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Written Question
Universal Credit
6 Sep 2021

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 18 May 2021 to Question 1111 on Universal Credit, what progress she is making on automating the identification of claimants impacted by the decision of the Court of Appeal in June 2020 in the case of Johnson, Woods, Barrett and Stewart v. the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Answered by Will Quince

We have successfully delivered the automation which allows us to identify and take action when claimants are impacted by two earnings in the one assessment period.


Written Question
National Insurance
12 Jul 2021

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to help ensure that requests for National Insurance numbers are processed in an efficient and timely manner for people who have been granted a Turkish Businessperson visa.

Answered by Guy Opperman

We recently reviewed the National Insurance number process for Turkish Businesspersons and introduced a more streamlined process for this group on 9th June 2021. The new process accepts the Biometric Residence Permit as evidence of their self-employment, removing the previous need for them to provide evidence that they were gainfully self-employed.


Written Question
Children: Poverty
7 Jun 2021

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the levels of child poverty in (a) Scotland and (b) Glenrothes constituency.

Answered by Will Quince

This Government is wholly committed to tackling poverty. Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to support the most vulnerable including through spending an additional £7.4billion to strengthen the welfare system, taking our total expenditure on welfare support for people of working age to an estimated £112 billion in 2020/21.

National Statistics on the number and percentage of children in low income are published annually in the “Households Below Average Income” publication. Data for Glenrothes is unavailable due to insufficient sample size.

Latest statistics for the levels of children who are in low income in Scotland, covering 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-for-financial-years-ending-1995-to-2020,“children-hbai-timeseries-1994-95-2019-20-tables” in table 4.16ts (relative low income, before and after housing costs) and in table 4.22ts (absolute low income, before and after housing costs).

In the three years to 2019/20, the absolute child poverty rate, before housing costs, in Scotland was 17%, down 2 percentage points since the three years to 2009/10.

The Department now publishes supplementary official statistics on the number of children in low income families at constituency level. Children in Low Income Families data is published annually.

The latest figures on the number of children who are in low income in Glenrothes and in Scotland, covering 2019/20, can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-2014-to-2020/children-in-low-income-families-local-area-statistics-fye-2015-to-fye-2020.

Due to methodological differences, the figures in these two publications are not comparable



Written Question
Children: Poverty
7 Jun 2021

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the £20 uplift in universal credit on levels of child poverty in (a) Scotland and (b) Glenrothes constituency.

Answered by Will Quince

No assessment has been made.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending an estimated £112 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

As the economy recovers, our ambition is to help people move into and progress in work as quickly as possible based on clear evidence around the importance of employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of poverty. We are investing over £30 billion in our ambitious Plan for Jobs which is already delivering for people of all ages right across the country.


Written Question
Universal Credit
18 May 2021

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on ensuring that monthly salaries are automatically reallocated within assessment periods for universal credit, where a claimant gets two monthly salary payments in a single assessment period following the decision made by the Court of Appeal in June 2020 in the case of Johnson, Woods, Barrett and Stewart v. the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Answered by Will Quince

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

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

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


Written Question
Child Maintenance Service: Complaints
17 May 2021

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints were received by the Child Maintenance Service in (a) 2020 and (b) 2019.

Answered by Guy Opperman

The Department has received CMS complaints in these years as follows:

2018/2019

2019/2020

2020/2021

Caseload

475,200

515,600

548,400

Complaints

7,235

10,315

6,196

The data includes both Collect & Pay and Direct Pay. It should be noted that each case has at least two customers associated with it (Paying and Receiving parents) and on occasion, there may be two complaints relating to a single case.


Written Question
Child Maintenance Services: Maladministration
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total value of consolatory payments paid out for poor customer service by the Child Maintenance Service was in the 12 months since 16 March 2020.

Answered by Guy Opperman

The Department is unable to provide the data in respect of the total value of consolatory payments paid out for poor customer service by the Child Maintenance Service in the last 12 months. Data for 2020/21 is currently being finalised as part of the end of operational year activities.

Combined DWP figures for maladministration and redress are published in the Department’s Annual Report and Accounts.


Written Question
Child Maintenance Services: Complaints
29 Apr 2021

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints were received by the Child Maintenance Service in (a) 2020 and (b) 2019.

Answered by Guy Opperman

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Dissolution.


Written Question
National Insurance Contributions
20 Apr 2021

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 1 March 2021 to Question 157313 on National Insurance Contributions, what progress her Department has made on provision of a National Insurance Number service to the majority of people.

Answered by Guy Opperman

The National Insurance Number Service is now available to all applicants living in England and Wales and, in line with Scottish Government guidelines, will be available, in Scotland, from week commencing 26th April when our face to face service resumes.


Written Question
Pensions: Uprating
25 Mar 2021

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of using the consumer prices index including housing to calculate pension increases for defined benefit pension schemes.

Answered by Guy Opperman

No assessment has been made.

Private pension increases are calculated according to the rules of the scheme.


Written Question
Child Maintenance Service: ICT
9 Mar 2021

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to resolve the problems with the CMS IT system which suspends the collection of Child Maintenance Service debt.

Answered by Guy Opperman

We are not aware of any issues regarding Child Maintenance System and the suspension of debt.


Written Question
Child Support Agency: ICT
1 Mar 2021

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to resolve as soon as possible the problems with the computer system which writes off CSA debt.

Answered by Guy Opperman

Whilst some Child Support Agency (CSA) debt was automatically written-off in the main, once representation has taken place, where write off is appropriate, this is a manual process.

The majority of the CSA debt write off has been completed and CSA systems (CSCS and CS2) have now been decommissioned.

The write off process for CSA debt held on Child Maintenance System is ongoing and we are not aware of any issues with this process.


Written Question
Department for Work and Pensions: Secondment
6 Jul 2020

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of her Department's staff have been seconded to other Government departments during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Mims Davies

As the Department for Work and Pensions is a critical department during the COVID-19 outbreak, and has experienced a significant increase in demand for our services, it has undertaken a small number of secondments and loans of members of staff to other Government departments.

As at April 2020, the Department had 78,138 staff and we have seconded or loaned out only a very low number of individuals.


Written Question
Children: Maintenance
24 Jun 2020

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of delays by the Child Maintenance Service in pursuing payments for resident parents during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Mims Davies

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.

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.

In order to ensure that receiving parents do not lose out in the long run, we will update calculations as soon as possible and collect any unpaid amounts that may have accrued. The small minority who might be found to be abusing the system at this difficult time could potentially find themselves subject to the full extent of our enforcement powers once the emergency passes.

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.


Written Question
Employment and Support Allowance
10 Feb 2020

Questioner: Peter Grant (SNP - Glenrothes)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department takes to ensure that claimants who are found to be eligible for employment support allowance but don't receive payments due to their household income, are encouraged to continue to apply to make sure that they receive their National Insurance contributions.

Answered by Justin Tomlinson

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) the “new style” benefit is solely based on the claimant’s national insurance (NI) contributions. The income-related strands of the benefit have been removed. This means that New Style ESA (NS ESA) can be paid alongside Universal Credit (UC), where appropriate.

Claimants who don’t qualify for UC, due to the level of their household income, might still qualify for NS ESA.

If eligible for NS ESA, a claimant will be awarded a Class 1 NI credit for each complete benefit week that the benefit is in payment. A benefit week runs from Sunday to Saturday.

Where there is no entitlement to NS ESA, a person may still be entitled to NI credits provided they continue to meet the eligibility conditions.

Information about claiming NI credits is included in the decision letter sent to the claimant informing them that they are not entitled to ESA. It is also available on Gov.UK.