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

Mel Stride
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
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)

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

Labour
Baroness Sherlock (Lab - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

Liberal Democrat
Wendy Chamberlain (LD - North East Fife)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)
Lord Palmer of Childs Hill (LD - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

Labour
Liz Kendall (Lab - Leicester West)
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Vicky Foxcroft (Lab - Lewisham, Deptford)
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)
Alison McGovern (Lab - Wirral South)
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)
Gill Furniss (Lab - Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough)
Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)
Ministers of State
Jo Churchill (Con - Bury St Edmunds)
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)
Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con - Excepted Hereditary)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
Paul Maynard (Con - Blackpool North and Cleveleys)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
Scheduled Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Department for Work and Pensions
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2024
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Department for Work and Pensions
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
Guaranteed Minimum Pensions Increase Order 2024
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
27 Feb 2024, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Occupational Pension Schemes (Collective Money Purchase Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2023
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
27 Feb 2024, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Occupational Pension Schemes (Collective Money Purchase Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2023
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 12th March 2024
Department for Work and Pensions
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
Occupational Pension Schemes (Funding and Investment Strategy and Amendment) Regulations 2024
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Scheduled Event
Monday 18th March 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
18 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (including Topical Questions)
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Debates
Thursday 22nd February 2024
Poverty Reduction
Lords Chamber
Select Committee Docs
Wednesday 21st February 2024
16:38
FYD0004 - Fiduciary duties
Written Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Thursday 9th November 2023
Statutory Sick Pay

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is the basic minimum statutory payment an employee is entitled to for periods where they are …

Written Answers
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Disability Living Allowance
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the impact delays …
Secondary Legislation
Thursday 1st February 2024
Pension Protection Fund and Occupational Pension Schemes (Levy Ceiling) Order 2024
This Order specifies the earnings percentage used to calculate the levy ceiling (article 3) and the amount of the levy …
Bills
Tuesday 7th February 2023
Social Security (Additional Payments) Act 2023
A Bill to make provision about additional payments to recipients of means-tested benefits, tax credits and disability benefits.
Dept. Publications
Friday 23rd February 2024
15:18

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.


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 additional payments to recipients of means-tested benefits, tax credits and disability benefits.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 23rd March 2023 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to provide for certain social security rules which apply where life expectancy is 6 months or less to apply instead where life expectancy is 12 months or less

This Bill received Royal Assent on 25th October 2022 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to make provision about additional payments to recipients of means-tested benefits, tax credits and disability benefits.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 28th June 2022 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to make provision relating to the up-rating of certain social security benefits payable in the tax year 2022-23.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 17th November 2021 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to make provision about pension schemes

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

Department for Work and Pensions - Secondary Legislation

This Order specifies the earnings percentage used to calculate the levy ceiling (article 3) and the amount of the levy ceiling (article 4) for use in relation to the Pension Protection Fund in the financial year beginning on 1st April 2024.
These Regulations make provision relating to the funding of occupational pension schemes to which Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 (c. 35) (scheme funding) applies. They implement the amendments to that Part made by Schedule 10 to the Pension Schemes Act 2021 (c. 1) (funding of defined benefit schemes).
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
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.

The British State pension is far too low. We want the Government to increase the basic state pension to £19,760 a year (£380 a week), and extend this to anyone aged 60 or over. This should lift thousands out of poverty, and give our elderly folk more spending power and help grow the economy.

People with a lifelong illness should not be subject to regular reviews for eligibility for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). People suffering lifelong conditions should not have to prove they are still ill every couple of years.

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
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
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
David Linden Portrait
David Linden (Scottish National Party - Glasgow East)
Work and Pensions Committee Member since 9th January 2023
Marsha De Cordova Portrait
Marsha De Cordova (Labour - Battersea)
Work and Pensions Committee Member since 18th December 2023
Work and Pensions Committee: Previous Inquiries
Money and Pensions Service Pension stewardship and COP26 PIP and ESA Assessments DWP's response to the coronavirus outbreak Work of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Universal Credit: the wait for a first payment Plan for Jobs and employment support The sale and acquisition of BHS inquiry DWP’s preparations for changes in the world of work Protecting pension savers – five years on from the pension freedoms: Pension scams Progress with child maintenance reforms Update on auto-enrolment and a range of current pensions issues Fraud and error in the benefits system Employment and Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessments Progress with Personal Independence Payment implementation 2014 Employment support for disabled people: Access to Work One-off evidence session on pension reforms Benefit delivery inquiry Welfare to work inquiry Pension freedom guidance and advice inquiry Tax credit reforms inquiry Local welfare safety net inquiry In-work progression in Universal Credit inquiry Understanding the new State Pension inquiry Bereavement benefits inquiry Pre-appointment hearing for the Pensions Ombudsman Progress with automatic enrolment and pension reforms Financial scrutiny of the Department for Work and Pensions Benefit sanctions policy beyond the Oakley review Progress with disability and incapacity benefit reforms Universal Credit Work Programme: the experience of different user groups Youth unemployment and the Government’s Youth Contract EU Pensions Policy White Paper on Universal Credit Automatic enrolment in workplace pensions and National Employment Savings Trust Governance and best practice in workplace pensions Role of Jobcentre Plus in the reformed welfare system Support for housing costs in the reformed welfare system School holiday poverty inquiry The work of The Pensions Regulator inquiry Executive pensions inquiry Spending Review inquiry Support for the bereaved Universal Credit and Survival Sex: sex in exchange for meeting survival needs inquiry No DSS: discrimination against benefit claimants in the housing sector inquiry Benefit freeze Overpayments of Carer's Allowance Ongoing work on DWP priorities and performance inquiry Charging for pension transfer advice inquiry Pension auto-enrolment: update inquiry Universal Credit Project Assessment Reviews inquiry Carillion joint inquiry Assistive technology inquiry Pre-appointment scrutiny of the Chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee Defined benefit pensions white paper inquiry The future of the European Social Fund inquiry Two-child benefit limit inquiry Welfare safety net inquiry Benefit cap inquiry Pension costs and transparency inquiry Disability employment inquiry Concentrix and tax credits inquiry Child Maintenance Service inquiry Employment opportunities for young people inquiry Intergenerational fairness inquiry Pensions automatic enrolment inquiry Early drawing of state pension inquiry Recent pensions policy developments The Future of Jobcentre Plus inquiry Support for ex-offenders inquiry Disability employment gap inquiry Pension Protection Fund and Pensions Regulator inquiry Personal Independence Payment inquiry Citizen's income inquiry Victims of modern slavery inquiry DWP Annual Report and Accounts inquiry Self-employment and the gig economy inquiry Benefit cap inquiry Brexit and labour market policy inquiry Universal Credit update inquiry Universal Credit inquiry PIP and ESA Assessments inquiry Pension freedom and choice inquiry Defined benefit pension schemes Access to work cap on support grants inquiry Collective defined contribution pension schemes inquiry Support for carers inquiry The cost of living Children in poverty: Child Maintenance Service Defined benefit pensions with liability driven investments Benefit levels in the UK Defined benefit pension schemes Cost of living support payments Disability employment gap Health and Safety Executive Safeguarding vulnerable claimants Norton pension schemes and the Fraud Compensation Fund Statutory Sick Pay Children in poverty: Measurement and targets Welfare policy in Northern Ireland Assistive technology Benefit cap Benefit sanctions Collective defined contribution pension schemes Defined benefit pensions white paper inquiry Disability employment The future of the European Social Fund inquiry Executive pensions Universal Credit Universal Credit - In-work progression Pension costs and transparency Spending Review Welfare safety net Charging for pension transfer advice Overpayments of Carer's Allowance Pension auto-enrolment: update No DSS: discrimination against benefit claimants in the housing sector Benefit freeze Support for the bereaved The work of The Pensions Regulator Motability Ongoing work on DWP priorities and performance Pension freedom and choice PIP and ESA Assessments School holiday poverty Support for carers Two-child benefit limit Universal Credit and Survival Sex

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

16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when Ministers in his Department last requested information from officials on the (a) number, (b) age and (c) disabilities of children living in households subject to a Universal Credit sanction.

Ministers frequently ask officials for data and information on a wide range of subjects both informally and formally.

Statistics are published regularly showing the number of Universal Credit full-service customers with a payment that has been reduced due to a sanction. These can be found in the Universal Credit sanction rates dataset on Stat-Xplore (https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/jsf/login.xhtml). Users can log in or access Stat-Xplore as a guest and, if needed, they can also access guidance (https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html) on how to extract the information required.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people were awaiting a decision on their Access to Work application on the first day of each month in 2023.

The following number of applications were awaiting a decision on their Access to Work applications on the first day of each month in 2023:

January 2023 – 24,490

February 2023 – 24,603

March 2023 – 24,540

April 2023 – 23,915

May 2023 – 24,169

June 2023 – 23,289

July 2023 – 23,143

August 2023 – 22,663

September 2023 – 21,985

October 2023 – 23,348

November 2023 – 24,107

December 2023 – 25,063

Please note that the data supplied is derived from unpublished management information, which was collected for internal Departmental use only, and have not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard. They should therefore be treated with caution.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what his Department's spend on the youth offer was in the last financial year.

The Department of Work and Pensions Youth Offer provides individually tailored work coach support to young people aged 16 to 24 who are claiming Universal Credit. This support includes the Youth Employment Programme, Youth Employability Coaches for young people with additional barriers to finding work, and Youth Hubs across Great Britain.

Previously, the Youth Offer was only available for those searching for work. As of the 25 September 2023, this been expanded to include to include additional young people on Universal Credit not currently searching for work, including young parents and carers.

The information regarding the Department’s total spend on the Youth Offer is not collated centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The information regarding the Department’s spend on grants to support the opening and operation of Youth Hubs in each financial year since they were launched is not held.

The indicative Youth Hub Work Coach costs for the previous three financial years are:

2020/2021 - £1.1m

2021/2022 - £5.4m

2022/2023 - £4.8m


NB:

  • This excludes estates, digital, support and other operations costs.
  • This data is derived from DWP's Activity Based Model (ABM) and/or Departmental Activity Based Model (DABM) and is unpublished management information which was collected for internal Departmental use only. It has not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standards.
  • The data is frequently revised and changes to definitions / benefits / DWP structure effect comparisons over time. It should therefore be treated with caution and must be seen as an indication of cost, rather than the actual cost.
  • Youth Employability Coaches and other Jobcentre staff may also work from Youth Hubs which is not reflected in this data.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what has been the largest number of people awaiting a decision on their Access to Work application in any month since 1994.

The information requested about Access to Work decisions since 1994 is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 16 October 2023 to Question 199738 on Universal Credit: Disqualification, for what reason information on the number of children living in households subject to a Universal Credit sanction is not readily available.

The Department records information on the number of children living in Universal Credit households and these are published every three months as part of the official Universal Credit statistics (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/universal-credit-statistics). The Department also records information on the number of people who have received a sanction on Universal Credit, and these are published every three months as part of the official Benefit Sanctions Statistics (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/jobseekers-allowance-sanctions). These statistics are produced using different methodologies and it is not possible to provide appropriately quality assured statistics within the disproportionate cost limit.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an estimate of the number of people on long-term sick leave as of 7 February 2024.

The Department does not hold data on individuals who are currently taking a long-term sickness absence.

However, the Department’s 2019 ‘Health in the Workplace’ publication showed that in the previous 12 months, 1.4m working aged people (aged 16-64) in the UK had a total of 1.8m spells of long term (lasting 4 weeks or more) sickness absences. This analysis uses the cross-sectional Annual Population Survey (APS) January 2018 – December 2018.

The publication can be found here.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the impact delays in change of circumstance requests for Disability Living Allowance claims have on the welfare of those children and their families.

In certain cases, delays may occur due to the gathering of evidence from the NHS or Schools but, where possible, we are aiming to gather this from the parent/guardian of the child to expedite this. We have seen a significant increase in claims, which results in us deploying our people accordingly to ensure we manage service across the entire business.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people convicted of crimes who are detained in secure hospitals are receiving benefits.

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

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has had recent discussions with foodbank operators on jobcentre referral slips.

Officials meet regularly with both the Trussell Trust and the Independent Food Aid Network. The meetings cover a broad range of topics, including signposting slips.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Barnardo's report No crib for a bed: a closer look at bed poverty and the Household Support Fund crisis, published on 5 February.

The report looks at a broad range of policy areas and, while we have made no specific assessment of the report itself, my Department continues to monitor the impact of its policies.

The Government is committed to reducing poverty, including child poverty, and supporting low-income families. We will spend around £276bn through the welfare system in Great Britain in 2023/24 including around £124bn on people of working age and children.

Our approach to tackling poverty is based on clear evidence that parental employment, particularly where its full time, reduces the risk of poverty. In the financial year 2021 to 2022, children living in households where all adults work were around 5 times less likely to be in absolute poverty after housing costs than those living in workless households.

The Government is putting significant additional support in place for those on the lowest incomes from April. Subject to Parliamentary approval, working age benefits will rise by 6.7% while the Basic and New State Pensions will be uprated by 8.5% in line with earnings, as part of the ‘triple lock”.

To further support low-income households with increasing rent costs, the government will raise Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents, benefitting 1.6m low-income households by on average £800 a year in 24/25. Additionally, the Government will increase the National Living Wage for workers aged 21 years and over by 9.8% to £11.44 representing an increase of over £1,800 to the gross annual earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage.

The current Household Support Fund runs from April 2023 until the end of March 2024, and the Government continues to keep all its existing programmes under review in the usual way.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what plans they have to discuss with the Pensions Regulator how to incorporate into regulator guidance the conclusions of the Financial Markets and Law Committee’s paper, Pension fund trustees and fiduciary duties, published on 6 February.

The Government welcomes the work of the Financial Markets Law Committee’s working group. Working with the Pensions Regulator, we will look closely at what insights we can draw from their report as we gather further evidence on how trustees are considering ESG factors in their approach to investment in the interests of their members.

This report is a useful resource for trustees, but we are keen to hear views from across the pension sector and wider stakeholders as to what further clarification, or guidance, if any, is needed. We plan to do this starting with a series of roundtable events this spring.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, following the publication of the Financial Markets and Law Committee paper on Pension fund trustees and fiduciary duties on 6 February, when they propose to hold the roundtables with stakeholders promised in the 2023 Green Finance Strategy.

The Government welcomes the work of the Financial Markets Law Committee’s working group. Working with the Pensions Regulator, we will look closely at what insights we can draw from their report as we gather further evidence on how trustees are considering ESG factors in their approach to investment in the interests of their members.

This report is a useful resource for trustees, but we are keen to hear views from across the pension sector and wider stakeholders as to what further clarification, or guidance, if any, is needed. We plan to do this starting with a series of roundtable events this spring.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government has plans to take steps to encourage more veterans to work in the defence and aerospace industries.

Veterans who need support from the department in finding employment are able to get support from their Work Coach. For those who might need extra specialist support, we have a network of Armed Forces Champions spread throughout the Jobcentre Plus network.

The Armed Forces Champions have specific responsibilities for supporting members of the Armed Forces community, including building staff capability within their districts, personally handling some claims, supporting veterans into work and helping resolve complex cases where necessary. Every Work Coach is trained on how to provide tailored and personalised support to members of the Armed Forces community and their families, working in partnership with their Armed Forces Champions.

Veterans have early voluntary entry to the Work and Health Programme. Other employment support may be available to veterans depending on their circumstances, including specialist local support provided by the third sector which the department may be able to refer them to. Veterans generally enjoy successful employment outcomes when they leave the services, and the Career Transition Partnership has published annual statistics on those they have supported.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department has undertaken an equality impact assessment on the potential effects of (a) reducing and (b) ending the Household Support Fund in March 2024.

The Government continues to keep all its existing programmes under review in the usual way. Equality analysis was considered as part of the decision to implement the current Household Support Fund, which runs from April 2023 until the end of March 2024.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions he has with (a) the Local Government Association and (b) leaders of local authorities on the potential merits of extending the Household Support Fund beyond March 2024.

The Government continues to keep all its existing programmes under review in the usual way. Equality analysis was considered as part of the decision to implement the current Household Support Fund, which runs from April 2023 until the end of March 2024.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to expand the support available through Jobcentres in Bournemouth East constituency.

The local Jobcentre team are collaborating with a range of partners to support people into work and employers fill vacancies. In addition to hosting Jobs Fairs and delivering Sector-Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPS), they are working with Bournemouth and Poole College, BCP Council, Citizens Advice, Faithworks, Seetec Pluss, Aspire Training, Skills & Learning, International Care Network, Parks in Mind, the Boscombe Towns Fund and a plethora of other partners and organisations. We have SWAPs that are either active or planned in Facilities Management, Hospitality, IT and Communications, Education, Construction, Security, Manufacturing, Administration and the Civil Service through a range of local providers.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to fill job vacancies in Bournemouth East constituency.

In Bournemouth East, and across the country, our Jobcentre teams are supporting people back into work and helping those in work to progress. We are working with local and national employers to help fill vacancies quickly, delivering Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPS), recruitment days and Job Fairs.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans he has to quality assure average times taken to make decisions on Access to Work assessments to National Statistics publication standard.

Access to Work Official Statistics are published annually and show the number of people who had Access to Work provision approved, number of people who received at least one Access to Work payment and Access to Work expenditure.

However, the publication does not include average time taken to make decisions as the data on this is not of sufficient quality to meet the standard requirement for an Official Statistics publication. There are currently no plans to quality assure the data to an Official Statistics publication standard.

DWP Official Statistics are produced and published in line with the 3 pillars of the Code of Practice for Statistics which are built around three main concepts, or pillars:

  • Trustworthiness – is about having confidence in the people and organisations that publish statistics
  • Quality – is about using data and methods that produce assured statistics
  • Value – is about publishing statistics that support society’s needs for information
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to help improve workplace safety on farms.

The safety and health of people at work in agriculture is a concern to the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) and the industry. HSE has a long-term strategy to drive up industry ownership of the challenge and influence farmer behaviour. Since 2018 we have had an annual programme of delivering training to farmers in advance of targeted proactive inspection. This sits alongside specific interventions on transport, cattle, and falls: the three main areas responsible for farm workplace deaths. HSE continues engagement activity with a full range of stakeholders through the Farm Safety Partnerships. The latest work has covered child safety, management of cattle in fields with public rights of way, safe use of quad bikes and farm transport. HSE regularly holds formal consultation with the industry about its initiatives through an industry advisory committee.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions during the debate on Defined-Benefit Pension Schemes of 17 January 2024 Official Report, column 329WH, whether the Minister has had discussions with the Pensions Regulator.

I know this is an important issue for many people and I am intending to meet with the Pensions Regulator when diaries allow. This will help me to look at the situation, try to understand what has happened and take a view on whether the arrangements currently in place are working as intended.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether all (a) buildings and (b) workplaces staff from their Department occupy have a suitable and sufficient risk assessment under Section 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

The Department for Work and Pensions has suitable and sufficient risk assessments in place across the Department in accordance with Section 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

There is a suite of generic risk assessments, which include building and people related hazards, used to manage and mitigate people safety risks across the Department. Where hazards are identified for a certain process or procedure not captured within the generic documents, these are included via specific risk assessments.

Suitable and sufficient risk assessments relating to the DWPs estate are completed whenever significant hazards are identified or where risk assessment is required by statute.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many families in Northern Ireland will receive the cost of living payment as a result of being in receipt of low-income benefits in February 2024.

Social Security is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government how many English local authorities do not run a local welfare assistance scheme, and what assessment they have made of the impact on low-income residents in these local authority areas if the household support fund is not extended beyond this April.

Local Authorities in England have the flexibility and power to use the funding they receive from the annual Local Government Finance Settlement. We do not have robust data on the number of Local Authorities providing a local welfare scheme.

The Government is putting significant additional support in place for those on the lowest incomes from April. Subject to Parliamentary approval, working age benefits will rise by 6.7% while the Basic and New State Pensions will be uprated by 8.5% in line with earnings, as part of the ‘triple lock”.

To further support low-income households with increasing rent costs, the government will raise Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents, benefitting 1.6m low-income households by on average £800 a year in 24/25. Additionally, the Government will increase the National Living Wage for workers aged 21 years and over by 9.8% to £11.44 representing an increase of over £1,800 to the gross annual earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage.

The current Household Support Fund runs until the end of March 2024, and the government continues to keep all its existing programmes under review in the usual way.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to tackle disproportionate levels of unemployment of (a) women, (b) disabled people and (c) Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people.

The Department for Work and Pension’s Jobcentre offer provides a range of options to those seeking employment, including face-to-face time with work coaches and interview assistance. In addition, there is specific support targeted towards young people, people aged 50 plus, ethnic minorities and disabled people and people with health conditions. There is also support for those with childcare costs through Universal Credit. The DWP Jobhelp pages [https://jobhelp.campaign.gov.uk/] provide fuller information of the help and support available. DWP also works in partnership with others, including working with the Department of Health and Social Care to provide support embedded within health systems, for example, Employment Advice in NHS Talking Therapies.

Due to rising levels of inactivity due to long-term sickness, a new package of support, building upon existing provision and the £2 billion investment announced at the Spring Budget 2023, was announced in Autumn Statement 2023. This includes:

  • Doubling the number of places on the Universal Support employment programme, to provide support for 100,000 people per year when fully rolled out;
  • Formally launching WorkWell, which will bring together the NHS, local authorities and other partners, in collaboration with jobcentres, to provide light touch work and health support in approximately 15 pilot areas;
  • Building on the extension of the certification of the fit notes to a wider range of healthcare professions, exploring new ways of providing individuals receiving a fit note with timely access to work and health support; and
  • Establishing an expert group to support the development of the voluntary national baseline for Occupational Health provision.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to support young disabled people into employment.

Access to Work is a demand-led discretionary grant which supports the recruitment and retention of eligible disabled people aged 16 and over in sustainable, paid employment. Access to Work plays an active role in supporting the transitions of young disabled people into employment, by providing funding for in work support including vocational programmes such as Supported Internships, Traineeships and Apprenticeships.

To help raise awareness of support available when young disabled people move into employment, identify adjustments and reduce the need for multiple assessments, a series of passports and planners have been developed, with the Adjustments Planner focusing on transitions from education to employment.

The Adjustments Planner provides students with a transferable record of their adjustments, support, and work requirements and can help the student settle into college/university life. It can also offer support beyond education by smoothing the transition into employment - reducing the burden when applying for Access to Work, enabling support to be put in place quickly and removing the need for the student to repeat personal details.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to help people with complex disabilities find suitable employment opportunities.

The Government has a wide range of initiatives to support disabled people and people with health conditions, including people with complex disabilities, to start, stay and succeed in work. These include:

  • The Work and Health Programme providing tailored and personalised support for disabled people;
  • Access to Work grants helping towards extra costs of working beyond standard reasonable adjustments;
  • Disability Confident encouraging employers to think differently about disability and health, and to take positive action to address the issues disabled employees face in the workplace;
  • A digital information service for employers providing better integrated and tailored guidance on supporting health and disability in the workplace;
  • Increasing access to occupational health, including the testing of financial incentives for small and medium-sized enterprises and the self-employed;
  • Increased Work Coach support in Jobcentres for disabled people and people with health conditions to help them move towards and in to work;
  • Disability Employment Advisers in Jobcentres offering advice and expertise on how to help disabled people and people with health conditions into work;
  • Introducing Employment Advisors to Musculoskeletal Conditions (MSK) services in England, helping individuals with MSK conditions to return to or remain in employment.
  • Work in partnership between the DWP and health systems, including Employment Advice in NHS Talking Therapies, and the Individual Placement and Support in Primary Care (IPSPC) programme, a Supported Employment model (place, train and maintain) delivered in health settings, aimed at people with physical or common mental health disabilities to support them to access paid jobs in the open labour market.

Building on existing provision and the £2 billion investment announced at the Spring Budget 2023, we announced a new package of support in Autumn Statement 2023. This includes:

  • Doubling the number of places on the Universal Support employment programme, to provide support for 100,000 people per year when fully rolled out;
  • Formally launching WorkWell, which will bring together the NHS, local authorities and other partners, in collaboration with jobcentres, to provide light touch work and health support in approximately 15 pilot areas;
  • Building on the extension of the certification of the fit notes to a wider range of healthcare professions, exploring new ways of providing individuals receiving a fit note with timely access to work and health support; and
  • Establishing an expert group to support the development of the voluntary national baseline for Occupational Health provision.
Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing discretionary housing payments to help reduce homelessness.

Current rental data and the broader fiscal context were considerations in the Secretary of State’s review of Local Housing Allowance rates last Autumn.

As announced in the Autumn Statement (AS) from April 2024 the Government is investing £7bn over five years to increase Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents in 2024/25. This is in addition to the around £30bn spent annually on housing support. Taken together with the wider benefits uprating, this will improve housing affordability for low-income households on benefits renting in the private sector, helping them afford their rent and reducing the risk of rent arrears and homelessness.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) can be paid to those entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs This is not restricted to those who meet the statutory definition of being at risk or homeless, which allows DHPs to be used to stabilise tenancies and thus preventing the need to access to homelessness services.

We’re providing £300m for DHPs between 2022-25. In addition to the central government contribution, English and Welsh local authorities can top up DHP funding up to a maximum of two and a half times this figure using their own funds.

In addition, there has been an investment of over £1bn in DLUHC’s Homelessness Prevention Grant (HPG) over three years, including a £109m top-up this year (2023-24). There has also been funding of £120m to help councils address Ukraine and homelessness pressures in 2024/25, including funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department plans to use the proposed powers under the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill to monitor the bank accounts of (a) people suspected of fraud and (b) all people who claim means-tested benefits.

The powers sought under the Bill would not give DWP direct access to citizen’s bank accounts.

What this power will do is require designated third parties to look within their own data and provide relevant information to DWP that may signal where some claimants may not meet the eligibility criteria for the benefit they are receiving. This data may signal fraud or error and require a further review by DWP (through business-as-usual processes) to determine whether incorrect payments are being made. The power covers all DWP benefits and payments, including those that are means tested or have residency requirements, but it will initially be focussed on benefits where there is a significant fraud challenge. No personal information will be shared by DWP and only the minimum amount of information on those in receipt of DWP payments will be provided to the Department so we can identify those people whose claims have matched the criteria we have set.

With fraud becoming a growing problem, accounting for over 40% of all crime, the welfare system is not immune to this. It is vital that the Government takes measures to address this issue and ensure the right support is provided to the right people.

We expect this measure to save up to £600m in the next five years.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many jobcentre clients have been assisted by an Armed Forces Champion in South Holland and the Deepings constituency in the last five years.

Since January 2023, 15 members of the local Armed Forces community have been supported in the South Holland and Deepings area.

The Armed Forces Champions have specific responsibilities for supporting members of the Armed Forces community, including building staff capability within their districts, personally handling some claims, supporting veterans into work and helping resolve complex cases where necessary.

Every Work Coach is trained on how to provide tailored and personalised support to members of the Armed Forces community and their families, working in partnership with their Armed Forces Champions. In those areas where there are particularly high levels of demand, for example garrison towns, this will form a significant part of the work done in individual Jobcentres.

Please note that the data supplied is derived from unpublished management information, which was collected for internal departmental use only, and has not been quality assured to National Statistics or Official Statistics publication standard.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the accessibility to local playgrounds for children with special educational needs and disabilities.

The department published the Disability Action Plan on 5 February 2024 which includes measures looking at the accessibility of playgrounds.

A large amount of guidance about how to improve playground accessibility is already available, but practitioners are not always able to locate this advice. The Disability Unit will create an online hub of information for local authorities on creating accessible playgrounds with a new families disabled people’s experience panel helping to support the hub’s development.

This is a national-level approach that should support improvements across many local authorities. We will continue to monitor this area, as well as working with partners to explore the potential for new or updated guidance.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of availability of adjustments available to dyslexic users of job centres.

Our Work Coaches engage with customers to understand individual needs to ensure they receive communications in an accessible format. For customers with dyslexia, this can include communication on non-white paper, in audio or by email.

Information about our services is accessed through GOV.UK whose standards meeting the WCA 2.0 standard allowing customers using assistance software to access our pages.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Cities Outlook 2024, published on 22 January 2024 by the Centre for Cities, what steps his Department is taking to reduce child poverty in Birmingham.

The Government is committed to reducing poverty, including child poverty, and supporting low-income families. We will spend around £276bn through the welfare system in Great Britain in 2023/24 including around £124bn on people of working age and children.

Working age benefits will increase by 6.7% from April 2024, subject to Parliamentary approval, following a 10.1% increase in 2023/24. To further support low-income households, we are also raising the Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents in April 2024, benefiting 1.6 million low-income households.

With over 900,000 vacancies across the UK, our focus remains firmly on supporting parents to move into and progress in work. This approach is based on clear evidence about the importance of parental employment - particularly where it is full-time - in substantially reducing the risk of child poverty. The latest statistics show that children living in workless households were around 5 times more likely to be in absolute poverty after housing costs than those where all adults work.

To further support parents into work, we increased the Universal Credit childcare costs cap to £951 a month for one child and £1630 a month for two or more children in June 2023. We will also increase the National Living Wage by 9.8% to £11.44 for workers aged 21 years and over from this April - an annual increase in gross earnings of over £1800 for someone working full-time on the National Living Wage.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Universal Credit claims were closed because a claimant failed to accept a claimant commitment that included (a) no work-related, (b) only work preparation and (c) work-focused interview requirements in 2020.

In 2023, 21,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 2,400 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 1,200 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

In 2022, 25,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 2,600 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 1,500 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

In 2021, 17,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 1,200 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 1,400 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

In 2020, 12,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 730 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 810 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

Note: for couple claims, both claimants must accept their claimant commitment, or the claim will close due to a claimant commitment not being accepted. This means that for some claimants with each work group requirement above, they accepted their claimant commitment, but the other claimant did not.

Legislation sets out the types of requirements that can be applied to claimants depending on the labour market regime/legal conditionality group that applies to them. The requirements any claimant is asked to meet will be clearly set out in their Claimant Commitment.

All claimants regardless of their conditionality group, including those in the ‘No Work-Related Requirements’ regime, must accept a Claimant Commitment as a condition of entitlement. Claimants must accept the commitment within 7 days and failure to do this will result in claim termination.

In exceptional circumstances where a claimant is unable to accept a Claimant Commitment we can remove the requirement to do so. This may include, for example, claimants who have an appointee or someone acting on their behalf, claimants who are incapacitated in hospital and exceptional emergency situations.

Claimants who are in the ‘No Work-Related Requirements’ group are not subject to conditionality. This group includes claimants who are too sick to work, over State Pension Age, have defined caring responsibilities or are earning over their conditionality earnings threshold.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Universal Credit claims were closed because a claimant failed to accept a claimant commitment that included (a) no work-related, (b) only work preparation and (c) work-focused interview requirements in 2021.

In 2023, 21,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 2,400 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 1,200 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

In 2022, 25,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 2,600 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 1,500 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

In 2021, 17,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 1,200 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 1,400 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

In 2020, 12,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 730 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 810 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

Note: for couple claims, both claimants must accept their claimant commitment, or the claim will close due to a claimant commitment not being accepted. This means that for some claimants with each work group requirement above, they accepted their claimant commitment, but the other claimant did not.

Legislation sets out the types of requirements that can be applied to claimants depending on the labour market regime/legal conditionality group that applies to them. The requirements any claimant is asked to meet will be clearly set out in their Claimant Commitment.

All claimants regardless of their conditionality group, including those in the ‘No Work-Related Requirements’ regime, must accept a Claimant Commitment as a condition of entitlement. Claimants must accept the commitment within 7 days and failure to do this will result in claim termination.

In exceptional circumstances where a claimant is unable to accept a Claimant Commitment we can remove the requirement to do so. This may include, for example, claimants who have an appointee or someone acting on their behalf, claimants who are incapacitated in hospital and exceptional emergency situations.

Claimants who are in the ‘No Work-Related Requirements’ group are not subject to conditionality. This group includes claimants who are too sick to work, over State Pension Age, have defined caring responsibilities or are earning over their conditionality earnings threshold.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Universal Credit claims were closed because a claimant failed to accept a claimant commitment that included (a) no work-related, (b) only work preparation and (c) work-focused interview requirements in 2022.

In 2023, 21,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 2,400 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 1,200 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

In 2022, 25,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 2,600 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 1,500 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

In 2021, 17,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 1,200 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 1,400 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

In 2020, 12,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 730 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 810 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

Note: for couple claims, both claimants must accept their claimant commitment, or the claim will close due to a claimant commitment not being accepted. This means that for some claimants with each work group requirement above, they accepted their claimant commitment, but the other claimant did not.

Legislation sets out the types of requirements that can be applied to claimants depending on the labour market regime/legal conditionality group that applies to them. The requirements any claimant is asked to meet will be clearly set out in their Claimant Commitment.

All claimants regardless of their conditionality group, including those in the ‘No Work-Related Requirements’ regime, must accept a Claimant Commitment as a condition of entitlement. Claimants must accept the commitment within 7 days and failure to do this will result in claim termination.

In exceptional circumstances where a claimant is unable to accept a Claimant Commitment we can remove the requirement to do so. This may include, for example, claimants who have an appointee or someone acting on their behalf, claimants who are incapacitated in hospital and exceptional emergency situations.

Claimants who are in the ‘No Work-Related Requirements’ group are not subject to conditionality. This group includes claimants who are too sick to work, over State Pension Age, have defined caring responsibilities or are earning over their conditionality earnings threshold.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Universal Credit claims were closed because a claimant failed to accept a claimant commitment that included (a) no work-related, (b) only work preparation and (c) work-focused interview requirements in 2023.

In 2023, 21,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 2,400 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 1,200 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

In 2022, 25,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 2,600 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 1,500 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

In 2021, 17,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 1,200 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 1,400 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

In 2020, 12,000 claimants with a claimant commitment with 'No work-related requirements', 730 with 'Work preparation' requirements, and 810 with 'Work-focussed interview' requirements were part of a UC claim that closed because a claimant commitment was not accepted.

Note: for couple claims, both claimants must accept their claimant commitment, or the claim will close due to a claimant commitment not being accepted. This means that for some claimants with each work group requirement above, they accepted their claimant commitment, but the other claimant did not.

Legislation sets out the types of requirements that can be applied to claimants depending on the labour market regime/legal conditionality group that applies to them. The requirements any claimant is asked to meet will be clearly set out in their Claimant Commitment.

All claimants regardless of their conditionality group, including those in the ‘No Work-Related Requirements’ regime, must accept a Claimant Commitment as a condition of entitlement. Claimants must accept the commitment within 7 days and failure to do this will result in claim termination.

In exceptional circumstances where a claimant is unable to accept a Claimant Commitment we can remove the requirement to do so. This may include, for example, claimants who have an appointee or someone acting on their behalf, claimants who are incapacitated in hospital and exceptional emergency situations.

Claimants who are in the ‘No Work-Related Requirements’ group are not subject to conditionality. This group includes claimants who are too sick to work, over State Pension Age, have defined caring responsibilities or are earning over their conditionality earnings threshold.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information her Department holds on the median (a) difference between the cost of rent and the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in households where rent exceeds the LHA and (b) deduction of universal credit claims due to (i) universal credit advances, (ii) universal credit overpayments, (iii) tax credit overpayments and (iv) other reasons for people in the private rented sector for whom the LHA does not fully cover their rent.

Government spends around £30bn annually on housing support. In addition, Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates will be increased from April 2024 to the 30th percentile of local market rents. This will mean 1.6 million private renters in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (UC) will gain on average around £800 a year in additional help towards their rental costs in 2024-25. This is at a cost of £7bn over five years.

The Secretary of State has committed to review LHA rates annually. That review includes consideration of current rents, as well as the broader fiscal context. LHA rates are not intended to meet all rents in all areas: instead, it ensures that claimants in similar circumstances and area are treated the same.

For those who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs and require additional support Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available from local authorities. Since 2011 the Government has provided nearly £1.7 billion to local authorities for households who need additional support with their housing costs.

The requested information is provided below

Table 1: Median deduction amount for households where Local Housing Allowance does not cover rent in August 2023.

Deduction type

Median deduction amount for the selected deduction type

Advance Repayments

£43

DWP non-fraud overpayments

£49

Tax Credit overpayments

£42

Other (Not in the above)

£25

Table 2: Number of households where Local Housing Allowance does not cover rent in August 2023.

Deduction type

Number of Households

Advance Repayments

270,000

DWP non-fraud overpayments

140,000

Tax Credit overpayments

90,000

Households with any combination of: advance repayments, DWP non-fraud overpayments or tax credit overpayments

380,000

I refer the member to the answer provided on 31 January 2024, that shows the median difference between the cost of rent and the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in households where rent exceeds the LHA, available here: Written questions and answers - Written questions, answers and statements - UK Parliament

Notes:

1. Household numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10,000 and deduction amounts have been rounded to the nearest £1.

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

3. "Advances" include all four UC advance types: New Claim, Benefit Transfer, Budgeting and Change of Circumstances.

4. The tables include the number of distinct Universal Credit households subject to a deduction in August 2023.

5. Households could have more than one deduction type so adding claims by deduction type may not sum to the total.

6. The 'other' category in table 1 includes households with a deduction, where the deduction type is not the following: universal credit advances, DWP non-fraud overpayments, tax credit overpayments. The median given is of the sum of all 'other' deductions for each household.

7. It is not possible to separate UC overpayments from other DWP non-fraud overpayments.

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

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims for which the local housing allowance did not cover rent were subject to deductions for (a) universal credit advances, (b) universal credit overpayments, (c) tax credit overpayments and (d) any combination thereof.

Government spends around £30bn annually on housing support. In addition, Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates will be increased from April 2024 to the 30th percentile of local market rents. This will mean 1.6 million private renters in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (UC) will gain on average around £800 a year in additional help towards their rental costs in 2024-25. This is at a cost of £7bn over five years.

The Secretary of State has committed to review LHA rates annually. That review includes consideration of current rents, as well as the broader fiscal context. LHA rates are not intended to meet all rents in all areas: instead, it ensures that claimants in similar circumstances and area are treated the same.

For those who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs and require additional support Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available from local authorities. Since 2011 the Government has provided nearly £1.7 billion to local authorities for households who need additional support with their housing costs.

The requested information is provided below

Table 1: Median deduction amount for households where Local Housing Allowance does not cover rent in August 2023.

Deduction type

Median deduction amount for the selected deduction type

Advance Repayments

£43

DWP non-fraud overpayments

£49

Tax Credit overpayments

£42

Other (Not in the above)

£25

Table 2: Number of households where Local Housing Allowance does not cover rent in August 2023.

Deduction type

Number of Households

Advance Repayments

270,000

DWP non-fraud overpayments

140,000

Tax Credit overpayments

90,000

Households with any combination of: advance repayments, DWP non-fraud overpayments or tax credit overpayments

380,000

I refer the member to the answer provided on 31 January 2024, that shows the median difference between the cost of rent and the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in households where rent exceeds the LHA, available here: Written questions and answers - Written questions, answers and statements - UK Parliament

Notes:

1. Household numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10,000 and deduction amounts have been rounded to the nearest £1.

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

3. "Advances" include all four UC advance types: New Claim, Benefit Transfer, Budgeting and Change of Circumstances.

4. The tables include the number of distinct Universal Credit households subject to a deduction in August 2023.

5. Households could have more than one deduction type so adding claims by deduction type may not sum to the total.

6. The 'other' category in table 1 includes households with a deduction, where the deduction type is not the following: universal credit advances, DWP non-fraud overpayments, tax credit overpayments. The median given is of the sum of all 'other' deductions for each household.

7. It is not possible to separate UC overpayments from other DWP non-fraud overpayments.

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

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the need for a funded strategy for local crisis support in England to ensure that councils can respond effectively to the needs of low-income households.

Councils continue to have the flexibility to use funding from the Local Government Finance Settlement to provide local welfare assistance.

Over £2bn in support has to date been allocated to Local Authorities in England via the Household Support Fund to support those most in need.

The Government is putting significant additional support in place for those on the lowest incomes from April. Subject to Parliamentary approval, working age benefits will rise by 6.7% while the Basic and New State Pensions will be uprated by 8.5% in line with earnings, as part of the ‘triple lock”.

To further support low-income households with increasing rent costs, the government will raise Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents, benefitting 1.6m low-income households by on average £800 a year in 24/25. Additionally, the Government will increase the National Living Wage for workers aged 21 years and over by 9.8% to £11.44 representing an increase of over £1,800 to the gross annual earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Local Government Association and (b) local authorities on the merits of the Household Support Fund.

The current Household Support Fund runs from April 2023 until the end of March 2024, and the Government continues to keep all its existing programmes under review in the usual way.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support is available if a claimant cannot attend a Job Centre appointment due to a disability.

Where a claimant on a work-related benefit has a health condition, illness or a disability, Work Coaches have the discretion to tailor requirements to what is reasonable and achievable, taking into account the claimant’s needs, circumstances and capability. Where appropriate, Work Coaches have the discretion to adjust how often the claimant meets with them and how these meetings take place, including face to face appointments in the Jobcentre, telephone appointments, video conference, or digital appointments for Universal Credit claimants. In some circumstances a claimant’s work-related requirements maybe be lifted for a period if their ability to carry them out is disrupted due to their personal circumstances.

If a claimant is deemed to be vulnerable or needs additional support when making an application for benefit, the DWP Visiting Team can meet with them at their home or another location to support with their claim.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps is he is taking to support job seekers in rural areas.

In Lincolnshire, and across the country, our Jobcentre teams are supporting people back into work and helping those in work to progress. We have a comprehensive range of support in place and are working with local and national employers to help fill vacancies quickly, delivering sector-based work academy programmes (SWAPs), recruitment days, job fairs, and work trials. Jobcentres have the flexibility to work alongside national and local organisations to help meet the needs of their communities, including in rural areas.

In Lincolnshire, the department worked with the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership on provision to assist with a shortage of drivers in the logistics sectors, with training delivered through Boston, Stamford, and Lincoln colleges with good levels of take up.

Adequate transport links can be a major factor that affects employment, and claimants are made aware of the bus fare cap operating throughout Lincolnshire and the East Midlands, operated by local bus companies.

DWP works closely with Boston College that provides outreach services in Spalding, as well as bus transport to facilitate access to their services from rural areas. Boston College also delivers their digital course within Spalding Jobcentre, for those unable to travel into Boston. Where access is still difficult, we have engaged with other providers to deliver virtual programmes, for example NetUK and Steadfast. We have also worked with Lincolnshire County Council for delivery of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) provision to be delivered in the Spalding Jobcentre.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what percentage of decisions relating to benefits overpayments or benefit recovery made by the Department of Work and Pensions are the result of algorithmic decision-making or another automated process.

As set out in the Annual Report and Accounts 2022-23 for the year ended 31 March 2023 (publishing.service.gov.uk) (P103), DWP does not use automation to replace human judgement when investigating fraud and error to either determine or deny a payment to a claimant. A final decision in these circumstances always involves a human agent.

The Department uses algorithms and automated decision making in some services and processes, which allow us to improve accuracy, speed up delivery and free up colleagues’ time so they can support the people who need it most.

DWP’s Personal Information Charter explains how and why we use personal information and citizen’s rights and responsibilities

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on low-income households of not renewing the Household Support Fund.

The current Household Support Fund runs from April 2023 until the end of March 2024, and the Government continues to keep all its existing programmes under review in the usual way.

The Government is putting significant additional support in place for those on the lowest incomes from April. Subject to Parliamentary approval, working age benefits will rise by 6.7% while the Basic and New State Pensions will be uprated by 8.5% in line with earnings, as part of the ‘triple lock'.

To further support low-income households with increasing rent costs, the government will raise Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents, benefitting 1.6m low-income households by on average £800 a year in 24/25. Additionally, the Government will increase the National Living Wage for workers aged 21 years and over by 9.8% to £11.44 representing an increase of over £1,800 to the gross annual earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will meet the charities, including the Trussell Trust, Barnardo’s, and the Children’s Society, who are worried about how the closure of the Household Support Fund will affect the families that they support.

The current Household Support Fund runs from April 2023 until the end of March 2024, and the Government continues to keep all its existing programmes under review in the usual way.

The Government is putting significant additional support in place for those on the lowest incomes from April. Subject to Parliamentary approval, working age benefits will rise by 6.7% while the Basic and New State Pensions will be uprated by 8.5% in line with earnings, as part of the ‘triple lock'.

To further support low-income households with increasing rent costs, the government will raise Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents, benefitting 1.6m low-income households by on average £800 a year in 24/25. Additionally, the Government will increase the National Living Wage for workers aged 21 years and over by 9.8% to £11.44 representing an increase of over £1,800 to the gross annual earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
31st Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the closure of the Household Support Fund on local crisis support.

The current Household Support Fund runs from April 2023 until the end of March 2024, and the Government continues to keep all its existing programmes under review in the usual way.

The Government is putting significant additional support in place for those on the lowest incomes from April. Subject to Parliamentary approval, working age benefits will rise by 6.7% while the Basic and New State Pensions will be uprated by 8.5% in line with earnings, as part of the ‘triple lock'.

To further support low-income households with increasing rent costs, the government will raise Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents, benefitting 1.6m low-income households by on average £800 a year in 24/25. Additionally, the Government will increase the National Living Wage for workers aged 21 years and over by 9.8% to £11.44 representing an increase of over £1,800 to the gross annual earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government whether the needs of men who are incontinent, but not classified as disabled as defined under the Equality Act 2010, are recognised and provided for with appropriate facilities to dispose of sanitary pads under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, and the Approved Code of Practice; and when they plan to next review the Approved Code of Practice.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are reviewing the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and guidance of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 regarding provision of disposal facilities in workplace toilets only, to ensure they meet the needs of both men and women. There will be a public consultation on any changes in summer 2024 and the updated ACOP and guidance will be published in spring 2025.

HSE is the workplace regulator, therefore the legislation and guidance will only apply to toilets for use by workers in workplaces, made available to them as a place of work.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on how many occasions Ministers from his Department have attended the Universal Credit Programme Board in each year since 1 January 2018.

In line with best practice in Government Projects, Ministers are not normally members of Project Boards for projects in the GMPP. This is because under the Ministerial Code, SROs have direct accountability for the delivery of their projects progress to Parliament. The Minister for Welfare Delivery attended the UC Programme Board once in 2020 and twice in 2021.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will publish details of (a) external bodies and (b) other Government departments that are members of the Universal Credit Programme Board.

Membership as of February 2024 include HMRC, HMT, Department for Communities Northern Ireland, Infrastructure & Projects Authority/Cabinet Office, Reigate & Banstead District Council (representing Local Authorities).

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)