Marion Fellows Portrait

Marion Fellows

Scottish National Party - Motherwell and Wishaw

SNP Whip

(since May 2015)

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Disabilities)

(since January 2020)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Small Business, Enterprise and Innovation)
20th Jun 2017 - 7th Jan 2020
Administration Committee
22nd Oct 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Education Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
Education, Skills and the Economy Sub-Committee
12th Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Education Committee
6th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 6th September 2022
12:30
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 4th October 2022
12:30
Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 1st November 2022
12:30
Division Votes
None available
Speeches
Monday 18th July 2022
Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government
Mr Deputy Speaker, I hope you caught the Prime Minister’s surreal bravura performance, which was rather clouded by the fact …
Written Answers
Thursday 28th April 2022
Fuel Poverty: Disability
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department’s fuel poverty target numbers take …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 29th March 2022
The Morrison Family and Craigneuk Post Office
That this House recognises the work of the Morrison family who have operated Craigneuk Post Office since 1982; commends the …
Bills
Child Maintenance Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …
MP Financial Interests
None available
EDM signed
Wednesday 6th July 2022
Death of Andy Goram
That this House notes with deep sadness the passing of former Rangers, Hibernian, Motherwell, Manchester United, Oldham and Scottish International …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 29th June 2021
Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision about leave and pay for employees of whom a close family member has died.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Marion Fellows has voted in 350 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Marion Fellows 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
Paul Scully (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
(16 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(14 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency)
(12 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(31 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(29 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(20 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Marion Fellows has not made any spoken contributions to legislative debate
View all Marion Fellows's debates

Latest EDMs signed by Marion Fellows

6th July 2022
Marion Fellows signed this EDM on Wednesday 6th July 2022

Death of Andy Goram

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House notes with deep sadness the passing of former Rangers, Hibernian, Motherwell, Manchester United, Oldham and Scottish International footballer Andy Goram at the age of 58; recognises he was one of the most talented goalkeepers in Scottish and British football in the '80s and '90s; applauds his achievements …
18 signatures
(Most recent: 20 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 12
Independent: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
13th June 2022
Marion Fellows signed this EDM on Wednesday 15th June 2022

An appreciation of Bruce Kent

Tabled by: Kirsten Oswald (Scottish National Party - East Renfrewshire)
That this House remembers the life and achievements of Bruce Kent whilst mourning his passing; notes that Bruce Kent was a peace campaigner who served as a Vice-President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, a Vice-President of Pax Christi, and Emeritus President of the Movement for the Abolition of War; …
30 signatures
(Most recent: 12 Jul 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 17
Labour: 6
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Green Party: 1
View All Marion Fellows's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Marion Fellows, 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.


Marion Fellows has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Marion Fellows has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Marion Fellows


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 remove certain fees for child maintenance services; to make provision about the calculation of child maintenance payments; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 6th November 2018
(Read Debate)

332 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
4 Other Department Questions
21st Sep 2021
To ask the President of COP26, what plans her Department has to help ensure that the UK’s hosting of COP26 will include disability inclusion as a priority for action on climate adaptation of education systems.

Climate action must be inclusive of people with disabilities and support their rights. This means ensuring that information and services are accessible, challenging social norms that create barriers to access and disaggregating data by gender, age and disability. People with disabilities must be involved in climate action at all levels and engagement with, and capacity building of, disabled people’s organisations on climate issues is essential.

Through our focus on adaptation for COP26, we are encouraging the international community to do more to drive effective delivery of adaptation action on the ground, including through implementation of the Principles for Locally-led Adaptation. These Principles provide a framework for ensuring that those most impacted by climate change - including people with disabilities, indigenous people, women and youth - are empowered to plan for and protect their own futures.

We are committed to championing inclusivity throughout our COP26 Presidency. This is why there is a dedicated COP26 civil society engagement team that works with NGOs and rights groups, including those from the disability community, who have established an official led disability working group that meets regularly, to help guide our preparation for delivering a disability inclusive summit.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what plans the Government has to remove the Equality Act 2010 exemption on manufactured goods to ensure that products must be accessible for disabled people.

The protections of the Equality Act 2010 do not extend to manufacturing, so there is no exemption to remove. The Act’s protections, including for disability, are extensive. Service providers have an anticipatory duty to make reasonable adjustments, including ensuring their facilities and products are accessible to disabled people who wish to use them. What is reasonable will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and will be determined by such factors as practicality, cost and the extent to which people with disabilities are likely to want to use the service.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the hon. Member representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will enable the introduction of a parliamentary internship scheme for disabled people to improve their inclusion and representation in Parliament.

Disabled people are offered internships with Members of Parliament as part of the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme. There are thirteen places on this Scheme and at least three of these places are ringfenced for disabled people. However, in reality more than three places are offered to disabled people each year.

This placement scheme opens up Parliament to talented individuals who would not have access to the traditional routes into Westminster by providing them with a nine-month paid internship in a Member’s office. At the outset of the expansion of the scheme in 2018 to include disabled people, the House worked closely with Disability Rights UK to ensure that the scheme was inclusive for disabled people.

An accessibility plan is developed for each disabled intern to ensure that they are supported whilst on the programme. All interns are supported by their Member who is their line manager and the Member’s office manager. They are given pastoral support by the House Service as well as a buddy.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will replicate the Scottish Government's Access to Elected Office Fund to increase the inclusion of candidates with disabilities at the next general election.

Political parties are responsible for their candidate selection and should lead the way in improving diverse representation, including from people with disabilities, at General Elections.

Successive recent UK Governments have helped in this process. An Access to Elected Office Fund ran on a pilot basis from 2012 to 2015, and was followed by the EnAble Fund launched in 2018 as an interim measure to allow political parties time to put in place more support. We welcome the positive steps taken by some political parties to support their disabled candidates and encourage all parties to embrace this approach.

5th Nov 2020
What discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on upholding the rule of law.

The freedoms and protections that we all enjoy rely on the rule of law. This is an important constitutional principle which demands: equality under the law; access to independent and impartial justice; government subject to the law; law that is clear and certain.

The duty of the Law Officers is to give the Government full and frank legal advice, and to ensure the Government acts in full knowledge of the legal position. I take that responsibility seriously, and will continue to do so.

Suella Braverman
Attorney General
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the timescale is for the full roll-out of new provisions to enable all blind and partially sighted people to vote independently and in private.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ143043 on 28 January.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to consult an adequate number of blind and partially sighted people in the evaluation of audio voting devices.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ143043 on 28 January.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on people with protected characteristics.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster made a statement under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 regarding the provisions of the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill. This Bill, now Act, implements the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Further to this, relevant requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and other relevant legislation have been followed.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on disabled people.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster made a statement under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 regarding the provisions of the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill. This Bill, now Act, implements the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Further to this, relevant requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and other relevant legislation have been followed.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what equality impact assessments his Department has undertaken on the potential legal and socioeconomic effects of the UK leaving the EU on different groups with protected characteristics.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster made a statement under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 regarding the provisions of the European Union (Future Relationship) Bill. This Bill, now Act, implements the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Further to this, relevant requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and other relevant legislation have been followed.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of public sector websites (a) comply and (b) do not comply with accessibility requirements mandated by the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is testing websites in accordance with the Accessibility Regulation.

GDS is encouraging organisations to engage with them to increase the accessibility of their websites for users.

GDS will periodically publish information about their monitoring. GDS will also, on behalf of the Minister for Cabinet Office, publish a list of websites with non-compliant accessibility statements.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to ensure compliance with the legal accessibility requirements for public sector websites mandated by the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

The Government Digital Service (GDS) is testing websites in accordance with the Accessibility Regulation.

GDS is encouraging organisations to engage with them to increase the accessibility of their websites for users.

GDS will periodically publish information about their monitoring. GDS will also, on behalf of the Minister for Cabinet Office, publish a list of websites with non-compliant accessibility statements.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he estimates each Department will have completed their reviews in relation to the National Strategy for Disabled People.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by Justin Tomlinson MP on 10 September 2020.

20th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

The Cabinet Office has a target of responding within 20 working days where a response is required.

As you will understand, the Cabinet Office is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. Officials are ensuring that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised, and are taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department’s fuel poverty target numbers take into account the higher average energy costs and usage incurred by disabled people.

The fuel poverty target is to ensure that as many fuels poor homes as is reasonably practicable achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C, by 2030. Its aim is to target energy efficiency support to low-income households.

The 2030 target does not include estimates of energy costs including what the energy costs will be for disabled people.

Progress against the target is reported on in the annual fuel poverty statistics, which can be found https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fuel-poverty-statistics.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the level of support provided by energy suppliers to disabled customers through programmes such as benefit entitlement checks and debt write-off.

Ofgem require energy suppliers to support disabled customers. This includes protection from disconnection during the winter, and the provision of additional support through a Priority Services Register. Ofgem monitors compliance with their rules protecting vulnerable consumers. Their most recent report is available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2021-10/Ofgem%20Consumer%20Protection%20Report%20Autumn%202021_Final.pdf.

Under the Warm Home Discount scheme, Ofgem provides a breakdown in their annual reports of the Industry Initiatives supporting fuel poor and vulnerable households through measures that include benefit entitlement checks and debt write-off. The 2020-2021 report is available at: https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications/warm-home-discount-annual-report-scheme-year-10.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the decision to reduce support for disabled people through the Energy Company Obligation scheme, whether an assessment has been made of the impact on the finances of disabled people affected by that change.

The current Energy Company Obligation scheme, ECO4, has been designed to focus support on households with the lowest incomes and alleviate fuel poverty. This will include households with disabled people on the lowest incomes. The scheme is designed to improve the energy efficiency of homes, through the installation of insulation or heating measures. Households benefitting from improvements could save an average of £300 per annum.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reason the Post Office Ltd Annual Reports and Accounts 2020-21 have not yet been published.

Post Office secured an extension for the filing of its Annual Report and Accounts for FY20/21 to 31 March 2022. I understand Post Office expect to publish their Accounts shortly.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Post Office Annual Reports and Accounts for 2020-21 will be published.

Post Office secured an extension for the filing of its Annual Report and Accounts for FY20/21 to 31 March 2022. I understand Post Office expect to publish their Accounts shortly.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many temporarily closed Post Office branches have been closed for (a) less than six months, (b) six months to a year, (c) one year and a day to two years and (d) longer than two years in (i) Scotland, (ii) Wales, (iii) Northern Ireland and (iv) each region of England as of 12 November 2021.

While Post Office Limited is publicly owned, it operates as an independent, commercial business. Therefore, details regarding the length of time Post Office branches have been closed in (i) Scotland, (ii) Wales, (iii) Northern Ireland and (iv) each region of England as of 12 November 2021, are an operational matter for Post Office Limited.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress his Department has made on meeting Post Office Access Criteria that (a) 90 per cent of the population are within one mile of the nearest Post Office branch and (b) 99 per cent of the population are within three miles of the nearest Post Office branch.

POL operates the largest and most dispersed retail network in the UK, with more than 11,500 branches offering a portfolio of services across: mails & parcels, cash & banking, financial services, identity and telecoms markets.

Apart from during the pandemic when agreed waivers were in place, since 2013/14 Post Office has consistently met the access criteria and remains committed to meeting the access criteria and minimum branch numbers.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether there are legal protections in place to prevent employers from mandating people who are severely immunocompromised from having to return to their workplace after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends in September 2021.

There are a range of legal protections which could be engaged where it is difficult for an employee to return to work as a result of an underlying health condition. But the law does not distinguish specifically between particular health conditions.

An immunocompromised person may be considered to have a disability and benefit from protections under the Equality Act which include the duty on an employer to make reasonable adjustments. A disability under the Equality Act is defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. A reasonable adjustment can include letting someone work somewhere else.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2021
What recent assessment he has made of the sustainability of the Post Office network.

The Post Office network has been incredibly resilient during the pandemic, with over 90% of branches remaining open throughout. The Government continues to work with Post Office to monitor the network closely.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Post Office branches have closed in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales, and (d) Northern Ireland in each of the last twelve months.

While Post Office Limited is publicly owned, it operates as an independent, commercial business. Therefore, details regarding the branch type and the number of closed Post Offices in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales, and (d) Northern Ireland as of 5 July 2021, are an operational matter for Post Office Limited.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many of each branch type of Post Office are operating in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales, and (d) Northern Ireland as at 5 July 2021.

While Post Office Limited is publicly owned, it operates as an independent, commercial business. Therefore, details regarding the branch type and the number of closed Post Offices in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales, and (d) Northern Ireland as of 5 July 2021, are an operational matter for Post Office Limited.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to maintain the existing number of operating branches in the Post Office network.

The Government is committed to a UK-wide network of post offices, which is why we have set the national access criteria. These criteria, for instance, require that nationally, ninety per cent (90%) of the UK population are within one mile of the nearest Post Office Branch and that nationally, ninety-nine per cent (99%) of the UK population are within three (3) miles of the nearest Post Office Branch.

Whilst the Post Office branch numbers can fluctuate between areas and regions, the Post Office works hard with communities to ensure that service is maintained and this can include solutions such as mobile or other types of outreach services where necessary.

In the Government's Spending Review it was announced that we will be investing £227m in the Post Office in 2021/22. This reflects our commitment to the role that post offices play across our communities.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 21 January 2021 to Question 133029 on Disability: EU Law, what steps the Government is taking to improve and enhance accessibility through domestic legislation.

The UK has robust legislation on accessibility through the protections covered by the Equality Act 2006, Equality Act 2010, and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland. The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination on grounds of disability and imposes a duty on providers of goods and services to make reasonable adjustments to prevent this.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will consult with relevant organisations before a decision is reached on how the Post Office subsidy will be allocated.

Through the November 2020 Spending Review a total of £227m of funding has been allocated to the Post Office to extend the network subsidy by £50 million and to provide £177 million to invest in the future of the network. This will ensure that post offices in every corner of the country, including our vital rural branches, can keep providing essential services for the people that rely on them – now and in the future.

The subsidy will be used to support the costs of loss-making post offices, in the same way that previous subsidies provided to the Post Office have been used. In order to support Spending Review decisions, the Department considered the impact of subsidy on subpostmasters across the Post Office network.

BEIS has a long track record of engaging with relevant organisations in relation to Post Office, including funding provided for the network, and it continues to meet with them on a regular basis.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to undertake an assessment of the effect of the Post Office subsidy on subpostmasters across the post office network.

Through the November 2020 Spending Review a total of £227m of funding has been allocated to the Post Office to extend the network subsidy by £50 million and to provide £177 million to invest in the future of the network. This will ensure that post offices in every corner of the country, including our vital rural branches, can keep providing essential services for the people that rely on them – now and in the future.

The subsidy will be used to support the costs of loss-making post offices, in the same way that previous subsidies provided to the Post Office have been used. In order to support Spending Review decisions, the Department considered the impact of subsidy on subpostmasters across the Post Office network.

BEIS has a long track record of engaging with relevant organisations in relation to Post Office, including funding provided for the network, and it continues to meet with them on a regular basis.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will bring forward legislative proposals to enshrine the European Accessibility Act into UK law.

The UK has left the EU, and as the Transition Period ended on 31 December 2020 the UK will not be required to transpose the EAA into UK law.

The UK already has robust legislation on accessibility through the protections covered by the Equality Act 2006, Equality Act 2010, and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland. The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination on grounds of disability and imposes a duty on providers of goods and services to make reasonable adjustments to prevent this.

The Government will consider how further to improve or enhance accessibility through domestic legislation, and provide real benefit to citizens with disabilities.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy if he will introduce legislative proposals to ensure workers’ rights and employment standards are maintained after the transition period.

As an independent, sovereign nation we are now ideally placed to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities available to us. We want to go further than ever before to uphold workers’ rights, support UK businesses and ultimately boost productivity in the UK.

Our high standards have never been dependent on EU membership, and this agreement recognises the importance of these employment standards, whilst retaining flexibility for us to tailor our approach to what works for the UK and maintaining our strong levels of protection.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on UK labour standards derived from the EU.

As an independent, sovereign nation we are now ideally placed to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities available to us. We want to go further than ever before to uphold workers’ rights, support UK businesses and ultimately boost productivity in the UK.

Our high standards have never been dependent on EU membership, and this agreement recognises the importance of these employment standards, whilst retaining flexibility for us to tailor our approach to what works for the UK and maintaining our strong levels of protection.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when Post Office Ltd will publish its annual report and accounts.

Under the Companies Act, firms have 9 months after the relevant financial year ends to file its accounts, meaning the end of December 2020 for Post Office Limited. Companies House has provided an optional three-month extension of this deadline due to Covid-19. In recent years Post Office Limited has laid its report and accounts before Parliament between September and December.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of the £50 million announced in the 2020 Spending Review for Post Office subsidy and restructuring has been allocated for (a) subsidising and (b) restructuring the branch network.

The Government will provide £227 million of funding through the Spending Review to the Post Office. This extends the £50 million network subsidy and provides Post Office with £177 million to invest in the future of the network.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much Post Office Ltd spent on legal costs in the 2019-20 financial year.

Post Office responded to the BEIS Select Committee Inquiry in June 2020 regarding costs of the group litigation and its consequences and estimated that, since 2016/17 Post Office has incurred costs of approximately £43m in relation to the litigation (which began in April 2016). This figure includes expenditure on legal and consultancy fees connected with the litigation and other costs indirectly related to the litigation, but excludes the settlement amount of £57.75m which was ultimately paid by Post Office in December 2019.

The settlement in relation to the Horizon IT case agreed in December 2019 will be included in Post Office’s annual report and accounts for the financial year 2019/20, as will spend on litigation costs for financial year 2019/20.

Under the Companies Act, firms have 9 months after the relevant financial year ends to file their accounts, meaning the end of December 2020 for 2019/20 accounts. For accounts from the 2019/20 financial year Companies House has provided an optional three-month extension of this deadline due to Covid-19. In recent years, the Post Office has laid its report and accounts before Parliament between September and December.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in which financial year the £58 million legal settlement in relation to the Horizon IT case will be accounted for in Post Office Ltd’s Annual Report and Accounts.

Post Office responded to the BEIS Select Committee Inquiry in June 2020 regarding costs of the group litigation and its consequences and estimated that, since 2016/17 Post Office has incurred costs of approximately £43m in relation to the litigation (which began in April 2016). This figure includes expenditure on legal and consultancy fees connected with the litigation and other costs indirectly related to the litigation, but excludes the settlement amount of £57.75m which was ultimately paid by Post Office in December 2019.

The settlement in relation to the Horizon IT case agreed in December 2019 will be included in Post Office’s annual report and accounts for the financial year 2019/20, as will spend on litigation costs for financial year 2019/20.

Under the Companies Act, firms have 9 months after the relevant financial year ends to file their accounts, meaning the end of December 2020 for 2019/20 accounts. For accounts from the 2019/20 financial year Companies House has provided an optional three-month extension of this deadline due to Covid-19. In recent years, the Post Office has laid its report and accounts before Parliament between September and December.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what financial provision Post Office Ltd is making for future legal costs in response to its decision not to oppose 44 out of 47 appeals in which it acted as prosecutor.

The question of financial provisions relating to future legal costs is an operational matter for the Post Office Limited. Post Office Limited will be following appropriate accounting standards in producing their annual accounts.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is empowered to turn the inquiry into Post Office Horizon cases into a statutory inquiry.

The Inquiries Act 2005 sets out the legal framework for setting up and running a statutory Inquiry. The Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry is being led by an Independent Chair who can raise any issues with its Terms of Reference or legal footing with Government.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many intention notices proposing a reduction of a Green Deal loan mis-sold by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd have been carried out without appeal in each of the last 12 months for which information is available.

The Green Deal Framework Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction (an initial notice, referred to as an Intention Notice) and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

As of 8th October 2020, there were 117 appeals against mis-selling by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) for which no Intention Notice or final decision has been issued.

The average time between receipt of an appeal case by the Secretary of State and the Issue of an Intention Notice is 13 months.

The following table shows how many Intention Notices were issued by month proposing reduction or cancellation of Green Deal loans in response to appeals about mis-selling by HELMS, and the number of these cases for which no representations have been received.

Month

Number of Intention Notices Sent

Number of cases for which no representations have been received

October 2019

15

9

November 2019

11

9

December 2019

17

9

January 2020

13

7

February 2020

22

10

March 2020

12

6

April 2020

3

0

Complainants can appeal final decisions (set out in final Sanction Notices) to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First–tier Tribunal. For one case recorded in the above table, the complainant did not submit representations but, following receipt of a final Sanction Notice, appealed to the Tribunal.

No Intention Notices have been issued since April. In April, two decisions were made by the First-tier Tribunal in response to appeals. Following this, the issuing of Intention Notices was paused to allow for full consideration of the First-tier Tribunal decisions in future Intention Notices.

During this period, 43 Sanction Notices have been issued in response to appeals about mis-selling by HELMS.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many cases are awaiting a decision on whether to serve intention notices proposing a reduction of a Green Deal loan mis-sold by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd.

The Green Deal Framework Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction (an initial notice, referred to as an Intention Notice) and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

As of 8th October 2020, there were 117 appeals against mis-selling by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) for which no Intention Notice or final decision has been issued.

The average time between receipt of an appeal case by the Secretary of State and the Issue of an Intention Notice is 13 months.

The following table shows how many Intention Notices were issued by month proposing reduction or cancellation of Green Deal loans in response to appeals about mis-selling by HELMS, and the number of these cases for which no representations have been received.

Month

Number of Intention Notices Sent

Number of cases for which no representations have been received

October 2019

15

9

November 2019

11

9

December 2019

17

9

January 2020

13

7

February 2020

22

10

March 2020

12

6

April 2020

3

0

Complainants can appeal final decisions (set out in final Sanction Notices) to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First–tier Tribunal. For one case recorded in the above table, the complainant did not submit representations but, following receipt of a final Sanction Notice, appealed to the Tribunal.

No Intention Notices have been issued since April. In April, two decisions were made by the First-tier Tribunal in response to appeals. Following this, the issuing of Intention Notices was paused to allow for full consideration of the First-tier Tribunal decisions in future Intention Notices.

During this period, 43 Sanction Notices have been issued in response to appeals about mis-selling by HELMS.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the average waiting time is for his Department to decide whether to serve an intention notice proposing a reduction of a Green Deal loan mis-sold by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd on a case.

The Green Deal Framework Regulations require that, before imposing any sanction, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State gives notice to affected parties of his intention to impose a sanction (an initial notice, referred to as an Intention Notice) and provides them with an opportunity to make representations before it is made final.

As of 8th October 2020, there were 117 appeals against mis-selling by Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) for which no Intention Notice or final decision has been issued.

The average time between receipt of an appeal case by the Secretary of State and the Issue of an Intention Notice is 13 months.

The following table shows how many Intention Notices were issued by month proposing reduction or cancellation of Green Deal loans in response to appeals about mis-selling by HELMS, and the number of these cases for which no representations have been received.

Month

Number of Intention Notices Sent

Number of cases for which no representations have been received

October 2019

15

9

November 2019

11

9

December 2019

17

9

January 2020

13

7

February 2020

22

10

March 2020

12

6

April 2020

3

0

Complainants can appeal final decisions (set out in final Sanction Notices) to the General Regulatory Chamber of the First–tier Tribunal. For one case recorded in the above table, the complainant did not submit representations but, following receipt of a final Sanction Notice, appealed to the Tribunal.

No Intention Notices have been issued since April. In April, two decisions were made by the First-tier Tribunal in response to appeals. Following this, the issuing of Intention Notices was paused to allow for full consideration of the First-tier Tribunal decisions in future Intention Notices.

During this period, 43 Sanction Notices have been issued in response to appeals about mis-selling by HELMS.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Post Offices were temporarily closed in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) each region of England on (i) 31 August 2020 and (ii) 30 September 2020.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, the number of temporary closures across the UK on the 31st August and 30th September are operational matters for Post Office Limited.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Post Offices were temporarily closed in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) each region of England on (i) 31 August 2020 and (ii) 30 September 2020, by branch type.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, the company has the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, the number of temporary closures, by branch type, across the UK on the 31st August and 30th September are operational matters for Post Office Limited.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
17th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much of the public subsidy to Post Office Ltd was spent on operations in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland in each of the last five years.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK.

While the Government sets?the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, the amount of public subsidy given to Post Office Ltd. to use for operations cross the UK are?operational matter for?Post Office Limited.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
9th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 14 July 2020 to Question 71096 on Post Office Horizon IT System Independent Review, whether he plans to maintain the timetable for (a) appointing a chair and (b) beginning the review by the end of September.

The Government wants to see the Horizon Independent Review start as soon as possible. We are making good progress with the appointment of a Chair. Once this process is complete, the Review will be formally launched.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many of each Post Office branch type were temporarily closed in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) each region of England on 31 August 2020.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, the number and type of temporarily closed branches across the UK is an operational matters for Post Office Limited.

?I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.??

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many of each Post Office branch type were temporarily closed in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) each region of England on (i) 31 May 2020, (ii) 30 June 2020, and (iii) 21 July 2020.

While the Government sets?the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, the number of Post Office branch type temporarily closed across the UK since 31 May, 30 June and 21 July are operational matters for?Post Office Limited.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Post Offices were temporarily closed in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) each region of England on (i) 31 May 2020, (ii) 30 June 2020 and (iii) 21 July 2020.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, temporarily closed Post Offices across the UK on 31 May, 30 June and 21 July are operational matters for Post Office Limited.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timeframe is for the Post Office Report and Accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2020 to be laid before Parliament.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. The timeframe for the Post Office Report and Accounts?is an operational matter for Post Office Limited.? I therefore asked?Nick Read,?the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon. Member on this matter. His reply was issued on 26th August and a copy will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy, what steps she is taking to create safe work environments for disabled people as they return to work as covid-19 lockdown restrictions ease.

The Government has published guidance on safer working for a range of working environments, available on gov.uk. The guidance does not change employers’ obligations to make reasonable adjustments for those with disabilities.

Nothing in this guidance affects employers’ existing responsibilities under health and safety, employment and equalities legislation. Employers therefore need to bear in mind the particular needs of different groups or individuals, and make sure that the steps they take to address the risk of COVID-19 do not unjustifiably impact on some groups compared with others.

The safer workplaces guidance provides suggestions to help employers make their workplaces COVID-19 secure for their employees, visitors and customers. We expect all businesses to approach reopening in a sensible way, taking account of the Government’s guidance and discussing with neighbouring businesses and their local authorities where applicable.

The guidance covers England only, but it is drafted in a way that is useful to all employers. The Devolved Administrations were consulted regularly throughout the drafting of this guidance.

Employers should follow all guidance and comply with relevant legislation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the timescale is for the appointment of the Chair of the Independent Review into the Post Office Horizon system.

We plan to appoint a Chair so that they can start the inquiry by September at the latest.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when the Government plans to make an announcement on its decision on the future of public subsidies for Post Office Limited after March 2021.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services.

Successive Governments?have?invested over £2 billion in the Post Office network since 2010. Looking at the future,?the Government remains committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the network and will continue working with Post Office Ltd to achieve this. Future subsidy requirements will be considered within the Government's fiscal framework.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the length of the new commercial agreement between Royal Mail and Post Office Ltd is planned to be; and whether he plans to alter the terms of that agreement.

The Government has no role in commercial agreements between Royal Mail and Post Office Ltd. The length and terms of such agreements are contractual matters for the businesses concerned.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Post Office Report and Accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2020 are planned to be laid before Parliament before 22 July 2020.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

Post Office Limited’s Report and Accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2020 will not be laid before parliament before 22 July 2020. Under the Companies Act, firms have 9 months after the relevant financial year ends to file their accounts, meaning the end of December 2020 for Post Office Limited. Companies House has provided an optional three-month extension of this deadline due to Covid-19. In recent years Post Office Limited has laid its report and accounts before Parliament between September and December.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when will the Fujitsu's contract to provide Post Office Ltd's IT Horizon system will be up for renewal; and whether that contract contains an option to terminate before the scheduled renewal or end date.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. The details regarding contracts with Fujitsu, is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the contract to supply Post Office Ltd's IT Horizon system be (a) put out for tender or (b) renegotiated with Fujitsu at the end of the current contract.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. The details regarding contracts with Fujitsu, is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the average age is of Sub-Postmasters in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) each region of England.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, the average age of Postmasters across the UK is a matter for Post Office Limited.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many of each post office branch type have been temporarily closed in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) each region of England as of (i) 31 March 2020 and (ii) since 1 April 2020.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, the number of Post Offices which are temporarily closed across the UK is an operational matter for Post Office Limited.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many post offices have been temporarily closed in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) each region of England since 1 April 2020.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, the number of Post Offices which are temporarily closed across the UK is an operational matter for Post Office Limited.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps the Government is taking to issue guidance to (a) employers and (b) employees on the application of section 44 of the Employment Relations Act (1996) during the covid-19 outbreak.

Under the law, employers are responsible for health and safety management and should take the necessary steps to ensure safe workplaces. During the Covid-19 crisis, the Government has worked with a wide range of businesses, trade unions and representative organisations to issue guidance on safe return to work.? Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive have also issued guidance on how to ensure social distancing and hygiene measures in the workplace.

In line with employment and health and safety law, this guidance sets out that where employees have health and safety concerns, they should raise this with their employee representative, trade union, or the Health & Safety Executive.

Before restarting work employers should ensure the safety of the workplace by:

  • carrying out a risk assessment in line with the HSE guidance
  • consulting with their workers or trade unions
  • sharing the results of the risk assessment with their workforce and, if possible, publishing on their website

Where?HSE?identifies?employers?who are not taking action to comply with the relevant PHE guidance to control public health risks they will consider taking a range of enforcement action.?The Government recently announced an additional £14 million of funding for HSE to support this work.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the Department aims to respond to all correspondence within 15 working days, where a response is required.

The average response times for each month in the last two years is set out below. The data is correct as of 27 May and relates to correspondence for which a reply has been issued.

Month Due

Days to Complete

Apr-18

14

May-18

15

Jun-18

11

Jul-18

14

Aug-18

17

Sep-18

16

Oct-18

20

Nov-18

21

Dec-18

17

Jan-19

12

Feb-19

11

Mar-19

12

Apr-19

11

May-19

13

Jun-19

14

Jul-19

13

Aug-19

15

Sep-19

11

Oct-19

10

Nov-19

9

Dec-19

16

Jan-20

9

Feb-20

11

Mar-20

13

Apr-20

11

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend the public subsidy for Post Office Ltd due to expire in March 2021.

The Government remains committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the network and will continue working with Post Office Ltd to achieve this. The current Funding Agreement runs until the end of the 2020/21 financial year. Subsidy requirements from April 2021 onwards will be considered as part of discussions on the 2020 Spending Review.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what consultations his Department has undertaken on continuing public subsidy to Post Office Ltd after March 2021.

The Government remains committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the network and will continue working with Post Office Ltd to achieve this. The current Funding Agreement runs until the end of the 2020/21 financial year. Subsidy requirements from April 2021 onwards will be considered as part of discussions on the 2020 Spending Review.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many post offices are temporarily closed in each council area of (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, the number of Post Offices which are temporarily closed across the UK is an operational matter for Post Office Limited.

I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much Post Office Ltd paid towards the apprentice levy in each of the last five years.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, the amount paid toward the apprentice levy in each of the last five years is an operational matter for Post Office Limited.

I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on the level of viable Post Office branches of WH Smith's recent fall in revenue.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK. While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, the impact of WH Smith’s recent fall in revenue on the viability of post office branches is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon. Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of potential effect of WH Smith's profit warning on the sustainability of Post Office branches in WH Smith's premises.

The Government recognises the critical role that Post Offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK. This is why the Government committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

WHSmith have issued a profit warning in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. The Chancellor announced at the Budget a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support businesses through this period of disruption caused by Covid-19. Post Office Limited is in conversation with WHSmith and all other retail partners on a regular basis including discussions around contingency planning and cost control.

This government will continue to monitor and communicate with Post Office Limited as the situation with Covid-19 develops.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many post offices each retailer operates.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK. This is why the Government committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, number of post office operated by specific retailers is operational to Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions his Department has had with Post Office Ltd on the Horizon IT system; and the purpose of those discussions was.

Ministers and officials have very frequent conversations with Post Office Limited. These have covered a range of issues including the Horizon system and the follow-on actions that Post Office Ltd needs to take as a result of the recent court judgments.

It is important that Government takes the Post Office’s relationship with postmasters very seriously and closely monitors the situation. The Post Office, through its new CEO has since accepted he got things wrong. He has apologised and said it aims at establishing a positive relationship with its postmasters. BEIS is working actively with the Post Office on this matter and will hold them to account on their progress.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many branches involved in the recent group litigation against Post Office Ltd are directly managed by Post Office Ltd.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. Details regarding constituencies, branches, postmasters and number of legal cases involved in the Horizon litigation is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in which constituencies the post office branches involved in the recent group litigation against Post Office Ltd are based.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. Details regarding constituencies, branches, postmasters and number of legal cases involved in the Horizon litigation is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many (a) sub-postmasters, (b) staff of sub-postmasters, (c) staff of Post Office Ltd, (d) managerial staff and (e) other staff were involved in the recent group litigation against Post Office Ltd.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. Details regarding constituencies, branches, postmasters and number of legal cases involved in the Horizon litigation is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate he has made of the effect of the faulty Horizon IT system on the annual revenue of each Post Office branch.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. Details regarding constituencies, branches, postmasters and number of legal cases involved in the Horizon litigation is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many cases of accounting faults with the Horizon IT system Post Office Ltd has been made aware of in each year since the introduction of that system.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. Details regarding constituencies, branches, postmasters and number of legal cases involved in the Horizon litigation is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many individual legal cases have been brought against Post Office Ltd (a) in full and (b) in part as a result of (i) accounting and (ii) other faults with the Horizon IT system in each of the last 25 years.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. Details regarding constituencies, branches, postmasters and number of legal cases involved in the Horizon litigation is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the reasons for a decision by Post Office Ltd not to renew a licence for an ATM in a branch.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. Any decision regarding renewal of ATM licences for a branch is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about POL’s reasons for not renewing an ATM licence in a branch. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many licences for ATMs in branches of the Post Office are due to expire in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England in the next 12 months.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. The number of licences for ATMs in post office branches due to expire over the next 12 months in the UK is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member on this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will take steps to ensure that Post Office Ltd is able to renew the licences of all ATMs based in Post Offices which are due to expire in the next 12 months.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why we committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. The renewal of licences for ATMs in Post Offices is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about Post Office Limited’s plans for renewal of ATM licences due to expire in the next 12 months. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what process is used to determine the price of sale of former Crown Post Office branch premises.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why the Government committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, matters relating to former Crown Post Office premises are operational matters for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member on this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of premises that were previously a Crown Post Office branch have been sold to sub-postmasters.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why the Government committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, matters relating to former Crown Post Office premises are operational matters for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member on this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many post offices of each type have closed in each of the last three years in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK, which is why the Government committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, matters relating to former Crown Post Office premises are operational matters for Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member on this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Department is providing to Post Office Ltd to help (a) maintain and (b) increase the number of ATMs in Post Office branches.

The Government recognises that widespread access to cash remains extremely important in the context of bank closures, particularly for the more vulnerable and remote customers and businesses. The Government supports the renegotiated Banking Framework agreement, which is a three-year agreement and took effect in January 2020. This agreement enables 99% of personal banking customers and 95% of business banking customers to do their day-to-day banking at the Post Office, including cash withdrawals.

In addition, LINK, the main provider of ATMs in the UK, has assured Government that they are committed to maintaining an extensive network of free-to-use cash machines, including via Post Offices, and bolstering its Financial Inclusion Programme.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Crown post offices have (a) operated and (b) closed in (i) Scotland, (ii) Wales, (iii) Northern Ireland and (iv) England in each of the last five years.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK. This is why the Government committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. The number of Crown Post Office which are either operational or closed throughout the UK is an operational matter for Post Office Limited. I have therefore asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the hon Member on this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if her Department will bring forward legislative proposals to replicate the European Accessibility Act when the UK leaves the EU.

The UK believes in robust legislation on accessibility as evidenced by the landmark Disability Discrimination Act. We have always supported the aims of the European Accessibility Act (EAA) in seeking to improve the accessibility of a range of products and services to citizens with disabilities. Once we leave the EU, the Government will consider how to improve or enchance accessibility in domestic legislation.

Kelly Tolhurst
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what proportion of the settlement reached in court on Post Office Ltd's Horizon accounting software will be paid by the Government.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK. This is why the Government committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at is most stable in decades with over 11,600 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Post Office is publicly owned it operates as an independent, commercial business. As such, the legal defence of this litigation and the costs involved in doing so are being handled by Post Office Limited and the settlement is being funded by commercial revenue and not by taxpayers.

Kelly Tolhurst
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the total legal costs were in the group litigation against the Post Office Ltd relating to accounting software Horizon; and what proportion of those legal costs will be paid from the public purse.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK. This is why the Government committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at is most stable in decades with over 11,600 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Post Office is publicly owned it operates as an independent, commercial business. As such, the legal defence of this litigation and the costs involved in doing so are being handled by Post Office Limited and the settlement is being funded by commercial revenue and not by taxpayers.

Kelly Tolhurst
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking through the UK Cyber Council to improve online banking security.

DCMS has funded the creation of the new, independent UK Cyber Security Council to establish professional standards and support efforts to address skills shortages in cyber security. We anticipate that its work will reach across the whole UK labour market, including those focused on online banking security, in order to provide the necessary quality assurance and structure to those entering and developing a career in this area.

Matt Warman
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent representations she has made to HM Treasury on VAT on audiobooks; and if he will make a statement.

The government recognises the value of publishing as one of the UK's most successful industries. In addition to £330Bn of guarantees announced by the Chancellor which have included grants, loans, and the Job Retention Scheme, zero rate of VAT on e-publications was brought forward from December. The extension of the zero rate of VAT has been introduced to provide consistency in approach between certain physical and digital publications. Audiobooks, however, are already taxed consistently at the standard rate in both physical and digital format. The government keeps all taxes under review, including VAT.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, DCMS has a target of responding within 20 working days where a response is required. As you will understand, we are currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. DCMS ensures that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised, and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to increase the availability of broadband for smart ticket machines on buses in the rural areas of (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland.

Department for Transport statistics show that in March 2019, 92% of buses in England outside London were enabled for smart ticketing and 72% offered contactless payment. The Department for Transport offers bus operators in England outside London an additional incentive to implement smart ticketing through the Bus Service Operators Grant. Policy on bus services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter.

The Government announced in-principle support in October 2019 for the Mobile Network Operators’ (MNOs) Shared Rural Network (SRN) proposal. The proposal would share investment costs between the mobile network operators and government and increase 4G mobile coverage throughout the United Kingdom to 95% by 2025, with the biggest improvements seen in the devolved nations. It will be underpinned by a legally binding coverage commitment from each operator.

The Government's in-principle support is subject to detailed negotiations. While this is not yet a done deal, the Prime Minister has made improvements to rural mobile coverage part of his first 100 days pledge. I will continue to work with the sector to make that happen.

Smart ticketing is dependent on good mobile coverage, so improvements in geographic coverage, including on major roads will facilitate the option for bus companies to provide smart ticket machines on buses in the rural areas of each nation of the UK, if they choose to do so.

This Government is committed to improving digital connectivity overall. It has committed to investing £5bn to improve broadband connections in the hardest to reach areas of the UK.

Matt Warman
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to meet the requirements of Article 30 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is committed to protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities to participate in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport.

A number of positive measures are being taken forward by DCMS and it’s Arms’ Length Bodies. These include: Arts Council England commissioning ‘Making A Shift’ (published January 2018) to understand barriers preventing disabled people from entering and progressing within the arts and culture sector workforce; the British Film Institute promotes awareness through curated content like Disabled Britain on Screen and ensures that events at the BFI Southbank are open to everyone, including by offering relaxed and accessible screenings; and Sport England's investment of £1.6m from 2017 - 2020 into seven National Disability Sports Organisations that represent specific impairment groups.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make a statement on the importance of financial education at primary level.

It is important that pupils are well prepared to manage their money, make sound financial decisions and know where to seek further information, if required. The Department has introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides pupils with the knowledge and skills to make important financial decisions and has also published statutory and non-statutory programmes of study for mathematics and citizenship that outline what pupils should be taught about financial education from Key Stages one to four.

In 2014, for the first time, financial literacy was made statutory within the National Curriculum as part of the citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year olds. To enable schools to plan their whole curriculum, we also published a non-statutory citizenship curriculum for Key Stages one and two, which is clear that, by the end of primary education, pupils should be taught how to look after their money and realise that future wants and needs may be met through saving.

In the primary mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on the arithmetical knowledge that pupils should have. This knowledge is vital, as a strong understanding of numeracy will underpin pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money. There is also some specific content about financial education, including calculations with money.

Primary schools are free to include additional content on financial management in their curricula, including working with external experts. The Department does not monitor this and trusts schools to use their professional judgement and understanding of their pupils to develop the right teaching approach for their particular context.

We will continue to work closely with the Money and Pensions Service and other stakeholders such as Her Majesty’s Treasury, to consider what can be learned from other sector initiatives and whether there is scope to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to encourage primary school teachers and staff to have conversations about financial education with their pupils to help build stronger financial resilience among young people.

It is important that pupils are well prepared to manage their money, make sound financial decisions and know where to seek further information, if required. The Department has introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides pupils with the knowledge and skills to make important financial decisions and has also published statutory and non-statutory programmes of study for mathematics and citizenship that outline what pupils should be taught about financial education from Key Stages one to four.

In 2014, for the first time, financial literacy was made statutory within the National Curriculum as part of the citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year olds. To enable schools to plan their whole curriculum, we also published a non-statutory citizenship curriculum for Key Stages one and two, which is clear that, by the end of primary education, pupils should be taught how to look after their money and realise that future wants and needs may be met through saving.

In the primary mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on the arithmetical knowledge that pupils should have. This knowledge is vital, as a strong understanding of numeracy will underpin pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money. There is also some specific content about financial education, including calculations with money.

Primary schools are free to include additional content on financial management in their curricula, including working with external experts. The Department does not monitor this and trusts schools to use their professional judgement and understanding of their pupils to develop the right teaching approach for their particular context.

We will continue to work closely with the Money and Pensions Service and other stakeholders such as Her Majesty’s Treasury, to consider what can be learned from other sector initiatives and whether there is scope to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.

8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to encourage primary schools to introduce the subject of financial education in response to the financial pressures experienced by young people as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

It is important that pupils are well prepared to manage their money, make sound financial decisions and know where to seek further information, if required. The Department has introduced a rigorous mathematics curriculum, which provides pupils with the knowledge and skills to make important financial decisions and has also published statutory and non-statutory programmes of study for mathematics and citizenship that outline what pupils should be taught about financial education from Key Stages one to four.

In 2014, for the first time, financial literacy was made statutory within the National Curriculum as part of the citizenship curriculum for 11 to 16 year olds. To enable schools to plan their whole curriculum, we also published a non-statutory citizenship curriculum for Key Stages one and two, which is clear that, by the end of primary education, pupils should be taught how to look after their money and realise that future wants and needs may be met through saving.

In the primary mathematics curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on the arithmetical knowledge that pupils should have. This knowledge is vital, as a strong understanding of numeracy will underpin pupils’ ability to manage budgets and money. There is also some specific content about financial education, including calculations with money.

Primary schools are free to include additional content on financial management in their curricula, including working with external experts. The Department does not monitor this and trusts schools to use their professional judgement and understanding of their pupils to develop the right teaching approach for their particular context.

We will continue to work closely with the Money and Pensions Service and other stakeholders such as Her Majesty’s Treasury, to consider what can be learned from other sector initiatives and whether there is scope to provide further support for the teaching of financial education in schools.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on access to education for disabled people.

The Withdrawal Agreement Act protects the existing rights to equal treatment and non-discrimination for all EU citizens residing in the UK, UK nationals residing in the EU, and their family members. They have broadly the same entitlements to study and access public services and benefits as they did before withdrawal from the EU, where these entitlements derived from UK membership of the EU.

The government carried out a full Equality Impact Assessment on the Withdrawal Agreement Act and concluded that it is not envisaged that any equality issues will arise due to provisions contained within it. The Equality Impact Assessment can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/841245/EU_Withdrawal_Agreement_Bill_Impact_Assessment.pdf.

Furthermore, the explanatory notes on the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement Act contain a declaration from my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, that under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998, the provisions of the Act are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The full explanatory notes are published on gov.uk here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-future-relationship-bill.

7th Sep 2020
What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on allocating additional funding for (a) further and (b) higher education.

In Further Education, we are providing up to £96 million to support disadvantaged students whose studies have been disrupted.

We have announced a number of measures to help ensure there are no barriers to students being able to progress to Higher Education in 20/21. We have lifted caps on domestic medicine and dentistry courses in the next academic year and we are supporting providers to offer places to as many students who have met the grades for their current offer as they have physical capacity for, and where there are clinical placements available, through additional grant funding to support the costs of this provision. Health Education England and the Office for Students will be contacting all medical and dental schools to discuss their capacity to take on additional students in the 2020/21 academic year.

I can now confirm that providers will be eligible to bid for a share of up to £10 million funding to support capital expenditure on infrastructure required to accommodate additional students recruited as a result of the changed policy on A level grades. The fund will be administered by the Office for Students, and providers will be eligible to bid for projects that support expansion in 2020/21.

Additional teaching grant funding will also be provided to increase capacity in medical, nursing, STEM and other high-cost subjects which are vital to the country’s social needs and economy. All high cost subjects, which already receive additional funding from the Office for Students will potentially see further increases where there is an unexpectedly high distribution of students. The Office for Students will consult the sector on the details of how the allocations are made.

We will also be considering all Departmental funding as part of the Spending Review.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

The Department has a target of responding within 18 working days where a response is required. In 2019 the Department responded to 94% of correspondence from hon. Members within 18 working days, and 89% in 2018. A breakdown of the data by month is available in the attached table.

As you will understand, the Department is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. The Department ensures that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised wherever possible, and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years..

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, Defra has a target of responding within 20 working days where a response is required.

As you will understand, Defra is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. Defra ensures that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the average length of time was for Ministers of her Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the Department for International Development has a target of responding within 15 working days where a response is required.

As you will understand, we are currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. We ensure that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised and are taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the Department for International Trade has a target of responding within 15 working days where a response is required.

As you will understand, the Department for International Trade is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. The Department ensures that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised, and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th May 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what the average length of time was for Ministers of her Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the Government Equalities Office has a target of responding within 20 working days where a response is required.

As you will understand, the Government Equalities Office is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. Officials are ensuring that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised, and are taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will make it her policy to oppose tariffs on (a) steel and (b) rolled steel in a potential future trade deal with the US.

Existing anti-dumping or countervailing measures against specific goods will not be covered by the UK government’s negotiations with the US over a future trade agreement. Such measures are imposed following independent investigations which are not addressed through bilateral trade deal negotiations.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the extent of the backlog in practical driving test availability in Lanarkshire; and what steps he is taking to tackle that backlog.

The average waiting time for practical car driving tests in Lanarkshire is 19.75 weeks (East Kilbride 19 weeks, Airdrie 23 weeks, Hamilton 24 weeks, Lanark 13 weeks).

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has put in place a number of measures to increase practical driving tests. These include offering overtime and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays). The DVSA has also started a recruitment campaign to increase the number of examiners.

The aim is to increase testing capacity and reduce the backlog as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining a COVID-secure service for customers and examiners.

26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of train stations in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) Motherwell and Wishaw constituency are fitted with tactile markings at the platform edge.

The Rail Delivery Group are currently responsible collating data on facilities at stations and ensuring this is kept up to date. This is published on the National Rail Enquiries website.

Information on specific National Rail stations is here:

https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/default.aspx

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 restrictions on the completion of driving tests.

To help stop the spread of coronavirus, restriction periods were introduced during which time driver testing was suspended.

Driving tests that were booked to take place during the restrictions were rescheduled to the next available slots. Candidates had the option of a test fee refund if their rescheduled date was not suitable.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency continues to work with Transport Scotland to resume testing services in a COVID-secure way and ensure the Scottish Government’s five-level system is adhered to.

11th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when driving lessons and practical driving tests will resume; and whether tests cancelled as a result of covid-19 will be reimbursed in full.

As the health and safety of staff and customers is key, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working closely with the Department for Transport to prepare for a safe return to testing. It will announce details of resumption in due course.

The DVSA recommends that, currently, approved driving instructors (ADI) should only provide lessons to candidates who have an essential need.

Before practical driving tests are reintroduced, the DVSA will inform the driver training industry. This will help candidates prepare and reach the standard of driving needed to pass their test.

Candidates who have had their practical driving test suspended as a result of COVID-19 will receive an email from the DVSA telling them the date of their rescheduled test. The test will be rescheduled automatically, and free of charge. The candidate can, if they prefer, request a refund of their practical test fee.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the Department for Transport has a target of responding within 20 working days where a response is required. In September 2019 the Department adopted its own internal target of 7 Working days.

As you will understand, the Department for Transport is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. The Department ensures that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised, and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

A table showing the average number of days taken to respond to correspondence from Hon. Members is below. Please note, in some cases Ministers had not been appointed to the Department at the time the correspondence was received, however they signed the final reply, leading to some delay due to the handover from previous ministers.

Average Number of Days to Respond - All Ministers by Month

Jan-18

17.32

Jan-19

32.06

Jan-20

10.33

Feb-18

17.50

Feb-19

14.66

Feb-20

8.77

Mar-18

15.66

Mar-19

31.23

Mar-20

13.15

Apr-18

18.99

Apr-19

31.70

Apr-20

8.42

May-18

20.31

May-19

30.27

May-20

4.20

Jun-18

20.48

Jun-19

24.80

Jul-18

21.55

Jul-19

15.22

Aug-18

30.81

Aug-19

13.07

Sep-18

52.62

Sep-19

7.27

Oct-18

49.76

Oct-19

6.63

Nov-18

38.60

Nov-19

6.53

Dec-18

36.34

Dec-19

10.10

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how long it should take for a licence to be returned following a D2 application when all medical evidence has been submitted to the Driver Medical Team at the DVLA.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency expects it to take around 15 working days following receipt of a D2 application for a licence to be returned to the customer. This is provided that the medical information declared on the accompanying D4 medical report confirms the applicant meets the required medical standards and no further medical information is required.

Kelly Tolhurst
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the cost of installing audio-visual equipment on (a) mid- and (b) late-life buses.

In 2018 the previous Government consulted on proposals for requiring the provision of audible and visible information on-board local bus and coach services in Great Britain. In particular, it sought evidence on the impact of installing audio-visual equipment on different vehicles.

Responses were received from a range of stakeholders, including representatives of smaller operators. We are finalising our response to the consultation and will announce our next steps in due course.

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding was allocated to installing audio-visual equipment on buses in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales, (d) Northern Ireland in the latest period for which figures are available.

Alongside publication of its 2018 Inclusive Transport Strategy, the previous Government allocated £2 million to help smaller local bus and coach operators provide audible and visible information on board their services.

This money will be made available to operators in England, Scotland and Wales through a funding competition later this year, and further information on how they can apply for it will be made available in due course.

Equalities policy is devolved in Northern Ireland and operators there are not covered by this scheme.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the waiting time for a Group 2 licence for applicants who are required to have a medical assessment.

Driving entitlement for Group 2 drivers must be renewed at regular intervals from age 45. The DVLA sends a reminder to the driver three months before the entitlement expires, enabling them to apply in advance.

To improve the time taken to deal with these applications, the DVLA has recruited additional staff to process them. This includes increasing the number of doctors and introducing nurse caseworkers to deal with specific conditions.

The time taken to deal with applications can depend on the information needed by the DVLA from medical professionals. The DVLA is working with medical professionals to reduce the time taken to receive the information it requires to make licensing decisions.

The DVLA continually reviews its processes and has a dedicated team responsible for the improvement of its medical driver licensing services and communications.

20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to work with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to ensure that the Equality Act 2010 is enforced in the benefits system.

Since March 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been corresponding with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) about the Department’s duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people pursuant to the Equality Act 2010.

The Department is committed to continuously improving services and delivering in a way that is compassionate and responsive to claimant needs. However, DWP considers it complies with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and has not identified any systemic unlawful action.

For that reason, DWP has not reached or entered into a legal agreement with the EHRC and therefore there is no timetable planned for publishing a legally binding commitment.

The Department will continue to work collaboratively with the Commission towards fulfilling shared goals and addressing any of their concerns.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her planned timetable is for publishing a legally binding commitment with the Equality and Human Rights Commission that commits her Department to an action plan to meet the needs of benefit recipients with mental health impairments and learning disabilities.

Since March 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been corresponding with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) about the Department’s duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people pursuant to the Equality Act 2010.

The Department is committed to continuously improving services and delivering in a way that is compassionate and responsive to claimant needs. However, DWP considers it complies with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and has not identified any systemic unlawful action.

For that reason, DWP has not reached or entered into a legal agreement with the EHRC and therefore there is no timetable planned for publishing a legally binding commitment.

The Department will continue to work collaboratively with the Commission towards fulfilling shared goals and addressing any of their concerns.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to draw up a legally binding agreement to commit to an action plan that meets the needs of benefit recipients with mental health impairments and learning disabilities.

Since March 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been corresponding with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) about the Department’s duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people pursuant to the Equality Act 2010.

The Department is committed to continuously improving services and delivering in a way that is compassionate and responsive to claimant needs. However, DWP considers it complies with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and has not identified any systemic unlawful action.

For that reason, DWP has not reached or entered into a legal agreement with the EHRC and therefore there is no timetable planned for publishing a legally binding commitment.

The Department will continue to work collaboratively with the Commission towards fulfilling shared goals and addressing any of their concerns.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure the access to work programme facilitates flexible working.

Working with disabled people, Access to Work has developed a flexible offer to enable disabled people to take up flexible working arrangements. The Access to Work flexible offer contains a blended package of support, that complements standard adjustments and offers a tailored package of support to enable work in the workplace, at home, or a combination of both.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the access to work scheme, how many applications have had their processing been delayed (a) in total and (b) for a duration of (i) 0 to 6 months, (ii) 6 to 12 months and (iii) over 12 months.

I am not able to provide information regarding how many applications have had their processing delayed (a) in total and (b) for a duration of (i) 0 to 6 months, (ii) 6 to 12 months and (iii) over 12 months, as we do not hold this data. The information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Access to Work are currently receiving an increased level of applications for support and are working through all applications to ensure that they are progressed as soon as possible.

For applications where a customer is due to begin a job with a start date within 4 weeks, their case will be prioritised, and contact made as soon as possible.

For renewal applications for on-going support, these are also being prioritised and in the majority of cases, support approved using a new streamlined process.

Access to Work are also recruiting additional staff to meet the increased customer demand.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to support legacy benefit recipients who have been financially impacted by the covid-19 pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic, DWP has spent over £11.9bn to help families by investing in additional welfare and employment support. From 24 March, the COVID-19 provisions in the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) regulations will end. There are no other remaining legacy benefit provisions relating to COVID-19, but a wide range of benefits and other support is available to people who are receiving legacy benefits, subject to the normal conditions of entitlement.

The Government is committed to supporting families most in need, spending billions more on welfare and planning a long-term route out of poverty, by helping people to increase their hours in employment or to find new work through our Plan for Jobs and the new Way to Work campaign.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that disabled people on legacy benefits do not fall in to poverty as the cost of living increases.

Personal Independence Payments are available to help with the extra costs of living faced by disabled people, while people may also be entitled to additional financial support through Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance. Claimants on legacy benefits who need additional financial assistance may be eligible for Universal Credit and can voluntarily apply if they believe that they will be better off. Disability benefits can provide a gateway or passport to a wide range of additional support or help.

There are a range of DWP initiatives that support disabled people and people with health conditions to live independent lives and start, stay and succeed in employment. These include the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, Access to Work, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advisers in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Government's response of December 2021 to further recommendations made by the UNCRPD in 2016 on the UK's implementation of that convention, what steps she is taking to protect the rights of disabled people.

We are fully committed to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which we ratified in 2009, and the progressive realisation of rights for disabled people that it sets out. The UK has some of the strongest equalities legislation in the world, including the Equality Act 2010, and we will continue to make sure that these rights are protected.

The UK has a proud record of furthering the rights of disabled people. The principles of the UN Convention are at the heart of our approach. We continue to reform and modernise our public services and welfare system to ensure that disabled people are able to participate in every aspect of society.

The UK’s 2021 report demonstrates our ongoing commitment across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to support disabled people, through legislation, policies and programmes that tackle the barriers faced by disabled people to realise their full participation and inclusion in society. The Government’s response was submitted to the UNCRPD Committee in 2021, and published on GOV.UK with accessible formats in December 2021 and can be found here.

The UK Government’s recently published National Disability Strategy has been a milestone in this respect, with over 100 practical commitments which are being delivered to improve the everyday lives of disabled people.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the NatCen Report, Uses of Health and Disability Benefits, published by the Work and Pensions Committee on 3 February 2022, what steps her Department will take to (a) improve Jobcentre staff understanding of health and disabilities and (b) ensure disabled people are treated with compassion and respect.

DWP is committed to providing the best possible support for all claimants, including those with health conditions and disabilities. We are continuously reviewing and improving the service to ensure that it is accessible and responsive to the needs of the customer.

We recognise the importance of understanding how a health condition or disability impacts someone’s ability to start, stay and succeed in work. Work Coaches undergo a comprehensive training programme designed to equip them with the skills and knowledge required to provide a high-quality service. Specific training and guidance is provided for working with different vulnerable groups and those with complex needs. Any work-related requirements are agreed in discussion with the claimant and will always be tailored in light of the impact of the claimant’s health condition, disability and circumstances, ensuring they are realistic and achievable and that the claimant is treated with compassion and respect.

Disability Employment Advisers work alongside Work Coaches, providing further upksilling, and specialising in finding the right support to help all customers that have a disability or health condition. Furthermore, our Disability Employment Advisers work with health and disability related organisations in the community to provide advice and guidance to support claimants with disabilities, including those with mental health issues

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Work and Pensions Committee report, entitled Uses of Health and Disability Benefits, published 3 February 2022, what steps her Department is taking to improve information sharing between medical professionals and Job Centre Plus to mitigate the need for claimants to repeat details of their health conditions.

We remain committed to making changes to improve the current assessment processes. We are exploring how we support claimants to provide the correct evidence earlier in the process and to see if current processes can be improved to give the claimant a more positive experience.

The Department is currently considering responses to Shaping Future Support: the Health and Disability Green Paper, which will feed into a White Paper on this subject later this year.

Over the longer term, the Health Transformation Programme is developing the Health Assessment Service (HAS), which aims to provide an improved service, such as more efficient use of the information used to make decisions. This includes exploring data sharing to secure better medical evidence to increase the speed and quality of decision-making.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report of the Work and Pensions Committee, entitled Uses of Health and Disability Benefits, published on 3 February 2022, what steps her Department is taking to provide social security information and signposting to those who are digitally excluded.

DWP targets communications with citizens who may be eligible to benefits at pivotal stages in their lives, such as when they claim State Pension or report a change in their circumstances. The Department uses a wide range of channels to communicate information about benefits to potential customers; including information on GOV.UK, in leaflets and by telephone.

DWP staff in Jobcentres provide support and advice about entitlement to benefits and will signpost citizens to appropriate information to help them. The Department provides telephone service lines which citizens can call to make their claims to benefit and to operate their claims as well as a visiting service which can help vulnerable customers with their claims.

Jobcentres have internet terminals which are available for use by the public, and staff will signpost citizens to other community resources (libraries and Citizens Advice) which can also provide advice and internet access points.

Where an out of work claimant of working age is engaging with a Work Coach to gain suitable employment the Work Coach can consider using the Flexible Support Fund to address the claimant’s barriers to employment. This includes providing devices and connections to get online.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in the context of the recent launch of the broadband voucher scheme for jobseekers, what additional steps her Department is taking to provide connectivity to other digitally excluded groups that fall within her Department's remit.

The cost of being connected online can be a barrier for low income households. DWP has worked with DCMS and Ofcom to influence broadband providers to support extending eligibility for new broadband social tariffs to low income households. As a result some broadband providers have made their new social tariffs available to all UC claimants and other means tested benefits. These social tariffs provide good speed, unlimited data and are available at a reduced price for those eligible. DWP is working with Ofcom to promote awareness of these social tariffs to our stakeholders and Work Coaches throughout our Jobcentre Plus network who can then signpost claimants to them.

Where an out of work claimant of working age is engaging with a Work Coach to gain suitable employment the Work Coach can consider using the Flexible Support Fund to address the claimants barriers to employment. This includes providing devices and connections to get online.

Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches can provide support to working age out of work claimants who are not online by procuring devices, and connections including 6 months broadband connection in the home for eligible jobseekers through the Flexible Support Fund, where the Work Coach assess that this barrier is stopping the claimant progressing in their labour market journey.

We continue to work with DCMS and Ofcom to influence the market to address barriers to digital exclusion.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in the context of the recent launch of the broadband voucher scheme for jobseekers, whether her Department has plans to expand that scheme for recipients of (a) personal independence payment, (b) employment support allowance and (c) other benefits.

The cost of being connected online can be a barrier for low income households. DWP has worked with DCMS and Ofcom to influence broadband providers to support extending eligibility for new broadband social tariffs to low income households. As a result some broadband providers have made their new social tariffs available to all UC claimants and other means tested benefits. These social tariffs provide good speed, unlimited data and are available at a reduced price for those eligible. DWP is working with Ofcom to promote awareness of these social tariffs to our stakeholders and Work Coaches throughout our Jobcentre Plus network who can then signpost claimants to them.

Where an out of work claimant of working age is engaging with a Work Coach to gain suitable employment the Work Coach can consider using the Flexible Support Fund to address the claimants barriers to employment. This includes providing devices and connections to get online.

Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches can provide support to working age out of work claimants who are not online by procuring devices, and connections including 6 months broadband connection in the home for eligible jobseekers through the Flexible Support Fund, where the Work Coach assess that this barrier is stopping the claimant progressing in their labour market journey.

We continue to work with DCMS and Ofcom to influence the market to address barriers to digital exclusion.

25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in have signed up to the joint broadband voucher scheme for jobseekers delivered by her Department and TalkTalk since its launch in (a) Motherwell and Wishaw constituency and (b) Scotland.

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

24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department is putting in place to support carers with the increases in heating and energy costs.

We value the key role that unpaid carers play in supporting disabled and elderly people. We support them through access to the full range of social security benefits depending on their circumstances.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting people on lower incomes through a range of measures, including by spending over £110 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22.

We understand the pressures people are facing with the cost of living, and we will continue to listen to people’s concerns as we have done throughout the pandemic. We’re providing support worth around £12bn this financial year and next to help families with the cost of living, cutting the Universal Credit taper to make sure work pays, freezing fuel duties to keep costs down, and providing targeted support to help households with their energy bills.

We recognise that some people require extra support over the winter, which is why vulnerable households across the country can access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the Scottish government receiving £41 million, which they have used to create a Winter Support Fund to help people on low incomes this winter.

Significant social security powers are devolved to the Scottish Government if they wish to use them. These include the power to top up reserved benefits, make discretionary payments or introduce new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to protect Job Centre staff's health and wellbeing when (a) conducting face-to-face appointments and (b) ensuring local work from home covid-19 guidance is followed.

DWP takes the health, safety and wellbeing of colleagues very seriously and all of our offices are COVID secure. We have a suite of Health & Safety risk assessments in place developed following extensive consultation with departmental trade union representatives that cover all of the measures in place to protect staff and customers. These risk assessments are regularly reviewed, for example following changes to government guidance, including that from the respective governments in the devolved nations.

In addition, DWP offers a comprehensive Employee Assistance Programme that offers short and long-term support for any physical or mental health issues that staff face.

DWP also has a network of Mental Health First Aiders on hand across all parts of the DWP to offer immediate emotional support and also to signpost to expert support.

The DWP’s network of Wellbeing Advocates are a community of staff representing all grades, job roles and geographical areas who regularly cascade key Wellbeing messages and support packages to their local teams and sites who also provide an invaluable service in feeding back to the central Wellbeing team on challenges that their colleagues are facing.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to publish the results of the public consultation in response to the Health and Disability Green Paper.

Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper explores how the benefits system can better meet the needs of claimants now and in the future by improving claimant experience of our services, enabling independent living and improving employment outcomes.

We had over four and a half thousand responses to our consultation and, following this, a White Paper will be brought forward next year, setting out our next steps.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in how many of the current Child Maintenance Service Collect & Pay cases has payment been delayed; and in how many cases has the delay been (a) 0 to 6 months, (b) 6 to 12 months, (c) 12 to 18 months, (d) 18 to 24 months and (e) over 24 months.

This information is not collated as a matter of normal business and is only available at disproportionate cost to the Department.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in what proportion of current Child Maintenance Service Collect & Pay cases are has (a) all money due been paid, (b) no money due been paid, (c) 1 to 25 per cent of money due has paid, (d) 26- to 50 per cent of money due been paid, (e) 51 to 75 per cent of money due been paid and (f) 76 to 99 per cent of money due been paid.

Child Maintenance Service (CMS) compliance statistics for Paying Parents are published quarterly and can be found in “Table 2: Compliance (Collect and Pay) by quarter” of the “CMS Paying Parents” section of Stat-Xplore here:

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

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

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length of time taken was for Collect & Pay case arrears to be cleared from April 2019 to April 2021.

This information is not collated as a matter of normal business and is only available at disproportionate cost to the Department.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average time taken was between the Child Maintenance Service’s decision to take an enforcement measure and it being implemented, in respect of the 12,200 enforcement measures that were in process by the Child Maintenance Service at the end of June 2021.

This information is not collated as a matter of normal business and is only available at disproportionate cost to the Department.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Child Maintenance Service Collect & Pay cases have had their arrears cleared to £0 in the last 24 months; and what proportion that represents of total Collect & Pay cases in the same time period.

This information is not collated as a matter of normal business and is only available at disproportionate cost to the Department.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in how many cases was money recovered under the Child Maintenance Service Collect & Pay service from April 2019 to April 2021; and what proportion of total Collect & Pay cases that represents in the same time period.

From the quarter ending September 2019 to the quarter ending June 2021, 173,000 out of 194,000 cases had money recovered under the Child Maintenance Service Collect & Pay service.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the 2020-21 Child Maintenance Service statistics release, for what reason there are 7,100 unassigned arrangements for the Child Maintenance Service; and what steps her Department is taking to reduce that number.

Unassigned arrangements are cases where the applications process is not yet complete.

The latest Child Maintenance Service (CMS) statistics show that over 90% of applications are usually cleared within 12 weeks. The statistics can be found in “Table 1: Applications to the Child Maintenance Service, Great Britain, July 2020 to June 2021” of the National Tables of the latest Child Maintenance Service (CMS) publication here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-statistics-data-to-june-2021-experimental

Applications are considered 'cleared' when one of the following occurs:

a) the amount of child maintenance to be paid has been calculated and an arrangement to pay maintenance between the two parents has been agreed;

b) the amount of child maintenance to be paid has been calculated as zero; or

c) the child maintenance application has been closed.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of the £60.9 million of child maintenance due and paid through Collect & Pay in 2020-21 is (a) arrears repayments and (b) monthly standard liability.

The total amount of child maintenance paid each quarter through Child Maintenance Service Collect & Pay and of that, the total paid towards arrears, from April 2020 to March 2021, is shown in Table 1. It shows that of the £170.4 million paid, £35.6 million was paid towards arrears.

Table 1: The total amount of child maintenance paid each quarter through Child Maintenance Service Collect & Pay and of that, the total paid towards arrears, from April 2020 to March 2021.

Year

Quarter

Total Arrears Paid (£ millions)

Total Amount Paid (£ millions)

2020

June

8.7

41.7

September

8.0

41.1

December

8.7

42.2

2021

March

10.2

45.4

Total

35.6

170.4

Source: Child Maintenance Group administrative data

Notes:

  1. Figures are rounded to the nearest £100,000.
  2. The figures provided are for child maintenance only and do not include fees for the use of the service.
  3. This calculation does not include unpaid child maintenance transferred to the CMS from the Child Support Agency.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the National Disability Strategy published by the Government in July 2021, when the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work plans to chair the first quarterly meeting of the Disability Ministerial Champions; and whether her Department plans to publish targets to review in each of those meetings to hold the cross-government strategy to account.

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

Their role, as set out on GOV.UK, includes championing disabled people and driving the delivery of the National Disability Strategy in their respective departments. All champions contributed a statement of intent, and a specific range of commitments published in the Strategy.

The Strategy committed to publishing an annual report in summer 2022, which will detail the progress made against the commitments. The Ministerial Disability Champions will have direct input into the annual report.

An updated list of Departmental Ministerial Disability Champions will be published on GOV.UK in due course. The next ministerial champions meeting is due to happen this month.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to coordinate the work of the Ministerial Disability Champions to help disabled children and their families recover from the covid-19 outbreak.

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

Their role, as set out on GOV.UK, includes championing disabled people and driving the delivery of the National Disability Strategy in their respective departments. All champions contributed a statement of intent, and a specific range of commitments published in the Strategy.

The Strategy committed to publishing an annual report in summer 2022, which will detail the progress made against the commitments. The Ministerial Disability Champions will have direct input into the annual report.

An updated list of Departmental Ministerial Disability Champions will be published on GOV.UK in due course. The next ministerial champions meeting is due to happen this month.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Supreme Court judgment in Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Appellant) v MM (Respondent) (Scotland) [2019] UKSC 34, what her Department's timeframe is for its review of PIP claims since 6 April 2016; when her Department plans to complete that review and distribute payments; and how many PIP claims they plan to review each month.

We are not planning to invite claimants for an assessment or require them to complete an additional application form as part of this review. However, we may contact claimants, their representatives or carers for more information, so that we can make a decision on their claim.

I can confirm awards will not be reduced as part of this exercise. If claimants are entitled to more PIP following a review, they will have their award increased and will receive backdated payments.

While it is too early in the process for us to give a date by which we expect to have completed all the reviews, I would like to provide reassurance that we are committed to ensuring that claimants get the PIP they are entitled to.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Supreme Court judgment in Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Appellant) v MM (Respondent) (Scotland) [2019] UKSC 34, whether claimants identified in her Department's review of PIP claims since 6 April 2016 will be required to (a) complete a reassessment, (b) complete an additional application form or (c) provide additional evidence as part of that review process.

We are not planning to invite claimants for an assessment or require them to complete an additional application form as part of this review. However, we may contact claimants, their representatives or carers for more information, so that we can make a decision on their claim.

I can confirm awards will not be reduced as part of this exercise. If claimants are entitled to more PIP following a review, they will have their award increased and will receive backdated payments.

While it is too early in the process for us to give a date by which we expect to have completed all the reviews, I would like to provide reassurance that we are committed to ensuring that claimants get the PIP they are entitled to.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Supreme Court judgment in Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Appellant) v MM (Respondent) (Scotland) [2019] UKSC 34, if she will confirm that her Department's review of PIP claims since 6 April 2016 will not negatively impact claims and result in claimants' payments being increased and backdated accordingly.

We are not planning to invite claimants for an assessment or require them to complete an additional application form as part of this review. However, we may contact claimants, their representatives or carers for more information, so that we can make a decision on their claim.

I can confirm awards will not be reduced as part of this exercise. If claimants are entitled to more PIP following a review, they will have their award increased and will receive backdated payments.

While it is too early in the process for us to give a date by which we expect to have completed all the reviews, I would like to provide reassurance that we are committed to ensuring that claimants get the PIP they are entitled to.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many organisations have signed up to the Government’s Voluntary reporting on disability, mental health and wellbeing framework in (a) Scotland and (b) the UK.

Employers are not required to inform government whether or not they are using the Voluntary Reporting Framework (VRF), which is intended primarily as a tool to foster transparency and help employers drive cultural change at an organisational level. However, in November 2019 we introduced a requirement that new and renewing Disability Confident Leaders (Level 3) would record information on disability employment and mental health using the VRF. As of 30th September 2021 there are 375 Disability Confident Leaders, 251 of which have notified us they are recording information using the VRF. The remaining Disability Confident Leaders will be expected to confirm that they are recording information using the VRF when they reach their renewal dates. We do not keep detailed information on the geographic location of these employers.

The Cabinet Office's Disability Unit will be undertaking a consultation on disability workforce reporting in the coming months, as announced in the National Disability Strategy.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the National Disability Strategy published by the Government in July 2021, when her Department plans to begin consulting on workforce reporting on disability for large employers; what the timeframe is for that consultation; and when her Department plans to publish next steps and recommendations in response to that consultation.

We will begin consulting on workforce reporting on disability for large employers in the coming months. In line with the government's consultation principles, the consultation will run for at least 12 weeks, and will provide a response within 12 weeks of the consultation closing. We have committed to publishing our next steps following the consultation, and plan to do so in 2022.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on what date her Department received the final report of the NatCen research project entitled The uses of health and disability benefits; and for what reason that report has not been published.

I refer the honourable member to the answer given to 43382.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people with multiple sclerosis have been assessed by phone for personal independence payment since March 2020.

The specific information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Telephone assessments only commenced for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in late March 2020 and were then used as one of the alternatives to face to face assessments. For the two providers of medical assessments this was on 23rd March 2020 (Capita) and 6th April 2020 (IAS) respectively.

Therefore, the majority of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments after March 2020 would have been by telephone, with some paper- based and video call assessments. Where it was not possible to carry out a PIP telephone assessment decisions were made on paper using all the available evidence to ensure any payment was not delayed. We do not readily hold the information on how assessments were carried out for specific conditions.

Face to face assessments for Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) were re-introduced in May. They have initially focused on claimants who we have been unable to assess fully by other means. Paper-based assessments, as before the COVID-19 pandemic, are considered in the first instance, and telephone assessments and video assessments introduced in response to the pandemic continue to take place where appropriate.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people with multiple sclerosis have submitted a mandatory reconsideration after being assessed by phone for personal independence payment since March 2020.

The specific information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Telephone assessments only commenced for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in late March 2020 and were then used as one of the alternatives to face to face assessments. For the two providers of medical assessments this was on 23rd March 2020 (Capita) and 6th April 2020 (IAS) respectively.

Therefore, the majority of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments after March 2020 would have been by telephone, with some paper- based and video call assessments. Where it was not possible to carry out a PIP telephone assessment decisions were made on paper using all the available evidence to ensure any payment was not delayed. We do not readily hold the information on how assessments were carried out for specific conditions.

Face to face assessments for Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) were re-introduced in May. They have initially focused on claimants who we have been unable to assess fully by other means. Paper-based assessments, as before the COVID-19 pandemic, are considered in the first instance, and telephone assessments and video assessments introduced in response to the pandemic continue to take place where appropriate.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people with multiple sclerosis have had their award changed at the mandatory reconsideration stage after being assessed by phone for personal independence payment since March 2020.

The specific information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Telephone assessments only commenced for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in late March 2020 and were then used as one of the alternatives to face to face assessments. For the two providers of medical assessments this was on 23rd March 2020 (Capita) and 6th April 2020 (IAS) respectively.

Therefore, the majority of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments after March 2020 would have been by telephone, with some paper- based and video call assessments. Where it was not possible to carry out a PIP telephone assessment decisions were made on paper using all the available evidence to ensure any payment was not delayed. We do not readily hold the information on how assessments were carried out for specific conditions.

Face to face assessments for Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) were re-introduced in May. They have initially focused on claimants who we have been unable to assess fully by other means. Paper-based assessments, as before the COVID-19 pandemic, are considered in the first instance, and telephone assessments and video assessments introduced in response to the pandemic continue to take place where appropriate.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people with multiple sclerosis applying for benefits have been unable to have a phone assessment and have had to wait for a face-to-face assessment since March 2020.

The specific information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Telephone assessments only commenced for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in late March 2020 and were then used as one of the alternatives to face to face assessments. For the two providers of medical assessments this was on 23rd March 2020 (Capita) and 6th April 2020 (IAS) respectively.

Therefore, the majority of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments after March 2020 would have been by telephone, with some paper- based and video call assessments. Where it was not possible to carry out a PIP telephone assessment decisions were made on paper using all the available evidence to ensure any payment was not delayed. We do not readily hold the information on how assessments were carried out for specific conditions.

Face to face assessments for Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) were re-introduced in May. They have initially focused on claimants who we have been unable to assess fully by other means. Paper-based assessments, as before the COVID-19 pandemic, are considered in the first instance, and telephone assessments and video assessments introduced in response to the pandemic continue to take place where appropriate.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of personal independence claimants had their award changed at mandatory reconsideration stage following (a) an assessment by phone and (b) a face-to-face assessment between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020.

The specific information requested is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. Telephone assessments were not used before late March 2020. For the two providers of medical assessments this was on 23rd March 2020 (Capita) and 6th April 2020 (IAS) respectively. Therefore, the vast majority of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments for 2019-20 would have been face-to-face, with some paper based assessments.

The available information on PIP Mandatory Reconsiderations (MRs) and appeals in relation to Personal Independence Payment is published here:

Personal Independence Payment statistics to July 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department plans to provide personal independence payment claimants with a choice of being assessed by phone or face-to-face; and if her Department will take steps to help ensure that claimants can make an informed choice about how they would prefer to be assessed.

In Shaping Future Support: The Health & Disability Green Paper, we are consulting on the use of telephone and video assessments as an alternative to face-to-face in the future. We have asked for views about the different ways to provide assessments, and how to improve telephone assessments to ensure they are as accurate and effective as possible.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the (a) challenges and (b) merits of personal independence payment phone assessments.

During the coronavirus pandemic, we carried out assessments by telephone as a temporary measure. The feedback on telephone assessments has so far been positive: in a recent survey published by the Department, the majority of people who had a telephone assessment for PIP or for their WCA were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’.

In Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper, we are consulting on the use of telephone and video assessments as an alternative to face-to-face in the future and want to fully evaluate their effectiveness. We have asked for views about the different ways to provide assessments, and how to improve telephone assessments to ensure they are as accurate and effective as possible. It is important that people continue to receive consistent and accurate decisions irrespective of the type of assessment they go through.

DWP Survey results of claimants who have received a telephone assessment are published here: Claimant experience of telephone-based health assessments for PIP, ESA and UC - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in receipt of (a) benefits and (b) state pension who have not registered a bank account with her Department still receive payments through a Post Office card account.

As of August 2021 there were less than 350k active Post Office Card Accounts. This is down from 1 million in 2019.

The exact number of Post Office card account customers in receipt of a) benefit and b) State Pension is not available for a variety of reasons.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many payments her Department has made to Post Office card accounts in each of the last five months.

Month

Total

Apr-21

701,400

May-21

654,500

Jun-21

596,600

Jul-21

543,900

Aug-21

488,200

Government payments into a Post Office card account do not reflect the number of customers as multiple payments can be made into an account during a month depending on varying pay dates of State Pension and benefits.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support is available through the Child Maintenance Service for parents-with-care who have evidence that a non-resident parent is working when they have claimed they are not.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS), introduced a Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) in April 2014. They are responsible for investigating allegations of criminal or civil activities that negatively impact the correct amount of child maintenance being calculated. The FIU deal with a variety of different cases such as, allegations of fraud when attending or supplying a DNA test and allegations that the Paying Parent (PP) has failed to report their true level of income.

The FIU deploy a range of different investigative techniques that are tailored to the allegation and circumstances of the case. This involves gathering independent evidence from a range of sources and where applicable working with stakeholders such as Counter Fraud and Compliance Directorate (CFCD) in joint operations. Once an investigation is concluded, where a discrepancy in income is found, the CMS will recalculate the amount of maintenance due to be paid.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department provides to employers to make them aware of their legal requirements to protect employees who are extremely clinically vulnerable.

Throughout the pandemic, HSE has encouraged businesses to manage risks in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in workplaces; including through the provision of detailed guidance (https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm). This includes guidance on the importance of cleaning, hygiene and handwashing, providing adequate ventilation and social distancing (to note, measures on social distancing are subject to imminent change due to the easing of restrictions across the UK).

HSE and Local Authorities use a range of interventions to influence, encourage and advise business and, where necessary, hold to account those who fail to meet their responsibilities. Throughout the pandemic, HSE has engaged with businesses through the three stage Spot Check process which includes phone calls and, where face to face contact is necessary, site visits. Determining whether businesses have implemented the controls identified by this risk assessment is a central part of the process.

Employers’ health and safety responsibilities include taking reasonable steps to protect all workers and others from the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in connection with their work activities. As these control measures apply to all workers, regardless of their relative levels of vulnerability or the potential outcome, there are no expectations of additional control measures for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) workers or the need for individual risk assessments.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises employers to have individual discussions with their CEV employees about any workplace concerns and understand what is in place to protect them. There is specific guidance on the HSE website to support employers to do this https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/protect-people.htm

14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that employers (a) follow the latest covid-19 guidelines for workplaces and (b) ensure that workplaces are safe for extremely clinically vulnerable employees.

Throughout the pandemic, HSE has encouraged businesses to manage risks in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in workplaces; including through the provision of detailed guidance (https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm). This includes guidance on the importance of cleaning, hygiene and handwashing, providing adequate ventilation and social distancing (to note, measures on social distancing are subject to imminent change due to the easing of restrictions across the UK).

HSE and Local Authorities use a range of interventions to influence, encourage and advise business and, where necessary, hold to account those who fail to meet their responsibilities. Throughout the pandemic, HSE has engaged with businesses through the three stage Spot Check process which includes phone calls and, where face to face contact is necessary, site visits. Determining whether businesses have implemented the controls identified by this risk assessment is a central part of the process.

Employers’ health and safety responsibilities include taking reasonable steps to protect all workers and others from the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in connection with their work activities. As these control measures apply to all workers, regardless of their relative levels of vulnerability or the potential outcome, there are no expectations of additional control measures for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) workers or the need for individual risk assessments.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises employers to have individual discussions with their CEV employees about any workplace concerns and understand what is in place to protect them. There is specific guidance on the HSE website to support employers to do this https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/protect-people.htm

14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the number of employers that have had action taken against them as a result of not providing a covid-19 secure workplace for clinically extremely vulnerable employees.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has carried out more than 300,000 interventions to check how businesses are implementing measures to reduce transmission of covid-19 at their sites. This includes carrying out 282,745 covid-19 spot checks, responding to 22,486 workplace covid-19 concerns and 712 covid-19 outbreaks.

Specific data relating to which of these interventions relates to the provision of Covid-secure workplaces for clinically extremely vulnerable employees, is not collated centrally. However, I can confirm that where inspectors identify that dutyholders have not provided a covid-19 secure workplace, including for clinically extremely vulnerable workers, they will take action to ensure compliance, either by providing verbal advice, issuing written correspondence or serving an enforcement notice

As at 16 July 2021, in relation to all covid-19 matters, inspectors have taken action against dutyholders in 13,483 cases, including 11,063 cases resulting in verbal advice, 2,113 in written correspondence and 307 in notices.

Note: Figures were obtained from HSE’s live operational database and are subject to change, e.g., as there can be a delay of up to ten working days before information is uploaded onto the system.

8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of parents who receive child maintenance and are exempted from the £20 application fee for the Child Maintenance Service collect and pay service are (a) men and (b) women.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of parents who receive child maintenance and are exempted from the £20 application fee for the Child Maintenance Service collect and pay service on grounds of domestic abuse are (a) men and (b) women.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of parents who are paying child maintenance and the 20 per cent fee through the Child Maintenance Service collect and pay service are (a) men and (b) women.

All Paying Parents with a Collect and Pay arrangement pay the 20 percent fee and the number of such parents at the end of March 2021, broken down by gender are shown in the table below.

Table 1: The number of Paying Parents with a Collect and Pay arrangement by gender, March 2021, Great Britain.

Quarter ending

Female

Male

Unknown

Total

Mar-21

10,580

168,390

5,030

183,990

Source: The Child Maintenance Service administrative system

Notes:

  1. All figures are rounded to the nearest 10. The total may not sum due to rounding.
  2. These figures include cases with CMS arrears and no ongoing monthly liability.
  3. The figures supplied are derived from the datasets used to produce the CMS Official Statistics.
Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much the Child Maintenance Service collected in application and processing fees for the collect and pay service during the (a) financial year 2020-2021 and (b) first financial quarter of 2021-22.

The information requested is not available until the audit of the 2020/21 and 2021/2022 Child Maintenance Service Annual Report and Accounts is complete.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of parents receiving child maintenance and paying the 4 per cent fee through the Child Maintenance Service collect and pay service are (a) men and (b) women.

All Receiving Parents with a Collect and Pay arrangement pay the 4 percent fee and the number of such parents at the end of March 2021, broken down by gender are shown in the table below.

Table 1: The number of Receiving Parents with a Collect and Pay arrangement by gender, March 2021, Great Britain.

Quarter ending

Female

Male

Unknown

Total

Mar-21

174,310

9,590

4,440

188,330

Source: The Child Maintenance Service administrative system

Notes:

  1. All figures are rounded to the nearest 10. The total may not sum due to rounding.
  2. The figures supplied are derived from the datasets used to produce the CMS Official Statistics.
Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how the Child Maintenance Service (a) identifies and (b) responds to parents who perpetuate coercive control by (i) failing to pay, (ii) partly paying and (iii) irregularly paying the child maintenance they owe.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) is committed to ensuring victims of domestic abuse get the support they need to use the service. All caseworkers have received specific training on domestic abuse so they can quickly identify and provide appropriate support to victims.

Customers using the Direct Pay service are advised to contact CMS if their arrangement breaks down so that they may move to the Collect & Pay service. Where a parent fails to pay on time or in full, the CMS will take action to re-establish compliance and collect any unpaid amounts that have accrued. Where compliance cannot be achieved, the CMS has a range of strong enforcement powers that are designed to get money flowing quickly, prevent the build-up of arrears and ensure children get the financial support they deserve.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will extend the Kickstart employment scheme to include legacy benefit claimants.

There are presently no plans to expand the Kickstart Scheme outside of the current eligibility criteria.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to publish its National Strategy for Disabled People.

The Government is committed to improving the lives of disabled people, and will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People in the coming months.

11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the Government plans to bring forward its Health and Disability Green Paper.

Given the necessary focus on the departmental response to Covid-19, we are working to a longer timescale than previously anticipated. We are continuing engagement with disabled people and their representatives and plan to publish the formal consultation document in the coming months.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that assessors of personal independence payment (PIP) assessments communicate effectively with the appointees of people applying for those benefits.

We have interpreted your question to mean what steps her department is taking to ensure that Health Professionals communicate effectively with the appointees of people applying for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

When a claimant has an appointee, it is flagged in the initial referral to the PIP assessment provider. This ensures that the Health Professional is aware that the claimant has an appointee and that communication, regarding the claimant’s PIP assessment, should be made through the appointee as per the guidance in the PIP Assessment Guide (PIPAG).

The department works extensively with its assessment providers to make improvements to guidance to ensure that Health Professionals communicate effectively with appointees of claimants applying for PIP, and the quality of service provided is continuously improved.

The PIPAG is available on GOV.UK. Section 1.15.14 - Appointees can be found in part 1 of the PIPAG at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-assessment-guide-for-assessment-providers

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to ensure that people in receipt of personal independence payments (PIP) as a result of permanent disability, neurological diversity and lifelong illness will be automatically awarded ongoing PIP with a 10 yearly light touch review at the end of their existing claim period.

Once someone has been awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which can be paid at one of eight rates depending on the level of an individual’s disability-related needs, that award will be reviewed. Reviews of PIP are a key part of the benefit and ensure that not only do awards remain correct where needs may change but that we also maintain contact with the claimant. Importantly, the length of an award is based on an individual’s needs, rather than their condition or disability, and can vary from nine months to an on-going award, with a light touch review at the ten-year point.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason reassessments for personal independence payments (PIP) are treated as a new claim following a tribunal award; and what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the length of time taken to complete a PIP reassessment on a claimant's ability to access (a) mobility vehicles, (b) educational support and (c) carer's allowance.

A tribunal considering an appeal against a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decision also considers the length of any award it may make. The length of award will be based on the individual’s needs and the likelihood of those changing. If it gives a short, fixed-term award then it is indicating that the claimant’s limitations are likely to improve to the point they would not be entitled at the end of their award. Accordingly, the Secretary of State implements the Tribunal’s decision on the award end date and does not schedule a review.

We aim to ensure that the process is as responsive as possible and claimants given a fixed-term award without review are prompted to make an advance claim to PIP, if needed, before an existing award ends. Once an advance claim has been received, which can be at any point prior to the existing award ending, we will progress that claim as quickly as possible to ensure we avoid or minimise any disruption to the payment of PIP and any DWP benefits or schemes which PIP passports to, such as Carer’s Allowance or the Motability scheme. Where entitlement to PIP is used as an administrative easement for assessing entitlement to a non-DWP scheme, any consideration of a delay in payment would lie with the lead Department or organisation

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in receipt of personal independence payments (PIP) have been migrated to the 10 yearly light touch review process; what criteria must be met for that migration to take place; and whether her Department is advising people in receipt of PIP that they may migrate to that process.

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

Once someone has been awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which can be paid at one of eight rates, that award will be reviewed. Reviews of PIP are a key part of the benefit and ensure that not only do awards remain correct where needs may change but that we also maintain contact with the claimant. Importantly, the length of an award is based on an individual’s needs and the likelihood of change, regardless of the award outcome, and can vary from nine months to an on-going award, with a light touch review at the ten-year point.

Following changes to the guidance for those who are awarded the highest level of support under PIP, and whose needs are expected to stay the same or increase, and those who are of State Pension age, existing claimants are being identified prior to their award review and being put onto ongoing awards instead. Claimants do not need to contact the Department and decisions on whether someone falls within either group remain subject to Case Manager decision making in line with the guidance. Claimants who are subject to a review of their award may also be placed on to an ongoing award depending on the nature of their needs and the likelihood of change in the future.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Disability Unit has made of the potential merits of extending the £20 uplift to universal credit to legacy benefit claimants.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The temporary Universal Credit Standard Allowance uplift was introduced to support those facing the most financial disruption due to the pandemic. There are no plans to extend this temporary uplift to legacy benefits. Claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for Universal Credit if they believe that they will be better off.

Claimants should check their eligibility before applying to Universal Credit as legacy benefits will end when they submit their claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. There are special arrangements for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who are now able to make a new claim to Universal Credit.

The Government will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People this year taking into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people. The strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications have been received by the Access to Work programme in each year since its launch.

The information requested on number of applications received is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

However, the Access to Work statistics includes how many applications results in provision being approved from 2007/08 to 2019/20. Please see Table 3 of the Access to Work statistics.

The latest Access to Work statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2020

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many disabled workers have had their Access to Work application delayed; and for what reasons those applications were delayed.

The information requested about Access to Work applications that have been delayed is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will collect data on the percentage of applicants who have reported that their employer refused to make reasonable adjustments for their disabilty to inform the proposed National Strategy for Disabled People.

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for an employer or potential employer to discriminate against a disabled employee or job applicant because of their disability. Specifically, the Equality Act requires employers to make reasonable adjustments in relation to the disabled employee’s job or application for a job.

The Government plans to publish a National Strategy for Disabled People this year to ensure that all disabled people can play a full role in society. The strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life, including employment.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the percentage of employers that (a) have a disability leave policy, and (b) allow homeworking to their staff as a reasonable adjustment to inform the proposed National Strategy for Disabled People.

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for an employer or potential employer to discriminate against a disabled employee or job applicant because of their disability. Specifically, the Equality Act requires employers to make reasonable adjustments in relation to the disabled employee’s job or application for a job.

The Government plans to publish a National Strategy for Disabled People this year to ensure that all disabled people can play a full role in society. The strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life, including employment.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her department make an assessment of the percentage of employers who publish the percentage of disabled staff (a) they employ, and (b) they employ by pay grade.

Government has worked with large employers and expert partners to develop a voluntary reporting framework (VRF) to support organisations to record and voluntarily report information on disability, mental health and wellbeing in the workplace; thereby encouraging employers to be more transparent and start having open conversations about disability and health at work. We continue to work with employers and expert partners to promote its usage, including requiring new and renewing Disability Confident Leaders (Level 3) to use it. However, there is no requirement for companies to notify Government if they have signed up to the framework and are publishing this data.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she plans to consult on the National Strategy for Disabled People.

The Government is committed to transforming the lives of disabled people, and will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People this year.

It will be informed by insights from the lived experience of disabled people, and will focus on the issues that disabled people say are most important across all aspects of life, from transport to education, and housing to employment. On Friday 15th January, we launched the online UK Disability Survey, which complements the range of engagement already undertaken and ongoing, including lived experience research with disabled people, discussions with the Disabled Charities Consortium, the Regional Stakeholder Networks and others. Contributions to the survey will feed not only into the development of the strategy but also its delivery.

29th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) average and (b) median response time is for disabled workers to receive a decision on their Access to Work application.

The information requested about average and median waiting times for decisions on applications for people who have applied for support from Access to Work is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to close the disability employment gap since April 2020.

A range of DWP initiatives are supporting disabled people to stay in and enter work. These include the Work and Health Programme, the Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme, Access to Work, Disability Confident and support in partnership with the health system, including Employment Advice in NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have provided specialist employment support remotely and made programmes easier to access.

The Department is bringing forward a Green Paper on health and disability support. The Green Paper will consider how we improve our current service so it’s better and easier to use, explore how we provide extra support to navigate the system, and understand how we improve our employment support offer. Additionally, the Government plans to publish a National Strategy for Disabled People this year to ensure that all disabled people can play a full role in society. The strategy will take into account the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on disabled people with focus on the issues that affect them the most.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the answer of 26 October 2018 to Question 182811 on Children: Maintenance, what progress she has made on improving case worker training on unearned income.

New caseworker call guidance was developed and was incorporated into a ‘Change to Income’ supporting product that was delivered via Dial and Deliver sessions in 2018 and was supported by a Leaders Briefing. As part of this enhancement to assist caseworkers, the Policy, Law and Decision Making Guidance (PLMDG) was revised on 4th June 2018.

In 2020 the Child Maintenance Group introduced a dedicated national expert domain to help caseworkers with all queries, including those relating to income. These colleagues have delivered local bite sized sessions on upskilling in income & documentation.

Additionally, from a system perspective we have improved the process for processing additional income variations (including Unearned Income variations) to assist caseworkers.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much revenue her Department has collected through the Child Maintenance Service's (a) 20 per cent fee and (b) four per cent fee through collect and pay in each of the last three years.

Income received from the Child Maintenance Service £20 Application fee for the last 3 years is as follows:

Applications Fee

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

£m

£m

£m

1.510

0.972

0.749

(Application fees reduced due to the waiver introduced in cases of Domestic Abuse)

Income received through collection charges for the last 3 years are below:

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

£m

£m

£m

PP Collection Charge

20%

16.878

27.905

34.771

RP Collection Charge

4%

3.241

5.430

6.767

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much revenue her Department has collected through the Child Maintenance Service's £20 application fee in each of the last three years.

Income received from the Child Maintenance Service £20 Application fee for the last 3 years is as follows:

Applications Fee

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

£m

£m

£m

1.510

0.972

0.749

(Application fees reduced due to the waiver introduced in cases of Domestic Abuse)

Income received through collection charges for the last 3 years are below:

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

£m

£m

£m

PP Collection Charge

20%

16.878

27.905

34.771

RP Collection Charge

4%

3.241

5.430

6.767

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on levels of poverty in (a) the UK and (b) Scotland.

No such assessment has been made.

Estimating the potential impact of individual policies on future levels of poverty is not possible as it would require making judgements about what will happen to every persons’ income in the future and then also isolating potential changes in income due to the effect of specific policies on certain individuals. It is not possible to do this accurately as there is so much uncertainty involved in projecting incomes.

Will Quince
Minister of State (Education)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of excluding (a) family benefits, (b) long-term care and (c) special contributory benefits from the Protocol on Social Security Coordination of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Those covered by the social security co-ordination provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement are not impacted by the changes to the rules agreed with the EU under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation agreement. Those individuals will remain covered by the EU Social Security Co-ordination Regulations for as long as they remain scope of the Withdrawal Agreement. UK and Irish nationals travelling between the UK and Ireland are also unaffected.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on access to social security payments for (a) disabled UK citizens in the EU and (b) disabled EU citizens in the UK.

Those covered by the social security co-ordination provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement are not impacted by the changes to the rules agreed with the EU under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation agreement. Those individuals will remain covered by the EU Social Security Co-ordination Regulations for as long as they remain scope of the Withdrawal Agreement. UK and Irish nationals travelling between the UK and Ireland are also unaffected.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of potential effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on reducing the disability employment gap in the UK.

We routinely monitor the employment of disabled people using the quarterly Labour Force Survey (LFS) along with other relevant sources. This will continue as we enter the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on pensioners’ lifetime savings.

The position stays the same. UK pensions legislation already ensures that any member of a UK pension scheme has a right to transfer their pension, which includes the option to transfer to any overseas pension scheme. Equally UK pension schemes will continue to be able to receive transfers from overseas pension schemes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on social security spending in the (a) medium and (b) long term.

DWP will shortly publish an Impact Assessment on the impact of overall changes in DWP areas of social security co-ordination policy, for persons covered by the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. DWP will also be providing an estimate of expenditure/savings as a result of these policy changes at a future fiscal event.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on existing protections available to pension savers.

There is no change. The UK will continue to provide the same protections to pension savers, as were in place before the end of the transition period.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on pensioners’ consumer rights.

There is no change. The UK will continue to provide the same protections to pension savers, as were in place before the end of the transition period.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 October 2020 to Question 102871, what the next steps are for the Green Paper on disability benefits; and what her timetable is for those next steps.

We have held a series of events across the country where local disability organisations and disabled people have shared their experiences of DWP services and priorities for future changes. We are continuing this engagement throughout the Autumn to help shape the Green Paper content and make sure we are addressing the right issues in the health and disability welfare system. This engagement will continue following the publication of the Green Paper.

Given the necessary focus on the departmental response to COVID-19, we are working to a longer timescale than previously anticipated but we remain committed to publishing and will update the House in due course.

13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish a Green Paper on disability benefits.

The Department has announced it will be bringing forward a Green Paper on health and disability support, considering issues that disabled people have told us that they want to see addressed. We will update the house in due course.

16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness in preventing fraudulent samples being provided of the DNA testing used by the Child Maintenance Service.

The Child Maintenance Service DNA testing process requires the person attending the DNA sampling to provide photographic evidence and the DNA test sampler to verify that the person attending is the person in the photo. The photos are retained in case of future challenge.

If a negative DNA test result is challenged, it is referred to the Financial Investigation Unit’s Criminal Division for investigation.

Those found to be abusing the system are subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers and the Child Maintenance Service will pursue these, where appropriate.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on the National Strategy for Disabled People.

The National Strategy for Disabled People is a key manifesto commitment for this Government and its delivery remains important for ministers, including No. 10. Its significance is even greater, as we re-build the UK's economy and society in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We want to achieve practical changes for disabled people, which remove barriers and increase opportunity, and are engaging widely with stakeholders including via Ministerial and official-led roundtables, a Disabled People’s Organisations forum, our Regional Stakeholder Network, and other meetings. We will also, through online engagement and other routes, enable disabled people to directly share views and insights on key challenges, as a central voice as the Strategy is developed. Through this work and further engagement, we plan to publish the high ambition strategy that the Prime Minister has called for in Spring 2021.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy, what steps she is taking to ensure that disabled people can live independent lives as the UK recovers from the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources.

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organisations and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify the support needed as lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to disability benefits, food, medicines, essentials, accessible communications, updated guidance, including workplace and transport related guidance, as well as financial and other support during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government continues to provide disability employment support through initiatives such as Access to Work, Disability Confident, the Work and Health Programme, Intensive Personalised Employment Support, and other forms of support that disabled people need to retain, adapt and move into employment.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit continues to work with disability stakeholders and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the UK Government’s response to COVID-19. We are clear that consideration of equality impacts must be integral in all key policy decisions. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People taking into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people. The Strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects and phases of life, including employment, housing, education and transport.

21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that all businesses provide reasonable adjustments for (a) disabled employees and (b) people at higher risk from covid-19 as employees return to their workplaces.

I refer the Hon. Members to question 62298 answered by my Hon. Friend the Minster for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets on 30th June. https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-06-22/62298/

I can further advise, DWP’s new Employer Help site provides advice on employment of disabled people, explaining how Access to Work and Disability Confident can help businesses to ensure their practices are fair and inclusive.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of a minimum maintenance payment for parents with care under the Child Maintenance Service to guarantee a minimum maintenance income.

There is no plan for any such assessment. The purpose of the Child Maintenance Service is to facilitate the payment of child maintenance between separated parents.

No one should use the pandemic as an excuse to avoid their child maintenance payments. Where paying parents experience a change in income, we can review their case and check if the amount paid should change. If it does not, they should continue to make payments.

We know the majority of parents take their responsibilities extremely seriously and will do what is needed to ensure their children are supported.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in how many cases child maintenance was not collectable as a result of a Child Maintenance Service administrative error when a deduction from earnings request was made to the armed forces in each quarter of the last three years.

The Child Maintenance Service does not record this data as there is no facility on the Child Maintenance System to record instances when a Deduction from Earning Request has been rejected by MoD or where an administrative error occurred.

As the information requested is not collated centrally it would require examination of individual cases and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much child maintenance was (a) paid and (b) owed in the second quarter of 2020 in (i) Motherwell and Wishaw constituency, (ii) North Lanarkshire, and (iii) Scotland.

Child Maintenance statistics are published quarterly and the latest statistics to March 2020 are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-the-2012-statutory-child-maintenance-scheme

Statistics covering the second quarter of 2020 will not be published until September 2020.

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of parents registered with the child maintenance service (a) paid and (b) did not pay maintenance in the second quarter of 2020 in (i) Motherwell and Wishaw constituency, (ii) North Lanarkshire, and (iii) Scotland.

Child Maintenance statistics are published quarterly and the latest statistics to March 2020 are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-the-2012-statutory-child-maintenance-scheme

Statistics covering the second quarter of 2020 will not be published until September 2020.

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) parents with care and (b) children are registered with the child maintenance service in (i) Motherwell and Wishaw constituency, (ii) North Lanarkshire, and (iii) Scotland.

The number of Receiving Parents using the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) and the number of associated children subject to a CMS arrangement, in Motherwell and Wishaw constituency, North Lanarkshire and Scotland in March 2020 are given in the following table:

Number of Receiving Parents using the Child Maintenance Service and the number of associated children, March 2020

Receiving Parents

Children

Scotland

36,500

52,500

North Lanarkshire

2,700

3,900

Motherwell and Wishaw

700

1,100



Source: Child Maintenance Group administrative data

Notes:

  1. These figures do not include cases in which historical child maintenance arrears, originally arranged by the Child Support Agency, have been transferred to the CMS for collection.
  2. Counts of children include all children under the age of 20 who are associated with an open child maintenance arrangement. Some of these children, of age 16 or above, may no longer be considered qualifying children for the purposes of calculating the Paying Parent's liability.
  3. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.
3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much is owed in outstanding arrears under the child maintenance service in (a) Motherwell and Wishaw constituency, (b) North Lanarkshire, and (c) Scotland.

As of the end of March 2020, across the whole of Great Britain, a total of £3.6 billion maintenance has been arranged through the Child Maintenance Service since its inception in 2012.

The total amount of arrears for Child Maintenance Service in Motherwell and Wishaw constituency, North Lanarkshire and Scotland in March 2020 are given in the following table:

Total amount of arrears for Child Maintenance Service, March 2020

Total arrears (£)

Scotland

24,019,000

North Lanarkshire

1,752,000

Motherwell and Wishaw

460,000

Source: Child Maintenance Group administrative data

Notes:

  1. These figures do not include cases in which historical child maintenance arrears, originally arranged by the Child Support Agency, have been transferred to the CMS for collection.
  1. The figures have been rounded to the nearest £1000.
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when and under what conditions her Department plans to re-start enforcing actions to collect maintenance under the Child Maintenance Service.

The purpose of the Child Maintenance Service is to facilitate the payment of child maintenance between separated parents. Paying parents are still expected to pay child maintenance. This was the case during the COVID-19 public health emergency and it remains the expectation as the UK gradually transitions into a post-COVID lockdown phase.

Where payments have been missed we have asked parents to report the changes via the self-service portal.

In order to ensure that receiving parents do not lose out in the long run, we are updating cases with notified changes. Where payments have been missed the Service is taking action to re-establish compliance and collect any unpaid amounts that may have accrued.

Those found to be abusing the system are subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers and the Child Maintenance Service will pursue these, where appropriate.

8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people working in contact centres (a) are working on site, (b) have been furloughed, (c) are self-isolating and (d) reporting symptoms or have tested positive for covid-19.

DWP is committed to providing support to those who need it during the current Pandemic, we have moved a significant number of staff into priority roles to ensure that benefits claims are dealt with as quickly as possible, therefore most of our staff in service delivery roles will be dealing directly with claims (including establishing a virtual contact centre) and we are not able to break this down into figures for contact centres.

With this caveat in mind then on 8 June 2020, 71,231 people (headcount) were working in the service delivery areas of the Department.

a) The Department has the majority of its frontline workforce working within its offices, operating under social distancing rules. In addition, since April this year we have undertaken a programme of work to deploy IT equipment to enable staff to work from home wherever possible and as at 2 June, 15,980 items had been despatched. This number does not include those who had previously received IT KIT and who were already able to work from home. We are currently updating our Management Information systems to capture additional details on those working from home.

(b) No Departmental staff have been furloughed

(c) On 8 June 2020, 5,189 people were either self-isolating or quarantined for reasons related to covid-19 and unable to work. A high proportion of this group are shielding and, wherever possible, will receive IT equipment to enable them to work from home. Those staff who can work at home while self-isolating are continuing to do so.

(d) On 8 June 2020, 285 people were absent having notified the Department of sickness as a result of covid-19.

Across DWP locations we have a procedure in place that ensures that appropriate deep cleaning is undertaken where Covid-19 cases are reported. In addition, health and safety and social distancing guidance is shared with DWP colleagues on a regular basis.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of removing conditionality and sanctioning for disabled claimants.

We continually evaluate the evidence and the feedback from our claimants and make improvements to guidance and policy, no specific assessment has been made on the potential merits of removing conditionality and sanctioning for disabled claimants.

We engage at a personal and individual level with all of our claimants and are committed to tailoring support for specific individual needs, including agreeing realistic and structured steps to encourage claimants into or towards the labour market. These conditionality requirements are regularly reviewed to ensure that they remain appropriate for the claimant.

When considering whether a sanction is appropriate, a Decision Maker will take all the claimant’s individual circumstances, including any health conditions or disabilities and any evidence of good reason, into account before deciding whether a sanction is warranted, which is always a last resort.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of permanently removing waiting days for statutory sick pay for all illnesses and impairments.

As part of the Government’s strategy to support people affected by coronavirus (COVID 19), my department has made a number of limited changes to the operation of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). In doing so, we have balanced the need to provide additional support for employees who are sick, self-isolating or shielding due to coronavirus and are unable to work as a result, with considerations about the burden on employers.

Temporarily suspending waiting days ensures SSP is payable from day one of a period of absence, rather than day four, to encourage people to follow government advice to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

We consulted last year on a range of measures, including reform of SSP, designed to reduce ill-health related job loss. We will bring forward proposals on next steps later this year.

SSP is just one part of the government’s safety net. Where an employee’s income is reduced while off sick and they require further financial support they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on individual circumstances.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of increasing the rate of employment support allowance in line with universal credit.

Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support were increased by 1.7% in April 2020following the Government’s announcement to end the benefit freeze. .

It has always been the case that claimants on legacy benefits can make a claim for UC if they believe that they will be better off. There are special arrangements for those in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium, who will be able to make a new claim to Universal Credit from January 2021.

Claimants should check their eligibility before applying to Universal Credit as legacy benefits will end when they submit their claim and they will not be able to return to them in the future. For this reason, prospective claimants are signposted to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits.

From 22 July 2020, a two-week run on of Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance (IR) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (IB) will be available for all claimants whose claim to UC ends entitlement to these benefits to provide additional support for claimants moving to UC.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length of time was for Ministers of her Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the Department has a target of responding within 20 working days where a response is required.

As you will understand, the Department is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. The Department ensures that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised, and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the number of parents with care living in poverty as a result of decreases to or cessation of child maintenance payments through the Child Maintenance Service due to a decrease in the income of a non-resident parent.

The Government recognises that the income of many separated parents is being impacted by the public health emergency and some receiving parents may receive less maintenance as a result of a paying parent’s drop in income. There is insufficient data to estimate the precise economic impact on different groups.

Paying parents are still expected to pay child maintenance throughout this period. Our priority is to maintain the flow of maintenance that is currently being paid, by easing the financial pressure on paying parents and ensuring that we transfer the payments as quickly as possible to receiving parents.

Measures have been introduced to support both paying and receiving parents, whose income drops as a result of the public health emergency. These include increasing the standard rate of Universal Credit and working tax credit for this year by over £1000 per year, benefiting over 4 million of the most vulnerable households. We have also increased the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest third of local rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on maintenance payments under the Child Maintenance Service to parents with care.

The Government recognises that the income of many separated parents is being impacted by the public health emergency and some receiving parents may receive less maintenance as a result of a paying parent’s drop in income. There is insufficient data to estimate the precise economic impact on different groups.

Paying parents are still expected to pay child maintenance throughout this period. Our priority is to maintain the flow of maintenance that is currently being paid, by easing the financial pressure on paying parents and ensuring that we transfer the payments as quickly as possible to receiving parents.

Measures have been introduced to support both paying and receiving parents, whose income drops as a result of the public health emergency. These include increasing the standard rate of Universal Credit and working tax credit for this year by over £1000 per year, benefiting over 4 million of the most vulnerable households. We have also increased the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers the cheapest third of local rents – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many companies in (a) Scotland and (b) the UK have signed up to the voluntary reporting on disability, mental health and wellbeing framework.

Government has worked with large employers and expert partners to develop a voluntary reporting framework (VRF) to support organisations to record and voluntarily report information on disability, mental health and wellbeing in the workplace; thereby encouraging employers to be more transparent and start having open conversations about disability and health at work. We continue to work with employers and expert partners to promote its usage, including requiring new and renewing Disability Confident Level 3 Leaders to use it however, there is no requirement for companies to notify Government if they have signed up to the framework.

4th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to respond to the consultation, Health is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss, which closed on 7 October 2019.
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to notify each person that is eligible for pension credit.

It is important to highlight that in 2017/18 there were around 1.7 million Pension Credit claimants, receiving around £5.1 billion of Pension Credit payments.

The Government wants to make sure that all pensioners eligible can claim the Pension Credit to which they are entitled. That is why on the 10 February we launched a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of Pension Credit. The aim of the campaign is to encourage those over State Pension age to check whether they’re eligible. We want to make it clear that having savings, a pension or owning a home are not automatic barriers to receiving Pension Credit; as well as explaining that even a small award of Pension Credit can provide access to a range of other benefits such as help with rent, council tax reduction schemes and heating costs.

The campaign includes a short, animated video that is being shown in GP waiting rooms and in Post Offices. It is also being shown to Facebook users over State Pension age and supported by other messaging on social media. We have also made the video and campaign materials available for stakeholders to use, as we know they are often one of the first places people turn to for information about Pension Credit.

An important part of our overall strategy to promote take-up is engaging with people who may be eligible to benefits at pivotal stages, such as when they claim State Pension or Attendance Allowance or report a change in their circumstances which may mean that they could be eligible for Pension Credit.

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit, which means that entitlement to the benefit will depend on an individual’s particular circumstances. It is therefore not possible to identify each person that is eligible, which is why we are encouraging people who think they may be eligible for Pension Credit to use the online Pension Credit calculator https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator to check if they are likely to be eligible and get an estimate of what they may receive.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) challenges have providers of personal independence payment health assessments made to auditors' rework requests and (b) of those challenges were successful in each of the last five years.

Independent audit data is available from July 2016. The table below shows the number of challenges, and challenges overturned made by providers to auditors for each calendar year since then.

Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10 and have been provided by the Independent Audit team.

Year

2016

2017

2018

2019

Total Challenges

70

400

420

360

Audit results overturned

30

230

250

190

The total number of audit results overturned equates to 1.1% of all audits from 2016 to present.

Independent audit began in 2016; prior to that the audit process was performed by the providers and so we do not hold information earlier than that year.

We have omitted stats for 2020 as there is only one month’s information.

27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has plans to provide financial support to people that do not qualify for statutory sick pay and have to take time off work to (a) self-isolate and (b) be quarantined as a result of covid-19.

Employers have been urged to make sure they use their discretion and respect the medical need to self-isolate in making decisions about sick pay. Gig workers and those on zero hours contracts may be entitled to sick pay and can check here: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay/eligibility

Those who aren’t entitled to sick pay, including those who are self-employed, can make a claim to Universal Credit and/or new-style Employment and Support Allowance.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish the value of deductions due to sanctions for benefit payments by parliamentary constituency in (a) the latest period for which figures are available and (b) 2019.

The Department has no plans to collate and publish this information.

The latest available statistics on benefit sanctions are published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-sanctions-statistics-to-october-2019-experimental

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many non-resident parents with child maintenance arrears of more than £1,000 the Child Maintenance Service has been unable to enforce collections on through (a) a deduction from earnings order, (b) a deduction from earnings request and (c) a deduction order.

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

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 6 February 2020 to Question 9726 on Personal Independence Payment: Medical Examinations, for what reasons information on the number of audited health assessment reports by audit grade carried out by Capita was not provided in that answer.

Please find below the number of Audited files for Capita and Independent Assessment Service by audit grade for 2018 and 2019 in raw number format. The audits are a random selection and are undertaken in order for the department to measure contractual quality service levels.

Note the numbers are unpublished and rounded to the nearest 10.

Rounded

IAS (L1&3)

Jan-18

Feb-18

Mar-18

Apr-18

May-18

Jun-18

Jul-18

Aug-18

Sep-18

Oct-18

Nov-18

Dec-18

A

610

630

680

620

610

630

650

630

630

640

600

590

AF

190

160

160

150

180

170

160

170

150

140

160

220

AA

130

130

100

150

130

130

120

140

160

170

190

150

U

60

50

40

70

70

60

40

30

40

30

30

20

Total

980

980

980

980

990

980

980

970

970

980

980

980

Capita (Lot 2)

Jan-18

Feb-18

Mar-18

Apr-18

May-18

Jun-18

Jul-18

Aug-18

Sep-18

Oct-18

Nov-18

Dec-18

A

290

300

310

310

310

320

330

300

310

320

290

310

AF

80

80

70

70

60

70

70

100

100

80

100

100

AA

90

80

80

80

80

70

70

70

70

70

90

60

U

30

20

20

30

30

20

10

10

10

10

10

10

Total

490

480

480

480

480

490

490

480

480

490

490

480

IAS (L1&3)

Jan-19

Feb-19

Mar-19

Apr-19

May-19

Jun-19

Jul-19

Aug-19

Sep-19

Oct-19

Nov-19

Dec-19

A

640

630

630

640

670

620

610

610

560

640

650

670

AF

180

180

150

160

150

170

150

170

170

150

140

140

AA

130

140

160

160

130

140

190

150

200

150

150

140

U

30

30

40

20

30

50

40

50

50

50

40

30

Total

980

980

980

980

980

980

980

980

980

980

980

980

Capita (Lot 2)

Jan-19

Feb-19

Mar-19

Apr-19

May-19

Jun-19

Jul-19

Aug-19

Sep-19

Oct-19

Nov-19

Dec-19

A

320

300

320

330

320

300

300

310

320

330

340

330

AF

70

80

80

60

80

80

80

90

70

70

70

50

AA

80

90

70

80

70

80

90

80

80

70

60

90

U

20

20

10

20

20

30

20

20

30

20

20

20

Total

480

480

490

490

490

490

490

490

490

490

490

490

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many parents owe more than £1000 in Child Maintenance Service arrears.

For arrangements setup under the Child Maintenance service only, at the end of September 2019 there were 78,500 parents who owed more than £1,000 in Child Maintenance Service arrears.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, under what circumstances a deduction of earnings order under the Child Maintenance Service is no longer appropriate.

A Deduction from Earnings Order (DEO) is no longer appropriate when there has been a change in circumstances, such as where a business stops trading and / or a paying parent has left employment and no details are held for a new employer. A DEO can also be cancelled in circumstances where it has been successfully applied for six months and the paying parent has requested to pay maintenance via an alternative channel.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will extend the powers that are available to the Child Maintenance Service for the collection of child maintenance.

Since 2018 we have introduced new collection and enforcement powers, including disqualifying non-compliant parents from holding a UK passport. We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the new powers. At present we have no plans to further extend these powers.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claims from a non-resident parent for a recalculation of child maintenance as a result of a change in the income of that parent were received by the Child Maintenance Service in each of the last three years; and how many of those claims resulted in a change after reassessment.

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

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 31 January 2020 to Question 10758 on EnAble Fund for Elected Office, when her Department plans to publish its National Strategy for Disabled People.

I can confirm that the Government will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People in 2020 focusing on removing barriers to ensure disabled people can lead a life of opportunity and fully participate in British society.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the value is of child maintenance debts her Department (a) has written off and (b) estimates will be written off in (i) Scotland and (ii) the UK during the transition from the Child Support Agency to the Child Maintenance Service.

(a) The total amount written off for cases on Child Support Agency systems, as of September 2019, is published in Table 9.2 of the CSA QSS and is £1,480.7m. The statistics in Table 9.2 do not include CSA cases on the CMS system because representation activity on these cases started later than on the CSA system and the data we need to report on them requires more quality assurance. We aim to publish this information in the December 2019 release which is due to be published in Spring 2020.

(b) Table 9.2 provides statistics at a GB level, and the regional split of child maintenance debt that is written off isn’t published. To provide this information for Scotland would require us to link together several complex datasets and it would incur disproportionate cost. The estimate of what will be written off was included in The CSA Historic Arrears business case. Page 25 refers and the figure included was £3.2bn

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/667033/child-maintenance-compliance-arrears-consultation.pdf

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many audited health assessment reports of personal independence payment claimants from each supplier were graded as (a) acceptable, (b) unacceptable, (c) acceptable with amendments required and (d) acceptable with feedback in each month in (i) 2018 and (ii) 2019.

Please see below the percentages of audited files for each supplier, Independent Assessment Services (IAS) and Capita by audit grade, for 2018 and 2019 as requested. Note the numbers are unpublished.

IAS (L1&3)

Jan-18

Feb-18

Mar-18

Apr-18

May-18

Jun-18

Jul-18

Aug-18

Sep-18

Oct-18

Nov-18

Dec-18

A

62%

65%

70%

63%

62%

64%

66%

64%

65%

65%

61%

60%

AF

19%

17%

16%

15%

18%

17%

17%

18%

15%

14%

16%

22%

AA

13%

13%

10%

15%

13%

13%

13%

15%

16%

17%

20%

15%

U

6%

6%

4%

7%

7%

6%

4%

3%

4%

3%

3%

2%

Capita (Lot 2)

Jan-18

Feb-18

Mar-18

Apr-18

May-18

Jun-18

Jul-18

Aug-18

Sep-18

Oct-18

Nov-18

Dec-18

A

60%

62%

64%

64%

65%

67%

68%

63%

64%

66%

59%

64%

AF

17%

16%

15%

15%

13%

14%

15%

21%

20%

17%

20%

21%

AA

18%

17%

17%

16%

17%

15%

15%

15%

14%

15%

19%

12%

U

5%

5%

4%

5%

5%

5%

2%

1%

2%

2%

2%

3%

IAS (L1&3)

Jan-19

Feb-19

Mar-19

Apr-19

May-19

Jun-19

Jul-19

Aug-19

Sep-19

Oct-19

Nov-19

Dec-19

A

65%

64%

65%

66%

69%

63%

62%

62%

58%

65%

66%

69%

AF

18%

18%

15%

16%

15%

17%

15%

18%

17%

15%

14%

14%

AA

14%

14%

17%

16%

13%

15%

19%

15%

20%

15%

16%

14%

U

3%

3%

4%

2%

3%

5%

4%

5%

5%

5%

4%

3%

Capita (Lot 2)

Jan-19

Feb-19

Mar-19

Apr-19

May-19

Jun-19

Jul-19

Aug-19

Sep-19

Oct-19

Nov-19

Dec-19

A

65%

62%

66%

67%

66%

62%

62%

63%

65%

67%

69%

69%

AF

15%

16%

16%

13%

17%

17%

16%

17%

14%

15%

14%

10%

AA

17%

19%

15%

17%

14%

15%

18%

17%

16%

14%

13%

17%

U

3%

3%

3%

3%

3%

6%

4%

3%

6%

4%

3%

4%

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claims of employment and support allowance where the claimant was a member of (a) the support group and (b) the work related activity group were active in each of the last three years.

Statistics on the number of people who have been awarded Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), by phase of claim, can be found at:

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

Guidance for users is available at:

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

28th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claims of employment and support allowance where the claimant was a member of (a) the support group and (b) the work related activity group were closed due to the death of the claimant in each of the last three years.

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

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many audited Independent Assessment Service health assessment reports were graded as (a) acceptable, (b) unacceptable, (c) acceptable with amendments required and (d) acceptable with feedback in each month in (i) 2018 and (ii) 2019.

Please find the figures requested in the tables below. The numbers are unpublished and rounded to the nearest 10.

The first table displays total figures for Lots 1 and 3 for 2018.

The second table displays total figures for Lots 1 and 3 for 2019.

Rounded

Total(Lot 1&3)

Jan-18

Feb-18

Mar-18

Apr-18

May-18

Jun-18

Jul-18

Aug-18

Sep-18

Oct-18

Nov-18

Dec-18

Acceptable

610

630

680

620

610

630

650

630

630

640

600

590

Acceptable with Feedback

190

160

160

150

180

170

160

170

150

140

160

220

Acceptable with Amendment

130

130

100

150

130

130

120

140

160

170

190

150

Unacceptable

60

50

40

70

70

60

40

30

40

30

30

20

Total 2018

980

980

980

980

990

980

980

970

970

980

980

980

Rounded

Jan-2019

Feb-19

Mar-19

Apr-19

May-19

Jun-19

Jul-19

Aug-19

Sep-19

Oct-19

Nov-19

Dec-19

Acceptable

640

630

630

640

670

620

610

610

560

640

650

670

Acceptable with Feedback

180

180

150

160

150

170

150

170

170

150

140

140

Acceptable with Amendment

130

140

160

160

130

140

190

150

200

150

150

140

Unacceptable

30

30

40

20

30

50

40

50

50

50

40

30

Total 2019

980

980

980

980

980

980

980

980

980

980

980

980

23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to publish the outcome of its consultation on statutory sick pay which closed on 7 October 2019.

We plan to publish the response to the consultationHealth is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss’ later this year. The consultation set out proposals to encourage all employers to take positive action to support employees who are managing health conditions in work, and to manage sickness absence more effectively.

Background

The consultation closed in October 2019. We have received a good response from a range of stakeholders and we are currently reviewing the detailed responses to inform decisions on next steps.

The consultation included proposals across four major policy areas:

1. Amend the legal framework to encourage early action to support individuals when they are absent from work and to facilitate more conversations to agree effective workplace modifications;

2. Reform of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) so that it is better enforced, more flexible, and support the lowest paid employees;

3. Measures to improve availability of high-quality, cost-effective occupational health (OH) services for employers; and

4. Advice and support from government for employers to understand and act on their responsibilities

The following special point should be noted:

The precise publication date has to be discussed and agreed with No.10.

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2020 to Question 3803 on Access to Work Programme, how many people with (a) learning disabilities and (b) autism spectrum disorders received funding in the latest period for which figures are available.

Table 8 of the Access to Work Statistics shows the number of people who have received an Access to Work payment broken down by primary medical condition.

The list of primary medical conditions used is consistent with that used for the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and so includes learning disabilities but not autistic spectrum disorders.

Subject to successful expansion of the list of conditions to include autism in the LFS, we propose to expand the Access to Work list to also include autistic spectrum disorders in future.

The Access to Work Statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2019

22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much was spent by the Access to Work scheme in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) England and (d) Northern Ireland in each of the last five years.

The Access to Work scheme is only available to those living in England, Scotland and Wales.

Please see below the Access to Work expenditure seen in Table 11 and Table 11a of the official statistics broken down in terms of Scotland, Wales and England.

The Access to Work official statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2019

Expenditure by country, 2009/10 - 2018/19 (Nominal Terms)

Financial year

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Country not recorded*

£369,000

£403,000

£417,000

£516,000

£636,000

England

£85,852,000

£85,764,000

£91,987,000

£98,362,000

£114,441,000

Wales

£4,121,000

£3,816,000

£4,204,000

£4,234,000

£5,322,000

Scotland

£6,658,000

£6,500,000

£7,161,000

£7,712,000

£8,721,000

Total

£96,999,000

£96,483,000

£103,768,000

£110,823,000

£129,120,000

Expenditure by country, 2009/10 - 2018/19 (Real Terms, 2018/19 prices)

Financial year

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Country not recorded*

£395,000

£428,000

£433,000

£525,000

£636,000

England

£91,951,000

£91,128,000

£95,563,000

£100,166,000

£114,441,000

Wales

£4,413,000

£4,055,000

£4,367,000

£4,311,000

£5,322,000

Scotland

£7,131,000

£6,906,000

£7,440,000

£7,854,000

£8,721,000

Total

£103,890,000

£102,517,000

£107,802,000

£112,856,000

£129,120,000

Source: Disability Service Client (DiSC) administrative system; Single Operating Platform (SOP) payment system; Provider Referrals and Payments System (PRaP).

Notes:

* ‘Not recorded’ is used throughout the Access to Work publication and denotes the customers where that variable is missing. In this case, it is where information relating to a person’s residence is missing, most commonly their postcode.

  1. The expenditure data in these statistics covers payments directly to individuals and employers, as well as to assessment providers and the Mental Health Support Service.
  2. The expenditure data in these statistics does not include DWP’s staffing and operational costs relating to Access to Work.
  3. Real terms expenditure (where actual spending has been adjusted to remove the effects of general price level changes (inflation) over time using price levels from a base year) has been calculated using the Consumer Prices Index published by the Office for National Statistics. Real terms figures provide a more meaningful measurement of change over time.
  4. Expenditure figures have been calculated using a methodology consistent with that used in the published Access to Work statistics. Please see the background information and methodology note for more information, in particular the “Weighting” section on pages 8-9. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-to-work-statistics-background-information-and-methodology
  5. Access to Work expenditure for each country is based on residency of the beneficiary as opposed to place of work.
  6. Figures are rounded to the nearest £1,000 due to the weighting methodology used (see Note 4).

17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to maintain the Local Supported Employment scheme.

The Local Supported Employment Proof of Concept ran between November 2017 and May 2019 and was delivered in partnership with 9 Local Authorities. We are currently considering our next steps to build on the findings from this test.

17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) disability employment adviser leaders and (b) disability employment advisers are employed by her Department in (a) Scotland and (b) the UK.

From April 2019, Jobcentre Plus introduced an enhanced Disability Employment Adviser and a new Disability Employment Adviser Leader role supporting Jobcentre colleagues to provide high quality services to disabled people and those with health conditions. One of the key transformational elements of Universal Credit is that it provides us with the opportunity to support people who are in work to progress and increase their earnings.

As of December 2019, there are 10 full time equivalents Disability Employment Adviser Leader (DEALS) in place across the Jobcentre network in Scotland and 52 full time equivalents Disability Employment Advisers (DEAs). Nationally there are 98 full time equivalents DEALs and 501 full time equivalents DEAs.

The actual headcount will be higher when taking account of part time and dual role workers.

The figures provided are taken from the Departments ‘Activity Based Management’ (ABM) system. The data is derived from unpublished management information, collected and intended for internal departmental use and has not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard.

17th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many employers are signatories of her Department's Disability Confident scheme.

The latest published figures show that, as of 31 December 2019, 15832 employers were signed up to Disability Confident.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much child maintenance arrears is owed through (a) the Child Maintenance Service and (b) the Child Support Agency.

The information relating to Child Maintenance Service outstanding maintenance (arrears) is published and available online as part of the Child Maintenance Service statistics. The latest publication includes information to September 2019. This is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-maintenance-service-statistics-data-to-september-2019-experimental

The requested information is published in the National Tables, Table 11 (“How much maintenance the Child Maintenance Service has arranged”). This shows as at September 2019 child maintenance that remains be paid as £315.3m.

The information relating to Child Support Agency arrears is published and available online as part of the Child Support Agency Quarterly Summary Statistics. The latest publication includes information to June 2019. This is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-of-statistics-june-2019-experimental

The requested information is published in the National Tables, Table 2 (“Outstanding maintenance arrears on CSA systems”) and Table 4 (“Child Support Agency arrears transitioned to the Child Maintenance Service”).

Table 2 shows outstanding maintenance on CSA systems as at June 2019 is £70,500 and table 4 shows outstanding maintenance on Child Maintenance Service is £701.4m

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the (a) average and (b) median waiting times were for decisions on applications for people who have applied for support from her Department's Access to Work scheme in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The information requested about average and median waiting times for decisions on applications for people who have applied for support from Access to Work is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support her Department is providing to the Disabled People's Organisation to monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of Disabled People in relation to the UK Government's social welfare policies.

We submitted the most recent UK Government report to the UN in September 2019, outlining our progress made against the recommendations in the 2016 inquiry into welfare, independent living, legal aid, accessible communications and engagement with disabled people.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be bringing forward a Green Paper in the coming months on how the health and disability welfare system can better meet the needs of people with health conditions and disabilities. We will work with disabled people and disabled people’s organisations to ensure we are addressing the right problems in the system.

The Disability Unit, based in the Cabinet Office, will work closely with disabled people, disabled people’s organisations and charities to develop the National Strategy for Disabled People, with their views and experiences at the forefront of any new policy.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what savings have accrued to the public purse under the £30 reduction for claimants of employment and support allowance in the work-related activity group in each month since that reduction was implemented.

The information requested on the savings accrued from the removal of the Work Related Activity Component (WRAC) is not available. It would incur disproportionate cost to calculate any actual net savings from the removal of the WRAC.

When the WRAC was removed we made a clear commitment to instead provide practical support that will make a significant difference to the life chances of those in the Work-Related Activity Group. We have been investing an additional £330m over 4 years to support those with limited capability for work to move towards and into suitable employment.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will take steps to ensure that Scotland is allocated a proportionate share of the Access to Work budget.

We continue to raise awareness of Access to Work throughout the country, including Scotland, using a targeted marketing approach; focusing on previously underrepresented groups such as young people, people with mental health conditions and people with learning disabilities.

Access to Work funding is not allocated on a regional basis. The scheme is available for anyone aged 16 or over who lives in England, Scotland or Wales and who has a disability or health condition (physical or mental) that makes it hard for them to do parts of their job or get to and from work. The number of people in Scotland receiving support through Access to Work follows trends in the growth of the service overall, and has been increasing year-on-year since 2015/16.

Further statistical information on Access to Work can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/access-to-work-statistics

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department's policy is for the collection of child maintenance where a person has been detained in medical care due to their mental health.

Decisions about collection and enforcement action are made on a case by case basis, taking into account the welfare of all parties and using the appropriate methods which have the greatest chance of securing money for children. Where a paying parent is confirmed to be a hospital in-patient or in residential care, the Child Maintenance Service will consider whether it is appropriate to pause the collection of arrears.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Child Maintenance Service's powers to disqualify non-compliant parents from (a) holding and (b) obtaining a (i) passport and (ii) driving licence in (A) enforcing collections and (B) reducing historically owed maintenance.

I can confirm that information related to this query is in the process of being collated by officials, but unfortunately is not yet in a suitable state for release. I will write to the Hon. Member with the information when it becomes available.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Child Maintenance Service includes inheritance received by non-resident parents in their maintenance calculations.

Inheritance does not meet the legal definition of historic or current taxable income used for child maintenance (CM) calculation, consequently it is not included in the calculation. However, where a non-resident parent is earning income from inherited asset(s), such income could be included in the CM calculation.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the Child Maintenance Service's policy is when a non-resident parent has overpaid child maintenance; and whether that overpayment is (a) repaid, (b) deducted from future calculations or (c) subject to another process.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) has a range of options to resolve overpayments of child maintenance. The course of action depends on the circumstances of the overpayment and the impact of a particular course of action on any children Involved.

Where a non-resident parent (NRP) has overpaid child maintenance, the CMS will first consider allocating the overpaid amount against any arrears due on the same case or against on-going maintenance. They will then look at allocating the overpaid amount to arrears due on any other case the NRP has.

If the overpayment cannot be allocated against any arrears or on-going maintenance, the Service will consider reimbursement. If a reimbursement is made, the Service will seek to recover any overpayments from the parent with care.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many passports have been confiscated due to unpaid child maintenance under the Child Maintenance Service in each month since that power came into effect.

The total number of passports which have been immediately disqualified are 4. The months where disqualification took place were March 2019, June 2019, and 2 cases in August 2019.

There are a further 3 cases for which the disqualification of a passport has been suspended pending payment. If payment is not received as directed before the end of the period of suspension, then the passport will be automatically disqualified.

15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to increase participation in the Access to Work programme.

We continue to raise awareness of Access to Work through a targeted marketing approach, focusing on previously underrepresented groups such as young people, people with mental health conditions and people with learning disabilities.

The 2018/19 Access to Work statistics illustrate the success of the scheme, with over 36,000 people receiving tailored and flexible support - up 7% on 2017/18 and currently the highest ever number - including record numbers of young people, people with learning disabilities and people with mental health conditions.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will put into statute the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The UK became a party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2009. As a signatory to the convention, the UK remains committed to the progressive realisation of the rights for disabled people that it sets out. The Equality Act 2010 enshrines the rights of people in England, Scotland and Wales with any of nine protected characteristics to live free from discrimination, harassment or victimisation and have equal opportunities in domestic law. It systematically ensures consideration of the rights of disabled people by public authorities, at both national and local levels, through the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED).

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, under what conditions cases under the Child Maintenance Service will be moved onto collect and pay.

Parents are given the opportunity to avoid collection charges and use the Direct Pay Service, provided paying parents can pay their maintenance in full and on time. Where parents fail to pay their liability in full and on time, parents should notify the Child Maintenance Service who will take swift action to move the case to Collect & Pay to enforce payment and recover any arrears.

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many members of staff have worked for the Child Maintenance Service in each year since 2013.

Please find attached the staffing information for Child maintenance Service. We are unable to provide information back to 2013 and data separating Child Maintenance Service (CMS)staffing from overall Child Maintenance Group has only been available since 2017

(CMG)

CMG

CMS

June 19

6842

5684

June 18

6988

5433

June 17

8009

5238

June 16

9421

June 15

10590

14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases the Child Maintenance Service has handled under (a) direct pay and (b) collect and pay in each year since 2013.

Please find attached data on the number of child maintenance arrangements. We are unable to provide information back to 2013 as data is only available since 2015.

The number of Child Maintenance Arrangements

The number of child maintenance arrangements managed by the Child Maintenance Service, split by service type

Child Maintenance Arrangements

Quarter Ending

Direct Pay

C&P total

Mar-15

79,100

37,200

Mar-16

141,900

61,900

Mar-17

220,600

95,400

Mar-18

272,100

137,600

Mar-19

307,600

165,700

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what fiscal steps he is taking to help ensure that the necessary (a) health services, (b) therapies and (c) physical equipment is in place for disabled children and their families.

The forthcoming Spending Review will set out the Government’s spending plans for health and social care for future years. On 6 September 2021 we announced an additional £5.4 billion for the National Health Service to support the COVID-19 response over the next six months, bringing the total Government support for health services to over £34 billion in 2021/22. This includes £2 billion to reduce waiting times for patients, including disabled children.

We are working with the Department for Education and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve the provision of health and care services for disabled children, including access to therapies and equipment. In 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement published guidance making clear that restoration of essential community services must be prioritised for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities aged up to 25 years old and who have an Education Health and Care Plan in place or are going through an assessment.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding of the Disabled Children’s Partnership’s report entitled Then There Was Silence, published on 10 September 2021, that nearly three quarters of disabled children had seen their progress managing their condition regress, what fiscal steps he is taking to help disabled children recover from delays to health and therapy services during the covid-19 outbreak.

On 6 September 2021 the Government announced an additional £5.4 billion for the National Health Service to support the COVID-19 response over the next six months, bringing the total Government support for health services to over £34 billion in 2021/22. This includes £2 billion to reduce waiting times for patients, including disabled children. The forthcoming Spending Review will set out the Government’s spending plans for health and social care for future years.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans are in place to support blind and visually impaired people to access their covid-19 vaccine with (a) braille inclusive vaccine information, (b) vaccine centre location assistance, (c) vaccine centre signage and lighting and (d) staff guidance.

PHE (Public Health England) has published British Sign Language, braille, and large print versions of the guidance. The national booking letters are sent in size 16 font as standard, as defined by RNIB as large print and also provide 119 as an option.

PHE is currently working with RNIB to further disseminate our resources, identify any gaps, support RNIB’s teaching programme to the vaccination workforce and refine plans for the production of audio versions of our leaflets. All vaccination venues are accessible and will meet the needs of people with disabilities. Individuals and families are being encouraged to raise any need for a reasonable adjustment required ahead of vaccination appointments.

Nadhim Zahawi
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1st Sep 2020
What steps he is taking to help prevent a second wave of covid-19.

The Government’s strategy, based at all times on scientific advice, has been to stay alert, control the virus, save lives, and avoid or minimise a second wave.

Our strategies around controlled relaxations of national measures, local lockdowns and test and trace are all designed to manage that risk.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support the production of windowed face masks.

The United Kingdom Government’s national personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement team has been working extremely hard in recent weeks to source clear facemasks which comply with UK safety standards. While the product is not CE marked, UK Government regulators have agreed that a particular mask can enter the National Health Service supply chain for use during COVID-19 and further details will be announced as soon as possible about availability to health and care settings.

Where regulators find that PPE (as regulated by the Health and Safety Executive) or medical devices (as regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) can ensure an adequate level of health and safety in accordance with the essential requirements laid down in Regulation (EU) 2016/425 or the requirements of Directive 93/42/EEC, they may authorise the making available of these products for supply to frontline healthcare.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the Department has a target of responding to correspondence within 18 working days, where a response is required.

The Department is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. The Department ensures that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on efforts to prevent the spread of covid-19 of statutory sick pay provisions that may deter people that have to work from (a) self-isolating and (b) reporting symptoms.

The nature and scale of the response depends on the course of the disease. As our understanding increases and the impact of the disease becomes clearer, we will issue further detailed advice about what to expect if and when further measures become necessary.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care advised in his Oral Statement on 26 February, columns 322-23, that self-isolation on medical advice is considered sickness for employment purposes and that it is a very important message for employers and those who can go home and self-isolate as if they were sick, because it is for medical reasons.

Individuals that develop any of the following symptoms, however mild: fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat and difficulty breathing should monitor their symptoms and call NHS 111 or their general practitioner.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, how much funding the Government Equalities Office has (a) allocated to and (b) spent on the EnAble Fund since the launch of that fund.

The interim EnAble Fund for Elected Office was set up to cover scheduled elections between December 2018 and March 2020. It has an allocated budget of £330,000 of which £103,000 has been spent.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, how many applications to the EnAble fund have been (a) received and (b) approved from applicants in (i) Scotland, (ii) Wales, (iii) Northern Ireland and (iv) England since the launch of that fund.

The interim EnAble Fund for Elected Office was set up to cover scheduled elections between December 2018 and March 2020.


The EnAble Fund does not cover elections in Wales or Northern Ireland. Scotland has its own separate fund, the Access to Elected Office Fund Scotland, to support disabled candidates.


For the 2019 English Local elections the Fund received 46 applications, with 41 grants approved for disabled candidates.

29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to support the rights of disabled people in Ukraine.

There are 2.7 million people in Ukraine with disabilities that are at high risk of harm and abandonment. Many are trapped, unable to evacuate to safer areas and experiencing severe food and medication shortages.

The UK is committed to providing humanitarian aid on the basis of need alone, without discrimination on any grounds. In Ukraine, the UK seeks to drive forward a fully inclusive international humanitarian response that addresses the life-saving and urgent needs of women, children, people with disabilities and excluded groups affected by the crisis, and ensuring compliance with the IASC guidelines on disability and gender-based violence.

UK funding for Ukraine is largely channelled via international humanitarian organisations to enable effective, inclusive humanitarian assistance to reach those who need it most, including people with disabilities, and to tailor and target the most appropriate support.

James Cleverly
Secretary of State for Education
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make it her policy to use OECD Development Assistance Committee markers to measure disability.

FCDO official development assistance programmes use the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) disability inclusive policy marker. The FCDO includes this marker in the annual statistical return made to the OECD DAC.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if her Department will publish an annual progress report in relation to their disability inclusion strategy.

On 16 February 2022 I launched a new Disability Inclusion and Rights Strategy, which reaffirms the UK's commitment to disability rights and sets out a vision and approach towards 2030. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will review the strategy and delivery plans periodically.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans she has to enshrine the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into law.

The UK remains fully committed to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the UK ratified in 2009. The UK as a general principle does not incorporate international treaties into domestic law. However, the rights of disabled people under this Convention are largely reflected and given effect in existing domestic policies and legislation, including the Equality Act 2010 in England, Scotland and Wales, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in Northern Ireland.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to implement the disability inclusion strategy across its programming and funding to different organisations and governments.

The FCDO will launch a new Disability Inclusion and Rights Strategy next week to mark the second Global Disability Summit. Looking to 2030, the strategy will set out how the FCDO will embed disability inclusion across its diplomacy, policy and programming.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether a ministerial delegation will participate in the Global Disability Summit on 16 to 17 February 2022.

The UK is committed to promoting and protecting universal rights for all, including people with disabilities. I will attend the Global Disability Summit and will announce a new set of UK development commitments to take the agenda forward.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if she will make it her policy to publish an annual progress report on her Department's disability inclusion strategy.

On 16 February 2022 Minister Vicky Ford launched a new Disability Inclusion and Rights Strategy, which reaffirms the UK's commitment to disability rights and sets out a vision and approach towards 2030. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will review the strategy and delivery plans periodically.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what indicators her Department uses to track the impact of its education Official Development Assistance on foundational literacy and numeracy outcomes.

The UK, where available, uses national data systems to track and monitor progress of its Official Development Assistance spend on foundational literacy and numeracy and in a number of countries is working to strengthen these national systems. UK-funded centrally managed programmes and research programmes are also building the global public goods on evidence and data that are needed to better track foundational learning for all. The UK is committed to press for better accountability and coordination in the international education system to deliver the greatest impact for girls' education. We are working with like-minded partners to deliver stronger accountability for Sustainable Development Goal 4 progress, including through better use of education data to focus global efforts on areas of greatest need. A UK-funded programme in Tanzania was recently included as a leading example in a global review of how best to improve learning at scale. It showed how the programme, EQUIP-T, successfully improved literacy and numeracy skills for pupils, especially girls and the most marginalised. We are committed to ensuring there are more programmes like EQUIP-T - whether funded by governments, donors, or multilaterals - that both improve learning outcomes for all children and can prove it.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to ensure that her Department’s programming to support improved foundational literacy and numeracy is being targeted to countries where literacy rates and proficiency in maths are lowest.

HMG's Girls Education Action Plan, launched in May by the Prime Minister sets out how we plan to deliver the global girls' education targets and ensure all children, particularly girls, have access to quality education. The plan identifies the need to address the gap in children's foundational learning to ensure children achieve basic literacy, numeracy as well as other transferable skills as the building blocks needed to make progress in school, attain higher order skills, and reap the full rewards of education. UK support is underpinned by evidence and focuses on supporting the most marginalised. The bulk of our education programmes are in Africa where the needs are greatest and learning levels lowest, such as in Malawi and Uganda. The UK is also ensuring that children's learning is prioritised in very challenging contexts, such as in Nigeria and Syria, and building strong relationships to identify and support governments that are committed to education reform, such as in Rwanda and Sierra Leone.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which countries receive the most Official Development Assistance for improving foundational literacy and numeracy outcomes.

Foundational literacy and numeracy are essential and effective tools for reducing poverty and inequality, especially when focused on girls. That is why, under the UK's G7 presidency, we secured pioneering endorsement to two new global access and learning objectives, to ensure that all children - particularly girls - secure foundational learning. In 2020, Pakistan, Lebanon, Tanzania, Rwanda and Bangladesh were the five largest recipients of bilateral UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) for basic education. The UK continues to support around 15 more countries bilaterally in foundational learning. We are also the largest donor to the Global Partnership for Education, from which a further 70 countries are eligible to receive support to improve foundational learning. ODA is reported on a calendar year basis and ODA figures for 2021 will be available next year after reporting to the OECD.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the impact of reductions to Official Development Assistance for education on the education of children with disabilities.

The FCDO is committed to ensuring that children with disabilities are able to access a quality education as set out in our 2018 Education Policy and the Disability Inclusion Strategy. The then Foreign Secretary and Ministers considered equalities impacts as they made decisions on 2021/22 Official Development Assistance spend.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the total Official Development Assistance for education budget is for financial year 2021-22; and what percentage change does that represent compared with the previous year.

The FCDO will spend £400 million of bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) on girls' education for 2021-22. ODA is reported on a calendar year basis, and includes sectoral breakdowns such as education. The FCDO National Statistics publication, 'Statistics on International Development' includes this information. Provisional ODA spend for 2020 is available, with sectoral breakdowns due to be published in the autumn. The UK's ODA spend for 2021, including an activity level dataset, will be published next year.

FCDO publishes regular open data through the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). This operational data covers current live programmes, and will include 2021 spend once business planning is concluded. The raw data can be accessed at the IATI Registry, and is shown on the Development Tracker website at https://devtracker.fcdo.gov.uk/

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when she plans to revise the DFID Disability Inclusion Strategy for her Department; and what changes she plans to make.

The FCDO will publish an enhanced Disability Inclusion Strategy by end 2021 which will reaffirm the UK's commitment to disability inclusion internationally.

The Strategy will be adapted to reflect the FCDO's combined diplomatic and development resources and wider geographical reach. It will incorporate a longer term vision to 2030. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and global climate crisis, it will include new and emergent thematic and cross-cutting issues alongside the existing themes. In line with our partnership approach and 'nothing about us without us' the Strategy is being developed in consultation with people with disabilities and their representative organisations across our geographic remit.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the prospects of the five billion dollar Global Partnership for Education replenishment target being met at the Global Education Summit in July 2021.

At the Global Education Summit (GES) on 28-29 July, we hope to secure $4 billion, or 80% of the Global Partnership for Education's 5-year rolling target of $5 billion. This would be the single biggest ever boost to children's education opportunities around the world. As part of commitment, we hope to help GPE diversify its funding base, with new sovereign and private donors. We are also working closely with our co-hosts, Kenya, to galvanise domestic financing to education from developing nations.

At the G7 Summit, the Prime Minister announced the UK pledge of £430 million to the GPE. This five-year pledge is our largest ever pledge to GPE, and an uplift of 15% from our current position as top bilateral donor. This generous contribution meant we were able to secure commitment from G7 partners of at least $2.7 billion to GPE ahead of the GES.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of a top-up of its pledge to the Global Partnership for Education to maximise prospects of the five billion dollar target being reached.

The UK is leading the way in the run-up to the Global Education Summit on 28-29 July. At the G7 Leaders' Summit, the Prime Minister announced the UK pledge of £430 million to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which is an uplift of 15% from the last financing period, and our largest ever contribution to GPE. This is also the largest bilateral pledge announced so far, and our co-host Kenya, we are urging other nations to step up their pledges to GPE.

This significant pledge meant that we were able to secure commitment from G7 partners of at least $2.7 billion to GPE ahead of the GES. At the Summit, we hope to secure up to $4 billion, which is 80% of GPE's 5-year target of $5 billion, and would be the single biggest ever boost to children's education opportunities around the world.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent correspondence he has had with his US counterpart on a US pledge to the Global Partnership for Education.

We continue to work with all donors, and are in regular contact with counterparts in the US ahead of the Global Education Summit due to take place in London on 28-29 July. As co-hosts of this Summit, we continue to use the full weight of our diplomatic networks and development expertise to ensure the Summit is a success.

At the G7 Leaders' Summit, the Prime Minister secured a landmark commitment from our G7 partners to provide at least $2.7 billion to the Global Partnership for Education. This includes £430 million from the UK, which is an uplift of 15% from our current position as top bilateral donor, and our largest ever contribution to the GPE.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference Government's commitment to education at the G7 in June 2021, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that its goal of increasing the number of girls who have access to 12 years of education will still be achieved following the reduction in aid spending from 0.7 to 0.5 per cent of GNI.

2021 is a year of UK leadership on the world stage, including on girls' education. Meeting under the UK Presidency, G7 Foreign and Development Ministers endorsed two new, global, SDG 4 milestone targets on girls' education on 5 May, which we are calling on the world to help deliver, working in partnership with developing country partners, multilateral institutions, civil society, girl-led groups, and youth leaders. At the G7 Summit the Prime Minister announced a UK pledge of £430 million to the Global Partnership for Education, this is our largest ever pledge to GPE and an uplift of 15% from our current position as top bilateral donor. This significant pledge meant we were able to secure commitment from G7 partners of at least $2.7 billion to GPE contributing to GPE's rolling target of $5 billion over the next 5 years.

The FCDO will also spend £400 million of bilateral ODA on girls' education this year. This is separate from our pledge to GPE. This very substantial sustained investment of UK ODA is only one of our tools in achieving our ambitions.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Government's commitment to education made at the G7 in June 2021, what steps the Government is taking to remove barriers to education for the world’s most vulnerable children, particularly those who are also living with disabilities.

Meeting under the UK Presidency, G7 Foreign and Development Ministers endorsed two new, global, SDG 4 milestone targets on girls' education, which we are calling on the world to help deliver. Ministers also endorsed a girls' education declaration, which specifically states the G7 will work in collaboration with developing country partners, multilateral institutions, civil society, girl-led groups, and youth leaders, to remove the obstacles to education that stand in girls' way. This includes addressing the social, environmental, and institutional barriers to education such as reducing violence in and out of schools, promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights and amending restrictive policies or legislation which prevent girls thriving in school.

We know learners with disabilities face severe barriers in accessing education, which have been further exacerbated by the pandemic. The FCDO's "twin track" approach provides both targeted support for learners with disabilities and seeks to improve mainstream education systems to be inclusive. Through the Girls' Education Challenge, we are helping 100,000 girls with disabilities receive an education in countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what his Department's plans are for the International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) initiative; and what proportion of the £300 million the UK committed to IFFEd in 2019 has been spent to date.

We are committed to innovative means of aid financing that provide financial leverage for every pound of UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) in education. The International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) is such a mechanism - that is why the Prime Minister committed £300 million towards IFFEd at the UN General Assembly in September 2019, consisting of £100 million in grant funding, and £200 million in paid-in cash and guarantees.

We await sufficient interest from other donor countries to share the fiduciary risk of this promising innovation.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, if he will take steps to allocate £600 million to the Global Partnership for Education to deliver on his commitment of 12 years of quality education for all girls.

The Prime Minister and President Kenyatta of Kenya will co-host the Global Education Summit: Financing the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in London in July 2021. No decision has yet been taken on the UK's next contribution to GPE, and details will follow in due course.

As co-hosts of the Summit, we are using all the means at our disposal to help the Global Partnership for Education secure its five-year rolling financing target of up to $5 billion (2021-2026). A well-funded GPE will be central to delivering our two ambitious global objectives of getting 40 million more girls in school, and 20 million more girls reading by age 10 in the next 5 years.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a target of responding within 20 working days where a response is required.

As you will understand, Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office ensures that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised, and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if the Government will provide additional financial support for people who are immunocompromised and who are unable to return to work as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and who cannot work from home, following the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has sought to protect people’s health, jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses and public services.

The Government recognises the concerns that immunocompromised people may have about returning to the workplace. People who are immunocompromised are being offered a third dose of the vaccine, and their adult household contacts are also being prioritised for the booster vaccination programme currently underway.

The vaccination campaign, along with our improved understanding of the virus and the clinical risks it poses means that those previously classed as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) are no longer advised to shield. The government will continue to assess the situation based on clinical advice, to keep the most vulnerable safe.

Individuals should also talk to their employer to discuss and agree options in relation to work, for example the ability to work from home, or returning to the workplace in a different role if their previous position cannot be fulfilled in a Covid-secure manner.

7th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department plans to operate a Payment Exception Service for (a) tax credits and (b) child benefit payments when the Post Office Card Account ends.

In order to ensure the continued payment of Child Benefit and Tax Credit, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been contacting all of their affected Post Office Card Account customers to tell them of the forthcoming change and facilitate moving their payments into other bank accounts.

For any customers unable to open a bank account, HMRC operate a specific Payment Exception Service.

7th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the continued payment of (a) tax credits and (b) child benefit to recipients who (i) may experience difficulties in opening and (ii) are unable to open a bank account.

In order to ensure the continued payment of Child Benefit and Tax Credit, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been contacting all of their affected Post Office Card Account customers to tell them of the forthcoming change and facilitate moving their payments into other bank accounts.

For any customers unable to open a bank account, HMRC operate a specific Payment Exception Service.

7th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the continued payment of (a) tax credits and (b) child benefit to recipients when the Post Office card account ends.

In order to ensure the continued payment of Child Benefit and Tax Credit, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been contacting all of their affected Post Office Card Account customers to tell them of the forthcoming change and facilitate moving their payments into other bank accounts.

For any customers unable to open a bank account, HMRC operate a specific Payment Exception Service.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the Community Access to Cash Pilots operating in Post Office branches.

The Community Access to Cash Pilots are an industry-led initiative taking place in nine locations across the UK. These pilots are to trial and test sustainable solutions for ensuring that communities can conveniently withdraw and deposit cash, and identify ways basic banking services can be better delivered, that could be adopted in other locations.

The pilots include 3 ‘banking hubs’ in dedicated retail spaces on the high street, which combine the cash-transaction facilities of a Post Office with access to community banking services offered by the key retail banks. The locations for these trialling this service are Ampthill in Bedfordshire, Rochford in Essex and Cambuslang near Glasgow.

The Government welcomes these initiatives and looks forward to the outcomes of these pilots.

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to allocate financial support for cooperatives; and what support his Department is making available to simplify the process for establishing such cooperatives.

The Government recognises the value of co-operatives, and the contribution they make to all sectors of the economy. The first phase of our economic response has seen us take unprecedented steps to support the economy through the crisis; to keep as many people as possible in their existing jobs, to support viable businesses, including co-operatives, to stay afloat, and to protect the incomes of the most vulnerable. Co-operatives, like other businesses, have been eligible for a range of Government support schemes, including the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, grants delivered by Local Authorities and business loans.

The Government has taken significant steps to support the growth of co-operatives right across the country. In 2014 the Government passed the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act, to reduce legal complexity for co-operatives and community benefit societies, and at the same time increased the amount of share capital an individual member can put into a co-operative society to £100,000.

HM Treasury officials also hosted a ‘Mutuals Workshop’ with representatives from the sector in 2019, to understand the challenges faced by mutuals and how Government can help to address these.

As we start to open the economy up and we look forward, we will consider how best to support the economic recovery. We will develop new measures to grow the economy, to back businesses, including co-operatives, and to help people thrive in the new post-Covid world. We will continue to consider how we can best support the co-operative sector to reach its potential, and welcome the views of Co-operatives UK and others in the sector as we do.

3rd Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of the recommendations in the report entitled, We are the rebuilders: Four co-operative offers for building back better from COVID-19, published in June 2020 by Co-operatives UK.

The Government recognises the value of co-operatives, and the contribution they make to all sectors of the economy. The first phase of our economic response has seen us take unprecedented steps to support the economy through the crisis; to keep as many people as possible in their existing jobs, to support viable businesses, including co-operatives, to stay afloat, and to protect the incomes of the most vulnerable. Co-operatives, like other businesses, have been eligible for a range of Government support schemes, including the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, grants delivered by Local Authorities and business loans.

The Government has taken significant steps to support the growth of co-operatives right across the country. In 2014 the Government passed the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act, to reduce legal complexity for co-operatives and community benefit societies, and at the same time increased the amount of share capital an individual member can put into a co-operative society to £100,000.

HM Treasury officials also hosted a ‘Mutuals Workshop’ with representatives from the sector in 2019, to understand the challenges faced by mutuals and how Government can help to address these.

As we start to open the economy up and we look forward, we will consider how best to support the economic recovery. We will develop new measures to grow the economy, to back businesses, including co-operatives, and to help people thrive in the new post-Covid world. We will continue to consider how we can best support the co-operative sector to reach its potential, and welcome the views of Co-operatives UK and others in the sector as we do.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reasons audiobooks were not included in the zero-rating VAT on e-publications announced in the Budget 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The extension of the zero rate of VAT has been introduced to provide consistency in approach between certain physical and digital publications in order to support reading and literacy in all its forms. Audiobooks are already taxed consistently at the standard rate in both physical and digital format.

In UK law, a book is deemed to be something that is read or looked at, a definition that does not include audio content in both digital and physical form.

The Government keeps all taxes under review, including VAT.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate he has made of the potential cost to the Exchequer of removing VAT from audiobooks; and if he will make a statement.

The extension of the zero rate of VAT has been introduced to provide consistency in approach between certain physical and digital publications in order to support reading and literacy in all its forms. Audiobooks are already taxed consistently at the standard rate in both physical and digital format.

In UK law, a book is deemed to be something that is read or looked at, a definition that does not include audio content in both digital and physical form.

The Government keeps all taxes under review, including VAT.

20th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

Information on average response times is not held.

However, in 2019, the Treasury replied to 90% of MPs’ correspondence within 15 working days.

The Treasury has received unprecedented amounts of correspondence since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. All Member’s correspondence is currently receiving attention and will be responded to as soon as possible.

18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor for the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that people who are unable to open a bank account when the contract with Post Office Ltd for the Post Office Card Account ends are able to access cash.

The government believes that individuals, regardless of their background or income, should have access to useful and affordable financial products and services, including a bank account.

Basic bank accounts are a key financial inclusion policy. They provide people with a way of receiving income, whether that be salary, pension, benefits or tax credits and enable people to manage their money on a day-to-day basis effectively, securely and confidently. A basic bank account is fee-free for all everyday banking services and has no overdraft facility.

The 9 largest personal current account providers in the UK are legally required to offer fee-free basic bank accounts to customers who do not have a bank account in the UK or who are ineligible for a bank’s standard current account.

The Treasury publishes data on basic bank accounts annually. The December 2019 publication shows that in total there are nearly 7.5 million basic bank accounts open in the UK.

For people who cannot access a bank account, the Department for Work and Pensions will continue to offer the HMG Payment Exception Service that allows customers access to funds via PayPoint outlets.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of continuing to cover the cost of replacing an expired 90 day vignette at a cost of £154 where a visa has expired due to flights being cancelled as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Home Office has taken active steps to assist individuals planning to come to the UK by extending the 30-day entry clearance vignettes to 90 days.

If their 90 day vignette has expired, the individual will need to apply for a replacement by completing the online form on GOV.UK:

https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/visa-type

We strongly advise individuals to only apply for a new visa, or apply to replace an expired vignette, when they are confident they can travel to the UK given the restrictions on international travel at this time.. The new vignette will be valid for a period of 90 days. If they cannot travel during this time, they may need to apply again to update their vignette.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to strengthen protections for consumers against online banking fraud.

ONS figures on fraud are broken down into ‘Bank and credit account fraud’, ‘Consumer and retail fraud’, ‘Advance fee fraud’ and ‘Other fraud’. There is no specific breakdown relating to online banking fraud, although last year (March 2020) 53% of all fraud incidents estimated by the CSEW were thought to be cyber-related.

Office of National Statistics: Cheque, plastic card and online bank accounts (not PSP) fraud reports, however, it’s worth nothing this will include individual victim reports and reports from businesses

Year ending September 2015

269,709

Year ending September 2016

284,743

Year ending September 2017

286,979

Year ending September 2018

270,154

Year ending September 2019

325,436

Year ending September 2020

311,625

The Government takes all forms of fraud very seriously and continues to work closely with the banking and finance industry, consumer protection and victim support groups to prevent scams by closing down the vulnerabilities fraudsters exploit in order and to ensure the victim remains at the centre of our considerations by making sure they are better protected.

The Government’s ambitious Economic Crime Plan (ECP) sets out the significant action we are taking in close conjunction with the private sector to combat all economic crimes.

The ECP sets out 7 priority areas agreed in January 2019 by the Economic Crime Strategic Board, the ministerial level public-private board charged with setting the UK’s strategic priorities for combatting economic crime and strengthening the powers and capabilities of law enforcement, powers, the justice system and private sector to detect, deter and disrupt https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/economic-crime-plan-2019-to-2022

We are also investing more to tackle economic crime. The 2020 Spending Review announced an increase in the Government’s efforts to combat economic crime by providing an additional £30.5 million in resource and £32.5 million in capital funding in 2021/22, including support for the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) and City of London Police as national lead force for fraud.

We have also launched the Suspicious Email Reporting Service, run by the National Cyber Security Centre, which enables the public to report scams and anything appearing suspicious. Already over 5 million reports have been received, leading to over 36,000 scams taken down from the internet and the closure of over 71,000 harmful websites.

The Financial Conduct Agency (FCA) requires banks to maintain effective systems and controls to prevent the risk they might be used for financial crime. The protection for consumers who fall victim to fraudulent transactions is set out in the Payment Services Regulations 2017 which state a customer who claims they did not authorise a transaction on their account must receive a refund from their bank, unless the bank has reasonable grounds to suspect the customer is liable for the transaction (for example due to customer fraud or gross negligence).

The Government is committed to tackling fraud and ensuring victims of Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams are protected. The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) published a call for views on APP scams in February 2021 which set out various measures which could deliver a higher level of protection for consumers. The Government looks forward to engaging with the outcomes of the PSR's call for views, including considering what further actions may be necessary to make progress on this issue.

Finally, it remains important the public reports fraud to Action Fraud either by phone on 0300 123 2040 or via:

http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

Scam emails and texts can be reported by texting your mobile provide on 7726 or forwarding suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many cases of online banking fraud against individuals there were in each year since 2015.

ONS figures on fraud are broken down into ‘Bank and credit account fraud’, ‘Consumer and retail fraud’, ‘Advance fee fraud’ and ‘Other fraud’. There is no specific breakdown relating to online banking fraud, although last year (March 2020) 53% of all fraud incidents estimated by the CSEW were thought to be cyber-related.

Office of National Statistics: Cheque, plastic card and online bank accounts (not PSP) fraud reports, however, it’s worth nothing this will include individual victim reports and reports from businesses

Year ending September 2015

269,709

Year ending September 2016

284,743

Year ending September 2017

286,979

Year ending September 2018

270,154

Year ending September 2019

325,436

Year ending September 2020

311,625

The Government takes all forms of fraud very seriously and continues to work closely with the banking and finance industry, consumer protection and victim support groups to prevent scams by closing down the vulnerabilities fraudsters exploit in order and to ensure the victim remains at the centre of our considerations by making sure they are better protected.

The Government’s ambitious Economic Crime Plan (ECP) sets out the significant action we are taking in close conjunction with the private sector to combat all economic crimes.

The ECP sets out 7 priority areas agreed in January 2019 by the Economic Crime Strategic Board, the ministerial level public-private board charged with setting the UK’s strategic priorities for combatting economic crime and strengthening the powers and capabilities of law enforcement, powers, the justice system and private sector to detect, deter and disrupt https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/economic-crime-plan-2019-to-2022

We are also investing more to tackle economic crime. The 2020 Spending Review announced an increase in the Government’s efforts to combat economic crime by providing an additional £30.5 million in resource and £32.5 million in capital funding in 2021/22, including support for the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) and City of London Police as national lead force for fraud.

We have also launched the Suspicious Email Reporting Service, run by the National Cyber Security Centre, which enables the public to report scams and anything appearing suspicious. Already over 5 million reports have been received, leading to over 36,000 scams taken down from the internet and the closure of over 71,000 harmful websites.

The Financial Conduct Agency (FCA) requires banks to maintain effective systems and controls to prevent the risk they might be used for financial crime. The protection for consumers who fall victim to fraudulent transactions is set out in the Payment Services Regulations 2017 which state a customer who claims they did not authorise a transaction on their account must receive a refund from their bank, unless the bank has reasonable grounds to suspect the customer is liable for the transaction (for example due to customer fraud or gross negligence).

The Government is committed to tackling fraud and ensuring victims of Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams are protected. The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) published a call for views on APP scams in February 2021 which set out various measures which could deliver a higher level of protection for consumers. The Government looks forward to engaging with the outcomes of the PSR's call for views, including considering what further actions may be necessary to make progress on this issue.

Finally, it remains important the public reports fraud to Action Fraud either by phone on 0300 123 2040 or via:

http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.

Scam emails and texts can be reported by texting your mobile provide on 7726 or forwarding suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the (a) average and (b) median response time to (i) ordinary and (ii) urgent email correspondence was for her Department's UK Visa and Immigration MP casework service in each month of the last three years.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has a target of responding to MPs written correspondence within 20 working days. UKVI has, during the current year, dealt with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. UKVI ensures urgent cases raised by Hon. Members are prioritised and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

UKVI does not measure the average or median time for responding to ordinary or e-mail correspondence from Hon. Members, however, the latest published data on UKVI performance against the service standard is held at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/customer-service-operations-data-august-2020

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2020
What recent assessment she has made of the implications of the covid-19 outbreak for her Department's priorities.

My Department continues to deliver on our core priorities of;

o protecting the public,

o securing our borders,

o and reforming our immigration system.

Current rates of staff absence due to Covid-19 do not present immediate risks to delivery of these.

The Home Office is also an integral part of the cross-Government Covid-19 response. To ensure the department is equipped to respond effectively some staff have been deployed to specific covid related activities.

We have also provided additional support for victims of domestic abuse who may feel particularly vulnerable at this time and implemented public health measures at the border to prevent a second wave of Coronavirus from imported cases.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to extend its contract with Post Office Ltd for biometric residence permit collections.

On 11 March 2020 it was decided to extend the existing contract for the collection of Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) from the Post Office Ltd until the end of February 2021.

We are conducting a review of the current contract which is likely to be completed by end of August 2020.? A decision will then be taken to further extend the existing Post Office contract or to tender for a new solution.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to extend its contract for ASPEN cards.

The Home Office’s contract to provide financial support to asylum seekers through an Aspen Card has been extended until 27 February 2021.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department plans to extend the contract with Sodexo for the provision of Aspen cards to asylum seekers.

A new supplier will provide payment card services following transition from the current provider, Sodexo. Timelines are currently being finalised.

31st Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether she plans to (a) extend or (b) replace the EnAble Fund for Elected Office.

It is the Government’s ambition to see more disabled people in public office. While financial support for candidates in elections is also a matter for political parties, the Government is considering what support it might provide to succeed the current EnAble fund. The Disability Unit is considering options in connection with the National Strategy for Disabled People, which is due to be published in 2020.

21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to his Department's Zero Tolerance policy published on 30 March 2022, whether his Department is taking steps to ensure that those policy changes apply to those convicted of sexual offences historically.

The policy is not intended to apply retrospectively, in keeping with the general principle that policy changes are not made retrospective to ensure fairness and the integrity of decisions made under previous policies. In relation to historic cases, those individuals will have been considered for Administrative Action (including discharge) in line with the policy in place in the relevant Service at the time.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to his Department's Zero Tolerance policy published on 30 March 2022, whether the policy of ensuring that those found guilty of sexual offences will be administratively discharged from service with no option to serve elsewhere will apply to historic charges of sexual offence.

The policy is not intended to apply retrospectively, in keeping with the general principle that policy changes are not made retrospective to ensure fairness and the integrity of decisions made under previous policies. In relation to historic cases, those individuals will have been considered for Administrative Action (including discharge) in line with the policy in place in the relevant Service at the time.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what support his Department's domestic abuse champion provides to (a) civilians who are victims of domestic violence perpetrated by serving military personnel and (b) serving or ex-serving military personnel who are victims of domestic violence perpetrated by serving personnel. .

Since 2018, we have engaged extensively on the issue of domestic violence, including with survivors' networks, and will shortly publish a revised version of our domestic abuse policy, further making it clear that domestic abuse is incompatible with military and civilian values. Wide ranging support for those impacted by domestic abuse is delivered through the single Services' specialist welfare teams, Unit Welfare Officers, medical staff and through pastoral care. This often involves emotional and practical support, safety and safeguarding planning, multi-agency working and signposting to external resources.

The Ministry of Defence's (MOD) Domestic Abuse Champion (DAC) acts as a critical friend to the Defence Domestic Abuse Working Group and promotes our initiatives aimed at tackling domestic abuse for all Defence personnel (serving and civilian). The MOD DAC is working to build an environment in which preventing and responding to domestic abuse and support is an everyday part of our conversations and where both victims and survivors feel confident to speak about their experiences and know where to get support.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department has taken to support victims of domestic violence where the perpetrators are serving military personnel.

Since 2018, we have engaged extensively on the issue of domestic violence, including with survivors' networks, and will shortly publish a revised version of our domestic abuse policy, further making it clear that domestic abuse is incompatible with military and civilian values. Wide ranging support for those impacted by domestic abuse is delivered through the single Services' specialist welfare teams, Unit Welfare Officers, medical staff and through pastoral care. This often involves emotional and practical support, safety and safeguarding planning, multi-agency working and signposting to external resources.

The Ministry of Defence's (MOD) Domestic Abuse Champion (DAC) acts as a critical friend to the Defence Domestic Abuse Working Group and promotes our initiatives aimed at tackling domestic abuse for all Defence personnel (serving and civilian). The MOD DAC is working to build an environment in which preventing and responding to domestic abuse and support is an everyday part of our conversations and where both victims and survivors feel confident to speak about their experiences and know where to get support.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what his Department's procedure is when establishing whether an armed forces member convicted of domestic violence, sexual assault or abuse should be (a) dismissed and (b) discharged.

In relation to sexual offences, on 30 March 2022 Defence published a 'Zero Tolerance to Sexual Offences' policy: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/defence-publishes-its-zero-tolerance-approach-to-sexual-offences. This policy mandates that anyone convicted of a sexual offence will be discharged. In relation to other non-sexual offences which may be committed under the catch-all term of 'domestic violence', such as battery or actual bodily harm, the Services will consider any conviction awarded to a Service person (Regular or Reserve) and take proportionate action in response. Serious offences will result in discharge.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the impact of the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 on intergovernmental relations.

I can assure the Honourable Lady that as the minister responsible for intergovernmental relations I speak to Cabinet colleagues regularly about the devolved governments’ views on UK Government policy.

Michael Gove
Minister for Intergovernmental Relations
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans his Department has to support employment projects for disabled people through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities.

A portion of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will support investment in people and skills, in communities and places and in local businesses, all tailored to local needs.

A second portion of the Fund will be targeted differently to people most in need, through bespoke employment and skills programmes. This will support improved employment outcomes for those in and out of work in specific groups of people who face labour market barriers.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission has made an assessment of the effect of the travel restrictions in relation to covid-19 on trends in the level of the cost of MP’s travel to Westminster.

Issues relating to the costs of MPs’ travel to Westminster are a matter for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

The Commission has ensured the Travel Office remains available to all members to facilitate their travel to and from Westminster and have made specific arrangements to ensure that accommodation is available where required.

Pete Wishart
Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has a target of responding within 20 working days where a response is required.

As you will understand, MHCLG is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. MHCLG ensures that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised, and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

18th May 2021
What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on plans to review the relationship between Government and the courts.

Her Majesty last week announced that there will be a bill in this session. our aim in any measures we take forward following our recent consultation will not be to curtail the power of the courts, as the Government’s critics have suggested, but rather to enhance it, and to restore the proper balance between courts, parliament and the executive.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many cases regarding the Child Maintenance Service have been heard at the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal in each of the last five years.

Information about Child Maintenance Service appeals received into the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) (SSCS) is published at www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics.

The latest period for which data are available is January to March 2020. The most recent tribunal statistics publications covering the period April to September 2020 do not include SSCS data due to issues identified as the Tribunal was being migrated to a new operational system. The data will be made available as soon as this is resolved and the data quality assured.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many hearings of the (a) first tier and (b) upper tier Social Security and Child Support Tribunals were adjourned in each of the last five years, and for what reasons those hearings were adjourned.

(1) (a) Data about adjournments for appeals to the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) (SSCS), are published annually, in June, at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics. The table below contains a breakdown of the reasons for adjournments.

Number and reasons1 for adjournments in First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) hearings

Financial Years – April to March

2014_2015

2015_2016

2016_2017

2017_2018

2018_2019

Adjournment reason/category

1st Tier Not Ready to Proceed

291

165

~

~

0

Adjourned, All Elements Adjourned

0

0

~

~

0

Adjourned, Element(s) Outstanding

0

0

0

~

~

Admin Not Ready to Proceed

1,119

629

17

38

15

Appellant Not Ready to Proceed

5,507

3,760

63

46

31

Appellant to attend - oral hearing requested - did not attend - no reason

0

316

1,041

1,276

1,785

Appellant to attend - oral hearing requested - did not attend - reason given

0

1,109

3,297

3,319

3,594

Appellant to attend - paper requested or no Enquiry Form returned

0

487

1,828

2,307

2,638

Documents supplied but not before the Tribunal at the hearing

0

107

301

332

335

Evidence or further Response from Respondent required

~

1,124

2,999

3,509

3,451

Evidence or submission from Appellant required

5

720

2,113

2,159

2,147

Further medical evidence essential

0

2,943

11,972

15,755

16,298

Insufficient time to deal with case

0

384

1,320

1,324

1,217

No Interpreter

0

316

1,236

989

1,186

Other administrative errors

0

240

927

1,203

1,226

Other reasons for adjourning

~

1,674

5,974

7,933

7,976

Part Allowed

0

0

~

~

0

Presenting Officer to attend

0

84

212

183

128

Respondent failed to comply with directions

0

46

120

80

51

Tribunal Not Ready to Proceed

20,468

14,161

563

426

278

Adjournments as a % of hearings listed2

17%

17%

17%

18%

20%

1 Prior to November 2015 there were four adjournment categories: First Tier Not Ready to Proceed; Admin Not Ready to Proceed; Appellant Not Ready to Proceed; and Tribunal Not Ready to Proceed. The additional categories as above were introduced from November 2015.

~ Equates to a value of fewer than five.

2 Proportion of listed hearings for the totals are weighted averages.

The data may differ slightly to that of the published statistics where reports were run on a different date.

(1) (b) The data for the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeal Chamber) which hears appeals against decisions made by SSCS are not held centrally, and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

(2) (a) and (b) these data are not held centrally.

The decision to adjourn a hearing is a judicial function. The panel will only proceed when it is

satisfied it has all the evidence it needs to make a fair and just decision and that may

include further medical evidence.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many hearings of the (a) first tier and (b) upper tier Social Security and Child Support Tribunals were adjourned due to the appellant not receiving their appeal bundle in each of the last five years.

(1) (a) Data about adjournments for appeals to the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) (SSCS), are published annually, in June, at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics. The table below contains a breakdown of the reasons for adjournments.

Number and reasons1 for adjournments in First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) hearings

Financial Years – April to March

2014_2015

2015_2016

2016_2017

2017_2018

2018_2019

Adjournment reason/category

1st Tier Not Ready to Proceed

291

165

~

~

0

Adjourned, All Elements Adjourned

0

0

~

~

0

Adjourned, Element(s) Outstanding

0

0

0

~

~

Admin Not Ready to Proceed

1,119

629

17

38

15

Appellant Not Ready to Proceed

5,507

3,760

63

46

31

Appellant to attend - oral hearing requested - did not attend - no reason

0

316

1,041

1,276

1,785

Appellant to attend - oral hearing requested - did not attend - reason given

0

1,109

3,297

3,319

3,594

Appellant to attend - paper requested or no Enquiry Form returned

0

487

1,828

2,307

2,638

Documents supplied but not before the Tribunal at the hearing

0

107

301

332

335

Evidence or further Response from Respondent required

~

1,124

2,999

3,509

3,451

Evidence or submission from Appellant required

5

720

2,113

2,159

2,147

Further medical evidence essential

0

2,943

11,972

15,755

16,298

Insufficient time to deal with case

0

384

1,320

1,324

1,217

No Interpreter

0

316

1,236

989

1,186

Other administrative errors

0

240

927

1,203

1,226

Other reasons for adjourning

~

1,674

5,974

7,933

7,976

Part Allowed

0

0

~

~

0

Presenting Officer to attend

0

84

212

183

128

Respondent failed to comply with directions

0

46

120

80

51

Tribunal Not Ready to Proceed

20,468

14,161

563

426

278

Adjournments as a % of hearings listed2

17%

17%

17%

18%

20%

1 Prior to November 2015 there were four adjournment categories: First Tier Not Ready to Proceed; Admin Not Ready to Proceed; Appellant Not Ready to Proceed; and Tribunal Not Ready to Proceed. The additional categories as above were introduced from November 2015.

~ Equates to a value of fewer than five.

2 Proportion of listed hearings for the totals are weighted averages.

The data may differ slightly to that of the published statistics where reports were run on a different date.

(1) (b) The data for the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeal Chamber) which hears appeals against decisions made by SSCS are not held centrally, and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

(2) (a) and (b) these data are not held centrally.

The decision to adjourn a hearing is a judicial function. The panel will only proceed when it is

satisfied it has all the evidence it needs to make a fair and just decision and that may

include further medical evidence.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 11 February 2020 to Question 13485 on EnAble Fund for Elected Office, how many applications to the EnAble Fund were made by candidates standing in (a) the 2019 UK General Election, and (b) a Westminster by-election since the launch of that fund.

The interim EnAble Fund for Elected Office was set up to cover scheduled elections between December 2018 and March 2020, meaning that funding was not allocated to cover the 2019 General Election. We are exploring options to provide retrospective payments to eligible General Election candidates.

Candidates seeking support for a Parliamentary by-election are considered on a case-by-case basis. We have not received any applications for any Westminster by-elections since the launch of the fund.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
4th Nov 2020
What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect of the UK Internal Market Bill on Northern Ireland.

The UK Internal Market Bill is economically important for Northern Ireland. It ensures direct trade from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will continue as it does now, delivering this Government’s clear commitment to provide for unfettered access in legislation.

But the Bill’s significance is not just economic. The Government is taking powers in reserve to create a legal safety net that guard against the harmful legal defaults in the Protocol, in the event that agreement with the EU is not reached in Joint Committee discussions.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland speaks frequently with Cabinet colleagues on a range of matters including these points.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

As encouraged by Cabinet Office guidance to set challenging deadlines, the Northern Ireland Office has a target of responding within 15 working days where a response is required.

As you will understand, the Northern Ireland Office is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to Covid-19. The Northern Ireland Office ensures that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised, and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Leader of the House, what plans he has to enable hon. Members that are required to self-isolate as a result of a (a) contact identified through the Government’s test, trace, isolate programme, (b) a positive test for covid-19 by (i) themselves and (ii) a member of their household and (c) member of their household displays symptoms of covid-19 to participate in (A) votes and (b) parliamentary proceedings.

I would encourage all MPs that are able to do so to return to Parliament. I recognise that health is a personal matter and MPs with health concerns will need to make their own decision about what is appropriate for them. My expectation is that the pairing arrangements will apply to members in cases of illness in the usual way.

For those Members unable to attend Westminster for medical or public health reasons related to the pandemic, I have tabled a motion to allow participation in proceedings on Questions, Urgent Questions and Statements virtually. The Government has also committed to enabling proxy voting for those who are shielding or clinically vulnerable.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency)
13th May 2020
To ask the Leader of the House, what steps he is taking to arrange for the participation in votes and proceedings of the House from 2 June 2020 of Members who have been advised by their country’s Chief Medical Officer that they are clinically extremely vulnerable to covid-19 and must not leave their homes during the pandemic.

It is the Government’s clear view that the current hybrid arrangements are temporary, and that as essential workers, the vast majority of MPs must return to parliament physically so that we can pass legislation and enable proper scrutiny of government.

However, someone’s health is a deeply personal matter and if any MPs have been advised to shield by the government and therefore cannot attend the House, the Government is looking at options for participation in some proceedings. For those MPs who will attend the House, we will continue to work in line with public health advice and will work closely with the House authorities to agree social distancing measures ahead of any physical return of Parliament.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency)
13th May 2020
To ask the Leader of the House, what discussions he has had with the Chief Medical Officers of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the effect on the health and wellbeing of Members and staff on the parliamentary estate of the reintroduction of full physical parliamentary proceedings on 2 June 2020.

The Government is clear about the need to bring Parliament back to work in a safe, responsible way that aligns with public health guidelines that apply to all places of work. We will work closely with the House authorities ahead of any physical return of Parliament and since March there has been frequent communication with Public Health England and all the House Authorities.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency)
13th May 2020
To ask the Leader of the House, what discussions he has had with the House of Commons Commission on the effect on the Business of the House in the event that a case of covid-19 is confirmed in a person who had been present in the Chamber during a sitting of the House while infectious.

I have been in regular contact with the Speaker and Clerk of the House throughout Parliament’s response to covid-19. In the same way that we prepared for the House’s virtual return after Easter we will work in collaboration with the House Authorities to ensure that we are ready for the physical return. The Commission will be meeting tomorrow to discuss these matters further. We are clear about the need to bring Parliament back to work in a safe, responsible way that aligns with public health guidelines.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Minister of State (Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency)
9th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) effectiveness of the operation of the Sewel Convention and (b) ability of the Scottish Parliament to carry out its legislative functions on devolved matters.

Scotland’s two governments continue to work well together in line with the established practices of the Sewel Convention, a convention that has been used hundreds of times since the creation of the devolution settlement. The Scottish Government supported legislative consent motions for 19 UK Government bills in the last UK Parliamentary session.

The UK Government fully respects the devolution settlement as set out in the Scotland Act 1998, including the Scottish Parliament’s competence to legislate in respect of devolved matters.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland has a target of responding within 20 working days where a response is required. As you will understand, the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland is currently dealing with unprecedented volumes of correspondence due to COVID-19. The Department ensures that urgent cases raised by hon. Members are prioritised, and is taking steps to provide substantive responses in as short a time as possible.

All correspondence received from hon. Members is being reviewed and will be responded to as soon as possible.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what the average length of time was for Ministers of his Department to respond to correspondence from hon. Members in each month in the last two years.

In line with Cabinet Office guidance, the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has a target of responding to correspondence within 15 working days where a response is required. The average length of time over the past 2 years is set out below:

Month

Average response time in working days

May 2018

11

June 2018

7

July 2018

12

August 2018

7

September 2018

22

October 2018

11

November 2018

10

December 2018

No responses required to hon. Members

January 2019

7

February 2019

No responses required to hon. Members

March 2019

10

April 2019

No responses required to hon. Members

May 2019

12

June 2019

5

July 2019

4

August 2019

14

September 2019

No responses required to hon. Members

October 2019

15

November 2019

No responses required to hon. Members

December 2019

No responses required to hon. Members

January 2020

15

February 2020

7

March 2020

7

April 2020

6