Karen Buck Portrait

Karen Buck

Labour - Westminster North

Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

(since May 2021)
Select Committees
Panel of Chairs (since January 2020)
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
2nd Mar 2020 - 29th Jun 2021
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Panel of Chairs
22nd Jun 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
28th Oct 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Panel of Chairs
14th Oct 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Work and Pensions Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Shadow Minister (Education)
7th Oct 2011 - 16th Apr 2013
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)
8th Oct 2010 - 7th Oct 2011
Work and Pensions Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 2nd Nov 2010
London Regional Select Committee
14th Dec 2009 - 6th May 2010
Children, Schools and Families
2nd Nov 2009 - 6th May 2010
London Regional Select Committee
15th Dec 2009 - 6th May 2010
Home Affairs Committee
17th Jul 2006 - 14th Dec 2009
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th May 2005 - 16th Mar 2006
Work and Pensions Committee
16th Jul 2001 - 12th Jul 2005
Committee of Selection
3rd Dec 1998 - 5th Nov 2001
Social Security
14th Jul 1997 - 11th May 2001


Department Event
Monday 13th December 2021
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
13 Dec 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (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
Friday 3rd December 2021
Copyright (Rights and Remuneration of Musicians, etc.) Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 18 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 28 Noes - 59
Speeches
Tuesday 30th November 2021
Oral Answers to Questions

T6. Further to the Minister’s reply on the question of Afghanistan, Afghan residents in my constituency and elsewhere are watching …

Written Answers
Thursday 2nd December 2021
Household Support Fund
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason the guidance issued to local authorities in …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Monday 8th March 2021
Housing and Homelessness (Local Accommodation Duty) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to place a duty on local authorities to ensure that persons for whom a homeless duty has been …
MP Financial Interests
Saturday 11th January 2020
2. (a) Support linked to an MP but received by a local party organisation or indirectly via a central party organisation
Name of donor: GMB London Region
Address of donor: John Cope House, 152 Brent Street, London NW4 2DP
Amount of …
EDM signed
Tuesday 22nd June 2021
GKN Automotive alternative plan
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 9th June 2020
Pedicabs (London) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to provide for the regulation of the carrying of passengers in Greater London by pedal cycles and power-assisted …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Karen Buck has voted in 295 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Karen Buck 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
Will Quince (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
(12 debate interactions)
Christopher Pincher (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
(8 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(8 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Work and Pensions
(21 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(9 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(9 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Karen Buck's debates

Westminster North 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 Westminster North signature proportion
Petitions with most Westminster North signatures
Karen Buck has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Karen Buck

22nd June 2021
Karen Buck signed this EDM on Tuesday 22nd June 2021

GKN Automotive alternative plan

Tabled by: Jack Dromey (Labour - Birmingham, Erdington)
That this House is alarmed by GKN Automotive’s decision to close its Birmingham factory next year, with the loss of over 500 highly skilled jobs and work transferred to continental Europe; notes that GKN’s origins trace back to the industrial revolution, with over 260 years of history that include making …
67 signatures
(Most recent: 7 Sep 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 63
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
11th February 2021
Karen Buck signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 11th February 2021

Visiting in care homes and hospitals during the covid-19 outbreak

Tabled by: Harriet Harman (Labour - Camberwell and Peckham)
That this House notes the letter from the Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the matter of visits to people in care homes and hospitals during the covid-19 outbreak; is deeply concerned about the acute distress many …
41 signatures
(Most recent: 11 May 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 23
Liberal Democrat: 7
Scottish National Party: 4
Conservative: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Green Party: 1
View All Karen Buck's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Karen Buck, 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.


Karen Buck has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Karen Buck has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

7 Bills introduced by Karen Buck


To amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation; to amend the Building Act 1984 to make provision about the liability for works on residential accommodation that do not comply with Building Regulations; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 20th December 2018 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 to require that residential rented accommodation is provided and maintained in a state of fitness for human habitation; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 2nd Reading: House Of Commons
Friday 16th October 2015

A Bill to place a duty on local authorities to ensure that persons for whom a homeless duty has been accepted are accommodated in the local area, including on discharge into private rented accommodation; to require local authorities to publish annual reports on steps relating to housing demand and supply taken or intended to be taken to meet that duty; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Monday 8th March 2021
(Read Debate)

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 require householders to notify local authorities of an intention to register accommodation for short or holiday lets; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 13th December 2017
(Read Debate)

A Bill to require householders to notify local authorities of an intention to register accommodation for short or holiday lets; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 21st March 2017
(Read Debate)

A Bill to restrict the application of permitted development rights; to grant local planning authorities powers to restrict the size and depth of basement excavations underneath or adjacent to residential properties; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 16th September 2015

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 regulate the construction of new basements and extensions to basements; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 12th November 2013

106 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
3 Other Department Questions
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if she will commission independent research to estimate the (a) number of tenants in rent arrears as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and (b) total sum of those arrears.

The Department has commissioned survey research to understand the financial resilience of privately and socially renting households throughout the pandemic. The Household Resilience Study is a follow up study to the 2019-20 English Housing Survey. It examines how household and housing circumstances have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Household Resilience Study Wave 3 results are based on surveys conducted between April-May 2021.

This data is used, alongside regular engagement with stakeholders, to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on tenants and the efficacy of the significant support measures put in place to support tenants and sustain tenancies.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate he has made of the (a) number of tenants in rent arrears as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and (b) total amount of those arrears.

According to the Household Resilience Study (Wave 3, Apr-May 2021), 7% of privately renting households are in arrears, and of these, over 60% are in arrears of 1 month or less. 13% of socially renting households are in arrears, and of these, almost 40% are in arrears of 1 month or less


We continue to closely monitor the impacts of the pandemic, as well as the efficacy of the significant support measures put in place to support tenants and sustain tenancies.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to ensure an adequate supply of housing for people with disabilities.

The Government has consulted on raising accessibility standards of new homes recognising the importance of suitable homes for older and disabled people. The consultation considered whether a change could be made to the existing standards by either mandating a higher standard or reconsidering the way existing optional standards are used. The Government will publish a response. The new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme 2016-21 contains a target for 10% of delivery to be for specialist and supported housing. This will include housing suitable for those with disabilities. The Programme will deliver up to 180,000 homes in total, should economic conditions allow.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children aged five and under accessed programmes through children’s centres and family hubs in each English local authority area in the last 12 months.

The department does not routinely collect data on the number of children who are accessing programmes through children’s centres or family hubs. This data is held at a local level.

Local authorities have statutory duties under Part 1 of the Childcare Act 2006 to facilitate access to early childhood services and encourage parents to take advantage of them. The act, and the duties, are available to view here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/21/part/1.

Local authorities should be reviewing data on service use and outcomes to ensure that they are meeting these duties and that their commissioning decisions are informed by evidence of the impact of their local services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the amounts paid out under the Pothole Action Fund by (a) region and (b) nation of the UK in 2020-21.

The Pothole Action Fund, announced in 2016¸ was for local roads in England outside London, as that has a separate funding arrangement. The other nations of the UK receive a share of any new funding through the Barnett Formula.

For 2020/21, the Pothole Action Fund (£50 million in 2020/21) was combined with the Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund (£100 million) and the new £2.5 billion Potholes Fund announced at Budget 2020 (£500 million). This £650 million funding was allocated by formula, and paid to local highway authorities in England, outside London.

The allocations were published in the Roads Funding Information Pack which is at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/roads-funding-information-pack/roads-funding-information-pack.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the amounts paid out under the Bus Service Operators Grant by (a) region and (b) nation of the UK to date.

Up until 31 December 2013 Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) was paid directly to bus operators and was not split between commercially run or subsidised bus services. We are therefore unable to provide figures for this period. From 1 January 2014 local authorities have received funding equivalent to the level of BSOG which would otherwise have been paid to operators for running subsidised services in 2014. The current dataset provides details of amounts paid up to and including the period to 31/03/21. Details of the amounts paid to local authorities each year can be found on the “Payments to Local Authorities” tab of the relevant spreadsheets published at

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bus-services-grants-and-funding#bsog-spend

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the amounts paid out under the Restoring Your Railway Fund by (a) region and (b) nation of the UK to date.

We invited and received bids to the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund from across England and Wales. The Ideas Fund provides 75% of costs, up to £50,000, to help fund transport and economic studies and create a business case. Details, including regions, of the 25 Ideas Fund schemes awarded funding to date are on GOV.UK.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the amounts paid out under the Bus Service Operators Grant by (a) region and (b) nation of the UK in 200-21.

Up until 31 December 2013 Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) was paid directly to bus operators and was not split between commercially run or subsidised bus services. We are therefore unable to provide figures for this period. From 1 January 2014 local authorities have received funding equivalent to the level of BSOG which would otherwise have been paid to operators for running subsidised services in 2014. The current dataset provides details of amounts paid up to and including the period to 31/03/21. Details of the amounts paid to local authorities each year can be found on the “Payments to Local Authorities” tab of the relevant spreadsheets published at

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bus-services-grants-and-funding#bsog-spend

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the amounts paid out under the Transforming Cities programme by (a) region and (b) nation of the UK in 2020-21.

The total amount of Transforming Cities Fund awarded to the six original Mayoral Combined Authorities and the remaining twelve Competitively Funded Authorities, including West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Sheffield City Region Combined Authority have been published. Details about the total funded awarded to each city is available on Gov.UK.

The Transforming Cities Fund is available to selected cities within England only, not the other devolved nations. By completion of the Transforming Cities Programme, a total of £2.36 billion will have been invested in these 18 cities across England.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he plans to appoint special representatives to attend all Southern Railway board meetings as a result of the decision by the Office for National Statistics to classify train operating companies into the public sector.

The Secretary of State does not plan to appoint special representatives to attend Southern Railway board meetings.

The classification of train operating companies by the Office for National Statistics does not have any direct implications in areas such as ownership, legal status, or management structure.

The Department continues to monitor the delivery of the Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) Franchise Agreement, which encompasses the Southern Railway brand.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the emergency funding provided to the railways, whether the Government plans to take steps to assess whether actual cumulative passenger revenue cash receipts by Southern Railway are in line with the expected cumulative scenario underpinning the original settlement for the second half of 2020-21.

The Department continues to monitor actual levels of passenger revenue through the submission of periodic management accounts from Govia Thameslink Railway, and the calculation of Franchise Payments is driven by the level of actual revenue received by the franchisee.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish details of the performance terms and conditions applied to train operating companies in receipt of covid-19-related funding to replace lost fare income.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) decision was made in response to a very significant change in the commercial terms of Train Operating Companies (TOCs). In adapting to managing contract with TOCs under these new arrangements my department continues to keep its governance arrangements under close review, and we will communicate any changes (including any arising specifically from the ONS decision) to operators as needed.

All Emergency Measures Agreement (EMAs) have been published in redacted form on the public register of rail franchises on the gov.uk website. The Department is continuing to follow its processes in order to finalise the publication of the ERMAs. Given that a number of third party stakeholders are being consulted on proposed redactions, we cannot provide a definitive timescale for the redacted versions of the ERMAs however we continue to work towards publishing them as soon as reasonably practicable and the Department’s redactions have been completed.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made changes to the governance arrangements for train operating companies as a result of the decision made by the Office for National Statistics to re-classify such companies as being within the public sector.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) decision was made in response to a very significant change in the commercial terms of Train Operating Companies (TOCs). In adapting to managing contract with TOCs under these new arrangements my department continues to keep its governance arrangements under close review, and we will communicate any changes (including any arising specifically from the ONS decision) to operators as needed.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of financial support provided to train operating companies (a) individually and (b) in total during the period from (i) 31 March to 29 September 2020 and (ii) 30 September 2020 to date.

Approximately £4.2bn has been paid in operational support to all 14 Train Operating Companies, including the 2 in public ownership, up to the end of rail period 6 (from 1 March to 20 September).

Details of past payments made by the Department to individual franchised passenger rail operators under the Emergency Measures Agreements up until late June can be found on the government’s website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/payments-to-passenger-rail-operators-march-to-june-2020.

We plan to update these figures regularly and expect to publish figures up to 20 September in the coming weeks once the final payment adjustment processes are concluded

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to emergency funding provided to the national railways, what cumulative efficiency savings he has asked Southern Railway to achieve by the end of 2020-21.

The Department has contracted Govia Thameslink Railway to act as a Good and Efficient Operator, as defined in the Emergency Measures Agreement and subsequently the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement and will assess their performance against this requirement.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what formula was used to calculate the emergency funding given to Southern Railway to cover the period from (a) 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020 and (b) 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021.

Schedule 8.A of the Emergency Measures Agreement, outlines the calculation of Franchise Payments from 01 April 2020 – 21 September 2020. In addition, Schedule 8.1A of the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement outlines the Franchise Payments from 22 September 2020 onwards.

The Emergency Measures Agreement for Govia Thameslink Railway is publicly available, and the Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement will be publicly available in due course.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/917486/govia-thameslink-emergency-measures-agreement.pdf.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government funds (a) travel concessions and (b) other benefits to (i) rail and (ii) bus travellers in England outside London.

There are a number of national rail concessions in the form of railcards. Under Section 28(3) of the Railways Act 1993, train operating companies are required to participate in certain approved discount card schemes for young and student travellers, disabled passengers and those over 60.

In addition, recent introductions include the 16-17 Saver and 26-30 ‘millennial’ railcard to help young people, and in October we launched a new Veterans Railcard to help former servicemen and women.

Funding for the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) for bus travel is provided to local authorities through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG’s) revenue support grant. This funding is not ringfenced, which enables local authorities to make spending decisions that more closely match local needs and circumstances.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the emergency funding provided to the national railways, whether he has asked Southern Railway to deliver an assessment of the effect of demand on sustainability, including modelling of medium-term service level requirements against possible demand scenarios after covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted.

Rail operators continue to assess local demand regularly to deliver the services passengers need. We continue to work closely with Govia Thameslink Railway (the operator of Southern services) as they develop future timetable proposals to make sure we strike the right balance between running the maximum levels of service that can be resourced reliably to meet demand and protecting taxpayers’ best interests.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has commissioned a Government-led expert review of the potential implementation of driverless trains in areas outside London.

In September, The Secretary of State asked the RSSB (formerly the Rail Safety Standards Board) to conduct a short study to examine the facts and evidence surrounding the potential application of GoA3 automated train operation (ATO) on the rail network in Great Britain. The study will, amongst other things, consider the technical and practical implications of implementing GoA3 ATO on the mainline rail network, where GoA3 ATO trains currently operate internationally, and whether they have been successful. RSSB’s report is expected to be published in the New Year.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish his Department's estimate of the total covid-19-related financial support to be provided to train operating companies, by each company in receipt of that funding, from 30 September 2020 to 31 March 2021.

The cost to the public purse is highly dependent on the course of the pandemic and also how many people are using the railway and generating revenue, which is highly uncertain at this point.

Details of past payments made by the Department to individual franchised passenger rail operators under the Emergency Measures Agreements up until late June can be found on the government’s website at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/payments-to-passenger-rail-operators-march-to-june-2020.

We plan to update these figures regularly and expect to publish figures up to late September in the coming weeks once the final payment adjustment processes are concluded.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2020 to Question 60669, what the difference is in frequency of the additional financial scrutiny of train operators and the two operators that are in direct public ownership under the Emergency Measures Agreements as compared to those undertaken periodically under existing Franchise Agreement obligations.

The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) have introduced a formal process of budget reviews in each four-week rail period to enable additional financial scrutiny of operators. This is a new process to reflect the fact that the Government is bearing financial risk on almost all operator costs under the EMAs. This risk previously sat with the private operators. The two operators under direct public ownership are not under EMA provisions but follow similar requirements.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2020 to Question 60677 on railways: coronavirus, what restrictions have been placed on the payment of dividends to shareholders during the Emergency Measures Agreements term.

The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) prohibit the payment of dividends to shareholders during the six-month EMA term.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2020 to Question 60670 on railways: franchises, by what date his review of the approach to the contractual arrangements following the period in which the Emergency Measures Agreements apply will be completed; and where he plans to publish that review.

Operators that have entered into Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) will see a temporary suspension of their existing franchise agreement’s financial mechanisms for a period of six months.

The arrangements after the EMA period ends are being developed and will be announced in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 22 June 2020 to Question 60669, whether there have been changes to the pre-Emergency Measures Agreements obligations requiring train operators to provide periodic management accounts to his Department and the two operators that are in direct public ownership in relation to management accounts, profit and loss account, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) continue existing Franchise Agreement obligations on train operators to provide management accounts to the Department for each 4-week rail period. An equivalent obligation also applies to the two operators that are in direct public ownership. The EMAs include an additional provision that requires the management accounts to show greater disaggregation of the periodic profit and loss account, to allow more detailed scrutiny of expenditure by the Department.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the condition on the additional funding to TfL that Government officials will attend TfL board meetings, whether Government officials will attend the board meetings of each train operator with a franchise agreement with his Department and report back on the use of additional resources provided to them in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Secretary of State has not appointed an external advisor to train operator boards and has no immediate plans to do so. The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) give the Department enhanced controls over financial decisions made by train operators. This includes a formal process of monthly budget reviews, allowing additional financial scrutiny of operators, with the ability for the Department to deem expenditure disallowable, in which case the train operator would have to bear the costs.

The funding and financing package for TfL amounts to £1.6 billion.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the condition on the additional funding to TfL that Government officials will attend TfL board meetings, whether his Department plans to appoint an external advisor to the board of each train operator with a franchise agreement with his Department.

The Secretary of State has not appointed an external advisor to train operator boards and has no immediate plans to do so. The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) give the Department enhanced controls over financial decisions made by train operators. This includes a formal process of monthly budget reviews, allowing additional financial scrutiny of operators, with the ability for the Department to deem expenditure disallowable, in which case the train operator would have to bear the costs.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether each train operator with a franchise agreement with his Department has been asked to provide options for revenue maximisation such as reference to fares and revenue yield choices over time.

The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) require operators to act in in a commercial manner in relation to the management of revenues and costs. This includes implementing initiatives to protect and grow revenue.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether each train company with a franchise agreement has been asked to identify opportunities it is pursuing for further efficiencies in relation to operating costs in the (a) short and (b) medium term.

The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) require operators to act in in a commercial manner in relation to the management of revenues and costs.

The Department has required operators to identify and implement cost reductions for the EMA term. The EMAs have also introduced a formal process of periodic budget reviews to enable additional financial scrutiny of operators.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether each train company with a franchise agreement has been asked by his Department to provide evidence of its potential to raise additional (a) non-fare revenue and (b) commercial income.

The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) require operators to act in in a commercial manner in relation to the management of revenues and costs. This includes implementing initiatives to protect and grow both passenger and non-passenger revenue.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the additional funding provided by Government in (a) March, (b) April and (c) May 2020 to (i) Thamselink, (ii) c2c, (iii) Southern, (iv) Chiltern, (v) South Western, (vi) Greater Anglia, (vii) Southeastern, (viii) Gatwick express and (ix) London northwestern.

This information has not yet been finalised.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he (a) has appointed, or (b) intends to appoint an external advisor to the board of each train operator with a franchise agreement with his Department.

The Secretary of State has not appointed an external advisor to train operator boards and has no immediate plans to do so.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to undertake a review of the future financial (a) position and (b) structure of each train operating company that holds a franchise agreement with his Department.

The Department is reviewing its approach to the contractual arrangements following the period in which the Emergency Measures Agreements apply. Work is underway to determine the most effective approach once this period ends. This work will take account of the impact of COVID-19 on demand for passenger rail travel in both the short and long term, and the associated economic and financial impacts on the railway.

The Department continues to monitor the financial position of all train operators to ensure to continuity of passenger services.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what information his Department holds on train companies that received additional Government funding during 2020-21 paying dividends to shareholders.

The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) place a number of new restrictions on operator’s financial transactions in recognition of the risk that the government bears while they are in place. This includes restrictions on the payment of dividends to shareholders during the EMA term.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has required train operators with franchise agreements with his Department to provide (a) weekly and (b) periodic management accounts showing financial performance in light of the additional resources provided to train operators by the Government in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) continue existing Franchise Agreement obligations to require train operators to provide periodic management accounts to the Department. An equivalent obligation also applies to the two operators that are in direct public ownership. The management accounts include a periodic profit and loss account, balance sheet and cash flow statement.

The EMAs have also introduced a formal process of periodic budget reviews to enable additional financial scrutiny of operators.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether each train company with a franchise agreement has been asked by his Department to provide information on its (a) balance sheet and (b) financing structure and policy.

The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) continue existing Franchise Agreement obligations to require train operators to provide periodic management accounts to the Department. An equivalent obligation also applies to the two operators that are in direct public ownership. The management accounts include a periodic profit and loss account, balance sheet and cash flow statement.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether each train company with a franchise agreement has been asked by his Department to undertake a review of its approach to capital spending in relation to (a) asset maintenance and (b) enhancement.

The Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) require operators to act in a commercial manner in relation to the management of revenues and costs.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what revenue funding the Government provided from the public purse to (a) Thameslink, (b) c2c, (c) Southern, (d) Chiltern, (e) South Western Railway, (f) Greater Anglia, (g) Southeastern, (h) Gatwick Express and (i) London Northwestern Railway for (i) March, (ii) April and (iii) May 2020.

The Government has approved £2.9billion of additional expenditure during the 2020/21 financial year to ensure that vital rail services continue to operate. This expenditure covers all train operators with franchise agreements with the Department for Transport. However, individual TOC payments have not yet been finalised for all of the above periods.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the consultation undertaken by her Department in advance of the Rent Officers (Housing Benefit and Universal Credit functions) (Local Housing Allowance Amendments) Order 2013, if she will seek the views of (a) the Social Security Advisory Committee, (b) local authorities and (c) the Valuation Office Agency on the potential effect of the proposed freeze on Local Housing Allowance rates at 2020-21 levels from 1 April 2022 on private tenants.

We consult with rent officers from the Valuation Office Agency and the Rent Services in Scotland and Wales throughout the year.

The Social Security Advisory Committee will be advised of any legislation changes to the Rent Officers (Housing Benefit Functions) Order 1997, the Rent Officers (Housing Benefit Functions) Scotland Order 1997 and the Rent Officers (Universal Credit Functions) Order 2013 and local authorities will be advised of the Local Housing Allowance rates for 2022/23 in due course.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Equality Impact Assessment carried out by her Department in 2020 on the uprating of Local Housing Allowance rates to the thirtieth percentile of local market rents, whether she has commissioned an equality impact assessment of freezing Local Housing Allowance rates at 2020-21 levels for (a) 2021-22 and (b) 2022-23.

The Secretary of State has considered the equality impacts in line with her duties under the Equalities Act 2010.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason the guidance issued to local authorities in England on 11 November 2021 on the use of the Household Support Fund emphasises that that funding should be used to provide in-kind donations of food or food vouchers instead of cash for people experiencing financial difficulties as a result of poverty and covid-19 outbreak.

Local Authorities have the flexibility to design local schemes under the Household Support Fund that best meet local needs within the parameters set out in the guidance.

Household Support Fund: final guidance for County Councils and Unitary Authorities in England - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) (paragraph 90).

The guidance does not prevent Councils from issuing cash to households in need of emergency support.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answers of 16 November 2021 to Questions 70219, 70220 and 70221 on Local Housing Allowance, what estimate she has made of the number of tenants who will experience a (a) new and (b) increased shortfall between their rent and entitlement as a result of the decision not to position those rates at the thirtieth percentile of local market rents.

No estimate has been made.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 4 November 2021 to Question 65363, on Local Housing Allowance, whether her Department has plans to introduce a Targeted Affordability Fund to mitigate the impact of maintaining Local Housing Allowance for 2022-23 at the elevated cash rates agreed for 2020-21.

Since 2011, we have provided over £1 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments to local authorities for households who need extra help with their housing costs.

The decision on Local Housing Allowance rates for 2022/23 will be confirmed at the uprating review in due course. There are no plans to introduce targeted affordability funding.

The baseline for costings is that rates will be maintained at the elevated cash rates agreed for 2020/21, an investment which cost around £1 billion per year. This means maintaining rates in cash terms would not provide any savings for the Department, nor would it reduce any claimant’s benefit entitlement.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 4 November 2021 to Question 65363, what estimate her Department has made of the number of tenants in the private rented sector whose benefit entitlement will be reduced as a result of Local Housing Allowance rates being maintained for a further 12 month period.

Since 2011, we have provided over £1 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments to local authorities for households who need extra help with their housing costs.

The decision on Local Housing Allowance rates for 2022/23 will be confirmed at the uprating review in due course. There are no plans to introduce targeted affordability funding.

The baseline for costings is that rates will be maintained at the elevated cash rates agreed for 2020/21, an investment which cost around £1 billion per year. This means maintaining rates in cash terms would not provide any savings for the Department, nor would it reduce any claimant’s benefit entitlement.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to page 56 of Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021, Policy Costings, whether Local Housing Allowance rates will be maintained at their 2020-21 levels in 2022-23.

As advised at the Autumn Budget, the forecast default is that Local Housing Allowance rates for 2022-23 will be maintained at the elevated cash rates agreed for 2020-21. This will be confirmed at the uprating review.

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

Local Housing Allowance rates have been maintained at the same cash level for 2021-22 rather than reverting to previous rates which were much less generous.

For those who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments are available.    Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments to local authorities for households who need additional support with their housing costs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to split the allocation of funding for Discretionary Housing Payment into two tranches in 2022-23.

As part of the process for DHP funding allocation, we carry out a written consultation with local authorities. The consultation for 2021-22 funding was carried out in early 2021.

Throughout the pandemic we closely monitored local authorities’ Discretionary Housing Payments spending to ensure funds could be targeted appropriately. This was particularly important when furlough and the ban on evictions ended and we reserved part of the funding until mid-year to ensure funds could be targeted to the areas with the greatest need.

At this time, no decisions have been made on the allocation methodology for 2022. We have received representations from local authorities with regards to the split allocation and this feedback will be taken into account when considering future allocation methodology. We will also evaluate evolving demands and trends based on the information local authorities provide on expenditure.

Since 2011, the government has provided over £1 billion of Discretionary Housing Payments funding for local authorities to support those entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit who require further financial assistance towards housing costs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what representations her Department has received from local authorities on the impact of her decision to split the allocation of Discretionary Housing Payment funding for 2021-22 into two tranches on their ability to commit to whole year awards for tenants affected by the benefit cap, spare room subsidy and caps on Local Housing Allowance.

As part of the process for DHP funding allocation, we carry out a written consultation with local authorities. The consultation for 2021-22 funding was carried out in early 2021.

Throughout the pandemic we closely monitored local authorities’ Discretionary Housing Payments spending to ensure funds could be targeted appropriately. This was particularly important when furlough and the ban on evictions ended and we reserved part of the funding until mid-year to ensure funds could be targeted to the areas with the greatest need.

At this time, no decisions have been made on the allocation methodology for 2022. We have received representations from local authorities with regards to the split allocation and this feedback will be taken into account when considering future allocation methodology. We will also evaluate evolving demands and trends based on the information local authorities provide on expenditure.

Since 2011, the government has provided over £1 billion of Discretionary Housing Payments funding for local authorities to support those entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit who require further financial assistance towards housing costs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, wat consultation her Department undertook with representatives of local government prior to her decision to allocate Discretionary Housing Payment funding for 2021-22 to councils in two tranches.

As part of the process for DHP funding allocation, we carry out a written consultation with local authorities. The consultation for 2021-22 funding was carried out in early 2021.

Throughout the pandemic we closely monitored local authorities’ Discretionary Housing Payments spending to ensure funds could be targeted appropriately. This was particularly important when furlough and the ban on evictions ended and we reserved part of the funding until mid-year to ensure funds could be targeted to the areas with the greatest need.

At this time, no decisions have been made on the allocation methodology for 2022. We have received representations from local authorities with regards to the split allocation and this feedback will be taken into account when considering future allocation methodology. We will also evaluate evolving demands and trends based on the information local authorities provide on expenditure.

Since 2011, the government has provided over £1 billion of Discretionary Housing Payments funding for local authorities to support those entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit who require further financial assistance towards housing costs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the additional number of tenants in the private rented sector who may be left facing a rent shortfall if Local Housing Allowance rates are frozen in 2022-23.

The Department has not made an estimate on the additional number of tenants in the private rented sector who would experience a rent shortfall if Local Housing Allowance rates were frozen in 2022-23.

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

Local Housing Allowance rates have been maintained at the same cash level for 2021-22 rather than reverting to previous rates which were much less generous.

For those who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments are available.    Since 2011 we have provided over £1 billion in Discretionary Housing Payments to local authorities for households who need additional support with their housing costs.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims for which the local housing allowance did not cover rent were subject to deductions for (a) universal credit advances, (b) universal credit overpayments and (c) tax credit overpayments in February 2021.

a) There were 311,000 claims for which the Local Housing Allowance did not cover rent that had a Universal Credit Advance Deduction. This accounts for 6% of households on Universal Credit.

b) There were 57,000 claims for which the Local Housing Allowance did not cover rent that had a Universal Credit Overpayment Deduction. This accounts for 1% of households on Universal Credit.

c) There were 110,000 claims for which the Local Housing Allowance did not cover rent that had a Tax Credit Overpayment Deduction. This accounts for 2% of households on Universal Credit.

Claimants can also apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) from their local authority if they need additional support to meet housing costs. We have provided over £1 billion in DHP funding since 2011 to support thousands of families and local authorities are able to top up payments up to 2.5 times their allocation.

Notes:

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

Claim numbers may not match official statistics caseloads due to small methodological differences.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of housing benefit claimants living in supported exempt accommodation who were (a) domestic abuse survivors, (b) people with disabilities, (c) care leavers, (d) people with histories of homelessness and (e) people with mental health needs in England in 2020.

The information requested is not held by the Department.

Supported Housing provides a vital service and enables some of the most vulnerable people in the UK to live fulfilling independent lives in their communities.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the amount of housing benefit spent on supported exempt accommodation in England in 2020.

Providing the requested information would incur disproportionate costs to the Department.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of housing benefit claimants who were living in supported exempt accommodation by (a) registered providers and (b) non-registered providers in England in 2020.

Providing the requested information would incur disproportionate costs to the Department.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many housing benefit claims for people living in supported exempt accommodation in England were made (a) as at 31 March 2021 and (b) in each financial year for the last five years.

Providing the requested information would incur disproportionate costs to the Department.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to universal credit claimant feedback in the file entitled 54. I - Paper BTL02 – UC Claimants: In Their Own Words, reviewed by the Universal Credit Programme Board at its meeting on 21 March 2019, whether she plans to make an assessment of the potential merits of the provision of non-digital options for people to manage their universal credit claims.

For those claimants who are unable to access or use our digital services, there is already assistance available to make and maintain their Universal Credit claim using the Freephone Universal Credit helpline.

Throughout the pandemic, Jobcentres have remained open for anyone who needed face-to-face support and could not be helped in any other way. Since 12 April 2021, Jobcentres in England and Wales have resumed full face to face services, returning to normal opening hours from 9am to 5pm. Jobcentres in Scotland have restarted the same full face to face service since 26 April 2021. All Jobcentre Plus offices across the country have Wi-Fi and computers available for claimants to access the internet.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to universal claimant feedback entitled 54. I - Paper BTL02 – UC Claimants: In Their Own Words reviewed by the Universal Credit Programme Board at its meeting on 21 March 2019, what steps she is planning to take to reduce the five-week wait for a first payment of universal credit.

Nobody has to wait for a payment in Universal Credit as urgent payments are available to ensure those who need it are able to receive financial support as soon as possible. Claimants can also receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit award if required, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to universal credit claimant feedback entitled 54. I - Paper BTL02 – UC Claimants: In Their Own Words reviewed by the Universal Credit Programme Board at its meeting on 21 March 2019, whether she plans to make an assessment of the adequacy of universal credit for people unable to work due to their health condition or disability.

There is no objective way of deciding what an adequate level of benefit should be as every-one has different requirements. In addition to being eligible to claim non-means tested benefits, such as PIP and DLA, disabled people can receive Universal Credit to support them with their living costs. Couples, where one is working and one has limited capability for work or work related activity, may also be eligible to claim childcare costs. The Universal Credit rate for the most severely disabled people, the limited capability for work and work related activity (LCWRA) addition, is more than double the equivalent rate for the Employment and Support Allowance support group. Our upcoming Health and Disability Green Paper will explore how we can go even further to support disabled people and those with health conditions now and in the future.

27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Universal Credit Programme Board was provided with any further direct claimant feedback to review at its meeting on 21 March 2019 in addition to the file entitled, 54. I - Paper BTL02 – UC Claimants: In Their Own Words.

The Universal Credit Programme Board was not provided with any further direct claimant feedback to review at its meeting on 21 March 2019.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
27th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to universal claimant feedback entitled 54. I - Paper BTL02 – UC Claimants: In Their Own Words reviewed by the Universal Credit Programme Board at its meeting on 21 March 2019, whether she plans to review the process for Alternative Payment Arrangements to improve accessibility.

Alternative Payment Arrangements (APA) are available to support claimants who cannot manage their single monthly payment and where there is a risk of financial harm to the claimant and/or their family. These include more frequent payments. Staff involved in Universal Credit work closely with claimants and are able to assess which people need extra support, based on their personal circumstances. They will always consider an APA where a need has been identified by a Work Coach, case manager, or triggered by information received from the claimant, their representative or their landlord.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the the median (a) gap between rent and the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and (b) deduction for universal credit claims in the private rented sector where LHA does not cover the rent and which are subject to deductions for (i) universal credit advances, (ii) universal credit overpayments and (iii) tax credit overpayments in the most recent period for which figures are available.

In 2020/21 a boost of almost £1 billion to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in response to Covid-19, provided 1.5 million households in the private rented sector with around £600 more in housing support over the year. For those who require additional support with housing costs Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available.

We carefully balance our duty to the taxpayer to recover overpayments with our support for claimants. Steps are in place to ensure deductions are manageable; we lengthened the payback period from 12 months to 24 meaning in effect someone can receive 25 payments over 24 months and also 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.

a) In February 2021, where there was a gap between rent and the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) the median was £100 per month.

b) In February 2021, the median deduction for Universal Credit claims in the private rented sector where LHA does not cover the rent and which are subject to deductions were:

i. £61 for Universal Credit Advance deductions

ii. £52 for Universal Credit Overpayment deductions

iii. £53 for Tax Credit Overpayment Deductions

Notes:

1) Figures are rounded to the nearest £1.

2) The Universal Credit Overpayments and Tax Credit Overpayments figures do not include deductions due to fraud.

3) Figures are only available up to February 2021 to correspond with the latest UC Official Statistics.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the number of universal credit claims in the private rented sector with housing entitlement (a) where Local Housing Allowance does not cover rent and and (b) which are subject to deductions for (i) universal credit advances, (ii) universal credit overpayments and (iii) tax credit overpayments for the most recent period for which figures are available.

a) The information on Local Housing Allowance relative to rent is published and available 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

b) In February 2021 for those claims in the private rented sector with housing entitlement there were:

i) 488,000 claims with a Universal Credit Advance Deduction

ii) 99,000 claims with a Universal Credit Overpayment Deduction

iii) 179,000 claims with a Tax Credit Overpayment Deduction

Notes:

1) Figures are rounded to the nearest 1,000.

2) The Universal Credit Overpayments and Tax Credit Overpayments figures do not include deductions due to fraud.

3) Figures are only available up to February 2021 to correspond with the latest UC Official Statistics.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Universal Credit Programme Board minutes, Paper 1, deposited in the Library on 15 April 2021, if she will publish an update on (a) the work of the Universal Credit Complex Needs Steering Group and (b) alternative access to claiming and managing universal credit for people with learning disabilities.

The Universal Credit Programme Board papers deposited in the Library relate to meetings held between October 2018 and March 2019.

The Universal Credit application process is deliberately designed to be as quick and easy as possible, so that claimants receive money at the earliest opportunity. It has been designed to be a predominantly digital service, ensuring we make best use of technology to deliver a modern and effective working-age welfare system, allowing our staff to concentrate on those people who require additional support. The value of this approach has been clearly demonstrated as the Universal Credit caseload doubled, very rapidly, in the months following the outbreak of the pandemic. Where an individual has difficulties using or accessing our online service, help is available through our Freephone Helpline.

Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, Jobcentre Plus offices across the country remained open to support the most vulnerable claimants, including those with complex needs and learning disabilities. The Department strives to identify individuals who have complex user needs and/or require additional support to enable them to access our services, ensuring we make necessary adjustments for them to be effectively supported by Universal Credit.

In addition, the Department has continued its Help to Claim funding for 2021/22. This service, delivered through Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland, was already a multi-channel offer prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, capable of supporting people through the entire Universal Credit claim through various channels including by telephone and web chat, up to receiving their first full correct payment on time.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, who determines whether a paper presented to the Universal Credit Programme Board is a below the line item and therefore not automatically deposited in the Library after two years.

In accordance with the Universal Credit Programme Board publication strategy deposited in the House of Commons library on 1 November 2018 (http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-1083/Letter_-__Future_Publication.pdf), all papers, including those which are below the line and circulated to Board members for information only and not subject to discussion, are deposited in the Library after two years, twice yearly and in 6 monthly batches. A below the line paper does not require a decision by Programme Board. An example of this would be an update following a previous decision paper sent to Programme Board.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will place in the Library a copy of the paper, Universal Credit claimants – In their own words which was presented to the Universal Credit Programme Board at its meeting on 21 March 2019.

As part of the Department’s deposit of Universal Credit Programme Board papers to the Library on 15 April 2021, we included the file titled ‘54. I - Paper BTL02 – UC Claimants: In Their Own Words’, which can be found at:

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2021-0348/54_I_BTL02_UC_claimants_in_their_own_words.pdf

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Universal Credit Programme Board minutes, Paper 1, deposited in the Library on 15 April 2021, if she will publish an update on the progress of the course correction that was committed to being carried out to help vulnerable people claiming universal credit following concerns raised at the Universal Credit Programme Board by the Chief Executive of the London Borough Islington on behalf of the Local Government Association.

In line with our established strategy for releasing Universal Credit Programme Board papers, the outcome to this specific action will be published when we make our next scheduled deposit to the Library during October 2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Universal Credit Programme Board minutes, Paper 1, deposited in the Library on 15 April 2021, what the evidential basis is for her assessment of the merits of people going immediately onto universal credit and fewer people needing Transitional Protection as a result of the end date for managed migration being moved to the end of 2023 from March 2023.

The Universal Credit Programme Board papers deposited in the Library relate to meetings held between October 2018 and March 2019.

In Spring 2020, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department refocused considerable resource to ensuring that all those who needed support during this time could access it, and be paid in full and on time. Since that time, the volume of people on the Universal Credit has doubled to 6 million, which means that our planning for those requiring Transitional Protection has evolved accordingly. We currently anticipate that the process of moving legacy benefit claimants to Universal Credit will be completed by the end of 2024.

Universal Credit offers many advantages over the legacy benefit system: from improved support and access to Work Coaches to improved incentives to increase earnings through the taper rate and Work Allowance. As a consequence, it is reasonable to assume that there will be claimants who do not wish to wait to be moved, or experience a change in their circumstances, which prompts them to claim Universal Credit, and we are looking at how we can support those claimants.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households are in receipt of local housing allowance in payment, how many of those households have rents which exceed the local housing allowance rate; and of the latter households, what the median gap is between the rent and the LHA broken down by the number of children in the household in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales, for the most recent period for which data is available.

Requested information is in the following attachment.

In response to Covid-19 we increased LHA rates to the 30th percentile of local rents in April 2020. This significant investment of nearly £1billion has provided 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support last year than they would otherwise have received.

In 2021/22 claimants will continue to benefit from the increase. We are maintaining this investment by keeping LHA rates at the same levels from April 2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households in receipt of universal there are in the private rented sector with the housing element in payment; how many of those households have rents which exceed the local housing allowance rate; and of the latter households, what the median gap is between the rent and the LHA broken down by the number of children in the household in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales, for the most recent period for which data is available.

Requested information is in the following attachment.

In response to Covid-19 we increased LHA rates to the 30th percentile of local rents in April 2020. This significant investment of nearly £1billion has provided 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support last year than they would otherwise have received.

In 2021/22 claimants will continue to benefit from the increase. We are maintaining this investment by keeping LHA rates at the same levels from April 2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households are in receipt of local housing allowance in payment; how many of those households have rents which exceed the local housing allowance; and what the median gap is between the rent and the LHA for those households also in receipt of (a) income support, (b) income-related employment support allowance and (c) income-related jobseeker’s allowance in (i) England, (ii) Scotland and (iii) Wales, for the most recent period for which data is available.

Requested information is in the following attachment.

In response to Covid-19 we increased LHA rates to the 30th percentile of local rents in April 2020. This significant investment of nearly £1billion has provided 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support last year than they would otherwise have received.

In 2021/22 claimants will continue to benefit from the increase. We are maintaining this investment by keeping LHA rates at the same levels from April 2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households in receipt of universal credit there are in the private rented sector with the housing element in payment where one or more members has limited capability for work and/or for work-related activity; how many of those households have rents which exceed the local housing allowance rate; and of the latter households, what the median gap is between the rent and the LHA in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales, for the most recent period for which data is available.

Requested information is in the following attachment.

In response to Covid-19 we increased LHA rates to the 30th percentile of local rents in April 2020. This significant investment of nearly £1billion has provided 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support last year than they would otherwise have received.

In 2021/22 claimants will continue to benefit from the increase. We are maintaining this investment by keeping LHA rates at the same levels from April 2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households in the private rented sector there are in receipt of housing benefit in payment; how many of those households have rents which exceed the local housing allowance rate (LHA); and of the latter households, what the median average gap is between the rent and the LHA rate, for each broad rental market area in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales, for the most recent period for which data is available.

Requested information is in the following attachment.

In response to Covid-19 we increased LHA rates to the 30th percentile of local rents in April 2020. This significant investment of nearly £1billion has provided 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support last year than they would otherwise have received.

In 2021/22 claimants will continue to benefit from the increase. We are maintaining this investment by keeping LHA rates at the same levels from April 2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households there are in the private rented sector in receipt of universal credit with the housing element in payment; how many of those households have rents which exceed the local housing allowance (LHA); and of the latter households, what the median average gap is between the rent and the LHA, for each broad rental market area in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales, for the most recent period for which data is available.

Requested information is in the following attachment.

In response to Covid-19 we increased LHA rates to the 30th percentile of local rents in April 2020. This significant investment of nearly £1billion has provided 1.5 million claimants with an average £600 more housing support last year than they would otherwise have received.

In 2021/22 claimants will continue to benefit from the increase. We are maintaining this investment by keeping LHA rates at the same levels from April 2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average deduction from universal credit payments is for (a) budgeting loans and advances, (b) universal credit advances, (c) universal credit overpayments and (d) tax credit overpayments in each month from March 2019 to the most recent month for which data is available.

The information requested is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

We carefully balance our duty to the taxpayer to recover overpayments with our support for claimants. Steps are in place to ensure deductions are manageable; this month we further reduced the cap on deductions from Universal Credit awards to 25% and lengthened the payback period from 12 months to 24 meaning in effect someone can receive 25 payments over 24 months.

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

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claimants have deductions from their payment as a result of repaying (a) budgeting loans and advances, (b) universal credit advances, (c) universal credit overpayments, and (d) tax credit overpayments in each month from March 2019 to the most recent month for which data is available.

The information requested is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

We carefully balance our duty to the taxpayer to recover overpayments with our support for claimants. Steps are in place to ensure deductions are manageable; this month we further reduced the cap on deductions from Universal Credit awards to 25% and lengthened the payback period from 12 months to 24 meaning in effect someone can receive 25 payments over 24 months.

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

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on the new agent-led process for both personal and corporate appointees, as outlined as a priority in the Universal Credit Programme Board paper 5 (UCPB180517).

The process to establish a new appointee or to validate an existing appointee for another benefit has been rolled out across all Jobcentres. The process determines whether an appointee is necessary and the best course of action. In making the decision, the Department must be satisfied that the claimant is not able to manage their own affairs because of a mental incapacity or severe physical disability.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Information Commissioner’s decision requiring the publication of the 2017 Universal Credit Programme Board papers, if she will place in the Library copies of the Universal Credit Programme Board papers for (a) 2018 and (b) 2019.

In line with the Universal Credit Programme Board publication strategy deposited in the House of Commons library on 1 November 2018 (http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-1083/Letter_-__Future_Publication.pdf), Universal Credit Programme Board papers are deposited in the House of Commons library after two years, twice yearly and in 6 monthly batches.

The next batch of papers will be deposited in October 2020 and will cover the period March 2018 – September 2018. The following scheduled deposit will be in April 2021 and will cover the period October 2018 – March 2019

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what analysis she has undertaken on the effectiveness of the new functionality outlined in the Universal Credit Programme Board minutes from the meeting held on 18 May 2017, that focused on early identification of universal credit claimants who may have complex needs.

The application process for Universal Credit is designed to be as quick and easy as possible so that that claimants receive money at the earliest opportunity. It is a predominantly digital service, ensuring we make best use of technology to deliver a modern and effective working-age welfare system, allowing our staff to concentrate on those people who require additional support. But the Department recognises and continuously evaluates the need to support vulnerable claimants. The Universal Credit system provides for complex needs to be recorded in a way which supports staff working on that claim to the particular circumstances of the individual.

The Department offers comprehensive support for claimants to use our digital service, but for those unable to make or maintain their claim online, telephone support is available. In these instances, information normally available through a claimant’s online account will be communicated through the most suitable alternative format.

Work Coaches receive training to support claimants with complex needs, including those with special needs or disabilities, and have access to guidance and locally-tailored specialist support for those whom they are helping move into, or stay in work.

In addition, the Department funds Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland to deliver ‘Help to Claim’ which provides tailored, practical support to claimants making a Universal Credit claim and is available across Great Britain. Claimants can access this support through self-referral, or may be directed towards or referred to the service by DWP or other support agencies.

We work closely with a range of partner organisations to ensure ‘wrap around support’ for people on Universal Credit. Some have ‘trusted partner’ status, for example social landlords, and others are learning and support organisations that provide products and services for people on Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on improving the universal credit service to customers without bank accounts, as outlined as a priority in the Universal Credit Programme Board paper 5 (UCPB180517).

Since May 2017 Universal Credit has improved the support it offers to claimants without bank accounts including, where appropriate, providing support to complete the process of setting up a bank account.

Many high street banks provide support for claimants who can manage a basic bank account, to set one up and will advise them. Advice is also available from various advisory services, including the Money and Pension Service.

Work Coaches will assess claimants’ financial needs at their first interview and can refer them to more specialist support for personal budgeting, money guidance and debt advice as appropriate, including through the Money and Pensions Service.

Measures are in place to make payments through other methods where someone does not have a bank account. Universal Credit can, in certain circumstances, can be paid via the HMG Payment Exception Service, which allows claimants to access payments through Paypoint outlets.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made in ensuring that universal credit claimants can make and maintain claims in a number of ways regardless of circumstance as outlined as a priority in the Universal Credit Programme Board paper 5 (UCPB180517).

The application process for Universal Credit is designed to be as quick and easy as possible so that that claimants receive money at the earliest opportunity. It is a predominantly digital service, ensuring we make best use of technology to deliver a modern and effective working-age welfare system, allowing our staff to concentrate on those people who require additional support. But the Department recognises and continuously evaluates the need to support vulnerable claimants. The Universal Credit system provides for complex needs to be recorded in a way which supports staff working on that claim to the particular circumstances of the individual.

The Department offers comprehensive support for claimants to use our digital service, but for those unable to make or maintain their claim online, telephone support is available. In these instances, information normally available through a claimant’s online account will be communicated through the most suitable alternative format.

Work Coaches receive training to support claimants with complex needs, including those with special needs or disabilities, and have access to guidance and locally-tailored specialist support for those whom they are helping move into, or stay in work.

In addition, the Department funds Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland to deliver ‘Help to Claim’ which provides tailored, practical support to claimants making a Universal Credit claim and is available across Great Britain. Claimants can access this support through self-referral, or may be directed towards or referred to the service by DWP or other support agencies.

We work closely with a range of partner organisations to ensure ‘wrap around support’ for people on Universal Credit. Some have ‘trusted partner’ status, for example social landlords, and others are learning and support organisations that provide products and services for people on Universal Credit.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on improving Universal Credit Support Delivered Locally and wider partnership support in support of vulnerable people, as outlined as a priority in the Universal Credit Programme Board paper 5 (UCPB180517).

Universal Credit Support has been improved with the introduction of a strengthened offer which includes help with digital access and budgeting, and support with other activities, such as identity verification, to improve payment timeliness.

With COVID-19 there has been an increase in demand for Help to Claim. The latest validated management information shows that Citizens Advice (England and Wales) and Citizens Advice Scotland have supported over 250,000 people through the Help to Claim period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020. Over 8 in 10 people who received support rated Help to Claim as “easy” or “very easy” to use, and 9 in 10 people would recommend it. This is funded within the renewed 39m package for 20/21.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Information Commissioner’s letter to her Department of 10 April 2019 which stated that explicit consent for universal credit was unduly restrictive, if she will make it her policy to (a) remove the requirement for explicit consent for universal credit and (b) enable representatives to speak on a client's behalf.

The Universal Credit (UC) system is structured around an online personal account which contains all the information relevant to the claim. This includes claimants’ bank account details, savings, capital, medical history, family relationships and address information, which means that we have a responsibility to ensure that a high level of security and protection is in place, and that we take all reasonable steps to protect our claimants and their data which includes ensuring that consent is explicitly given to share it.

As the amount of personal data available on UC is far greater than in the legacy benefit systems, any data breach has far reaching consequences for claimants, and so we need to balance consent against this risk. Therefore, a policy of explicit consent exists to help reduce the risk of fraud by ensuring that claimants’ data is kept safe from unscrupulous organisations and individuals. The emphasis here is not to hinder people receiving support to help them make and manage their claim, but to make sure we protect claimants’ personal data and other information.

Where explicit consent is needed it can be quickly given in different ways; over the phone or via the online journal, at any time during a UC claim. This is a far simpler and more straightforward process than in the legacy benefit systems. Once consent is given, we will work with claimants’ representatives.

Following the Social Security Advisory Committee’s report into consent in UC on

8 September 2020, the Department continues to consider how best to safeguard personal data moving forward, whilst allowing those claimants needing support from representatives to do so in a safe and secure manner.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Information Commissioner's Office's recommendation of 10 April 2019, RFA0715409, if she will publish, alongside her Department's published policy on universal credit, a ready-to-use template form for explicit consent for universal credit for a representative to act on behalf of an individual client.

The Universal Credit (UC) system is structured around an online personal account which contains all the information relevant to the claim. This includes claimants’ bank account details, savings, capital, medical history, family relationships and address information, which means that we have a responsibility to ensure that a high level of security and protection is in place, and that we take all reasonable steps to protect our claimants and their data which includes ensuring that consent is explicitly given to share it.

As the amount of personal data available on UC is far greater than in the legacy benefit systems, any data breach has far reaching consequences for claimants, and so we need to balance consent against this risk. Therefore, a policy of explicit consent exists to help reduce the risk of fraud by ensuring that claimants’ data is kept safe from unscrupulous organisations and individuals. The emphasis here is not to hinder people receiving support to help them make and manage their claim, but to make sure we protect claimants’ personal data and other information.

Where explicit consent is needed it can be quickly given in different ways; over the phone or via the online journal, at any time during a UC claim. This is a far simpler and more straightforward process than in the legacy benefit systems. Once consent is given, we will work with claimants’ representatives.

Following the Social Security Advisory Committee’s report into consent in UC on 8 September 2020, the Department continues to consider how best to safeguard personal data moving forward, whilst allowing those claimants needing support from representatives to do so in a safe and secure manner.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims were closed in 2019 as a result of a claimant failing to accept their claimant commitment when they have (a) no work-related requirements, (b) work preparation requirements only and (c) work-focused interview requirements.

The information requested is not held.

It is not possible to provide a conditionality group breakdown for claims which were closed before first payment of Universal Credit. This is because a conditionality group is not determined for all claimants until the end of the first assessment period is reached.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants whose claims were closed during 2019 because of a claimant failing to accept their claimant commitment have subsequently successfully challenged the claimant commitment and that case closure.

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 67052 tabled by the hon. Member for Westminster North.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what timeframe his Department has in place for issuing digital Covid recovery certificates; how many people were waiting for those certificates at 28 October 2021, what estimate his Department has made of the average time taken to issue certificates; and if he will make a statement.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of trends in the level of environmental health practitioners in local authorities in England in each of the last 10 years.

The Department has convened the Regulatory Services Task and Finish Group to understand the pressures facing regulatory services teams in local government, which includes Environmental Health, and propose short and long-term options to support the sector.

The Group consists of senior officials from government departments and representatives from local government and professional bodies. The Group has worked collaboratively with partners on several priority work areas, including understanding the size and composition of the environmental health workforce.

2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the scope for increasing the numbers of Environmental Health apprenticeship schemes.

The Department has convened the Regulatory Services Task and Finish Group to help coordinate central government's expectation of regulatory services teams in local government, which includes Environmental Health, and propose short and long-term options to support the sector.

The Group consists of senior officials from government departments and representatives from local government and professional bodies. The Group is now focussed on developing a suite of recommendations, including measures that could support the attraction and recruitment of environmental health officers and increase the number of regulatory apprentices in local authorities.

2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to encourage recruitment in the environmental health profession.

The Department has convened the Regulatory Services Task and Finish Group to help coordinate central government's expectation of regulatory services teams in local government, which includes Environmental Health, and propose short and long-term options to support the sector.

The Group consists of senior officials from government departments and representatives from local government and professional bodies. The Group is now focussed on developing a suite of recommendations, including measures that could support the attraction and recruitment of environmental health officers and increase the number of regulatory apprentices in local authorities.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the amounts allocated under the Towns Fund by (a) region and (b) nation of the UK to date.

So far over £2 billion has been announced over 86 Town Deals as part of the Government's flagship Towns Fund, delivering on our commitment to Levelling Up communities who have long felt left behind.

Final funding awards for these towns can be found on gov.uk here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/towns-fund

The Towns Fund is England only. The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund is a UK-wide fund.

Further Town Deals are set to be announced in due course. In addition, the initial bids of the £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund and £220 million Community Renewal Fund are now being assessed, meaning even more funding is on the way to help communities build back better from the effects of the pandemic.

18th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the amounts allocated under the Future High Streets Fund by (a) region and (b) nation of the UK to date.

In total, 72 places across England will share over £830 million from the Future High Streets Fund. Final funding awards for all places can be found on www.gov.uk/government/collections/future-high-streets-fund .

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many tenders were received for the contract put out on 9 December 2019 to transform adult care services in Northamptonshire.

Northamptonshire County Council considered two tenders.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what restrictions are placed on Government-appointed commissioners who provide services to firms operating within the council area for which they are responsible; and if he will make a statement.

Commissioners are appointed under the Secretary of State’s powers provided in the Local Government Act 1999 (“the 1999 Act”). Their terms of appointment require individuals to declare any personal or business interests which may, or may be perceived to, influence their judgements in performing their functions. These interests include (without limitation), personal direct and indirect pecuniary interests, and, any such interests of their close family members and/or of people living in the same household or as their close family members. As a public appointee, they must act appropriately and in accordance with the required standards. They are required to uphold the standards of conduct set out in by the Seven Principles of Public Life.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what restrictions are placed on the activities of Government-appointed commissioners who provide services to firms operating within the local authority area for which they are responsible; and if he will make a statement.

Commissioners are appointed under the Secretary of State’s powers provided in the Local Government Act 1999 (“the 1999 Act”). Their terms of appointment require individuals to declare any personal or business interests which may, or may be perceived to, influence their judgements in performing their functions. These interests include (without limitation), personal direct and indirect pecuniary interests, and, any such interests of their close family members and/or of people living in the same household or as their close family members. As a public appointee, they must act appropriately and in accordance with the required standards. They are required to uphold the standards of conduct set out in by the Seven Principles of Public Life.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he holds information on the amount of money that the commissioner for Northamptonshire Mr Tony McArdle has received in fees as an adviser to Newton Europe since May 2018; and if he will make a statement.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government does not hold this information



13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much the lead commissioner for Northamptonshire has received in payments from Northamptonshire county council since May 2018.

The total fees paid to the Lead Commissioner by Northamptonshire County Council since May 2018 and up to the end of January 2020 are £177,200.

13th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) value of the contracts that Newton Europe has won to provide services for Northamptonshire county council since Mr Tony McArdle was appointed as commissioner; and if he will make a statement.

Like all local authorities, Northamptonshire County Council is independent of central government and therefore this information is not held by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

9th Nov 2021
When the Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid will publish its recommendations.

The Criminal Legal Aid Independent Review follows on from the introduction of the 'accelerated measures' which injected up to £51m per annum into the criminal legal aid system in September 2020.

Sir Christopher Bellamy QC is leading the review, which I understand he is close to completing. I can confirm the Government will publish Sir Christopher's report together with its response as soon as possible.

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many civil legal aid offices were providing civil legal aid involving (a) claims against public authorities, (b) community care, (c) discrimination, (d) education (e) immigration and asylum, (f) family, (g) clinical negligence, (h) mental health, (i) public law and (j) welfare benefits in each year from 2012-13 to 2020-21 and for the last quarter for which figures are available.

The Legal Aid Agency frequently reviews market capacity to make sure there is adequate provision around the country and moves quickly to ensure provision where gaps may appear.

Operational system data on the volume of providers holding legal aid contracts at any given time is subject to change due to the internal management and updating of contract schedules, which may impact both real time and historic data.

Criminal legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Year

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Providers

1,652

1,595

1,513

1,425

1,386

1,310

1,266

1,194

1,154

1,090

1,080

Offices

2,318

2,258

2,142

2,040

1,969

1,981

1,913

1,802

1,717

1,589

1,565

Civil legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Year

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Providers

2,129

1,811

1,700

1,785

1,697

1,601

1,448

1,560

1,497

1,435

1,401

Offices

3,242

3,133

2,944

2,931

2,769

2,609

2,369

2,536

2,439

2,316

2,258

Civil legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, broken down by category of law enquired about, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Volume of Providers (firms)

Category of Law

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Claims Against the Public Authorities

63

58

54

53

65

65

64

80

74

71

70

Community Care

85

83

71

91

87

81

76

94

88

83

82

Discrimination

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

17

18

17

Education

24

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

13

10

Immigration Asylum

197

239

226

199

182

166

141

203

189

176

172

Immigration Other*

198

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Family

1,557

1,352

1,269

1,211

1,160

1,090

1,003

1,029

992

959

937

Clinical Negligence

169

166

156

142

107

106

100

100

99

95

93

Mental Health

172

168

160

176

169

158

147

156

147

135

135

Public Law

87

83

79

74

92

89

84

110

99

95

95

Welfare Benefits

286

0

14

15

15

16

14

52

41

38

36

Volume of Offices

Category of Law

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Claims Against the Public Authorities

83

79

74

72

80

80

78

119

112

104

101

Community Care

140

131

115

163

142

136

124

146

137

129

127

Discrimination

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

22

21

Education

28

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

18

22

19

Immigration Asylum

228

405

376

323

285

262

229

303

281

263

257

Immigration Other*

229

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Family

2,328

2,254

2,134

2,001

1,890

1,732

1,616

1,713

1,654

1,575

1,537

Clinical Negligence

291

285

267

248

196

191

180

175

170

164

159

Mental Health

193

189

179

200

189

173

161

181

172

159

157

Public Law

111

107

101

95

111

108

102

155

141

130

130

Welfare Benefits

364

0

15

15

15

17

15

71

56

52

50

*ceased as individual/separate category

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many civil legal aid practitioners were providing civil legal aid involving (a) claims against public authorities, (b) community care, (c) discrimination, (d) education (e) immigration and asylum, (f) family, (g) clinical negligence, (h) mental health, (i) public law and (j) welfare benefits in each year from 2012-13 to 2020-21 and for the last quarter for which figures are available.

The Legal Aid Agency frequently reviews market capacity to make sure there is adequate provision around the country and moves quickly to ensure provision where gaps may appear.

Operational system data on the volume of providers holding legal aid contracts at any given time is subject to change due to the internal management and updating of contract schedules, which may impact both real time and historic data.

Criminal legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Year

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Providers

1,652

1,595

1,513

1,425

1,386

1,310

1,266

1,194

1,154

1,090

1,080

Offices

2,318

2,258

2,142

2,040

1,969

1,981

1,913

1,802

1,717

1,589

1,565

Civil legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Year

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Providers

2,129

1,811

1,700

1,785

1,697

1,601

1,448

1,560

1,497

1,435

1,401

Offices

3,242

3,133

2,944

2,931

2,769

2,609

2,369

2,536

2,439

2,316

2,258

Civil legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, broken down by category of law enquired about, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Volume of Providers (firms)

Category of Law

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Claims Against the Public Authorities

63

58

54

53

65

65

64

80

74

71

70

Community Care

85

83

71

91

87

81

76

94

88

83

82

Discrimination

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

17

18

17

Education

24

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

13

10

Immigration Asylum

197

239

226

199

182

166

141

203

189

176

172

Immigration Other*

198

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Family

1,557

1,352

1,269

1,211

1,160

1,090

1,003

1,029

992

959

937

Clinical Negligence

169

166

156

142

107

106

100

100

99

95

93

Mental Health

172

168

160

176

169

158

147

156

147

135

135

Public Law

87

83

79

74

92

89

84

110

99

95

95

Welfare Benefits

286

0

14

15

15

16

14

52

41

38

36

Volume of Offices

Category of Law

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Claims Against the Public Authorities

83

79

74

72

80

80

78

119

112

104

101

Community Care

140

131

115

163

142

136

124

146

137

129

127

Discrimination

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

22

21

Education

28

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

18

22

19

Immigration Asylum

228

405

376

323

285

262

229

303

281

263

257

Immigration Other*

229

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Family

2,328

2,254

2,134

2,001

1,890

1,732

1,616

1,713

1,654

1,575

1,537

Clinical Negligence

291

285

267

248

196

191

180

175

170

164

159

Mental Health

193

189

179

200

189

173

161

181

172

159

157

Public Law

111

107

101

95

111

108

102

155

141

130

130

Welfare Benefits

364

0

15

15

15

17

15

71

56

52

50

*ceased as individual/separate category

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many offices were providing civil legal aid in (a) in year from 2012-13 to 2020-21 and (b) the last quarter for which figures are available.

The Legal Aid Agency frequently reviews market capacity to make sure there is adequate provision around the country and moves quickly to ensure provision where gaps may appear.

Operational system data on the volume of providers holding legal aid contracts at any given time is subject to change due to the internal management and updating of contract schedules, which may impact both real time and historic data.

Criminal legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Year

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Providers

1,652

1,595

1,513

1,425

1,386

1,310

1,266

1,194

1,154

1,090

1,080

Offices

2,318

2,258

2,142

2,040

1,969

1,981

1,913

1,802

1,717

1,589

1,565

Civil legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Year

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Providers

2,129

1,811

1,700

1,785

1,697

1,601

1,448

1,560

1,497

1,435

1,401

Offices

3,242

3,133

2,944

2,931

2,769

2,609

2,369

2,536

2,439

2,316

2,258

Civil legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, broken down by category of law enquired about, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Volume of Providers (firms)

Category of Law

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Claims Against the Public Authorities

63

58

54

53

65

65

64

80

74

71

70

Community Care

85

83

71

91

87

81

76

94

88

83

82

Discrimination

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

17

18

17

Education

24

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

13

10

Immigration Asylum

197

239

226

199

182

166

141

203

189

176

172

Immigration Other*

198

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Family

1,557

1,352

1,269

1,211

1,160

1,090

1,003

1,029

992

959

937

Clinical Negligence

169

166

156

142

107

106

100

100

99

95

93

Mental Health

172

168

160

176

169

158

147

156

147

135

135

Public Law

87

83

79

74

92

89

84

110

99

95

95

Welfare Benefits

286

0

14

15

15

16

14

52

41

38

36

Volume of Offices

Category of Law

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Claims Against the Public Authorities

83

79

74

72

80

80

78

119

112

104

101

Community Care

140

131

115

163

142

136

124

146

137

129

127

Discrimination

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

22

21

Education

28

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

18

22

19

Immigration Asylum

228

405

376

323

285

262

229

303

281

263

257

Immigration Other*

229

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Family

2,328

2,254

2,134

2,001

1,890

1,732

1,616

1,713

1,654

1,575

1,537

Clinical Negligence

291

285

267

248

196

191

180

175

170

164

159

Mental Health

193

189

179

200

189

173

161

181

172

159

157

Public Law

111

107

101

95

111

108

102

155

141

130

130

Welfare Benefits

364

0

15

15

15

17

15

71

56

52

50

*ceased as individual/separate category

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many civil legal aid providers there were (a) in each year from 2012-2013 to 2020-21 and (b) for the last quarter for which figures are available.

The Legal Aid Agency frequently reviews market capacity to make sure there is adequate provision around the country and moves quickly to ensure provision where gaps may appear.

Operational system data on the volume of providers holding legal aid contracts at any given time is subject to change due to the internal management and updating of contract schedules, which may impact both real time and historic data.

Criminal legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Year

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Providers

1,652

1,595

1,513

1,425

1,386

1,310

1,266

1,194

1,154

1,090

1,080

Offices

2,318

2,258

2,142

2,040

1,969

1,981

1,913

1,802

1,717

1,589

1,565

Civil legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Year

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Providers

2,129

1,811

1,700

1,785

1,697

1,601

1,448

1,560

1,497

1,435

1,401

Offices

3,242

3,133

2,944

2,931

2,769

2,609

2,369

2,536

2,439

2,316

2,258

Civil legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, broken down by category of law enquired about, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Volume of Providers (firms)

Category of Law

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Claims Against the Public Authorities

63

58

54

53

65

65

64

80

74

71

70

Community Care

85

83

71

91

87

81

76

94

88

83

82

Discrimination

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

17

18

17

Education

24

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

13

10

Immigration Asylum

197

239

226

199

182

166

141

203

189

176

172

Immigration Other*

198

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Family

1,557

1,352

1,269

1,211

1,160

1,090

1,003

1,029

992

959

937

Clinical Negligence

169

166

156

142

107

106

100

100

99

95

93

Mental Health

172

168

160

176

169

158

147

156

147

135

135

Public Law

87

83

79

74

92

89

84

110

99

95

95

Welfare Benefits

286

0

14

15

15

16

14

52

41

38

36

Volume of Offices

Category of Law

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Claims Against the Public Authorities

83

79

74

72

80

80

78

119

112

104

101

Community Care

140

131

115

163

142

136

124

146

137

129

127

Discrimination

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

22

21

Education

28

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

18

22

19

Immigration Asylum

228

405

376

323

285

262

229

303

281

263

257

Immigration Other*

229

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Family

2,328

2,254

2,134

2,001

1,890

1,732

1,616

1,713

1,654

1,575

1,537

Clinical Negligence

291

285

267

248

196

191

180

175

170

164

159

Mental Health

193

189

179

200

189

173

161

181

172

159

157

Public Law

111

107

101

95

111

108

102

155

141

130

130

Welfare Benefits

364

0

15

15

15

17

15

71

56

52

50

*ceased as individual/separate category

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many providers of criminal legal aid services there were in each year from 2012-13 to the most recent quarter for which figures are available.

The Legal Aid Agency frequently reviews market capacity to make sure there is adequate provision around the country and moves quickly to ensure provision where gaps may appear.

Operational system data on the volume of providers holding legal aid contracts at any given time is subject to change due to the internal management and updating of contract schedules, which may impact both real time and historic data.

Criminal legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Year

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Providers

1,652

1,595

1,513

1,425

1,386

1,310

1,266

1,194

1,154

1,090

1,080

Offices

2,318

2,258

2,142

2,040

1,969

1,981

1,913

1,802

1,717

1,589

1,565

Civil legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Year

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Providers

2,129

1,811

1,700

1,785

1,697

1,601

1,448

1,560

1,497

1,435

1,401

Offices

3,242

3,133

2,944

2,931

2,769

2,609

2,369

2,536

2,439

2,316

2,258

Civil legal aid providers (firms) and offices in each year, broken down by category of law enquired about, from 2012 to most recent quarter:

Volume of Providers (firms)

Category of Law

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Claims Against the Public Authorities

63

58

54

53

65

65

64

80

74

71

70

Community Care

85

83

71

91

87

81

76

94

88

83

82

Discrimination

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

17

18

17

Education

24

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

13

10

Immigration Asylum

197

239

226

199

182

166

141

203

189

176

172

Immigration Other*

198

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Family

1,557

1,352

1,269

1,211

1,160

1,090

1,003

1,029

992

959

937

Clinical Negligence

169

166

156

142

107

106

100

100

99

95

93

Mental Health

172

168

160

176

169

158

147

156

147

135

135

Public Law

87

83

79

74

92

89

84

110

99

95

95

Welfare Benefits

286

0

14

15

15

16

14

52

41

38

36

Volume of Offices

Category of Law

Apr-12

Apr-13

Apr-14

Apr-15

Apr-16

Apr-17

Apr-18

Apr-19

Apr-20

Apr-21

Sep-21

Claims Against the Public Authorities

83

79

74

72

80

80

78

119

112

104

101

Community Care

140

131

115

163

142

136

124

146

137

129

127

Discrimination

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

22

21

Education

28

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

18

22

19

Immigration Asylum

228

405

376

323

285

262

229

303

281

263

257

Immigration Other*

229

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Family

2,328

2,254

2,134

2,001

1,890

1,732

1,616

1,713

1,654

1,575

1,537

Clinical Negligence

291

285

267

248

196

191

180

175

170

164

159

Mental Health

193

189

179

200

189

173

161

181

172

159

157

Public Law

111

107

101

95

111

108

102

155

141

130

130

Welfare Benefits

364

0

15

15

15

17

15

71

56

52

50

*ceased as individual/separate category

James Cartlidge
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (and Assistant Government Whip)