Jonathan Reynolds Portrait

Jonathan Reynolds

Labour (Co-op) - Stalybridge and Hyde

Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Industrial Strategy

(since November 2021)
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
6th Apr 2020 - 29th Nov 2021
Shadow Economic Secretary (Treasury)
6th Oct 2016 - 6th Apr 2020
Ecclesiastical Committee (Joint Committee)
4th Dec 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee
17th Oct 2016 - 31st Oct 2016
Education, Skills and the Economy Sub-Committee
23rd May 2016 - 31st Oct 2016
Business, Innovation and Skills Committee
1st Feb 2016 - 17th Oct 2016
Shadow Minister (Transport)
18th Sep 2015 - 6th Jan 2016
Shadow Minister (Energy and Climate Change)
7th Oct 2013 - 18th Sep 2015
Science and Technology Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 11th Jun 2012
Science and Technology Committee (Commons)
12th Jul 2010 - 11th Jun 2012
Finance and Services Committee
26th Jul 2010 - 30th Jan 2012
Opposition Assistant Whip (Commons)
8th Oct 2010 - 7th Oct 2011


Department Event
Tuesday 22nd February 2022
11:30
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Oral questions - Main Chamber
22 Feb 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Monday 17th January 2022
Elections Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 172 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 237 Noes - 322
Speeches
Tuesday 11th January 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
I welcome the tribute that the Secretary of State just paid to our friend Jack Dromey, who was a great …
Written Answers
Tuesday 14th December 2021
Business: Coronavirus
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the economic impact of the covid-19 …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Tuesday 11th October 2011
Co-Operative Housing Tenure Bill 2010-12
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 26th July 2021
5. Gifts and benefits from sources outside the UK
Name of donor: Entain Operations Ltd
Address of donor: Suite 6, Atlantic Suites, Europort, Gibraltar
Amount of donation or nature …
EDM signed
Wednesday 13th June 2018
SUNDERLAND LADIES AND THE RESTRUCTURING OF THE WOMEN'S SUPER LEAGUE
That this House expresses shock and dismay at the decision of the Football Association to deny Sunderland Ladies their rightful …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Jonathan Reynolds has voted in 314 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Jonathan Reynolds 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
Thérèse Coffey (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
(31 debate interactions)
Will Quince (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
(12 debate interactions)
Kevin Hollinrake (Conservative)
(6 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Work and Pensions
(72 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(14 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Jonathan Reynolds's debates

Stalybridge and Hyde 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 Stalybridge and Hyde signature proportion
Petitions with most Stalybridge and Hyde signatures
Jonathan Reynolds has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Jonathan Reynolds

5th June 2018
Jonathan Reynolds signed this EDM on Wednesday 13th June 2018

SUNDERLAND LADIES AND THE RESTRUCTURING OF THE WOMEN'S SUPER LEAGUE

Tabled by: Grahame Morris (Labour - Easington)
That this House expresses shock and dismay at the decision of the Football Association to deny Sunderland Ladies their rightful place in the top tier of English football; congratulates Sunderland Ladies on securing a respectable seventh place in the Women's Super League this season; notes the comments of Baroness Campbell, …
10 signatures
(Most recent: 25 Jun 2018)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 7
Independent: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
20th February 2018
Jonathan Reynolds signed this EDM on Thursday 22nd February 2018

DEDICATION OF CARRIAGE GATES TO PC KEITH PALMER

Tabled by: Matt Western (Labour - Warwick and Leamington)
That this House believes that the Carriage Gates should be named the Palmer Gates, to commemorate the life and professional service of PC Keith Palmer and to mark his gallantry and ultimate sacrifice in putting his life before those he courageously sought to defend; acknowledges its profound gratitude to PC …
133 signatures
(Most recent: 18 Jul 2018)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 77
Conservative: 21
Scottish National Party: 16
Democratic Unionist Party: 6
Independent: 5
Liberal Democrat: 5
Plaid Cymru: 2
Non-affiliated: 1
View All Jonathan Reynolds's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Jonathan Reynolds, 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.


Jonathan Reynolds has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Jonathan Reynolds has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Jonathan Reynolds


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision that occupiers of dwellings owned by certain forms of co-operatives shall occupy those dwellings by virtue of their membership of the co-operative and not as tenants or under any other type of property interest; to make provision for co-operative tenure and for the respective rights and obligations of the co-operative and its members; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 30th March 2012

Jonathan Reynolds has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


200 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
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether people who unable to work because they are clinically extremely vulnerable are able to be furloughed under the extended Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during the November 2020 lockdown restrictions.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) continues to support businesses and individuals throughout the UK. Where employees are deemed to be clinically extremely vulnerable, they can be furloughed through the CJRS. As with the previous scheme, it is up to employers to decide whether to furlough these employees.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department is making on making it easier for fathers to take paternity leave.

The Conservative Manifesto included a commitment to make it easier for fathers to take Paternity Leave, and the Government fully intends to deliver on this commitment.

In 2019, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy consulted on high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay and is currently analysing the responses it received. We separately commissioned large scale, representative, surveys of parents and employers to gather further information on the barriers and enablers to employees taking parental leave, including Paternity Leave, and data on how parental entitlements are used in practice.

The results of this and our analysis of the consultation responses will inform policy developments on Paternity Leave which will be shared in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department is making on its consultation on parental leave and pay which closed on 29 November 2019.

In 2019, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy consulted on high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay and is currently analysing the responses it received. We separately commissioned large scale, representative, surveys of parents and employers to gather further information on the barriers and enablers to employees taking parental leave, including Paternity Leave, and data on how parental entitlements are used in practice.

Information gathered through the consultation and the evaluation of Shared Parental Leave and Pay will inform Government policy on parental leave and pay going forward – including the Manifesto commitment to make it easier for fathers to take Paternity Leave.

The findings of the evaluation and Government Response to the consultation will be published in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to provide additional parental pay entitlements for new parents who have recently changed or left their jobs as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Statutory Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave, and Parental Bereavement Leave are ‘day 1’ rights which means that an employee will qualify for these entitlements even if they have recently changed jobs.

In order to qualify for Statutory Paternity Leave and Shared Parental Leave, an employee must have been continuously employed by their current employer for 26 weeks at the ‘relevant date’.

In order to qualify for Statutory Maternity Pay, Adoption Pay, Paternity Pay, Shared Parental Pay and Parental Bereavement Pay, an employee must have earned at least the lower earnings level (currently £120 a week) in an 8 week reference period and worked continuously for their employer for 26 weeks at the ‘relevant date’. Additional qualifying criteria attach to Paternity, Shared Parental and Parental Bereavement Pay.

The ‘relevant date’ differs depending on whether the employee is a ‘birth parent’, a bereaved parent or an ‘adopter’. But in the case of Statutory Maternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay an employee will qualify for pay if they have 26 weeks continuous service at the ‘relevant date’ even if they subsequently leave their job or are made redundant. They will, however, cease to qualify if they end their parental leave to start working for a new employer.

Further information is on the eligibility criteria for parental leave and pay is on GOV.UK.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what his Department's specific guidance is on using previous wages to calculate redundancy and notice pay; and whether that calculation should include furlough pay.

The provisions relating to calculation of redundancy and notice pay under the Employment Rights Act continue to apply when an individual is on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Employees who are dismissed due to redundancy and who satisfy certain qualifying conditions are statutorily entitled to a lump sum from their employer, based on their age, length of service and contractual weekly earnings, subject to a statutory upper limit, payable at, or soon after, the dismissal date.

During this difficult period, we urge employers to exercise discretion and not use the Job Retention Scheme to make someone redundant on less favourable terms than they would otherwise have received.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of requests for an Education, Health and Care Plan were completed by local authorities in England and Wales in 2019 within the 20 weeks guideline.

In 2018, 60% of new education, health and care plans were issued within 20 weeks.

The latest data available corresponds to the 2018 calendar year and covers England only. This is available in the National Statistics release ‘Statements of SEN and EHC plans’, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statements-of-sen-and-ehc-plans-england-2019.

As part of the cross government special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) review, we are reviewing the system to make sure it is delivering the best start in life for all children and young people with SEND.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in unemployment in rural areas.

Over the period of the Covid-19 pandemic the unemployment rate in rural areas increased from 2.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 to a peak of 3.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2020 but has since fallen to 3.0 per cent in the first quarter of 2021. In urban areas the unemployment rate increased from 4.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 to a peak of 5.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 but has fallen to 5.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2021.

In April 2020 the eligibility criteria for claiming Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance were changed following the Covid-19 pandemic. In predominantly rural areas the proportion of the working age population claiming Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance while seeking work had increased by May 2020 to 5.0 per cent from 2.2 per cent in February 2020. In comparison, the proportion in predominantly urban areas increased to 7.2 per cent from 3.4 per cent over the same period. By April 2021 in predominantly rural areas the proportion of the working age population claiming Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance while seeking work had decreased to 4.6 per cent while in predominantly urban areas it was 7.3 per cent.

Unemployment rate (as a proportion of people aged 16 and over who are economically active (in or seeking work)), England

Quarter 1 2020

Quarter 2 2020

Quarter 3 2020

Quarter 4 2020

Quarter 1 2021

Rural areas

2.7

3.3

3.6

3.0

3.0

Urban areas

4.3

4.1

5.4

5.7

5.2

Proportion of the working age population (aged 16 to 64 years) claiming Universal Credit or Job Seeker’s Allowance whilst seeking work, England

February 2020

May 2020

April 2021

Predominantly rural areas

2.2

5.0

4.6

Predominantly urban areas

3.4

7.2

7.3

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with driving examiners unions' on whether their members plan to return to work on 22 July 2020 as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s priority throughout the coronavirus outbreak has been to protect the public and save lives. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.

The DVSA has been in constant dialogue with the Trade Unions throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and continues to engage and consult on its start up plans. All of the DVSA’s revised Standard Operating Procedures and Risk Assessments have been shared with and cleared by the Trade Unions.

The DVSA has consulted with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive and has released an updated version of its standard operating procedure and risk assessments to driving examiners, which contains social distancing measures and safety precautions, to ensure the safe restart of driving tests. The DVSA is currently engaging with Scottish and Welsh Governments to ensure it engages with Health advisors before services are resumed in both.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessments he has made of the ability of driving instructors to conduct driving lessons safely during driving lessons as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the safety of its staff and the wider public. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.

Driving instructors are responsible for ensuring their services remain safe. Guidance on how they can carry out risk assessments can be found on the Health and Safety Executive’s website.

The DVSA would encourage all driving instructors to keep up to date with the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) website for further advice and information: http://www.n-a-s-p.co.uk/

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to publish public health guidance for driving instructors on providing lessons safely as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the safety of its staff and the wider public. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.

Driving instructors are responsible for ensuring their services remain safe. The DVSA has released an updated version of its standard operating procedure to driving examiners, which driving instructors might wish to refer to when developing their own health and safety procedures. The DVSA will be sending this directly to driving instructors and it will be hosted on the National Associations Strategic Partnership website.

The DVSA would encourage all driving instructors to keep up to date with the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) website for further advice and information: http://www.n-a-s-p.co.uk/

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the viability of tram-train services in Greater Manchester.

The Department continues to engage with Transport for Greater Manchester on Tram Train development including sharing the lessons from the Tram Train pilot in Sheffield. We await more detail on their proposals.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions officials of his Department has had with representatives of TransPennine Express on the future of that franchise following the proposed changes to the Northern franchise.

The Department is in the process of developing plans to replace the current Northern franchise with either a new short-term management contract with Arriva Rail North, or the Operator of Last Resort (OLR) and a decision will be made by the end of January. In the meantime we continue to challenge TPE on making improvements for rail passengers. We have been clear with the operator that it must take urgent steps to address its poor performance problems and indeed only last week my Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State called in executives from TPE and other industry bodies to reinforce this point. If appropriate, we will take action under the terms set out in the Franchise Agreement.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what funding is available to Transport for Greater Manchester for the expansion of the Metrolink network.

The Government is committed to investing in infrastructure and levelling up across the county and has developed the Transforming Cities Fund to improve public transport with a focus on trains, trams and buses. Greater Manchester will receive a total of £312.5 million in Mayoral Transforming Cities Fund allocations. Of this, £83 million has been allocated to provide additional tram capacity on the Metrolink network through the procurement of 27 additional Metrolink trams and associated supporting infrastructure. In addition, a further £4.2 billion of funding is planned for improving transport infrastructure in major cities. More detail on future funding levels for cities will be announced later this year

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his timescale is for receiving an application from Highways England for a Development Consent Order for the Mottram Bypass element of the Transpennine upgrade programme.

The Development Consent Order for Mottram Bypass will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate this calendar year to support a proposed start of works for the scheme in 2021/2022.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people are currently receiving support from the Restart scheme.

As of Sunday 14 November 2021, 70,155 people are recorded as having started on the Restart programme since it began in July 2021.

Please note that the management information above has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with Official Statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people who were receiving support from the Job Entry Support Scheme have been subsequently referred to the Restart scheme.

Information on the number of Restart participants who previously received support from the Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) programme is not readily available. Notes regarding which programmes a claimant has taken part in may be noted on the Universal Credit system, however aggregating data on those who have participated in multiple programmes would incur disproportionate costs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have successfully moved into employment after a referral to the Restart scheme.

The information requested is currently unavailable. Detailed statistics on Restart, including moves into employment, are currently under development.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the recent Thanksgiving holiday in the United States on the ability of pensioners abroad to receive their weekly state pension.

We wish all Americans a happy Thanksgiving.

Payments to British citizens living overseas in countries other than the United States were not impacted by the recent Thanksgiving Holiday.

Payment dates will only be impacted where they land on a Bank Holiday in the country of residence and in this instance payment is made on the next available working day.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the current level of staffing of the Child Maintenance Service.

The number of people working within the Child Maintenance Service is reviewed regularly to ensure we have sufficient resources to answer customer calls and progress cases. Since 2020, we have recruited 790 people into the Child Maintenance Service on temporary contracts, this has been to backfill against resource lost to Universal Credit and other primary benefits. We have a very robust demand model and will continue to review the volumes of work against that model to ensure that we adjust staffing levels as required.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the appropriateness of exclusively using an American company to process payments of the state pension to British citizens living overseas which leaves claimants without payment in weeks of American state holidays.

DWP utilise services provided by the pan-government Money Transmission Services (Lot 3) contract, owned by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to make payment to entitled customers who reside abroad. The contract was awarded in 2015 following procurement in compliance with Public Contract Regulations.

Citibank is a global provider of international payments and provides a reliable and secure payment route for DWP customers in over 200 countries.

Claimant payments are only affected by bank holidays in the country of residence and the payment is available for the customer on that country’s next working day.

Payments to British citizens living overseas are not impacted by American state holidays.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 9 November 2021 to Question 68249 on Universal Credit, what proportion of the £67.8 million deducted from universal credit claims as a result of Government debt in May 2021 was as a consequence of (a) non-fraud Tax Credit Overpayment, (b) non-fraud DWP Benefit Overpayment and (c) non-fraud Housing Benefit Overpayment.

For Universal Credit claims with a payment due during May 2021, £67,800,000 was deducted to repay Government debt, of which:

(a) 56% (£37,700,000 ) for Tax Credit Overpayment (non-fraud)

(b) 30% (£20,500,000) for DWP Benefit Overpayment (non-fraud)

(c) 5% (3,500,000) for Housing Benefit Overpayment (non-fraud)

As a Department, we carefully balance our duty to the taxpayer to recover overpayments, with our support for claimants. Processes are in place to ensure deductions are manageable, and in April we further reduced the cap on deductions from Universal Credit awards.

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

Fraud and error in the benefit system is rare, with 95% of benefits worth more than £200bn paid correctly and just 0.4% of benefits being overpaid due to DWP error.

Notes

1) Figures are provisional and subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.

2) Amount deducted rounded to the nearest 100,000 and percentage rounded to the nearest percent.

3) Government debt includes: DWP Benefit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Tax Credit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Housing Benefit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Social Fund Loan, Recoverable Hardship Payment, Administrative Penalty, Civil Penalty, Eligible Loan Deductions, Integration Loan.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 26 October 2021 to Question 60405, on Universal Credit, what proportion of Government debt resulting in deductions taken from universal credit entitlements is as a result of advances.

To clarify, Advances are not Government debt. They are a claimant’s benefit entitlement paid early, allowing claimants to access 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. They ensure nobody has to wait for a payment in Universal Credit and those who need it are able to receive financial support as soon as possible. Claimants can receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit award if required, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period.

For Universal Credit claims with a payment due during May 2021:

  • £71.6m was deducted for repayment of Advances
  • £67.8m was deducted for Government debt.

1) Government debt includes: DWP Benefit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Tax Credit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Housing Benefit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Social Fund Loan, Recoverable Hardship Payment, Administrative Penalty, Civil Penalty, Eligible Loan Deductions, Integration Loan.

2) Claims may have a deduction for both a Government debt and a repayment of an advance.

3) The above figures exclude deductions for Third Party debt; they also exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.

4) Data for May 2021 has been provided in line with the latest available Universal Credit Household Statistics.

5) Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.

As noted in PQ 60405, on average, claimants with these deductions paid 15% of their Standard Allowance towards them. We have reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 30% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance, enabling claimants to take home more of the award.

Customers can contact the Department if they are experiencing financial hardship to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment, depending on their financial circumstances, whilst work coaches can also signpost claimants to other financial support.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2021 to Question 33906 on Universal Credit: Disability, whether any assessment was subsequently made of the impact of removing the uplift to the standard allowance in Universal Credit on the financial security of disabled claimants.

As the uplift was introduced as a temporary measure, no such assessment has been made.

The Chancellor announced a six-month extension to the temporary £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 19 July 2021 to Question 32383 on universal credit, whether a gender impact assessment was subsequently made on the removal of the uplift to the standard allowance of universal credit.

The Department has not completed an impact assessment of the removal of the Universal Credit temporary uplift as it was introduced as a temporary measure.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; we have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year. Our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, and continues to do so through many measures, including by spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22. This government is continuing to take action to support living standards by increasing the National Living Wage to £9.50 effective from April 1st 2022, as well as reducing the taper rate in Universal Credit from 63% to 55% and increasing the value of work allowances by £500 per year, meaning Universal Credit claimants will be able to keep more of their benefit payments when they increase their earnings.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 19 July 2021 to Question 32384 on Universal Credit, whether any ethnicity impact assessment was subsequently made on removing the uplift to the standard allowance in Universal Credit.

The Department has not completed an impact assessment of the removal of the Universal Credit temporary uplift as it was introduced as a temporary measure.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; we have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year. Our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, and continues to do so through many measures, including by spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22. This government is continuing to take action to support living standards by increasing the National Living Wage to £9.50 effective from April 1st 2022, as well as reducing the taper rate in Universal Credit from 63% to 55% and increasing the value of work allowances by £500 per year, meaning Universal Credit claimants will be able to keep more of their benefit payments when they increase their earnings.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 20 July 2021 to Question 33908 on Universal Credit, whether any assessment was subsequently made on the impact of removing the uplift to the standard allowance in Universal Credit on the financial security of young claimants.

The Department has not completed an impact assessment of the removal of the Universal Credit temporary uplift as it was introduced as a temporary measure.

The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; we have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job; and introduced Restart which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year. Our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, and continues to do so through many measures, including by spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22. This government is continuing to take action to support living standards by increasing the National Living Wage to £9.50 effective from April 1st 2022, as well as reducing the taper rate in Universal Credit from 63% to 55% and increasing the value of work allowances by £500 per year, meaning Universal Credit claimants will be able to keep more of their benefit payments when they increase their earnings.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants have had deductions made from their universal credit entitlement as a result of an advance or other Government debt in each of the last 12 months for which data is available.

The information requested is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

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. Processes 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.

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants are being deducted the maximum amount of 25 per cent of their standard allowance from their entitlement as a result of an advance or other Government debt.

For Universal Credit claims with a payment due during May 2021, 506,000 (10% of all claims) had a deduction of 25% of their standard allowance as a result of an Advance or Government debt.

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.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have successfully moved into secure employment after taking part in the Restart scheme as of 21 October 2021.

The information requested is currently unavailable. Detailed statistics on Restart, including moves into employment, are currently under development. For figures on referrals and starts to the scheme please see PQ 59705/59706.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish data on the size of deductions being made from claimants' universal credit entitlements as a result of debts to the public purse by (a) gross sum and (b) percentage of the claimants' standard allowance as of 21 October 2021.

For Universal Credit claims with a payment due during May 2021, £139,400,000 was deducted towards an Advance or Government debt. On average, claimants with these deductions paid 15% of their Standard Allowance.

New claimants with new claim and benefit transfer advances now have the option to spread twenty-five Universal Credit payments over twenty-four months.

Customers can contact the Department if they are experiencing financial hardship to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment, depending on their financial circumstances, whilst work coaches can also signpost claimants to other financial support.

1) Data for May 2021 has been provided in line with the latest available UC Household Statistics.

2) Government debt includes: DWP Benefit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Tax Credit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Housing Benefit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Social Fund Loan, Recoverable Hardship Payment, Administrative Penalty, Civil Penalty, Eligible Loan Deductions, Integration Loan.

3) Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.

4) Amount deducted rounded to the nearest £100,000 and percentage rounded to the nearest percentage.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households are facing deductions to their universal credit award as a result of debts owed to the public purse as of 21 October 2021.

For Universal Credit claims with a payment due during May 2021, 2,070,000 had a deduction towards an Advance or Government debt.

1) Data for May 2021 has been provided in line with the latest available UC Household Statistics.

2) Government debt includes: DWP Benefit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Tax Credit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Housing Benefit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Social Fund Loan,Recoverable Hardship Payment, Administrative Penalty, Civil Penalty, Eligible Loan Deductions, Integration Loan.

3) Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.

4) Number of claims rounded to the nearest 1,000.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 28 June 2021 to Question 21211 on Social Security Benefits, if she will provide the dates of incidents of death or serious harm that have triggered internal process reviews by her Department since July 2019.

In order to comply with the provisions of Section 123 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992, it would not be appropriate to release the dates of specific benefit claimant incidents that have caused us to conduct internal process reviews.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether all assessors at each stage of (a) a personal independence payment assessment and (b) subsequent appeals have access to insight condition reports for fetal valproate spectrum disorder as recommended in the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review report.

Both Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment providers have a Condition Insight Report (CIR) on Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder, which all their Health Professionals (HPs) have access to during the course of the PIP assessment process.

The CIR on Fetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder is a product specifically developed for HPs. It is therefore not shared with DWP Case Managers, who make decisions on entitlement and mandatory reconsiderations, or Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), who handle appeals.

DWP Case Managers use the content within the assessment report provided by the HP, and any other available evidence, to make a decision for each claimant. However, HP advice is available throughout the process if a DWP Case Manager requires input following the initial assessment.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she has taken to improve her Department's processes in response to the completion of internal process reviews in the last three years.

Recommendations from IPRs are a critical source of insight and learning.

Improvements the Department has made in response to the completion of following IPRs in the last three years include:

  • Introducing a holistic check of a customer’s circumstances prior to issuing them with a large payment, in order to identify whether it might cause risk to that individual.
  • Improving staff guidance to ensure vulnerable customers’ benefits are not automatically stopped when they cease engaging with the Department.
Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the number of DWP assessors (a) challenging or (b) overturning clinical judgements made by medical professionals about a claimant's terminal illness.

The DWP currently provides a balanced and compassionate approach to supporting those approaching the end of their lives. The approach is based on clinical judgement and evidence provided by a relevant clinician like GPs or Specialist Nurses.

A claim made under the Special Rules for Terminal Illness is in most cases supported by evidence from the claimant’s clinician submitted in a DS1500 form. These contain information relating to diagnosis, clinical features and past or current treatment. While they have never been a requirement for a claim under the terminal illness rules, they remain the quickest and most appropriate route to gather evidence to support entitlement in these cases.

Providers use healthcare professionals to provide advice to DWP decision makers about benefit entitlement. They may contact clinicians to obtain clinical information if either a claim has been made under the SRTI but no DS1500 has been provided or for clarification of information provided in the DS1500. The provider healthcare professional will review all available evidence before making a recommendation to DWP decision makers about eligibility.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the eligibility criteria are for a claimant to receive their payments through her Department's Payment Exception Service when Post Office card accounts end.

The Payment Exception Service has been designed for customers who cannot open or manage a basic bank or standard accounts and enables them to obtain cash payments via the PayPoint network or from their Post Office.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will reduce the number of benefits assessments for terminally ill people by extending the length of awards under the Special Rules for Terminal Illnesses.

The Department provides fast-track access to benefits for people who are nearing the end of their lives through the Special Rules for Terminal Illness (SRTI). The Special Rules 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. For the majority of cases made under the Special Rules for Terminal Illness, people are given three year awards. This approach is based on a recommendation from an expert advisory group, initially for Disability Living Allowance, but later adopted in other benefits. The three year awards given to SRTI claims strikes a balance that recognises making a prognosis is not an exact science. The majority of claims made under the Special Rules sadly do not reach three years but for those that do, we want to ensure that people continue to receive the right level of support. Any further claims would also likely be made under the Special Rules, avoiding the need for [face to face] assessment.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessments her Department has made on the equity of requiring people diagnosed with a terminal condition and whose symptoms are clear to complete a work capability assessment.

The Department provides fast-track access to Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance for people who are nearing the end of their lives through the Special Rules for Terminal Illness. The Special Rules 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. On 8th July 2021, following an extensive evaluation into how the benefits system supports people nearing the end of their lives, the Department announced its intention to replace the current 6-month rule with a 12-month, end of life definition.

We also sought views in Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper on how best to support people with severe and lifelong conditions to access ESA, the additional health-related element of UC and Personal Independence Payment. Responses will inform a White Paper to be published next year.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the EU citizens with Settled Status who were recently informed in error that they would lose their benefits have been contacted by her Department and given assurances about their entitlement.

Following the end of the grace period on 30 June 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens have been required to have a valid UK immigration status in order to access non-contributory benefits, such as Universal Credit.

As part of our extensive efforts to contact all those believed to be without status, people naturalised as British citizens, Irish citizens or with an existing valid immigration status may have received letters asking them to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). The letters urged people with an immigration status to contact DWP to confirm their status and no action was taken with respect to their benefit payments as a consequence of receiving these letters.

We have since updated our data lists to ensure people with an existing immigration status do not receive further correspondence. No action will be taken to suspend or terminate the benefits of people with a valid immigration status.

Individuals wishing to evidence their eligibility for benefits should contact DWP and/or HMRC as appropriate to their individual circumstances.

When considering whether or not to suspend a claim, DWP officials will seek information on the customer’s immigration status held by the Home Office and contact the customer themselves to determine whether or not an individual holds a valid immigration status, or has applied to the EUSS. These steps are repeated at the termination stage, to ensure that no claims are closed for individuals who hold a valid immigration status.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that when rectifying the underpayment of the State Pension, the women affected are contacted by an appropriate means that caters to any disabilities or impairments they may have.

DWP is committed to ensuring our services are accessible to all. This includes making reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of all our customers who have a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010, as well as supporting customers who may be deemed to need additional support.

DWP ensures that communications with anyone who has been underpaid State Pension meet an individual’s requirements by using the information we have recorded on our systems at the claims stage. This includes the adoption of communications aids such as: Audio / British Sign Language, Induction Loop, Type-talk, Braille and large print letters.

Regular monitoring of telephone calls and written correspondence ensures that we maintain service standards and meet each individual’s specific communication requirements.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason her Department has decided to end the New Enterprise Allowance scheme.

The contract for the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) was due to end in March 2021, but was extended by nine months to support claimants through the unprecedented challenges that arose due to the pandemic. As the economy opens up, it is right that we focus our resources on getting jobseekers into work and progressing with support underpinned by our Plan For Jobs. Furthermore, while referrals to the NEA end on 31 December 2021, participants on the programme will receive support until October 2023.

The NEA is just one form of provision available to the self-employed. Those self-employed or those wishing to become self-employed can access support from the Small Business Helpline in England, Business Wales and Fair Start Scotland. Additionally, the Start Up Loans scheme, run by the British Business Bank, delivers support to many people that may have otherwise struggled to obtain it through a commercial bank loan. The scheme provides mentoring to those starting their business, and offers support to women entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs from ethnic minority backgrounds and the previously unemployed. Where Jobcentres identify claimants with additional support requirements not met elsewhere, they may use Flexible Support Fund to commission additional localised support.

Support for the self-employed is built into Universal Credit, so claimants can receive financial support to supplement their earnings and they can receive regular support from Self-Employment Work Coaches, who will signpost entrepreneurs to tools and resources to develop the skills and experience they need. Claimants on legacy benefits who become self-employed may migrate to Universal Credit and receive a start-up period of up to one year, which includes 1-2-1 Work Coach support to develop their business.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many internal process reviews have been (a) started and (b) completed on cases of death or serious harm since the Answer of 28 June 2021 to Question 21211 on Social Security Benefits.

Internal Process Reviews (IPRs) are internal retrospective investigations, focussed on organisational learning. They are not designed to identify or apportion blame (where engaged, a Coroner has responsibility for concluding the cause of death).

IPRs are conducted when:

o there is a suggestion or allegation that the Department’s actions or omissions may have negatively contributed to the customer’s circumstances, or cases in which the department may be able to learn about the operation of its processes, AND a customer has suffered serious harm, has died (including by suicide), or where we have reason to believe there has been an attempted suicide.

o the Department is asked to participate in a Safeguarding Adults Board, or is named as an Interested Party at an Inquest. An Internal Process Review will be conducted - regardless of whether there is an allegation against the Department.

Of those IPRs that have been started since 28 June 2021, those relevant to the question’s criteria are as follows:

Death*

12

Serious Harm**

4


Of those IPRs that have been completed since 28 June 2021, those relevant to the question’s criteria are as follows:

Death*

12

Serious Harm**

1

* Death includes the categories death, alleged suicide and confirmed suicide.

** Serious Harm includes the categories self-harm, serious harm, attempted suicide and ‘other’.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether a claimant's ability to travel and receive the covid-19 vaccine has been used by her Department as evidence when assessing a person under activity 11 of the Personal Independent Payment assessment.

Personal Independence Payment Activity 11 – planning and following journeys considers a claimant’s ability to plan the route of a journey in advance, their ability to leave the home and embark on a journey and their ability to follow the intended route once they leave the home.

Health Professionals are expected to consider in the round the ability of an individual to carry out the activity safely, to an acceptable standard, reliably and repeatedly using their clinical expertise, the evidence provided and their observations of the claimant’s functional ability.

Guidance does not specifically direct Health Professionals to consider a claimant’s ability to travel to receive a vaccine and the information requested about specific cases is not available.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 9 September 2021 to Question 43382 on Social Security Benefits: Disability, for what reason her Department does not have plans to publish the final report of the NatCen research project entitled The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits.

My Department has no intention to publish this research at present. My Department is currently considering a range of policy options, and it is right to protect the private space within which Ministers and their policy advisers can develop policies without the risk of premature disclosure.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to develop a new measure of poverty in line with the recommendations of the Social Metrics Commission.

Our current priority is to improve the quality of our statutory measures before considering any further work on the Social Metric Commission’s measure specifically.

However, we are making changes to the Family Resource Survey which will benefit the Social Metrics Commission, including improved measurement of assets, adding in new questions on debt, doubling the sample size and further linking with administrative data.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will outline the responsibilities of Disability Ministerial Champions set out in the National Disability Strategy.

The first Ministerial Disability Champions were appointed in summer 2020, at the request of the Prime Minister, to drive the development and delivery of the National Disability Strategy.

Their role includes championing disabled people and driving the delivery of the National Disability Strategy in their respective departments.

An updated list of Departmental Ministerial Disability Champions will be announced shortly, and published on GOV.UK.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to update the list of Departmental Ministerial Disability Champions as announced in the National Disability Strategy after the Government reshuffle on 15 September 2021.

The updated list of Departmental Ministerial Disability Champions will be announced shortly, and published on GOV.UK.

Ministerial Disability Champions drive the delivery of the National Disability Strategy in their respective departments.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that Job Centre Pluses can manage potential increased demand after the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the UK labour market, leading to an increase in demand for DWP’s services. As part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to support claimants back into work, the Department has recruited 13,500 additional Work Coaches to respond effectively to this increase and to help provide the full range of Jobcentre services to both existing and new customers so they can receive benefit payments as well as being supported into work.

The Department has seen, and anticipates further, an increase in demand for our services and as a result, we are rapidly expanding the space available, on a temporary basis. This increase cannot be contained within existing premises both due to the scale of the increase in demand and social distancing requirements.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes to help claimants prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year; and Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS), which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many staff working for her Department are employed on a fixed-term contract; and how many of those contracts are due to end each month in the next 12 months.

DWP has 14,651 employees on Fixed Term Contracts as of 31 August 2021.

The full breakdown by month is not currently held centrally. We have recently extended a number of contracts and are in the process of updating our records on the HR and Payroll system.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what forecasts her Department has made on the potential impact of the end of support under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on claimant rates for universal credit.

The Department works with the Office for Budget Responsibility to produce Universal Credit forecasts, including ahead of the Autumn Budget. The next forecast is due to be published on 27th October.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 3 September to Question 41749 on State Retirement Pensions, Administrative Delays, how many staff have been redeployed from universal credit to retirement services.

The Department is re-deploying circa 700 staff from other areas across DWP to help to stabilise the service further.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have successfully moved into work in food distribution after participation in the Restart scheme.

The information requested is not available. No information is collected on the numbers of people moving into work in food distribution.

The Restart Scheme is aimed at supporting people who have been on Universal Credit in the Intensive Work Search Regime for 12-18 months into sustained employment. Referrals to Restart began in July 2021 and participants can spend up to 12 months on the scheme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help tackle labour shortages in food distribution.

The Department is helping jobseekers move into roles within the haulage and logistics sectors with a driver training pilot to support people to become HGV drivers and we encourage industry to access their local Jobcentre Plus network to take advantage of the range of support on offer.

Provisions such as the Sector Based Work Academy Programme (SWAPs) gives jobseekers the skills and qualifications they need to take up driver roles.

We are partnering with DfT and industry to collaborate on content for JobHelp, our virtual platform to advise and guide people looking for work. This includes video case studies; myth-busting documents; promoting vacancies in the sector; and guides to working in logistics.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Kickstart placements have been created in food distribution industries.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given for PQ 36791 for Kickstart Scheme jobs created by sector.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of using algorithms, such as for fraud risk scoring, on benefits claimants' rights to privacy and non-discrimination.

DWP have been exploring the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence where appropriate, focussing on everyday repetitive tasks so that our colleagues can spend more time supporting vulnerable claimants. We have identified value in developing algorithms in relation to assessing fraud and error risks, monitoring cyber-security, tailoring non-financial support offered to customers and reducing verification demands. We intend to use such technologies carefully in ways that improve citizen experiences and outcomes, along with operational efficiency. DWP does not use artificial intelligence to make decisions regarding people’s benefit entitlement.

We have adopted a cautious approach and are evolving our governance in relation to such technologies. Our Data Protection Office and Legal team ensure we are applying legislation in relation to claimant’s rights to privacy and non-discrimination. Our Central Analysis and Science Division provide methodological oversight. We also have a senior Data Board that will scrutinise the use of algorithms.

The opportunities and considerations associated with the use of algorithms continues to evolve, as outlined in the guidance on building and using artificial intelligence in the public sector, published on GOV.UK.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 July 2021 to Question 29793 on Department for Work and Pensions: Coronavirus, what budget her Department has allocated to enforcement activities in respect of ventilation in (a) Jobcentre Plus premises and (b) other buildings owned and managed by her Department in each of the last ten years; what steps her Department has taken to enforce activities in respect of ventilation in (i) Jobcentre Plus premises and (ii) other buildings owned and managed by her Department in each of the last ten years; and when she last held a meeting to discuss ventilation with (A) staff of her Department’s central office, (B) representatives of managers of Jobcentre Plus premises and (C) recognised trade unions representing Jobcentre Plus staff.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) allocates resources based on planned levels of activity to deliver its published strategy and plans. It does not allocate budgets by specific risk areas such as business premises ventilation, but inspectors will take action to respond to poor ventilation if identified during regulatory activity.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the risks associated with poor general ventilation in a workplace increased due to the risk of transmitting coronavirus. HSE has carried out more than 300,000 interventions since the start of the pandemic, to check how businesses are implementing measures to reduce transmission of coronavirus at their sites, including whether employees are working in poorly ventilated spaces. Where contraventions are identified, HSE inspectors will take action to secure compliance by providing verbal advice, written correspondence or serving enforcement notices.

HSE has also updated their website guidance to support businesses in addressing the issue of ventilation in businesses www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation/index.htm.

HSE does not collate all enforcement action taken specifically in respect of ventilation. However, HSE’s operational database shows that in the last ten years, there have been 7 enforcement notices specifically citing Regulation 6 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (as amended), which imposes general requirements for ensuring workplaces are adequately ventilated. Please see table below for figures:

Year

Number of enforcement notices citing contraventions of Regulation 6 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (as amended)

2011

2

2012

1

2013

0

2014

1

2015

0

2016

0

2017

0

2018

0

2019

3

2020

0

Total

7

This table does not, however, provide a full picture of HSE enforcement in respect of ventilation, for example because enforcement action on coronavirus-related ventilation deficiencies may be taken under the general provisions of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, without reference to the above-mentioned regulation (and in such cases cannot readily be identified on HSE systems). Further, HSE does not collate information to identify how often verbal advice or written correspondence has been provided by inspectors to deal specifically with ventilation deficiencies.

Within the Department, we have issued updated guidance on ventilation to our on-site Senior Responsible Officers and Health & Safety Business Partner team and estates field teams support local managers to ensure that measures identified in the site-level risk assessment are in place and will meet them as appropriate to ensure any issues identified can be resolved swiftly. No ventilation issues have been raised at the Department’s head office. The Department holds fortnightly meetings with Trade Union representatives. These cover a range of Coronavirus related topics, including ventilation.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants are eligible for support through the Restart scheme.

Over the course of 3 years of referrals, the Restart Scheme will provide intensive, tailored employment support to help over 1 million Universal Credit claimants back towards sustained employment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of removing the temporary uplift to the universal credit standard allowance on the financial security of unpaid carers.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap.

We recognise the vital role unpaid carers play. A role that has perhaps been more important than ever during the pandemic. The Government’s focus on supporting carers during the pandemic has included prioritisation for vaccines, funding for organisations that support carers and exemptions from certain regulations. The Government is committed to continuing to support carers to provide care as they would wish, and to do so in a way that supports their own health and wellbeing, employment and other life chances. The Care Act requires local authorities to deliver a wide range of sustainable high-quality care and support services, this includes support for carers.

The benefit system also supports carers and not just through Carer’s Allowance. Over 300,000 carer households receiving Universal Credit can receive around an additional £1950 a year through the Carer Element.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have found work through the Restart scheme to date.

The Restart Scheme is still in its initial stages. Conversations with claimants about the Restart Scheme began on the 28th June 2021, and referrals to providers started on the 12th July 2021.

Restart Scheme providers will deliver an intensive and tailored support offer to Participants, aimed at helping them to get into sustained work. With each Participant having a unique set of needs and aspirations, we can expect transitions to employment to happen at different points in their journeys.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of removing the uplift to the universal credit standard allowance on the financial security of disabled universal credit claimants.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap.

Universal Credit claimants with health conditions or disabilities who, following the outcome of a work capability assessment, are determined to have limited capability for work and work related activity – meaning they are not required to look for work or to prepare for work – are awarded an additional amount of benefit, currently £343.63 per month.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of removing the uplift to the universal credit standard allowance on the financial security of young universal credit claimants.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of removing the uplift to the universal credit standard allowance on the financial security of universal credit claimants with disabled children.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Universal Credit claimants who are responsible for a child or a qualifying young person may be entitled to a Disabled Child Addition for each eligible child. This addition is available for all eligible children, regardless of the total number of children in the household.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of removing the uplift to the universal credit standard allowance on food bank usage.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

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 food bank usage at a constituency or national level.

We recognise the data limitations in this area, so from April 2021 have introduced a set of questions into the Family Resources Survey (FRS) on food bank usage. The first results of these questions are expected to be published in March 2023 subject to usual quality assurance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of removing the uplift to the universal credit standard allowance on rent arrears accrued by universal credit claimants.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

For 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 available. They are flexible and can be considered where, in the local authority’s opinion, further financial assistance towards housing costs is required.

Local Housing Allowance rates for private renters on Universal Credit or Housing Benefit were increased to the 30th percentile of market rents last year, and have been maintained in cash terms in 2021/22.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of removing the uplift to the universal credit standard allowance on income inequality.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made on the potential effect of removing the uplift to the universal credit standard allowance on material deprivation.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of removing the uplift to the universal credit standard allowance on levels of debt accrued by universal credit claimants.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what specific training is given to disability assessors used by her Department for (a) personal independence payment and (b) work capability assessments on mental health to ensure that they are able to (i) accurately assess a mental health disability and (ii) make necessary adjustments during the assessment process.

DWP require all Health Professionals (HPs) conducting assessments on behalf of the department to have appropriate skills in assessing people with conditions affecting mental health, including history taking and ability to perform a relevant examination. They are fully qualified in their health discipline, receive training in disability assessment and specific training in mental health conditions and how to identify the impact of these.

Claimants are given the opportunity to alert their assessment provider of any additional requirements they may have and the providers will meet any reasonable requests. Furthermore, companions or advocates are encouraged to attend and can play an active role in assessments. This can be particularly helpful for claimants with mental, cognitive or intellectual impairments who may not be able to provide an accurate account of their condition due to a lack of understanding or unrealistic expectations of their ability. Claimants with severe mental health conditions, who may have no support network in place, can also be provided with additional support during the claims process if they need it.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of removing the £20 uplift to the universal credit standard allowance on the in-work progression of universal credit claimants.

No such assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

To note further, we will consider the recommendations of the In-Work Progression Commission’s report and respond later in the year.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of removing the £20 uplift to the universal credit standard allowance on levels of parental employment.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

The Department is fully committed to supporting parents with moving into work and improving their earnings once employed. Universal Credit childcare costs provides more generous childcare support than was available under Tax Credits, reimbursing up to 85% of eligible childcare costs up to a monthly cap as opposed to 70% under tax credits

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what ethnicity impact assessment her Department has made of removing the £20 uplift to the universal credit standard allowance.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what gender impact assessment her Department has made of removing the £20 uplift to the universal credit standard allowance.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what regional economic impact assessment her Department has made of removing the £20 uplift to the universal credit standard allowance.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many current universal credit claimants have been first-time claimants of universal credit in the period since 1 April 2020.

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

The available information on the number of people on Universal Credit, by duration of claim, is published monthly and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

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

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of removing the £20 uplift to the universal credit standard allowance on levels of child poverty.

It is not possible to produce a robust estimate of removing the £20 uplift on levels of in-work poverty or on child poverty. This is particularly the case at the moment given the uncertainty around the speed of the economic recovery, and how this will be distributed across the population.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. Our ambitious Plan for Jobs is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country and includes new schemes such as the £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, the £2.9 billion Restart Scheme and our Job Entry Targeted Support Scheme.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic and we have always been clear the uplift was temporary as part of an extensive £400 billion package of measures put in place to protect incomes, businesses and public services during the pandemic.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of removing the £20 uplift to universal credit standard allowance on levels of in-work poverty.

It is not possible to produce a robust estimate of removing the £20 uplift on levels of in-work poverty or on child poverty. This is particularly the case at the moment given the uncertainty around the speed of the economic recovery, and how this will be distributed across the population.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. Our ambitious Plan for Jobs is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country and includes new schemes such as the £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, the £2.9 billion Restart Scheme and our Job Entry Targeted Support Scheme.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic and we have always been clear the uplift was temporary as part of an extensive £400 billion package of measures put in place to protect incomes, businesses and public services during the pandemic.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her oral evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee on 7 July 2021, when she plans for all universal credit claimants to have been sent a letter informing them that the £20 uplift to the standard allowance will be removed on 30 September 2021.

The Government has always been clear that the £20 increase was a temporary measure to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March.

Claimants will be notified ahead of this change to the temporary uplift. The details of this process are currently being finalised.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to mitigating the risk of covid-19 transmission through ventilation in JobCentre Plus premises and other buildings owned and managed by her Department, with and without public access, what guidance she has issued or plans to issue to relevant building managers on that matter; how ventilation standards throughout her Department's estate will be monitored; what steps her Department will take to ensure that guidance is followed; and whether she plans to provide funding to improve standards of ventilation throughout her Department's estate.

DWP has continued to follow the BEIS guidance for offices and contact centres which refers also to the Health and Safety Executive’s advice on air conditioning and ventilation. DWP is aware that BEIS guidance is due to be updated and DWP will impact review this once issued. DWP also review the guidance issued by the Representatives of European Heating and Ventilation Associations (REHVA) and Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE). On behalf of DWP, the Integrator and Supply Chain partners (Facilities Management engineers) took actions based on these recommendations when they were issued in 2020, to mitigate the risk of covid-19 transmission. DWP issued guidance to site based Senior Responsible Officers on these changes and has also maintained an informative Coronavirus Hub on its intranet.

DWP will continue to review guidance issued by the authoritative sources and will maintain systems via its planned preventive maintenance (PPM) schedules and monitors action plans for any sites that require further improvements or mitigation. Each property has its own risk assessment and COVID controls checklists that include ventilation. Work orders can be raised by its employees through the recognised helpdesk system, where issues are identified outside of the PPM process. DWP is also currently completing a further review of ventilation systems as part of the cross Government COVID taskforce, utilising documentation issued by the Cabinet Office led taskforce.

DWP will impact any further guidance issued, as it has with existing guidance and will ensure appropriate actions are taken when necessary. DWP staff such as its site-based Senior Responsible Officers, managers, estates field teams and trade union colleagues will ensure that the guidance is followed at local level and formal auditing / inspections will take place.

DWP continues to maintain its building systems via planned preventive maintenance and improve standards across the estate as part of Life Cycle Works / Capital Investment works.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department has spent from the public purse on contesting court cases in each of the last three years.

The Department does not keep this information centrally and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether any departmental business has been conducted on private email addresses; and what mechanisms are in place to ensure that full records are kept of that business.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Cabinet Office guidance to departments on use of private emails.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether a risk assessment has been carried out on the secure holding of CCTV footage within her Department.

As has been the case under successive Administrations, it is not government policy to comment on security procedures in government buildings.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Departments plans to restart the managed migration pilot scheme following its suspension during the covid-19 outbreak.

The pilot that had been active in Harrogate was suspended as the Department focused on delivering its part of the Government’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to its suspension, the emphasis of the pilot was to assist with developing the design of the Move to Universal Credit service and its processes, to provide the best possible support for claimants who are moved to Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many internal process reviews have been (a) started and (b) completed on cases of death or serious harm since July 2019.

Internal Process Reviews (IPRs) are internal retrospective investigations, focussed on organisational learning. They are not designed to identify or apportion blame (where engaged, a Coroner has responsibility for concluding the cause of death).

IPRs are conducted when:

o there is a suggestion or allegation that the Department’s actions or omissions may have negatively contributed to the customer’s circumstances, or cases in which the department may be able to learn about the operation of its processes, AND a customer has suffered serious harm, has died (including by suicide), or where we have reason to believe there has been an attempted suicide.

o the Department is asked to participate in an external Safeguarding Adults Board, or is named as an Interested Party at an Inquest. An Internal Process Review will be conducted - regardless of whether there is an allegation against the Department.

Of those IPRs that have been started since July 2019, those relevant to the question’s criteria are as follows:

Death*

97

Serious Harm**

27


Of those IPRs that have been completed since July 2019, those relevant to the question’s criteria are as follows:

Death*

54

Serious Harm**

8

* Death includes the categories death, alleged suicide and confirmed suicide.

** Serious Harm includes the categories self-harm, serious harm, attempted suicide and ‘other’.

16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department is on course to launch their Restart scheme on 28 June 2021 and commence referrals on 12 July 2021.

DWP is currently on course, with final readiness assurance taking place. DWP should begin Restart Scheme conversations with claimants from 28th June 2021, and referrals to providers starting from 12th July 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will provide the records of any meetings she or her Ministers have had with (a) the People's Pension and (b) NEST in the last four years.

The Government publishes an unprecedented amount of transparency data; Departments publish quarterly details of Ministers and Permanent Secretaries meetings with external organisations.

Published transparency returns can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dwp-ministers-hospitality-and-gifts

The Department is the sponsor Government Department of Nest and routinely meets with representatives of this organisation to discuss matters relating to policy, service and delivery through its governance and stewardship arrangements.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the impact on claimants of suspending the minimum income floor during the covid-19 outbreak.

In response to the pandemic, the Government acted quickly to implement an unprecedented package of support package to protect millions of jobs and incomes. This included the temporary suspension of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for all self-employed Universal Credit (UC) claimants. No assessment of the suspension of the MIF has been made.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has referred any Freedom of Information requests received by her Department to the central Cabinet Office Clearing House on Freedom of Information requests for advice on handling, in the last two years.

FOI requests are referred to the Clearing House in line with the published criteria available on gov.uk. The Clearing House, which has been in existence since 2004, provides advice to ensure a consistent approach across government to requests for information.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have had their claim undercalculated in error after receiving two wage payments within one assessment period, since the secondary legislation laid by her Department intended to prevent those errors.

This data is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

We recognise the impact that having double earnings in an assessment period can have on individual households and their ability to manage their finances. The legislation we introduced on 16th November 2020 provides a remedy to the Court of Appeal Judgment in the case of Johnson and others and allows us to reallocate monthly earnings to another assessment period. This means that claimants affected by this issue will have one salary payment taken into account in each assessment period rather than two.

To meet the Court of Appeal Judgment as soon as was practicable, we introduced a solution based on a streamlined dispute process currently in place. This has enabled those who are affected to benefit under this regulation. Claimants simply need to tell their work coach, either in one of their regular discussions or via their journal, if they think they are affected.

We expect to automate identification of affected claimants in mid-summer 2021. This will allow us to proactively correct awards before they are paid, without the need for the claimant to raise the issue.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the cost of the childcare element of universal credit has been in each of the last five years.

Information around expenditure is not available by each Universal Credit element and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the annual cost incurred by universal credit claimants for childcare in each of the last five years.

This information is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate costs.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of households that will be claiming universal credit by the completion of the rollout.

The latest Universal Credit forecasts for number of households, estimated each year are published in the Benefit Expenditure and Caseload Tables and can be found in, Table 1c, Table 2c and Table 3c, at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/benefit-expenditure-and-caseload-tables-2021

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of when the backlog created by the suspension of face-to-face health assessments for universal credit and employment support allowance claimants will be cleared.

Throughout the pandemic, our focus has been on supporting claimants to ensure they are assessed at the earliest opportunity. To do this, we have continued to assess claimants on paper evidence, where possible, and began undertaking telephone assessments from May 2020. In parallel, we also introduced a small number of video assessments.

Face to face Work Capability Assessments (WCA) resumed from 17 May 2021, initially for claimants we were unable to assess by telephone. We continue to work with the assessment provider, Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA), to maximise the number of WCAs completed and ensure claimants receive their correct benefit entitlement as soon as possible.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact on claimants of universal credit and employment support allowance requiring face-to-face health and disability assessments before they can receive support of the suspension of those services during the covid-19 outbreak.

Face-to-face assessments for health and disability assessments have resumed across England, Scotland and Wales. We are committed to assessing people as quickly as possible in order that they receive the benefit they are entitled to. The resumption of face-to-face assessments, together with our enhanced capability and improved processes for telephone assessments, will allow us to do this.

Initially face-to-face assessments will only be for those who we are unable to assess by other channels. They are taking place alongside existing paper-based assessments, telephone assessments and a small number of video assessments where suitable. Our approach will be kept under review to ensure it remains aligned with the latest public health guidance.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of Kickstart placements have been made available in rural areas.

Delivering the Kickstart Scheme at pace has meant an initial concentration on the production of a limited data set. The geographic data we produce does not currently include rural/urban classification. We do hold regional information on jobs made available for young people to apply for and for placements started which can be seen in the table below, as of 3rd June.

As of the 3rd June there have been 138,000 jobs advertised and over 31,000 Kickstart job placement starts in total since the scheme started. The tables below show these figures split by location and the data presented has been rounded according to DWP statistical rounding convention. Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.


Location

Jobs Advertised

Total Jobs Started

East Midlands

9,270

1,700

East of England

10,690

2,120

London

28,020

6,710

North East

5,760

1,420

North West

17,610

4,130

Scotland

9,810

2,720

South East

15,630

3,500

South West

9,930

2,170

Wales

7,780

1,620

West Midlands

12,840

2,800

Yorkshire and The Humber

10,630

2,310

Figures may not add up to provided totals due to rounding.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made of the risk of bogus self employment among its external providers.

The Department has robust controls in place to ensure taxpayers’ money is protected. All job outcome payments to contracted employment providers, including self-employment, are subject to a strict validation and assurance regime to ensure that they are legitimate.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many married women have made claims to claim the underpayment of their state pension to date.

Written statements about the State Pension Correction Exercise were provided to both houses on 4 March 2021 and 21 April 2021. The Department for Work & Pensions intends to publish further information on the progress of the State Pension correction activity around the time of the next fiscal event.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-03-04/debates/21030423000012/StatePensionCorrectionExercise

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-04-21/debates/21042129000008/StatePensionUnderpayments

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, by what date her Department plans to complete settling outstanding underpayments of married women's state pension.

Written statements about the State Pension Correction Exercise were provided to both houses on 4 March 2021 and 21 April 2021. The statement of 21 April 2021 explained that The Department for Work & Pensions aims to complete the correction activity by the end of 2023.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-03-04/debates/21030423000012/StatePensionCorrectionExercise

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2021-04-21/debates/21042129000008/StatePensionUnderpayments

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effects on trends in the level of fraud and error of paying childcare costs in arrears through the universal credit payments system.

DWP asks claimants to provide key documentation at the beginning of a Universal Credit childcare claim, which allows the Department to validate childcare from the outset. After the initial costs have been verified, the claimant must continue to report – and where appropriate verify – the childcare costs they pay. Transaction risking helps ensure that changes are being reported correctly.

Our recently published Fraud and Error estimates show that ‘child care’ related overpayments and underpayments in Universal Credit remain very low.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how her Department will collect data on disability as part of its evaluation of the effectiveness of the Kickstart scheme.

The Department of Work and Pensions will track the success of Kickstart amongst young people on the scheme who have a disability or health condition and will aim to do this as part of the evaluation. We plan to do this using a combination of evidence sources including management information (Universal Credit claimants are asked if they have an illness, disability or health condition and we can link to other datasets to see if they are on any kind of disability benefits) and survey data

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason data about disability is not collected by applications to the Kickstart scheme.

The Universal Credit system collects data on claimant’s disabilities but as this is voluntary we do not currently record specific types of disability or health condition of Kickstart participants. While we do plan to evaluate the experiences of disabled people participating in Kickstart, it will not be possible to quantify specific types of disability owing to the small sample sizes involved.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to publish its response to the consultation document, Health is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss, which closed on 7 October 2019.

The Government remains committed to supporting disabled people and those with health conditions to thrive at work. We anticipate that a response will be available shortly.

20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether disabled people claiming employment support allowance will be eligible for support under her Department's Restart scheme.

The Restart Scheme is a large-scale, tailored employment support offer for those who have been unemployed for longer periods, helping people affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19 back into sustained work.

The Restart Scheme will be open to Universal Credit claimants, including disabled people, who have been unemployed for between 12 to 18 months and are expected to look for and be available for work, but have no sustained earnings. There will also be an opportunity for discretionary referrals for other Universal Credit claimants at the appropriate time based on individual claimant and Work Coach discussions.

For disabled people, including those on Employment Support Allowance, who require more intensive employment support would also have access to both the Work and Health Programme (WHP) and Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) and can volunteer for this support at any time. The WHP predominantly helps people with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions to enter into and stay in work, using the expertise of private, public and voluntary, and community sector providers. IPES is an intensive, highly personalised voluntary support package that is flexible to participants’ needs

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 28 July 2020 to Question 76930, whether it remains her policy to extend eligibility for (a) widowed parent's allowance and (b) higher rate bereavement support payment to cohabitees with children.

It remains our intention to take forward a Remedial Order that will extend eligibility for Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment to cohabitees with children. We are currently considering the detail and implementation of the draft Remedial Order, which will be laid before the House in due course.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has met representatives of the Public and Commercial Services Union since her appointment as Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State has not personally held meetings with Public and Commercial Services Union.

However, officials from her Department continue to meet with PCS representatives on a regular basis.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many eligible young people have been referred to the Kickstart scheme to date.

As of 22nd April 2021, our Work Coaches have made over 603,000 referrals to Kickstart jobs. Young people on the Kickstart Scheme can be referred to multiple Kickstart jobs and several young people can be referred to each job.

Once a referral is made, individual employees interview, review and hire young people to placements as they would for other jobs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications to create Kickstart scheme placements have been rejected by her Department to date.

As of 22nd April 2021, just over 13,000 Kickstart applications have been rejected.

We are working to ensure that young people eligible for Kickstart have access to good quality jobs. This means that applications must provide evidence of how the roles created will be
both meaningful and provide long-term employability support for our young people. We continue to have robust checks in place to protect taxpayers’ money.

There has been over 195,000 jobs approved by the scheme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many eligible young people have had applications to Kickstart scheme placements rejected; and how many of those people have had multiple rejections.

We do not hold this information. Work Coaches will identify young people who meet the relevant criteria and who are most likely to benefit from the support offered by the Kickstart Scheme. The Work Coach will encourage those young people to apply for suitable Kickstart job opportunities directly to the employer.

All applications are made directly to the employer and are not recorded centrally. Work Coaches in local Jobcentres will review the progress of applications made by individuals and where they have not been successful they will work with the young person to improve any future applications they are encouraged to make.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many eligible young people have applied for Kickstart scheme placements to date.

We do not hold this information. Work Coaches will identify young people who meet the relevant criteria and who are most likely to benefit from the support offered by the Kickstart Scheme. The Work Coach will encourage those young people to apply for suitable Kickstart job opportunities directly to the employer.

All applications are made directly to the employer and are not recorded centrally. Work Coaches in local Jobcentres will review the progress of applications made by individuals and where they have not been successful they will work with the young person to improve any future applications they are encouraged to make.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish the details of all meetings held by special advisors in her Department since her appointment as Secretary of State.

The information requested is not centrally collated.

The Government publishes an unprecedented amount of transparency data; departments publish quarterly details of Ministers and Permanent Secretaries meetings' with external organisations, and Special Advisers' meetings with senior media executives.

Published transparency returns can be found here

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dwp-special-advisers-hospitality-and-gifts#2020

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether any officials in her Department receive remuneration for paid work for organisations or companies outside of government.

On 23 April, the Cabinet Secretary wrote to the Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the management of outside interests in the Civil Service.

The Committee published this letter on 26 April. It can be found here:

https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/5623/documents/55584/default/

The Cabinet Secretary’s letter sets out a series of steps to improve processes. This programme of work will also take account of any recommendations that emerge from Nigel Boardman’s review.

The Civil Service Management Code sets out, at paragraph 4.3.4, the requirement that civil servants must seek permission before accepting any outside employment which might affect their work either directly or indirectly. The applicable principles are those set out in the Business Appointment Rules. The Civil Service Management Code is published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/civil-servants-terms-and-conditions

Where the civil servant is a member of the departmental board any outside employment, as well as other relevant interests will be published as part of the Annual Report and Accounts or other transparency publication.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her Department's Official Statistics entitled Benefit sanctions statistics to October 2020 (experimental), published on 23 February 2021, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the reduction in the use of benefit sanctions since March 2020 on the mental health of social security benefit claimants in that time period.

We have not made any assessment of the effect of the reduction in use of benefit sanctions since March 2020 and have no plans to do so.

We cannot isolate the effect of the reduction in the use of benefit sanctions as this has coincided with other changes to conditionality that took place over the same period, for example the three-month suspension of work search and availability requirements and the suspension of face-to-face claimant appointments. Together with the highly atypical economic circumstances we have experienced over this period, this would make any such assessment unreliable.

Work Coaches will continue to work with claimants to ensure claimant commitments are reasonable for claimants’ circumstances.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her Department's Official Statistics entitled Benefit sanctions statistics to October 2020 (experimental), published on 23 February 2021, what plans her Department has to conduct a full evaluation of the lessons that can be learnt from the period of running the social security system with little use of such sanctions.

We have not made any assessment of the effect of the reduction in use of benefit sanctions since March 2020 and have no plans to do so.

We cannot isolate the effect of the reduction in the use of benefit sanctions as this has coincided with other changes to conditionality that took place over the same period, for example the three-month suspension of work search and availability requirements and the suspension of face-to-face claimant appointments. Together with the highly atypical economic circumstances we have experienced over this period, this would make any such assessment unreliable.

Work Coaches will continue to work with claimants to ensure claimant commitments are reasonable for claimants’ circumstances.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her Department's Official Statistics entitled Benefit sanctions statistics to October 2020 (experimental), published on 23 February 2021, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the reduction in the use of benefit sanctions since March 2020 on social security benefit claimants' (a) work search activity and (b) willingness to take up employment in that time period.

We have not made any assessment of the effect of the reduction in use of benefit sanctions since March 2020 and have no plans to do so.

We cannot isolate the effect of the reduction in the use of benefit sanctions as this has coincided with other changes to conditionality that took place over the same period, for example the three-month suspension of work search and availability requirements and the suspension of face-to-face claimant appointments. Together with the highly atypical economic circumstances we have experienced over this period, this would make any such assessment unreliable.

Work Coaches will continue to work with claimants to ensure claimant commitments are reasonable for claimants’ circumstances.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her Department's Official Statistics entitled Benefit sanctions statistics to October 2020 (experimental), published on 23 February 2021, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the reduction in the use of benefit sanctions since March 2020 on trends in the number of social security benefit claimants seeking help from food banks in that time period.

We have not made any assessment of the effect of the reduction in use of benefit sanctions since March 2020 and have no plans to do so.

We cannot isolate the effect of the reduction in the use of benefit sanctions as this has coincided with other changes to conditionality that took place over the same period, for example the three-month suspension of work search and availability requirements and the suspension of face-to-face claimant appointments. Together with the highly atypical economic circumstances we have experienced over this period, this would make any such assessment unreliable.

Work Coaches will continue to work with claimants to ensure claimant commitments are reasonable for claimants’ circumstances.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her Department's Official Statistics entitled Benefit sanctions statistics to October 2020 (experimental), published on 23 February 2021, how many and what proportion of the 4,628 universal credit claimants under sanction in November 2020 had been continuously under such sanctions for more than seven months.

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

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many covid-19 workplace spot checks have been completed in schools by the Health and Safety Executive in each month of the last 12 months.

The following table shows the number of completed Spot Check Assessments by month over the last year where the Spot Check was part of a targeted campaign on Schools or the SIC code starts with 85. (SIC Code group Education = 85). HSE’s Covid Spot Check Programme for schools started in the new August 2020 term. The table does not include additional HSE Spot Check Activity where checks were done in line with the Spot Check approach but not targeted as part of the Spot Check Programme.

Spot Check Programme

2020

Aug

367

Sep

3216

Oct

545

Nov

514

Dec

245

2020 Total

4887

2021*

Jan

30

Feb

49

Mar

92

2021 Total

171

Grand Total

5058

* Schools were closed from Jan-March 2021 due to the national lockdown.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many workplace spot checks relating to covid-19 compliance have been completed by the Health and Safety Executive in each week in the last 12 months.

The following shows a count of completed Spot Check Assessments in each week between 22/03/2020 and 24/03/2021. The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Covid Spot Check Programme started in May 2020, so there are no completed Spot Checks for Mar/Apr 2020.

Week Commencing

Completed Spot Checks

2020

May

18/05/2020

17

25/05/2020

50

Jun

01/06/2020

192

08/06/2020

234

15/06/2020

434

22/06/2020

534

29/06/2020

563

Jul

06/07/2020

1005

13/07/2020

938

20/07/2020

929

27/07/2020

592

Aug

03/08/2020

875

10/08/2020

1009

17/08/2020

1329

24/08/2020

1481

31/08/2020

1462

Sep

07/09/2020

2189

14/09/2020

2575

21/09/2020

2819

28/09/2020

2838

Oct

05/10/2020

3943

12/10/2020

3641

19/10/2020

3356

26/10/2020

4224

Nov

02/11/2020

4887

09/11/2020

4132

16/11/2020

5067

23/11/2020

4715

30/11/2020

6276

Dec

07/12/2020

4728

14/12/2020

5310

21/12/2020

3004

28/12/2020

980

2020 Total

76328

2021

Jan

04/01/2021

5293

11/01/2021

5352

18/01/2021

6327

25/01/2021

7791

Feb

01/02/2021

8921

08/02/2021

8838

15/02/2021

9151

22/02/2021

10405

Mar

01/03/2021

9125

08/03/2021

9606

15/03/2021

8672

22/03/2021*

3662

2021 Total

93143

Grand Total

169471

* partial week (22/03 – 24/03)

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many additional staff her Department has employed on fixed-term contracts during the covid-19 outbreak; and if she will list when each of those contracts will end.

Since 1 April 2020 we have recruited 11,556 people on fixed term contracts. Of those who have started since 1 April 2020, we have 10,507 employees who remain in the business. Their contract end dates are set out in the following table reflecting, the position as at 28 February 2021, which is a continuously changing picture, given that people are actively being extended and recruited, and we will also lose people naturally through turnover before their end dates are due.

Contract end dates

Mar-21

2102*

Apr-21

412*

May-21

261*

Jun-21

122*

Jul-21

348*

Aug-21

81*

Sep-21

228

Oct-21

135

Nov-21

1499

Dec-21

763

Jan-22

1176

Feb-22

1322

Mar-22

16

Apr-22

1056

May-22

707

Jun-22

78

Jul-22

125

Aug-22

54

Sep-22

1

Oct-22

6

Nov-22

4

Dec-22

5

Jan-23

6

Total

10507

*Some contract end dates for people due to leave in these months are in the process of being extended.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many additional staff her Department has employed during the covid-19 outbreak.

From the start of April 2020 to the end of February 2021 an additional 13,242 people have joined DWP as staff employed on its payroll. This figure is based on new joiners only, doesn’t take account of any leavers, and does not include staff loaned from other government departments that didn’t join DWP payroll, or agency workers who are not directly employed by the Department. It also does not include internal movement within DWP into key roles as a result of the impact of COVID-19.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will provide a breakdown of from where officials in her Department have been moved in order to staff the Kickstart scheme.

Members of staff have been redeployed to support the Kickstart Scheme from all parts of the Department for different periods of time. We currently have over 400 staff working to process applications to the scheme. This resource picture changes according to demand and as members of staff return to their previous roles.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what training has been provided to staff working on the Kickstart scheme.

Modular learning products have been delivered to support each stage of the Kickstart process, from applications through to employer payments. All products are designed to work as either self-learning or facilitated material and are supported by additional workplace learning - detailed guidance is also provided through the gov.uk Kickstart webpages.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions her Department has had with representatives of trade unions on the reintroduction of a full sanction and conditionality regime for claimants of jobseeker's allowance; and what the timeframe is for recommencing that regime.

The department re-introduced Claimant Commitments for New Style and Legacy claims from 3 August 2020. We are reintroducing Claimant Commitments for existing claims on a phased approach as capacity allows.

We expect claimants on work-related benefits to undertake certain activities in return for financial support through the benefit system. These requirements are agreed and tailored to help the claimant prepare for, look for and move into work.

Work Coaches will ensure that commitments made by claimants are reasonable. They will also allow claimants to continue to adhere to local and national public health advice in regards to Covid-19, whilst also doing what they can to engage with the labour market.

No consultation was required as there was no change in policy.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many easements were approved for universal credit between March 2020 and July 2020.

To respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department introduced a number of national policy easements for Universal Credit, which applied to all claimants.

With effect from March 2020 and until the end of June 2020, we suspended the requirements to attend appointments, undertake work preparation and work search and to be available for work for all UC claimants.

At the same time, the Department also adopted a socially distanced approach to identity verification (online verification, where possible), removed the Gainfully Self-Employed test, suspended the Minimum Income Floor and suspended all face-to-face Work Capability Assessments. These measures are currently still in place.

With effect from March 2020, claimants were not required to provide fit notes in person or by post to evidence their health condition. This measure became permanently incorporated into our business-as-usual practice from 23rd November 2020.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people employed by her Department claim in-work benefits.

This information is not available.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claims were made for Support for Mortgage Interest in each of the last 12 months (a) in total and (b) by (i) disability, (ii) ethnicity and (iii) family type.

The figures below show the number of Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) claimants in Great Britain each month that received their first SMI loan. Breakdowns by disability, ethnicity and family type are not available.

Month

On-flows

Dec-19

170

Jan-20

150

Feb-20

160

Mar-20

140

Apr-20

80

May-20

90

Jun-20

100

Jul-20

90

Aug-20

80

Sep-20

90

Oct-20

100

Nov-20

100

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment his department has made of the potential merits of (a) reducing and (b) suspending benefit sanctions for (i) disabled people and (ii) people with severe mental illness during the covid-19 outbreak.

We have not made an assessment of the potential merits of either reducing or suspending benefit sanctions for these groups.

For those with health conditions, who are expected to move towards or enter employment, Work Coaches will continue to ensure claimant commitments are tailored to a claimants’ circumstances, including any health conditions, allowing them to continue to adhere to Covid-19 public health advice. Should there be a doubt, a decision maker will take into account any evidence of good reason, including restrictions due to health conditions, before deciding if a sanction is warranted.

Those who are not expected to look for work, such as those with severe health conditions, including mental health conditions, are not subject to requirements or sanctions.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many members of staff in her Department were deployed to (a) process and (b) approve applications for the Kickstart Scheme.

As of 18th February 2021, there are 422 members of staff dedicated to processing and approving applications for funding from the Department for Work and Pensions’ Kickstart Scheme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many placements have been created under the Kickstart scheme in each (a) region and (b) sector.

We are currently not able to publish the number of approved placements by region or sector.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will the publish the reasons why her Department has closed applications for organisations to become gateways for Kickstart scheme placements.

We have over 700 approved Gateways; to support employers to provide high quality experiences for young people. If we identify any gaps in geographic cover and sector, we can invite further applications.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit overpayments have been raised in the last 12 months; and how many of those payments were caused by a system error.

The Department is committed to ensuring that the right people are paid the right amount of Universal Credit. The vast majority of benefit expenditure is paid correctly, with front line staff working hard to prevent overpayments from occurring. We are constantly improving our processes and continue to invest in the use of data and analytics to identify fraud and error.

Where overpayments do occur, the Department has a duty to recover any debt quickly and efficiently. However, we recognise that there will be some claimants who may be experiencing financial difficulty, and anyone unable to afford the rate of recovery proposed is encouraged to contact DWP Debt Management to review the proposed rate of recovery.

During 2020 there were 290,057 Universal Credit (UC) overpayments recorded on the Department’s Debt Management system. The system does not capture how many of these overpayments were due to ‘system error’. The Department was called upon to process an additional 2.9 million UC claims from people who needed our immediate help as a result of the pandemic and there are currently 5.9 million UC claimants.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that claimants whose work capability assessments have been delayed due to a need for a face-to-face assessment do not have their universal credit payment reduced or delayed while face-to-face assessments are suspended.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, claimants may experience a longer wait for their Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and may be asked to attend a telephone assessment while face-to-face assessments remain suspended.

Subject to meeting overall Universal Credit (UC) entitlement conditions, claimants will continue to receive UC whilst they await the outcome of their WCA. If the decision is that the claimant is entitled to extra benefit, we will pay any arrears that are due.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that the amount awarded to claimants for the Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 lump sum payment is not affected by the delays in assessing claims.

Due to COVID-19, since March face-to-face assessments for all disability benefits, including the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) have been suspended.

Eligibility to the Pneumoconiosis Etc. (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 (‘1979 Act’) is dependent on an individual having an IIDB assessment and their age at the time of this assessment. As such we are aware of the issues caused by the delays in assessing claims.

We have continued to process IIDB claims and lump sum payments for those individuals with terminal illnesses, and those for Fast Track prescribed diseases. These claims have continued to be assessed as usual without the need for a face to face assessment. Individuals can also then claim under the ‘1979 Act’ if eligible. The IIDB Quarterly Statistics show that 1,100 sufferers and 120 dependents received payments totalling £19,235,287 between March and September 2020 under the ‘1979 Act’. The data can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/industrial-injuries-disablement-benefit-quarterly-statistics-data-to-march-2020

We have now begun some paper based assessments for certain prescribed diseases. This allows a decision on such claims and will enable claimants to determine their eligibility to the ‘1979 Act’. At present the paper based approach includes claims for asbestosis (D1) and Pleural Thickening (D9), diseases which are potentially eligible for the ‘1979 Act’.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to tackle the disparity in eligibility for Winter Fuel Payments for UK nationals living in different European Economic Area countries.

In 2015 legislation was introduced that stopped winter fuel payments being made to those EEA countries with warmer winter temperatures than the warmest winter area of Great Britain - South West England. This resulted in payments no longer being made to those living in Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, France, Malta and Gibraltar. There are no plans to amend this legislation.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the feasibility of restarting face-to-face work capability assessments.

The health and safety of our claimants and staff is our key priority. We suspended all face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits in March. This temporary suspension, brought in to protect people from unnecessary risk of coronavirus at the outset of the pandemic, remains in place, and is being kept under review in line with the latest public health guidance. We are continuing to assess as many people as we are able to on paper evidence or via telephone assessments.

We have worked closely with our assessment providers to ensure appropriate arrangements will be in place for resuming face-to-face assessments as soon as it is possible to do so. We are working with Public Health England, the Health and Safety Executive, and the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure we have appropriate guidance in place, and that assessment centres are Covid-secure before reopening.

6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many welfare claimants have seen their benefit cap grace period come to an end since March 2020.

Information relating to the total number of welfare claimants whose benefit cap grace period has ended since March 2020 is not available.

A benefit cap grace period is applied irrespective of whether or not the household has sufficient benefit income to be in scope for the cap. This ensures that a claimant will benefit from the grace period exemption should any change of circumstances bring them into the scope of the cap during that period. Many claimants who have the grace period applied will not be in scope of the cap when the grace period ends.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if claimants are able to exercise their right to record personal independence payment (PIP) assessment by using mobile phone or laptop computer for audio recordings.

Claimants may use their own equipment to record their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) face-to-face consultation, should they wish to. As stated in the PIP assessment guide (PIPAG), recording of consultations are subject to: informing the assessment provider in advance that they wish to record the consultation, the ability to provide a complete and accurate copy of the audio recording to the health professional (HP) at the end of the consultation, and signing a consent form to provide a copy of the audio recording and not use the audio recording for unlawful purposes.

Certain devices that are capable of editing, real-time streaming or video recording the session are not approved. Non-approved devices include (but are not limited to) PCs, tablets, smart phones, MP3 players, smart watches, and devices that are not capable of providing a verifiable media copy that can be easily checked during the assessment. Acceptable formats for such recordings are restricted to CD and audio cassette only.

For telephone assessments, claimants cannot record the assessment themselves as it is not possible for them to provide the HP with a copy of the audio recording in an acceptable format at the end of the consultation. However, audio recording of PIP telephone assessments is now available when requested by a claimant, this went live with Independent Assessment Services (IAS) on Monday 21 September 2020 and with Capita 30 November 2020.

Section 1.6.57 can be found in part 1 of the PIPAG at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-assessment-guide-for-assessment-providers/pip-assessment-guide-part-1-the-assessment-process#face-to-face-consultation

There is no requirement for claimants to record their PIP assessment.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if claimants must exercise their right to record their personal independence payment (PIP) assessment by producing recordings on either audio cassette or CD.

Claimants may use their own equipment to record their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) face-to-face consultation, should they wish to. As stated in the PIP assessment guide (PIPAG), recording of consultations are subject to: informing the assessment provider in advance that they wish to record the consultation, the ability to provide a complete and accurate copy of the audio recording to the health professional (HP) at the end of the consultation, and signing a consent form to provide a copy of the audio recording and not use the audio recording for unlawful purposes.

Certain devices that are capable of editing, real-time streaming or video recording the session are not approved. Non-approved devices include (but are not limited to) PCs, tablets, smart phones, MP3 players, smart watches, and devices that are not capable of providing a verifiable media copy that can be easily checked during the assessment. Acceptable formats for such recordings are restricted to CD and audio cassette only.

For telephone assessments, claimants cannot record the assessment themselves as it is not possible for them to provide the HP with a copy of the audio recording in an acceptable format at the end of the consultation. However, audio recording of PIP telephone assessments is now available when requested by a claimant, this went live with Independent Assessment Services (IAS) on Monday 21 September 2020 and with Capita 30 November 2020.

Section 1.6.57 can be found in part 1 of the PIPAG at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-assessment-guide-for-assessment-providers/pip-assessment-guide-part-1-the-assessment-process#face-to-face-consultation

There is no requirement for claimants to record their PIP assessment.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the suspension of processing applications for new national insurance numbers for EU nationals and EU/UK dual nationals since March 2020 on those groups.

The Department is aware of the effect that not having a National Insurance Number (NINo) may be having on some individuals.

It is worth noting that it is possible for an individual to start work before they receive a NINo as long as they are able to prove they have the Right to Work in the UK. The following link provides examples of how an individual is able to prove this:

https://www.gov.uk/prove-right-to-work

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Custom’s (HMRC) guidance to employers makes it very clear that they are able to employ individuals without a NINo. However, it is of course important that individuals make an application for a NINo once the process recommences, as this will enable their contributions to be recorded against their National Insurance account.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the judgment of the Court of Appeal of 22 June 2020 in the case of Johnson, Woods, Barrett and Stewart v. the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy that claimants whose universal credit award was reduced because they received two wage payments in one assessment period will receive compensation for money previously lost.

The legislation we have put in place to provide a remedy to satisfy the Court of Appeal’s Judgment in the case of Johnson and Others will mean that in future, for cases affected by this issue, monthly earnings will be reallocated to another assessment period, which means that only one set of earnings will be taken into account rather than two, and certain claimants will be able to benefit from any applicable work allowance.

The Court of Appeal’s judgment did not require the Department to apply the new arrangements retrospectively.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her Department's issuing of incorrect letters in relation to the winter fuel payment, what assessment her Department has made of the potential for delays in payments of the winter fuel allowance in 2020-21.

Every year the DWP send out approximately 12 million winter fuel payment letters. In these letters the bank account details are updated automatically. This year a computer error meant that, of the 12 million letters, sixty thousand contained our customers previous bank or building society account details, rather than their updated account details. All payments have been issued to the correct accounts. No payments will be delayed as a result of incorrect letters being issued to customers.

We aim to pay winter fuel payments to everyone who is entitled by Christmas as is the normal practice. If customers haven’t received a payment by 13 January or believe they have received an incorrect payment they should contact the winter fuel payment helpline on 0800 731 0160.

Further details about winter fuel payments can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the legislation introduced in response to the Court of Appeal judgment of 22 June 2020 in the case of Johnson and Others, whether it is her Department's policy that people in receipt of early pay before Christmas will not see their universal credit claim affected should they receive two payments within one assessment period.

HMRC provide guidance for employers on reporting PAYE information when early payments are made at Christmas. This is to help protect their employees’ eligibility for Universal Credit.

Where two monthly payments in one assessment period still occur, the legislation we introduced to remedy the Court of Appeal Judgment in the case of Johnson and others will allow monthly earnings to be reallocated to another assessment period, which means that only one set of earnings will be taken into account rather than two, and claimants will be able to benefit from any applicable work allowance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many placements have been created under the Kickstart scheme in each (a) geographical area for which she holds information and (b) sector.

So far applications from Gateways and employers covering 32,113 jobs have been approved.

We are currently working on MI data for Regional and Sectoral breakdowns and we will be able to provide further information early in the new year.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many businesses have signed up to take part in the Kickstart scheme to date, by (a) region and (b) industry.

I refer the honourable member to my answer to question 107629, answered on 2 November 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to lift the suspension on medical assessments for industrial injuries disablement benefit claimants that was imposed in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

We are not currently able to lift the suspension on medical assessments for the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) due to the nature of assessments. However, we are urgently exploring the feasibility of developing other assessment channels. Further, we will restart face to face assessments in a safe manner with adherence to the latest public health guidance as soon as we are able to.

However, for claimants with the most serious or terminal conditions, claims continue to be processed and decisions made as normal. Reassessment case awards have been extended to ensure that payments continue unhindered on those cases. Any deteriorations which would have meant an increase in award, will be backdated once face-to-face assessments recommence, to ensure no one is left out of pocket.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claims for industrial injuries disablement benefit remain unprocessed as a result of the suspension of medical assessments during the covid-19 outbreak.

Our priority throughout this pandemic has been the health and safety of our customers and staff. This has meant that we have had to suspend face to face medical assessments for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits, and the on-going public health concerns means that it will not yet possible to restart face to face medical assessments.

There are currently 5,120 Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit claims outstanding as a result of the suspension of medical assessments. I can assure customers that no one will lose out on any entitlement to payments due to these delays. We have throughout continued to make decisions on claims from those customers who claiming under the Special Rules for Terminal Ill.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to rectify the financial situation facing claimants whose wages are not paid in alignment with universal credit months following the decision of the Court of Appeal of 22 June 2020 in the case Johnson, Woods, Barrett and Stewart v. the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

On 20th October I laid secondary legislation in response to the Court of Appeal Judgment made on 22 June in the case of Johnson, Woods, Barrett and Stewart, which concerned claimants who receive two calendar monthly payments of earnings in one Universal Credit assessment period. This will allow us to reallocate a payment of earnings reported via the Real Time Information service to a different Universal Credit assessment period, either because it was reported in the wrong assessment period or (in the case of calendar monthly paid employees) it is necessary to maintain a regular payment cycle. This will mean that claimants who are paid calendar monthly will therefore have one salary payment taken into account in each assessment period. It also means that certain claimants will also benefit from any applicable work allowance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many children have parents who have been subject to the five-week wait for universal credit after transitioning from legacy benefits since the beginning of the covid-19 outbreak.

All new UC claimants are able to request a new claim advance during the first assessment period, of up to 100% of their estimated monthly award. Advances can be repaid over the following year, allowing new claimants to receive 13 payments during the year instead of 12. We are extending the maximum repayment period to two years from October 2021 to reduce the impact of taking an advance even further.

There is financial support available for individuals transitioning to UC from specific legacy benefits. As of 22 July 2020, a two-week run on of Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance has been available for all claimants whose claim to UC ends entitlement to these benefits to provide additional support for claimants moving to UC.

This is in addition to the Transition to UC Housing Payment, a two-week extension of Housing Benefit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many projects have been initiated by the Rapid Response Service in each month since January 2020; how many companies have been included in those projects; and how many redundancies have occurred in those projects.

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

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people who have been made redundant by companies involved with Rapid Response Service (RSS) projects since the beginning of 2020 have taken up services offered under RRS; and what proportion of those people received (a) information, advice and guidance, (b) skills and training analysis and (c) training.

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

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of new universal credit claims made since 3 May 2020 were unsuccessful; what proportion of those claims were unsuccessful because of income and capital rules; and what proportion of (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful universal credit claimants were eligible for contributory (i) jobseekers allowance and (ii) employment and support allowance since 3 May 2020.

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

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

Between 4 May and 23 June inclusive there were 702,000 declarations made to Universal Credit, all of which are processed. Of these

58% received a UC payment

9% had a nil award due to earnings

6% were withdrawn by the claimant

1% closed due to ineligibility regarding capital rules

20% closed due to other ineligibility reasons

7% have outstanding verification preventing payment

Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether claimants for the new version of jobseekers allowance are entitled to universal credit when their claim expires after six months.

A claimant in receipt of New Style JSA may wish to claim Universal Credit and benefit calculators are available on the GOV.UK website to help people identify potential eligibility across the welfare system. New Style Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants retain legacy benefit earnings, pension and payment rules.This is different to those for Universal Credit. Therefore, if a claimant starts working more than 16 hours per week the claim will close and they will not be able to benefit from the tailored features of Universal Credit, such as the taper and work allowance.

New Style JSA and Universal Credit can be paid in parallel from the start of a claim and is considered to be a ‘dual claim’. This may be in circumstances such as where the award of New Style JSA is nil and is therefore a National Insurance credits only claim.

Payments of New Style JSA are taken into account as unearned income in the Universal Credit monthly assessment period. Universal Credit conditionality applies and the detail of what a claimant must do to meet their work-related requirements are set out in their Universal Credit claimant commitment, which must be accepted for a New Style JSA and Universal Credit claim, as this remains a condition of entitlement.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she will take to ensure that work placements on the Kickstart Scheme are in addition to and not a replacement for existing jobs.

The aim of the Kickstart Scheme is to fund the creation of additional jobs for young people at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs and must not replace existing or planned vacancies.

All organisations applying for Kickstart funding will need to provide evidence that any Kickstart roles they plan to create are additional jobs and are not replacements for existing jobs, before they receive any funding.

Detailed information can be found in the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-apply-for-a-grant-through-the-kickstart-scheme

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of permanent jobs that will be created by the Kickstart Scheme.

We have made no estimate of the number of permanent jobs that will be created by the Kickstart Scheme; nor have we set targets.

We want as many young people as possible to move from their Kickstart role into a permanent job. And we hope that many employers will find that they are in a position to offer a permanent role following a Kickstart placement. Where this is not possible, the Kickstart participant will be supported to find a role with another employer after they have completed their Kickstart funded job.

At the end of six months, these young people will have recent experience for their CV and new skills, giving them a much stronger starting point to pursue their job goals

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government expects a return to the Exchequer from the (a) implementation of the Kickstart Scheme and (b) expansion of existing work placement schemes.

A) The aim of Kickstart is to provide good quality jobs for young people most at risk of becoming long-term unemployed and suffering potential scarring effects. As part of delivering the programme we will manage programme performance to check that we are managing public money effectively to provide the greatest possible impact for all participants, employers and exchequer.

An evaluation of Future Jobs Fund demonstrated that over a sufficient timescale this kind of scheme could return a positive value.

B) In July, the Chancellor announced an expansion of sector-based work academies, which provide pre-employment training, work experience and a guaranteed job interview linked to a genuine job vacancy. A return to Exchequer is expected: an impact analysis published in 2016 showed that 19- to 24-year-olds who took part in a sector-based work academy spent on average 29 days less on benefits and 50 days longer in employment in the 18 months following their placement; for those who undertook all three elements these figures were 38 days and 66 days respectively. Analysis also showed each sector-based work academy placement is estimated to have a net benefit to the Exchequer of £100 and an estimated financial benefit to each participant of £1,950. Results suggest the impact extends beyond the 18 months tracked in the study.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sector-based-work-academies-a-quantitative-impact-assessment

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the covid-19 sick pay policies implemented by G4S under the contracts they hold with her Department with respect to the (a) fair treatment of staff employed to deliver those contracts, (b) ability of those staff to self-isolate when they or others in their household are experiencing covid-19 symptoms as required by Government guidance and (c) effect on the (i) health, (ii) welfare and (iii) in-work efficiency of those staff members who have experienced covid-19 symptoms in the event that they return to work before they are fit to do so.

G4S has followed Government health guidance and its employees who are sick / self-isolating were paid under its sick pay entitlement as per their terms and conditions of employment (Company Sick Pay or Statutory Sick Pay). Where DWP offices have been forced to close, G4S security officers have continued to receive full pay.

G4S has followed Government health guidance in respect of staff who are required to self-isolate if they or others are experiencing symptoms, they were paid under their sick pay entitlement as per their terms and conditions of employment (Company Sick Pay or Statutory Sick Pay).

G4S has their own Human Relations policy which includes the conducting of welfare calls during periods of ‘sick’ and return to work interviews with staff who are returning from a period of ‘sick’. Where it appears that a member of staff is still too unwell to return to work they will be asked to/agree to resume their sickness absence until they are fully recovered. Their absence period will recommence, as will the welfare calls and sickness payment in accordance with their statutory and contractual entitlement.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to impose mandatory conditions to encourage (a) universal credit and (b) job seeker's allowance claimants aged below 25 to participate in the Kickstart Scheme.

Work Coaches will work with young people to agree the part of the wider package of support which best meets their needs, including whether to offer them the opportunity to participate in Kickstart.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data the Government plans to collect to assess the impact of the Kickstart scheme; how often that data will be published; and whether that data will be disaggregated by (a) geographic area, (b) age and (c) disability.

The Kickstart scheme will be subject to evaluation to assess its impact. We expect to make use of a range of data on participants and employers, collected via a range of sources including grant agreements and management information.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what measures the Government plans to introduce to ensure that work placements created by the Kickstart Scheme provide high quality employment; and what definition of high quality the Government plans apply when making assessments of those work placements.

We set out what we mean by ‘high quality’ and employability-related support in the bidding document that all applicants for grant funding will complete.

We expect Kickstart participants will receive on-the-job training, skills development, mentoring and careers advice as well as support to help them find sustained employment after they have completed their Kickstart funded job.

Bidders will need to provide details of their plans to provide this support in their application.

Detailed information can be found in the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-apply-for-a-grant-through-the-kickstart-scheme

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she had with trade unions in developing the Kickstart Scheme.

Engagement with stakeholders has been a vital part of developing the Kickstart Scheme. Throughout the rapid policy development phase, we have engaged with over 300 individual stakeholders and/or stakeholder organisations. This includes employers and business representative organisations, local and regional representatives, devolved administrations, and third sector organisations including the Trade Unions Congress.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of recent pay awards in her Department.

As with all departments DWP’s pay setting arrangements are subject to the annual Civil Service pay remit guidance and the parameters that are set within this.

DWP always strives to provide the strongest possible award to its staff within these parameters.

The 2020 Civil Service pay remit guidance allowed departments to make average awards within a range of 1.5%-2.5%. DWP provided the maximum possible headline award of 2.5% for all AA to Grade 6 colleagues.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many workplace visits the Health and Safety Executive has completed in each month since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The number of proactive inspections carried out in each of the months since 1st March 2020 is given below:

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

June 2020

1-19TH July 2020

422

92

127

211

143

The above data was extracted from the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) operational database on 19th July 2020 and is subject to change e.g. the administrative process of recording the information in the database can take up to 10 days.

In March, HSE temporarily suspended proactive visits to sites to allow social distancing measures to be put in place to protect visiting staff.

The above data does not include investigation visits whether relating to the investigation of a reported workplace incident e.g. an accident, or a workplace concern.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 7 July 2020 to Question 68348 on Jobcentres: Staff, if her Department will publish the guidance issued to Work Coaches and Case Managers to support the re-implementation of claimant commitments in July.

Universal Credit guidance for Work Coaches and Case Managers is routinely placed in the House of Commons library and it is updated at regular intervals. There are no plans to depart from that practice.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has any plans to exclude one-time bonus payments for key workers in calculations for universal credit in recognition of their contribution to the response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that key workers have kept our country running throughout the response to the COVID-19 outbreak, from doctors and nurses to supermarket assistants and delivery drivers. All have played a vital part that we are truly grateful for.

A Universal Credit (UC) award is calculated on the basis of the set benefit rate against money coming in to ensure fairness of treatment for all claimants against the money that they have earned in each individual assessment period. This means, as earnings increase, UC is gradually reduced. This is a long-standing principle of means-tested benefits.

Bonuses are earnings for all workers and are treated in the same way as any other earnings. This is already true for tax and other purposes, regardless of whether or not an individual is claiming a benefit. All earnings are subject to the taper rate and the UC award is calculated on that basis.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the new NHS bursary for student nurses will be included as income when calculating a claimant's entitlement for universal credit.

In Universal Credit, as in the legacy benefit system, the majority of people engaged in full-time education will not be entitled. This is because students in advanced education normally receive, and are expected to access, support from other sources, such as educational grants and loans. Students in non-advanced education are normally expected to remain at home whilst attending school/college and be supported by their family.

The new NHS bursary is payable to degree level student nurses and their course will also be eligible for a maintenance loan. Where an eligible claim to Universal Credit has been made, maintenance loan income is taken into account when calculating an award. Any grant income, such as a student nursing bursary, is fully disregarded, except any specific amount in the total grant which covers the rent costs or maintenance costs of another person which are already included in the Universal Credit award.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to publish data on the number of claimants of (a) employment and support allowance and (b) universal credit who have been sanctioned during the covid-19 outbreak.

During the outbreak of Covid-19, we took the decision to temporarily suspend the requirement for face-to-face Jobcentre Plus appointments for all claimants in UC, New Style JSA and ESA, old-style JSA and ESA, and IS. They continued to receive benefits as normal and they were not sanctioned for not taking part in appointments with Jobcentres.

From the 1st July, we reintroduced the requirement for claimants of UC, NS and Legacy JSA to accept a claimant commitment as part of any new claim and for existing claimants to have an updated claimant commitment in place. Work Coaches will work to ensure that commitments made by claimants are tailored and include easements where appropriate, allowing them to continue to adhere to continuing local and national public health advice in regards to Covid-19 whilst also doing what they can to engage with the labour market.

Sanctions statistics on those people claiming Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit are published quarterly and can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/jobseekers-allowance-sanctions

Additional breakdowns of the figures can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

Guidance for users is available at:

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

The statistics for February to April 2020 will be published in August 2020.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will publish updated guidance to work coaches on the reintroduction of conditionality on 1 July 2020.

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

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

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

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether universal credit claimants will be required to start actively looking for work once the suspension of conditionality ends on 30 June 2020; and whether Jobcentre Plus appointments will be resumed on that date.

DWP are supporting those who have lost jobs or have reduced hours in this pandemic, promptly processing new claims and getting money into the accounts of those in urgent need within days.

Now our focus is rightly switching to getting Britain back into work. From July, people will be able to make an appointment with their Work Coach if they can’t get the help they want online or over the phone. Work Coaches, as part of the individualised approach, will be calling all claimants to engage with them.

From 1 July, we will reintroduce the requirement for claimants of UC, NS and Legacy JSA to accept a claimant commitment as part of any new claim. For existing claimants, we will review and update their claimant commitment as capacity allows. This is so we can provide tailored support to help them find work or increase hours.

Claimant commitments must be reasonable for the ‘new normal’, acknowledging the reality of a person’s local jobs market and personal circumstances to prepare them for getting back into work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the average number of separate pension pots held by people who are also a member of an auto-enrolment scheme.

There is currently no single data source that provides information on the the average number of pension pots belonging to members of automatic-enrolment schemes.

As at May 2020, over 10 million individuals had been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension. The Pensions Regulator estimates that there are around 55 million pension entitlements in total. However, not all of these entitlements will belong to individuals who have been automatically enrolled.

Pensions Dashboards will help consumers to keep track of their various pensions and see what they have online and in one place to help support them in their retirement planning. The Government is legislating to compel pension schemes and providers to make their data available to consumers via pensions dashboards.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, will a parent on job seekers allowance who chooses not to return their child to school during the covid-19 outbreak be (a) classified as not looking for work and (b) sanctioned if they are unable to attend interviews due to lack of child care.

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

Arrangements for after suspension will be communicated in due course.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claims for Funeral Expenses Payments there have been in each of the last 10 weeks.

The number of Funeral Expenses payment claims in England and Wales is provided in the table below.

Number of Funeral Expenses Payments claims received, w/c 23/03/20 to w/c 25/05/20

Week Commencing

Number of Claims

23/03/2020

310

30/03/2020

410

06/04/2020

350

13/04/2020

440

20/04/2020

800

27/04/2020

940

04/05/2020

1,480

11/05/2020

1,470

18/05/2020

1,290

25/05/2020

1,040

Notes:

  1. The number of claims have been rounded to the nearest 10.
  2. The information provided is Management Information. It is not quality assured to the same extent as Official / National statistics.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) average payment and (b) total value of payments awarded to successful Funeral Expenses Payment claimants were in each of the last 10 weeks.

Funeral Expenses Payments make an important contribution towards the costs of a funeral for claimants on certain benefits or tax credits or a Support for Mortgage Interest loan and we have continued to make these payments throughout the pandemic.

However, the data requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to amend the eligibility criteria for Funeral Expenses Payment claimants.

There are no current plans to amend the eligibility criteria for the Funeral Expenses Payment scheme, which is for those in receipt of qualifying means-tested benefits or tax credits.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of claims for funeral expenses payments were awarded payments in each of the last 10 weeks.

Funeral Expenses Payments make an important contribution towards the costs of a funeral for claimants on certain benefits or tax credits or a Support for Mortgage Interest loan and we have continued to make these payments throughout the pandemic.

However, the data requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the amount of universal credit payments that are suspected to have been claimed fraudulently since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

Between 16th March 2020 and 29th May 2020, 129,000 Universal Credit claims were referred to the Department as at least one aspect of the claim was suspected to be incorrect. These referrals can occur for a number of reasons and will not all relate to fraud; some may be a simple misunderstanding by a claimant. Where DWP has a doubt about a person’s identity, no payment is made until that doubt has been cleared.

The figure includes referrals made by DWP staff and referrals to our Serious and Organised Crime team. Over 2.3 million new claims were made for Universal Credit during this period. We continue to monitor the level of referrals received in order to identify trends.

The Department continues to take the issue of benefit fraud extremely seriously. We have taken decisive action, creating our Enhanced Checking Service (ECS). ECS is a team of fully trained fraud investigators and is responsible for conducting additional checks on claims where front line staff have expressed doubt over a claimant’s entitlement to benefit. We have also maintained our Serious and Organised Crime and Economic Crime Group activity during this period, ensuring we continue to respond to risks and threats referred to us.

In addition, we are able to identify claims made during this period so we can review them as required once we return to business as usual. If benefit fraud is identified, we will ensure that appropriate action is taken.

*The figure relating to the number of fraud referrals received by the Department has been sourced from internal management information and was not intended for public release. It should therefore not be compared to any other figures subsequently released by the Department. This figure has been rounded to the nearest thousand.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of enabling the electronic submission of life certificates from UK pensioners overseas during the covid-19 outbreak.

During the Emergency period DWP has suspended the issue of Life Certificates to customers living abroad, recognising the difficulties securing independent verification would present while Foreign Countries experience different phases of Lock Down. The situation is under regular review and the process will be reintroduced at an appropriate point. In the meantime, verification clearance has been undertaken by telephone for those who have already received Life Certificates, ensuring our customer service standards are not compromised. We continue to explore alternative means of International verification and have recently introduced arrangements with USA to align to their death registration process removing the future requirement for dispatching Life Certificates to customers living in the USA.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of excluding tax rebates from universal credit earnings assessments.

Repayments of income tax normally occur through recalculations of tax paid during a previous tax year when a claimant was in any paid work, thus repayments of income tax are taken into account as earnings in the calculation of Universal credit for the month in which they are repaid.

Any repayments will be treated as capital and follow normal capital rules.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many benefit claimants are (a) awaiting the outcome of and (b) have benefits suspended until conclusion of a benefits tribunal in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many benefits tribunals there have been in that period.

Information on the outstanding Social Security and Child Support (SSCS) tribunal caseload at the end of December 2019 is available in Table S_4 of the Tribunal statistics quarterly statistics main tables published by the Ministry of Justice, available at the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics#tribunal-statistics-quarterly

Information on the number of SSCS disposals in the period October to December 2019, including those cleared at a tribunal hearing, is available at the same link in Table SSCS_2.

The information requested on how many benefit claimants have had benefits suspended until the conclusion of a benefits tribunal is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many staff from the Child Maintenance Service have been temporarily redeployed to other service areas in her Department in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

We have received an unprecedented number of benefit claims and are prioritising getting people that support, while maintaining an essential Child Maintenance Service.

To ensure claims are processed and people are paid on time we have already moved over 8,000 existing staff from across DWP to help with that work.

We are clear that no parent should be using this time as an excuse not to pay what they owe. Those found to be abusing the system at this difficult time could find themselves subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers.

At the start of the situation within the Child Maintenance Group, 1667 people were deployed.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons statutory maternity pay and maternity allowance are treated differently under the regulatory framework for universal credit.

Statutory Maternity Pay is paid by an employer and is considered to be earned income, which can be taxed. Maternity Allowance is a tax-free allowance and is not considered to be earned income.

Maternity Allowance is paid by the state to people who are not eligible for statutory maternity pay but who do meet the eligibility criteria for the allowance. The rate varies according to the criteria fulfilled which principally covers employed people who have worked less than the time before they become eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay, self-employed people and people out of work.

It is a longstanding principle of the welfare system that benefits are not paid to claimants with income available from other sources to support themselves. Unearned income, which is provided to meet everyday living costs, is taken into account in the calculation of UC and their benefit entitlement may be adjusted accordingly.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many applications have been (a) made to and (b) accepted by the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme to date.

As of 9 December, 268 claims have been received in England. 228 claims have been accepted for payment and the remainder are going through the stages of being processed and assessed.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app since its launch.

Work is underway to establish what information can be published about app usage and its role in the COVID-19 response, including information related to self-isolation taking in to account that users of the app are anonymous.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have received the Test and Trace Support Payment since its introduction.

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

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to (a) reinstate the Quality Outcomes Framework for Epilepsy indicator relating to contraception, conception and pregnancy and (b) give women who are taking anti-epileptic drugs access to pre-conceptional counselling through the Pregnancy Prevention Programme.

The Quality Outcomes Framework (QoF) indicator which focused upon contraception, conception and pregnancy advice was retired in 2014 due to limitations with measurement.

In July 2018, NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I) published the ‘Report of the Review of the Quality and Outcomes Framework in England.’ This identified a number of principles for the reform of QoF which NHS E/I are continuing to implement, including a focus upon quality improvement activities in areas where metric development is challenging, and upon an increased personalisation of care. The report is available via the link below:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/report-of-the-review-of-the-quality-and-outcomes-framework-in-england/

NHS E/I continue to keep the QoF epilepsy domain under review, and are exploring the potential for new indicators to be developed and implemented.

Every pregnant woman taking the anti-epilepsy drug valproate must be enrolled in the statutory Pregnancy Prevention Programme, and every healthcare professional involved in the prescribing and dispensing of valproate (so for example GPs and pharmacists) must ensure women are aware of the serious risks to pregnancy valproate presents.

Following advice from the Commission on Human Medicines, the available data relating to safety of use of non-valproate epileptic medicines during pregnancy is currently being evaluated. As part of this review, the product information for prescribers and patients will be evaluated to ensure that it is clear and up to date, including the need for preconception counselling, as appropriate. The communications from this review will be made publicly available in order to support informed decision making about the most appropriate choice of antiepileptic treatment in the individual case.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of patients of child and adult mental health services administered by the NHS have (a) fetal valproate spectrum disorder, (b) fetal valproate syndrome, (c) fetal anti-convulsant syndrome and (d) autistic spectrum disorder primarily caused by valproate in pregnancy.

We are not able to provide this information as data is not held on all patients with fetal valproate spectrum disorder, fetal valproate syndrome, fetal anti-convulsant syndrome and autistic spectrum disorder.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of providing social care for children diagnosed with fetal valproate spectrum disorder as a result of their mother being prescribed valproate in pregnancy in the last year for which data is available.

The Department does not hold data on the cost of providing social care to children diagnosed with fetal valproate spectrum disorder.

The Department for Education is responsible for the legal and policy frameworks within which children’s social care services operate. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government provides funding to local authorities for children’s services.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the GP-to-patient ratio for female patients between 15 and 45 with epilepsy in Stalybridge and Hyde constituency.

Data on the general practitioner (GP) to patient ratio for female patients between the ages of 15 to 45 years old with epilepsy is not available at national or regional levels.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to tackle delays in approval by NICE for the use of innovative cancer drugs on the NHS.

New arrangements for the assessment and adoption of new cancer drugs were introduced in 2016 to help improve patient access to new cancer drugs, including through the Government established Cancer Drugs Fund.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is now committed to publishing final guidance within 90 days of a new cancer drug receiving its licence and aims to publish its draft recommendation before a licence is granted. The forecasted mean time from a new cancer drug receiving its licence to published final guidance in 2020/21 is now 1.5 months which is a reduction of 13.5 months from 2012/13. The speed of appraisal output is affected by appeals, late referrals, additional committee meetings and companies negotiating revised timing of appraisals.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the economic impact of the covid-19 restrictions announced on 8 December 2021.

On 8 December, the government implemented its Plan B response to managing Covid-19. This was in response to the risks posed by the omicron variant. The government set out Plan B in its Autumn and Winter Plan, published in September 2021. Plan B has been designed to help control the spread of the virus while avoiding unduly damaging economic and social restrictions. A full assessment of the measures can be found in the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-autumn-and-winter-plan-2021

The government will keep the data under constant review, and the government will continue to monitor the impacts of Plan B on the economy.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many bids were received by the Money and Pensions Service during their recent tendering process for regional debt advice services.

The Money and Pension Service’s (MaPS) tendering process is an important step towards a more resilient debt advice sector and will drive better quality of advice and customer outcomes over the longer term. Information on the number of bids received as part of MaPS’ procurement process for regional debt advice is commercially sensitive while that process is still ongoing, with it being set to conclude early in 2022.

However, MaPS has confirmed they have received sufficient bids to enable competition between bidders in the regional lot and therefore remain confident that the thorough procurement process will lead to a successful outcome in each region to enable strong support for people experiencing debt problems.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment his Department has made on the effect of reforming RPI to align with CPIH on pension schemes deficits.

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) is a measure of inflation with a number of shortcomings. To address these shortcomings, the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) has made a proposal to reform RPI by bringing the methods and data sources of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) into RPI. Owing to the use of RPI in specific index-linked gilts, prior to 2030 the Chancellor’s consent to this proposal is required before it can be implemented.

At the Budget in March, the government and UKSA launched a consultation to consider whether UKSA’s proposal should be implemented at a date other than 2030, and, if so, when between 2025 and 2030. The consultation closed for responses on 21 August. As part of the consultation, the government has invited views on matters including how the holders of the government’s issues of index-linked gilts, all of which use RPI as their reference rate, will be affected by the implementation of reform. As noted in this year’s Debt Management Report, pension funds are a major holder of index-linked gilts. The consultation also contained a section which invited views on the broader impacts of the proposed reform of RPI.

The government and UKSA will respond to the consultation in the autumn.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of reforming RPI to align with CPIH on employee pensions in (a) 2025 and (b) 2030.

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) is a measure of inflation with a number of shortcomings. To address these shortcomings, the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) has made a proposal to reform RPI by bringing the methods and data sources of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) into RPI. Owing to the use of RPI in specific index-linked gilts, prior to 2030 the Chancellor’s consent to this proposal is required before it can be implemented.

At the Budget in March, the government and UKSA launched a consultation to consider whether UKSA’s proposal should be implemented at a date other than 2030, and, if so, when between 2025 and 2030. The consultation closed for responses on 21 August. As part of the consultation, the government has sought views on the broader impacts of the proposed reform of RPI.

The government and UKSA will respond to the consultation in the autumn.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether driving instructors will remain eligible for the second grant under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme if (a) they choose not to return to providing lessons on 4 July as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased and (b) if their business is significantly lower than before the covid-19 lockdown.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) helps those adversely affected by COVID-19. Eligible self-employed driving instructors, and others whose businesses are adversely affected by COVID-19 on or after 14 July will be able to claim a second and final SEISS grant when the scheme reopens for applications in August.

A business would be adversely affected if its income is significantly lower because of COVID-19.

More information about when a business would be adversely affected can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

and further examples can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-different-circumstances-affect-the-self-employment-income-support-scheme#adversely-affected-examples.

27th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the estimated annual cost of providing tax relief to beneficiaries on pension pots inherited before the recipient is 75.

Since April 2015, individuals were able to pass on their unused defined contribution pension savings up to their Lifetime Allowance to any nominated beneficiary when they die, instead of paying the 55 per cent Income Tax charge which applied to most cases prior to that date.

The Exchequer cost of this change was set out at Autumn Statement 2014. In particular, information has been published on page 46 of the ‘Autumn Statement 2014 policy costings’ document, available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/384071/AS2014_policy_costings_final.pdf

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Jan 2020
What plans the Government has to comply with provisions of the Markets in Financial Institutions Directive on broker dealers after the UK leaves the EU.

We will leave the EU on 31 January with the same regulatory rulebook, including Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) II regulations on broker dealers, as the EU27. We have brought MiFID II regulations into UK law. Firms will be expected to comply with these UK regulations after the Implementation Period.

The UK is committed to building a strong and mutually beneficial future relationship on Financial Services with the EU after we leave.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether it is the Government's policy that the UK EU trade deal will include the financial services sector.

Yes. The UK has always been clear that we are seeking a broad and stable future relationship with the EU in financial services.
John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department plans to make all benefits appeals forms available to be completed electronically.

Currently, 86%1 of all appeals (Employment and Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and Universal Credit) can be submitted electronically to the First-tier Tribunal, Social Security and Child Support.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service is developing plans to digitise the remaining appeal types by December 2021. As the option to submit appeals by paper will continue to be available to appellants, this may involve scanning paper appeal forms to enable them subsequently to be processed electronically.

Forms for all benefit appeals are available to download at GOV.UK.

1 Based on the period April to March 2020, the latest period for which data are available.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)