensitive seabed features occur.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 23 March 2022 to Question 129861 on Poultry: Animal Welfare, whether his Department plans to introduce necessary measures to prohibit the use of cages for farmed livestock before any such legislation is introduced by the EU Commission.

The Government are committed to phasing out confinement systems and supporting the industry to do so, not least to underpin UK food security. However, as reiterated by the Minister for Farming, Fisheries and Food at the ‘End the Cage Age’ debate held in June, we do need to work carefully and sensitively with the pig and poultry sectors as any transition must be done with, rather than against, these industries.

This is an extremely challenging time for Britain’s farmers, with enormously increased input costs — of food, fuel and fertiliser — affecting almost all production systems to a greater or lesser extent, and of course for the general public who are faced with significant challenges around the cost of living.

So, any decisions by Government on this issue, including timing of consultations, must be carefully considered in light of these wider, and clearly highly important, priorities. We have a course of action in play and will progress with our plans to transition away from use of cages in farming systems as soon as the time is right.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what her Department's planned timetable is for conducting a consultation on ending the use of cages and crates in farming.

The Government are committed to phasing out confinement systems and supporting the industry to do so, not least to underpin UK food security. However, as reiterated by the Minister for Farming, Fisheries and Food at the ‘End the Cage Age’ debate held in June, we do need to work carefully and sensitively with the pig and poultry sectors as any transition must be done with, rather than against, these industries.

This is an extremely challenging time for Britain’s farmers, with enormously increased input costs — of food, fuel and fertiliser — affecting almost all production systems to a greater or lesser extent, and of course for the general public who are faced with significant challenges around the cost of living.

So, any decisions by Government on this issue, including timing of consultations, must be carefully considered in light of these wider, and clearly highly important, priorities. We have a course of action in play and will progress with our plans to transition away from use of cages in farming systems as soon as the time is right.

2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 25 May 2022 to Question 3523 on Foie Gras: Imports, if he will set out a timetable to bring forward legislative proposals on banning the import of foie gras as set out in his Department’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare.

As set out in the Action Plan for Animal Welfare, the Government is actively considering any further steps that could be taken in relation to UK consumption of foie gras that is produced overseas using force-feeding practices.

No decisions have been made yet in relation to the import and sale of foie gras. The Government continues to build a clear evidence base to inform decisions and will use this to inform any potential action in this area.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 25 May 2022 to Question 3523 on Foie Gras: Imports, if he will publish a list of interested parties his Department has (a) held meetings with and on which dates and (b) received written representation from regarding legislative proposals on banning the import of foie gras as set out in his Department’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare.

Policy officials have met with businesses, industry representatives and welfare groups to better understand the issues regarding force-fed foie gras and to gather views from all interested parties.

Scott Mann
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Responsible Dog Ownership project has reached interim recommendations ahead of its expected conclusion in 2023.

The Responsible Dog Ownership (RDO) project is ongoing, with conclusions and policy reform recommendations expected next year. The RDO four project subgroups are due to continue meeting throughout the autumn and winter, giving us time to examine each of the Middlesex recommendations in detail. We do not anticipate producing an interim report prior to the conclusion of the project next year.

We expect that the recommendations will address all aspects of tackling irresponsible dog ownership effectively, from prevention to robust, consistent enforcement, focusing on owners as well as on their dogs.

Following proactive engagement with stakeholders as part of the RDO project, this summer Defra worked with animal welfare organisations, the police, local authorities and the devolved administrations to launch a dog safety communications campaign. As part of this, we supported the Canine and Feline Sector Group to develop and disseminate their Dog Safety Code, which incorporates key advice and resources to equip parents and children with the knowledge they need to enjoy spending time with dogs safely.

Scott Mann
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much food waste was generated by UK households by (a) tonnage and (b) amount of greenhouse gas emission in each year since 2010.

Periodic estimates of UK household food waste levels are undertaken by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) with government funding:

  • 2007 – 8.1 million tonnes
  • 2015 – 7.1 million tonnes
  • 2018 – 6.6 million tonnes

The next estimate reporting year is 2022/23.

WRAP have not estimated the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with only household food waste. They have estimated that food waste from manufacturing, retail, hospitality and food service and households together in 2018 was associated with approximately 36 million tonnes of GHG emissions each year.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions his Department has held with food retailers on the need to ensure food remains accessible and affordable.

Defra engages with food retailers on a regular basis and discusses the cost of living issue. We welcome the steps announced by some food retailers to support their workforce and customers. We will continue to explore with retailers the options available to them to ensure the availability of affordable food, such as maintaining value ranges, price matching and price freezes.

We recognise that people are facing pressures with the increasing cost of living and that some people continue to require extra support. From last month, the Government is providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, bringing the total funding for this support to £1.5 billion.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
8th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department holds data on the impact of food price inflation on food insecurity for people (a) with protected characteristics, (b) by age group and (c) by annual income.

The Government recognises the impact that food inflation can have on different groups and regularly monitors consumer food prices using the Consumer Prices Index (including Housing Costs) (CPIH).

To analyse the impact that food price inflation has on people:

(a) with protected characteristics,

(b) by age group and

(c) by annual income,

Defra uses the ONS Living Costs and Food Survey. This provides information on household expenditure patterns and food consumption.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what quantity of waste was exported by the UK in each of the last five years; and what the cost was of exporting that waste.

The total volume and value of waste exported from the UK in the past five years for which there is currently complete data[1] is presented in the table below. Defra does not hold information on the costs associated with exporting waste.

The vast majority of waste exported from the UK is sent for recycling or energy recovery. Exports of waste from the UK for disposal are generally prohibited, apart from in exceptional circumstances where the UK does not have the specialist disposal facilities needed.

UK Waste Exports (tonnes)

Year

Exports for recycling (HMRC trade data)

RDF/SRF[2] exports (Basel Convention National Reporting)

Exports for disposal (Basel Convention National Reporting)

Total quantity (tonnes)

Value (£)

2019

11,373,916

2,490,693

3,609

13,868,218

5,995,868,342

2018

15,843,470

3,365,815

4,281

19,213,566

6,417,928,617

2017

16,431,888

3,470,729

2,117

19,904,734

6,336,497,335

2016

16,265,212

3,543,692

9,446

19,818,350

5,135,146,164

2015

15,294,976

3,354,858

4,260

18,654,094

4,732,206,009

Sources: HMRC trade data and Basel Convention National Reporting

[1] Defra does not have complete data on UK waste exports for 2020 as the Basel Convention National Report is collated at the end of each year for the previous calendar year.

[2] Refuse Derived Fuel / Solid Recovered Fuel

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to reduce plastic waste.

The Government's 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. We are making great strides to tackle plastic pollution across the country. In December 2018 we published the Resources and Waste Strategy, which sets out how we want to achieve this and move towards a circular economy and keep resources in the system for as long as possible.

In October 2020, we introduced measures to restrict the supply of plastic straws, plastic drink stirrers, and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. The single-use carrier bag charge, which has led to a 95% reduction in the use of single-use carrier bags by the main supermarkets, has been increased to 10p and extended to all retailers to encourage customers to bring their own bags to carry shopping and reduce the volumes of single-use plastic being used.

We are also currently in the process of preparing a public consultation on banning single-use plastic plates, cutlery, balloon sticks and expanded polystyrene food and drinks containers, and we will continue to review the latest evidence on problematic products and/ or materials to take a systematic approach to reducing the use of unnecessary single-use plastic products. Moreover, at Budget 2020 the Chancellor announced the tax on plastic packaging of £200 per tonne for plastic packaging with less than 30% recycled content, effective from April 2022.

Our Environment Bill will enable us to significantly change the way that we manage our waste and take forward a number of the proposals from the Resources and Waste Strategy. The Bill will include powers to create Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes; introduce Deposit Return Schemes (DRS); establish greater consistency in the recycling system; better control the export of plastic waste; and give us the power to set new charges for other single-use plastic items. Our consultations on an EPR scheme for packaging and a DRS for drinks containers closed on 4 June and our consultation on our proposals for consistency in the recycling system in England closed on 4 July. More details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/environment/waste-and-recycling.

The Government has put together a package of nearly £100 million for research and innovation to tackle the issues that arise from plastic waste. £38 million was set aside through the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund, the last funding competition of which opened in June 2020. The Resource Action Fund included £10 million specifically to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter. The Government has also announced £60 million of funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, alongside a £150 million investment from industry, towards the development of smart, sustainable plastic packaging (SSPP), which will aim to make the UK a world leader in sustainable packaging for consumer products. Two SSPP funding opportunities have been open for bids in 2021: the SSPP Demonstrator Round 2 and the SSPP business-led research and development competition.

Science estimates that the annual plastic flow into the ocean will triple between 2016 and 2040. Due to the scale of the marine litter challenge the UK believes it is time to start negotiating a new global agreement on marine plastic litter and microplastics at the United Nations Environment Assembly. A new global agreement would build upon the important work we are doing to tackle marine litter both domestically and internationally and support our commitments to eliminate plastic entering the ocean.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the incineration of waste on the Government’s climate objectives.

Incineration of fossil derived waste is a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Total greenhouse gas emissions from waste incineration accounted for around 1.4% (6.47 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. Of this, about 6.19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent was emitted from Energy from Waste plants. It is clear that we will need to reduce that impact. That is why the Government continues to take action, including through our Environment Bill measures, to reduce, re-use and recycle more of our waste and to move to a circular economy.

In assessing the effect of waste incineration on meeting climate objectives and deciding on what further action is needed, the Government is considering the recommendations of the independent Climate Change Committee. Defra is also seeking to strengthen its own evidence base around the environmental impacts of managing residual waste including incineration of municipal waste. This information will be taken into account in the Government’s assessment of the future infrastructure needed for treating residual waste, to be published over coming months, and will inform direction setting to meet our climate goals.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the proportion of the UK Fishing Quota that is used by companies headquartered (a) in the UK, (b) in the EU and (c) elsewhere in the world.

UK quota is only allocated to vessels registered and licensed in the UK. This is predominantly done using Fixed Quota Allocation (FQA) units.

The FQA register contains a publicly available list of the companies and individuals who hold these FQA units. This is available on the GOV.UK website.

No assessment has been carried out regarding where these companies are headquartered.

Regardless of where their headquarters are located, all vessels to which UK quota is allocated must comply with all UK fisheries rules including the economic link condition.

The economic link ensures that the UK accrues benefit from UK quota. It requires all UK-registered vessels, including those that are foreign owned, to provide genuine economic benefits to those communities in the UK that are dependent on fisheries and fisheries related industries.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent estimate he has made of the number of hours spent by supertrawlers in protected areas of UK waters in each of the last five years.

The information requested is not held centrally and to obtain it would incur disproportionate costs.

Our Fisheries Bill prohibits any commercial fishing vessel from operating in UK waters without a licence. It also provides powers to attach conditions (such as the areas that can be fished, species that can be caught and the type of fishing gear that can be used) to fishing vessel licences. Foreign vessels operating in UK waters will have to follow UK rules, including the conditions that are attached to their commercial fishing licence.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether it is Government policy to bring forward legislative proposals on animal sentience; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to further strengthening our world-leading animal welfare standards. We have committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in an effective and credible way and will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of mandating Departments to undertake animal welfare impact assessments on policy that potentially affects sentient species.

The Government has committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in a rigorous and comprehensive way after the transition period and will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows. Defra is currently assessing how best to support Government departments in considering the welfare needs of sentient animals when they are developing and implementing Government policy.

Defra engages with a wide range of stakeholders on a number of animal welfare issues, including animal sentience.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of halting future farm payments to farms which operate caged systems.

The Government will build upon our world-leading animal welfare standards now that we have left the EU. We will do this in part by developing publicly funded schemes for English farmers to provide animal welfare enhancements beyond the regulatory baseline – ones that are valued by the public and not sufficiently provided by the market.

We are currently considering different forms of scheme design. This could include a capital grants scheme for investments that are known to raise welfare and would help farmers move beyond our already world-class baseline standards. It could also include a payment-by-results scheme that makes ongoing payments for demonstrable and evidence-based welfare increases. These could relate to improving animal welfare in relation to confinement (e.g. the use of cages and crates), to the provision of enrichments, to mutilations (e.g. beak trimming and tail docking), and to animals’ ability to exhibit natural behaviours (including behaviours in their right settings).

Animal welfare enhancements will be evidence based, clearly defined, measurable, have positive impacts on animal health and welfare. We will work with industry, retailers and welfare groups and the Animal Welfare Committee as we continue to develop these proposals.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a legal target to end deforestation by (a) 2025 and (b) 2020 within supply chains for commodities included in the 2015 Amsterdam declaration on deforestation; and if he will make a statement.

Defra has examined the possibility of setting a target aimed at ending deforestation in the UK’s commodity supply chains. Setting a target in law, whether it is aimed at ending imported deforestation in 2020 or in 2025, requires reliable metrics and an established baseline, as well as a robust understanding of any potential perverse incentives that it could create to ensure that impacts are not simply displaced, for example on to other ecosystems. We are working to develop an evidence base to inform the development of a potential future global footprint target.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish the value of all arms export licenses to Israel in each year since 2010.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) for export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK and these reports contain detailed information, including the overall value, the type (e.g. Military, Other), and a summary of the items covered by these licences. The data for 2021 was published on 12th April 2022.

The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, was superseded by Strategic Export Licensing Criteria, announced in the Written Statement of 8th December 2021, HCWS449.

11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish how many arms exports applications to Israel her Department has (a) licensed and (b) rejected in each year since 2010.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) for export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK and these reports contain detailed information, including the overall value, the type (e.g. Military, Other), and a summary of the items covered by these licences. The data for 2021 was published on 12th April 2022.

The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, was superseded by Strategic Export Licensing Criteria, announced in the Written Statement of 8th December 2021, HCWS449.

11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish for (a) which countries and (b) what reasons her Department has (i) refused to grant and (ii) revoked arms export licenses in accordance with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria in each year since 2010.

HM Government publishes Official Statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) for export licences granted, refused and revoked to all destinations on GOV.UK and these reports contain detailed information, including the overall value, the type (e.g. Military, Other), and a summary of the items covered by these licences. The data for 2021 was published on 12th April 2022.

The Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, was superseded by Strategic Export Licensing Criteria, announced in the Written Statement of 8th December 2021, HCWS449.

27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises has received an update from JC Bamford in response to its recommendation that the company (a) write a statement of policy which should expressly state its commitment to respect human rights and (b) carry out human rights due diligence to assess actual and potential human rights impacts; and if she will publish that information.

The UK National Contact Point (UK NCP) operates independently of the Department for International Trade. In line with its Rules of Procedures and the Final Statement published in November 2021, the UK NCP will request an update from JCB on the implementation of its recommendations in November 2022, which is one year from the date of the publication of its report. The UK NCP will then issue a follow up statement which will also be published on gov.uk.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the interests of the devolved administrations are adequately represented in UK trade negotiations.

The UK Government is responsible for negotiating international trade agreements on behalf of all the nations in the UK. We work closely with the devolved administrations to inform and develop policy that best reflects this, particularly for areas covering devolved competence such as sanitary and phytosanitary standards and regulatory practice.

Department for International Trade Ministers and officials hold regular discussions with their devolved administration counterparts, to keep them informed of, and seek their views on, developments to the free trade agreement programme.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has plans to restrict the customisation of motor vehicles to prevent excessive noise from (a) back firing and (b) other anti-social modifications.

The police already have powers to act if they suspect an exhaust has been altered to increase noise or if the machine is making excessive noise which could be avoided through reasonable driver care.

To support enforcement efforts, the Department has commenced further research to understand if the latest ‘noise camera’ technology can be an effective tool for the police and local authorities that will enable more targeted and efficient enforcement.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department is taking steps to develop the regulation of (a) trials and (b) use of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles.

The Department for Transport recently explored how current legislation relates to new aircraft such as electric vehicle take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) and found that eVTOLs fit within existing broad legislation.

The Department has recently conducted a consultation on the Future of Flight as part of the Future of Transport regulatory review and supports the Civil Aviation Authority to work with innovators to certify eVTOL aircraft and their uses.

The licensing regulations that apply to the trial and use of eVTOLs are retained EU regulations as amended by an increasing amount of UK law, the Civil Aviation Act 1982, the Aircraft Navigation Order 2016 and the Chicago Convention 1944.

The Department for Transport and the CAA, in conjunction with relevant stakeholders, are continually working on ensuring the right regulatory environment for any new industry requirements that arise.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what licensing regulations apply to the (a) trial and (b) use of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles.

The Department for Transport recently explored how current legislation relates to new aircraft such as electric vehicle take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) and found that eVTOLs fit within existing broad legislation.

The Department has recently conducted a consultation on the Future of Flight as part of the Future of Transport regulatory review and supports the Civil Aviation Authority to work with innovators to certify eVTOL aircraft and their uses.

The licensing regulations that apply to the trial and use of eVTOLs are retained EU regulations as amended by an increasing amount of UK law, the Civil Aviation Act 1982, the Aircraft Navigation Order 2016 and the Chicago Convention 1944.

The Department for Transport and the CAA, in conjunction with relevant stakeholders, are continually working on ensuring the right regulatory environment for any new industry requirements that arise.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the potential locations for trial of electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles.

The eVTOL market is a private market, and the scoping for potential locations for trials is for companies in the sector to undertake themselves. The Government will support eVTOL companies to achieve these trials.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what data his Department holds on the number of full time equivalent staff employed to (a) process driving licence applications and (b) deal with driving licence application enquiries, including those employed in call centres, by or on behalf of the DVLA in each year since 2010.

Information on the number of driving licence applications awaiting processing is not held by region. The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and at its new customer service centre in Birmingham. These measures are having a positive impact, the number of paper applications awaiting processing has reduced significantly and customers should continue to see an improving picture in terms of waiting times.

Applications where the driver has a medical condition that must be investigated before a licence can be issued will take longer. However, the majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet the criteria outlined here.

Since 1 April 2020, the DVLA’s contact centre has recruited and trained 166 staff with 20 more due to join in March and a further 150 being recruited who will start their training between May and July. In addition, the DVLA’s new customer service centres in Swansea and Birmingham have already recruited 181 of up to 300 staff who are being trained to process medical driving licence applications as well as supporting customers who have contacted the DVLA by phone.

Once a caller has been connected to the queue to speak to a DVLA advisor about a driving licence application, the average waiting time over the last six months is shown in the table below.

Month

Waiting time in minutes

February 2022

14.4

January 2022

23.6

December 2021

26.4

November 2021

24.2

October 2021

14.4

September 2021

14.1

It is not possible to provide figures for the number of people specifically working to process driving licence applications and deal with driving licence application enquiries on applications, as most DVLA operational roles require staff members to carry out a range of tasks.

3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to increase the number of telephone call handlers at the DVLA to reduce telephone enquiry waiting times.

Information on the number of driving licence applications awaiting processing is not held by region. The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and at its new customer service centre in Birmingham. These measures are having a positive impact, the number of paper applications awaiting processing has reduced significantly and customers should continue to see an improving picture in terms of waiting times.

Applications where the driver has a medical condition that must be investigated before a licence can be issued will take longer. However, the majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet the criteria outlined here.

Since 1 April 2020, the DVLA’s contact centre has recruited and trained 166 staff with 20 more due to join in March and a further 150 being recruited who will start their training between May and July. In addition, the DVLA’s new customer service centres in Swansea and Birmingham have already recruited 181 of up to 300 staff who are being trained to process medical driving licence applications as well as supporting customers who have contacted the DVLA by phone.

Once a caller has been connected to the queue to speak to a DVLA advisor about a driving licence application, the average waiting time over the last six months is shown in the table below.

Month

Waiting time in minutes

February 2022

14.4

January 2022

23.6

December 2021

26.4

November 2021

24.2

October 2021

14.4

September 2021

14.1

It is not possible to provide figures for the number of people specifically working to process driving licence applications and deal with driving licence application enquiries on applications, as most DVLA operational roles require staff members to carry out a range of tasks.

3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the delays in processing driving licence applications at the DVLA.

Information on the number of driving licence applications awaiting processing is not held by region. The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and at its new customer service centre in Birmingham. These measures are having a positive impact, the number of paper applications awaiting processing has reduced significantly and customers should continue to see an improving picture in terms of waiting times.

Applications where the driver has a medical condition that must be investigated before a licence can be issued will take longer. However, the majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet the criteria outlined here.

Since 1 April 2020, the DVLA’s contact centre has recruited and trained 166 staff with 20 more due to join in March and a further 150 being recruited who will start their training between May and July. In addition, the DVLA’s new customer service centres in Swansea and Birmingham have already recruited 181 of up to 300 staff who are being trained to process medical driving licence applications as well as supporting customers who have contacted the DVLA by phone.

Once a caller has been connected to the queue to speak to a DVLA advisor about a driving licence application, the average waiting time over the last six months is shown in the table below.

Month

Waiting time in minutes

February 2022

14.4

January 2022

23.6

December 2021

26.4

November 2021

24.2

October 2021

14.4

September 2021

14.1

It is not possible to provide figures for the number of people specifically working to process driving licence applications and deal with driving licence application enquiries on applications, as most DVLA operational roles require staff members to carry out a range of tasks.

3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what data his Department holds on the number of driving licence applications currently awaiting processing from applicants in (a) Cynon Valley constituency and (b) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority.

Information on the number of driving licence applications awaiting processing is not held by region. The quickest and easiest way to apply for a driving licence is by using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)’s online service. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application and the DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day. To help reduce waiting times for paper applications, the DVLA has introduced additional online services, recruited more staff, increased overtime working and has secured extra office space in Swansea and at its new customer service centre in Birmingham. These measures are having a positive impact, the number of paper applications awaiting processing has reduced significantly and customers should continue to see an improving picture in terms of waiting times.

Applications where the driver has a medical condition that must be investigated before a licence can be issued will take longer. However, the majority of applicants renewing an existing licence will be able to continue driving while their application is being processed, providing the driver can meet the criteria outlined here.

Since 1 April 2020, the DVLA’s contact centre has recruited and trained 166 staff with 20 more due to join in March and a further 150 being recruited who will start their training between May and July. In addition, the DVLA’s new customer service centres in Swansea and Birmingham have already recruited 181 of up to 300 staff who are being trained to process medical driving licence applications as well as supporting customers who have contacted the DVLA by phone.

Once a caller has been connected to the queue to speak to a DVLA advisor about a driving licence application, the average waiting time over the last six months is shown in the table below.

Month

Waiting time in minutes

February 2022

14.4

January 2022

23.6

December 2021

26.4

November 2021

24.2

October 2021

14.4

September 2021

14.1

It is not possible to provide figures for the number of people specifically working to process driving licence applications and deal with driving licence application enquiries on applications, as most DVLA operational roles require staff members to carry out a range of tasks.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is taking to protect the safety of staff in the Swansea office from covid-19.

The safety and welfare of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) staff is of paramount importance as it has been throughout the pandemic. Extensive measures are in place to support the safety and wellbeing of staff and information on the services available to staff is regularly communicated.

The DVLA has invested £5.7 million in making its offices as Covid secure as possible. The DVLA has carried out risk assessments on the estate, individual risk assessments for staff and regular lateral flow tests are offered to all staff working on site. Social distancing measures are in place, as are one-way systems, temperature checking, increased signage and communications for regular and thorough hand-washing. Personal protective equipment is also available to staff where appropriate.

11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the inclusion of (a) international aviation and (b) shipping emissions in the Sixth Carbon Budget.

Ministers have regular discussions about our ambitions for the Sixth Carbon Budget and net zero target.

International aviation and shipping emissions are a global issue that require a global solution. Aviation and shipping have a crucial role to play in reaching net zero emissions globally, which is why the UK is leading the way to develop measures at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

This globally-coordinated, sector-based approach reflects the highly mobile nature of carbon emissions from these sectors and the risk that carbon emissions are simply moved to other jurisdictions in response to individual states taking unilateral action. We have not ruled out including international aviation and shipping emissions in legislation at a later date, subject to progress at the IMO and ICAO.

4th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect on the economy of potential industrial action at Heathrow Airport.

The Government does not comment or speculate on future industrial action.

Employers should always treat employees fairly and in a spirit of partnership. When considering workforce restructures as a result of the on-going impacts of COVID-19 we encourage employers across the sector to continue to approach this issue with a sensitivity and professionalism that reflects the hard work and dedication of their employees, openly engaging with their workforce and unions in a transparent and consultative way.

The Government recognises that, despite the measures we have put in place to protect the economy, there remain serious challenges for the aviation sector and for the communities that serve them. We are focused on restarting the sector, and companies have access to a range of unprecedented government financial support.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of the proposals in the Unite the Union report entitled UK Aviation: Flying into the Future; and if he will make a statement.

The aviation sector is important to the UK economy and the government recognises the challenging times facing the sector?as a result of?COVID-19. The Department for Transport has kept an open dialogue with the aviation sector including unions, through engagement on both Ministerial and official levels.

Unite are members of the Department’s International Aviation Taskforce’s industry Expert Steering Group, established to bring together all interested parties to co-produce solutions to the issues facing the sector. The Group are best placed to identify and support what practical steps are required to restart the industry, as well as to consider what longer term steps are required to full-sector recovery.

5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what his planned timetable is to respond to his Department's consultation entitled Child Maintenance: Accelerating Enforcement.

The Child Maintenance “Accelerating Enforcement” consultation concluded on 24 November 2023, the Government is carefully considering the feedback and a response will be published shortly.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) shortest, (b) median and (c) longest waiting times for a child maintenance service liability order were in each of the last five years.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) continues to take rigorous action to collect maintenance, combining robust negotiation activity with the highly effective use of its extensive range of Enforcement Powers. This approach is driven by the Payment Compliance strategy, increasing CMS compliance influencing activities to tackle non-paying cases and challenge non-compliant behaviours.

We move cases swiftly to Legal Enforcement, securing a Liability Order for 11k cases in the courts, in 2023.

CMS does not measure a) shortest, (b) median waiting times to secure a Liability Order but does measure an average of (c) longest. The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

CMS applies a Continuous Improvement focus to the Enforcement strategy and processes. The planned introduction of the Administrative Liability Order in 2024 will remove the need to apply to the courts and will reduce the average time of 22 weeks to secure a Liability Order to 6 weeks.

The published statistics below provides data, excluding waiting times, to September 2023: Section 9 Enforcement and National tables 7.1.

Child Maintenance Service statistics: data to September 2023 - GOV.UK(www.gov.uk)

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the (a) number and (b) nature of complaints made to (i) Capita and (ii) other external assessors for Personal Independence Payment applications.

The department manages the PIP contracts robustly and has a full set of service level agreements setting out our expectations for service delivery.

It is important for providers to have their own complaints process to deal with dissatisfaction about the service they provide. This process signposts complainants to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) if they are dissatisfied with the provider’s final response to their complaint.

The process is designed to ensure that those complaining about third party provision have access to the same complaint escalation route as those who complain about services provided by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This encourages providers to resolve complaints at the earliest opportunity. It also gives providers the right incentives to offer good customer service and to comply with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s Principles of Good Complaint Handling.

In each of the last five calendar years (2019 to date), the total number of cases where Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment providers (APs), Capita and Independent Assessment Services (IAS), received a complaint, are shown in the table below.

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023 to date

Capita

2800

1390

1380

1380

1580

IAS

6140

2800

2390

1760

1830

Please note:

- All volumes have been rounded to the nearest 10.

- All above data is derived from contractual management information produced by the APs.

- The above data is derived from unpublished management information, which is collected for internal departmental use only, and has not been quality assured to Official Statistics Publication standards.

All APs strive to provide an excellent service to claimants and are held to account for their performance. To put the above figures into context, the total number of complaints shown as a percentage of all completed assessments for the same period, are as follows:

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023 to date

Capita

1.24%

0.74%

0.76%

0.56%

0.57%

IAS

0.87%

0.51%

0.41%

0.24%

0.23%

Please note:

The above percentages have been derived from the unrounded totals.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information his Department holds on the number of complaints received by (a) Capita and (b) other external assessors for Personal Independence Payment applications in each of the last five years.

The department manages the PIP contracts robustly and has a full set of service level agreements setting out our expectations for service delivery.

It is important for providers to have their own complaints process to deal with dissatisfaction about the service they provide. This process signposts complainants to the Independent Case Examiner (ICE) if they are dissatisfied with the provider’s final response to their complaint.

The process is designed to ensure that those complaining about third party provision have access to the same complaint escalation route as those who complain about services provided by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This encourages providers to resolve complaints at the earliest opportunity. It also gives providers the right incentives to offer good customer service and to comply with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s Principles of Good Complaint Handling.

In each of the last five calendar years (2019 to date), the total number of cases where Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment providers (APs), Capita and Independent Assessment Services (IAS), received a complaint, are shown in the table below.

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023 to date

Capita

2800

1390

1380

1380

1580

IAS

6140

2800

2390

1760

1830

Please note:

- All volumes have been rounded to the nearest 10.

- All above data is derived from contractual management information produced by the APs.

- The above data is derived from unpublished management information, which is collected for internal departmental use only, and has not been quality assured to Official Statistics Publication standards.

All APs strive to provide an excellent service to claimants and are held to account for their performance. To put the above figures into context, the total number of complaints shown as a percentage of all completed assessments for the same period, are as follows:

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023 to date

Capita

1.24%

0.74%

0.76%

0.56%

0.57%

IAS

0.87%

0.51%

0.41%

0.24%

0.23%

Please note:

The above percentages have been derived from the unrounded totals.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to monitor the quality of the (a) customer service and (b) assessments provided by (i) Capita and (ii) other external assessors for Personal Independence Payment applications.

Quality is a priority for both the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment providers (APs), Capita and Independent Assessment Services, and the department. There is a comprehensive performance regime which drives APs to meet stringent quality standards. Through robust contract management processes, we continually monitor and work with APs to manage performance and obtain maximum value. If they are unable to meet our expectations, we will work with them to address any issues, whilst seeking any financial compensation as appropriate under the terms of the contract.

Customer satisfaction is one of the service level agreements within the PIP contracts. Each providers’ customer satisfaction survey is undertaken by an independent third party, in line with the requirements of their individual contract. They have consistently exceeded their customer satisfaction target of 90%.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has an independent audit function that continually monitors performance and provides feedback to its providers. DWP works extensively with providers to make improvements to guidance, training and audit procedures to ensure a quality service. Quality performance is regularly reviewed through DWP and provider senior governance meetings at a national level and in each of the provider areas

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will take steps to allow (a) applicants and (b) appointees acting on behalf of an applicant for the personal independence payment to (i) request and (ii) receive an assessment report from the assessment provider before a further assessment on that application is carried out.

Where a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment has been undertaken by a healthcare professional on behalf of DWP a copy of the assessment report can be requested from the Assessment Provider and sent to the claimant or their appointee.

Assessment reports can be requested as soon as the DWP decision has been made, and so claimants will have a copy before any subsequent reviews take place.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will set a requirement for (a) his Department's assessors and (b) external assessment providers for personal independence payments to respond to applicant queries within a specified timeframe.

We have interpreted your question to refer to general enquiries made by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) applicants to Independent Assessment Service and Capita and can confirm that there is no specified timeframe for them to respond to queries from applicants.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will take steps to allow (a) applicants and (b) appointees acting on behalf of an applicant can request that his Department consider multiple assessment reports under each application.

The Health Transformation Programme will transform the entire Personal Independence Payment (PIP) service, from finding out about benefits through to decisions, eligibility, and payments.

We are working closely with key stakeholders such as charities and support organisations to make it easier for claimants and appointees access our services and build greater trust in our decisions.

In the Health Assessment Service, we are exploring a number of ways to transform the claimant experience of health assessments, including by making use of previous assessment reports to ensure claimants don’t have to repeat information to the department.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will take steps to require (a) his Department's assessors and (b) external assessment providers for personal independence payment applications to receive the same (i) initial training and (ii) continued professional development.

All health professionals (HPs) receive comprehensive training in assessing functional capability relating to physical and mental health conditions. As referred to in PQ6000, both Personal Independence Payment assessment providers (APs), Independent Assessment Services and Capita, are required to supply the department with a training plan. This must set out in detail, the manner in which their training programme, both initial training and refresher training/continuing professional development (CPD), will be delivered. The plan should be developed in co-operation with the department and will be subject to departmental approval.

APs must also evaluate the effectiveness of their training and CPD programmes. The format and timescales of the evaluation should be agreed with the department.

This year’s Health & Disability White Paper committed to developing the skills of HPs. In addition to their professional experience, HPs will take part in training to enable them to be matched to the functional impacts of specific health conditions.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance his Department produces for PIP assessors on how to process cases where an applicant has autism spectrum disorder.

All claimants, including those with autism spectrum disorder, are assessed in accordance with the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Assessment Guide available on GOV.UK.

Assessment providers are required to ensure all health professionals (HPs) carrying out PIP assessments have comprehensive training and knowledge of the clinical aspects and overall functional effects of a wide range of health conditions and impairments, including autism spectrum disorder.

HPs have access to a wide range of clinical resources, including e-learning modules and case studies, to research any conditions presented. Both Capita and Independent Assessment Services have a Condition Insight Report on autism for use by their HPs. In addition, HPs are also expected to keep their knowledge up to date through continuing professional development.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many PIP applications disallowed at initial decision were later granted at (a) mandatory reconsideration stage, (b) appeal stage and (c) tribunal stage in Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority area in each of the last five years.

Table 1 shows the number of individuals not awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at initial decision, and of those who were later granted PIP at mandatory reconsideration (MR) stage, appeal stage before tribunal hearing, and at tribunal stage by the financial year of the initial decision.

Table 1

Financial Year of Initial Decision

Number of individuals not awarded PIP at initial decision stage

Number of individuals first awarded PIP at MR stage

Number of individuals first awarded PIP via lapsed appeal

Number of individuals first awarded PIP at tribunal hearing

2018/19

201,410

14,820

6,440

24,320

2019/20

204,110

24,580

8,750

19,070

2020/21

207,300

30,340

8,090

10,590

2021/22

263,120

24,380

7,430

16,730

2022/23

356,810

10,350

6,180

9,930

Table 2 shows the number of individuals not awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at initial decision, and of those who were later granted PIP at mandatory reconsideration (MR) stage, appeal stage but before tribunal hearing, and at tribunal stage in Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority area by the financial year of the initial decision.

Table 2

Financial Year of Initial Decision

Number of individuals not awarded PIP at initial decision stage

Number of individuals first awarded PIP at MR stage

Number of individuals first awarded PIP via lapsed appeal

Number of individuals first awarded PIP at tribunal hearing

2018/19

1,520

110

50

240

2019/20

1,720

200

80

240

2020/21

1,420

210

60

90

2021/22

1,940

200

70

140

2022/23

2,310

70

40

60

Please note:

  • Figures in Table 1 and Table 2 are rounded to the nearest 10.
  • Data for England and Wales (excluding Scotland) has been provided in line with the latest published figures on PIP.
  • These figures include initial decisions following assessment for PIP (New Claims and Reassessments) up to 31st March 2023, the latest date for which published data is available.
  • These figures include appeal and mandatory reconsideration outcomes up to 30th June 2023, the latest date for which published data is available. Note that more appeals could be made and completed after June 2023, so numbers may change as it can take some time for an appeal to be lodged and then cleared after the initial decision.
  • Figure provided for the “Number of individuals first awarded PIP at appeal stage” is the number of claims that were awarded via a lapsed appeal after a disallowed initial decision and no change to award at MR.
  • A lapsed appeal is where DWP changed the decision in the customer’s favour after an appeal was lodged but before it was heard at a tribunal hearing.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many PIP applications disallowed at initial decision were later granted at (a) mandatory reconsideration stage, (b) appeal stage and (c) tribunal stage in each of the last five years.

Table 1 shows the number of individuals not awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at initial decision, and of those who were later granted PIP at mandatory reconsideration (MR) stage, appeal stage before tribunal hearing, and at tribunal stage by the financial year of the initial decision.

Table 1

Financial Year of Initial Decision

Number of individuals not awarded PIP at initial decision stage

Number of individuals first awarded PIP at MR stage

Number of individuals first awarded PIP via lapsed appeal

Number of individuals first awarded PIP at tribunal hearing

2018/19

201,410

14,820

6,440

24,320

2019/20

204,110

24,580

8,750

19,070

2020/21

207,300

30,340

8,090

10,590

2021/22

263,120

24,380

7,430

16,730

2022/23

356,810

10,350

6,180

9,930

Table 2 shows the number of individuals not awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP) at initial decision, and of those who were later granted PIP at mandatory reconsideration (MR) stage, appeal stage but before tribunal hearing, and at tribunal stage in Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority area by the financial year of the initial decision.

Table 2

Financial Year of Initial Decision

Number of individuals not awarded PIP at initial decision stage

Number of individuals first awarded PIP at MR stage

Number of individuals first awarded PIP via lapsed appeal

Number of individuals first awarded PIP at tribunal hearing

2018/19

1,520

110

50

240

2019/20

1,720

200

80

240

2020/21

1,420

210

60

90

2021/22

1,940

200

70

140

2022/23

2,310

70

40

60

Please note:

  • Figures in Table 1 and Table 2 are rounded to the nearest 10.
  • Data for England and Wales (excluding Scotland) has been provided in line with the latest published figures on PIP.
  • These figures include initial decisions following assessment for PIP (New Claims and Reassessments) up to 31st March 2023, the latest date for which published data is available.
  • These figures include appeal and mandatory reconsideration outcomes up to 30th June 2023, the latest date for which published data is available. Note that more appeals could be made and completed after June 2023, so numbers may change as it can take some time for an appeal to be lodged and then cleared after the initial decision.
  • Figure provided for the “Number of individuals first awarded PIP at appeal stage” is the number of claims that were awarded via a lapsed appeal after a disallowed initial decision and no change to award at MR.
  • A lapsed appeal is where DWP changed the decision in the customer’s favour after an appeal was lodged but before it was heard at a tribunal hearing.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to ensure consistency of (a) initial training and (b) continued professional development for assessors across all PIP assessment providers.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has set out very clear rules for how Personal Independence Payment (PIP) health professionals (HPs) are recruited and trained, and how assessments will be carried out, both in guidance and in regulations. All HPs have been recruited and trained to standards set by, monitored, and approved by DWP.

Both PIP assessment providers (APs), Independent Assessment Services and Capita, are required to supply the department with a training plan. This must set out in detail, the manner in which their training programme, both initial training and refresher training / continuing professional development (CPD), will be delivered. The plan should be developed in co-operation with the department and will be subject to departmental approval.

APs must also evaluate the effectiveness of their training and CPD programmes. The format and timescales of the evaluation should be agreed with the department.

This year’s Health & Disability White Paper committed to developing the skills of HPs. In addition to their professional experience, HPs will take part in training to specialise in the functional impacts of specific health conditions.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information his Department holds on the average length of service for assessors employed by external assessment providers to carry out PIP applications.

The table below shows the number of health professionals (HPs) employed by the external assessment providers (APs), Independent Assessment Services (IAS) and Capita, and the average length of service of HPs for the past 5 years.

Date

Number of HPs employed by IAS

Number of HPs employed by Capita

Average length of service of IAS HPs (months)

Average length of service of Capita HPs (months)

11 Dec 2023

2,584

1,128

29.3

25.3

11 Dec 2022

2,255

964

27.3

23.7

11 Dec 2021

1,853

678

29.0

28.1

11 Dec 2020

1,659

594

33.4

34.1

11 Dec 2019

1,618

664

28.8

28.1

Please note:

  • All of the information above has been provided by the APs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information his Department holds on the number of assessors employed by external assessment providers to carry out PIP applications in each of the last five years.

The table below shows the number of health professionals (HPs) employed by the external assessment providers (APs), Independent Assessment Services (IAS) and Capita, and the average length of service of HPs for the past 5 years.

Date

Number of HPs employed by IAS

Number of HPs employed by Capita

Average length of service of IAS HPs (months)

Average length of service of Capita HPs (months)

11 Dec 2023

2,584

1,128

29.3

25.3

11 Dec 2022

2,255

964

27.3

23.7

11 Dec 2021

1,853

678

29.0

28.1

11 Dec 2020

1,659

594

33.4

34.1

11 Dec 2019

1,618

664

28.8

28.1

Please note:

  • All of the information above has been provided by the APs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions he has had with the (a) PCS union, (b) Prospect union and (c) First Division Association on expanding powers of arrest to trained DWP benefit investigators.

The Fraud Plan, published in May 2022, sets out the ambitions for the use of the Powers of Arrest for DWP staff when parliamentary time allows. This will be limited solely to use in DWP’s Economic and Serious Organised Crime investigations.

To date, DWP have engaged with the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and the National Police Lead for Fraud in relation to this policy. We will continue to engage with NPCC and more widely with the police in developing this measure.

DWP plans to fully engage with the trade unions prior to the implementation of these powers.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
20th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions he has had with the (a) National Police Chiefs Council and (b) Police Federation on expanding powers of arrest to DWP benefit investigators.

The Fraud Plan, published in May 2022, sets out the ambitions for the use of the Powers of Arrest for DWP staff when parliamentary time allows. This will be limited solely to use in DWP’s Economic and Serious Organised Crime investigations.

To date, DWP have engaged with the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and the National Police Lead for Fraud in relation to this policy. We will continue to engage with NPCC and more widely with the police in developing this measure.

DWP plans to fully engage with the trade unions prior to the implementation of these powers.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
20th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential implications for his policies of the New Economics Foundation report entitled, From compliance to engagement: Rethinking the use of conditionality in our social security system, published on 23 August 2023.

No assessment has been made.

To keep the sanctions system clear, fair, and effective in promoting positive behaviours, we keep the conditionality and sanctions policies and processes under continuous review.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make it his policy to increase the (a) basic and (b) new state pension by at least the September 2023 rate of increase in average earnings.

The outcome of the Secretary of State’s review of benefits rates, including the State Pension, for 2023 will be announced in the coming weeks. Following his review, the new rates will come into force from April 2024. We cannot pre-empt this review.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data his Department holds on the number of Personal Independence Payment (a) claims and (b) awards made in Rhondda Cynon Taff in each of the last ten years.

Data on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims and awards can be found on Stat-Xplore. The requested data on claims can be found on the ‘PIP Registrations’ dataset by going to ‘Geography’, ‘National – Regional – LAs – OAs’, ‘DWP Policy Ownership’ and then following the drop downs to Wales and then to Rhondda Cynon Taff. The same filtering can be done on the ‘PIP Clearances’ dataset, while additionally choosing ‘Awarded’ from ‘Clearance Type Detail’ to pick out awards made.

You can log in or access Stat-Xplore as a guest user and, if needed, you can access guidance on how to extract the information required.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information his Department holds on what the longest clearance time was for a Personal Independence Payment claim where a decision was reached in Rhondda Cynon Taf in each of the last ten years.

The longest clearance times for a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claim in Rhondda Cynon Taf for each year cannot be provided due to risk of statistical disclosure whereby an individual claimant can be identified.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data his Department holds on the average actual clearance times for Personal Independence Payment claims in Rhondda Cynon Taf in each of the last ten years.

Table (a) shows the average actual clearance times for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) normal rules new claims and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to PIP reassessments in Rhondda Cynon Taf in each of the last 10 financial years (from 2013/14 to 2022/23), calculated as the median number of weeks from registration to DWP decision.

Processing time
(median number of weeks)

Financial Year

New Claim

Reassessment

2013/14

26

-

2014/15

25

24

2015/16

11

11

2016/17

11

12

2017/18

14

14

2018/19

14

17

2019/20

16

18

2020/21

14

21

2021/22

19

21

2022/23

14

17

Table (b) shows the average actual clearance times for PIP Special Rules for End of Life (SREL) claims in Rhondda Cynon Taf in each of the last 10 financial years (from 2013/14 to 2022/23), calculated as the median number of working days from registration to DWP decision.

Processing time
(median number of working days)

Financial Year

New Claim

Reassessment

2013/14

13

-

2014/15

6

-

2015/16

6

-

2016/17

6

-

2017/18

5

-

2018/19

6

-

2019/20

5

-

2020/21

4

-

2021/22

4

-

2022/23

4

-

Source: PIP Atomic Data Store (ADS)

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what training his Department provides to Jobcentre Plus staff on the communication needs of autistic people.

The DWP is committed to providing the best possible support for all customers to meet their individual circumstances.

Work Coaches undergo a comprehensive learning journey when they join the DWP. The learning provides staff with the knowledge and skills to enable them to treat each claimant as an individual regardless of additional or complex needs.

In addition to this, DWP offer a learning product specific to Autistic awareness which is available to all work coaches on an ‘at point of need’ basis. The product includes:

  • adapt how you communicate verbally
  • adapt your body language
  • show empathy
  • adapt your environment
Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment assessment staff have received training on the needs of autistic people across the spectrum.

The department and its assessment providers (APs) are fully committed to supporting those with mental health conditions. All health professionals (HPs) receive comprehensive training in the functional assessment of disability and mental health conditions, including Autism. APs also provide their HPs with condition specific information on Autism, which has been externally quality assured by relevant experts.

In addition, mental health function champions support HPs by providing additional expertise on mental health, cognitive, developmental, and learning disabilities, and can be consulted at any time during the assessment process.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what training his Department provides to Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment assessment staff on the needs of autistic people across the spectrum.

The department and its assessment providers (APs) are fully committed to supporting those with mental health conditions. All health professionals (HPs) receive comprehensive training in the functional assessment of disability and mental health conditions, including Autism. APs also provide their HPs with condition specific information on Autism, which has been externally quality assured by relevant experts.

In addition, mental health function champions support HPs by providing additional expertise on mental health, cognitive, developmental, and learning disabilities, and can be consulted at any time during the assessment process.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department offers autistic people exemption from repeated assessment.

Repeat assessments serve an important role, as they ensure that claimants are receiving the amount of benefit that correctly reflects the extent of the impact that their disability or health condition has on their functional ability. However, we recognise that some people have severe conditions that are unlikely to change.

As outlined in the Health & Disability White Paper, we are testing a Severe Disability Group so those with severe and lifelong conditions that are unlikely to improve can benefit from a simplified process without ever needing to complete a detailed application form or go through a face-to-face assessment or frequent re-assessments. It is being tested on a small scale across a range of health conditions to make sure it works as intended.

We have also made changes to reduce unnecessary reassessments. For instance, the Severe Conditions Criteria (SCC) were introduced in 2017 and are applied during the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). They identify claimants who have severe disabling lifelong conditions that will never improve, and whose level of function would always mean that they are unlikely ever to be able to move into work. Claimants who meet the SCC will not be routinely reassessed.

For Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claimants, we have ensured that people whose needs will not improve and most people over State Pension age, receive an ongoing PIP award with a ‘light touch’ review at the 10-year point. Ongoing awards can be applied to any level or combination of award outcome, so long as the person’s needs are unlikely to change. A review can take place sooner if a person’s needs change.

We are committed to supporting people with autism to access the right benefits and the right support. This is why all assessors conducting WCAs and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments receive training on assessing people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of Jobcentre Plus staff have received training on the communication needs of autistic people.

The DWP is committed to providing the best possible support for all customers to meet their individual circumstances.

Since the national roll-out of Universal Credit (2016) all DWP Work Coaches undergo a comprehensive learning journey. The learning provides staff with the knowledge and skills to enable them to treat each customer as an individual regardless of additional or complex needs.

In addition to this, DWP offer a learning product specific to autistic awareness, which is available to all work coaches on an ‘at point of need’ basis. The product includes:

  • adapt how you communicate verbally
  • adapt your body language
  • show empathy
  • adapt your environment

We do not keep information on how many work coaches have used this particular product.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many calls to the (a) Universal Credit helpline and (b) Disability Service Centre for queries on (i) Personal Independence Payments, (ii) the Disability Living Allowance and (iii) the Attendance Allowance lasted (A) up to 60 minutes, (B) between 60-120 minutes and (C) more than 120 minutes, in the latest period for which data is available.

Please find data below which shows how many calls were made to the (a) Universal Credit helpline and (b) Disability Service Centre for queries on (i) Personal Independence Payments, (ii) the Disability Living Allowance and (iii) the Attendance Allowance:

Year

Month

Business Group

Product Line

Calls Offered

2022-2023

Mar

Pensions

Attendance Allowance

126,161

2022-2023

Mar

Disability

Disability Living Allowance

156,473

2022-2023

Mar

Pensions

Disability Living Allowance - 65+

17,898

2022-2023

Mar

Disability

Personal Independence Payment

684,306

2022-2023

Mar

Universal Credit

Universal Credit

1,345,024

2023-2024

Apr

Pensions

Attendance Allowance

113,057

2023-2024

Apr

Disability

Disability Living Allowance

129,647

2023-2024

Apr

Pensions

Disability Living Allowance - 65+

19,693

2023-2024

Apr

Disability

Personal Independence Payment

530,117

2023-2024

Apr

Universal Credit

Universal Credit

1,213,815

Totals

4,336,191

We are unable to report number of calls by duration time bands as requested (up to 60 minutes, between 60-120 minutes and more than 120 minutes).

Please note this information is derived from the department’s management information designed solely for the purpose of helping the department to manage its business. As such, it has not been subjected to the rigorous quality assurance checks applied to our published official statistics. As DWP holds the information internally, we have released it. However, it is possible information held by DWP may change due to operational reasons and we recommend that caution be applied when using it.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to Answer of 26 April 2023 to Question 182089 on Social Security Benefits: Disability, what the average waiting time was for calls to the Universal Credit helpline in the latest period for which data is available.

Please find data below which shows the average speed of answer (ASA) for calls to Universal Credit for the last 2 months.

Year

Month

Business Group

ASA

2022-2023

Mar

Universal Credit

00:01:28

2023-2024

Apr

Universal Credit

00:03:39

Please note this information is derived from the Department’s management information designed solely for the purpose of helping the Department to manage its business. As such, it has not been subjected to the rigorous quality assurance checks applied to our published official statistics. As DWP holds the information internally, we have released it. However, it is possible information held by DWP may change due to operational reasons and we recommend that caution be applied when using it.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 26 April 2023 to Question 182089 on Social Security Benefits: Disability, whether his Department is taking steps to reduce the average waiting time for calls to the Universal Credit helpline.

DWP plans resourcing according to forecasted telephony demand in an effort to keep wait times down. Wait time performance and forecasted demand is frequently reviewed, and DWP is continually working to improve the service that it delivers.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to Answer of 26 April 2023 to Question 182089 on Social Security Benefits: Disability, whether his Department has a current target call wait time for members of the public contacting the Universal Credit helpline.

There are no current wait time targets for calls to the Universal Credit helpline. Where DWP’s telephony is delivered by an outsourced provider we use the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of percentage of calls answered, and our outsourced suppliers publish this information quarterly at GOV.UK.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department is taking steps to reduce the average waiting time on calls to the disability service centre for queries on (a) Personal Independence Payments, (b) the Disability Living Allowance and (c) the Attendance Allowance.

There are no current targets for the Average Speed of Answer (ASA) for calls to the PIP, DLA and AA telephone enquiry lines.

The average waiting times for the PIP, DLA and AA telephone enquiry lines for the month of March 2023 were:

PIP - 00:37:01

DLA - 00:33:36

AA – 00:02:11

DLA65+ - 00:06:22

We are currently experiencing higher than forecast call volumes to the PIP and DLA telephony enquiry lines. We have recruited additional staff onto our telephony teams and have on-going recruitment to further increase resources.

The average speed of answering calls within AA and DLA65+ is within acceptable levels.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average waiting time was on calls to the disability service centre for queries on (a) Personal Independence Payments, (b) the Disability Living Allowance and (c) the Attendance Allowance in the latest period for which data is available.

There are no current targets for the Average Speed of Answer (ASA) for calls to the PIP, DLA and AA telephone enquiry lines.

The average waiting times for the PIP, DLA and AA telephone enquiry lines for the month of March 2023 were:

PIP - 00:37:01

DLA - 00:33:36

AA – 00:02:11

DLA65+ - 00:06:22

We are currently experiencing higher than forecast call volumes to the PIP and DLA telephony enquiry lines. We have recruited additional staff onto our telephony teams and have on-going recruitment to further increase resources.

The average speed of answering calls within AA and DLA65+ is within acceptable levels.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
20th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department has a current target call wait time for individual members of the public contacting the Disability Service Centre phoneline regarding (a) Personal Independence Payments, (b) Disability Living Allowance and (c) Attendance Allowance.

There are no current targets for the Average Speed of Answer (ASA) for calls to the PIP, DLA and AA telephone enquiry lines.

The average waiting times for the PIP, DLA and AA telephone enquiry lines for the month of March 2023 were:

PIP - 00:37:01

DLA - 00:33:36

AA – 00:02:11

DLA65+ - 00:06:22

We are currently experiencing higher than forecast call volumes to the PIP and DLA telephony enquiry lines. We have recruited additional staff onto our telephony teams and have on-going recruitment to further increase resources.

The average speed of answering calls within AA and DLA65+ is within acceptable levels.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of the Leader of the House of 16 March 2023, Official Report, column 996, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of requiring employers to ensure equal access to hygiene bins in private workplace toilets.

Regulation 20 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (‘Workplace Regulations’) state that toilets should be kept in a clean and orderly condition. The Approved Code of Practice covers provisions of a disposal method for sanitary dressings in toilets used by women.

Regulation 2(3) of the Workplace Regulations aims to ensure that workplaces meet the health, safety and welfare needs of each member of the workforce, therefore, HSE believe the current Workplace Regulations are fit for purpose in this respect though they intend to consider whether the guidance regarding disposal of sanitary dressings in toilets fulfils that aim.

Provisions for public toilets, including hygiene bins in men’s toilets, would be the responsibility of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to his Written Statement of 27 February 2023 on Additional Jobcentre Support – Pilot rollout, HCWS582, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the standards of advice and decisions provided by Job Centre staff are maintained under the proposed scheme to recognise and reward jobcentre teams who furthest exceed their aspirational targets.

Guidance has been provided to Jobcentre colleagues to ensure service standards continue to be maintained.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to his Written Statement of 27 February 2023 on Additional Jobcentre Support – Pilot rollout, HCWS582, what assessment he has made of the affordability of travel for claimants to attend daily one to one work search conversations with work coaches as part of the Additional Jobcentre Support pilot.

Claimants will be reimbursed for additional travel costs to Jobcentre appointments, over and above their weekly/fortnightly attendance, during the two-week period of intensive support.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to his Written Statement of 27 February 2023 on Additional Jobcentre Support – Pilot rollout, HCWS582, if he will publish the evidential basis for daily one to one work search conversations with work coaches increasing a claimant’s employability.

The Department has previously published evidence on the impact of Work Coach Support on Claimant outcomes including JSA Weekly Signing (2015) and the Intensive Activity Programme (2015) JSA Weekly Signing (2015): Jobseeker’s Allowance signing trials (publishing.service.gov.uk) Intensive Activity Programme (2015): Intensive Activity Programme trial evaluation: evidence synthesis (publishing.service.gov.uk).

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to his Written Statement of 27 February 2023 on Additional Jobcentre Support – Pilot rollout, HCWS582, how many two week periods of daily one to one work search conversations with work coaches a claimant will be required to submit as part of the Additional Jobcentre Support pilot.

The Pilot started 9 days ago. Claimants could potentially participate in the Additional Jobcentre Support Pilot twice, once at 13 weeks and then again at 26 weeks if they remain in the Intensive Work Search Regime and are still eligible for the intensive support. We will review this approach as the pilot progresses.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to his Written Statement of 27 February 2023 on Additional Jobcentre Support – Pilot rollout, HCWS582, whether he discussed the scheme to recognise and reward jobcentre teams who furthest exceed their aspirational targets with (a) PCS union and (b) other staff representative bodies before its publication.

Additional Jobcentre support and the provision of incentives for teams who furthest exceed their aspirational targets were discussed with the Trade Unions recognised within DWP: PCS, Prospect and FDA. DWP met with these Unions at Departmental level on three occasions ahead of launching the Jobcentre Innovation Challenge. Trade Unions were given the opportunity to review and comment on internal products and communications.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to his Written Statement of 27 February 2023 on Additional Jobcentre Support – Pilot rollout, HCWS582, if he will publish the details of his scheme to recognise and reward jobcentre teams who furthest exceed their aspirational targets.

DWP publishes the total value of non-consolidated performance related pay annually, this information is published on Welcome to GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Further information on the scheme is included in the written statement published on gov.uk on Monday 27 February 2023.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the financial impact on recipients of the delay in uprating of Support for Mortgage Interest standard interest rates.

The primary purpose of SMI is to provide owner-occupiers receiving an income-related benefit with a level of support that is sufficient to protect them from the threat of repossession. Lenders recognise that the payments we make will not always mirror the mortgage-holders liability, but we expect that they will, nonetheless, exercise forbearance.

On 31st January 2023, the Bank of England released their latest monthly average mortgage rate. This relates to December 2022 and stands at 2.51%.

The rate at which SMI is paid changes only when the Bank of England average varies from the rate in payment by 0.5% or more. Through guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority, lenders are aware that a change to the rate of SMI payments is triggered only in these circumstances and so should continue to offer tailored forbearance to their customers.

While SMI is kept under review, particularly when markets are more volatile, there are currently no plans to amend this policy. No assessment has been made of the financial impact on recipients of changing the standard interest rate before the trigger point.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will consider the potential merits of the Support for Mortgage Interest standard interest rate mirroring real-time changes in the Bank of England's published monthly average mortgage interest rate.

The primary purpose of SMI is to provide owner-occupiers receiving an income-related benefit with a level of support that is sufficient to protect them from the threat of repossession. Lenders recognise that the payments we make will not always mirror the mortgage-holders liability, but we expect that they will, nonetheless, exercise forbearance.

On 31st January 2023, the Bank of England released their latest monthly average mortgage rate. This relates to December 2022 and stands at 2.51%.

The rate at which SMI is paid changes only when the Bank of England average varies from the rate in payment by 0.5% or more. Through guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority, lenders are aware that a change to the rate of SMI payments is triggered only in these circumstances and so should continue to offer tailored forbearance to their customers.

While SMI is kept under review, particularly when markets are more volatile, there are currently no plans to amend this policy. No assessment has been made of the financial impact on recipients of changing the standard interest rate before the trigger point.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 1 February to Question 133806 on Support for Mortgage Interest, what the reason is for the requirement for the Bank of England's published monthly average mortgage interest rate to exceed the Support for Mortgage Interest standard interest rate by 0.5% before the latter is updated.

The primary purpose of SMI is to provide owner-occupiers receiving an income-related benefit with a level of support that is sufficient to protect them from the threat of repossession. Lenders recognise that the payments we make will not always mirror the mortgage-holders liability, but we expect that they will, nonetheless, exercise forbearance.

On 31st January 2023, the Bank of England released their latest monthly average mortgage rate. This relates to December 2022 and stands at 2.51%.

The rate at which SMI is paid changes only when the Bank of England average varies from the rate in payment by 0.5% or more. Through guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority, lenders are aware that a change to the rate of SMI payments is triggered only in these circumstances and so should continue to offer tailored forbearance to their customers.

While SMI is kept under review, particularly when markets are more volatile, there are currently no plans to amend this policy. No assessment has been made of the financial impact on recipients of changing the standard interest rate before the trigger point.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 1 February to Question 133806 on Support for Mortgage Interest, what the Bank of England's monthly average mortgage interest rate used to calculate the Support for Mortgage Interest standard interest rate was on 1 February 2023.

The primary purpose of SMI is to provide owner-occupiers receiving an income-related benefit with a level of support that is sufficient to protect them from the threat of repossession. Lenders recognise that the payments we make will not always mirror the mortgage-holders liability, but we expect that they will, nonetheless, exercise forbearance.

On 31st January 2023, the Bank of England released their latest monthly average mortgage rate. This relates to December 2022 and stands at 2.51%.

The rate at which SMI is paid changes only when the Bank of England average varies from the rate in payment by 0.5% or more. Through guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority, lenders are aware that a change to the rate of SMI payments is triggered only in these circumstances and so should continue to offer tailored forbearance to their customers.

While SMI is kept under review, particularly when markets are more volatile, there are currently no plans to amend this policy. No assessment has been made of the financial impact on recipients of changing the standard interest rate before the trigger point.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of her Department's policy to suspend Personal Independence Payments when claimants are hospitalised for more than 28 days on the likelihood of recipients seeking medical care.

Where an adult aged 18 or over is maintained free of charge, while undergoing medical or other treatment as an in-patient in a hospital or similar institution funded by the NHS, payment of (but not entitlement to) Personal Independence Payment (PIP) ceases after 28 days. This is on the basis that the NHS is responsible for not only the person’s medical care, but also the entirety of their disability-related extra costs and, to pay PIP in addition, would be a duplication of public funds intended for the same purpose. Once someone is discharged from hospital, payment of PIP recommences from the date of discharge.

We have no evidence that the policy may affect an individual’s decisions to seek medical care.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
26th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to ensure the affordability of mortgages for people reliant on Support for Mortgage Interest, who have recently experienced an increase in their mortgage interest rates.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) makes a contribution towards eligible mortgage interest to enable people to remain in their homes without fear of repossession. SMI is calculated by applying a standard rate of interest to the capital balance on the outstanding loan. The standard interest rate is set at a level equal to the Bank of England's published monthly average mortgage interest rate. This rate was selected because it is an average of the rates that apply to claimants’ mortgages including fixed and variable rate mortgages. This will change when the Bank of England average mortgage rate differs by 0.5 percentage points or more from this figure.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of extending the Cost of Living Payment to low-income households receiving contributory or new style social security benefits.

No such assessment has been made in respect of the 2022/23 Cost of Living Payments.

The Cost of Living Payment is targeted at low income households who are in receipt of a means-tested income replacement benefits. Contribution-based and new style benefits are not means tested benefits and therefore do not qualify for the Cost of Living Payment.

Low income households may be entitled to Universal Credit and Contribution based or new style benefits at the same time, and therefore will be entitled to a cost of living payment.

We will be bringing forward legislation for the 2023/24 Cost of Living Payments in due course.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of a policy of pausing deductions from Universal Credit for those people (a) at risk of or (b) experiencing homelessness.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting claimants to manage their liabilities.

The Government has reduced the standard deduction cap from 40 per cent to 25 per cent of the Standard Allowance in recent years. These reductions have helped hundreds of thousands of Universal Credit claimants to retain more of their award. Pausing deductions would result in a build-up of arrears of the range of debts a claimant has and stop vital obligations such as Child Maintenance payments being made at all.

The primary aim of deductions in Universal Credit is to protect vulnerable claimants by providing a last resort repayment method for arrears of essential services. We aim to strike the right balance between ensuring those protections are in place and allowing claimants to retain as much of their award as possible for day-to-day needs.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answers of 6 December to Questions 97727, 97728 and 97729 on Social Security Benefits: Cynon Valley, how many recipients of social security payments were subject to one or more deduction; and what the (a) mean and (b) median monthly deduction was by each parliamentary constituency.

The information is provided in the attached spreadsheet, which shows the number of Universal Credit households in August 2022 who were subject to one or more deduction by each parliamentary constituency and the mean and median value of deductions by each parliamentary constituency.

Notes accompanying the data provided:

1) The number of households per constituency are rounded to the nearest 100. The mean and median value of deductions has been rounded to the nearest £1. The sum of individual constituencies may not sum to the total figure due to rounding.

2) Household level figures have been provided.

3) Deductions include advance repayments, third party deductions and all other deductions, but exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.

4) The ‘unknown' parliamentary constituency equates to 3% of all households and relates to households for which a constituency could not be determined due to incomplete postcode information.

5) August 2022 figures used in line with latest published statistics on Universal Credit Households Statistics.

6) Figures are provisional and subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.

7) The methodology used is different to those used to derive the Official Statistics Household series and therefore, figures may not be comparable.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the cold weather alert issued by UK Health Security Agency on 5 December 2022, whether his Department plans to provide advice to employers on maintaining workplace temperatures (a) in winter 2022-23 and (b) during cold weather alerts.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) publish guidance on its website for employers on maintaining a reasonable workplace temperature during cold weather. The guidance includes specific measures that can be taken by both employers and workers and includes a workplace temperature checklist.

HSE regularly reviews its guidance and the latest refreshed guidance went live on 1 December 2022. HSE’s home webpage was updated on 6 December 2022 to cover working in cold weather, coinciding with the UK Health Security Agency and Met Office cold weather alert.

HSE also publishes posts across all its social media channels and on 7 December 2022 this included advice on how people can help and protect workers from the effects of cold temperatures.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many recipients of social security payments in Cynon Valley constituency are subject to deductions to payments; and for what reasons those people are subject to deductions.

In August 2022, there were 1,800 Universal Credit households in Cynon Valley with more than one deduction, this accounts for 29% of all households on Universal Credit in Cynon Valley. Table 1, in the attachment, shows the number of Universal Credit households with deductions by deduction type.

In August 2022, there were 3,300 Universal Credit households in Cynon Valley with one or more deductions, this accounts for 52% of all households on Universal Credit in Cynon Valley. Table 1, in the attachment, shows the number of Universal Credit households with deductions by deduction type.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many recipients of social security payments in Cynon Valley constituency are subject to more than one deduction to payments; and for what reasons those people are subject to deductions.

In August 2022, there were 1,800 Universal Credit households in Cynon Valley with more than one deduction, this accounts for 29% of all households on Universal Credit in Cynon Valley. Table 1, in the attachment, shows the number of Universal Credit households with deductions by deduction type.

In August 2022, there were 3,300 Universal Credit households in Cynon Valley with one or more deductions, this accounts for 52% of all households on Universal Credit in Cynon Valley. Table 1, in the attachment, shows the number of Universal Credit households with deductions by deduction type.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
28th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) mean and (b) median value was of deductions to social security payments for people in Cynon Valley constituency in November 2022.

In August 2022, the mean value of deductions to Universal Credit payments for households in Cynon Valley was £63 and the median value was £66.

Notes:

1) Monetary amounts have been rounded to the nearest £1.

2) August 2022 figures used in line with latest published statistics on Universal Credit Households Statistics.

3) Household level figures have been provided.

4) Figures are provisional and subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact of retaining Local Housing Allowance rates at 2020-21 levels on homelessness numbers.

No assessment has been made.

The causes of homelessness are multi-faceted and often complex, they interact dynamically making it difficult to isolate the relative importance of individual factors.

The Government is providing £316 million in Homelessness Prevention Grant funding to local authorities for 2022/23. This is part of £2 billion in funding which we have pledged to tackle homeless and rough sleeping over the next three years.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants who rent in the private sector with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels since then so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase. LHA rates are not intended to cover all rents in all areas.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011 we have provided nearly £1.5 billion in funding for DHPs. This is alongside the £421 million Household Support Fund which has been extended from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish data held by her Department on the local authorities where Local Housing Allowance rates have not covered (a) any advertised private rents and (b) less than 10 per cent advertised private rents in the past year.

The Department does not collect data on numbers of advertised private rents.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the numbers of advertised properties in the Taff Rhondda broad rental market area that were wholly affordable at the Local Housing Allowance rate in the last year.

The Department does not collect data on numbers of advertised private rents.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish the number of recipients of (a) Local Housing Allowance and (b) Discretionary Housing Payments in the (i) Taff Rhondda broad rental market area and (ii) Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority in the past year.

In August 2022 there were 5,320 households in receipt of Local Housing Allowance in Taff Rhondda Broad Rental Market Area and 7,550 in Rhondda Cynon Taff Local Authority.

Local Authorities in England and Wales receive funding for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) from the Department for Work and Pensions. Local Authorities administer the DHP scheme as they are best placed to make informed judgements about relative priorities and needs in their area. Monitoring information provided by the Rhondda Cynon Taff Local Authority states that there were 1,202 recipients who received DHPs in the full financial year 2021-22. The latest information provided by Rhonda Cynon Taff, which covers the first 6 months of the financial year 2022-23 (April to September 2022), states that there were 874 recipients who received DHPs.

Given the Department receives DHP spending and monitoring information at a Local Authority level, we do not hold the information required to answer how many recipients received a DHP in the Taff Rhondda Broad Rental Market Area.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the requirement by private landlords of references, deposits or minimum income requirements on the numbers of rental properties available to recipients of Local Housing Allowance.

No assessment has been made.

The Government encourages private rented sector landlords and agents to assess the suitability of potential and existing tenants on an individual basis.

Landlords and letting agents are free to carry out any referencing checks within the law before accepting a new tenant in order to ensure a sustainable tenancy for both parties. This may include income checks or setting a requirement for a deposit.

The Government capped tenancy deposits through the Tenant Fees Act, which came into force in June 2019, and reduced the upfront costs associated with moving in the private rented sector. The Act introduced a cap on tenancy deposits of five weeks’ rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000 and a cap of six weeks’ rent where it is over this threshold.

Local authorities may offer rent deposit, bond and guarantee schemes to help people on low incomes or at risk of homelessness. Discretionary Housing Payments can also support people experiencing financial difficulty, and who qualify for Housing Benefit or housing entitlement in Universal Credit, with housing costs. They can be used to address immediate financial difficulties such as a rent deposit.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will commission an independent review of the adequacy of disability benefits rates at covering the costs and needs of disabled people, including for people with multiple sclerosis.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer to Question UIN 60904 given by my Hon. Friend, on 17 October 2022.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to reduce (a) delays and (b) waiting times for Personal Independence Payment applications.

We are committed to ensuring people can access financial support through Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in a timely manner, taking into account the need to review all available evidence. Reducing customer journey times for PIP claimants is a priority for the department and we are working constantly to make improvements to our service.

We are seeing an improvement in average clearance times for new PIP claims and the latest statistics show that the end-to-end journey has steadily reduced from 26 weeks in August 2021 to 18 weeks at the end of July 2022. This is because we are:

  • using a blend of phone, video and face-to-face assessments to support customers and deliver a more efficient and user-centred service;
  • increasing case manager and assessment provider health professional resource;
  • prioritising new claims, whilst safeguarding claimants awaiting award reviews, who have returned their information as required, to ensure their payments continue until their review can be completed.
Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact of interest rate rises on trends in employee pension contributions.

DWP actively monitors the latest data to continuously assess all potential impacts on employee pension saving.

Data on trends in employee pension contributions is published in DWP’s annual Workplace pension participation and savings trends publication https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/workplace-pension-participation-and-savings-trends-2009-to-2020 . The next publication will be in June 2023.

DWP also published further data on trends in participation and contributions in private pension providers in October 2022 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ten-years-of-automatic-enrolment-in-workplace-pensions.

Both publications show that workplace pension participation has remained stable since the completion of the roll out of Automatic Enrolment in 2019.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when will constituents who were previously part of a co-habiting unmarried couple first be able to apply for Bereavement Support Payment.

On 13 October 2022, we laid the draft Bereavement Benefits (Remedial) Order 2022 to extend Widows Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment to cohabitees with dependent children. It will lay in Parliament for a 60-day period. The draft Order will be debated, and voted upon, in both Houses of Parliament before the Order can become law. Because of the nature of the Remedial Order process, we cannot at this stage say when the Order will become law, or when claims can be made.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the Bereavement Benefits (Remedial) Order 2022 will come into effect.

On 13 October 2022, we laid the draft Bereavement Benefits (Remedial) Order 2022 to extend Widows Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment to cohabitees with dependent children. It will lay in Parliament for a 60-day period. The draft Order will then be debated, and voted upon, in both Houses of Parliament before the Order can become law. Because of the nature of the Remedial Order process, we cannot at this stage say when the Order will come into effect.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what analysis her Department has conducted on the number of public sector workers employed by central and local government, who have been in receipt Universal Credit, in the last 12 months.

Employees of central and local government claiming Universal Credit have no obligation to inform DWP they are receiving benefits.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the number of public sector workers employed by central and local government who have accessed food banks in the last 12 months.

The Department for Work and Pensions has made no assessment.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. There is no consistent and accurate measure of foodbank usage at a constituency or national level.

Employees are not required to inform their employer of any usage of food banks.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make a comparative assessment of the potential impact of (a) freezing social security for 2023-24 and (b) uprate social security in line with the September 2022 rate of CPI inflation on the number of people living in (i) relative low income and (ii) absolute low income in (A) Cynon Valley parliamentary constituency, (B) Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority, (C) Wales and (D) the UK.

The September 2022 rate of CPI inflation is not released until 19th October, so it is not possible to conduct any assessments using this figure at this time.

It is not possible to produce a robust assessment of the impact of not uprating social security in line with inflation. Assessing the impacts of uprating benefits in line with inflation involves projecting forward every household’s income which is not possible to do with confidence.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has a statutory obligation to undertake an annual review of State pensions and benefits. Her review will commence shortly, based on CPI in the year to September 2022, and on earnings growth in the year to May-July 2022.

The latter figure was published on 11 October by the Office of National Statistics. The CPI figure will be published on 19 October. The Secretary of State’s decisions will be announced to Parliament shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make a comparative assessment of the potential impact of uprating social security by the (a) July rate of earnings growth and (b) September 2022 rate of CPI inflation on the number of people living in (i) relative low income and (ii) absolute low income in (A) Cynon Valley parliamentary constituency, (B) Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority, (C) Wales and (D) the UK.

The September 2022 rate of CPI inflation is not released until 19th October, so it is not possible to conduct any assessments using this figure at this time.

It is not possible to produce a robust assessment of the impact of not uprating social security in line with inflation. Assessing the impacts of uprating benefits in line with inflation involves projecting forward every household’s income which is not possible to do with confidence.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has a statutory obligation to undertake an annual review of State pensions and benefits. Her review will commence shortly, based on CPI in the year to September 2022, and on earnings growth in the year to May-July 2022.

The latter figure was published on 11 October by the Office of National Statistics. The CPI figure will be published on 19 October. The Secretary of State’s decisions will be announced to Parliament shortly.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2022 to Question 112701 on Social Security Benefits: Terminal Illnesses, what plans her Department has to bring forward further legislative proposals to implement changes to the Special Rules for Terminal Illness in Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment.

The Department introduced the Social Security (Special Rules for End of Life) Bill into the House of Lords on 11th May 2022. The Bill will enable people who are thought to be in the final year of their life to get fast-tracked access to Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance (AA). The measures will amend the definition of end of life in existing legislation, which is based on the claimant having six months or less to live, by replacing it with a new twelve-month definition that aligns with the end-of-life approach taken across the NHS.

The Bill has completed all Lords stages and the Commons stages took place on 8th September 2022. This follows similar changes the Department made by secondary legislation to implement the 12-month approach in Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance in April 2022.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of the increase in the (a) Bank of England interest rate and (b) rate of inflation on the value of (i) the Pension Protection Fund and (ii) payments made from it over the last 12 months.

The information required to carry out such an assessment is not readily available and to obtain it would incur disproportionate costs. The Secretary of State has therefore made no such assessment and does not intend to do so at this time.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the maximum annual increase to payments made from the Pension Protection Fund above 2.5 per cent on a (a) temporary and (b) permanent basis.

While all legislation is kept under review as a matter of course, there are currently no plans to review the legislation relating to the indexation of payments from the Pension Protection Fund and the Secretary of State has made no such assessment at this time.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which organisations her Department has (a) received representations from and (b) held discussions with regarding the 2.5 per cent limit on the annual rise in Pension Protection Fund payments in the last 12 months.

In May of this year, the Secretary of State received representations from the Prospect trade union in respect of the indexation of payments from the Pension Protection Fund although no discussions have been held with organisations regarding this matter in the last 12 months.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of simplifying the Attendance Allowance claim form.

All DWP claim forms are under continuous review, using insight from DWP colleagues and external customer groups such as Age UK. Recent improvements have included changes to questions around Power of Attorneys and falls/stumbles.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
2nd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of revising the eligibility date of 25 September 1956 to qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment.

There are no plans to change the qualifying criteria for Winter Fuel Payments at this time.

Winter fuel payments are an age-related payment made to those who have reached state pension age.

For winter 2022/23 a person has to have reached State Pension age (which means a person must be born on or before 25 September 1956) on or before the end of the September qualifying week.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many constituents in the Cynon Valley her Department has decided to waive recovery of an overpayment of benefit which was not due to a fault of the claimant in financial year 2021-22.

The Department for Work and Pensions does not hold data (of this type) by constituency.

As such, the information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

DWP’s fraud and error estimates for the 2021/22 financial year, which include estimates of Official Error overpayments, can be found in our annual publication – see link below.

Fraud and error in the benefit system: financial year 2021 to 2022 estimates - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many constituents in the Cynon Valley have been have pursued by her Department due to being incorrectly overpaid Universal Credit through no fault of the claimant in the year 2021-22.

The Department for Work and Pensions does not hold data (of this type) by constituency.

As such, the information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

DWP’s fraud and error estimates for the 2021/22 financial year, which include estimates of Official Error overpayments, can be found in our annual publication – see link below.

Fraud and error in the benefit system: financial year 2021 to 2022 estimates - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on preparing the Remedial Order on the eligibility criteria for Bereavement Support Payments.

The draft Bereavement Benefits Remedial Order proposes to extend Bereavement Support Payment and Widowed Parent’s Allowance to cohabiting partners with dependent children. We are currently considering representations received on the proposals during the Orders first laying period. On conclusion, the Order will be laid for a second and final 60-day sitting period. This will be followed by debates in both Houses of Parliament before the proposals can become law. Due to the nature of the Parliamentary processes, we cannot say at this stage when the Order will come into force.

DWP is working closely on the implementation of the Order, and we will be updating the GOV.UK website at key points during the parliamentary process:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bereavement-benefits-proposal-for-implementation-of-the-mclaughlin-2018-and-jackson-2020-judgments

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of tenants are eligible for Shared Accommodation Local Housing Allowance and reside in a one-bedroom in each local authority in Wales in the latest period for which data are available.

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her department has made of the impact of Taff Rhondda broad market rental area boundaries on different market areas.

No assessment has been made.

Local Housing Allowance rates vary by geographical regions called broad rental market areas. The boundaries of the broad rental market areas in Wales are determined and kept under review by Rent Officers Wales. If they decide that a boundary should change, they can submit a review to the Secretary of State for consideration.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many local authorities have requested a review of their broad market rental area boundaries in the last five years; and how many of those reviews have been conducted.

We do not hold this information.

Rent officers at the Valuation Office Agency, Rent Service Scotland and Rent Officers Wales have responsibility for setting broad rental market area boundaries in England, Scotland, and Wales respectively.

Broad rental market areas are determined in accordance with requirements laid down in legislation. Each area must contain a variety of property types and tenures, sufficient privately rented accommodation and access to facilities for health, education, recreation, banking and shopping.

Local authorities may request a review of any broad rental market area that impacts on its administrative area by submitting a written request, including relevant reasons, to the rent officers.

Where rent officers decide that a boundary should be moved, they must carry out a review, consulting with affected local authorities among others, and submit a recommendation to the Secretary of State for agreement. One broad rental market area review, which was carried out by the Valuation Office Agency, has been submitted in the last five years.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department spends on the housing element of Universal Credit in Wales each year.

The information requested on Universal Credit Housing Element (UCHE) expenditure in Wales is not readily available and to provide it would incur a disproportionate cost.

UCHE expenditure is available at the GB level only, on Rows 8 and 60 of the housing benefits sheet of the benefit expenditure and caseload tables for Autumn Budget 2021:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/benefit-expenditure-and-caseload-tables-2021

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent evaluation her Department has made of the accuracy of the mechanism used to calculate the Local Housing Allowance.

The Secretary of State reviews Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates annually. LHA rates are not intended to meet all rents in all areas.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion when rates were set at the 30th percentile of market rents, providing 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the average disparity between rent requirement and Local Housing Allowance rates by household in Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority.

As of November 2021, the average monthly shortfall between a household’s monthly rent and the Local Housing Allowance rate was £102 in Rhondda Cynon Taf

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the potential impact of the disparity between (a) Local Housing Allowance and (b) rent requirements on levels of homelessness.

The causes of homelessness are multi-faceted and often complex, they interact dynamically making it very difficult to isolate the relative importance of individual factors.

In April 2020 investment in LHA rates was boosted by nearly £1 billion, providing 1.5 million claimants who rent privately with an average £600 more housing support in 2020/21 than they would otherwise have received. Rates have been maintained at their increased 2020 levels so that claimants continue to benefit from the significant increase. LHA rates have been maintained at their increased levels in 2021/22 and 2022/23. The UK Government is investing more than £2 billion of funding to tackle and prevent homelessness and rough sleeping over the next three years.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011 we have provided nearly £1.5 billion in funding for DHPs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the proportion of tenants in Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority eligible for Shared Accommodation Local Housing Allowance who reside in a one-bedroom home.

As of November 2021, less than 5% of people in receipt of Housing Benefit and entitled to the Shared Accommodation Local Housing Allowance rate were residing in a one-bedroom home.

For people in receipt of Universal Credit Housing Element the information requested is not readily available.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the percentage of rental properties in Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority which are fully covered by the Local Housing Allowance.

To produce an estimate of the percentage of all private rental properties in Rhondda Cynon Taf, including those not in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Element, which have rents equal to or lower than the LHA rate would incur a disproportionate cost as this is not readily available. During the pandemic we increased Local Housing Allowance significantly and beyond inflation, benefitting over one million households by an average of over £600 over the year. We’re maintaining that boost, keeping support for private renters above pre-pandemic levels.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional financial support is available to households claiming the housing element of Universal Credit in Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority, who experience a disparity between their rent requirement and Local Housing Allowance rate.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) determines the maximum financial support available for renters in the private rented sector. LHA rates are not intended to meet all rents in all areas.

Discretionary Housing Payments can be paid to those entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs. Discretionary Housing Payments are flexible and can be considered where, in the local authority’s opinion, further financial assistance towards housing costs is required.

Since 2011, the UK Government had provided almost £1.5 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments to local authorities.

The UK Government is providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, bringing the total funding for this support to £1 billion. In England, £421 million will be provided to extend the Household Support Fund from 1 April to 30 September inclusive. The devolved administrations will receive £79 million through the Barnett formula (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the Northern Ireland Executive). This support will continue to help those who are struggling to afford energy and water bills, food, and other essentials.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to raise Local Housing Allowance in line with rent rates.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates for 2022/23 will be maintained at the elevated cash rates agreed for 2020/21 ensuring that claimants who benefitted from the increased levels of housing support continue to do so.

The Secretary of State will review LHA rates annually in the usual way.

For those who require additional support with housing costs, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are available. Since 2011 we have provided nearly £1.5 billion in funding for DHPs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many recipients of legacy benefits in Cynon Valley constituency are holders of historical tax credit overpayments.

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a maximum duration for payment of debt through deductions to social security before the debt is written off.

The Secretary of State has an obligation to protect public funds and to ensure that, wherever possible, benefit overpayments are recovered. However, we recognise the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred benefit debt and our over-arching policy is that all repayment plans should be affordable and sustainable.

Regulations protect claimants from excessive deductions, which could lead to financial difficulty and our deductions follow a strict priority order, which ensure claimants avoid the consequences of not paying third party debts whilst also ensuring social obligations are met. Universal Credit is subject to a deduction cap of 25% of the standard allowance. We encourage anyone unable to afford the proposed rate of repayment to contact Debt Management so that we can consider temporarily lowering the rate.

We remain committed to Her Majesty’s Treasury’s Beathing Space policy, which provides those with problem debt the right to legal protections from creditor action for a period of 60 days to enable them to receive debt advice and enter into an appropriate debt solution.

Other than recovery by Civil Action in the courts, there are no time limits for recovery of a benefit debt. While the policy is to consider abandoning some debts based on the cost effectiveness of pursuing recovery, the legal right to recover does not expire in England and Wales, and DWP retains the right to recover the debt where it is cost effective to do so.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to ensure that individuals who face deductions from social security payments can afford them.

The Secretary of State has an obligation to protect public funds and to ensure that, wherever possible, benefit overpayments are recovered. However, we recognise the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred benefit debt and our over-arching policy is that all repayment plans should be affordable and sustainable.

Regulations protect claimants from excessive deductions, which could lead to financial difficulty and our deductions follow a strict priority order, which ensure claimants avoid the consequences of not paying third party debts whilst also ensuring social obligations are met. Universal Credit is subject to a deduction cap of 25% of the standard allowance. We encourage anyone unable to afford the proposed rate of repayment to contact Debt Management so that we can consider temporarily lowering the rate.

We remain committed to Her Majesty’s Treasury’s Beathing Space policy, which provides those with problem debt the right to legal protections from creditor action for a period of 60 days to enable them to receive debt advice and enter into an appropriate debt solution.

Other than recovery by Civil Action in the courts, there are no time limits for recovery of a benefit debt. While the policy is to consider abandoning some debts based on the cost effectiveness of pursuing recovery, the legal right to recover does not expire in England and Wales, and DWP retains the right to recover the debt where it is cost effective to do so.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many recipients of social security payments in Cynon Valley constituency are subject to deductions to payments; and for what reasons those people are subject to deductions.

We reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 40% to 30% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance enabling them to retain more of the award. These changes were implemented from October 2019 to April 2021. These positive measures were put in place to support claimants to manage financial difficulties.

Protocols are in place to ensure deductions are manageable and customers can contact DWP Debt Management if they are experiencing financial hardship to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment, or a temporary suspension, depending on financial circumstances. We encourage anyone unable to afford the proposed rate of repayment to contact Debt Management - all notifications advise how to get in touch. We seek to do as much as we are able to support claimants through the recovery of their overpayments.

If a claimant is struggling financially, they can ask for the amount of certain deductions to be reconsidered. Financial hardship decisions are made for any of the following:

  • benefit debts,
  • Social Fund loan
  • rent arrears

Benefit debts and Social Fund loans can see deductions reduced and/or deferred. As the creditor, DWP will always try to ensure that Government debt is recovered effectively without causing undue hardship.

For rent arrears, claimants can ask UC staff to exercise their discretion to fix rent arrears deductions at the lowest rate in legislation – 10% of Standard Allowance. This can be done using the Journal or by phone. However, UC staff would not agree to remove a rent arrears deduction entirely to ensure a claimant is protected from eviction.

For Universal Credit (UC), in November 2021, there were 3,100 UC households in Cynon Valley with a deduction, this accounts for 50% of UC households in Cynon Valley.

The attached spreadsheet shows the number of UC households with deductions by deduction type.

For benefits other than UC, deductions information at constituency level is not held.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of reducing the maximum rate of deductions from social security payments from 25 per cent.

Deductions from benefit to address priority debts have existed for over 40 years. In the past three years, DWP have reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit twice - from 40% to 30% in October 2019, and a further reduction to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance in April 2021. These changes have enabled hundreds of thousands of claimants to retain more of their award.

The Department has to balance the amount that can be deducted with the protections that deductions offer claimants. Lowering the maximum deduction rate further would result in less essential deductions such as Child Maintenance being made. We believe that 25% of the Standard Allowance strikes the right balance of ensuring priority debts and social obligations are met whilst enabling claimants to retain more of their award to meet day-to-day needs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons deductions are made from recipients' (a) universal credit and (b) other social benefit payments; and what the total value was of those deductions by those reason categories, nationally, in each month in the last 12 months.

Deductions from benefit can be taken for a number of reasons, such as repayment of benefit overpayments or to cover the cost of an advance; deductions are also made to ensure claimants avoid the consequences of not paying priority debts, for example: eviction; and ensuring social obligations are met, such as child maintenance payments or court fines.

We reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 40% to 30% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance enabling them to retain more of the award. These changes were implemented from October 2019 to April 2021. These positive measures were put in place to support claimants to manage financial difficulties.

For benefit overpayments, protocols are in place to ensure deductions are manageable and customers can contact DWP Debt Management if they are experiencing financial hardship to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment, or a temporary suspension, depending on financial circumstances. We encourage anyone unable to afford the proposed rate of overpayment recovery to contact Debt Management - all notifications advise how to get in touch. We seek to do as much as we are able to support claimants through the recovery of their overpayments.

Information for third party deductions in Working Age legacy benefits and Pension Credit is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The available information is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of recipients of universal credit nationally have had money deducted from their payments in order to repay debts in each month in the last 12 months.

Deductions from benefit can be taken for a number of reasons; such as repayment of benefit overpayments or to cover the cost of an advance; deductions are also made to ensure claimants avoid the consequences of not paying priority debts, for example: eviction; and ensuring social obligations are met, such as child maintenance payments or court fines.

We reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 40% to 30% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance enabling them to retain more of the award. These changes were implemented from October 2019 to April 2021. These positive measures were put in place to support claimants to manage financial difficulties.

For benefit overpayments, protocols are in place to ensure deductions are manageable and customers can contact DWP Debt Management if they are experiencing financial hardship to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment, or a temporary suspension, depending on financial circumstances. We encourage anyone unable to afford the proposed rate of overpayment recovery to contact Debt Management - all notifications advise how to get in touch. We seek to do as much as we are able to support claimants through the recovery of their overpayments.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant of the Answer of 5 April 2022 to Question 149408, whether the Equality Impact Assessments conducted took into account staff employed by other companies, such as those contracted by her Department to carry out facilities management functions, at the sites affected.

As part of the Workplace Transformation an assessment will be made for each individual site. Should this indicate any supplier staff reductions, our contractors have advised they would seek to redeploy across the network of their respective organisations first and seek to mitigate against any impact.

The Department is fully compliant in its duties under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. To understand the potential impact of changes to our estate, both for DWP employees and people using its services, Equality Analyses have been carried out for sites planned to close or relocate. The Equality Analyses do not cover colleagues who are not employed directly by DWP.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 18 March 2022, HCWS700, on DWP Workplace Transformation, what assessment been made of the likelihood of reduction of staff employed at the sites by other companies, such as those that employ ancillary and facilities management staff on the sites planned for closure.

As part of the Workplace Transformation an assessment will be made for each individual site. Should this indicate any supplier staff reductions, our contractors have advised they would seek to redeploy across the network of their respective organisations first and seek to mitigate against any impact.

The Department is fully compliant in its duties under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. To understand the potential impact of changes to our estate, both for DWP employees and people using its services, Equality Analyses have been carried out for sites planned to close or relocate. The Equality Analyses do not cover colleagues who are not employed directly by DWP.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 18 March 2022, HCWS700 and the statement relating to no plans to reduce headcount, what discussions she has had with contractors that employ ancillary and facilities management staff on the affected sites about measures to avoid reductions of staff employed by those companies.

As part of the Workplace Transformation an assessment will be made for each individual site. Should this indicate any supplier staff reductions, our contractors have advised they would seek to redeploy across the network of their respective organisations first and seek to mitigate against any impact.

The Department is fully compliant in its duties under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. To understand the potential impact of changes to our estate, both for DWP employees and people using its services, Equality Analyses have been carried out for sites planned to close or relocate. The Equality Analyses do not cover colleagues who are not employed directly by DWP.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of amending the eligibility criteria for Carer’s Allowance for people who are claiming other social security benefits, including state retirement pension.

There are already circumstances in which people can receive Carer’s Allowance and other benefits. For example, around 239,000 carer households on Universal Credit receive both the Carer Element (worth around an additional £2,000 a year) and Carer’s Allowance.

Specifically on pensioner carers, although there is no upper age limit to claiming Carer’s Allowance, it cannot normally be paid with the State Pension. It has been a long held feature of the UK’s benefit system, under successive Governments, that where someone is entitled to two benefits for the same contingency, then whilst there may be entitlement to both benefits, only one will be paid to avoid duplication for the same need. Although entitlement to State Pension and Carer’s Allowance arise in different circumstances they are nevertheless designed for the same contingency – as an income replacement. Carer’s Allowance replaces income where the carer has given up the opportunity of full-time employment in order to care for a severely disabled person, while State Pension replaces income in retirement. For this reason, social security rules operate to prevent them being paid together, to avoid duplicate provision for the same need.

However, if a carer’s State Pension is less than Carer's Allowance, State Pension is paid and topped up with Carer's Allowance to the basic weekly rate of Carer's Allowance which is currently £69.70.

Where Carer’s Allowance cannot be paid, the person will keep underlying entitlement to the benefit. This gives access to the additional amount for carers in Pension Credit of £38.85 a week and potentially other means-tested support. Around 118,000 people are receiving the Carer Premium with their Pension Credit. And even if a pensioner’s income is above the limit for Pension Credit, they may still be able to receive Housing Benefit.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of extending eligibility for carer’s allowance to include people to who are claiming other social security benefits including state retirement pension.

There are already circumstances in which people can receive Carer’s Allowance and other benefits. For example, around 239,000 carer households on Universal Credit receive both the Carer Element (worth around an additional £2,000 a year) and Carer’s Allowance.

Specifically on pensioner carers, although there is no upper age limit to claiming Carer’s Allowance, it cannot normally be paid with the State Pension. It has been a long held feature of the UK’s benefit system, under successive Governments, that where someone is entitled to two benefits for the same contingency, then whilst there may be entitlement to both benefits, only one will be paid to avoid duplication for the same need. Although entitlement to State Pension and Carer’s Allowance arise in different circumstances they are nevertheless designed for the same contingency – as an income replacement. Carer’s Allowance replaces income where the carer has given up the opportunity of full-time employment in order to care for a severely disabled person, while State Pension replaces income in retirement. For this reason, social security rules operate to prevent them being paid together, to avoid duplicate provision for the same need.

However, if a carer’s State Pension is less than Carer's Allowance, State Pension is paid and topped up with Carer's Allowance to the basic weekly rate of Carer's Allowance which is currently £69.70.

Where Carer’s Allowance cannot be paid, the person will keep underlying entitlement to the benefit. This gives access to the additional amount for carers in Pension Credit of £38.85 a week and potentially other means-tested support. Around 118,000 people are receiving the Carer Premium with their Pension Credit. And even if a pensioner’s income is above the limit for Pension Credit, they may still be able to receive Housing Benefit.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to reform the assessment processes for Employment Support Allowance, Universal Credit Limited Capability for Work and Personal Independence Payment.

In the Health and Disability Green Paper we put forward a number of proposals for reforming health assessments. We received over 4,500 responses to the consultation and we will bring forward detailed proposals in a White Paper later this year.

31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of temporarily pausing deductions from benefits to repay Government debt, such as benefit overpayments.

DWP currently have no plans to suspend benefit debt deductions.

DWP makes every effort to avoid the overpayment of benefits. Where overpayments do occur, we have a duty to recover them as quickly and efficiently as possible, but without causing hardship to those making repayments.

We have a well-established process to support anyone experiencing financial hardship and actively encourage people in this position to contact the Department’s Debt Management Team. Our agents will always look to negotiate an affordable and sustainable repayment plan. There is no limit on the number of times a person can request a change to their repayment rate. In exceptional cases a temporary suspension of recovery may be agreed.

It may be possible to waive recovery, if very specific and compelling grounds apply, such as where there is evidence that the recovery of the overpayment has a particularly detrimental impact on the health and/or welfare of the individual or their family. These rare cases must meet HM Treasury’s Managing Public Money guidance.

DWP remains committed to Her Majesty’s Treasury’s Beathing Space policy, which provides those with problem debt the right to legal protections from creditor action for a period of 60 days in order to enable them to receive debt advice and enter into an appropriate debt solution

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of 17 March 2022 of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Official Report, column 1032, and the statement that 12,000 people will be moving from one site to another that is in close proximity, what assessment her Department has made of the accessibility by public transport of new locations for affected staff.

When considering planning moves from one location to another, the Department use postcode mapping and calculate average travel times by car and public transport.

There may be colleagues that are not be able to travel to the new location, but that work will be picked up as part of the one-to-one process.

Should the one-to-one process identify any colleagues unable to move with their role to another location where this is identified, redeployment to an alternative role and location within DWP or other Government Departments will be the priority.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State of 17 March 2022, Official Report, column 1032, and the statement that 1,300 people could be involved at sites where there is no other strategic site nearby, if she will make it her policy that no staff will face redundancy.

The Departments priority will be to retain, retrain, and redeploy staff either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area before redundancies will be considered. We are making every effort to fully support our staff through this process, and communicating the change with our staff is our priority.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of 17 March 2022 of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Official Report, column 1032, and the statement that 12,000 people will be moving from one site to another that is in close proximity, what estimate she has made of the greatest additional distance that a staff member may be required to travel to a new place of work.

No one will be required to travel outside existing DWP mobility guidelines, although people may choose to do this if they so wish. This will be covered in the one-to-one process.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 18 March 2022, HCWS700 and the statement relating to no plans to reduce headcount, whether affected staff will be offered an equivalent role they can reasonably be expected to accept.

This is not about reducing headcount. The Department’s priority will be retain and retrain colleagues and redeploy them either within DWP, or within other Government Departments in the area. Colleagues will be invited to individual one-to-one discussions with their local leaders, where their circumstances can be considered and any concerns addressed.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 18 March 2022, HCWS700 and the statement relating to no plans to reduce headcount, whether agreement has been reached with the PCS union on guaranteeing ongoing equivalent employment for staff affected.

The Department continues to engage with the PCS union. The priority of the Department is to retain, retrain and redeploy staff to DWP offices and other Government Departments in the area to avoid redundancies.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 18 March 2022, HCWS700 and the statement relating to no plans to reduce headcount, what her Department's policy is on redundancy for staff who may be unable to relocate.

As a responsible employer, we will make provision for redundancies if it is necessary. However, this will be a very last resort after all efforts to retain, retrain and redeploy colleagues, either within DWP or other Government Departments in the area, have been exhausted. We are making every effort to fully support our staff through this process, and communicating the change with our staff is our priority.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 18 March 2022, HCWS700 and the statement relating to no plans to reduce headcount, what equality impact assessment has been conducted with regard to local communities facing proposed office closures.

A full Equality Assessment has been completed which considers the impact on colleagues. Separately, the planning of an office closure includes consideration of factors including the ‘Index of Multiple Deprivation’ for each location, which considers many factors, including:

  • Income Deprivation
  • Employment Deprivation
  • Education, Skills and Training Deprivation
  • Health Deprivation and Disability
  • Crime
  • Barriers to Housing and Services
  • Living Environment Deprivation
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to (a) monitor and (b) encourage the take-up of social security benefits by people who are entitled to them.

The Department works hard to ensure that people are in receipt of their full entitlement, communicating with the public about benefits through paid advertising, stakeholder and employer engagement and no cost campaigns to help people understand their entitlement and the support we can provide as a safety net and in times of need. We have made additional use of digital media such as YouTube videos, particularly British Sign Language videos to widely promote DWP benefits.

DWP staff in Jobcentres provide support and advice about entitlement to benefits and will signpost citizens to appropriate information to help them. The Department provides telephone service lines that citizens can call to make their claims to benefit and to operate their claims as well as a visiting service which can help vulnerable customers with their claims. Jobcentres have internet terminals for use by the public, and staff will signpost citizens to other community resources (libraries and Citizens Advice) which can also provide advice and internet access points.

The Government’s website, GOV.UK provides guidance on individual’s rights and entitlements to benefits in the UK. In particular, the website provides links to independent benefits calculators that can be used to find out what benefits an individual could get, how to claim and how these benefits will be affected if an individual starts work.

https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

The independent benefits calculators we endorse are intended to provide useful estimations of what people could be entitled to in certain circumstances, based on the information that is entered on the calculators themselves.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish her Department's assessment of the impact of social security sanctions on the mental health of recipients.

The Department have made no assessment of the impact of social security sanctions on the mental health of recipients. The Department supports research on a range of areas and will consider each project or application on its merit.

Sanctions are only applied where a claimant fails to comply with a mandatory requirement set out in their claimant commitment such as a failure to attend an appointment. When considering whether a sanction is appropriate, a Decision Maker will take all the claimant’s individual circumstances, including any health conditions or disabilities and any evidence of good reason, into account before deciding whether a sanction is warranted.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department is taking steps to support academic research on the impact of social security sanctions on the mental health of recipients.

The Department have made no assessment of the impact of social security sanctions on the mental health of recipients. The Department supports research on a range of areas and will consider each project or application on its merit.

Sanctions are only applied where a claimant fails to comply with a mandatory requirement set out in their claimant commitment such as a failure to attend an appointment. When considering whether a sanction is appropriate, a Decision Maker will take all the claimant’s individual circumstances, including any health conditions or disabilities and any evidence of good reason, into account before deciding whether a sanction is warranted.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what alternatives are available to universal credit claimants who do not have the currently requested identity documents to make and verify their claims.

Claimants can verify their identity in several ways, including online using the Government Gateway service or GOV.UK and by providing documentary evidence of their identity when they attend their Initial Evidence Interview.

If a claimant does not have documentary evidence we can verify their identity by biographical tests and checks, using information held on the Department’s systems, by the confirmation of third party organisations and by two members of the Jobcentre staff knowing and recognising the claimant as part of their work.

In addition, the Flexible Support Fund can be used to support the claimant obtain new identity documents in the form of duplicate driving licences, birth certificates etc, and can help with opening new bank accounts if necessary.

Universal Credit guidance is routinely placed in the House of Commons library and it is updated at regular intervals. This guidance covers the different ways a claimant might verify their identity.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether people claiming legacy benefits face limitations on time they may spend volunteering, whilst they meet the conditions for receiving their payments.

There are no limitations on the amount of time that people claiming legacy benefits (Employment Support Allowance, Income Support and Income Related Jobseekers Allowance) can spend volunteering providing they meet the conditions for receiving their benefit payments, which may include giving up voluntary work to take up paid employment. We appreciate how volunteering can help claimants develop skills necessary to progress into paid employment, as well as boost confidence, and provide more workplace experience to add to their CV.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what is the annual cost to the public purse of the housing costs element of Universal Credit in Wales, by (a) tenure and (b) a claimant's bedroom entitlement.

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to (a) encourage disabled people to consider volunteering opportunities and (b) promote awareness of volunteering opportunities for people in receipt of social security payments.

DWP recognises the value of voluntary activity both in developing skills which can be transferred into the world of paid work and in terms of benefits for local communities and the wider society. Claimants may be encouraged to consider voluntary work opportunities if it would help them move closer to work. Claimants need to manage combining voluntary activity with other work-related activities. This will give them the best chance of moving into sustainable work more quickly.

In addition, a range of tailored initiatives are supporting disabled people and people with health conditions to move into employment. These include the Work and Health Programme, Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advisers in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services. In Jobcentre Plus, both Work Coaches and Disability Employment Advisers can discuss volunteering opportunities based on the needs of the individual and drawing on local knowledge.

20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of suspending the rule stopping personal independence payment, disability living allowance and attendance allowance after a 28 day stay in hospital during the covid-19 pandemic.

We have no plans to change these rules. Once someone is discharged from hospital, payment of these benefits recommences from the date of discharge.

20th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether it is her Department's policy that claimants with verified progressive neurological conditions can be exempted from health-related social security medical assessments.

Awards of the health and disability related benefits are not made based on a person’s condition or diagnosis but rather on how their condition limits their abilities. People can have very differing circumstances so we have developed assessments which are designed to measure the impact of a person’s health condition or disability on their work-related or daily living needs, including the level at which they should be paid.

In Sept 2017 the Department introduced Severe Conditions Criteria (SCC) for Employment and Support Allowance and the health component of Universal Credit. This stops unnecessary reassessments for those with the most severe and lifelong conditions. In 2018, we introduced new guidance on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments which ensures that claimants on the highest level of support whose needs will not improve receive an ongoing award of PIP with a light touch review at the 10-year point.

Where a claimant is nearing the end of their life they are able to claim benefits under the Special Rules for Terminal illness (SRTI). The SRTI provide access to benefit without waiting periods. Awards are made on the basis of a paper-based assessment and claimants usually receive the highest rates of benefit. The Department announced that it would replace the current 6-month rule for determining eligibility for the Special Rules for Terminal Illness with a 12-month, end of life approach.

The Shaping Future Support: Health and Disability Green Paper published 20th July 2021, explored the possibility of testing a new Severe Disability Group for those with severe and lifelong conditions to access ESA/UC and PIP. This could simplify the process by removing the need for a long form or a face-to-face assessment for this group and build on existing provision such as Severe Conditions and Special Rules for Terminal Illness.

22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the Child Maintenance Service in considering the income of each parent when calculating the child maintenance payments.

It is important that all parents, meet their responsibility for supporting their children. The child maintenance calculation is reviewed annually to make sure it is in line with the paying parent's circumstances.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to support parents to secure adequate contact arrangements through the Child Maintenance Service.

Issues regarding contact arrangements are handled by the family courts. The Child Maintenance Service responsibilities are limited to maintenance payments.

Where possible the Child Maintenance Service supports separated parents to work together in the interests of their children and set up their own family based child maintenance arrangements. Child Maintenance Options provides free and impartial information to help with these decisions

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the average response time to correspondence received by the Child Maintenance Service.

The Department does not capture the information requested and to provide the information would incur disproportionate costs.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps she has taken to improve the enforcement of workplace health and safety legislation.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) takes enforcement action which is in line with their Enforcement Policy Statement and the Enforcement Management Model. There have been no recent changes in their approach to how they take enforcement action.

HSE continues to use a range of enforcement tools to ensure compliance with health and safety legislation from advice through to enforcement notices and prosecution.

HSE adopts different intervention techniques when regulating workplace health and safety legislation to ensure that they target those workplaces most likely to give rise to the greatest risk.

To reduce transmission of COVID-19 arising in workplaces during the pandemic, HSE has received additional Government funding. They used this to set up a COVID-19 spot check programme with a blended approach of telephone interviews and site visits to check employers had taken the right action at workplaces to protect workers. This has resulted in more than 270,000 spot checks of HSE and Local Authority enforced workplaces being carried out since the start of the pandemic.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit sanctions have been administered for failure to comply with work claimant commitments due to complying with covid-19 self-isolation requirements in (a) Cynon Valley, (b) Wales, and (c) the UK.

The information is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Claimants who have been advised to self-isolate will not be required to conduct any work related activity outside the home but they may be required to complete work-related activity that it is safe and reasonable to do in their circumstances. Where a claimant has failed to meet their requirements, we will look at any evidence of good reason, including whether they are self-isolating, when considering if a sanction is warranted.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claimants have had their claim accepted at appeal following an initial rejection in (a) Cynon Valley, (b) Wales and (c) the UK in 2020.

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

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on (a) food poverty and (b) levels of food bank usage in Cynon Valley.

No assessment has been made.

Food banks are independent charitable organisations and there is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level. Throughout this pandemic, this Government has delivered an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and businesses alongside injecting billions into the welfare system.

We take the issue of food insecurity seriously, which is why we added internationally used food security questions to the Family Resources Survey in 19/20 and published the data in March this year. Food insecurity data from the Family Resources survey for 20/21 is not yet available. Data is not collected at constituency level.

12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the £20 uplift in universal credit on trends in the number of claimants using food banks.

No assessment has been made.

Food banks are independent charitable organisations and there is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level. Throughout this pandemic, this Government has delivered an unprecedented package of support to protect jobs and businesses alongside injecting billions into the welfare system.

We take the issue of food insecurity seriously, which is why we added internationally used food security questions to the Family Resources Survey in 19/20 and published the data in March this year. Food insecurity data from the Family Resources survey for 20/21 is not yet available. Data is not collected at constituency level.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many personal independence payments claimants had their award ended without an extension from 1 March 2020 to 1 March 2021.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the projected cost of reassessments for personal independence payment claimants is in the 2020-2021 financial year.

The direct DWP staffing costs of administrating PIP reassessments in 20/21 is forecast to be £5.2m. This figure does not include any costs for overheads, caseworkers or subsequent further action (e.g. appeals).

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of personal independence payment claimants with incurable illnesses were (a) invited for a reassessment and (b) successful in their reassessment since March 2020.