Department for Work and Pensions

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy. As the UK’s biggest public service department it administers the State Pension and a range of working age, disability and ill health benefits to around 20 million claimants and customers.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Liberal Democrat
Wendy Chamberlain (LDEM - North East Fife)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

Labour
Jonathan Reynolds (LAB - Stalybridge and Hyde)
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Baroness Sherlock (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

Liberal Democrat
Baroness Janke (LDEM - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

Plaid Cymru
Hywel Williams (PC - Arfon)
Shadow PC Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

Democratic Unionist Party
Sammy Wilson (DUP - East Antrim)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

Scottish National Party
David Linden (SNP - Glasgow East)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Matt Rodda (LAB - Reading East)
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Pensions)
Vicky Foxcroft (LAB - Lewisham, Deptford)
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)
Karen Buck (LAB - Westminster North)
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)
Ministers of State
Chloe Smith (CON - Norwich North)
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
Mims Davies (CON - Mid Sussex)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
Guy Opperman (CON - Hexham)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
Baroness Stedman-Scott (CON - Life peer)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
David Rutley (CON - Macclesfield)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
Scheduled Event
Wednesday 20th October 2021
09:15
Work and Pensions Committee - Oral evidence - Select & Joint Committees
20 Oct 2021, 9:15 a.m.
Children in poverty: No recourse to public funds
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Scheduled Event
Monday 8th November 2021
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
8 Nov 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (including Topical Questions)
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Debates
Wednesday 13th October 2021
Select Committee Docs
Friday 5th November 2021
00:00
Call for Evidence
Call For Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Monday 27th September 2021
Health assessments for benefits

Health assessments for benefits

The Committee is investigating the assessment processes for health-related benefits. These include PIP, ESA, Disability Living …

Written Answers
Friday 15th October 2021
Universal Credit: Lone Parents
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support single parents …
Secondary Legislation
Monday 11th October 2021
Social Security (Information-sharing in relation to Welfare Services etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2021
These Regulations amend the Social Security (Information-sharing in relation to Welfare Services etc.) Regulations 2012 (S.I. 2012/1483). They are being …
Bills
Wednesday 8th September 2021
Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision relating to the up-rating of certain social security benefits payable in the tax year 2022-23.
Dept. Publications
Tuesday 12th October 2021
09:30
Treaty
Tuesday 12th February 2019

Department for Work and Pensions Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
Sep. 13
Oral Questions
Sep. 20
Written Statements
Jul. 21
Westminster Hall
Apr. 19
Adjournment Debate
View All Department for Work and Pensions Commons Contibutions

Bills currently before Parliament

Department for Work and Pensions does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament


A Bill to make provision about pension schemes

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 11th February 2021 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 23rd September 2020

A Bill To make provision relating to the up-rating of certain social security benefits.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Monday 23rd November 2020 and was enacted into law.

Department for Work and Pensions - Secondary Legislation

These Regulations amend the Social Security (Information-sharing in relation to Welfare Services etc.) Regulations 2012 (S.I. 2012/1483). They are being issued free of charge as they rectify errors in those Regulations.
These Regulations amend the Jobseeker’s Allowance Regulations 2013 (S.I. 2013/378) (“the JSA Regulations”) and the Employment and Support Allowance Regulations 2013 (S.I. 2013/379) (“the ESA Regulations”) so as to correct an error made in the Social Security (Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (S.I. 2016/678) (“the 2016 Regulations”).
View All Department for Work and Pensions Secondary Legislation

Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

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Petitions with most signatures
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Petition Debates Contributed

The government should implement an immediate Universal Basic Income trial for all UK residents to ensure home and food security through the coronavirus Covid-19 crisis, to support the needs of those that need to self-isolate as well as the public health at large, and the wider economy.

View All Department for Work and Pensions Petitions

Departmental Select Committee

Work and Pensions Committee

Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.

At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.

Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.


11 Members of the Work and Pensions Committee
Stephen Timms Portrait
Stephen Timms (Labour - East Ham)
Work and Pensions Committee Chair since 29th January 2020
Desmond Swayne Portrait
Desmond Swayne (Conservative - New Forest West)
Work and Pensions Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Chris Stephens Portrait
Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
Work and Pensions Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Ben Spencer Portrait
Ben Spencer (Conservative - Runnymede and Weybridge)
Work and Pensions Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Selaine Saxby Portrait
Selaine Saxby (Conservative - North Devon)
Work and Pensions Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Nigel Mills Portrait
Nigel Mills (Conservative - Amber Valley)
Work and Pensions Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Steve McCabe Portrait
Steve McCabe (Labour - Birmingham, Selly Oak)
Work and Pensions Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Neil Coyle Portrait
Neil Coyle (Labour - Bermondsey and Old Southwark)
Work and Pensions Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Siobhan Baillie Portrait
Siobhan Baillie (Conservative - Stroud)
Work and Pensions Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Shaun Bailey Portrait
Shaun Bailey (Conservative - West Bromwich West)
Work and Pensions Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Debbie Abrahams Portrait
Debbie Abrahams (Labour - Oldham East and Saddleworth)
Work and Pensions Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Work and Pensions Committee: Upcoming Events
Work and Pensions Committee - Oral evidence
Children in poverty: No recourse to public funds
20 Oct 2021, 9:15 a.m.
At 9.30am: Oral evidence
Morgan Wild - Head of Policy at Citizens Advice
Caz Hattam - Coordinator at The Unity Project
Catherine Houlcroft - Principal Projects Officer at NRPF Network
Azmina Siddique - Policy and Research Manager (Child Poverty and Inequality) at Children’s Society
At 10.30am: Oral evidence
Susanne Miller - Chief Officer at Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership
Christianah Awodiji - Team Manager NRPF at Manchester Local Care Organisation
Cllr Jasmine Ali - Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education at Southwark Council
Penny Ademuyiwa - Assistant Director at North Kent
Leah Arnold - Service Manager, Strengthening Families at City of Wolverhampton Council

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50 most recent 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

14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support single parents in receipt of universal credit with young children to find work that fits around their childcare needs.

Under Universal Credit, working families can claim back up to 85% of their registered childcare costs each month

The UC childcare aligns with the wider government childcare offer. This includes the free childcare offer which provides 15 hours a week of free childcare in England for all 3 and 4 year olds and disadvantaged 2 year olds, doubling for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours a week. The UC childcare cost element can be used to top up a claimant's eligible free childcare hours if more hours are worked and childcare is required. This means that reasonable childcare costs should not form a barrier to work.

Additional safeguards apply during this period and any work-related expectations will be limited to a maximum of 16 hours per week whilst they are caring for a pre-school age child.

To assist single parents with making necessary childcare arrangements, work coaches can reduce the maximum time the claimant is expected to spend travelling to and from work. All Work-related requirements will be tailored according to the claimant’s capability and personal circumstances, to ensure they are realistic and achievable.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she plans to take to help ensure that people who will stop receiving the £20 uplift to universal credit and working tax credits are able to access sufficient food sources.

We take the issue of food insecurity seriously, which is why we added internationally used food security questions to the Family Resources Survey in 2019/20 and published the data in March this year. These questions remain in the survey and will allow us to track food security over time.

In April this year we increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins. We are investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every Local Authority across England. Participating children are benefitting from a range of support, including healthy and nutritious meals as well as fun and engaging activities covering the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

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

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, and continues to do so through many measures, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of food insecurity amongst school children since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

We have not made an assessment of this kind. Issues of food insecurity amongst school children fall within the remit of the Department for Education so assessments such as this would be their responsibility.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that people who arrived in the UK under the Afghan (a) Relocation and Assistance Policy and (b) Citizens Resettlement Scheme are not required to meet the habitual residence test.

All those brought to the UK under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) have the right to work, access to education and healthcare and recourse to public funds including benefit support.

The Department for Work and Pensions has legislated to exempt those arriving in the UK under the ARAP and ACRS from the habitual residence test for income-related benefits, and the past presence test and the habitual residence test for disability and carer benefits.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/1034/made

Further information can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/support-for-those-arriving-from-afghanistan

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what representations she has made to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on increasing the amount of money local authorities pay out in financial assistance schemes to people who will stop receiving the £20 a week uplift to universal credit.

Ministers in the Department for Work and Pensions engage regularly with their Ministerial counterparts in other Departments, taking a collective approach to the policies and interventions that can make a difference.

Responsibility for Local Welfare Assistance was delegated to Local Authorities in England in 2013/2014 and councils have powers to determine the right Local Welfare Assistance schemes for their area. The funding councils receive from Government recognises the resources councils need to meet their pressures.

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

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assistance the Government is providing to newly arrived Afghan nationals seeking to enter employment.

Those coming from Afghanistan to the UK on the resettlement programmes will have the right to work here from day one, as well as immediate access to the benefit system and our existing employment offer, including our £30 billion Plan for Jobs.

Direct, personalised support is available from experienced work coaches in the temporary hotel accommodation where Afghans are staying across the country. Work coaches are there to help with any claims or queries and to provide tailored employment support. Resettling Afghans will also have access to our Refugee Leads Network, which links Jobcentres and organisations working with refugees and those on resettlement programmes, to help them integrate and find employment in local areas. We will also work to ensure that English as a Second or Other Language provision, and other support, is available to those that need it.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish the impact assessment for removing the £20 uplift to Universal Credit.

No impact assessment has been made.

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

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

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

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to help recently arrived Afghan refugees find employment.

Those coming from Afghanistan to the UK on the resettlement programmes will have the right to work here from day one, as well as immediate access to the benefit system and our existing employment offer, including our £30 billion Plan for Jobs.

Direct, personalised support is available from experienced work coaches in the temporary hotel accommodation where Afghans are staying across the country. Work coaches are there to help with any claims or queries and to provide tailored employment support. Resettling Afghans will also have access to our Refugee Leads Network, which links Jobcentres and organisations working with refugees and those on resettlement programmes, to help them integrate and find employment in local areas. We will also work to ensure that English as a Second or Other Language provision, and other support, is available to those that need it.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of (a) trends in the cost of living and (b) the impact that those trends are having on standards of living of people claiming social security support.

No assessment has been made.

The Secretary of State completes an annual review of most benefit rates for people below State Pension age to determine whether they have retained their value in relation to the general level of prices. Where prices have increased relative to the value of those benefits, the Secretary of State will increase certain disability and carers’ benefits – such as Personal Independence Payments and Carer’s Allowance – at least in line with that increase. She may also decide to increase other benefits, such as Universal Credit. That decision is discretionary, but it is conventional that these rates are also increased in line with the increase in prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The up-rating review is conducted in the Autumn of each year, with the outcome announced in November and the new rates implemented the following April.

The Universal Credit £20 uplift was a temporary measure set out in legislation separate to up-rating. The temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to stop the universal credit and legacy benefit claims of individuals who qualify for EU Settled Status but have not yet applied for that scheme.

The Government has made clear its commitment to safeguard the rights of EEA nationals, and their family members, living in the UK prior to the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. They have done this though the introduction of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

The scheme opened to the public on 30 March 2019 and the deadline for the scheme for those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period was 30 June 2021. Every day thousands of people are being given status through the EUSS and to date the Home Office have received more than 6 million applications.

There is scope to make a late application based on reasonable grounds for missing the deadline. The Home Office have also released guidance for late applications and reiterated their general approach under the EUSS which is to look to grant status, rather than looking for reasons to refuse. Those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement who submit a late application to the EUSS will also be able to access benefits and services, if they are eligible, from the point their application is validated, and identity has been verified.

From 1 July 2021, the Department has continued to work in collaboration with the HO and HMRC to undertake further engagement activities and give those without status further opportunity to apply to the EUSS. Claimants that fail to make a late application will not have entitlement to benefits unless, and until, they apply. The Department is however taking all reasonable steps to engage claimants and provide them with multiple opportunities to apply before taking compliance action. This includes engaging with relevant customers through scheduled face to face and telephony contact, and Universal Credit (UC) journal prompts. The Department’s visiting service is also available for those customers who are identified as the most vulnerable.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to reduce the backlog of people waiting for personal independence payment claims to be processed.

We are committed to ensuring that people can access financial support through Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in a timely manner and reducing customer journey times for PIP claimants is a priority for the Department. We always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to review all available evidence.

The time it takes to clear a claim and the number of people awaiting a decision can vary reflecting factors including customer demand, operational resource and timescales for different parts of the process. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused distortion and work is ongoing to manage the recovery.

The time it takes clear new PIP claims in July 2021 (most recent data available) are similar to levels a year ago.

We are always looking at ways to improve the assessment process. In addition to face-to-face, we will continue to conduct paper-based, telephone and video assessments where appropriate.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the impact of poverty on educational outcomes; and what fiscal steps the Government is taking to tackle that matter.

Ministers in the Department for Work and Pensions engage regularly with their counterparts in other Departments, taking a collective approach to the policies and interventions that can make a difference to children’s outcomes.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the Broad Market Rental Area for York for people renting in areas (a) inside and (b) outside the city centre.

Broad Rental Market Areas, of which there are 192 in Great Britain, are determined in accordance with requirements laid down in legislation. Each Broad Market Rental Area must contain a variety of property types and tenures, sufficient privately rented accommodation and access to facilities for health, education, recreation, banking and shopping. The boundaries of Broad Rental Market Areas are set by rent officers based on these factors. If at any time, rent officers decide that a boundary should be moved they must carry out a review, consulting with affected local authorities among others, and then submit a recommendation to the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions to decide.

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

We have maintained Local Housing Allowance rates at the same cash level for 2021/22, rather than reverting back to previous rates.

Local Housing Allowance rates are reviewed each year, taking account of local rental data collected by rent officers.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will review the Broad Rental Market Area for York.

Broad Rental Market Areas, of which there are 192 in Great Britain, are determined in accordance with requirements laid down in legislation. Each Broad Market Rental Area must contain a variety of property types and tenures, sufficient privately rented accommodation and access to facilities for health, education, recreation, banking and shopping. The boundaries of Broad Rental Market Areas are set by rent officers based on these factors. If at any time, rent officers decide that a boundary should be moved they must carry out a review, consulting with affected local authorities among others, and then submit a recommendation to the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions to decide.

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

We have maintained Local Housing Allowance rates at the same cash level for 2021/22, rather than reverting back to previous rates.

Local Housing Allowance rates are reviewed each year, taking account of local rental data collected by rent officers.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the increase in the rental cost of the private rented sector on people in receipt of Local Housing Allowance.

Broad Rental Market Areas, of which there are 192 in Great Britain, are determined in accordance with requirements laid down in legislation. Each Broad Market Rental Area must contain a variety of property types and tenures, sufficient privately rented accommodation and access to facilities for health, education, recreation, banking and shopping. The boundaries of Broad Rental Market Areas are set by rent officers based on these factors. If at any time, rent officers decide that a boundary should be moved they must carry out a review, consulting with affected local authorities among others, and then submit a recommendation to the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions to decide.

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

We have maintained Local Housing Allowance rates at the same cash level for 2021/22, rather than reverting back to previous rates.

Local Housing Allowance rates are reviewed each year, taking account of local rental data collected by rent officers.

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

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

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the impact on disabled people of (a) income-related employment support allowance, (b) universal credit and (c) other means-tested benefits, which are based on joint-income.

No assessment has been made.

Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit are means-tested welfare support. It is longstanding policy that income-related benefits treat all couples as a single household unit when assessing benefit entitlement. Where claimants have income available to meet their household's everyday living costs, such as through a partner's earnings or savings, their entitlement to benefit is adjusted accordingly.

These benefits are not paid to claimants who have sufficient income available from other sources to support themselves. The general principle is that income, other than earnings, which is provided to meet everyday living costs, is fully taken into account in the calculation. The Government understands disabled people may face additional cost, which is why income provided to meet additional costs through benefits such as Personal Independence Payments and Disability Living Allowance are not taken into account when determining entitlement to benefits.

The Department has brought forward a Green Paper on health and disability support, focusing on the welfare system. The Green Paper will explore how the welfare system can better meet the needs of disabled people and people with health conditions now and in the future, to build a system that enables people to live independently and move into work where possible.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to launch a consultation on workforce reporting on disability for large employers.

I refer the honourable member to the response to PQ UIN 43124 [https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-06/43124].

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on its plans to set up an Extra Costs Taskforce.

I refer the honourable member to the response to PQ UIN 42013 [https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2021-09-03/42013].

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the National Disability Strategy published in July 2021, what steps she is taking to increase the awareness of Access to Work among disabled employees.

We are taking a range of steps to continue to raise awareness of Access to Work among people with a disability or long-term health condition.

We regularly promote the scheme through the Department’s social media channels, signposting people to the Access to Work pages on the JobHelp website and on gov.uk.

We are also ensuring advisers who work with potential customers, including Jobcentre Plus, health professionals and advisory groups, have the information and tools to act as advocates for the scheme.

In addition, we are continuing to work with stakeholders, partners and employer associations to raise awareness of Access to Work through communications to their customers, and we have produced a communications toolkit to help them raise awareness.

We are continuing to promote Access to Work to employers as part of the Disability Confident scheme.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the National Disability Strategy published in July 2021, what recent assessment she has made of the progress of the pilots for the Access to Work Adjustments Passport.

The Adjustment Passport pilots have recently commenced with Contractors and Freelancers and are due to go live with young disabled people leaving University and Veterans leaving the Armed Forces at the end of October 2021. The pilots will enable us to gain an understanding of whether the passport reduces the need for assessments where the customer’s needs remain the same, and if it empowers the passport holder to have conversations with future employers about adjustments. Following an evaluation, if the pilots prove successful, the passport will be made available to support all people with disabilities and health conditions providing a transferable record of adjustments and reduce the need for unnecessary assessments.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress his Department has made on (a) extending Automatic Enrolment to workers under 22 and (b) removing the automatic enrolment lower earnings threshold by the mid-2020s.

We are committed to implementing the 2017 Automatic Enrolment Review ambitions in the mid-2020s, lowering the age for being automatically enrolled from 22 to 18 and abolishing the automatic enrolment lower earnings limit, so that contributions are payable from the first pound of earnings.

In this way we will expand coverage of the successful workplace pension reforms and increase the amounts being put into retirement savings by millions of workers, particularly younger people and lower earners.

The 2017 Review report was clear that implementation will be subject to learning from previous workplace pension contribution increases, discussions with employers and others on the right approach, and finding ways to make these changes affordable. We will do this in light of the impact of the pandemic and our overall support for economic recovery, while continuing to support long-term saving, balancing the needs of savers, employers and tax-payers.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that people with a learning disability moving from legacy benefits to universal credit do not receive a reduction in their benefits.

Many individuals moving to Universal Credit will find themselves better off. Universal Credit will provide an extra £2.1bn a year once fully rolled out, compared to the system it replaces. Universal Credit is fundamentally different to existing benefits and tax credits and claims cannot be compared like for like.

For claimants previously entitled to Severe Disability Premium, we have introduced the Universal Credit Transitional Provisions Amendment Regulations 2021 and these came into force on 27 January 2021. The Regulations ensure that a transitional Severe Disability Element remains available for new claims to Universal Credit following a change of circumstances made on or after 27 January 2021.

In addition, all eligible legacy claimants who will be required to claim Universal Credit as part of the managed migration process will be awarded, where necessary, Transitional Protection to ensure that their initial entitlement to Universal Credit is not less than their final entitlement to legacy benefits. The Government encourages anybody to go on GOV.UK and use one of the independent benefit calculators to check carefully their eligibility, because on applying for UC their entitlement to legacy benefits will cease and they will not be able to return to them in the future. Neither DWP nor HMRC can advise individual claimants whether they would be better off moving to UC or remaining on legacy benefits. They can get help through the government funded Help to Claim scheme as well as the Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish a strategy on lifting children out of all forms of poverty.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting low-income families through range of measures including by increasing the national living wage and by spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22. With record numbers of vacancies, our focus is on helping people back into work as quickly as possible. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment, particularly where it is full-time, in substantially reducing the risks of child poverty.

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

To provide additional support for children in low income households, we have increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins. And we are investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every Local Authority across England. Participating children are benefitting from a range of support, including healthy and nutritious meals as well as fun and engaging activities covering the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, by which date recording equipment will be in place at all personal independent payment assessment centres to support disabled claimants.

The department continues to work closely with both Independent Assessment Services (IAS) and Capita to deliver an audio recording service for Personal Independent Payment (PIP) face to face assessments that removes the requirement for the claimant to provide the equipment. Arrangements are being finalised and we hope to have this in place as soon as practicably possible.

At present, claimants may use their own equipment to record their face to face assessment, should they wish to, as stated in the PIP Assessment Guide (PIPAG).

The option for a claimant to request an audio recording of their Personal Independent Payment (PIP) telephone assessment is available with both assessment providers.

PIP assessments will not be suspended whilst we are working to deliver an audio recording service for face to face assessments that removes the requirement for the claimant to provide the equipment.

Claimants are not penalised if they are unwilling to attend an assessment until their request for audio recording can be fulfilled. Any claimants who request an audio recording of their face to face assessment will be given the option of waiting for this to be implemented before their assessment takes place. In the meantime, claimants may use their own equipment to record their face to face assessment, should they wish to, as stated in the PIP Assessment Guide (PIPAG).

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of (a) suspending personal independent payment assessments (PIP) until recording equipment is provided and (b) allowing disabled claimants to be granted the right to refuse a PIP assessment without punitive action until a recording provision is in place.

The department continues to work closely with both Independent Assessment Services (IAS) and Capita to deliver an audio recording service for Personal Independent Payment (PIP) face to face assessments that removes the requirement for the claimant to provide the equipment. Arrangements are being finalised and we hope to have this in place as soon as practicably possible.

At present, claimants may use their own equipment to record their face to face assessment, should they wish to, as stated in the PIP Assessment Guide (PIPAG).

The option for a claimant to request an audio recording of their Personal Independent Payment (PIP) telephone assessment is available with both assessment providers.

PIP assessments will not be suspended whilst we are working to deliver an audio recording service for face to face assessments that removes the requirement for the claimant to provide the equipment.

Claimants are not penalised if they are unwilling to attend an assessment until their request for audio recording can be fulfilled. Any claimants who request an audio recording of their face to face assessment will be given the option of waiting for this to be implemented before their assessment takes place. In the meantime, claimants may use their own equipment to record their face to face assessment, should they wish to, as stated in the PIP Assessment Guide (PIPAG).

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the cost of ending the £20 uplift to Universal Credit.

No assessment has been made. The Chancellor announced a temporary six-month extension to the £20 per week uplift at the Budget on 3 March to support households affected by the economic shock of Covid-19. Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and the temporary uplift was part of a COVID support package worth a total of £407 billion in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people in England received the Carer's Allowance in (1) April 2019, and (2) April 2021.

DWP statistics on the number of Carer’s Allowance claims in payment are publicly available online via StatXplore. These statistics are released on a quarterly basis, for the following months: February, May, August and November. The most recent available statistics are for February 2021.

The figures requested are therefore not available for April 2021. The figure from the most recent release of these statistics is included in the response instead. For an annual comparison, the figure for February 2019 is also included in this response.

The number of people in England who received Carer’s Allowance in February 2019 was 736,624.

The number of people in England who received Carer’s Allowance in February 2021 was 794,816.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average universal credit award is in (a) Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency and (b) the UK.

The mean amount of Universal Credit awarded for households in Great Britain is published and can be found in Table 2 of the Households on Universal Credit dataset at:

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

This table can be filtered by Westminster Parliamentary Constituency.

Guidance on how to extract information from Stat-Xplore can be found at:

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

The statistics for Northern Ireland are published by the Department for Communities and can be found at:

https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/articles/universal-credit-statistics

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 September 2021 to Question 48169 on universal credit, if she will revise the calculations for the National Living Wage to include the taper rate.

The National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage are set annually on the basis of recommendations from the independent Low Pay Commission, an independent body of employers, unions and experts.

On 1 April 2021, following the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission, workers on the National Living Wage saw a 2.2% pay increase to £8.91 an hour. The April 2021 increase in the National Living Wage represents an increase of over £345 to the annual gross earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage, equivalent to a total increase in annual gross earnings of around £4,030 since the introduction of the National Living Wage in April 2016.

The Government is committed to raising the National Living Wage through its long term target to reach two-thirds of median earnings, and extending to those aged 21 and over by 2024.

Universal Credit promotes work as an effective route out of poverty. The single universal credit taper means that as earnings increase, above any applicable work allowance, Universal Credit payments reduce by less than the earnings, meaning claimants can clearly understand the advantages of work.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in the context of the potential increase in energy bills in the coming months, what assessment she has made of the planned end of the £20 uplift in universal credit on claimants' ability to heat their homes.

No assessment has been made. The Cold Weather Payment (CWP) scheme helps vulnerable people in receipt of certain income-related benefits to meet the additional costs of heating during periods of severe cold weather. Cold Weather Payments are targeted at those in receipt of eligible benefits with a pension element or disability component or where there is a child under five in the household.

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

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 20 September 2021, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Update, HCWS294, how her Department plans to prioritise PIP claims for review as part of the Administrative Exercise.

As part of this exercise we are prioritising cases of terminally ill claimants. The remainder of cases will be reviewed in chronological order, starting with the earliest cases first. I can also confirm it is the Department’s policy to review cases where the claimant is now deceased to ensure that their next of kin receive payments.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 20 September 2021, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Update, HCWS294, whether her Department plans to review the PIP claims of deceased claimants as part of the Administrative Exercise; and whether posthumous backdated payments will be made to the family of claimants where it has been found that more support should have been given.

As part of this exercise we are prioritising cases of terminally ill claimants. The remainder of cases will be reviewed in chronological order, starting with the earliest cases first. I can also confirm it is the Department’s policy to review cases where the claimant is now deceased to ensure that their next of kin receive payments.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing a phased approach for the reduction of carers allowance payments to claimants who permanently stop their caring duties, as a means of reducing the potential for financial hardship.

Entitlement to Carer's Allowance can continue for up to eight weeks following the death of the disabled person who was being cared for. This eight-week run-on helps carers who have recently been bereaved by giving them some time to adapt to their new circumstances.

When caring ceases for any reason, carers may have access to means-tested and other benefits depending upon their circumstances.

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

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

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of how much food bank usage will rise in the worst-case scenario from any modelling they have conducted on the impact of ending the £20 uplift for Universal Credit.

No assessment has been made. Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. There is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level.

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

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced with the success of the vaccine rollout. Now the economy is reopening and as we continue to progress with our recovery our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, and continues to do so through many measures, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22.

This year, we are also investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every Local Authority across England. Participating children will benefit from a range of support, including a healthy and nutritious meal as well as fun and engaging activities covering the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021. We also increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 in April, which helps eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of how much homelessness will rise in the worst-case scenario from any modelling they have conducted on the impact of ending the £20 uplift for Universal Credit.

No impact assessments have been made.

Discretionary Housing Payments provide critical support to vulnerable claimants, including those who are at risk of homelessness, that need help with their housing costs.

For 2021-22 the Government has made available £140m in Discretionary Housing Payments funding for local authorities in England and Wales. In 2020-21 we boosted investment in the Local Housing Allowance by almost £1 billion and have maintained rates in cash terms for 2021-22. In addition, earlier this year we extended the exemptions from the shared accommodation rate of Local Housing Allowance for care leavers and those who have spent at least three months in a homeless hostel. From 31st May 2021 the care leavers exemption applies up to age 25 and the homeless hostel exemption applies up to age 35.

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

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of how much poverty will rise in the worst-case scenario from any modelling they have conducted on the impact of ending the £20 uplift for Universal Credit.

It is not possible to produce a robust estimate of the impact of removing the Universal Credit uplift on poverty or related issues. This is particularly the case at the moment given the uncertainty around the speed of the economic recovery, and how this will be distributed across the population.

The latest poverty figures (2019/20) demonstrate that absolute poverty rates (both before and after housing costs) for working-age adults in working families have fallen since 2009/10. In 2019/20, 8% of working age adults in working families were in absolute poverty (before housing costs), compared to 9% in 2009/10.

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

There have been significant positive developments in the public health situation since the uplift was first introduced. With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, it is right that our focus is on helping people back into work.

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, and continues to do so through many measures, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending over £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22.

This year, we are also investing up to £220m in the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has been expanded to every Local Authority across England. Participating children will benefit from a range of support, including a healthy and nutritious meal as well as fun and engaging activities covering the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021. We also increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25 in April, which helps eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to review the planned removal of the uplift to universal credit in response to the increase in inflation to 3.2 per cent.

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

Separately to the Universal Credit Uplift, the Secretary of State completes an annual review of most benefit rates for people below State Pension age to determine whether they have retained their value in relation to the general level of prices. Where prices have increased relative to the value of those benefits, the Secretary of State will increase certain disability and carers’ benefits – such as Personal Independence Payments and Carer’s Allowance – at least in line with that increase. She may also decide to increase other benefits, such as the Universal Credit Standard Allowance. That decision is discretionary, but it is conventional that these rates are also increased in line with the increase in prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The up-rating review is conducted in the Autumn of each year, with the outcome announced in November and the new rates implemented the following April.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of people who are automatically enrolled that are likely to reach a moderate lifestyle in retirement as defined by the PLSA’s Retirement Living Standards.

This Government is focussed on its goal of expanding the benefits of automatic enrolment in the mid-2020s, increasing the overall amounts being saved by working people, and extending the benefits of workplace pensions to younger workers. I welcome the PLSA standards as a contribution to the debate.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people in Leeds Central who will be affected by the proposed cut of the universal credit uplift.

It is not possible to produce a robust estimate of exactly how many people will be affected by the removal of the £20 uplift during October due to uncertainty around the speed of the economic recovery and the resulting effect on the caseload.

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

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

Through our Plan for Jobs, we are targeting tailored support schemes of people of all ages to help them prepare for, get into and progress in work. These include: Kickstart, delivering tens of thousands of six-month work placements for Universal Credit claimants aged 16-24 at risk of unemployment; Restart, which provides 12 months’ intensive employment support to Universal Credit claimants who are unemployed for a year; and JETS, which provides light touch employment support for people who are claiming either Universal Credit or New Style Jobseekers Allowance, for up to 6 months, helping participants effectively re-engage with the labour market and focus their job search. We have also recruited an additional 13,500 work coaches to provide more intensive support to find a job. In total, our Plan for Jobs interventions will support more than two million people.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of levels compliance of digital universal credit systems with operation requirements set out in social security regulations.

The Department, like other government departments, is obliged to comply with legal, security and regulatory requirements, including published minimum government security standards. This is regularly reviewed for Universal Credit, and the system complies with all relevant standards.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 September 2021 to Question 48169, what percentage of universal credit claimants who are in work make the National Living Wage.

The requested information is not held as the level of detail to determine the percentage of Universal Credit claimants in work and on the National Living Wage is not available.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact of the 3.2 per cent rise in inflation on the financial wellbeing of recipients of universal credit.

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

Separately to the Universal Credit Uplift, the Secretary of State completes an annual review of most benefit rates for people below State Pension age to determine whether they have retained their value in relation to the general level of prices. Where prices have increased relative to the value of those benefits, the Secretary of State will increase certain disability and carers’ benefits – such as Personal Independence Payments and Carer’s Allowance – at least in line with that increase. She may also decide to increase other benefits, such as the Universal Credit Standard Allowance. That decision is discretionary, but it is conventional that these rates are also increased in line with the increase in prices as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The up-rating review is conducted in the Autumn of each year, with the outcome announced in November and the new rates implemented the following April.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the total amount of money being recovered by her Department through universal credit claims is as at 15 September 2021; and what the comparable figures are for the last three years.

Deductions from Universal Credit awards are requested by creditors who ensure they have followed regulations. Universal Credit informs the claimant of all deduction requests.

Universal Credit deduction regulations protect claimants from excessive deductions, which could lead to financial difficulty. There is a 25% cap on deductions to ensure that priority debts and other debts are repaid, whilst supporting claimants with significant debts to retain more of their monthly award for their day-to-day needs. The cap was reduced in April 2021 from 30% to 25% to help support claimants to manage financial difficulties.

Advances are designed to ensure that the most vulnerable claimants receive the money they need to live on during their transition to Universal Credit. Claimants now have the option to spread twenty-five Universal Credit payments over twenty-four months, giving them more flexibility over the payments of their Universal Credit award. This will also allow claimants to retain more of their award, giving additional financial security

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

The information requested is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average amount being recovered in a monthly repayment through universal credit is; and what proportion of those monies are owed as a result of (a) universal credit debts and (b) universal credit advance loans.

Deductions from Universal Credit awards are requested by creditors who ensure they have followed regulations. Universal Credit informs the claimant of all deduction requests.

Universal Credit deduction regulations protect claimants from excessive deductions, which could lead to financial difficulty. There is a 25% cap on deductions to ensure that priority debts and other debts are repaid, whilst supporting claimants with significant debts to retain more of their monthly award for their day-to-day needs. The cap was reduced in April 2021 from 30% to 25% to help support claimants to manage financial difficulties.

Advances are designed to ensure that the most vulnerable claimants receive the money they need to live on during their transition to Universal Credit. Claimants now have the option to spread twenty-five Universal Credit payments over twenty-four months, giving them more flexibility over the payments of their Universal Credit award. This will also allow claimants to retain more of their award, giving additional financial security

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

The information requested is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department plans to take to help ensure that all Job Centre Plus sites are accessible to people with hearing loss.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is committed to making its services accessible for all its customers together with those who may have additional communication needs including hearing loss.

Deaf and hard of hearing customers visiting Jobcentres are able to access different support based on how hearing loss affects their communication needs. Job Centres are equipped and currently provide mainly portable, but also some fixed hearing loops across the network, for those customers with hearing loss. There is a new initiative to improve our environments for disabled customers and those with health conditions which will include people with hearing loss. This work is due to start in October.

For those customers who are deaf or hard of hearing and attending a prearranged appointment with DWP, staff will already be aware of the customer’s communication needs from DWP’s computer systems and have access to a language services contract to pre-book an interpreter to support face to face contact. The interpreter will be skilled in providing non-spoken language support including British Sign Language (BSL).

Furthermore, a Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) is assigned to each Jobcentre site. The DEA is skilled in understanding the needs of disabled customers, including those who with hearing loss. The DEA provides support to Work Coaches to ensure that Work Coaches are able to increase their awareness and empathy when dealing with customers who have hearing loss.

The Employer and Partnerships role within DWP forms effective networks with a variety of local stakeholders, including organisations and charities that support customers with hearing loss. These relationships are vital to ensure that DWP is able to provide consistent and effective support to its customers.

On a national level, DWP has established a range of networks with its stakeholders to provide a voice for the customer. The Taskforce for Accessible Information, the Reasonable Adjustments Forum and the Operational Stakeholder Engagement Forum all regularly meet with a cross section of groups representing disabilities including those with hearing loss. The purpose of these forums are to ensure that DWP elicits feedback and insight into how its services are being used by those with additional communication needs and to seek continuous improvement.

Following the expansion of Video Relay Service last year, whereby deaf customers are now able to make an inbound telephone call to DWP via a British Sign Language interpreter using a video connection, DWP is currently exploring how this technology can be adapted to support video remote interpreting. This will increase the flexibility for DWP to conduct face to face and telephony based contact with deaf and hard of hearing customers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)