Ruth George Portrait

Ruth George

Labour - Former Member for High Peak


Division Voting information

Ruth George has voted in 417 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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All Debates

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
Mel Stride (Conservative)
(27 debate interactions)
Justin Tomlinson (Conservative)
(26 debate interactions)
Rory Stewart (Independent)
(22 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Department for Work and Pensions
(117 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(98 debate contributions)
Ministry of Justice
(57 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(56 debate contributions)
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Legislation Debates
Finance Act 2019 - Government Bill
(2,093 words contributed)
Finance Act 2018 - Government Bill
(2,058 words contributed)
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View all Ruth George's debates

Latest EDMs signed by Ruth George

14th October 2019
Ruth George signed this EDM on Thursday 24th October 2019

Mineworkers' Pension Scheme

Tabled by: Grahame Morris (Labour - Easington)
That this House recognises the debt of honour it owes mineworkers who sacrificed their health working in dark and dangerous conditions to fuel the industry that created the nation's wealth; believes that in their retirement, miners and their widows deserve financial security; expresses concern that over £8 billion has been …
26 signatures
(Most recent: 16 Dec 2019)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 17
Independent: 3
Conservative: 2
Scottish National Party: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Green Party: 1
14th October 2019
Ruth George signed this EDM on Thursday 24th October 2019

Athletics World Championships

Tabled by: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)
That this House notes the British golds in the Women's heptathlon and 200m at the Athletics World Championships; congratulates Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Dina Asher-Smith on their tremendous achievements as well as the rest of team GB; thanks the coaches and those who put so much time and effort behind the …
22 signatures
(Most recent: 4 Nov 2019)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 8
Democratic Unionist Party: 7
Conservative: 3
Scottish National Party: 2
Independent: 2
View All Ruth George's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Ruth George, 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.


Ruth George has not been granted any Urgent Questions

3 Adjournment Debates led by Ruth George

Tuesday 9th April 2019
Friday 8th February 2019
Tuesday 19th June 2018

1 Bill introduced by Ruth George


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make it an offence to use a sky lantern; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 27th March 2019
(Read Debate)

327 Written Questions

(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
24th May 2018
To ask the Attorney General, how many CPS applications to extend the custody time limit for bail have been made for (a) drug offences, (b) rape charges, (c) firearms offences, (d) other dangerous weapon offences, (e) grievous bodily harm, (f) manslaughter, (g) murder and (h) all other offences in (i) Derbyshire and (ii) each region of the UK in the last five years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not collect data on the number of applications made by the CPS to the courts to extend custody time limits or on applications made by the CPS to the court to extend pre-charge bail periods. Such information could only be obtained through a manual search of records which would incur disproportionate cost.

24th May 2018
To ask the Attorney General, how many successful CPS applications to extend the custody time limit for bail have been made for (a) drug offences, (b) rape charges, (c) firearms offences, (d) other dangerous weapon offences, (e) grievous bodily harm, (f) manslaughter, (g) murder and (h) all other offences in (i) Derbyshire and (ii) each region on the UK in the last five years.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not collect data on the outcome of applications made by the CPS to the courts to extend custody time limits or the outcome of applications made by the CPS to the court to extend pre-charge bail periods. Such information could only be obtained through a manual search of records which would incur disproportionate cost.

21st Feb 2019
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many children under the age of 16 have had a (a) fatal and (b) non-fatal paracetamol overdose in each of the last 10 years.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2019
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many children under the age of 18 have had a (a) fatal and (b) non-fatal paracetamol overdose in each of the last 10 years.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th Dec 2018
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many and what proportion of families in each of the constituent parts of the UK have (a) three, (b) four and (c) five or more dependent children.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Oct 2019
What recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on rail stations that are inaccessible to people with disabilities; and if she will make a statement.

We are committed to improving accessibility at rail stations, and have recently extended the Access for All programme with £300m to provide accessibility improvements at even more stations. This is in addition to improvements required whenever infrastructure work is carried out at a station by the industry.

26th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether her Department plans to include carbon emissions from UK Overseas Territories in its carbon accounting processes for the Paris Agreement.

The Department is consulting with UK Overseas Territories as to whether they would like to have the UK’s ratification of the Paris Agreement extended to them. For those UK Overseas Territories that so choose, the Department will work with them to ensure they are ready to implement the Paris Agreement and to regularly report to the Department on that implementation.

Under the accounting and transparency rules for the Paris Agreement agreed at COP24 in December 2018, any UK Overseas Territories included in the geographic scope of UK’s ratification of the Paris Agreement in future will also need to be included in the UK’s accounting for and regular reporting on emissions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The UK was the first major economy in the world to legislate for a net zero target. The target is enshrined under the Climate Change Act 2008 which does not apply to UK Overseas Territories.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
26th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if her Department will work with the UK Overseas Territories to reduce their carbon emissions as part of the UK’s (a) contribution towards the Paris Agreement and (b) Net Zero commitment.

The Department is consulting with UK Overseas Territories as to whether they would like to have the UK’s ratification of the Paris Agreement extended to them. For those UK Overseas Territories that so choose, the Department will work with them to ensure they are ready to implement the Paris Agreement and to regularly report to the Department on that implementation.

Under the accounting and transparency rules for the Paris Agreement agreed at COP24 in December 2018, any UK Overseas Territories included in the geographic scope of UK’s ratification of the Paris Agreement in future will also need to be included in the UK’s accounting for and regular reporting on emissions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The UK was the first major economy in the world to legislate for a net zero target. The target is enshrined under the Climate Change Act 2008 which does not apply to UK Overseas Territories.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
11th Jun 2019
What recent assessment his Department has made of the equity of employment contract terms and conditions in the supermarket sector.

The Government is committed to upgrading workers’ rights and protecting the most vulnerable workers. Our legal framework already ensures that employers should always treat their employees fairly, and our Good Work Plan will introduce the biggest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation.

In the retail sector specifically, the industry-led Retail Sector Council has identified employment as a priority workstream and this will be discussed at our next meeting on 20 June.

26th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the scientific reasons are for not continuing the Cardiff Bay Tidal Power scheme.

In his statement on Monday 25th June 2015, my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy informed Parliament that a value for money assessment if the proposed Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and the subsequent programme of lagoons (including the proposed Cardiff Bay lagoon) did not represent value for money for the tax payer and consumer.

The summary value for money statement can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/swansea-bay-tidal-lagoon-value-for-money-assessment.

18th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Energy Company Obligation measures have been delivered to off-gas grid homes using (a) heating oil and (b) liquefied petroleum gas.

The Energy Company Obligation delivered approximately 69,000 measures to oil heated homes and 8,000 measures to liquefied petroleum gas heated homes that are not thought to have a mains gas supply between January 2013 and March 2018.

18th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many Energy Company Obligation measures have been delivered to off-gas grid homes using (a) heating oil and (b) LPG in the High Peak constituency.

The Energy Company Obligation delivered approximately 30 measures to oil or liquefied petroleum gas heated homes in High Peak constituency that are not thought to have a mains gas supply between January 2013 and March 2018. Due to the small sample we are not able to provide a breakdown between oil and liquefied petroleum gas, due to disclosure issues.

18th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how obligated Energy Company Obligation suppliers identify off-gas grid homes for the purposes of the rural sub-obligation of the Energy Company Obligation.

Obligated suppliers can identify off-gas grid homes through off-grid maps. There are several maps and data available online that suppliers could use. Maps such as those found on Xoserve.com and nongasmap.com can be detailed enough to show postcodes in off-gas grid areas. Government also publishes local authority area statistics of households not connected to the gas network.

Those off-gas grid could be supported under ECO with the installation of a first time central heating system, and this support can be linked to connection to the gas grid under the Fuel Poverty Network Extension Scheme. This scheme requires gas distribution companies to extend their network to communities where fuel poverty is high.

18th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will mandate ECO3-obligated suppliers to deliver a minimum number of energy efficiency measures to off-grid homes under the rural sub-obligation of the Energy Company Obligation.

Department has recently consulted on the future ECO scheme that will run from October 2018 until March 2022.

This consultation proposed that the future scheme have a 15% rural sub-obligation to safeguard delivery for rural homes. Within that sub-obligation, the consultation also proposed that measures delivered to off-grid homes continue to receive an uplift (i.e. increased score) to encourage delivery to off-grid homes.

The response to the consultation will be published shortly.

15th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government's policy is on UK laboratories continuing to be able to be certified to EU standards under the ATEX directive after March 2019.

The UK is working towards a comprehensive future agreement with the EU which includes securing the freest and most frictionless trade possible in goods. The UK wants to ensure a smooth exit which minimises disruption for businesses and consumers when goods are placed on the UK and EU market. With regards to third party conformity and certification procedures, the Government’s aim is to provide maximum legal certainty and confidence to citizens, consumers and businesses.

9th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when his Department plans to implement the proposals resulting from the 2016 Review of the Corporate Insolvency Framework consultation.

In May 2016 the Government published its Review of the Corporate Insolvency Framework consultation. The consultation contained a package of proposals to improve the rescue opportunities for financially-distressed companies.

A summary of responses to the consultation was published in September 2016.

Following the publication of the summary of responses, the Government has continued to engage with a range of interested parties to further discuss and explore issues raised in responses to the consultation. This further engagement will ensure that any reforms, if necessary, will be fit for purpose and best achieve the Government’s aims of rescuing distressed but viable businesses, preserving economic value and saving jobs.

The Government will set out the way forward for the proposals in its response later this year.

25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the balance between (a) theoretical and (b) practice-based content in postgraduate courses in play therapy.

Universities are autonomous institutions and responsible for the content of their courses, including quality and standards. The Department for Education does not assess individual courses or make judgements about the content of courses.

However, the Office for Students (OfS) is responsible for protecting the interests of all students and the quality of all regulated provision, working with the designated quality body, the Quality Assurance Agency. The OfS expects higher education providers to ensure they enable students to progress to employment, including by working with employers on the content of courses. This is particularly relevant where there are professional bodies with an interest in the abilities and standard of graduates and post-graduates. The OfS also manages the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework.

The government has a role in ensuring a framework exists to understand and provide for skills needs at a national and local level.

25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the availability of postgraduate training in practice-based play therapy in each region of England.

Universities are autonomous institutions and responsible for the content of their courses, including quality and standards. The Department for Education does not assess individual courses or make judgements about the content of courses.

However, the Office for Students (OfS) is responsible for protecting the interests of all students and the quality of all regulated provision, working with the designated quality body, the Quality Assurance Agency. The OfS expects higher education providers to ensure they enable students to progress to employment, including by working with employers on the content of courses. This is particularly relevant where there are professional bodies with an interest in the abilities and standard of graduates and post-graduates. The OfS also manages the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework.

The government has a role in ensuring a framework exists to understand and provide for skills needs at a national and local level.

19th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for resources to engage parents and carers of children in receipt of therapeutic services within school; and if he will make a statement.

The department places a high priority on supporting parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Engaging parents fully in determining support for children with SEND is a critical part of the SEND reforms. Section 19 of the Children and Families Act places a duty on local authorities and others to listen to and take account of the views of parents in SEND matters.

The department continues to support families by funding parent carer forums (PCF) in each local authority area, providing £15,000 per year per PCF. The department also funds plus £1.9 million per year until March 2020 to support strategic participation and co-production with local authorities and other partners, by parents and young people through the charity Contact.

The department is also providing £20 million until March 2020 to improve the quality of local authority SEND Information, Advice and Support Services (IASS), and to provide a national helpline and online support.

The IASS support builds on the £60m per year Independent Supporters programme (between 2014-18), which provided support to families going through the Education, Health and Care needs assessment and plan process.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
10th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the provision of professional training for people who work therapeutically with children and young people on mental health issues; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, meets regularly with Cabinet colleagues to discuss the Department for Education's agenda.

The Department for Education committed in 2017, jointly with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), to an ambitious programme to improve children and young people’s mental health provision in and around schools and colleges. This is highlighted in the Government’s response to the green paper, ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision’. Further information on the Government’s proposals can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/transforming-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-provision-a-green-paper.

Issues related to the professional training of those who work therapeutically with children and young people on mental health issues are the responsibility of the DHSC.

29th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of families that have a child eligible for 30 hours of free childcare but mistakenly do not apply for an eligibility code on such families' (a) financial situation and (b) ability to work.

The government is committed to ensuring parents who want it have access to high-quality childcare to support them financially and to enable them to work, or work more hours. We have invested in strong and clear communications on the 30 hours offer, including on the cross government website, Childcare Choices (www.childcarechoices.gov.uk), which clearly sets out how and when a parent can access a place.

Parents who are eligible for 30 hours but do not apply for any reason are eligible for the universal 15 hour per week early education entitlement. They can also take advantage of Tax-Free Childcare which was introduced earlier this year.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
24th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) financial situation and (b) ability to work of families that have a child eligible for 30 hours of free childcare of not applying for an eligibility code for that childcare.

The government is committed to ensuring parents who want it have access to high-quality childcare to support them financially and to enable them to work, or work more hours. We do not expect all parents who are eligible for the 30 hours offer to take up a place for their child - parents may choose to use other childcare arrangements, for example, family members.

Parents who are eligible for 30 hours but do not apply are eligible for the universal 15 hour per week early education entitlement. They can also take advantage of Tax-Free Childcare which was introduced earlier this year.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support his Department has made available for families that have a child eligible for 30 hours of free childcare but mistakenly do not apply for an eligibility code.

The government is committed to ensuring parents have access to high-quality affordable childcare. The termly deadline for the 30 hours offer has been made clear to local authorities, providers and parents, and the department expects parents to adhere to these deadlines to ensure they are able to access a 30 hours place for their child.

The government has invested in strong and clear communications on the 30 hours offer, including a cross government website, Childcare Choices, which clearly sets out how and when a parent can access a place: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk. The department recognises that some applications may be delayed in the childcare service, that is why we have put in place a 14-day discretionary period for those parents who applied in time but received a code after the deadline, through no fault of their own.

Parents who are eligible for 30 hours of free childcare but miss the termly deadline will continue to remain eligible for the universal 15 hour per week early education entitlement before they can access a 30 hours place the following term. They can also take advantage of Tax-Free Childcare which was introduced earlier this year.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing local authorities with a discretionary fund to support families that have a child eligible for 30 hours of free childcare but mistakenly do not apply for an eligibility code.

The government is committed to ensuring parents have access to high-quality affordable childcare. The termly deadline for the 30 hours offer has been made clear to local authorities, providers and parents, and the department expects parents to adhere to these deadlines in order to ensure they are able to access a 30 hours place for their child.

The government has invested in strong and clear communications on the 30 hours offer, including a cross government website, Childcare Choices, which clearly sets out how and when a parent can access a place: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk. The department recognises that some applications may be delayed in the Childcare Service and we have put in place a 14 day discretionary period for those parents who applied in time but received a code after the deadline, through no fault of their own.

During the first year of delivery, over 379,000 codes were successfully generated by parents applying through the HM Revenue and Customs Childcare Service, with around 340,000 places being taken up by working parents across the country, taking huge pressures off family lives and budgets.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
22nd Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many people have applied for an eligibility code for 30 hours of free childcare after the deadline in each of the terms to date.

During the first year of delivery, over 379,000 eligibility codes were successfully generated by parents applying through HM Revenue and Customs Childcare Service.

This breaks down across each of the terms as follows:

  • Autumn term 2017 – 224,885 codes
  • Spring term 2018 – 329,195 codes
  • Summer term 2018 – 379,662 codes
  • Autumn term 2018 – 254,136 codes

We publish termly management information releases showing the number of codes generated each term. The full publication, which shows local authority and regional level breakdowns, is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/30-hours-free-childcare-eligibility-codes-issued-and-validated.

The government has invested in strong and clear communications on the 30 hours offer, including a cross government website, Childcare Choices, which clearly sets out how and when a parent can access a place – www.childcarechoices.gov.uk. The department recognises that some applications may be delayed in the Childcare Service, that is why we have put in place a 14 day discretionary period for those parents who applied in time but received a code after the deadline, through no fault of their own.

Although the department holds data on the number of eligibility codes and when they were issued, we are unable to determine in which term a parent intends to take up a place, as this is dependent on circumstances and choices of the individual parent.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
13th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, which schools are in the 20 per cent most deprived areas.

The department does not routinely produce information about schools in the 20% most deprived areas. The department’s main measure of deprivation is the percentage of pupils eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) and this is included in School Performance Tables. The full list of FSM rates per school can be downloaded from the School Performance Tables website and ranked accordingly: https://www.compare-school-performance.service.gov.uk/.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
13th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of pupils permanently excluded from schools in Derbyshire at key stage (a) 1, (b) 2, (c) 3 and (d) 4 in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of permanent exclusions in Derbyshire broken down by year group is published in the ‘Permanent and fixed-period exclusions in England 2015 to 2016’ National Statistics release, available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england-2015-to-2016.[1] Total exclusion figures for each key stage are not published.

A table is attached showing the total Number and Rate of permanent exclusions in Derbyshire Local Authority from 2011/12 to 2015/16, broken down by year group.

[1] Underlying exclusions data for local authorities can be found in the file SFR_35_2017_LA_characteristics.csv, also available to view at the above site.

31st Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children will be eligible for free school meals as a result of the protections for entitlement under the existing arrangements.

As explained in our consultation paper, we have recently brought forward proposals to update the temporary criteria for free school meals eligibility under universal credit. In setting these new criteria, we are ensuring that the new arrangements are fair, consistent and simple to deliver. The consultation paper is available to view here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/healthy-pupil-unit/fsm/.

Last year, around 1.1 million of the most disadvantaged children were eligible for and claiming a free meal. As a result of our proposed criteria, we estimate that by 2022 around 50,000 more children will benefit from a free school meal compared to the previous benefits system.

In addition, we will also provide generous protections to ensure that no child will lose out as a result of these changes up until the end of the rollout of universal credit. This is part of ongoing policy development.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will estimate how many children will become eligible for free school meals in each of the next 5 years under (a) proposal in the Eligibility for free school meals and the early years pupil premium under Universal Credit government consultation and (b) existing rules of eligibility.

As explained in our consultation paper, we have recently brought forward proposals to update the temporary criteria for free school meals eligibility under Universal Credit. In setting these new criteria, we are ensuring that the new arrangements are fair, consistent and simple to deliver. The consultation paper is available to view here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/healthy-pupil-unit/fsm/.

Free school meals are targeted at children who need them most. If all children in families receiving Universal Credit were to become eligible for a free school meal this would result in around half of school age pupils becoming eligible compared to a current rate of around 14%.

Under our proposed new criteria, we estimate that by 2022 around 50,000 more children will benefit from a free school meal compared to the previous benefits system.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
30th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many families would be better off reducing their income to less than £7,400 a year to secure free school meals.

The information requested is not held centrally. The government recently held a public consultation on setting a net earnings threshold under universal credit to determine a household’s eligibility for free school meals. Under our proposals, we estimate that by 2022 around 50,000 more children will benefit from a free school meal compared to the previous benefits system.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
19th Jul 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when she plans to respond to Question 4640, tabled by the hon. Member for High Peak on 12 July 2017 on children: day care.
12th Jul 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate she has made of the (a) total number and (b) proportion of families eligible for the offer of 30 hours free childcare who have (i) registered for their place via the Childcare Choices website and (ii) also had their code validated by a childcare provider.

The Childcare Choices website provides information on whether parents could be eligible for a range of government childcare offers, including 30 hours free childcare. Parents can apply for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare through the digital Childcare Service, which is accessible via Childcare Choices.

As of 18 July, successful parent applications via the Childcare Service have generated 145,463 valid 30 hours eligibility codes. 48,577 valid codes have been verified by local authorities.

The number of eligible children fluctuates by term and by parental employment and we cannot estimate with precision how many children are eligible at any specific time.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children will be eligible for free school meals as a result of the protections for entitlement under the existing arrangements.

As explained in our consultation paper, we have recently brought forward proposals to update the temporary criteria for free school meals eligibility under universal credit. In setting these new criteria, we are ensuring that the new arrangements are fair, consistent and simple to deliver. The consultation paper is available to view here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/healthy-pupil-unit/fsm/.

Last year, around 1.1 million of the most disadvantaged children were eligible for and claiming a free meal. As a result of our proposed criteria, we estimate that by 2022 around 50,000 more children will benefit from a free school meal compared to the previous benefits system.

In addition, we will also provide generous protections to ensure that no child will lose out as a result of these changes up until the end of the rollout of universal credit. This is part of ongoing policy development.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a vicarious liability for estate owners in relation to (a) the actions of gamekeepers and (b) the illegal killing of birds of prey.

The Government does not currently have any plans to introduce vicarious liability in England. The introduction of new legislation, such as vicarious liability, requires evidence that it will be effective. So far there is no compelling evidence that the introduction of the provisions in Scotland and Northern Ireland has had a significant deterrent effect on those who persecute such birds.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
20th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the letter of 18 November from the Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to the hon. Member for High Peak on small abattoirs, if he will provide (a) a list the 79 LEADER groups in England and (b) the closing date of applications for each LEADER group in each area.

Full details of the 79 LEADER groups are available through the Rural Development Programme for England LEADER homepage on gov.uk.

At a national level, the LEADER programme is on track to commit the majority of its funds by March 2019 with more than half of these groups now closed to new applications.

Individual LEADER groups close their programmes when they have sufficient demand to spend their full allocation. As a result, the decision to close is made by the LEADER groups and is shown on their individual websites.

A list of LEADER programmes currently open is provided in the table below.

Beds and Hunts Claylands

Chilterns

Clay Vales

Coast, Wolds, Wetlands and Waterways

Durham and Coast Lowlands

East Kent

Eastern Plateau

Fieldfare

Greensand Ridge

Heart of Wessex

Loddon and Test

Mersey Rural

New Forest

North Nottinghamshire

North Pennine Dales

North Warwickshire Hinckley and Bosworth

North Wessex Downs

North York Moors, Coast and Hills

Northern Lincolnshire

Northumberland Coast and Lowlands

Northumberland Uplands

Plain Action

Rural Surrey

South East Cornwall

South Nottinghamshire

South Pennines

Vale Action

Wealden and Rother Rural Partnership

West Cheshire and Warrington

West Kent

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has undertaken an economic impact assessment of the effects of clean air zones and associated air quality measures on businesses in (a) Manchester and (b) Greater Manchester; and if he will make a statement.

The Government assessed the impacts of charging clean air zones on businesses nationally in the technical report accompanying the 2017 UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. This did not look at the impacts on Manchester, or Greater Manchester as whole, or in isolation.

As set out in the UK plan, it is the responsibility of local authorities, as part of their feasibility studies, to assess the impact a local plan could have on individuals and businesses, including through an economic impact assessment and a distributional and equalities impact analysis. This also includes the consultation of relevant stakeholders where appropriate. In the case of Greater Manchester, Transport for Greater Manchester is coordinating work with local authorities to develop their local air quality plan.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions his Department has had with small and medium-sized businesses in (a) Manchester and (b) Greater Manchester on the financial effect on their businesses of proposed clean air zones and associated air quality measures.

The Government has not had direct discussions with small and medium-sized businesses in Manchester or Greater Manchester about the financial effect of clean air zones.

We assessed the impacts of charging clean air zones on businesses nationally in the technical report accompanying the 2017 UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

This did not look at the impacts in Manchester or Greater Manchester in isolation. The UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations and the documents associated with it, such as the clean air zone framework, were consulted on, inviting relevant stakeholders to submit their views.

As set out in the UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations, it is the responsibility of local authorities, as part of their feasibility studies, to assess the impact a local plan could have on individuals and businesses, including through an economic impact assessment and a distributional and equalities impact analysis.

This also includes consultation of relevant stakeholders where appropriate. In the case of Greater Manchester, Transport for Greater Manchester is coordinating work with local authorities to develop their local air quality plan.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the funding for the maintenance of the England Coast Path will be in line with the National Funding Formula for National Trails.

Funding for the maintenance of the England Coast Path will be in line with the National Funding Formula for National Trails as the new access rights come into force on stretches of the path.

Natural England has written to each of the National Trail Partnerships to let them know that it will be funding the existing National Trails in 2018/19 at the same level of funding as in 2017/18.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
2nd Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if his Department will uphold Natural England's agreement to commit to a three-year funding cycle for the National Trails.

Business planning and financial allocations have not yet been completed and we are therefore not yet in a position to announce the future level of funding until 2021 for the 13 national trails.

Natural England wrote to each of the national trail partnerships last December making an interim offer of 50% of the funding made to each of the national trails in 2017/18. The offer was an advance contribution towards the costs the partnerships would incur in 2018/19 in the absence of Natural England being able to confirm its overall funding position for 2018/19.


Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
21st Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, if he will list in full the UK's (a) financial and (b) legal obligations to the EU in the event of the UK leaving the EU.

The Withdrawal Agreement establishes the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU, settling the UK’s financial and legal rights and obligations on withdrawal and providing an orderly transition to the future relationship. The Government has set out a reasonable central estimate of the financial settlement in the Withdrawal Agreement of £35bn to £39bn, which the 20 April 2018 National Audit Office report ‘Exiting the EU: The financial settlement’ concluded was reasonable.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions the UK has had with other GAVI Alliance on extending the Advanced Market Commitment pilot beyond the current end date of December 2020.

The Advanced Market Commitment for Pneumococcal Vaccines (AMC) has been enormously successful and has achieved its targets three years ahead of schedule. Its innovative approach has enabled 114 million children to be immunised across 57 countries and prevented 762,000 deaths from severe pneumonia. It is a tremendous example of the impact UK Aid has in delivering results.

The UK works closely with the Gavi Alliance and other AMC donors to ensure that our contribution to the AMC achieves the maximum impact and value for money. We have engaged in extensive discussions regarding the potential extension of Advanced Market Commitment pilot beyond the current end date of December 2020. However, given that the AMC has achieved all of its targets 3 years ahead of schedule, there is limited evidence an extension will deliver significant further benefits. The UK has pushed the AMC to develop and communicate a strategic use for any residual funds during the remaining life of the AMC and will continue to work with the Gavi Secretariat and donors to ensure the best use of these.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to support governments in developing countries to build universal health coverage.

The UK supports countries to build the strong and resilient health systems needed to achieve universal health coverage (UHC). DFID provides technical assistance and financial support directly to countries, promotes the technical leadership of the World Health Organisation, and funds research and new products that increase access and reduce prices for essential quality medicines and other commodities. Through health partnerships, we share UK experience and expertise in providing UHC through the NHS.

13th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how many Medevac evacuations have taken place from St Helena in each of the last five years.

I refer the honourable member to the answer I gave to her earlier PQ 135170.

29th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the cost of Medevac evacuations from St Helena was in each of the last 5 years.

Flights are activated for lifesaving medical emergencies only, but the St Helena Government’s (SHG) Health Directorate will where possible send other urgent medical referrals on the same flight to maximise value for money. In 2016/17, there were 5 medical evacuation flights (transporting 9 patients) at a cost to the SHG of £203,160. In 2017/18, there were 8 medical evacuation flights (transporting 13 patients) costing £406,820.

Urgent lifesaving medical evacuations were not possible until the airport opened in St Helena. The first medical evacuation flight was on 3 June 2016. Before then, the island relied primarily on the Royal Mail Ship St Helena to get patients off the island for medical treatment. There are, therefore, no comparable medevac figures pre-2016.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the cost of Medevac evacuations from St Helena was in each of the last 5 years.

Flights are activated for lifesaving medical emergencies only, but the St Helena Government’s (SHG) Health Directorate will where possible send other urgent medical referrals on the same flight to maximise value for money. In 2016/17, there were 5 medical evacuation flights (transporting 9 patients) at a cost to the SHG of £203,160. In 2017/18, there were 8 medical evacuation flights (transporting 13 patients) costing £406,820.

Urgent lifesaving medical evacuations were not possible until the airport opened in St Helena. The first medical evacuation flight was on 3 June 2016. Before then, the island relied primarily on the Royal Mail Ship St Helena to get patients off the island for medical treatment. There are, therefore, no comparable medevac figures pre-2016.

28th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what estimate he has made of the total amount of funding provided to businesses by UK Export Finance; and what proportion of that support was provided to SMEs in each of the last five years.

The value of support provided by UK Export Finance (UKEF) for exports, including the percentage share of support for SMEs, is shown in the table:

Financial Year

Business supported, £m

Value of support for SMEs, £m

Proportion of the value of support for SMEs, %

FY13/14

2,272

199

9%

FY14/15

2,730

122

4%

FY15/16

1,793

155

9%

FY16/17

2,966

89

3%

FY17/18

2,530

195

8%

UKEF offers a range of short-term products to help SMEs fulfil export contracts. The typical value of each facility provided through this range is under £2m but enables SMEs to fulfil export contracts of greater value than the support they receive. UKEF has supported £2.5bn in export contracts for SMEs through this product range over the last 5 years. In 2017-18, 77% of all companies UKEF supported were SMEs.

18th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what (a) statutory requirements he is subject to in relation to and (b) what is the statutory basis for (i) the production of guidance on driving and diabetes and (ii) the appointment of an honorary medical advisory panel on driving and diabetes.

The overarching legal requirements governing medical fitness to drive are contained in sections 92-96 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

The statutory basis for the standards relating to driving and diabetes can be found in Section 72 of the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency produces guidance for the public and medical professionals based on the legal requirements.

The appointment of an honorary medical advisory panel on driving and diabetes is not provided for in law. The panel’s role is to help maintain and improve road safety by providing the Secretary of State for Transport with expert medical advice about diabetes and its impact on driving. The panel complies with the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Panels, which provides guidance on processes and practices for bodies providing independent scientific advice to government.

9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timescale is for groups to apply for the Mid-Tier Access for All programme.

We have made £20m available for Mid-Tier Access for All projects. Details of how this funding will be allocated are being finalised now and we intend to open the nomination process later this summer.

22nd Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many people have informed the DVLA that they have insulin-treated diabetes and a group (a) 1 or (b) 2 driving licence in each of the last 10 years.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) does not hold historic data on the number of people who have notified that they have insulin treated diabetes, only those whose licences were refused or revoked on that basis.

The table below shows the number of drivers who have diabetes recorded on their driving record and have had their driving licence application refused or their driving licence revoked on medical grounds for any medical condition.

Year

Revocation Group 1

Revocation Group 2

2010

1,504

498

2011

2,327

668

2012

2,476

639

2013

2,801

1,114

2014

2,957

1,318

2015

2,993

1,499

2016

2,912

1,765

2017

2,895

1,568

2018

2,023

1,562

2019 (to date)

326

269

Please note that there may be group 2 drivers who would have been refused or had a licence revoked for both group 1 and group 2 licences and therefore may be duplicated in the figures. In addition, as there are higher medical standards for group 2 licensing than for group 1, there will be a number of drivers who have been refused group 2 entitlement but permitted to retain group 1 entitlement.

22nd Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many drivers with diabetes have had their licence revoked in each of the last 10 years.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) does not hold historic data on the number of people who have notified that they have insulin treated diabetes, only those whose licences were refused or revoked on that basis.

The table below shows the number of drivers who have diabetes recorded on their driving record and have had their driving licence application refused or their driving licence revoked on medical grounds for any medical condition.

Year

Revocation Group 1

Revocation Group 2

2010

1,504

498

2011

2,327

668

2012

2,476

639

2013

2,801

1,114

2014

2,957

1,318

2015

2,993

1,499

2016

2,912

1,765

2017

2,895

1,568

2018

2,023

1,562

2019 (to date)

326

269

Please note that there may be group 2 drivers who would have been refused or had a licence revoked for both group 1 and group 2 licences and therefore may be duplicated in the figures. In addition, as there are higher medical standards for group 2 licensing than for group 1, there will be a number of drivers who have been refused group 2 entitlement but permitted to retain group 1 entitlement.

22nd Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons the recent changes to the DVLA’s driving and diabetes guidance differs between drivers with group 1 and group 2 licences.

The law states that while the testing of interstitial fluid is permitted for driver licensing purposes for group 1 drivers with diabetes, drivers of group 2 vehicles must continue to monitor blood glucose levels. The medical standards for driving group 2 vehicles are different than those for group 1. This is because these vehicles are larger or carry passengers, and the driver will typically spend more time on the road and drive longer distances.

14th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will list the stakeholders that his Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on driving and diabetes mellitus consults with to inform its reviews of the current guidance.

The Secretary of State’s Honorary Medical Advisory panels are made up of medical experts who are recognised in their respective fields, supported by lay members. The panels are not responsible for carrying out formal consultations. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency consults with key organisations to inform reviews of medical conditions in relation to driving. The results of these reviews are shared with the panels.

The key organisations consulted include medical experts, charities, road safety groups and industry groups. For diabetes, this includes the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists, Diabetes UK, the Independent Diabetes Trust, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, BRAKE, the Road Haulage Association and the Freight Transport Association.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the DVLA has as part of its review of guidelines on driving and diabetes to ensure that drivers with diabetes use the most accurate blood glucose meters available.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, in conjunction with the Secretary of State for Transport’s Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on driving and diabetes mellitus, has sought views from stakeholders on the proposed new guidance and is considering the responses received.

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Honorary Medical Advisory Panel is considering the use of Mean Absolute Relative Difference (MARD) as an accuracy measure for blood glucose monitoring devices as part of the review of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency guidelines on driving and diabetes.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), in conjunction with the Secretary of State for Transport’s Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on Driving and Diabetes, is reviewing its guidance to provide advice for medical professionals and drivers on the use of interstitial glucose monitoring systems in the context of driving.

The DVLA is currently considering views of stakeholders, some of whom have suggested using a Mean Absolute Relative Difference accuracy measure for interstitial glucose monitoring.

25th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much compensation was paid by each train operating company that operates a passenger charter or delay repay scheme in (a) 2015-16 and (b) 2016-17.
26th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many vehicles will be affected by the proposed changes to Sections 19 and 22 of the Transport Act 1985.

The Department does not record this information centrally. However, it is currently consulting on how Regulation 1071/2009 applies to users of section 19 and section 22 permits under the Transport Act 1985, and this serves as a call for evidence as to the impact of these clarifications on community transport operators.

The Government's response to the consultation will be accompanied by a full impact assessment.

13th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much has been spent from the public purse through the Access to All fund to make improvements to railway stations in each years since 2006.

Since 2006, spending through the Access for All programme is as follows:

(£m)

2006/09

£102.1

2009/10

£57.89

2010/11

£43.67

2011/12

£54.1

2012/13

£52.18

2013/14

£105.28

2014/15

£47.96

2015/16

£43.19

2016/17

£42.6

2017/18

£15.4

Note that funding isn’t allocated on a specific annualised basis. Projects get developed and built over several years, so in some years more is spent, in some years less. We have committed to continuing Access for All in CP6.

13th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, of what factors Network Rail and his Department take account in deciding on allocations of Access to All funding.

For the last tranche of funding, stations were selected based on their annual footfall, weighted by the incidence of disability in the area. We also took into account the priorities of the industry, the availability of third party funding and local factors such as proximity to a hospital, together with consideration of geographic spread across the rail network.

Although details of how we will select stations for future funding has yet to be finalised it is likely to be broadly similar to the process used for earlier tranches of the programme.

13th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what public funding other than Access to All funding is available for improvements to accessibility at railway stations.

Aside from the dedicated Access for All funding, two funds are partly dedicated to improving accessibility - each of the franchised operators has around £100,000 to £600,000 to spend annually in making accessibility improvements at stations as part of the Minor Works Budget; and the Station Improvement Fund introduced in the Northern Rail and West Midlands Railway franchises can also be used to make stations accessible.

In addition, there are five other funding streams which may help deliver accessibility improvements insofar as any upgrades delivered under them would have to comply with current accessibility standards – the National Stations Improvement Programme, the Station Commercial Project Facility, Customer and Community Investment, Designated Community Rail Development Fund and Major Projects works (as per the redevelopment of Reading station for example).

13th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which railway stations have received Access for All funding in each of the last five years.

Access for All funding is allocated in 5 year Control Periods. For 2014-19 a further 68 stations were selected for the programme. Details of all of the stations which have received funding since 2006 are available on the Network Rail website at:

https://www.networkrail.co.uk/communities/passengers/station-improvements/access-for-all/

5th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the evidence base for traffic-calming measures introduced recently in (a) Derbyshire and (b) the rest of the UK.

Installation of traffic calming measures is the responsibility of the relevant local highway authority.

Traffic calming provides a proven and effective way of saving lives and reducing casualties. Its primary purpose is to reduce vehicle speeds in areas where inappropriate speed is a problem. It plays an important role in improving road safety, and each 1 mph reduction in vehicle speed resulting from traffic calming has been found to reduce accidents by around 5%.

Traffic calming has been the subject of extensive research. The Department publishes advice for local authorities on designing and installing traffic calming, in Local Transport Note 1/07: Traffic Calming, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/traffic-calming-ltn-107. This brings together a summary of the research commissioned by the Department and its predecessors, together with some research from external sources, to provide advice on the use of traffic calming measures today.

30th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 17 October 2019 to Question 323, when he plans to place the memorandum in the Library.

The Department has sent a copy of the memorandum of 2 May 2019 to the House’s Library. We have been advised by the Library that it is currently processing the deposit of this document.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 17 October 2019 to Question 316, whether the graphics used in the six-week long advertising campaign entitled, Universal Credit Uncovered, in The Metro were designed by (a) staff in her Department or (b) Associated Newspapers.

The information used in the ‘Universal Credit Uncovered’ Metro campaign was sourced by Departmental officials. The campaign graphics were designed by Metro’s in-house design team as part of the Department’s media partnership with them.

We went to great lengths to ensure the factual accuracy of the campaign through extensive consultation within the Department, including the Government Legal Department. We also consulted with the Advertising Standards Authority Copy Advice Team prior to the launch and continued to do so throughout the campaign lifetime.

The Metro partnership was designed to increase understanding of Universal Credit and ensure people have the right factual information they need to make a claim and understand their potential entitlement.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to provide an update on the universal credit managed migration pilot that began in Harrogate in July 2019.

We have commenced our Move to Universal Credit pilot, as scheduled, in the area served by Harrogate Jobcentre. The goal of the pilot is to learn as much as possible, and to increase numbers as slowly and gradually as necessary.

Testing the system and our processes will allow us to make sure we can provide the best possible service to those claimants who move to Universal Credit from their legacy claims.

The Department has already committed to updating the House when appropriate progress has been made.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department has spent on payments of universal credit advances to claimants in each month since advances were introduced.

Universal Credit is now the main system of working age welfare support across the country. It is available in every Jobcentre, with a caseload of over 2.5 million claimants, growing every month, now able to access the additional support and flexibilities it offers.

Around 60 per cent of new claims take up an advance. Subject to some fluctuation, this rate of advance take-up has been broadly consistent over the last 12 months. As the overall Universal Credit caseload grows, we expect the volume and value of advance payments to change in correlation. This shows that claimants are being made aware of advances and are using it where they need this help.

Information surrounding the amount spent on Universal Credit advances each month since they were introduced is shown in the table below:

Jun-13

£1,000

Jul-13

£2,000

Aug-13

£3,000

Sep-13

£10,000

Oct-13

£10,000

Nov-13

£18,000

Dec-13

£18,000

Jan-14

£25,000

Feb-14

£30,000

Mar-14

£47,000

Apr-14

£42,000

May-14

£36,000

Jun-14

£34,000

Jul-14

£33,000

Aug-14

£48,000

Sep-14

£133,000

Oct-14

£153,000

Nov-14

£203,000

Dec-14

£278,000

Jan-15

£360,000

Feb-15

£371,000

Mar-15

£607,000

Apr-15

£574,000

May-15

£1,050,000

Jun-15

£1,061,000

Jul-15

£1,261,000

Aug-15

£1,605,000

Sep-15

£1,786,000

Oct-15

£1,762,000

Nov-15

£2,081,000

Dec-15

£2,171,000

Jan-16

£2,736,000

Feb-16

£2,642,000

Mar-16

£4,080,000

Apr-16

£3,801,000

May-16

£3,996,000

Jun-16

£3,827,000

Jul-16

£4,438,000

Aug-16

£4,629,000

Sep-16

£4,817,000

Oct-16

£4,801,000

Nov-16

£4,879,000

Dec-16

£5,452,000

Jan-17

£6,062,000

Feb-17

£5,601,000

Mar-17

£7,876,000

Apr-17

£6,847,000

May-17

£7,051,000

Jun-17

£6,873,000

Jul-17

£7,367,000

Aug-17

£8,002,000

Sep-17

£8,396,000

Oct-17

£9,363,000

Nov-17

£12,130,000

Dec-17

£13,254,000

Jan-18

£25,685,000

Feb-18

£24,977,000

Mar-18

£25,721,000

Apr-18

£25,934,000

May-18

£28,812,000

Jun-18

£32,678,000

Jul-18

£43,321,000

Aug-18

£46,636,000

Sep-18

£44,778,000

Oct-18

£55,693,000

Nov-18

£62,991,000

Dec-18

£58,697,000

Jan-19

£75,758,000

Feb-19

£79,955,000

Mar-19

£91,646,000

Apr-19

£91,957,000

May-19

£103,096,000

Notes:

  1. Figures are rounded to the nearest £1000.
  2. Figures go up to May 2019 in line with published statistics relating to households on Universal Credit.
  3. Figures include all types of advances.
  4. Figures prior to April 2019 include hardship payments made under Universal Credit live service.
Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claimants with children are not eligible for a budgeting advance to pay for upfront childcare costs due to (a) an existing budgeting advance, (b) not having made a debt repayment and (b) not claiming universal credit for a sufficient amount of time in the most recent period for which data is available.

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

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government Legal Service approved the Universal Credit Uncovered advertising campaign in the Metro and the Mail Online in May and June 2019.

We are the biggest Government Department with a day to day operation on which around 22 million citizens depend. The Department has a responsibility to communicate policy and essential information to claimants and other key audiences.

The Metro partnership was designed to increase understanding of Universal Credit and ensure people have the right factual information they need to make a claim and understand their potential entitlement.

We went to great lengths to ensure the factual accuracy of the campaign through extensive consultation within the Department, including the Government Legal Department. We also consulted with the Advertising Standards Authority Copy Advice Team prior to the launch and continued to do so throughout the campaign lifetime.

The letter of 31 July 2019 placed in the House of Commons Library disclosed the full cost of the Department’s partnership with Associated Newspapers. There were no advertising agencies, consultancy or additional costs associated with the campaign and detailed planning was taken forward by Departmental officials.

We have already shared a copy of the memo of 2 May 2019 from the Director General of Universal Credit and Director of Communications to DWP staff with the Work and Pensions Select Committee but can also commit to placing a copy in the House of Commons Library.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will place in the Library a copy of the memo of 2 May 2019 sent by her Department’s Director General of Universal Credit and Director of Communications to DWP staff setting out the purpose of the Universal Credit Uncovered advertising campaign in the Metro and Mail Online.

We are the biggest Government Department with a day to day operation on which around 22 million citizens depend. The Department has a responsibility to communicate policy and essential information to claimants and other key audiences.

The Metro partnership was designed to increase understanding of Universal Credit and ensure people have the right factual information they need to make a claim and understand their potential entitlement.

We went to great lengths to ensure the factual accuracy of the campaign through extensive consultation within the Department, including the Government Legal Department. We also consulted with the Advertising Standards Authority Copy Advice Team prior to the launch and continued to do so throughout the campaign lifetime.

The letter of 31 July 2019 placed in the House of Commons Library disclosed the full cost of the Department’s partnership with Associated Newspapers. There were no advertising agencies, consultancy or additional costs associated with the campaign and detailed planning was taken forward by Departmental officials.

We have already shared a copy of the memo of 2 May 2019 from the Director General of Universal Credit and Director of Communications to DWP staff with the Work and Pensions Select Committee but can also commit to placing a copy in the House of Commons Library.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many administrative penalties her Department has levied on individuals who have reported they have been a victim of universal credit fraud.

The information you have requested could only be provided by manually examining a substantial number of individual cases. The Department estimates that this would incur disproportionate costs.

For the sake of clarity the policy is that an Administrative Penalty is only ever considered as an alternative to a referral for a prosecution in cases where benefit fraud has been committed, and not for innocent victims who report fraud.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in how many interviews under caution have individuals who have reported they have been a victim of universal credit fraud had a legal representative to accompany them.

I have interpreted your question to relate to Universal Credit advances fraud.

The information requested could only be provided by manually examining the cases. We estimate that this would incur disproportionate costs. However, all claimants are entitled to bring a legal representative and are advised of this in their invitation to interview.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many administrative penalties her Department has levied on victims of universal credit fraud who attended interviews under caution and who were accompanied by legal representatives.

Administrative Penalties would not be used in any case where evidence showed that a claimant was an innocent victim of Universal Credit advances fraud.

Administrative Penalties are financial penalties which can be used as an alternative to prosecution in cases where benefit fraud has been committed.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many interviews under caution have been held with victims of universal credit fraud.

The information you requested could only be provided by manually examining a substantial number of individual cases. The Department estimates that this would incur disproportionate costs.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to prevent third-party universal credit fraud.

The Department has raised awareness of Universal Credit advance fraud via Jobcentreplus and a dedicated social media campaign, which reminds people of the importance of safeguarding their identity. The Department has also worked with social media sites to shut down pages that promote this type of fraud, with 125 pages closed to date.

The Department remains committed to keeping all Universal Credit services and processes, including advance payments, under review, and are making improvements to address any vulnerability in the system.

The Department now requires customers not only to prove their identity, but also attend a face to face interview at the Jobcentre before they can claim an advance. The Department remains on track with design and test activity to further reduce the risk of opportunistic advances fraud by using real time validation of key elements of the application.

In each instance we are taking care to ensure that there is no adverse effect on our ability to provide advance payments to those who need them.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many third parties who have allegedly scammed people into making a universal credit claim have been identified and investigated; and how many of those third parties have been referred for prosecution.

Examination of the cases currently being progressed by the Department indicates there are 107 third-party individuals that are subject to investigation. This number is subject to change as cases progress.

At the time of submission, one 3rd party case has been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service and has been successfully prosecuted. There are a number of other cases at an advanced stage of investigation.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, at what point during the universal credit claim process her Department checks claims for potentially fraudulent details.

Effective identity verification and authentication, using commonly applied standards across the Department, protects claimants' personal data and makes a direct contribution to the prevention of fraud.

There are various ways in which a claimant can verify their identity to support a new claim to Universal Credit: online using the electronic Verify system; in person using primary and secondary ID verification or; by using biographical questions, for those who do not have identity documents.

Staff are encouraged to report any instances of potentially fraudulent activity. All claims where fraud may have been committed are investigated. We will use penalties such as prosecutions and tough financial penalties, where appropriate, to discourage fraudulent behaviour. The Department considers all cases on their own merits and decisions are made on the strength of the evidence provided.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her oral contribution to the Work and Pensions Committee of 24 July 2019, how many of the 1,400 cases to have undergone interview under caution due to third-party universal credit fraud have been referred for prosecution.

The Department is not able to comment on investigations that may be ongoing.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to prevent cases of third-party universal credit fraud taking place during managed migration.

The Department has raised awareness of this issue via a dedicated social media campaign, which reminds people of the importance of safeguarding their identity. The Department has also worked with social media sites to shut down pages that promote this type of fraud, with 121 pages closed to date.

We remain committed to keeping all Universal Credit services and processes, including advance payments, under review, and are making improvements to address any vulnerability in the system. Improving verification and increasing the number of face to face interviews are potential options, but any changes will need to be carefully impacted to ensure there is no adverse effect on our ability to pay people the money they need to live on ahead of their Universal Credit claim.

The Universal Credit pilot is helping move the first cohort of people to Universal Credit. Minimising potential risks is a key part of our approach. Testing the system and our processes in this way ensures we will be able to deliver a secure service to those claimants who will move to Universal Credit from their legacy benefit claim as planned, by the end of 2023.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work of 8 July 2019, Official Report, Column 321, if she will provide details of the successful third-party universal credit fraud prosecution.

The Department is committed to the prevention, detection and investigation of benefit fraud. We take this issue very seriously and will continue to use appropriate penalties to deter this fraudulent behaviour.

Turning to the specific case you reference, the defendant was convicted at a Magistrates court on 14 February 2019 for fraudulently obtaining £4,152.86 in Universal Credit Advances.

This prosecution identified that the suspect had hijacked the identities of close family members in order to make fraudulent applications to Universal Credit, via the online application process, enabling fraudulent payments of Universal Credit and Universal Credit Advances.

It was established that the defendant had also impersonated a friend and changed the payment destination of his friend’s Universal Credit payments.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the legal basis is for her Department to ask claimants who are victims of third-party universal credit fraud to attend an interview under caution at a Jobcentre rather than provide a witness statement.

The new process for advances and identification introduced on the 18 September 2019 mean that the level of UC advances fraud will be mitigated. Where an individual is a victim of fraud and received no money personally, no claim will be made against them. However, it is often not possible to ascertain the facts without an Interview Under Caution. The powers for an Interview Under Caution are under the Social Security Administration Act 1992, Part VI, governs this process and has been followed by successive governments of different political persuasions.

DWP will ask, and allow the individual to have the opportunity to respond to any evidence in a voluntary Interview Under Caution.

DWP follows the guidance laid down in the Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act 1996 and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Code C 2014) to afford the claimant all appropriate protection in law.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the legal basis is for her department to ask claimants who are victims of third-party universal credit fraud to attend an interview under caution at a Jobcentre rather than provide a witness statement.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work of 8 July 2019, Official Report, Column 321, if she will provide details of the successful third-party universal credit fraud prosecution.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her oral contribution to the Work and Pensions Committee of 24 July 2019, how many of the 1,400 cases to have undergone interview under caution due to third-party universal credit fraud have been referred for prosecution.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many third parties who have allegedly scammed people into making a universal credit claim have been identified and investigated; and how many of those third parties have been referred for prosecution.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, at what point during the universal credit claim process her Department checks claims for potentially fraudulent details.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to prevent third-party universal credit fraud.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to prevent cases of third-party universal credit fraud taking place during managed migration.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants initially refused employment support allowance have subsequently been awarded that allowance under regulation 29 or regulation 35 at (a) the mandatory reconsideration stage and (b) following an appeal hearing in each of the last four years.

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

2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the process is for ensuring that the outcomes of appeals against the refusal of (a) employment support allowance and (b) personal independence payments are reported to those who made the original decision.

DWP has processes in place to feedback to original decision makers where a decision is changed at Appeal, this includes feedback from Presenting Officers who have been in attendance at the Appeal.

This is fed back to the relevant decision makers and line managers through a structured mechanism that is used to advise appropriate conversations and quality actions.

2nd Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants have been awarded employment support allowance under (a) regulation 29 and (b) regulation 35 of the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations in each of the past four years.

Statistics on the number of people that have been awarded Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) following a Work Capability Assessment by ESA group allocation and reasons can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/jsf/login.xhtml

Guidance for users is available at:

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

25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether work coaches will be provided with additional training to ensure that they can effectively advise universal credit claimants on meeting upfront childcare costs.

DWP is committed to providing the best possible support for all our claimants to meet their individual circumstance.

Our Work Coaches and Decision Makers undergo a comprehensive learning journey designed to equip them with the tools, skills and behaviours required to provide a high quality service, which includes training on children, childcare and payment of upfront childcare costs.

In addition, DWP supporting information is available on Universal Credit Guidance and Universal Learning sites which enhances learning, and is available at the point of need for each individual personal requirement.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have been offered a flexible support fund payment between 1 January 2019 and 25 July 2019 to assist with upfront childcare costs.

The information requested is not held in a format that can be easily disaggregated and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her oral contribution to the Work and Pensions Committee, of 24 July 2019, what criteria will be used for claimants to receive upfront childcare costs.

The Government is committed to supporting parents with moving into work and, as part of this, we have increased the level of ongoing financial support for childcare costs from 70 per cent in legacy benefits to up to 85 per cent in Universal Credit, which is called the ‘childcare element’. The Universal Credit childcare policy aligns with the wider government childcare offer, which includes free childcare hours and tax free childcare. This offer means that reasonable childcare costs should not form a barrier to work.

Beyond the Universal Credit childcare element, there is other financial support to help with childcare costs: the Flexible Support Fund and Budgeting Advances. Claimants are able to discuss eligibility for these with their jobcentre work coach.

Where initial upfront childcare costs or deposits may prevent a claimant from starting work, work coaches have the discretion to use the Flexible Support Fund to support the transition into work until a claimant receives their first wage. Individual claimant circumstances are considered each time assistance may be appropriate.

A budgeting advance can help with one-off urgent financial events for Universal Credit claimants, such as upfront childcare, and is repayable over a period of up to 12 monthly instalments. Only one Budgeting Advance will be paid at a time and further advances will be unavailable until the balance of the previous Budgeting Advance is cleared.

The Department is working hard to ensure that the Universal Credit childcare offer continues to operate effectively for claimants. Since February 2018, Universal Credit claimants have been able to upload digital copies of their childcare cost receipts or invoices through their online Universal Credit account. When parents have good reason for late reporting of their childcare costs, the Department is piloting a more flexible approach to enable parents to be reimbursed at a later point.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her oral contribution to the Work and Pensions Committee, of 24 July 2019, what guidance her Department provides to work coaches on how to apply discretionary support for upfront childcare costs.

The Department maintains guidance for its work coaches surrounding the eligibility and processes for awarding discretionary support to assist with claimants’ upfront childcare costs for those claiming Universal Credit.

There are two discretionary sources of financial support to help with childcare costs: The Flexible Support Fund and Universal Credit Budgeting Advances. Claimants are able to discuss eligibility for these with their jobcentre work coach.

Budgeting Advances provide valuable access to interest free payments for one-off items. They are designed to help claimants with irregular expenses including upfront childcare costs. Budgeting Advance payments are discretionary subject to eligibility conditions and must be repaid. Work coaches also have the discretion to use the Flexible Support Fund to support the transition into work until a claimant receives their first wage and is not repayable. Individual claimant circumstances are considered each time assistance may be appropriate.

The Department deposits guidance to the House’s library on a range of Universal Credits topics including the below. This was last updated on 28 March 2019 and we are currently working to share the latest guidance.

Childcare costs: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2019-0465/Childcare_costs_v11.0.pdf

Budgeting Advance: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2019-0465/Advances-_Budgeting_Advances_v2.0.pdf

Flexible Support Fund: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2019-0465/Flexible_Support_Fund_v4.0.pdf

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her oral contribution to the Work and Pensions Committee, 24 July 2019, how frequently claimants will be able to receive support for upfront childcare costs.

The Government is committed to supporting parents with moving into work and, as part of this, we have increased the level of ongoing financial support for childcare costs from 70 per cent in legacy benefits to up to 85 per cent in Universal Credit, which is called the ‘childcare element’. The Universal Credit childcare policy aligns with the wider government childcare offer, which includes free childcare hours and tax free childcare. This offer means that reasonable childcare costs should not form a barrier to work.

Beyond the Universal Credit childcare element, there is other financial support to help with childcare costs: the Flexible Support Fund and Budgeting Advances. Claimants are able to discuss eligibility for these with their jobcentre work coach.

Where initial upfront childcare costs or deposits may prevent a claimant from starting work, work coaches have the discretion to use the Flexible Support Fund to support the transition into work until a claimant receives their first wage. Individual claimant circumstances are considered each time assistance may be appropriate.

A budgeting advance can help with one-off urgent financial events for Universal Credit claimants, such as upfront childcare, and is repayable over a period of up to 12 monthly instalments. Only one Budgeting Advance will be paid at a time and further advances will be unavailable until the balance of the previous Budgeting Advance is cleared.

The Department is working hard to ensure that the Universal Credit childcare offer continues to operate effectively for claimants. Since February 2018, Universal Credit claimants have been able to upload digital copies of their childcare cost receipts or invoices through their online Universal Credit account. When parents have good reason for late reporting of their childcare costs, the Department is piloting a more flexible approach to enable parents to be reimbursed at a later point.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her evidence at the Work and Pensions select committee of 24 July 2019 on increased support with upfront childcare costs on Wednesday 24 July, whether claimants will be able to get this loan if they already hold a budgeting advance of universal credit.

The Government is committed to supporting parents with moving into work and, as part of this, we have increased the level of ongoing financial support for childcare costs from 70 per cent in legacy benefits to up to 85 per cent in Universal Credit, which is called the ‘childcare element’. The Universal Credit childcare policy aligns with the wider government childcare offer, which includes free childcare hours and tax free childcare. This offer means that reasonable childcare costs should not form a barrier to work.

Beyond the Universal Credit childcare element, there is other financial support to help with childcare costs: the Flexible Support Fund and Budgeting Advances. Claimants are able to discuss eligibility for these with their jobcentre work coach.

Where initial upfront childcare costs or deposits may prevent a claimant from starting work, work coaches have the discretion to use the Flexible Support Fund to support the transition into work until a claimant receives their first wage. Individual claimant circumstances are considered each time assistance may be appropriate.

A budgeting advance can help with one-off urgent financial events for Universal Credit claimants, such as upfront childcare, and is repayable over a period of up to 12 monthly instalments. Only one Budgeting Advance will be paid at a time and further advances will be unavailable until the balance of the previous Budgeting Advance is cleared.

The Department is working hard to ensure that the Universal Credit childcare offer continues to operate effectively for claimants. Since February 2018, Universal Credit claimants have been able to upload digital copies of their childcare cost receipts or invoices through their online Universal Credit account. When parents have good reason for late reporting of their childcare costs, the Department is piloting a more flexible approach to enable parents to be reimbursed at a later point.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her oral contribution to the Work and Pensions Committee, of 24 July 2019, whether claimants will be required to repay the loan for upfront childcare costs by the end of their assessment period.

The Government is committed to supporting parents with moving into work and, as part of this, we have increased the level of ongoing financial support for childcare costs from 70 per cent in legacy benefits to up to 85 per cent in Universal Credit, which is called the ‘childcare element’. The Universal Credit childcare policy aligns with the wider government childcare offer, which includes free childcare hours and tax free childcare. This offer means that reasonable childcare costs should not form a barrier to work.

Beyond the Universal Credit childcare element, there is other financial support to help with childcare costs: the Flexible Support Fund and Budgeting Advances. Claimants are able to discuss eligibility for these with their jobcentre work coach.

Where initial upfront childcare costs or deposits may prevent a claimant from starting work, work coaches have the discretion to use the Flexible Support Fund to support the transition into work until a claimant receives their first wage. Individual claimant circumstances are considered each time assistance may be appropriate.

A budgeting advance can help with one-off urgent financial events for Universal Credit claimants, such as upfront childcare, and is repayable over a period of up to 12 monthly instalments. Only one Budgeting Advance will be paid at a time and further advances will be unavailable until the balance of the previous Budgeting Advance is cleared.

The Department is working hard to ensure that the Universal Credit childcare offer continues to operate effectively for claimants. Since February 2018, Universal Credit claimants have been able to upload digital copies of their childcare cost receipts or invoices through their online Universal Credit account. When parents have good reason for late reporting of their childcare costs, the Department is piloting a more flexible approach to enable parents to be reimbursed at a later point.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her oral contribution to the Work and Pensions Committee, of 24 July 2019, whether claimants will be entitled to claim the childcare element of universal credit in the same month that they have received support for upfront childcare costs.

The Government is committed to supporting parents with moving into work and, as part of this, we have increased the level of ongoing financial support for childcare costs from 70 per cent in legacy benefits to up to 85 per cent in Universal Credit, which is called the ‘childcare element’. The Universal Credit childcare policy aligns with the wider government childcare offer, which includes free childcare hours and tax free childcare. This offer means that reasonable childcare costs should not form a barrier to work.

Beyond the Universal Credit childcare element, there is other financial support to help with childcare costs: the Flexible Support Fund and Budgeting Advances. Claimants are able to discuss eligibility for these with their jobcentre work coach.

Where initial upfront childcare costs or deposits may prevent a claimant from starting work, work coaches have the discretion to use the Flexible Support Fund to support the transition into work until a claimant receives their first wage. Individual claimant circumstances are considered each time assistance may be appropriate.

A budgeting advance can help with one-off urgent financial events for Universal Credit claimants, such as upfront childcare, and is repayable over a period of up to 12 monthly instalments. Only one Budgeting Advance will be paid at a time and further advances will be unavailable until the balance of the previous Budgeting Advance is cleared.

The Department is working hard to ensure that the Universal Credit childcare offer continues to operate effectively for claimants. Since February 2018, Universal Credit claimants have been able to upload digital copies of their childcare cost receipts or invoices through their online Universal Credit account. When parents have good reason for late reporting of their childcare costs, the Department is piloting a more flexible approach to enable parents to be reimbursed at a later point.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her evidence of 24 July 2019 to the Work and Pensions Committee on increased support with upfront childcare costs, whether work coaches use the Flexible Support Fund to provide that additional support after the first month.

Work Coaches can use the Flexible Support Fund (FSF) to pay 100% of the upfront childcare costs up to the payment limits set that the claimant incurs between starting work and receiving their first wage. This is paid directly to the childcare providers and is not repayable. Examples of what it can be used to cover include:

  • Deposit – To pay a provider a one off advance payment of childcare costs.
  • Retainer – To pay a provider a one off advance payment to secure the nursery provision prior to the parent starting work or training.
  • Fees – To pay a provider upfront childcare fees in advance of the service being delivered; and
  • Taster/Settling in periods – To pay a provider a one off advance payment to enable the parent to prepare their child before taking up the full childcare offer.

Once a claimant has received their first wage, we have given Work Coaches the flexibility to use Budgeting Advances to help pay for further upfront childcare costs where required and where a claimant is eligible. This includes - during school holidays, change of childcare provider, or additional childcare in order to increase work hours. Budgeting Advances do have to be repaid, however, up to 85% of these childcare costs can be reimbursed through the UC childcare offer (up to caps) once a paid receipt is submitted.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her oral evidence of 24 July 2019 to the Work and Pensions Committee on increased support with upfront childcare costs on Wednesday 24 July, whether work coaches will be given greater flexibility to use the Flexible Support Fund.

Work Coaches can use the Flexible Support Fund (FSF) to pay 100% of the upfront childcare costs up to the payment limits set that the claimant incurs between starting work and receiving their first wage. This is paid directly to the childcare providers and is not repayable. Examples of what it can be used to cover include:

  • Deposit – To pay a provider a one off advance payment of childcare costs.
  • Retainer – To pay a provider a one off advance payment to secure the nursery provision prior to the parent starting work or training.
  • Fees – To pay a provider upfront childcare fees in advance of the service being delivered; and
  • Taster/Settling in periods – To pay a provider a one off advance payment to enable the parent to prepare their child before taking up the full childcare offer.

Once a claimant has received their first wage, we have given Work Coaches the flexibility to use Budgeting Advances to help pay for further upfront childcare costs where required and where a claimant is eligible. This includes - during school holidays, change of childcare provider, or additional childcare in order to increase work hours. Budgeting Advances do have to be repaid, however, up to 85% of these childcare costs can be reimbursed through the UC childcare offer (up to caps) once a paid receipt is submitted.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the effect of silicosis on (a) productivity in the UK and (b) productivity of the construction industry in the UK.

The Health and Safety Executive does not have data on the effects of silicosis on productivity, either generally or for any specific sector.

22nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to regulate exposure to silica; and what recent assessment her Department has made of the extent of compliance with those regulations.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regulates exposure to silica primarily through the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). COSHH requires employers to ensure substances which may be harmful to people’s health through their work activities are identified and assessed; and processes are put in place to eliminate or control risks. Silica is also subject to workplace exposure limits (WELs), which set out maximum exposure levels to hazardous substances. The most harmful form of silica is respirable crystalline silica (RCS).

HSE has produced a range of freely available guidance to demonstrate what compliance with COSHH and good control practice looks like across a range of industries, available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/index.htm.

HSE has also produced internal operational guidance that outlines the initial enforcement expectations where HSE’s inspectors encounter problems related to RCS during regulatory interventions. These form a benchmark against which compliance can be measured on an intervention-by-intervention basis.

Overall compliance is assessed on an industry-by-industry basis. In 2009, HSE published Research Report RR689 ‘Silica Baseline Survey’ that provided intelligence on exposure and control of RCS in key industry sectors. In the intervening period, RCS has remained an important issue within HSE’s inspection programme for the relevant high-risk sectors. For example, HSE recently conducted an inspection initiative between 17th June 2019 – 12th July 2019 that focussed on RCS and other dusts in the construction industry. The extent of compliance is considered as part of HSE’s evaluation work of such workstreams alongside other significant risks.

22nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the groups most vulnerable to silicosis.

Evidence from a body of epidemiological research shows that the risk of silicosis increases according to the extent of exposure to respirable crystalline silica. Groups most vulnerable to developing silicosis are those with the highest exposures. A range of sources of evidence – including reports of silicosis cases from chest physicians, cases assessed for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, and epidemiological studies – have identified specific worker groups that are at likely to be at highest risk. These include: quarrying; slate works; foundries; potteries; brick and tile making; stonemasonry; construction work involving cutting or breaking stone, concrete or brick; abrasive blasting and tunnelling; and industries that use silica flour to manufacture goods.

22nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data her Department holds on the effect on family members of silicosis sufferers.

Dependants of silicosis sufferers who have died can claim compensation under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979 scheme. Under this scheme, the Department has paid £10,871 to dependants over the 17/18 and 18/19 financial years.

Arrears of Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) may also be claimed by the spouse or civil partner of a deceased sufferer of silicosis. Information on the amount of IIDB paid to in these circumstances is not immediately accessible, and would require the merging, filtering and quality assuring of complex datasets, data on these claimants could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

22nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps have been taken to encourage the construction industry to protect workers from exposure to silica.

Protecting construction workers from exposure to silica has been a priority for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for a number of years. During this time, HSE has used a range of approaches to influence the construction industry. These include:

  • Providing tailored advice, information and guidance on HSE’s website about complying with the law in this area;
  • Raising awareness through HSE social media presence as well as engaging with industry through mechanisms such as the Construction Dust Partnership and the Health in Construction Leadership Group;
  • Undertaking research with the industry to increase the evidence base available;
  • Carrying out targeted inspections. This includes a national inspection initiative undertaken between 17th June 2019 – 12th July 2019 that focussed on silica and other dusts in the construction industry. This will be repeated in October 2019;
  • Taking enforcement action where appropriate to prevent ill-health and hold law-breakers to account.

Silica exposure amongst construction workers will continue to be a priority for HSE while it remains a significant issue. HSE will look to evolve the intervention approaches it uses during this period to maximise its influence.

22nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the effect of silicosis on her Department's budget.

Under the Industrial Injuries Scheme (IIS), silicosis is compensated for under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979 lump sum scheme and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB).

Under the 1979 Act lump sum scheme, the department has paid out £41,382 over the financial years 17/18 and 18/19 to claimants and their dependants affected by silicosis.

Under IIDB, awards for silicosis are made under prescribed diseases which include other medical conditions. Unfortunately, as this information is not immediately accessible, and would require the merging, filtering and quality assuring of complex datasets, data on these claimants could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

For Personal Independence Payment (PIP) the latest data on claims in payment can be broken down by month from April 2013 to April 2019 and by disability (including silicosis) can be found on Stat-Xplore: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/.

The latest data on PIP expenditure broken down by disability subgroup including pneumoconiosis, of which silicosis is one disease, is published and can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/741592/pip-expenditure-by-medical-condition-2017-18.ods

For Employment Support Allowance (ESA), there is high level data stored on medical conditions on the Department’s data base; Stat-Xplore. However, at present this data has not been broken down to include conditions such as silicosis.

Guidance on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found here:

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

11th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many requests for spilt payments of universal credit have been (a) made and (b) accepted in each of the last three years.

The requested information for part (a) is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

In response to part (b), the number of Households on UC that make use of the Split Payment option is published and can be found at:

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

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

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

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many requests for alternative payment arrangements of universal credit have been (a) made and (b) accepted for (i) twice monthly payments and (b) four twice monthly payments in each of the last three years.

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

However, information on the number of Households on Universal Credit that have an Alternative Payment Arrangement is published and can be found at:

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

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

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

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of claims for universal credit were made using the bank account details of the main carer in each of the last 12 months.

The information requested can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have people on universal credit who have turned down a job offer in the last 12 months have cited lack of affordable childcare as the reason; and how many of those people received (a) a civil penalty and (b) a sanction.

On Universal Credit, claimants are able to claim up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, compared to 70 per cent on the legacy system. Where the initial month’s childcare costs may prevent a claimant from starting work, Jobcentres can use the Flexible Support Fund to help claimants. This is a non-repayable award, which can be used to meet the upfront costs of childcare to help support a claimant into work.

Civil Penalties may be imposed by both DWP and Local Authorities, where an individual incurs a recoverable overpayment as a result of failing to provide accurate information as part of their benefit claim or in connection with an award of benefit, and have not taken reasonable steps to correct the error. Civil Penalties are not imposed in the event of a claimant refusing to accept a job offer.

The information request about those receiving a sanction is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
10th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications for funding from the Flexible Support Fund have been received for up-front childcare costs in each of the last 12 months; and how many of those applications have been (a) paid in full, (b) paid in part and (c) refused.

The information requested is not held in a format that can be easily disaggregated and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2019 to Question 269123, the total amount of civil penalties her Department has issued in each of the last 12 months.

A £50 Civil Penalty may be imposed by both Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Local Authorities where an individual incurs a recoverable overpayment as a result of failing to provide accurate information as part of their benefit claim or in connection with an award of benefit, and has not taken reasonable steps to correct the error.

The table below shows the volume of Civil Penalties applied in the 12 months from July 2018 to June 2019*.

Month

Civil Penalties Applied

Jul-18

6,600

Aug-18

7,300

Sep-18

6,800

Oct-18

8,900

Nov-18

8,900

Dec-18

7,500

Jan-19

10,600

Feb-19

10,800

Mar-19

9,000

Apr-19

8,200

May-19

8,000

Jun-19

7,000

Total

99,600

If a claimant is having difficult repaying a benefit overpayment or Civil Penalty, they can request a review of the amount that is being taken. Any adjustment in the rate of repayment will be based on the individual circumstances of the debtor.

When recovering benefit overpayments, the DWP ensures that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect claimants from any undue financial hardship.

*The data provided in this response has been sourced from internal management information and was not intended for public release. It should therefore not be compared to any other, similar data subsequently released by the Department. All figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
2nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 1 July 2019 to Question 269122, what sums her Department has spent on the use of enforcement agencies to collect (a) civil penalties and (b) benefit overpayments in each of the last five years.

The information requested is commercially sensitive.

Suppliers have to comply with the Credit Services Association code of practice, Office of Fair Trade guidance, Financial Conduct Authority principles around fair treatment of customers and are bound by the Data Protection Act 2018.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the universal credit managed migration pilot is planned to begin in Harrogate.

On 3 May 2019, the High Court handed down a judgment in relation to Universal Credit and the Severe Disability Premium (SDP). The judgment quashed the SDP related parts of the draft Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019.The Department is currently considering the options open to us and will respond in due course.

We plan to begin the “Move to UC” pilot in July 2019.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
28th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the letter from the Leader of the House to the hon. Member for High Peak on 7 June 2019 on universal credit managed migration regulations, when she plans to make an announcement on her Department's policies on the migration of people who received severe disability premium from legacy benefits to universal credit.

On 3 May 2019, the High Court handed down a judgment in relation to Universal Credit and the Severe Disability Premium (SDP). The judgment quashed the SDP related parts of the draft Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019.The Department is currently considering the options open to us and will respond in due course.

We plan to begin the “Move to UC” pilot in July 2019.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many civil penalties relating to failure to undertake tasks required for universal credit compliance have been issued in each of the last 12 months.

A £50 Civil Penalty may be imposed by both Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Local Authorities where an individual incurs a recoverable overpayment as a result of failing to provide accurate information as part of their benefit claim or in connection with an award of benefit, and has not taken reasonable steps to correct the error.

The table below shows the volume of Civil Penalties applied to UC Overpayments in the last 12 months along with the value of recoveries in the last 12 months where a Civil Penalty was imposed on a UC debt. *

Note that there is no correlation between the number applied and the value of recovery for the associated month. Civil Penalties issued in a 12-month period will not necessarily be recovered in that same 12-month period as debts will be repaid over different timeframes, in accordance with a debtor’s particular commitments.

Month

Number applied to UC overpayment

Value of Recovery

Jun-18

140

£4,300

Jul-18

120

£4,700

Aug-18

190

£8,100

Sep-18

130

£5,800

Oct-18

80

£8,600

Nov-18

20

£5,700

Dec-18

Fewer than 5

£5,400

Jan-19

10

£4,800

Feb-19

20

£3,700

Mar-19

20

£3,800

Apr-19

10

£2,300

May-19

10

£1,600

When recovering overpayments, DWP ensures that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect claimants from any undue financial hardship. Like the Department, private collection agencies will look to establish sustainable repayment arrangements.

*The data provided in this response has been sourced from internal management information and was not intended for public release. It should therefore not be compared to any other, similar data subsequently released by the Department. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much revenue has been received from civil penalties relating to failure to undertake tasks required for universal credit compliance in each of the last 12 months.

A £50 Civil Penalty may be imposed by both Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Local Authorities where an individual incurs a recoverable overpayment as a result of failing to provide accurate information as part of their benefit claim or in connection with an award of benefit, and has not taken reasonable steps to correct the error.

The table below shows the volume of Civil Penalties applied to UC Overpayments in the last 12 months along with the value of recoveries in the last 12 months where a Civil Penalty was imposed on a UC debt. *

Note that there is no correlation between the number applied and the value of recovery for the associated month. Civil Penalties issued in a 12-month period will not necessarily be recovered in that same 12-month period as debts will be repaid over different timeframes, in accordance with a debtor’s particular commitments.

Month

Number applied to UC overpayment

Value of Recovery

Jun-18

140

£4,300

Jul-18

120

£4,700

Aug-18

190

£8,100

Sep-18

130

£5,800

Oct-18

80

£8,600

Nov-18

20

£5,700

Dec-18

Fewer than 5

£5,400

Jan-19

10

£4,800

Feb-19

20

£3,700

Mar-19

20

£3,800

Apr-19

10

£2,300

May-19

10

£1,600

When recovering overpayments, DWP ensures that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect claimants from any undue financial hardship. Like the Department, private collection agencies will look to establish sustainable repayment arrangements.

*The data provided in this response has been sourced from internal management information and was not intended for public release. It should therefore not be compared to any other, similar data subsequently released by the Department. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many civil penalties have been passed to debt collection agencies by her Department in each of the last 12 months.

The table below details the total number of Civil Penalties which have been passed to Debt Collection Agencies in each of the last 12 months*.

Month

Civil Penalties

Jun-18

700

Jul-18

900

Aug-18

800

Sep-18

600

Oct-18

600

Nov-18

800

Dec-18

500

Jan-19

900

Feb-19

600

Mar-19

600

Apr-19

700

May-19

700

Grand Total

8400

A £50 Civil Penalty may be imposed by both Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Local Authorities where an individual incurs a recoverable overpayment as a result of failing to provide accurate information as part of their benefit claim or in connection with an award of benefit, and has not taken reasonable steps to correct the error.

When recovering overpayments, DWP ensures that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect claimants from any undue financial hardship. Like the Department, private collection agencies will look to establish sustainable repayment arrangements.

*The data provided in this response has been sourced from internal management information and was not intended for public release. It should therefore not be compared to any other, similar data subsequently released by the Department. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total monetary amount is of civil penalties which have been passed to debt collection agencies by her Department in each of the last 12 months.

The table below details the total monetary amount of Civil Penalties which have been passed to Debt Collection Agencies in each of the last 12 months.*

Month

Total Monthly Amount

Jun-18

£32,800

Jul-18

£42,500

Aug-18

£38,500

Sep-18

£28,000

Oct-18

£26,700

Nov-18

£35,500

Dec-18

£25,200

Jan-19

£43,500

Feb-19

£26,400

Mar-19

£26,900

Apr-19

£35,400

May-19

£31,200

Grand Total

£392,600

A £50 Civil Penalty may be imposed by both Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Local Authorities where an individual incurs a recoverable overpayment as a result of failing to provide accurate information as part of their benefit claim or in connection with an award of benefit, and has not taken reasonable steps to correct the error.

When recovering overpayments, DWP ensures that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect claimants from any undue financial hardship. Like the Department, private collection agencies will look to establish sustainable repayment arrangements.

*The data provided in this response has been sourced from internal management information and was not intended for public release. It should therefore not be compared to any other, similar data subsequently released by the Department. All figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department has received from debt collection agencies in respect of civil penalties in each of the last 12 months.

The table below details the amount recovered from Debt Collection Agencies in respect of Civil Penalties in each of the last 12 months.*

Month

Recovery Value

Jun 2018

£6,900

Jul 2018

£5,500

Aug 2018

£6,900

Sep 2018

£5,200

Oct 2018

£4,600

Nov 2018

£6,400

Dec 2018

£4,600

Jan 2019

£3,000

Feb 2019

£4,700

Mar 2019

£5,800

Apr 2019

£3,500

May 2019

£3,800

A £50 Civil Penalty may be imposed by both Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Local Authorities where an individual incurs a recoverable overpayment as a result of failing to provide accurate information as part of their benefit claim or in connection with an award of benefit, and has not taken reasonable steps to correct the error.

When recovering overpayments, DWP ensures that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect claimants from any undue financial hardship. Like the Department, private collection agencies will look to establish sustainable repayment arrangements.

*The data provided in this response has been sourced from internal management information and was not intended for public release. It should therefore not be compared to any other, similar data subsequently released by the Department. All figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many payments of the child element of universal credit have been ceased due to a child being in hospital for over six months in each of the last three years.

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of universal credit received payments into a Post Office Card Account in each of the last 12 months.

The Department’s standard method of payment for pensions and benefits is into a bank, building society or credit union account. For claimants who cannot open one of these accounts, or provide the details for their own account to access their payment, the Department can offer two alternatives: The Post Office Card Account and HM Government Payment Exception Service, both of which guarantee access to their payment of pension and or benefit.

The Department has been contacting claimants using Post Office Card Accounts since September 2015 offering information to claimants to move to standard payment methods.

As a claimant may receive more than one payment of Universal Credit in each month, we have supplied the total volume of Universal Credit payments made into Post Office Card Accounts in each of the last 12 months in the table below. Increasing volumes of Universal Credit payments into these types of account reflect those naturally migrating from legacy benefits and taking their payment method with them.

Month

Payments Made

June 2018

10,322

July 2018

9,699

August 2018

10,686

September 2018

10,494

October 2018

10,302

November 2018

12,160

December 2018

12,649

January 2019

12,571

February 2019

13,807

March 2019

14,209

April 2019

14,377

May 2019

15,724

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
10th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate his Department has made of the number of people whose personal independence payment has (a) increased, (b) decreased, (c) reduced to zero and (d) stayed the same as a result of an appeal decision in each of the last five years.

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

22nd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have had their deductions under universal credit reduced from the maximum rate of 40 per cent of an individual's standard allowance in the last (a) month and (b) 12 months.

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

The Government recognises the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. Universal Credit already has procedures and regulations in place to protect claimants from excessive deductions. The maximum rate of deductions cannot normally exceed 40 per cent of the Universal Credit standard allowance, and from October 2019 this will be reduced to 30 per cent.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, (a) how many and (b) what percentage of universal credit claimants had funds deducted for a universal credit overpayment in the most recent month for which data is available.

Internal Management information shows that in April 2019, 80,000 payments of Universal Credit (UC) had a deduction applied to repay a UC overpayment (this figure does not include UC Advances and has been rounded to the nearest 10,000).

It is not possible to show this figure as a percentage as the latest UC caseload data is only available as of 14th February 19. However, for context as of 14th February 19, 1.4m households received payments of UC.

The Department ensures that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect claimants who have deductions from their benefit to repay overpayments. There are maximum rates of deduction that are set out in legislation, and if a claimant is struggling they can contact the Department’s Debt Management Team to discuss lowering their repayment rate.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have had deductions under universal credit paused; and what the average length of the pause was in the last (a) month and (b) 12 months.

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

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people with underlying debts resulting in deductions under universal credit had those debts written off in the last (a) month and (b) 12 months.

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

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 18 February 2019 to Question 218205 on Universal Credit, which regulations referred to in that Answer protect claimants from excessive deductions.

The Government recognises the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. Under Universal Credit there is a structured approach to deductions from benefit, which simplifies the current complex arrangements. Claimants can view their Universal credit statement online and easily understand both how their award is calculated and what debts are being repaid, supporting them to manage their financial obligations.

The aim of the deductions policy in Universal Credit is to protect vulnerable claimants by providing a last resort repayment method for arrears of essential services. The policy also enables social obligations to be enforced when other repayment methods have failed, or are not cost effective, and ensures that benefit debt is recovered in a cost effective manner.

Regulations protect claimants from excessive deductions, which could lead to financial difficulty.

Universal Credit is made up of a standard allowance plus any additional elements that apply, for example a housing element or child element. The overall maximum amount that can be deducted for debt repayments from a claimant’s Universal Credit each month is an amount equal to 40 per cent of their Universal Credit standard allowance.

Where requested deductions exceed the 40 per cent maximum, or there is insufficient Universal Credit in payment for all deductions to be made, a priority order is applied, which determines the order in which items should be deducted. ‘Last resort’ deductions, such as rent or fuel costs, are at the top of the priority order, ensuring that claimant welfare is prioritised, followed by social obligation deductions, such as fines and child maintenance, and finally benefit debt, such as Social Fund loans and benefit overpayments.

There are two exceptions to the overall maximum deduction rate. The first is deductions for current consumption of gas, electricity and water, which do not count towards the overall maximum amount. The second is where a Conditionality Sanction or Fraud Penalty is being applied or an Advance is being recovered, ‘last resort deductions’ (that is arrears of rent, service charges, gas or electricity) continue to be taken, even if it means that more than 40 per cent is deducted. This is to protect vulnerable claimants from being made homeless or having their fuel disconnected.

The Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (Claims and Payments) Regulations 2013(S.I, 2013/380) and specifically Regulation 60 and Schedule 6, paragraph 4 explains how claimants are protected from excessive deductions. These regulations are available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/380/contents/made.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
21st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claims that had a deduction applied had (a) up to 20 per cent, (b) between 21 and 30 per cent, (c) between 31 and 40 per cent and (d) more than 41 per cent deducted in the latest period for which data is available.

The Government recognises the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. Universal Credit already has procedures and regulations in place to protect claimants from excessive deductions. The maximum rate of deductions cannot normally exceed 40 per cent of the Universal Credit standard allowance, and from October 2019 this will be reduced to 30 per cent.

However, last resort deductions can be applied to protect vulnerable claimants from eviction and/or having their fuel supply (gas/electricity) cut off, by providing a last resort repayment method for arrears of these essential services. In these circumstances, when it is considered to be in the best interests of the claimant and their family, deductions may be taken above the 40 per cent limit.

If a claimant is in financial difficulty as a result of the level of deductions being made they can contact the Department to request that a reduction in deductions be considered.

Of all eligible claims to Universal Credit Full Service due a payment in Feb 2019, 57% (840,000 claims) had a deduction.

Of this 840,000 claims with a deduction:

a) 50% (420,000 claims) had deductions up to 20% of the Standard Allowance (29% of all eligible claims).

b) 20% (170,000 claims) had deductions between 21% and 30% of the Standard Allowance (12% of all eligible claims).

c) 28% (238,000 claims) had deductions between 31% and 40% of their Standard Allowance (16% of all eligible claims).

d) 1% (13,000 claims) had deductions above 40% of their Standard Allowance (1% of all eligible claims).

Notes:

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

Claim numbers are rounded to the nearest 1,000

When categorising claims into the groups above the figures for the percentage of the Standard Allowance for individual claims have been rounded to the nearest percent.

Deductions include advance repayments and all other deductions, but exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
21st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to introduce an affordability test for deductions taken from universal credit payments.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer to Question 218205 answered on 7 February 2018.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
1st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many of the universal credit claimants who have taken an advance payment on their first payment are in arrears.

The Government recognises the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. Universal Credit already has procedures and regulations in place to protect claimants from excessive deductions. The maximum rate of deductions cannot normally exceed 40% of the Universal Credit standard allowance, and from October 2019, this will be reduced to 30% of a claimant’s standard allowance of their UC award. If a claimant is in financial difficulty as a result of the level of deductions being made they can contact the Department to request that a reduction in deductions be considered.

Universal Credit (UC) new claim advances provide access to a payment for those in financial need, which can be accessed on the same day, until their first UC payment is due. Claimants can access up to 100% of the total expected monthly award, for which they can pay back over a period of up to 12 months, and in the Autumn Budget 2018, we announced that from October 2021, the payback period for these advances will be extended further, up to 16 months.

Currently there are around 850,000 claimants that have a UC advance repayment in place. Of these claimants, the table below shows 440,000 also have at least one other debt relating to benefit overpayments, social fund loans or previous advances (figures rounded to nearest ten thousand). The data held by the Department does not include other third party debts, for example arrears, utility bills or other borrowing. However, research conducted by Almo’s shows that while many people join UC with pre-existing arears, this fell by a third after 4 months on universal credit.

Debt Source/Combination

Volume

Percent

Tax Credits only

120,000

27.31

Social Fund only

80,000

18.29

Other Combinations inc Social Fund

62,000

14.04

Other Combinations

40,000

9.05

UC Overpayment only

22,000

4.94

Other Combinations inc UC

20,000

4.49

Other Combinations inc Leg OP & SF

18,000

4.05

Legacy Benefit overpayment only

18,000

4.04

Other Combinations inc Legacy

17,000

3.89

UC Recoverable Hardship Payment

10,000

2.39

Legacy Benefit overpayment and Social Fund

10,000

2.22

Housing Benefit only

10,000

2.20

Tax Credits & Housing Benefit

9,000

2.05

Housing Benefit & Social Fund

5,000

1.03

Source: DWP internal statistics

Notes:

1. Data has been sourced from DWP internal statistics.

2. The figures within the data table for those with more than two types of benefit debt have been combined and reported according to whether they have both a legacy benefit (LegOP) and a social fund (SF) debt, either of these singularly or another UC related debt.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
1st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the number of people in receipt of severe disability premium (SDP) who claimed universal credit before 16 January 2019 and who will be repaid their entitlement to SDP when the Universal Credit (Managed Migration) Regulations 2018 come into force.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer to Question 215614, from 6 February 2019.

Since the introduction of The Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) (SDP Gateway) Amendment Regulations 2019, which came into force on 16th January 2019, claimants who are entitled, or have been within the last month, to an award of an existing benefit that includes SDP have not been required to move to Universal Credit; even if they have experienced a relevant change in their circumstances. The draft Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2019, which are currently before Parliament, make provision for SDP transitional payments for those eligible claimants who have already moved to UC and for moving existing legacy claimants onto Universal Credit and implementing transitional protection.

We are currently considering the court judgment handed down on 3 May 2019.

9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to implement the recommendation of the Social Security Advisory Committee to test and evaluate dummy runs of the full managed migration process in a cross-section of claimant scenarios before concluding the piloting phase of universal credit.

We accepted the Social Security Advisory Committee’s recommendation and the pilot phase will allow the Department to test our processes carefully to ensure that claimants on all legacy benefits with a range of characteristics can be successfully moved onto Universal Credit. Furthermore the Department is already undertaking user testing with individuals currently in receipt of legacy benefits and this will further inform the pilot.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has set a minimum number of people it will migrate to Universal Credit before concluding its pilot of the managed migration.

It is our aim to support all claimants on legacy benefits and tax credits in moving successfully Universal Credit. To help us learn how best to achieve this, we have sought powers to conduct a pilot phase involving up to a maximum of 10,000 claimants. This number is a ceiling, not a target. It reflects our commitment to return to Parliament with our findings before extending the move onto Universal Credit to more people. There has been no minimum number set for the people who will go through the pilot – we will start small and then increase numbers as slowly and gradually as necessary, learning and adapting as we go.

The Department is currently working closely with a wide and diverse range of stakeholders to design the process and we are considering our approach to the pilot, including which groups or individuals we might begin to move first.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, reference to the Written Statement of 12 March on Universal Credit, HCWS1399, whether her Department plans to pay discretionary payments to cover the two-week run on for all claimants migrating to universal credit during the course of the pilot.

Subject to the Parliamentary approval, of the draft Universal Credit (Managed Migration Pilot and Miscellaneous Amendments) regulations 2019, the Department will introduce a Discretionary Hardship Payment to support those claimants who will be a part of the pilot phase and who appear to be in hardship. The power for Discretionary Hardship Payments is broad and could be used to pay the equivalent of the two-week legacy run on to claimants who will be moved to Universal Credit as part of the piloting phase and who are in hardship on account of the absence of the run on. We will also have the discretion to make payments if any other issues related to managed migration have resulted in hardship.

Introducing the Discretionary Hardship Payment during the piloting phase will allow the Department to evaluate this support and assess what impact the current policy may have on claimants before introducing the run-ons from July 2020. This evaluation will allow us to consider whether further support is needed as a result of other issues that may arise and we have committed to reporting on our findings from the pilot before bringing forward legislation to proceed with volume managed migration.”

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to include an estimate of the (a) number and (b) expected number of people falling out of the social security system and during the universal credit managed migration pilot when it reports to Parliament on that pilot.

We do not intend to stop anyone’s benefit during the pilot. In the pilot phase, our intention is to learn how to effectively assist people onto Universal Credit and to develop processes to deliver that help. This is particularly important for vulnerable and hard-to-reach claimants, who the Department will help to move across to the new system. We are piloting this approach precisely to learn how we can contact and support people to move to Universal Credit without ending their legacy entitlement.

Through the pilot process we will work to understand the reasons for unsuccessful applications. However, there will be safeguards in place to protect those who might otherwise fail to make a successful claim.

We will report on our findings from the pilot before bringing forward legislation to extend this process.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 12 March on Universal Credit, HCWS1399, whether a person's legacy benefits could be terminated if they have not made a claim for universal credit during the course of the pilot.

We do not intend to stop anyone’s benefit during the pilot. In the pilot phase, our intention is to learn how to effectively assist people onto Universal Credit and to develop processes to deliver that help. This is particularly important for vulnerable and hard-to-reach claimants, who the Department will help to move across to the new system. We are piloting this approach precisely to learn how we can contact and support people to move to Universal Credit without ending their legacy entitlement.

Through the pilot process we will work to understand the reasons for unsuccessful applications. However, there will be safeguards in place to protect those who might otherwise fail to make a successful claim.

We will report on our findings from the pilot before bringing forward legislation to extend this process.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
9th Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department will report to Parliament on its evaluation of the effect of the managed migration pilot on (a) disabled people, (b) people with mental health conditions and (c) people identified by her Department as having complex needs.

The Department is committed to ensuring that all claimants, especially the most vulnerable, are supported as they move and the aim of the pilot is to ensure claimants on all legacy benefits with a range of different characteristics can successfully move onto Universal Credit. All individuals involved in the pilot process will be tracked through the process and there will be safeguards in place to protect them throughout the journey.

We are working closely with a diverse range of stakeholders, including those who focus on disability and mental health, so that a range of insights are played into the design of the pilot and we will work with partners to ensure we reach everyone in the most effective and supportive way, and that no-one is left behind. Learnings from the pilot will shape the future support we provide to claimants.

The Department has committed to reporting its findings from the pilot to Parliament before we continue.

1st Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her speech entitled Closing the gap between intention and experience on 5 March 2019, when her Department plans to publish the findings of the small test of a no conditionality approach for claimants awaiting a work capability assessment.

The Department is still finalising the design of the Proof of Concept and seeking input from key representatives from the sector. It is a small scale test which will be run in 2-4 jobcentres during summer 2019. We will use the Proof of Concept to test whether we can increase engagement with claimants with disabilities or health conditions. Work Coaches will start with no mandatory requirements and then tailor conditionality up, based on an individual’s circumstances.

We intend to apply it to those claimants pre-Work Capability Assessment; and, that, for those post work capability assessment found to have a Limited Capability for Work. We will apply it to all claimants presenting with medical evidence of a health condition, or disability, excluding only those who are Terminally Ill or who have conditions defined in schedule 8 or schedule 9 of the Universal Credit Regulations. Universal Credit does not use the ICD10 classification system for claimants recognising that each claimant is unique. Further detailed design on inclusion/exclusion criteria have yet to be defined.

The evaluation of the Proof of Concept will take place in Autumn 2019 after which we will determine next steps.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
1st Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her speech entitled Closing the gap between intention and experience delivered on 5 March 2019, what the timetable is for her Department to introduce the proposed small test of a no conditionality approach for claimants awaiting a work capability assessment.

The Department is still finalising the design of the Proof of Concept and seeking input from key representatives from the sector. It is a small scale test which will be run in 2-4 jobcentres during summer 2019. We will use the Proof of Concept to test whether we can increase engagement with claimants with disabilities or health conditions. Work Coaches will start with no mandatory requirements and then tailor conditionality up, based on an individual’s circumstances.

We intend to apply it to those claimants pre-Work Capability Assessment; and, that, for those post work capability assessment found to have a Limited Capability for Work. We will apply it to all claimants presenting with medical evidence of a health condition, or disability, excluding only those who are Terminally Ill or who have conditions defined in schedule 8 or schedule 9 of the Universal Credit Regulations. Universal Credit does not use the ICD10 classification system for claimants recognising that each claimant is unique. Further detailed design on inclusion/exclusion criteria have yet to be defined.

The evaluation of the Proof of Concept will take place in Autumn 2019 after which we will determine next steps.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
1st Apr 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her speech entitled, Closing the gap between intention and experience, made on 5 March 2019, what (a) locations and (b) groups of claimants by protected characteristics, and (c) groups of claimants with medical conditions by ICD10 classification her Department plans to include in the proposed small test of a no-conditionality approach for claimants awaiting work capability assessment.

The Department is still finalising the design of the Proof of Concept and seeking input from key representatives from the sector. It is a small scale test which will be run in 2-4 jobcentres during summer 2019. We will use the Proof of Concept to test whether we can increase engagement with claimants with disabilities or health conditions. Work Coaches will start with no mandatory requirements and then tailor conditionality up, based on an individual’s circumstances.

We intend to apply it to those claimants pre-Work Capability Assessment; and, that, for those post work capability assessment found to have a Limited Capability for Work. We will apply it to all claimants presenting with medical evidence of a health condition, or disability, excluding only those who are Terminally Ill or who have conditions defined in schedule 8 or schedule 9 of the Universal Credit Regulations. Universal Credit does not use the ICD10 classification system for claimants recognising that each claimant is unique. Further detailed design on inclusion/exclusion criteria have yet to be defined.

The evaluation of the Proof of Concept will take place in Autumn 2019 after which we will determine next steps.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
14th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many reconsiderations of employment and support allowance decisions occurred after her Department had been notified that an appeal had been lodged in each of the last three years.

An appeal can only be made against a decision which has gone through the Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) process. In law it is not possible to revise a tribunal decision.

Statistics on the number of MRs for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) where the initial decision was revised are published in Table 14 of the quarterly statistical publication “ESA: outcomes of Work Capability Assessments including mandatory reconsiderations and appeals: March 2019”, available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-march-2019

Information on the number of ESA appeals that have been lapsed (which is where DWP changed the decision after an appeal was lodged but before it was heard at Tribunal) is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

14th Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many mandatory reconsiderations of employment and support allowance appeals have been successful in each of the last three years.

An appeal can only be made against a decision which has gone through the Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) process. In law it is not possible to revise a tribunal decision.

Statistics on the number of MRs for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) where the initial decision was revised are published in Table 14 of the quarterly statistical publication “ESA: outcomes of Work Capability Assessments including mandatory reconsiderations and appeals: March 2019”, available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-march-2019

Information on the number of ESA appeals that have been lapsed (which is where DWP changed the decision after an appeal was lodged but before it was heard at Tribunal) is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

22nd Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have repaid benefit overpayments at 40 per cent from their standard allowance in the most recent period for which figures are available.

When recovering a benefit overpayment, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has different deduction rates that are applied in different circumstances. The highest rate of 40% of the standard allowance is only applicable where a debt has been classified as fraud.

Our current internal data shows that there are around 8,500 Universal Credit claimants with an overpayment classified as fraud. Other factors, such as higher priority deductions, may mean that DWP is unable to deduct at 40% for the recovery of a benefit overpayment.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
21st Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much has been deducted from universal credit claimants' standard allowance in each month since April 2017.

Internal figures are provided in the table below from two DWP datasets.

The Government recognises the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. The aim of the deductions policy in Universal Credit is to protect vulnerable claimants from eviction and/or having their gas, electricity and water cut off, by providing a last resort repayment method for arrears of these essential services.

The increase in Universal Credit caseload and activity to increase awareness of advances has had an effect on deductions. Increased awareness has resulted in around 60% of eligible new claims to Universal Credit receiving an advance in October 2018, providing further financial support until their first payment.

Total amount deducted from Universal Credit payments between April 2017 and October 2018

Month

Amount deducted [rounded to the nearest million]

Amount of Universal Credit paid [rounded to the nearest million]

Amount deducted as a percentage of Universal Credit paid

Apr-17

£9,000,000

£140,000,000

7%

May-17

£10,000,000

£148,000,000

7%

Jun-17

£10,000,000

£159,000,000

6%

Jul-17

£11,000,000

£166,000,000

6%

Aug-17

£11,000,000

£176,000,000

6%

Sep-17

£12,000,000

£186,000,000

6%

Oct-17

£13,000,000

£195,000,000

7%

Nov-17

£13,000,000

£205,000,000

7%

Dec-17

£15,000,000

£216,000,000

7%

Jan-18

£17,000,000

£232,000,000

7%

Feb-18

£19,000,000

£243,000,000

8%

Mar-18

£22,000,000

£257,000,000

8%

Apr-18

£23,000,000

£266,000,000

9%

May-18

£25,000,000

£284,000,000

9%

Jun-18

£27,000,000

£319,000,000

8%

Jul-18

£29,000,000

£335,000,000

9%

Aug-18

£32,000,000

£360,000,000

9%

Sep-18

£35,000,000

£380,000,000

9%

Oct-18

£39,000,000

£410,000,000

10%

Notes:

Data sources: Universal Credit Live Service Reference Datasets and Full Service PDM data, UC Analysis Division

1. Figures are provided for the total of UC Live Service and Full Service. The data is sourced from two different computer systems and the information available is slightly different on each system.

  • Full Service deductions include advance repayments and all other deductions, but exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are deductions of benefit rather than deductions.
  • Live Service deductions do not include sanctions which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions, but may include Fraud Penalties as these could not be removed from the Live Service data.
  • The Full and Live Service datasets use slightly different definitions for the month. Full Service data uses the month the UC payment is due, whereas Live Service data uses the month the assessment period related to the payment ends. The 'Total' column sums the figures using these different definitions.

2. Increase in the total deduction amounts by month reflects the effect of Universal Credit (UC) roll out as more people move onto UC.

3. Amount of Universal Credit paid reflects the amount of money paid to claimants and their landlords as part of their award. It does not include other payments such as advances and hardship payments.

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

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much has accrued to the public purse of deductions from universal credit claimants' standard allowance.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The aim of the deductions policy in Universal Credit is to protect vulnerable claimants from eviction and/or having their gas, electricity and water cut off, by providing a last resort repayment method for arrears of these essential services. Deductions can be taken from a claimant’s payment of Universal Credit as set out in legislation and can also include monies owed to the public purse, such as repaying a Social Fund loan, or recovering arrears of Council Tax.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
18th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 January 2019 to Question 207610 on Social Security Benefits, when she plans to provide a substantive Answer to that Question.

I replied to the hon. Member’s Question on 18 February 2019

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2019 to Question 206457 Universal Credit, when she plans to provide a substantive Answer to that Question.

I replied to the hon. member’s Question on 13 February 2019.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 4 February 2019 to Question 214626, Universal Credit, what proportion of started universal credit claims were never finished due to (a) failure to attend an initial interview, (b) claimant commitment not accepted, (c) the claim was withdrawn, (d) failure to attend a subsequent interview and (e) non-entitlement.

The table below provides the information requested for claimants who made a declaration in August 2018 and subsequently closed their claim before receiving a payment.

Month

Failure to attend an initial interview

Failure to attend a subsequent interview

Claimant commitment not accepted

Non-entitlement * (this includes claims that were withdrawn – see notes **)

Aug-18

11%

1%

7%

9%

Notes:

* Due to recent methodological changes in calculating reasons for claims closing the percentages provided here may not match to those provided previously.

** 4% of the total number of claims were withdrawn.

Figures have been rounded to nearest 1%.

Failure to attend an initial interview includes both initial appointments that have not been attended and cases closed due to failure to book initial interview.

For case to be counted as failure to attend a subsequent interview the claimant must have attended at least one appointment and then had their case closed with the failed to attend closure reason.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
7th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 7 January 2019 to Question 204628 on Universal Credit, when he plans to respond to the hon Member for High Peak.

I replied to the hon. Member with the answer to Question 204628 on 11 February 2019.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
30th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people who have made a claim for universal credit did not complete their application.

Based on our internal data for August 2018, in total 28 per cent of claims did not complete the process.

Of this figure around 8 per cent of claims were closed due to non-entitlement, for example because of capital or not passing the Habitual Residence Test. The remainder (around 18 per cent*) were closed due to non-compliance with the process, for example failure to sign a Claimant Commitment and failing to provide evidence to support their claim.

*percentages do not add up to 28 per cent owing to rounding.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases her Department has passed to the Jointly Managed Engagement Team for HMRC to clarify earnings with employers where there has been a dispute reported through RTI in each month since 2016.

The referrals to the Jointly Managed Engagement Team (JMET) were not broken down into disputes relating specifically to earnings between April 2016 and March 2018.

However, based on the 9811 dispute referrals to the JMET during that period, HMRC estimates that 1765 sought to clarify earnings submitted through Real Time Information (RTI).

Between April and December 2018, there were 7720 referrals to JMET to clarify earnings submitted through RTI. The below table shows this by monthly breakdown.

2018

April

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Referred to JMET

704

861

653

875

1006

793

1120

1023

685

The national roll-out of Universal Credit saw accelerated increase from April-November 2018. As of March 2018, there were 817,912 people on Universal Credit. This almost doubled by November 2018, in which there was 1,426,540 people on Universal Credit.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 March 2018 to Question 130822 on Universal Credit, how many universal credit claimants have a level of deduction from the standard allowance (a) at the 40 per cent and (b) above the 40 per cent level.

Our internal data shows that, of all Universal Credit Full Service awards in September 2018:

(a) 7% (60,000 claims) of all Universal Credit Full Service eligible* claims had deductions at 40% of the Standard Allowance.

(b) 0.6% (5,000 claims) of Universal Credit Full Service eligible claims had deductions that exceeded the normal 40% maximum deduction rate. These are due to last resort deductions which are only applied to protect claimant welfare by helping prevent disconnection or eviction (for example, service charges, rent, gas or electricity arrears).

*Eligible claimants are claimants that have satisfied all the requirements of claiming Universal Credit; they have provided the necessary evidence, signed their claimant commitment and are eligible and have received their first payment.

These figures do not include sanctions or fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions. In these cases, a priority order is applied so that deductions for arrears of housing costs or fuel costs are applied first, in order to protect claimant welfare. Volumes are rounded to the nearest 1,000.

If a claimant is in financial difficulty as a result of the level of deductions being made they can contact the Department to request that a reduction in deductions be considered.

At Autumn Budget 2018 we announced we will reduce the maximum rate at which deductions can be made from a Universal Credit award from 40% to 30% of the standard allowance, from October 2019. Additionally, from October 2021, the recovery period for advances will increase from 12 to 16 months. This will help over 600,000 families to manage their debts at any one point when roll-out is complete, providing them with, on average, £295 extra a year as their debts are repaid over a longer period.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
8th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many employment and support allowance claimants who have appealed their unsuccessful work capability assessment have been transferred onto universal credit.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

8th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people claiming employment and support allowance have been migrated onto universal credit due to an unsuccessful work capability assessment.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

20th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the rate of penalties charged in cases of over payment of Carers Allowance were in each of the last five years.

DWP can impose a £50 Civil Penalty for claimant error where enquiries show that a claimant has failed to provide accurate information as part of their benefit claim or in connection with an award of benefit, they have not taken reasonable steps to correct the error and their action has resulted in an overpayment of over £65.

An Administrative Penalty may be offered to claimants as an alternative to a prosecution where an overpayment of benefit has occurred due to an act or omission by that person and there are grounds for instituting proceedings for an offence against the person relating to the overpayment.

The minimum amount of the Administrative Penalty is £350 or 50% of the recoverable overpayment, whichever is greater, up to a maximum of £5,000.

A debtor would not be expected to repay any recoverable benefit overpayment or DWP financial penalty all at once, as repayments can be made over time.

It is not possible to provide specific Administrative Penalty rates as applied to Carer’s Allowance overpayment cases as this information is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

20th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether trade unions and the Trade Union Congress have been consulted on the managed migration of universal credit.

The Trade Union Congress and some individual trade unions responded to the Social Security Advisory Committee report on the draft Universal Credit Managed Migration Regulations 2018 and we actively consult with trade unions and the Trade Union Congress.

The Department is working with a diverse group of around 80 stakeholder organisations, including Trade Union representation, to ensure the widest possible range of insights are played into the design of Universal Credit Managed Migration. This group will evolve over time as we work with different stakeholders at different stages in the process.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information his Department holds on what proportion of universal credit advance payments for (a) childcare, (b) housing and (c) childcare and housing costs.

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

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit advance payments have been paid on the day on which they have been applied for.

The data requested is not held. We aim to pay advances on Universal Credit within 72 hours. However, an advance can be paid on the same day the claimant applies if they or their household would suffer genuine hardship if they had to wait 72 hours for the payment.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people who have applied for a universal credit advance payment have been unsuccessful in that application.

The data requested is not held for unsuccessful applications for Universal Credit advances made in person or by telephone. For applications made online, to provide the data would incur disproportionate cost.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases of overpayment of Carers Allowance her Department is pursuing; and of those cases how many relate to (a) 51 or fewer, (b) 52 to 103, (c) 104 to 155, (d) 156 to 207, (e) 208 to 259, (f) 260 to 311, (g) 312 to 363 and (h) 364 or more weeks of overpayment.

Data shows that we are currently pursuing 69,609 Carer’s Allowance overpayments. However, not all these debts are currently in recovery as we can only recover one benefit debt at a time.

The information requested relating to the number of weeks of overpayment is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

22nd Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases of overpayment of carers allowance are currently listed before the courts.

The requested information is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

22nd Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases of overpayment of carers allowance have been taken to court under the Proceeds of Crime Act for each of the last five years.

The requested information is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

22nd Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases of overpayment of Carers Allowance have been taken to court in each of the last five years.

The requested information is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

22nd Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much has been charged in penalties for overpayment of carers allowance in each of the last five years.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has two different financial penalties that can be imposed. The first is the Civil Penalty. Where our enquiries show that a claimant has failed to provide accurate information as part of their benefit claim or in connection with an award of benefit, they have not taken reasonable steps to correct the error and their action has resulted in an overpayment of over £65, DWP currently charges a £50 Civil Penalty.

Financial Year

Monetary value of Civil Penalties

2014/2015

£216,450

2015/2016

£356,550

2016/2017

£463,200

2017/2018

£427,750

2018 YTD

£330,400

The Second type of financial penalty is the Administrative Penalty, which may be offered to a person as an alternative to prosecution. Currently the minimum amount of the Administrative Penalty is £350 or 50% of the recoverable overpayment, whichever is greater, up to a maximum of £5,000.

It is not possible to provide the total value of administrative penalties imposed by DWP in the last 5 years as this information is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

21st Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many overpayments of funeral payments her Department recovered in 2015.

We make low-cost funeral expense payments to people who receive (or whose partners receive) a qualifying benefit or Tax Credit. These are recoverable from the estate of the deceased, where possible, but we write most of them off as often there aren’t enough assets in the estate.

Debt Management can also recover any Funeral Expenses Payments that were paid incorrectly; e.g. where a payment was made as a result of a qualifying benefit being claimed incorrectly either as a result of claimant error or fraud.

Whilst DWP does hold data regarding this type of overpayment the numbers are low, less than 15 in total for the period requested.

21st Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many overpayments of funeral payments her Department recovered in 2016.

We make low-cost funeral expense payments to people who receive (or whose partners receive) a qualifying benefit or Tax Credit. These are recoverable from the estate of the deceased, where possible, but we write most of them off as often there aren’t enough assets in the estate.

Debt Management can also recover any Funeral Expenses Payments that were paid incorrectly; e.g. where a payment was made as a result of a qualifying benefit being claimed incorrectly either as a result of claimant error or fraud.

Whilst DWP does hold data regarding this type of overpayment the numbers are low, less than 15 in total for the period requested.

21st Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many overpayments of funeral payments her Department recovered in 2017.

We make low-cost funeral expense payments to people who receive (or whose partners receive) a qualifying benefit or Tax Credit. These are recoverable from the estate of the deceased, where possible, but we write most of them off as often there aren’t enough assets in the estate.

Debt Management can also recover any Funeral Expenses Payments that were paid incorrectly; e.g. where a payment was made as a result of a qualifying benefit being claimed incorrectly either as a result of claimant error or fraud.

Whilst DWP does hold data regarding this type of overpayment the numbers are low, less than 15 in total for the period requested.

21st Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many overpayments of funeral payments her Department has recovered in 2018.

We make low-cost funeral expense payments to people who receive (or whose partners receive) a qualifying benefit or Tax Credit. These are recoverable from the estate of the deceased, where possible, but we write most of them off as often there aren’t enough assets in the estate.

Debt Management can also recover any Funeral Expenses Payments that were paid incorrectly; e.g. where a payment was made as a result of a qualifying benefit being claimed incorrectly either as a result of claimant error or fraud.

Whilst DWP does hold data regarding this type of overpayment the numbers are low, less than 15 in total for the period requested.

20th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to people who are in seasonal self-employment and are also employed, whether the minimum income floor will apply to their self employed income when they are not in employment even if their average income is over the minimum income floor when their employed income is included.

Universal Credit supports people in self-employment. For those claimants in established gainful self-employment, we apply an assumed level of monthly earnings, the Minimum Income Floor.

Where a claimant’s combined self-employment and employment income is above the Minimum Income Floor, Universal Credit is based on their actual earnings. If claimants are not gainfully self-employed then the Minimum Income Floor does not apply.

Autumn Budget 2018 extended the 12-month grace period before the Minimum Income Floor applies to all gainfully self-employed people, giving claimants time to grow their businesses to a sustainable level. This will be introduced from July 2019 and implemented fully from September 2020.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of her Department's frontline staff have received training relating to domestic abuse.

Our Jobcentre staff undergo a comprehensive learning journey designed to equip them with the tools, skills and behaviours required to provide a high quality service to all claimants.

Specific training and guidance is provided for all staff on working with different vulnerable groups, including survivors and those still experiencing domestic abuse. Jobcentre staff will signpost claimants to national and local organisations that provide specialist support and Work Coaches can apply domestic violence easements, switching off all work-related requirements for a period of time.

In addition a national call was held earlier this year to raise awareness and understanding of domestic abuse across the Jobcentre network and a video has been produced to highlight good practice when supporting individuals who have been or are currently in a domestic abuse relationship.

5th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish the meetings held by her Department (a) trades unions and (b) the Trade Union Congress on the managed migration of universal credit in 2018; and if she will make a statement.

No meetings have been held by DWP with trade unions or the Trade Union Congress regarding Managed Migration specifically. However, the Trade Union Congress and some individual trade unions responded to the Social Security Advisory Committee report on the draft Universal Credit Managed Migration Regulations 2018, published on 5 November 2018 which can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-universal-credit-managed-migration-regulations-2018-ssac-report-and-government-statement

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
5th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what representations she has received from (a) trades union and (b) the Trade Union Congress in relation to the managed migration of universal credit.

No meetings have been held by DWP with trade unions or the Trade Union Congress regarding Managed Migration specifically. However, the Trade Union Congress and some individual trade unions responded to the Social Security Advisory Committee report on the draft Universal Credit Managed Migration Regulations 2018, published on 5 November 2018 which can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-universal-credit-managed-migration-regulations-2018-ssac-report-and-government-statement

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many prosecutions for fraud of Carers Allowance there has been as a result of earnings exceeding the threshold by (a) less than 10 per cent, (b) less than 20 percent, (c) less than 10 per cent after deductions and (d) less than 20 per cent after deductions in each of the last ten years.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a duty to protect public funds and an obligation to ensure that, overpaid benefit payments are recovered in accordance with the appropriate social security legislation.

DWP does not routinely publish prosecution statistics and the specific information requested is not available at a granular level. This could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Carers Allowance claimants would only be deemed to have been overpaid if their earnings exceeded the earnings threshold after allowable deductions have been taken into account.

18th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases of overpayment of carers allowance her Department has sought to collect in each of the last 10 years; and what the average amount of overpayment recovered in each of those years was.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recognises and appreciates the vital contribution made by informal carers who provide invaluable support for relatives, partners, friends and neighbours who may be ill, frail or disabled. We also recognise and value the work that carer’s organisations undertake for and on behalf of carers.

Since 2010 the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £64.60 a week, meaning an additional £550 a year for carers. By 2022/23 we are forecast to spend around £3.7 billion a year on CA, a real terms increase of more than a third since 2016/17.

DWP has a duty to protect public funds and an obligation to ensure that, overpaid benefit payments are recovered in accordance with the appropriate social security legislation.

In September 2018 DWP introduced the Verify Earnings and Pensions (VEP) system for use in Carers Allowance. The VEP service presents earnings and employment data to users, with an automated alerts service generating notifications of earnings or pensions related changes. This allows benefit awards to be updated far more quickly.

Where there are discrepancies DWP will contact the claimant for further information. This activity is part of the normal claims handling and maintenance process.

DWP has a Carers Allowance (CA) Fraud and Error Framework which addresses potential fraud and error losses in CA. Activity is based on CA overpayment data. This data shows that the main causes of errors are earnings and to a lesser extent, change of entitlement and hospitalisation. Individual benefit strategies have been developed in order to target these risks types

Data is only available from 2011/12. Table 1 below shows the volume and value of CA new debt overpayments deemed recoverable for the period available up to 2017/18. Table 2 shows the monetary value of CA overpayment recoveries in each year. Please note, recoveries in a financial year won’t necessarily correspond to the new debts raised within that year.

DWP has different deduction rates to be applied in different circumstances and these rates can vary dependent upon a claimant’s particular circumstances. Because of this it would not be possible to provide a meaningful average recovery amount.

Table 1

Financial Year

Count of New CA Debts

Value of New CA Debts Raised in Year

2011/12

30.7k

£39.32m

2012/13

22.4k

£28.27m

2013/14

19.1k

£25.86m

2014/15

14.4k

£18.01m

2015/16

14.5k

£16.74m

2016/17

21.4k

£19.01m

2017/18

18.1k

£18.18m

Table 2

Financial Year

Value of CA Debt Recovered in Year

2011/12

£18.02m

2012/13

£18.65m

2013/14

£19.28m

2014/15

£19.60m

2015/16

£19.01m

2016/17

£21.12m

2017/18

£20.91m

The Government keeps the CA earnings limit under regular review. In April 2018, the CA earnings limit increased from £116 to £120 a week. This 3.4% increase was higher than average earnings growth (Sep 17). In the Economic and fiscal outlook (March 2017) the OBR forecast that average earnings would increase by around 7.5% between 2015 and 2018, whereas we will have increased the CA earnings limit by around 9%.

Table 3 below shows a breakdown of the recoverable CA overpayment volumes by reason for the same period available. It should be noted that not all debts will be cleared in the year in which they have been raised.

Table 3

Financial Year

Count of CA Debts

Reason for CA Overpayment

2011/12

5.5k

Ceased to Care 35hours

9.0k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.3k

Full Time Education

2012/13

5.0k

Ceased to Care 35hours

8.0k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.3k

Full Time Education

2013/14

5.1k

Ceased to Care 35hours

9.2k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.4k

Full Time Education

2014/15

4.2k

Ceased to Care 35hours

6.7k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.3k

Full Time Education

2015/16

4.6k

Ceased to care 35hours

6.5k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.2k

Full Time Education

2016/17

7.5k

Ceased to Care 35hours

8.7k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.4k

Full Time Education

2017/18

4.9k

Ceased to Care 35hours

9.3k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.2k

Full Time Education

Data on specific earnings thresholds as requested is not recorded.

18th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, (a) how many prosecutions for fraud for carers allowance have been pursued, (b) how many of those prosecutions were successful, (c) how much total overpaid benefit was recovered, (d) how much was levied in fines as a result of those prosecutions and (e) what the costs of bringing those prosecutions were in each of the last 10 years.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a duty to protect public funds and an obligation to ensure that, overpaid benefit payments are recovered in accordance with the appropriate social security legislation.

DWP does not routinely publish prosecution statistics. The information is not available at a granular level. The level of detail requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

18th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases of recovered overpayments of carers allowance were due to (a) 35 hours of care per week not being done, (b) earnings in excess of the threshold and (c) carers taking up an education course exceeding 21 hours of study time in each of the last 10 years.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recognises and appreciates the vital contribution made by informal carers who provide invaluable support for relatives, partners, friends and neighbours who may be ill, frail or disabled. We also recognise and value the work that carer’s organisations undertake for and on behalf of carers.

Since 2010 the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £64.60 a week, meaning an additional £550 a year for carers. By 2022/23 we are forecast to spend around £3.7 billion a year on CA, a real terms increase of more than a third since 2016/17.

DWP has a duty to protect public funds and an obligation to ensure that, overpaid benefit payments are recovered in accordance with the appropriate social security legislation.

In September 2018 DWP introduced the Verify Earnings and Pensions (VEP) system for use in Carers Allowance. The VEP service presents earnings and employment data to users, with an automated alerts service generating notifications of earnings or pensions related changes. This allows benefit awards to be updated far more quickly.

Where there are discrepancies DWP will contact the claimant for further information. This activity is part of the normal claims handling and maintenance process.

DWP has a Carers Allowance (CA) Fraud and Error Framework which addresses potential fraud and error losses in CA. Activity is based on CA overpayment data. This data shows that the main causes of errors are earnings and to a lesser extent, change of entitlement and hospitalisation. Individual benefit strategies have been developed in order to target these risks types

Data is only available from 2011/12. Table 1 below shows the volume and value of CA new debt overpayments deemed recoverable for the period available up to 2017/18. Table 2 shows the monetary value of CA overpayment recoveries in each year. Please note, recoveries in a financial year won’t necessarily correspond to the new debts raised within that year.

DWP has different deduction rates to be applied in different circumstances and these rates can vary dependent upon a claimant’s particular circumstances. Because of this it would not be possible to provide a meaningful average recovery amount.

Table 1

Financial Year

Count of New CA Debts

Value of New CA Debts Raised in Year

2011/12

30.7k

£39.32m

2012/13

22.4k

£28.27m

2013/14

19.1k

£25.86m

2014/15

14.4k

£18.01m

2015/16

14.5k

£16.74m

2016/17

21.4k

£19.01m

2017/18

18.1k

£18.18m

Table 2

Financial Year

Value of CA Debt Recovered in Year

2011/12

£18.02m

2012/13

£18.65m

2013/14

£19.28m

2014/15

£19.60m

2015/16

£19.01m

2016/17

£21.12m

2017/18

£20.91m

The Government keeps the CA earnings limit under regular review. In April 2018, the CA earnings limit increased from £116 to £120 a week. This 3.4% increase was higher than average earnings growth (Sep 17). In the Economic and fiscal outlook (March 2017) the OBR forecast that average earnings would increase by around 7.5% between 2015 and 2018, whereas we will have increased the CA earnings limit by around 9%.

Table 3 below shows a breakdown of the recoverable CA overpayment volumes by reason for the same period available. It should be noted that not all debts will be cleared in the year in which they have been raised.

Table 3

Financial Year

Count of CA Debts

Reason for CA Overpayment

2011/12

5.5k

Ceased to Care 35hours

9.0k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.3k

Full Time Education

2012/13

5.0k

Ceased to Care 35hours

8.0k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.3k

Full Time Education

2013/14

5.1k

Ceased to Care 35hours

9.2k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.4k

Full Time Education

2014/15

4.2k

Ceased to Care 35hours

6.7k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.3k

Full Time Education

2015/16

4.6k

Ceased to care 35hours

6.5k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.2k

Full Time Education

2016/17

7.5k

Ceased to Care 35hours

8.7k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.4k

Full Time Education

2017/18

4.9k

Ceased to Care 35hours

9.3k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.2k

Full Time Education

Data on specific earnings thresholds as requested is not recorded.

18th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many of the prosecutions relating to overpaid carer's allowance related to (a) 35 hours of care per week not being carried out, (b) earnings in excess of the threshold and (c) carers taking up an education course exceeding 21 hours of study time in each of the last 10 years.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a duty to protect public funds and an obligation to ensure that, overpaid benefit payments are recovered in accordance with the appropriate social security legislation.

DWP does not routinely publish prosecution statistics. The information is not available at a granular level. The level of detail requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

18th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many cases of recovered overpayments of carers allowance due to earnings in excess of the threshold related to earnings which exceeded the threshold by (a) less than 10 per cent and (b) less than 20 per cent in each of the last 10 years.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recognises and appreciates the vital contribution made by informal carers who provide invaluable support for relatives, partners, friends and neighbours who may be ill, frail or disabled. We also recognise and value the work that carer’s organisations undertake for and on behalf of carers.

Since 2010 the rate of Carer’s Allowance has increased from £53.90 to £64.60 a week, meaning an additional £550 a year for carers. By 2022/23 we are forecast to spend around £3.7 billion a year on CA, a real terms increase of more than a third since 2016/17.

DWP has a duty to protect public funds and an obligation to ensure that, overpaid benefit payments are recovered in accordance with the appropriate social security legislation.

In September 2018 DWP introduced the Verify Earnings and Pensions (VEP) system for use in Carers Allowance. The VEP service presents earnings and employment data to users, with an automated alerts service generating notifications of earnings or pensions related changes. This allows benefit awards to be updated far more quickly.

Where there are discrepancies DWP will contact the claimant for further information. This activity is part of the normal claims handling and maintenance process.

DWP has a Carers Allowance (CA) Fraud and Error Framework which addresses potential fraud and error losses in CA. Activity is based on CA overpayment data. This data shows that the main causes of errors are earnings and to a lesser extent, change of entitlement and hospitalisation. Individual benefit strategies have been developed in order to target these risks types

Data is only available from 2011/12. Table 1 below shows the volume and value of CA new debt overpayments deemed recoverable for the period available up to 2017/18. Table 2 shows the monetary value of CA overpayment recoveries in each year. Please note, recoveries in a financial year won’t necessarily correspond to the new debts raised within that year.

DWP has different deduction rates to be applied in different circumstances and these rates can vary dependent upon a claimant’s particular circumstances. Because of this it would not be possible to provide a meaningful average recovery amount.

Table 1

Financial Year

Count of New CA Debts

Value of New CA Debts Raised in Year

2011/12

30.7k

£39.32m

2012/13

22.4k

£28.27m

2013/14

19.1k

£25.86m

2014/15

14.4k

£18.01m

2015/16

14.5k

£16.74m

2016/17

21.4k

£19.01m

2017/18

18.1k

£18.18m

Table 2

Financial Year

Value of CA Debt Recovered in Year

2011/12

£18.02m

2012/13

£18.65m

2013/14

£19.28m

2014/15

£19.60m

2015/16

£19.01m

2016/17

£21.12m

2017/18

£20.91m

The Government keeps the CA earnings limit under regular review. In April 2018, the CA earnings limit increased from £116 to £120 a week. This 3.4% increase was higher than average earnings growth (Sep 17). In the Economic and fiscal outlook (March 2017) the OBR forecast that average earnings would increase by around 7.5% between 2015 and 2018, whereas we will have increased the CA earnings limit by around 9%.

Table 3 below shows a breakdown of the recoverable CA overpayment volumes by reason for the same period available. It should be noted that not all debts will be cleared in the year in which they have been raised.

Table 3

Financial Year

Count of CA Debts

Reason for CA Overpayment

2011/12

5.5k

Ceased to Care 35hours

9.0k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.3k

Full Time Education

2012/13

5.0k

Ceased to Care 35hours

8.0k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.3k

Full Time Education

2013/14

5.1k

Ceased to Care 35hours

9.2k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.4k

Full Time Education

2014/15

4.2k

Ceased to Care 35hours

6.7k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.3k

Full Time Education

2015/16

4.6k

Ceased to care 35hours

6.5k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.2k

Full Time Education

2016/17

7.5k

Ceased to Care 35hours

8.7k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.4k

Full Time Education

2017/18

4.9k

Ceased to Care 35hours

9.3k

Earnings over CA Limit

0.2k

Full Time Education

Data on specific earnings thresholds as requested is not recorded.

15th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason a student maintenance loan is classed as income in respect of applications for universal credit.

Universal Credit does not duplicate the support provided by the student support system. An award of Universal Credit takes into account the elements of student loans or grants which provide for basic maintenance and disregards elements paid for specific additional costs, such as tuition or books. A flat rate monthly disregard of £110 is applied against the amount taken into account as student income.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the most recent universal credit programme risk register will be made available.

It is not the Government’s policy to publish documents of this nature, to allow space for private discussions.

The Universal Credit programme is already subject to a robust regime of internal and external scrutiny, including oversight from the Work and Pensions Select Committee, the Public Accounts Committee, the National Audit Office and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has undertaken a risk register for the universal credit programme.

It is not the Government’s policy to publish documents of this nature, to allow space for private discussions.

The Universal Credit programme is already subject to a robust regime of internal and external scrutiny, including oversight from the Work and Pensions Select Committee, the Public Accounts Committee, the National Audit Office and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what is the Infrastructure and Projects Authority's most recent delivery confidence assessment on the roll-out of universal credit.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority conducted a review of the Full Business case found that it was ‘affordable and providing value for money’. The Review Team gave the Business Case an Amber/Green Delivery Confidence Assessment Rating, reporting that they were satisfied that the Programme will make the benefits system ‘Cheaper, Simpler and Better’

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
10th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the conclusions of the report, Rolling Out Universal Credit, published by the National Audit Office in June 2018, on delivery confidence assessments made by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority conducted a review of the Full Business Case and found that it was ‘affordable and providing value for money’. The Review Team gave the Business Case an Amber/Green Delivery Confidence Assessment Rating, reporting that they were satisfied that the Programme will make the benefits system ‘Cheaper, Simpler and Better’.

The Full Business Case shows that Universal Credit is projected to help 200,000 people into work, adding £8 billion per annum to the economy when it is fully rolled-out. These are estimates, based on analysis that has been signed off by the Treasury and are monitored by a robust process of benefit realisation.

We published a summary of the Business Case which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-programme-full-business-case-summary. The National Audit Office had access to the IPA reports and to the Business Case in reaching its determination that the value for money of Universal Credit is as yet unproven.

The Government’s conclusion is clear that Universal Credit represents value for money, an agile, adaptable system, fit for the 21st century, helping people to transform their lives through work - while supporting those who cannot work.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will take steps to reduce upfront childcare costs for low income families in receipt of universal credit.

The Government has increased the level of support for childcare costs from 70 per cent in legacy benefits, to 85 per cent within Universal Credit. This means that working families claiming Universal Credit can reclaim up to 85 per cent of their eligible childcare costs each month, up to a maximum of £646.35 for one child and £1,108.04 for two or more children.

DWP continues to improve the Universal Credit experience for claimants and to ensure that they are supported throughout their journey. For those with children, this includes ensuring that help with up front childcare costs is available for Universal Credit households with a low income.

Claimants with a firm job offer can claim Universal Credit childcare costs up to 1 month prior to starting work to enable their children to settle into a new routine. We also offer extra support to enable parents to pay upfront childcare costs or deposits: for example, claimants may be eligible to receive an advance of their future Universal Credit entitlement, which is interest free. Work coaches and claimants work together to ensure that, where this is taken up, repayments are affordable and manageable.

If a budgeting advance is not appropriate, the Flexible Support Fund may also provide assistance. Payments from this fund are non-repayable, and are managed locally to provide tailored and targeted support for claimants to move into work.

Since February 2018, Universal Credit claimants have been able to upload digital copies of their childcare cost receipts or invoices through their online Universal Credit account, all of which make it even easier for claimants to apply for Universal Credit.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
24th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 23 July to Question 165701 on universal credit, when he expects updated figures to be available.

We plan to provide updated figures by the end of 2018.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
19th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether universal credit payments will be made for a looked after child for periods that the child has returned home temporarily.

Where entitlement has been established, Universal Credit would be payable for a looked after child or qualifying young person if the child has been placed with, or continues to live with, their parent or a person who has parental responsibility for them. A child can be looked after and placed with their parents under the supervision of social services.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
19th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance his Department provides on deciding whether a full-time carer should be expected to look for work despite their caring responsibilities or be placed in the no-conditionality group under regulation 89 (b) of the universal credit regulations.

Operational guidance is supplied to MPs and deposited in the House of Commons Library. It outlines that claimants who provide regular and substantial care for at least 35 hours per week for a severely disabled person will be placed in the no work-related requirements regime. They will not be expected to look for or be available for work.

Further guidance can be found in the Advice for Decision Making staff guide which is available online at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advice-for-decision-making-staff-guide

Chapter F6 deals with the Carer element and Chapter J3 relates to the work-related requirements.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
19th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have made contact with her Department to request a reduction in the amount deducted from their standard allowance; and how many of those requests were accepted.

The information requested does not exist in a format that allows it to be collated without incurring disproportionate cost.

However, the Department recognises the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt, and Universal Credit already has procedures and regulations in place protect claimants from excessive deductions.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
18th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of universal credit have had a deduction from the standard allowance (a) at the 40 per cent and (b) above the 40 per cent level.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I provided on 05 March 2018 to PQ 130822. An update of these figures is not available as the Department is currently quality assuring the data.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants are re-paying benefit overpayments; what the (a) mean and (b) median value is of those overpayments; and what the average period is for those benefit payments to be recovered in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a duty to protect public funds and an obligation to ensure that, overpaid benefit payments are recovered in accordance with the appropriate social security legislation.

I can confirm that there were 60,936 UC claimants who had a deduction from their UC as a recovery against a benefit overpayment within the last 31 days. This total includes both past and new overpayments.

The mean value of the outstanding balances is £1,116.98, the median figure is £328.29. These cases include a small number of high value debts.

The information on the average recovery period and the number of claimants re-paying overpayments at 40 per cent of their standard allowance is not available, and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants are re-paying benefit overpayments at 40 per cent from their standard allowance in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a duty to protect public funds and an obligation to ensure that, overpaid benefit payments are recovered in accordance with the appropriate social security legislation.

I can confirm that there were 60,936 UC claimants who had a deduction from their UC as a recovery against a benefit overpayment within the last 31 days. This total includes both past and new overpayments.

The mean value of the outstanding balances is £1,116.98, the median figure is £328.29. These cases include a small number of high value debts.

The information on the average recovery period and the number of claimants re-paying overpayments at 40 per cent of their standard allowance is not available, and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families receive a child disability element in their child tax credit award; and what proportion of those families have a child who qualifies for a lower rather than a higher child disability addition under universal credit.

The number of families receiving a child disability element in their child tax credit award is available on the HMRC website here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-and-working-tax-credits-statistics-finalised-annual-awards-2016-to-2017

Information on the proportion of those families with a child who qualifies for a lower rather than a higher child disability addition under universal credit is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families receive a disabled child premium via income support; and of those families receiving that support how many have a child who will qualify for a lower rather than a higher child disability addition under universal credit.

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

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families receive a disabled child premium via a job seekers allowance award; and of those families receiving that award how many have a child who will qualify for a lower rather than a higher child disability addition under universal credit.

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

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of families with a disabled child claiming means tested benefits or tax credit who will have a lower entitlement under universal credit, disregarding any transitional protection payments; and what estimate she has made of the average change in entitlement by families so affected.

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

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what financial support is available to meet the need of disabled children with looked- after status.

Under the Children Act 1989 Local Authorities are required to make provision for the accommodation and maintenance of all looked-after children, whether or not they are disabled.

Financial support for disabled children is available through Child Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - a benefit for children under the age of 16 who, due to a disability or health condition, have mobility issues and/or require substantially more care, attention and supervision than children their age normally would. Child DLA comprises a Care component and a Mobility component; either or both can be claimed, depending on the child’s overall needs and age.

In order to avoid duplication of provision, the DLA care component is not available to children being looked after in care homes where the Local Authority is meeting their accommodation and maintenance costs. The mobility component is still available however. Furthermore, if a looked after child is in a foster home the foster parents may be able to claim DLA (both components) on their behalf

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether a carer who provides full-time care for a disabled person and is awaiting a decision on their claim for a qualifying disability benefit will be automatically placed in the no-conditionality group of universal credit.

The important role that carers play in our society is recognised and in Universal Credit a claimant who has caring responsibilities for one or more severely disabled persons for at least 35 hours a week should be placed in the no work related requirements group of Universal Credit. This includes those caring for a severely disabled person who is still awaiting an assessment for a severe disability benefit.

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families with a child in residential care are likely to lose universal credit payments for their child as a result of (a) section 22 of the Children Act 1989 and (b) section 17(6) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

In certain circumstances, Universal Credit allows for temporary absence of children, up to 6 months of continuous absence, before an award is affected. This includes absences where the child is in residential care or schooling.

It would not be possible to provide the information requested without incurring disproportionate cost.

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families with a child in residential school or residential college are likely to lose universal credit payments for their child as a result of (a) section 22 of the Children Act 1989 and section 17(6) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

In certain circumstances, Universal Credit allows for temporary absence of children, up to 6 months of continuous absence, before an award is affected. This includes absences where the child is in residential care or schooling.

It would not be possible to provide the information requested without incurring disproportionate cost.

25th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what correspondence there been between the Scottish Government and her Department on split payments for universal credit claimants; and if she will publish that correspondence.

We continue to work closely with the Scottish Government on the transfer of welfare powers covered by the Scotland Act 2016, including split payments, on which we hope to see progress. As this is currently the subject of on-going policy development between DWP and the Scottish Government, the Department is not in a position to share correspondence.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
13th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 7 June 2018, HCWS745 on universal credit, what plans she has to support universal credit claimants in receipt of Disability Premiums once transitional protections are ended.

Following the Written Statement HCWS745 on 7 June, claimants with the Severe Disability Premium will only be moved to Universal Credit with access to Transitional Protection (TP).

The point at which a claimant will no longer be eligible for TP will be dependant upon changes in their individual circumstances.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
13th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 7 June 2018, HCWS745 on universal credit, how her Department plans to identify current universal credit claimants who have lost their Severe Disability Premium as a result of moving to universal credit through natural migration.

Based on information held at the end of February 2018 we estimate that about 4,000 people will receive the transitional payments. This information can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/people-on-income-related-esa-and-enhanced-or-severe-disability-premium-or-both.

Work is ongoing to determine how we can identify these claimants most effectively, so we are ready to implement this change when the necessary regulations are agreed.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
26th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 12 March 2018 to Question 130769, on Disability Premium, on what date her Department plans to release the ad-hoc statistics publication for employment and support allowance people in receipt of severe and enhanced disability premiums.

The Disability Premium data is currently being quality assured. We cannot yet give an exact date for the publication.

13th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of claimants who moved from employment and support allowance to universal credit were found to be fit for work in their work capability assessment but were later found to be eligible for benefits at (a) mandatory reconsideration stage and (b) appeal stage.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in the UK with a (a) corporate appointeeship and (b) corporate deputy are in receipt of employment and support allowance.

The Office of the Public Guardian has reported that there are currently 33,581 deputies in the UK.

The information requested in relation to corporate appointees and deputies being in receipt of Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance is not collated centrally by DWP and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in the UK with a (a) corporate appointeeship and (b) corporate deputy are in receipt of Universal Credit.

The Office of the Public Guardian has reported that there are currently 33,581 deputies in the UK.

The information requested in relation to corporate appointees and deputies being in receipt of Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance is not collated centrally by DWP and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in the UK have (a) corporate appointeeship and (b) corporate deputy.

The Office of the Public Guardian has reported that there are currently 33,581 deputies in the UK.

The information requested in relation to corporate appointees and deputies being in receipt of Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance is not collated centrally by DWP and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have received overpayments due to errors by her Department.

We do not have data quality assured data to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard.

The latest fraud and error publication which provides official error figures can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fraud-and-error-in-the-benefit-system-financial-year-2016-to-2017-estimates

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that terminally ill claimants can receive universal credit.

We are committed to ensuring that terminally ill patients are treated with the utmost sensitivity and care, and receive the support they need to make a claim to Universal Credit. The principles that apply to terminally ill people claiming Universal Credit are the same as for those claiming Employment and Support Allowance, and have remained the same for successive governments. People have several options for how they would like to progress their claim, and we will support them in the most sensitive way possible.

For example, if they would rather not continue submitting information online, our Jobcentre staff can either telephone or visit them, to provide support in making their initial claim and completing any other administrative tasks required to ensure that they receive the correct payment. If a claimant does not want to tell us about their condition themselves, then they can appoint a representative, such as a doctor, charity or friend to let us know on their behalf. We accept information directly from claimant representatives, such as claimant appointees or third party organisations representing the claimant, as well as details supplied to DWP Universal Credit partnership managers or external engagement officials. We also continue to ensure that our work coaches have the flexibility to tailor support for individuals in difficult circumstances.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to allow third parties to submit DS1500 forms on behalf of terminally ill universal credit claimants.

We are committed to ensuring that terminally ill patients are treated with the utmost sensitivity and care, and receive the support they need to make a claim to Universal Credit. The principles that apply to terminally ill people claiming Universal Credit are the same as for those claiming Employment and Support Allowance, and have remained the same for successive governments. People have several options for how they would like to progress their claim, and we will support them in the most sensitive way possible.

For example, if they would rather not continue submitting information online, our Jobcentre staff can either telephone or visit them, to provide support in making their initial claim and completing any other administrative tasks required to ensure that they receive the correct payment. If a claimant does not want to tell us about their condition themselves, then they can appoint a representative, such as a doctor, charity or friend to let us know on their behalf. We accept information directly from claimant representatives, such as claimant appointees or third party organisations representing the claimant, as well as details supplied to DWP Universal Credit partnership managers or external engagement officials. We also continue to ensure that our work coaches have the flexibility to tailor support for individuals in difficult circumstances.

20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that claimants with a (a) corporate appointeeship and (b) corporate deputy can claim Universal Credit.

The Department is currently designing a process which will allow claims to be made and managed by corporate appointees and deputies. In the meantime it is working with corporate appointees and deputies on a case by case basis, to ensure continuity of payment where claimants are migrating to Universal Credit from an existing benefit, and to facilitate new claims so that payment is made without delay.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will ensure that universal credit overpayments caused by errors by her Department are not recoverable from claimants.

As part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, any payment of Universal Credit made in excess of entitlement is a recoverable overpayment, regardless of how the overpayment was caused. This includes those overpayments arising wholly as a result of official error. This is because there is a duty to protect public funds and an obligation, wherever possible, to make sure that an overpayment is recovered.

We do however recognise the problems this may cause for claimants and where possible we try to agree a repayment scheme rather than seek the entire amount in one lump sum.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
20th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether a universal credit claimant in the support group requires a claimant commitment.

All Universal Credit claimants are required to accept a Claimant Commitment as a condition of entitlement. Where it has been determined that a claimant has a serious health condition or disability which prevents them from working or preparing for work, they will not be required to undertake any work-related requirements and their Claimant Commitment will reflect this.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the number of Universal Credit claimants who have a level of deduction from the standard allowance (a) at the 40 per cent and (b) above the 40 per cent level.

Of all Universal Credit Full Service awards in January 2018:

(a) 6% had a total deduction amount (either to a third party, for an advance, or for a fraud penalty) which equalled 40 per cent of the standard allowance

(b) Less than 0.5% had a total deduction amount which exceeded 40 per cent of the standard allowance. In these cases, a priority order is applied so that deductions for rent or fuel costs are applied first, in order to protect claimant welfare.

If a claimant is in financial difficulty as a result of the level of deductions being made they can contact the Department to request that a reduction in deductions be considered.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the saving to the public purse as a result of the removal of disability premiums under universal credit.

Universal Credit simplifies and rationalises the current system of overlapping disability premiums and tax credits, through increasing the level of support from £158 a month under the Employment and Support Allowance Support Component to £318 a month under Universal Credit.

By restructuring the rates in this way, the Government made clear that it was not looking to reduce overall spending. Savings from the simplification of Universal Credit support for the disabled do not go back to the Exchequer, but are reinvested to fund the increased higher basic rate of support available for all claimants with Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
2nd Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people were receiving (a) severe disability premium, (b) enhanced disability premium or (c) severe and enhanced disability premiums as of May 2017.

The information available for Income Support, Pension Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in May 2017 who were in receipt of severe and enhanced disability premiums is in the table below:

Income Support, Pension Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants in receipt of the severe disability premium and enhanced disability premium, May-2017, Great Britain

Income Support

Pension Credit

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Severe Disability Premium Only

10,450

502,110

10,000

Enhanced Disability Premium Only

21,990

-

-

Both Severe and Enhanced Disability Premium

6,520

-

-

Source: DWP 100% and 5% Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study data

Notes

  1. Income Support and Pension Credit figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Jobseeker’s Allowance figures are rounded to the nearest 100. “–“ denotes nil or negligible.
  2. The JSA figures are from the 5% WPLS data. The best statistics on benefits are derived from 100% data sources. However, the 5% sample data still provide some detail not yet available from the 100% data sources. DWP recommends that, where the detail is only available on the 5% sample data, the proportions derived should be applied to the overall 100% total for the benefit. This is the methodology used to derive the JSA figures provided here.

The Department intends to release an ad-hoc statistics publication for Employment and Support Allowance recipients in receipt of severe and enhanced disability premiums.

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

2nd Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people who have lost access to transitional protections through natural migration to universal credit were in receipt of (a) enhanced disability premium, (b) severe disability premium or (c) enhanced and severe disability premiums at the time of their migration.

We have always said that claimants who move over to Universal Credit as part of the managed migration process will not see a cash loss as a result of the change. This is provided that their circumstances remain the same. We will be starting managed migration of existing benefit claimants to Universal Credit from July 2019 and this will be completed by March 2022.

Claimants who naturally move to Universal Credit will do so because they have had a change of circumstances. In such cases claimants will continue to have their new welfare support entitlement calculated on the rules of their new benefit.

DWP continues to evaluate this policy as it is delivered.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
2nd Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have lost access to transitional protections through natural migration to universal credit.

We have always said that claimants who move over to Universal Credit as part of the managed migration process will not see a cash loss as a result of the change. This is provided that their circumstances remain the same. We will be starting managed migration of existing benefit claimants to Universal Credit from July 2019 and this will be completed by March 2022.

Claimants who naturally move to Universal Credit will do so because they have had a change of circumstances. In such cases claimants will continue to have their new welfare support entitlement calculated on the rules of their new benefit.

DWP continues to evaluate this policy as it is delivered.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
2nd Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will collate centrally information on the number of people claiming (a) enhanced disability premium, (b) severe disability premium or (c) enhanced and severe disability premiums alongside a payment of income-based employment and support allowance as of May 2017.

The Department intends to release an ad-hoc statistics publication for Employment and Support Allowance people in receipt of severe and enhanced disability premiums in the future.

2nd Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department plans to (a) review the level of deduction from the universal credit standard allowance to repay rent arrears and (b) introduce flexibility within the system for landlords to request deductions at a lower level.

The Department consulted about deductions for rent arrears in 2014. Following this the Government provided for an increased amount to be deducted for rent arrears in order to protect claimants from eviction and to protect landlords’ income streams when all other options for recovery have failed. Increasing the deduction rate to repay rent arrears helps claimants pay off what they owe more quickly, and reduce the chances of eviction. This is an important step in helping claimants clear their debts and to prepare for, find and progress in work.

The rent arrears deduction rate is set at between 10% - 20% and is made up of two parts: a minimum deduction of 10% of the claimant’s standard allowance and up to a further 10% depending on individual circumstances, such as which other deductions may be being applied.

There are no plans to review the level of deductions that can be made. Landlords are however free to make their own arrangements with tenants for the repayment of rent arrears.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
2nd Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of the 20 per cent deduction to repay rent arrears from the universal credit personal allowance, on personal debt and income.

The Department consulted about deductions for rent arrears in 2014. Following this the Government provided for an increased amount to be deducted for rent arrears in order to protect claimants from eviction and to protect landlords’ income streams when all other options for recovery have failed. Increasing the deduction rate to repay rent arrears helps claimants pay off what they owe more quickly, and reduce the chances of eviction. This is an important step in helping claimants clear their debts and to prepare for, find and progress in work.

The rent arrears deduction rate is set at between 10% - 20% and is made up of two parts: a minimum deduction of 10% of the claimant’s standard allowance and up to a further 10% depending on individual circumstances, such as which other deductions may be being applied.

There are no plans to review the level of deductions that can be made. Landlords are however free to make their own arrangements with tenants for the repayment of rent arrears.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
2nd Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants are re-paying benefit overpayments; what the (a) mean and (b) median value is of those overpayments; and what the average period is for those benefit payments to be recovered in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The Department has a duty to protect public funds and has an obligation to ensure that in accordance with social security legislation, any overpayment of benefit resulting from a claimants error or fraud is recovered.

There were 40,521 Universal Credit claimants who had a deduction from their Universal Credit as a recovery against a benefit overpayment (which related to their legacy benefits) within the last 31 days (in January 2018 the Universal Credit caseload was 730,000).

The mean value of the outstanding balances is £1,082.50 and the median figure is £332.55.

The information to provide the average recovery period will often fluctuate over time dependent on a claimant’s particular circumstances.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
4th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he has taken to support people who, in the event of outstanding loans on their property increasing due to the replacement of mortgage interest credits with an interest-bearing loan from April 2018 (a) accrue negative equity in their home, (b) are threatened with re-possession of their home and (c) have their home re-possessed.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loans will continue to provide robust protection against repossession to all eligible claimants in times of need. The level of support available will be calculated in the same way as under the current benefit system. Claimants who take SMI loans and mortgage lenders will not see any difference in the payments they receive. There is no reason to expect lenders to behave any differently to now and we do not anticipate that this measure will lead to an increase either in threats to repossess or the number of homes that are repossessed.

A low level of interest will be charged on these loans based on the cost of gilts. This rate reflects the cost of Government borrowing and is forecast to be 1.5 per cent when SMI loans are introduced in April 2018. Recovery of SMI loans will not be pursued until the property is sold or transferred, although a recipient may volunteer early repayment at any time that they are able to do so. If the amount of equity available to the Department for Work and Pensions after the sale of the property is less than the amount due to be recovered the balance will be written off. This includes cases where the property has negative equity.

SMI benefit claimants are being contacted in advance of loans being introduced in April 2018.

Claimants are given information about how the SMI loan will work, about alternatives to the loan and organisations that can offer further information. Claimants are encouraged to consider how they can fulfil their mortgage commitments should they choose not to take up an SMI loan.

30th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policy of the report entitled, A Hidden Harm: Why healthcare professionals want to stop unfair asthma prescription charges published by Asthma UK with the Royal College of Nursing, Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists and Primary Care Respiratory Society.

The Department has no plans to change the list of medical exemptions from prescription charges. Extensive arrangements are already in place to help people access National Health Service prescriptions. These include a broad range of NHS prescription charge exemptions for which someone with asthma may qualify.

People on a low income, who do not qualify for an exemption, may be eligible for full or partial help with prescription charges through application to the NHS Low Income Scheme.

To support those with the greatest need who do not qualify for an exemption, the cost of the prescription pre-payment certificates has been frozen for another year. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just £2 per week.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Answer of 9 September 2019 to Question 284706, what advice the Government has issued to UK citizens travelling in the EU that require treatments not routinely covered by travel insurance policies after the UK leaves the EU.

The United Kingdom Government has proposed to all Member States that we should maintain existing reciprocal healthcare arrangements until 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal. This includes the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which can support UK residents with long term conditions travelling to the EU who may require needs arising treatment.

The Government understands the concerns of patients with long term conditions and is working to secure the continuation of reciprocal healthcare arrangements, so UK and EU nationals have access to medical treatment in the same way they do now.

Guidance for travelling to the EU after EU exit is available on gov.uk, available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-residents-visiting-the-eueea-and-switzerland-healthcare

The UK Government is advising people with pre-existing or long term medical conditions to also check the Money and Pensions Advice Service which has information on their website for people about their options for purchasing travel insurance. Further information is available at the following link:

www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/travel-insurance-for-over-65s-and-medical-conditions

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that there will be no shortage of the medicines and consumables needed for dialysis or transplantation following the UK’s departure from the EU.

The Department is doing everything appropriate to prepare for leaving the European Union. We want to reassure patients that our plans should ensure the uninterrupted supply of medicines and medical products once we have left the EU.

The Department, as part of our EU exit preparations, continues to implement a multi-layered approach to mitigate potential disruption to supply, which includes medicines and consumables needed for dialysis or transplantation. This approach consists of stockpiling where possible, securing freight capacity, changing or clarifying regulatory requirements, procuring additional warehousing, working closely with industry to improve trader readiness and putting in place the National Supply Disruption Response to manage potential shortages. Further details can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/medicines-and-medical-products-supply-government-updates-no-deal-brexit-plans

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Oct 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Explanatory Memorandum to The Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2019, 7.12, whether in the event of a Serious Shortage Protocol being issued for immunosuppressant medicines patients would always be referred back to the prescriber for any decision on their treatment before any therapeutic or generic alternative is supplied.

While Serious Shortage Protocols (SSP) in England have the scope to cover all medicines and appliances that are on a National Health Service prescription in primary care, including immunosuppressant medicines, it is clear that an SSP for therapeutic or generic equivalents will not necessarily be suitable for all medicines and patients. For example, where medicines need to be prescribed by brand for clinical reasons, which may be the case for certain immunosuppressant medicines. In these cases, patients would always be referred back to the prescriber for any decision about their treatment before any alternative is supplied.

Any protocol would however only be introduced if clinicians with expertise in the relevant area think it is appropriate. So, if an SSP for an immunosuppressant medicine was under consideration, this would be agreed with, for example, transplant specialists or other relevant clinicians. Pharmacists will have to use their professional judgment as to whether supplying against the protocol rather than the prescription is appropriate or the patient should be referred to their prescriber.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Sep 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many bids for capital spending (a) his Department, (b) NHS England and (c) NHS Improvement has (i) rejected and (ii) not responded to in each of the last five years; and what the total value was of the bids (A) rejected and (B) not responded to in each of the last five years.

The information requested on capital bids received by the Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement for capital spending are not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

There have been a multitude of capital funds in the last five years varying in value, complexity and outcome objective and NHS England and NHS Improvement are in on-going discussions with trusts about their capital needs and plans.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Green Paper entitled, Transforming children and young people’s mental health, if he will review the Green Paper consultation processes to improve guidance for people who wish to engage with the process.

Consultation on the Green Paper, ‘Transforming children and young people’s mental health’, was carried out in line with the Government’s published set of government consultation principles. These principles give clear guidance to Government departments on conducting consultations and are available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/consultation-principles-guidance

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the effect of silicosis on the NHS budget and resources.

This information is not held in the format requested.

22nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on whether there is a (a) genetic, (b) socio-economic and (c) ethnic bias to the condition of silicosis.

Information about genetic bias in patients with silicosis is not held centrally.

The following table shows the number of finished admission episodes where there was a primary diagnosis of silicosis, as well as the ethnicity specified by the patient in each episode, over five years.

Ethnicity

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

A

British (White)

17

20

17

11

14

B

Irish (White)

3

1

-

-

-

C

Any other White background

-

-

-

1

-

D

White and Black Caribbean (Mixed)

-

-

1

1

1

H

Indian (Asian or Asian British)

1

-

-

-

-

J

Pakistani (Asian or Asian British)

-

1

-

-

-

M

Caribbean (Black or Black British)

2

1

-

1

-

N

African (Black or Black British)

-

-

2

-

-

S

Any other ethnic group

-

-

-

-

1

Z

Not stated

-

-

3

-

-

99

Unknown

-

-

4

-

2

Total

23

23

27

14

18

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), NHS Digital

The following table shows the number of finished admission episodes where there was a primary diagnosis of silicosis, as well as the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) decile relating to each episode, over five years.

IMD Decile

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

Least deprived 10%

-

2

-

1

-

Less deprived 10-20%

3

2

4

1

-

Less deprived 20-30%

1

4

1

2

1

Less deprived 30-40%

-

-

-

1

3

Less deprived 40-50%

1

2

3

1

1

More deprived 40-50%

1

1

3

1

-

More deprived 30-40%

5

2

4

2

2

More deprived 20-30%

5

3

3

2

3

More deprived 10-20%

4

3

2

1

3

Most deprived 10%

2

3

6

2

5

Unknown

1

1

1

-

-

Total

23

23

27

14

18

Source: HES, NHS Digital

Note:

Finished admission episodes

A finished admission episode (FAE) is the first period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Admissions do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the period.

IMD Decile

This field uses the IMD Overall Ranking to identify which one of ten groups a Super Output Area belongs to, from most deprived through to least deprived. IMD version 2010 is used from 2010-11 onwards.

10th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether postgraduate training level seven will be fully funded and mandatory for people working therapeutically with children and young people on mental health issues.

Health Education England (HEE) is responsible for commissioning of training for the National Health Service workforce and refer to their plan ‘Stepping Forward to 2020/21: Mental Health Workforce Plan for England’.

All Level 7 postgraduate training for people working therapeutically with children and young people commissioned by HEE is fully funded.

HEE cannot mandate training as it is the responsibility of the professional regulators and employers. HEE can define the curriculum for the training but cannot control the practice.

All training commissioned by HEE for people working therapeutically with children and young people has a set of learning objectives that are underpinned by both evidence based practice and practice based evidence as it is overseen and delivered by senior members of professions pertinent to the practice of psychological therapy.

10th Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether training programmes designed to equip people working therapeutically with children and young people on mental health will have a set of learning objectives derived from practice-based evidence.

Health Education England (HEE) is responsible for commissioning of training for the National Health Service workforce and refer to their plan ‘Stepping Forward to 2020/21: Mental Health Workforce Plan for England’.

All Level 7 postgraduate training for people working therapeutically with children and young people commissioned by HEE is fully funded.

HEE cannot mandate training as it is the responsibility of the professional regulators and employers. HEE can define the curriculum for the training but cannot control the practice.

All training commissioned by HEE for people working therapeutically with children and young people has a set of learning objectives that are underpinned by both evidence based practice and practice based evidence as it is overseen and delivered by senior members of professions pertinent to the practice of psychological therapy.

28th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to implement the proposals in its 2018 response to the Green Paper on Transforming children and young people’s mental health provision.

On 20 December 2018, the Government announced the first wave of 25 trailblazer sites which will trial all three elements of the proposals in the Green Paper.

The first mental health support teams are due to be fully operational by the end of 2019. 12 of the sites will also pilot a four-week waiting time to speed up children and young people’s access to National Health Service mental health services. In addition, the Department for Education will fund a significant new training programme for designated senior leads for mental health in schools and colleges.

The NHS Long Term Plan confirmed the commitment to roll out the proposals to at least 20-25% of the country by the end of 2022/23, subject to learning from the first wave. We are in the process of confirming the next phase of trailblazers.

25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what data his Department holds on Government expenditure on mental health provision for children and young people (a) under the age of 18; (b) from 18 to 25 years old in 2018-19.

Information on spend on mental health provision for children and young people aged 0-25, by clinical commissioning group (CCG), is published by NHS England in the Mental Health Five Year Forward View Dashboard.

NHS England also publishes spend on specialised commissioning on mental health provision for children and young people.

For 2018/19, the latest figures show planned expenditure by CCGs of £727 million and for specialised commissioning planned expenditure of £376 million.

These figures do not distinguish between those aged under the age of 18 and those aged 18 years to 25 years old.

20th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of children under the age of 16 have had a (a) fatal and (b) non-fatal drug overdose in each of the last 10 years.

The information in the format requested is not held centrally. The Office for National Statistics publishes an annual summary of all deaths related to drug poisoning (involving both legal and illegal drugs) and drug misuse (involving illegal drugs) in England and Wales. Data on deaths in those aged under 20 is grouped together. The reports are available at the following link:

www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsrelatedtodrugpoisoninginenglandandwales/2017registrations

NHS Digital collects Hospital Episode Statistics regarding intentional self-poisoning that resulted in a hospital admission, however to provide this information for the last ten years would incur disproportionate costs.

20th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate his Department has made of the number of children under the age of 18 that have had a (a) fatal and (b) non-fatal drug overdose in each of the last 10 years.

The information in the format requested is not held centrally. The Office for National Statistics publishes an annual summary of all deaths related to drug poisoning (involving both legal and illegal drugs) and drug misuse (involving illegal drugs) in England and Wales. Data on deaths in those aged under 20 is grouped together. The reports are available at the following link:

www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/bulletins/deathsrelatedtodrugpoisoninginenglandandwales/2017registrations

NHS Digital collects Hospital Episode Statistics regarding intentional self-poisoning that resulted in a hospital admission, however to provide this information for the last ten years would incur disproportionate costs.

11th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of risk-stratified screening for breast cancer.

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC) has recently closed its three month public consultation on risk stratification to offer additional breast screening with ultrasound after a negative mammography in women with dense breasts.

The UK NSC will convene at the end of the month to review comments from this consultation and will advise accordingly. Minutes of the meeting are usually published six weeks after its meeting and will be made available on the UK NSC website at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/uk-national-screening-committee-uk-nsc

11th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the forthcoming NHS workforce implementation plan will include a plan to increase the numbers of NHS diagnostic radiographers.

My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has commissioned Baroness Dido Harding Chair of NHS Improvement, working closely with Sir David Behan, Chair of Health Education England, to lead a number of programmes to engage with key National Health Service interests to develop a detailed workforce implementation plan.

This programme of work will consider detailed proposals to grow the workforce, including consideration of the additional staff and skills required to deliver round the clock high quality care. Baroness Harding and Sir David Behan will present initial recommendations to the Department in spring 2019. A final workforce implementation plan will follow later in the year, taking into account the outcomes of the Spending Review.

Universities consistently continue to recruit students onto undergraduate diagnostic radiography university courses in England, with acceptances onto courses increasing every year since 2014. The latest NHS Digital data shows that as at October 2018 there are 3,084 more full time equivalent diagnostic radiographers in the NHS than there were in May 2010.

Diagnostic radiographer education and training and recruitment in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland is a matter for the devolved governments in each nation.

22nd Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps NHS England will take to encourage the uptake of innovative and cost-effective medicines as set out in the 2019 voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing and access.

The 2019 voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing and access contains ambitions to improve patients’ outcomes and the health gain from medicines spend by simplifying, streamlining and improving access, pricing and uptake arrangements for cost-effective medicines; and delivering faster adoption of the most clinically and cost-effective medicines.

This will be supported by changes to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s value assessment of new products, availability of increased commercial flexibility, and support for the National Health Service to increase uptake where appropriate. Use of products, particularly those which provide greatest health gain for patients, will be monitored and reviewed through this scheme. NHS England is developing a cohesive commercial framework to support this.

18th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with (a) Roche and (b) NHS England on introducing a managed access scheme for ocrelizumab to made available for people living with primary progressive MS.

In November 2018, my Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, met with Roche to discuss life sciences, and briefly discussed the negotiations between Roche and NHS England on ocrelizumab. Similarly, the former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Lord O’Shaughnessy) met with Roche in December 2018. Both Ministers encouraged the on-going negotiations and agreed that these negotiations needed to continue in order to ensure the best conclusion for both parties, and patients that suffer from primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Those discussions are rightly for NHS England and Roche and it would not be appropriate for Ministers to intervene.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently developing technology appraisal guidance on the use of ocrelizumab for the treatment of primary progressive multiple sclerosis. NHS England is in discussions with Roche, the manufacturer of ocrelizumab, to seek to agree a commercial agreement that might enable NICE to recommend use of the drug.

18th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the status is of negotiations between Roche and NHS England on access to ocrelizumab for people with primary progressive MS on the NHS; and if he will take steps to help the two parties reach an agreement to deliver access to that drug.

In November 2018, my Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, met with Roche to discuss life sciences, and briefly discussed the negotiations between Roche and NHS England on ocrelizumab. Similarly, the former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Lord O’Shaughnessy) met with Roche in December 2018. Both Ministers encouraged the on-going negotiations and agreed that these negotiations needed to continue in order to ensure the best conclusion for both parties, and patients that suffer from primary progressive multiple sclerosis. Those discussions are rightly for NHS England and Roche and it would not be appropriate for Ministers to intervene.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently developing technology appraisal guidance on the use of ocrelizumab for the treatment of primary progressive multiple sclerosis. NHS England is in discussions with Roche, the manufacturer of ocrelizumab, to seek to agree a commercial agreement that might enable NICE to recommend use of the drug.

4th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to publish the Social Care Green Paper before the UK leaves the EU.

An ageing society means that we need to reach a longer-term sustainable settlement for social care. This is why the Government has committed to publishing a Green Paper at the earliest opportunity setting out its proposals for reform.

4th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government’s preparations for the UK leaving the EU potentially with no deal are expected to delay the publication of the Social Care Green Paper.

No, as an ageing society, we need to reach a longer-term sustainable settlement for social care. The Social Care Green Paper remains a priority and the Government has committed to publishing at the earliest opportunity.

4th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Department is taking to ensure that the Social Care Green Paper is published at the earliest opportunity.

The Social Care Green Paper remains a priority for this Government. The Department is working hard to publish a Green Paper setting out proposals for reform at the earliest opportunity.

21st Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness among health professionals of the new Royal College of Physicians Guidelines on complex regional pain syndrome.

It is not the role of the Department to promote clinical guidance to health professionals. Health professionals, once qualified, are expected to stay informed about the latest evidence in clinical practice.

The updated guidance on complex regional pain syndrome, published by the Royal College of Physicians was developed in partnership with 28 other organisations. A number of the organisations involved have sought to promote the guidance via online media and their respective websites. A copy of the guidance can be found at the following link:

www.rcplondon.ac.uk/guidelines-policy/complex-regional-pain-syndrome-adults

21st Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting times have been for (a) a referral and (b) an urgent referral to a pain clinic in each clinical commissioning group area in the most recent period for which figures are available.

The information is not held centrally.

11th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the article on Regulatory approach to subsidiary companies pubished in the Provider bulletin: 19 September 2018 by NHS Improvement, whether the pause on plans to create new subsidiaries or change existing subsidiaries has been applied to (a) Chesterfield Royal Hospital and (b) other hospitals.

On 19 September 2018, NHS Improvement, the national regulator, told National Health Service organisations including Chesterfield Royal Hospital to ‘pause’ any ongoing plans to create new subsidiary companies and wait for new guidance, following a four-week consultation on a new regulatory approach which is due to be launched shortly.

The pause does not preclude organisations that are currently working up proposals for a subsidiary from continuing to do so.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
8th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2018 to Question 169830 on Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme, what progress he has made on an outline deal for the next Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme.

The Government is committed to supporting the United Kingdom life sciences industry and ensuring that patients can access cost-effective innovative medicines and technologies at a price the National Health Service can afford. Discussions on a branded medicines voluntary agreement for 2019 onwards are ongoing and are constructive.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to meet representatives of patient organisations before the heads of agreement for the next Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme is published.

The Government is committed to supporting the United Kingdom life sciences industry and ensuring that patients can access cost-effective innovative medicines and technologies at a price the National Health Service can afford. Discussions on the 2019 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme have been constructive and we are continuing to make progress.

During the pre-negotiation engagement phase the Department sought views from a wide range of organisations, including bodies representing patients, which informed our objectives for this agreement. We will seek to meet again with patient charities to discuss the development of a full agreement once an outline deal is reached. Due to commercial sensitivities the Department cannot share further details until the point where a heads of agreement is reached.

3rd Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the next Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme provides improved patient access to new and clinically effective medicines.

The Government is committed to supporting the United Kingdom life sciences industry and ensuring that patients can access cost-effective innovative medicines and technologies at a price the National Health Service can afford. Discussions on the 2019 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme have been constructive and we are continuing to make progress.

During the pre-negotiation engagement phase the Department sought views from a wide range of organisations, including bodies representing patients, which informed our objectives for this agreement. We will seek to meet again with patient charities to discuss the development of a full agreement once an outline deal is reached. Due to commercial sensitivities the Department cannot share further details until the point where a heads of agreement is reached.

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect on people living with diabetes of the changes to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) guidelines on driving and diabetes given that NICE recommends that healthcare professionals take the DVLA’s guidance into account when offering glucose monitoring technology.

Whilst the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is reviewing its approach to glucose monitoring technology, the current provision is that drivers are still required to test using finger prick/capillary glucose values, rather than using values from flash glucose monitoring.

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential of (a) outcome-based payment models and (b) risk sharing partnerships with industry to improve access to diabetes technology to support (i) monitoring, (ii) self-management and (iii) prevention.

When it comes to determining a fair reimbursement price for new products similar to those already listed in the Drugs Tariff, NHS Prescription Services (part of the NHS Business Service Authority) will aim to ensure that the agreed price is broadly in line with comparable products.

The Department and NHS Prescription Services have a duty to ensure that the National Health Service gets value for money. Therefore, applicants requesting a listing for new products or treatment regimens for which there are no listed comparators should provide satisfactory evidence of improved outcomes/savings/patient benefits commensurate with the requested price. Before any medical device is listed in the Tariff, NHS Prescription Services will negotiate a fair reimbursement with the applicant.

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the uptake of insulin pumps for people throughout England with type 1 diabetes.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for commissioning diabetes services to meet the requirements of their population. In doing so, CCGs need to ensure that the services they provide are fit for purpose, reflect the needs of the local population and are based on the available evidence and take into account national guidelines.

In this case the relevant guidelines are published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence ‘Evidence-based recommendations on continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (insulin pump therapy) for treating type 1 diabetes in adults and children’ is available at the following link:

https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ta151

11th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the uptake of structured education programmes among people with type (a) 1 and (b) 2 diabetes in the CCG area of (i) Tameside and Glossop and (ii) North Derbyshire is low; whether he is taking steps to improve that uptake; and if he will make a statement.

Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has established a Diabetes Improvement Group – working with Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust – to deliver improvements and address issues relating to local diabetes care. A recent presentation to local general practitioners (GPs) included data on primary care performance, including structured education.

The Diabetes Improvement Group has identified structured education as a key project. The National Diabetes Audit data for 2016/17 and 2017/18 show that Tameside and Glossop CCG has referred more than 90% of diabetes patients to structured education.

North Derbyshire CCG is aware of a local issue with coding in GP practice systems and has been working with practices to resolve it. The CCG advises that this will have a positive impact on the recording of diabetes education take-up levels.

13th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many hours of training on Fibromyalgia are included in the syllabus for (a) a medical degree, (b) GP training (c) a nursing degree and (d) a physiotherapy degree.

The Department does not hold centrally information on the number of hours of training on specific conditions by profession.

Curricula for undergraduate medical education are set by individual medical schools, emphasising the skills and approaches that a doctor must develop in order to ensure accurate and timely diagnoses and treatment plans for their patients.

The curriculum for training as a general practitioner is set by the Royal College of General Practitioners and educates trainees in identifying and managing those conditions most common to primary care. This curriculum includes outcomes or objectives relating to the management of musculoskeletal problems and core competencies relating to pain management.

All medical education has to meet standards set by the General Medical Council (GMC), which is an independent statutory body. The GMC has the general function of promoting high standards of education and co-ordinating all stages of education to ensure that medical students and newly qualified doctors are equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for professional practice.

Education providers that deliver courses such as nursing or physiotherapy must ensure the relevant regulator is satisfied that their proposed course will deliver graduates who possess the required knowledge and expertise of a newly qualified professional. For nursing, education providers must meet criteria set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. The professional regulator for physiotherapists is the Health and Care Professions Council.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
13th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many hours of training on Chronic Pain are included in the syllabus for (a) a medical degree, (b) GP training, (c) a nursing degree and (d) a physiotherapy degree.

The Department does not hold centrally information on the number of hours of training on specific conditions by profession.

Curricula for undergraduate medical education are set by individual medical schools, emphasising the skills and approaches that a doctor must develop in order to ensure accurate and timely diagnoses and treatment plans for their patients.

The curriculum for training as a general practitioner is set by the Royal College of General Practitioners and educates trainees in identifying and managing those conditions most common to primary care. This curriculum includes outcomes or objectives relating to the management of musculoskeletal problems and core competencies relating to pain management.

All medical education has to meet standards set by the General Medical Council (GMC), which is an independent statutory body. The GMC has the general function of promoting high standards of education and co-ordinating all stages of education to ensure that medical students and newly qualified doctors are equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for professional practice.

Education providers that deliver courses such as nursing or physiotherapy must ensure the relevant regulator is satisfied that their proposed course will deliver graduates who possess the required knowledge and expertise of a newly qualified professional. For nursing, education providers must meet criteria set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. The professional regulator for physiotherapists is the Health and Care Professions Council.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
13th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many hours of training on complex regional pain syndrome are included in the syllabus for (a) a medical degree, (b) GP training, (c) a nursing degree and (d) a physiotherapy degree.

The Department does not hold centrally information on the number of hours of training on specific conditions by profession.

Curricula for undergraduate medical education are set by individual medical schools, emphasising the skills and approaches that a doctor must develop in order to ensure accurate and timely diagnoses and treatment plans for their patients.

The curriculum for training as a general practitioner is set by the Royal College of General Practitioners and educates trainees in identifying and managing those conditions most common to primary care. This curriculum includes outcomes or objectives relating to the management of musculoskeletal problems and core competencies relating to pain management.

All medical education has to meet standards set by the General Medical Council (GMC), which is an independent statutory body. The GMC has the general function of promoting high standards of education and co-ordinating all stages of education to ensure that medical students and newly qualified doctors are equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for professional practice.

Education providers that deliver courses such as nursing or physiotherapy must ensure the relevant regulator is satisfied that their proposed course will deliver graduates who possess the required knowledge and expertise of a newly qualified professional. For nursing, education providers must meet criteria set by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. The professional regulator for physiotherapists is the Health and Care Professions Council.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
13th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, by what criteria his Department measures the value for money of applications for funding for research into Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which is funded by the Department, supports health and care research and translates discoveries into practical products, treatments, devices and procedures. The NIHR welcomes research funding applications into any aspect of human health, including complex regional pain syndrome.

The NIHR is committed to maximising the potential impact of research that it funds for patients and the public. Applications to NIHR for research funding are subject to scientific peer review, with awards being made on the basis of value for money, scientific quality and the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services.

Regarding value for money, the costs outlined in an NIHR funding application will be assessed in order to determine whether:

- The proposed costs of the research are reasonable and commensurate with the proposed work involved; and

- The costs to health and care services in supporting the research are reasonable in relation to the likely benefits of the research to decision-makers, patients and the public.

Ensuring that NIHR funded research is published in full is also a vital step in maximising the return on research investment.

13th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer on 2 February 2018 to Question 125524, on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, for reason that data is not available.

NHS Digital holds Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data, however, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is not classifiable within the ICD10 clinical coding used in HES. Additionally, HES data only captures information on those patients who have received hospital treatment which would not apply for all patients with a diagnosis.

6th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what support his Department provides to healthcare professionals to diagnose of complex regional pain syndrome.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) has been a recognised medical condition for over 150 years. It is a debilitating, painful condition in a limb, associated with sensory, motor, skin and bone abnormalities, and there is no cure. Although in some cases sufferers make gradual recovery, for others the condition is ongoing. A long-term condition (LTC) can be defined as a condition that cannot be cured but can be managed through the use of medication and/or therapy, and by that definition CRPS is an LTC.

In terms of awareness, NHS Choices provides useful information and advice for the public on CRPS; its symptoms and causes and treatment. To support clinicians in diagnosing and managing the condition, guidance on CRPS is available from authoritative professional sources, including the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, one of the leading centres in the United Kingdom for CRPS. More information on these CRPS resources can be found at the following links:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/complex-regional-pain-syndrome/

www.rcplondon.ac.uk/guidelines-policy/pain-complex-regional-pain-syndrome

www.rnhrd.nhs.uk/page/79

6th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to raise awareness of complex regional pain syndrome among (a) healthcare professionals and (b) members of the public.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) has been a recognised medical condition for over 150 years. It is a debilitating, painful condition in a limb, associated with sensory, motor, skin and bone abnormalities, and there is no cure. Although in some cases sufferers make gradual recovery, for others the condition is ongoing. A long-term condition (LTC) can be defined as a condition that cannot be cured but can be managed through the use of medication and/or therapy, and by that definition CRPS is an LTC.

In terms of awareness, NHS Choices provides useful information and advice for the public on CRPS; its symptoms and causes and treatment. To support clinicians in diagnosing and managing the condition, guidance on CRPS is available from authoritative professional sources, including the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, one of the leading centres in the United Kingdom for CRPS. More information on these CRPS resources can be found at the following links:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/complex-regional-pain-syndrome/

www.rcplondon.ac.uk/guidelines-policy/pain-complex-regional-pain-syndrome

www.rnhrd.nhs.uk/page/79

6th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support research into complex regional pain syndrome.

The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including complex regional pain syndrome. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. Information on individual projects funded by the NIHR can be found at:

https://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/programmes/

6th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to classify complex regional pain syndrome as a long-term condition; and if he will make a statement.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) has been a recognised medical condition for over 150 years. It is a debilitating, painful condition in a limb, associated with sensory, motor, skin and bone abnormalities, and there is no cure. Although in some cases sufferers make gradual recovery, for others the condition is ongoing. A long-term condition (LTC) can be defined as a condition that cannot be cured but can be managed through the use of medication and/or therapy, and by that definition CRPS is an LTC.

In terms of awareness, NHS Choices provides useful information and advice for the public on CRPS; its symptoms and causes and treatment. To support clinicians in diagnosing and managing the condition, guidance on CRPS is available from authoritative professional sources, including the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, one of the leading centres in the United Kingdom for CRPS. More information on these CRPS resources can be found at the following links:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/complex-regional-pain-syndrome/

www.rcplondon.ac.uk/guidelines-policy/pain-complex-regional-pain-syndrome

www.rnhrd.nhs.uk/page/79

30th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been diagnosed with Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome aged (a) under 18, (b) between 18 and 25, (c) between 46 and 64 and (d) 65 and over in each of the last five years.

We have assumed that the hon. Member is referring to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Data outlining how many people have been diagnosed with this condition is not available.

25th Jul 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people with cases of tax credit overpayment are (a) having and (b) not having deductions made from an ongoing tax credit claim.

HMRC’s tax credits system does not contain readily available information on the number of people with cases of tax credit overpayment that are (a) having and (b) not having deductions made from an ongoing tax credit claim. Estimates could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

19th Jul 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much the Valuation Office Agency budgeted for appeals against revaluations of business rate liabilities in each financial year since 2010-11; and how much of that budget was spent in each of those years.

The Valuation Office Agency does not hold data broken down in this way. The combined costs of delivering work on Business Rates and Council Tax, as published each year in the Agency’s Annual Report and Accounts, are set out below:

Business Rates and Council Tax

Expenditure £m

2010-11

156.8

2011-12

160.5

2012-13

150.6

2013-14

152.3

2014-15

150.4

2015-16

169.3

2016-17

167.7

2017-18

157.6

2018-19

158.0

19th Jul 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department plans to undertake a review of the business taxation system.

The Government has no plans at present to review business taxation.

All aspects of the tax system are kept under review and are subject to change through the annual Budget, in the context of the wider public finances, with any future changes to the tax system being announced through this process.

22nd May 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 8 May 2019 to Question 249940, whether the tax credit debt written off in 2011-12 as part of the Older Inactive Debts Policy was included in the figure for pre-2011-12 debt.

The tax credit debt written off in 2011-12 as part of the Older Inactive Debts Policy is not included in the pre-2011-12 debt figure of 16% provided in the Answer of 8 May 2019 to Question 249940.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
22nd May 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many claimants have disputed a recovery of tax credit overpayment using (a) form TC846 and (b) another means of raising a dispute in each of the last five years.

HMRC does not record data on the breakdown of the source of the receipt (TC846, paper, iform, other) so the information requested is not available.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
1st May 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people claiming tax credits who have an overpayment in the latest period for which figures are available.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave her on 11 January 2019, UIN: 206456. Updated estimates will be published in Summer 2019.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
1st May 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what proportion of the £6.9 billion of tax credit debt has been held by HMRC (a) for more than seven years, (b) between two and seven years and (c) less than two years.

The £6.9 billion of tax credit debt in 2017/18 is net £0.3billion of debt that was transferred to DWP. A breakdown of the age of tax credits debt is only readily available on the gross debt estimate of £7.2 billion. This shows that (a) 16 per cent relates to the 2010-11 award year or older, (b) 52 per cent relates to award years between 2011/12 to 2015/16, and (c) 29 per cent relates to the 2016/17 award year or after.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
8th Jan 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people claiming (a) working tax credits and (b) child tax credits have received overpayments in each year of the last 10 years.

Information on the number of claimants in receipt of Working Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits who have received overpayments in the last ten years are published in HMRCs Child and Working Tax Credits statistics: finalised annual awards, supplement on payments 2016-2017, published on 28th June 2018.

Data for overpayments can be found within the “Main aggregate” tab in the publication tables.

This publication can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/child-and-working-tax-credits-statistics-finalised-annual-awards-supplement-on-payments-2016-to-2017

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
19th Jul 2018
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people were eligible for the disabled worker element of Working Tax Credit in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of families and workers in receipt of disabled worker element and the number of in-work families in receipt of the disabled child element are published in our yearly finalised annual awards statistics publication at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/personal-tax-credits-statistics

The numbers of families who are eligible for, but not claiming these elements is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Information on the average number of families benefitting from these elements of the Child and Working Tax Credits in the last five years for which we have finalised awards data is shown in the attached table.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
19th Jul 2018
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many households with disabled children were eligible for the Disabled Child element of Child Tax Credit in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of families and workers in receipt of disabled worker element and the number of in-work families in receipt of the disabled child element are published in our yearly finalised annual awards statistics publication at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/personal-tax-credits-statistics

The numbers of families who are eligible for, but not claiming these elements is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Information on the average number of families benefitting from these elements of the Child and Working Tax Credits in the last five years for which we have finalised awards data is shown in the attached table.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
19th Jul 2018
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many households received both the disabled worker element of Working Tax Credit and Disabled Child element of Child Tax Credit in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of families and workers in receipt of disabled worker element and the number of in-work families in receipt of the disabled child element are published in our yearly finalised annual awards statistics publication at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/personal-tax-credits-statistics

The numbers of families who are eligible for, but not claiming these elements is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Information on the average number of families benefitting from these elements of the Child and Working Tax Credits in the last five years for which we have finalised awards data is shown in the attached table.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
19th Jul 2018
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many households in receipt of the disabled worker element of Working Tax Credit also received Child Tax Credit in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of families and workers in receipt of disabled worker element and the number of in-work families in receipt of the disabled child element are published in our yearly finalised annual awards statistics publication at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/personal-tax-credits-statistics

The numbers of families who are eligible for, but not claiming these elements is not available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Information on the average number of families benefitting from these elements of the Child and Working Tax Credits in the last five years for which we have finalised awards data is shown in the attached table.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
11th Jul 2018
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many parents with disabled children in residential settings are in receipt of tax credits based on the rule under tax credit regulations that payment for a child in residential accommodation can continue so long as they are in care solely because of their disability.

This information can only be made available at a disproportionate cost.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
13th Apr 2018
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the compensation criteria is for parents who miss out on tax-free childcare payments as a result of technical problems experienced with the online childcare service.

The majority of parents use the childcare service without any problems. Where parents have missed out on receiving the government top-up for Tax-Free Childcare, HMRC will pay the equivalent of the government top-up directly into their bank account. Information on the criteria and how to claim can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/childcare-service-compensation

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
22nd Mar 2018
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support his Department provides to parents who experience technical difficulties when seeking to claim tax-free childcare online.

The majority of parents use the service without problems. HM Revenue and Customs have procedures in place to ensure any parent who experiences a technical issue when applying for Tax-Free Childcare through the online service, receives support and does not lose out financially.

Where parents have missed out on Tax-Free Childcare payments, HMRC pay compensation to reimburse them for missed government top-ups.

A dedicated childcare service helpline is available to provide further support to any parents experiencing technical difficulties.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
1st May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reasons the treatment of survivor pensions for police widows and widowers is different from that of such pensions for the widows and widowers of armed forces personnel.

The Government believes that there is a specific justification for allowing all surviving partners of Armed Forces Pension Scheme members to retain their survivor’s pension for life. The combination of risk to life in the execution of duty and disruption to family life is unique to Armed Forces personnel.

The Government has accepted that the arguments were compelling in respect of police officers who have died as a result of an injury on duty. Chang-es to the Police Pension Scheme were made with effect from April 2015 to allow surviving spouses or civil partners of those police officers to receive survivor benefits for life.

12th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many police custody suites have been in operation in the UK in each of the last 10 years.

The Home Office does not hold this information. Decisions about the provision of police station custody suites are an operational matter for Chief Constables working with democratically accountable Police and Crime Commissioners.

24th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many police applications for pre-charge bail have been made for (a) drug offences, (b) rape charges, (c) firearms offences, (d) other dangerous weapon offences, (e) grievous bodily harm, (f) manslaughter, (g) murder and (h) all other offences in (i) Derbyshire and (ii) each region of the UK in the last five years.

The Home Office does not centrally hold the information requested.

From April 2017 the Home Office has requested information on a voluntary basis from the police on the number of individuals released on pre-charge bail, broken down by bail length. It is intended that these data will be published for the first time in Autumn 2018. However, these data will not contain information on the offence group.

24th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many successful police applications for pre-charge bail have been made for (a) drug offences, (b) rape charges, (c) firearms offences, (d) other dangerous weapon offences, (e) grievous bodily harm, (f) manslaughter, (g) murder and (h) all other offences in (i) Derbyshire and (ii) each region of the UK in the last five years.

The Home Office does not centrally hold the information requested.

From April 2017 the Home Office has requested information on a voluntary basis from the police on the number of individuals released on pre-charge bail, broken down by bail length. It is intended that these data will be published for the first time in Autumn 2018. However, these data will not contain information on the offence group.

26th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many mobile phone mast sites being built under the Emergency Services Network in High Peak (a) are being built with the capacity for multi-occupancy and (b) have a confirmed second tenant.

I can confirm there will be 3 new EE sites and 3 planned Extended Area Service (EAS) sites located in the constituency of High Peak as part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

All new EE sites are being built and delivered to agreed Home Office timeframes and where possible will go live earlier to support commercial coverage. Two of the three EE sites in High Peak have planning permission. Commercial services are not currently provided from these masts as they have not yet been activated, but it is EE’s intention to do so when the sites are live.

In respect of EAS sites I can confirm that there are currently 3 sites proposed in High Peak, two of these are located at Snake Pass, and the other at Howden Reservoir. This may reduce to 2 pending planning authority engagement on site locations as 1 nominal location (Howden Reservoir) is close to the High Peak Constituency boundary and may move outside. These sites are in the early stages of Acquisition & Design and therefore none have Heads Of Terms or planning permission approved and therefore have not progressed into build thus far.

To provide the necessary coverage for the emergency services, EE is building over 500 new sites. Up to 291 of these new sites will transfer to the Home Office at contract end. EE is paid a fixed fee for the ESN service and as such there is no site-by-site subsidy for these 291 sites. EE is making available early and extensive details of all shareable new sites, including locations, to other mobile network operators as soon as they have planning permission and terms have been agreed with the landlord. EE has provided details of 350 sites to date.

Separately the Home Office, through the EAS project, are delivering circa 292 individual sites. I would also like to reassure you that the Home Office has been proactive in seeking to build masts that support multi-operator use where practicable. The Home Office provided an initial generic cost for EAS site build as part of the programme full business case however, given we are at the early stages of initial build cost assessments for EAS sites that are now working their way towards build instruction, we have no approved costs at this time and therefore no data to provide actuals. The same applies to the sites in early acquisition and design phase for the specific High Peak Area detailed

Finally I thought it helpful to remind you that ESN is designed to, first and foremost, deliver a ‘blue-light’ communications service.

26th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will list the locations of mobile phone mast sites funded by the public purse being built under the Emergency Services Network in High Peak.

I can confirm there will be 3 new EE sites and 3 planned Extended Area Service (EAS) sites located in the constituency of High Peak as part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

All new EE sites are being built and delivered to agreed Home Office timeframes and where possible will go live earlier to support commercial coverage. Two of the three EE sites in High Peak have planning permission. Commercial services are not currently provided from these masts as they have not yet been activated, but it is EE’s intention to do so when the sites are live.

In respect of EAS sites I can confirm that there are currently 3 sites proposed in High Peak, two of these are located at Snake Pass, and the other at Howden Reservoir. This may reduce to 2 pending planning authority engagement on site locations as 1 nominal location (Howden Reservoir) is close to the High Peak Constituency boundary and may move outside. These sites are in the early stages of Acquisition & Design and therefore none have Heads Of Terms or planning permission approved and therefore have not progressed into build thus far.

To provide the necessary coverage for the emergency services, EE is building over 500 new sites. Up to 291 of these new sites will transfer to the Home Office at contract end. EE is paid a fixed fee for the ESN service and as such there is no site-by-site subsidy for these 291 sites. EE is making available early and extensive details of all shareable new sites, including locations, to other mobile network operators as soon as they have planning permission and terms have been agreed with the landlord. EE has provided details of 350 sites to date.

Separately the Home Office, through the EAS project, are delivering circa 292 individual sites. I would also like to reassure you that the Home Office has been proactive in seeking to build masts that support multi-operator use where practicable. The Home Office provided an initial generic cost for EAS site build as part of the programme full business case however, given we are at the early stages of initial build cost assessments for EAS sites that are now working their way towards build instruction, we have no approved costs at this time and therefore no data to provide actuals. The same applies to the sites in early acquisition and design phase for the specific High Peak Area detailed

Finally I thought it helpful to remind you that ESN is designed to, first and foremost, deliver a ‘blue-light’ communications service.

26th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many mobile phone mast sites being funded by the public purse built under the Emergency Services Network in High Peak have (a) been granted planning approval, (b) entered the build phase and (c) are live as of 1 April 2018.

I can confirm there will be 3 new EE sites and 3 planned Extended Area Service (EAS) sites located in the constituency of High Peak as part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

All new EE sites are being built and delivered to agreed Home Office timeframes and where possible will go live earlier to support commercial coverage. Two of the three EE sites in High Peak have planning permission. Commercial services are not currently provided from these masts as they have not yet been activated, but it is EE’s intention to do so when the sites are live.

In respect of EAS sites I can confirm that there are currently 3 sites proposed in High Peak, two of these are located at Snake Pass, and the other at Howden Reservoir. This may reduce to 2 pending planning authority engagement on site locations as 1 nominal location (Howden Reservoir) is close to the High Peak Constituency boundary and may move outside. These sites are in the early stages of Acquisition & Design and therefore none have Heads Of Terms or planning permission approved and therefore have not progressed into build thus far.

To provide the necessary coverage for the emergency services, EE is building over 500 new sites. Up to 291 of these new sites will transfer to the Home Office at contract end. EE is paid a fixed fee for the ESN service and as such there is no site-by-site subsidy for these 291 sites. EE is making available early and extensive details of all shareable new sites, including locations, to other mobile network operators as soon as they have planning permission and terms have been agreed with the landlord. EE has provided details of 350 sites to date.

Separately the Home Office, through the EAS project, are delivering circa 292 individual sites. I would also like to reassure you that the Home Office has been proactive in seeking to build masts that support multi-operator use where practicable. The Home Office provided an initial generic cost for EAS site build as part of the programme full business case however, given we are at the early stages of initial build cost assessments for EAS sites that are now working their way towards build instruction, we have no approved costs at this time and therefore no data to provide actuals. The same applies to the sites in early acquisition and design phase for the specific High Peak Area detailed

Finally I thought it helpful to remind you that ESN is designed to, first and foremost, deliver a ‘blue-light’ communications service.

26th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many mobile phone mast sites funded by the public purse and being built under the Emergency Services Network in High Peak are (a) being built with the capacity for multi-occupancy and (b) have a confirmed second tenant.

I can confirm there will be 3 new EE sites and 3 planned Extended Area Service (EAS) sites located in the constituency of High Peak as part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

All new EE sites are being built and delivered to agreed Home Office timeframes and where possible will go live earlier to support commercial coverage. Two of the three EE sites in High Peak have planning permission. Commercial services are not currently provided from these masts as they have not yet been activated, but it is EE’s intention to do so when the sites are live.

In respect of EAS sites I can confirm that there are currently 3 sites proposed in High Peak, two of these are located at Snake Pass, and the other at Howden Reservoir. This may reduce to 2 pending planning authority engagement on site locations as 1 nominal location (Howden Reservoir) is close to the High Peak Constituency boundary and may move outside. These sites are in the early stages of Acquisition & Design and therefore none have Heads Of Terms or planning permission approved and therefore have not progressed into build thus far.

To provide the necessary coverage for the emergency services, EE is building over 500 new sites. Up to 291 of these new sites will transfer to the Home Office at contract end. EE is paid a fixed fee for the ESN service and as such there is no site-by-site subsidy for these 291 sites. EE is making available early and extensive details of all shareable new sites, including locations, to other mobile network operators as soon as they have planning permission and terms have been agreed with the landlord. EE has provided details of 350 sites to date.

Separately the Home Office, through the EAS project, are delivering circa 292 individual sites. I would also like to reassure you that the Home Office has been proactive in seeking to build masts that support multi-operator use where practicable. The Home Office provided an initial generic cost for EAS site build as part of the programme full business case however, given we are at the early stages of initial build cost assessments for EAS sites that are now working their way towards build instruction, we have no approved costs at this time and therefore no data to provide actuals. The same applies to the sites in early acquisition and design phase for the specific High Peak Area detailed

Finally I thought it helpful to remind you that ESN is designed to, first and foremost, deliver a ‘blue-light’ communications service.

26th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much will spent from the public purse on each mobile phone mast site being built under the Emergency Services Network in High Peak.

I can confirm there will be 3 new EE sites and 3 planned Extended Area Service (EAS) sites located in the constituency of High Peak as part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

All new EE sites are being built and delivered to agreed Home Office timeframes and where possible will go live earlier to support commercial coverage. Two of the three EE sites in High Peak have planning permission. Commercial services are not currently provided from these masts as they have not yet been activated, but it is EE’s intention to do so when the sites are live.

In respect of EAS sites I can confirm that there are currently 3 sites proposed in High Peak, two of these are located at Snake Pass, and the other at Howden Reservoir. This may reduce to 2 pending planning authority engagement on site locations as 1 nominal location (Howden Reservoir) is close to the High Peak Constituency boundary and may move outside. These sites are in the early stages of Acquisition & Design and therefore none have Heads Of Terms or planning permission approved and therefore have not progressed into build thus far.

To provide the necessary coverage for the emergency services, EE is building over 500 new sites. Up to 291 of these new sites will transfer to the Home Office at contract end. EE is paid a fixed fee for the ESN service and as such there is no site-by-site subsidy for these 291 sites. EE is making available early and extensive details of all shareable new sites, including locations, to other mobile network operators as soon as they have planning permission and terms have been agreed with the landlord. EE has provided details of 350 sites to date.

Separately the Home Office, through the EAS project, are delivering circa 292 individual sites. I would also like to reassure you that the Home Office has been proactive in seeking to build masts that support multi-operator use where practicable. The Home Office provided an initial generic cost for EAS site build as part of the programme full business case however, given we are at the early stages of initial build cost assessments for EAS sites that are now working their way towards build instruction, we have no approved costs at this time and therefore no data to provide actuals. The same applies to the sites in early acquisition and design phase for the specific High Peak Area detailed

Finally I thought it helpful to remind you that ESN is designed to, first and foremost, deliver a ‘blue-light’ communications service.

26th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many mobile phone mast sites being built under the Emergency Services Network in High Peak have (a) been granted planning approval, (b) entered the build phase and (c) are live as of 1 April 2018.

I can confirm there will be 3 new EE sites and 3 planned Extended Area Service (EAS) sites located in the constituency of High Peak as part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

All new EE sites are being built and delivered to agreed Home Office timeframes and where possible will go live earlier to support commercial coverage. Two of the three EE sites in High Peak have planning permission. Commercial services are not currently provided from these masts as they have not yet been activated, but it is EE’s intention to do so when the sites are live.

In respect of EAS sites I can confirm that there are currently 3 sites proposed in High Peak, two of these are located at Snake Pass, and the other at Howden Reservoir. This may reduce to 2 pending planning authority engagement on site locations as 1 nominal location (Howden Reservoir) is close to the High Peak Constituency boundary and may move outside. These sites are in the early stages of Acquisition & Design and therefore none have Heads Of Terms or planning permission approved and therefore have not progressed into build thus far.

To provide the necessary coverage for the emergency services, EE is building over 500 new sites. Up to 291 of these new sites will transfer to the Home Office at contract end. EE is paid a fixed fee for the ESN service and as such there is no site-by-site subsidy for these 291 sites. EE is making available early and extensive details of all shareable new sites, including locations, to other mobile network operators as soon as they have planning permission and terms have been agreed with the landlord. EE has provided details of 350 sites to date.

Separately the Home Office, through the EAS project, are delivering circa 292 individual sites. I would also like to reassure you that the Home Office has been proactive in seeking to build masts that support multi-operator use where practicable. The Home Office provided an initial generic cost for EAS site build as part of the programme full business case however, given we are at the early stages of initial build cost assessments for EAS sites that are now working their way towards build instruction, we have no approved costs at this time and therefore no data to provide actuals. The same applies to the sites in early acquisition and design phase for the specific High Peak Area detailed

Finally I thought it helpful to remind you that ESN is designed to, first and foremost, deliver a ‘blue-light’ communications service.

26th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will list the location of mobile phone masts being built under the Emergency Services Network in High Peak.

I can confirm there will be 3 new EE sites and 3 planned Extended Area Service (EAS) sites located in the constituency of High Peak as part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

All new EE sites are being built and delivered to agreed Home Office timeframes and where possible will go live earlier to support commercial coverage. Two of the three EE sites in High Peak have planning permission. Commercial services are not currently provided from these masts as they have not yet been activated, but it is EE’s intention to do so when the sites are live.

In respect of EAS sites I can confirm that there are currently 3 sites proposed in High Peak, two of these are located at Snake Pass, and the other at Howden Reservoir. This may reduce to 2 pending planning authority engagement on site locations as 1 nominal location (Howden Reservoir) is close to the High Peak Constituency boundary and may move outside. These sites are in the early stages of Acquisition & Design and therefore none have Heads Of Terms or planning permission approved and therefore have not progressed into build thus far.

To provide the necessary coverage for the emergency services, EE is building over 500 new sites. Up to 291 of these new sites will transfer to the Home Office at contract end. EE is paid a fixed fee for the ESN service and as such there is no site-by-site subsidy for these 291 sites. EE is making available early and extensive details of all shareable new sites, including locations, to other mobile network operators as soon as they have planning permission and terms have been agreed with the landlord. EE has provided details of 350 sites to date.

Separately the Home Office, through the EAS project, are delivering circa 292 individual sites. I would also like to reassure you that the Home Office has been proactive in seeking to build masts that support multi-operator use where practicable. The Home Office provided an initial generic cost for EAS site build as part of the programme full business case however, given we are at the early stages of initial build cost assessments for EAS sites that are now working their way towards build instruction, we have no approved costs at this time and therefore no data to provide actuals. The same applies to the sites in early acquisition and design phase for the specific High Peak Area detailed

Finally I thought it helpful to remind you that ESN is designed to, first and foremost, deliver a ‘blue-light’ communications service.

26th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many mobile phone masts are being built under the Emergency Services Network in High Peak.

I can confirm there will be 3 new EE sites and 3 planned Extended Area Service (EAS) sites located in the constituency of High Peak as part of the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

All new EE sites are being built and delivered to agreed Home Office timeframes and where possible will go live earlier to support commercial coverage. Two of the three EE sites in High Peak have planning permission. Commercial services are not currently provided from these masts as they have not yet been activated, but it is EE’s intention to do so when the sites are live.

In respect of EAS sites I can confirm that there are currently 3 sites proposed in High Peak, two of these are located at Snake Pass, and the other at Howden Reservoir. This may reduce to 2 pending planning authority engagement on site locations as 1 nominal location (Howden Reservoir) is close to the High Peak Constituency boundary and may move outside. These sites are in the early stages of Acquisition & Design and therefore none have Heads Of Terms or planning permission approved and therefore have not progressed into build thus far.

To provide the necessary coverage for the emergency services, EE is building over 500 new sites. Up to 291 of these new sites will transfer to the Home Office at contract end. EE is paid a fixed fee for the ESN service and as such there is no site-by-site subsidy for these 291 sites. EE is making available early and extensive details of all shareable new sites, including locations, to other mobile network operators as soon as they have planning permission and terms have been agreed with the landlord. EE has provided details of 350 sites to date.

Separately the Home Office, through the EAS project, are delivering circa 292 individual sites. I would also like to reassure you that the Home Office has been proactive in seeking to build masts that support multi-operator use where practicable. The Home Office provided an initial generic cost for EAS site build as part of the programme full business case however, given we are at the early stages of initial build cost assessments for EAS sites that are now working their way towards build instruction, we have no approved costs at this time and therefore no data to provide actuals. The same applies to the sites in early acquisition and design phase for the specific High Peak Area detailed

Finally I thought it helpful to remind you that ESN is designed to, first and foremost, deliver a ‘blue-light’ communications service.

20th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many vacancies there are for on-call firefighters in (a) Derbyshire, (b) each region of England, (c) Scotland and (d) Wales.

The Home Office does not collect the information requested centrally.

29th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many immigration detainees who are (a) illegal immigrants and (b) asylum seekers from outside the EU were returned from the UK to an EU country in 2016 and 2017.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost by examining case files. Individuals may be both illegal immigrants and asylum seekers, and may be detained at different stages prior to being returned so their entire case history would need to be examined.

Information on returns and on detention is published as part of Home Office’s quarterly Immigration Statistics at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release

22nd Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many immigration detentions took place in the (a) north of England, (b) North West, (c) East Midlands and (d) West Midlands in (i) 2016 and (ii) 2017.
22nd Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when he plans to respond to the North and Midlands Monitoring Board for Short-Term Holding Facilities, Annual Report 2016.

I will review the annual report of the North and Midlands Independent Monitoring Board for Short-Term Holding Facilities and respond in due course.

22nd Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the maximum detention time in reporting centre holding rooms in the immigration estate was in (a) 2016 and (b) 2017.

Information on the length of detention for individuals held in reporting centre holding rooms is not collected centrally by the Home Office.

Reporting centre holding rooms are not open overnight and the length of length of time in detention for individuals held in these locations would not usually exceed twelve hours, although there may be occasional short extensions.

22nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the press release entitled, Leasehold axed for all new houses in move to place fairness at heart of housing market, published by his Department on 27 June 2019, what estimate he has made of the number of house buyers that were subject to the sale of their freehold before they had bought their homes.

The Department has no data on the number of house buyers who were interested in or offered the opportunity to buy the freehold of their property at the point of purchase.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating the extent of any mis-selling of leasehold properties, using its consumer protection powers and will consider whether to bring forward enforcement proceedings.

The Government is working with the Law Commission to make it easier, faster and cheaper for leaseholders to purchase their freehold. As part of this project, the Law Commission are considering how best to reduce the premium for purchasing a freehold, given the legitimate property rights held by freeholders.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
22nd Jul 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how buyers that expressed an intention to purchase their freeholds to the developer pre-contract will receive their freeholds for no cost through redress with the developer.

The Department has no data on the number of house buyers who were interested in or offered the opportunity to buy the freehold of their property at the point of purchase.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating the extent of any mis-selling of leasehold properties, using its consumer protection powers and will consider whether to bring forward enforcement proceedings.

The Government is working with the Law Commission to make it easier, faster and cheaper for leaseholders to purchase their freehold. As part of this project, the Law Commission are considering how best to reduce the premium for purchasing a freehold, given the legitimate property rights held by freeholders.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
25th Jun 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much money from the public purse was spent by local authorities in England on services (a) promoting and (b) providing services for children and young people’s mental health in 2018-19.

Funding for local government services, including children’s services, is set at Spending Review and made available through the Local Government Finance Settlement. This funding is largely unringfenced, enabling local authorities to target spending according to local needs. Local authorities used this flexibility to increase spending on children and young people’s services from £9 billion in 2015-16 to around £9.4 billion in 2017-18.

We do not hold data for 2018-19 or for local authorities spend on services for children and young people’s mental health. Nevertheless, the statutory guidance sets out local authorities’ duty to make sure each child they look after has a health assessment of their physical, emotional and mental health needs. The health and care system is responsible for providing this assessment.

Rishi Sunak
Chancellor of the Exchequer
5th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what scientific research underpins the Government's current policy on the granting of planning permission for onshore wind farms, particularly community-owned onshore wind turbines.

Last year the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, which supports the Industrial Strategy, announced a Local Energy Programme, which supports local actors, community groups, local authorities and combined authorities to develop their own energy strategies and deliver their own energy programmes. Community energy is a key part of clean growth, showing what can happen when groups of people come together to de-carbonise energy in local areas, whilst also investing in these places to bring other economic, or social, benefits. Even small-scale projects can provide a valuable contribution to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The National Planning Policy Framework expects local planning authorities to recognise the responsibility on all communities to contribute to energy generation from renewable or low carbon sources. New tests were introduced into planning in 2015 to give local people the final say on onshore wind planning applications in England, which delivered on a manifesto commitment made by the previous Government. Planning for onshore wind turbines in the UK is devolved outside of England.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
29th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the reasons are for the continued development of new buildings which are not carbon neutral.

New buildings have to meet high energy performance standards, which help saves energy bills as well as carbon. The Clean Growth Strategy said that the Government would consult in 2019 on an uplift to the Building Regulations energy efficiency standards where safe, practical, cost-effective, and affordable.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
23rd Nov 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, which feasibility studies for a Business Improvement District have been (a) approved and (b) allocated funding in each of the last 3 years.

Since we launched the Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Loan Fund in October 2013, 24 areas have or are receiving loans of up to £50,000 each to help set up a BID. The 24 areas that have received or are receiving Loans are Abingdon, Altrincham, Bermondsey, Blyth, Burnley, Central Milton Keynes, Cheltenham, Eastbourne, Hastings, Heart of London, Hereford, Hexham, Leicester, Lifford, Litchfield, Minehead, Morpeth, Oxted, Poole, Purley, Runcorn, Sheffield, Watford, York. We do not allocate general funding to each BID in England or keep records of consultants working on BIDs.

The process of conducting feasibility studies for BIDs is a matter for local areas. We do not approve or allocate funding to those studies nor hold records of which areas have undertaken a feasibility study.

23rd Nov 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the areas in which a feasibility study for a Business Improvement District has been conducted, in each of the last 3 years.

Since we launched the Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Loan Fund in October 2013, 24 areas have or are receiving loans of up to £50,000 each to help set up a BID. The 24 areas that have received or are receiving Loans are Abingdon, Altrincham, Bermondsey, Blyth, Burnley, Central Milton Keynes, Cheltenham, Eastbourne, Hastings, Heart of London, Hereford, Hexham, Leicester, Lifford, Litchfield, Minehead, Morpeth, Oxted, Poole, Purley, Runcorn, Sheffield, Watford, York. We do not allocate general funding to each BID in England or keep records of consultants working on BIDs.

The process of conducting feasibility studies for BIDs is a matter for local areas. We do not approve or allocate funding to those studies nor hold records of which areas have undertaken a feasibility study.

23rd Nov 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the (a) result and (b) turnout of businesses of each referendum conducted on proposals for a Business Improvement District in each of the last 3 years.

The outcome for each Business Improvement District ballot is published locally by the relevant ballot holder. The Government does not hold data on the result and turnout of ballots for Business Improvement Districts.

22nd Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what information his Department holds on the number of people that have waited 12 months or more from the time they appealed a decision on (a) employment and support allowance and (b) personal independence payments to receiving an outcome; and what steps he is taking to reduce waiting times for appeal outcomes.

The data requested at a) and b) are not available centrally, and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Information about volumes and waiting times generally for appeals to the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support), including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP), is published at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics.

To improve clearance times, additional fee-paid judicial office holders have been recruited: 250 judges across the First-tier Tribunal, 125 disability qualified members and up to 230 medical members. In addition, more PIP appeals are being listed per session and case-management “triage” sessions are being conducted, in order to reduce the time taken for appeals to reach final determination. These measures will increase the capacity of the Tribunal, with the aim of reducing waiting times for appellants.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is also developing a new digital system with a view to enabling speedier processing of appeals and a better service for all parties to the proceedings. Information on the new digital service can be found at www.gov.uk/appeal-benefit-decision.

Finally, HMCTS is working with the Department for Work and Pensions to understand what could be done to reduce the number of appeals being submitted to the Tribunal, through their focus on improving decision-making and the mandatory reconsideration process.

Latest figures (between April 2014 – September 2018) indicate that 3.9m ESA (post WCA) decisions have been made. Of these, 8% have been appealed and 4% have been overturned. For PIP, the latest figures (to December 2018) indicate that since it was introduced, 3.9 million decisions have been made. Of these 10% have been appealed and 5% have been overturned at Tribunals.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate his Department has made of the average length of time between an person appealing a decision on (a) employment and support allowance and (b) personal independence payments to that person receiving an outcome in the latest period for which figures are available.

(1) Information about waiting times for appeals to the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support), including (a) Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and (b) Personal Independence Payment (PIP), is published at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics.

(2) HM Courts & Tribunals Service administers appeals from appellants living in England, Scotland, and Wales (Great Britain) and not the United Kingdom. The Northern Ireland Courts & Tribunals Service administers appeals from appellants living in Northern Ireland. The data requested at 2(a) and (b) for appellants in Great Britain are not held centrally, and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Latest figures (between April 2014 – September 2018) indicate that 3.9m ESA (post WCA) decisions have been made. Of these, 8% have been appealed and 4% have been overturned. For PIP, the latest figures (to December 2018) indicate that since it was introduced, 3.9 million decisions have been made. Of these 10% have been appealed and 5% have been overturned at tribunals.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
22nd Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what information his Department holds on the number of people that have waited 12 months or more from the time they appealed a decision on (a) employment and support allowance and (b) personal independence payments to receiving an outcome in country of the UK in the latest period for which figures are available.

(1) Information about waiting times for appeals to the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support), including (a) Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and (b) Personal Independence Payment (PIP), is published at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics.

(2) HM Courts & Tribunals Service administers appeals from appellants living in England, Scotland, and Wales (Great Britain) and not the United Kingdom. The Northern Ireland Courts & Tribunals Service administers appeals from appellants living in Northern Ireland. The data requested at 2(a) and (b) for appellants in Great Britain are not held centrally, and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Latest figures (between April 2014 – September 2018) indicate that 3.9m ESA (post WCA) decisions have been made. Of these, 8% have been appealed and 4% have been overturned. For PIP, the latest figures (to December 2018) indicate that since it was introduced, 3.9 million decisions have been made. Of these 10% have been appealed and 5% have been overturned at tribunals.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many serving HM Prison and Probation Service staff have passed the end-of-course assessment of courses entitled (a) mental health conditions and dementia: support for customers, (b) mental health awareness, (c) mental health at work, (d) becoming a dementia friend and (e) well-being, resilience and stress in the last three years.

Civil Service Learning data is only available from the 1st April 2016 due to a new learning platform being introduced. Furthermore, Mental Health Awareness is currently not an active course and the data provided below for that specific course is until 31st March 2018.

The total number of Prison and Probation Service staff who have passed the end of course assessment on the courses named below since the 1st April 2016 are as follows:

Total

Mental health conditions and dementia: support for customers

106

Mental health awareness

360

Mental health at work

23

Becoming a dementia friend

90

Well-being, resilience and stress

2313

These courses are additional learning on top of the core training provided to Prison and Probation staff.

In Prison Officer Entry Level Training, there are a number of sessions on Mental Health within this training such as Introduction to Mental Health’, ‘Introduction to Suicide and Self Harm (SASH) Prevention’ and ‘Personality Disorders.

In addition, over 14,000 staff have already received new suicide and self-harm reduction training which includes a module on Mental Health Awareness, in addition to the safer custody training already provided across the estate.

4th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many current HM Prison and Probation Service staff have completed voluntary civil service learning courses entitled (a) mental health conditions and dementia: support for customers, (b) mental health awareness, (c) mental health at work, (d) becoming a dementia friend and (e) well-being, resilience and stress in each of the last three years.

Civil Service Learning data is only available from the 1st April 2016 due to a new learning platform being introduced. Furthermore, Mental Health Awareness is currently not an active course and the data provided below for that specific course is until 31st March 2018.

The total number of Prison and Probation Service staff who have passed the end of course assessment on the courses named below since the 1st April 2016 are as follows:

Total

Mental health conditions and dementia: support for customers

106

Mental health awareness

360

Mental health at work

23

Becoming a dementia friend

90

Well-being, resilience and stress

2313

These courses are additional learning on top of the core training provided to Prison and Probation staff.

In Prison Officer Entry Level Training, there are a number of sessions on Mental Health within this training such as Introduction to Mental Health’, ‘Introduction to Suicide and Self Harm (SASH) Prevention’ and ‘Personality Disorders.

In addition, over 14,000 staff have already received new suicide and self-harm reduction training which includes a module on Mental Health Awareness, in addition to the safer custody training already provided across the estate.

5th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of the funding allocated to his Department in Budget 2018 will be used to tackle violence in prisons.

We have committed to spending £30m to make improvements to the safety and decency of our prison estate and address the drivers of violence in prisons. We will do this through enhancing security and tackling drugs and continue our programme of decency upgrades. This latest investment is on top of the £40m announced over the summer, meaning a total of £70m is already being directed to tackling drugs and violence, and improving the basic conditions of our prisons.

But the Foundation of managing violence in prisons is of course our front line operational staff, whose work and service constitutes approximately £812m of our budget.*

* Front line operational staff defined as public sector Band 3 prison officers, Band 4 specialist officers and Band 5 Custodial Managers, across England and Wales, includes adults and youth prisons.

4th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) prisoners and (b) prison staff injured in violent incidents in prisons in the latest period for which figures are available.

The latest figures for assaults on prisoners and on prison staff can be seen in the Safety in Custody summary tables at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/safety-in-custody-quarterly-update-to-june-2018.

While we collect details of the injuries sustained, I regret that it will not be possible in the time available to separate those sustained by prisoners from those sustained by staff. I will write to the Hon Member as soon as the more detailed figures become available.

To improve safety, we have recruited 4,300 new prison officers over the last two years, with 1,400 more due to begin training soon. We are investing an extra £70 million to improve safety, security and decency, and we are equipping officers with PAVA incapacitant spray to help prevent serious harm to staff and prisoners when dealing with violent incidents. We are also tackling the drugs that we know are fuelling much of the violence in custody. This includes spending on new x-ray scanners, drug-detection dogs, phone-blocking technology and dedicated search teams.

In addition, the Government supported the recent Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act, which increases sentences for those who attack emergency workers, including prison officers.

5th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if his Department plans to respond to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal’s consultation on changes to its procedural rules.

This consultation closed on 8 October. As the legal profession in England and Wales is independent of government, the department did not respond. We understand that the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal is currently reviewing consultation responses.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps, excluding the provision of legal aid, his Department is taking to widen access to justice for (a) individuals and (b) small businesses.

The Government is currently undertaking a post-implementation review of the impact of the legal aid changes made under Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), and remains committed to publishing the findings by the end of this year. This comprehensive, evidence-based review will be used as an opportunity to inform our wider consideration on the future of legal support for those engaged in the justice system.

We are also investing over £1bn to modernise the justice system, introducing 21st Century technology, online services and digital working, while making sure justice remains accessible.

13th Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effectiveness of the Legal Ombudsmen's review process.

The Legal Ombudsman - an arm’s length body overseen by the Ministry of Justice - is independent in making decisions on individual cases. The Secretary of State for Justice is confident that the Legal Ombudsman operates an effective review process.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, on how many occasions has the decision of the Legal Ombudsman been overturned as a result of a review in each of the last five years.

Legal Ombudsman decisions can be challenged by way of judicial review.

Of the 18,076 ombudsman decisions that the Legal Ombudsman made in the past five years, only 16 cases have been reconsidered as a result of judicial review. Of these, four were reconsidered as a result of a contested hearing and 12 were agreed by consent between parties before the matter went to trial.

The breakdown is as follows:

  • 2017 – 3,370 decisions, 1 reconsidered (by consent)
  • 2016 – 4,337 decisions, 2 reconsidered (both by consent)
  • 2015 – 3,475 decisions, 4 reconsidered (all by consent)
  • 2014 – 3,409 decisions, 6 reconsidered (two by court order, four by consent)
  • 2013 – 3,485 decisions, 3 reconsidered (two by court order, one by consent)

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Dec 2018
What discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the effect on families in Northern Ireland of the universal credit two-child limit.

Social Security is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland as is the implementation and administration of Universal Credit.

Differences for claimants in Northern Ireland, include twice monthly payments, split payments and managed payments of the housing element of Universal Credit. Additionally, anyone receiving a welfare supplementary payment will also continue to receive this payment under Universal Credit, to ensure that they do not lose out.