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
Justin Tomlinson (CON - North Swindon)
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)
Will Quince (CON - Colchester)
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)
Scheduled Event
Monday 6th September 2021
Department for Work and Pensions
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
Occupational Pension Schemes (Administration, Investment, Charges and Governance) (Amendment) Regulations 2021
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Scheduled Event
Monday 6th September 2021
Department for Work and Pensions
Orders and regulations - Grand Committee
Pensions Regulator (Employer Resources Test) Regulations 2021
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Scheduled Event
Tuesday 7th September 2021
09:25
Department for Work and Pensions
Second Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
7 Sep 2021, 9:25 a.m.
The draft Occupational Pension Schemes (Administration, Investment, Charges and Governance) (Amendment) Regulations 2021
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Scheduled Event
Monday 13th September 2021
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
13 Sep 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (including Topical Questions)
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Debates
Wednesday 21st July 2021
Select Committee Docs
Friday 30th July 2021
00:00
Select Committee Inquiry
Thursday 29th April 2021
Pension stewardship and COP26

Pension stewardship and COP26

The UK will host the 26 UN Climate Council Conference of Parties COP26 in Glasgow between …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th July 2021
Social Security Benefits: Disability
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Baroness Scott of Bybrook on 8 June (HL Deb, col …
Secondary Legislation
Monday 19th July 2021
Occupational Pension Schemes (Climate Change Governance and Reporting) (Miscellaneous Provisions and Amendments) Regulations 2021
These Regulations prescribe matters about which trustees of certain occupational pension schemes are required to have knowledge and understanding and …
Bills
Wednesday 23rd September 2020
Social Security (Up-rating of Benefits) Act 2020
A Bill To make provision relating to the up-rating of certain social security benefits.
Dept. Publications
Wednesday 28th July 2021
08:29

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
Jun. 28
Oral Questions
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 prescribe matters about which trustees of certain occupational pension schemes are required to have knowledge and understanding and make amendments to the Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2013 (S.I. 2013/2734) (“the Disclosure Regulations 2013”) in consequence of section 124 of the Pension Schemes Act 2021 (c. 1) and new climate change governance and reporting requirements introduced by the Occupational Pension Schemes (Climate Change Governance and Reporting) Regulations 2021 (S.I. 2021/839) (“the Climate Change Governance and Reporting Regulations 2021”).
These Regulations are made in exercise of the powers conferred by section 8(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (c. 16) in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies (in particular under paragraphs (a), (c), (d), (e) and (g) of section 8(2)) which apply to this instrument arising from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
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).

Trending Petitions
Department for Work and Pensions has not participated in any petition debates
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

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

21st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Baroness Scott of Bybrook on 8 June (HL Deb, col 1312), what assessment they have made of the report by Z2K #PeopleBeforeProcess, published on 25 May; and what steps they plan to take as a result.

The Government acknowledges the report by Z2K published in May 2021 and will consider its findings as part of our consultation on the Health & Disability Green Paper, published on 20 July. The Green Paper explores how the benefits system can better meet people’s needs now and in the future by improving people’s experience of our services, enabling independent living and improving employment outcomes.

The Government is committed to improving the lives of disabled people and yesterday published the National Disability Strategy. The strategy takes into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people and focuses on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the rate of statutory sick pay in the UK of £95.85 per week is lower than the average of other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development; and when they plan they address this issue.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. It is paid by employers at £96.35 per week for up to 28 weeks in any one period of entitlement. Employers are legally required to pay SSP to eligible employees who are off work sick or incapable of work, where employees meet the qualifying conditions. Some employers may also decide to pay more, and for longer, through Occupational Sick Pay.

The costs of SSP are met in full by employers. It is therefore important to strike a balance between ensuring employees receive financial support when they are sick or incapable of work with the costs to employers of providing such support.

SSP is just one part of our welfare safety net and our wider government offer to support people in times of need. Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support, they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on their personal circumstances.

The government has previously consulted on reform to SSP, and as we learn to live with a new virus there is space to take a broader look at the role of SSP. The government maintains that SSP provides an important link between the employee and employer but that now is not the right time to introduce changes to the sick pay system.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the level of the basic state pension paid in the UK; and what assessment they have made of how this compares with the levels of state pensions in EU member states.

The full rate of the basic State Pension for people who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 is £137.60 per week. These individuals may also have some earnings-related additional State Pension, occupational or private pension income (enabled by the UK National Insurance system). For people reaching State Pension age from 6 April 2016 onwards, the full rate of the new State Pension is £179.60 per week: the amount an individual receives depends on their individual National Insurance record.

Meaningful comparisons between pension schemes in different countries are very difficult to make as there are many factors to take into account. This includes differences in; tax systems, healthcare systems, pension ages, cost of living, access to occupational pensions and the availability of other social security benefits, as well as the provision of services and goods free to pensioners or at concessionary rates.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Baroness Penn on 19 July (HL Deb col 4), how many retired pensioners have been issued with pre-payment cards.

The Department of Work and Pensions does not offer pre-paid cards. The main method of paying customers is into a standard bank, building society or credit union account. However, there are exceptions in limited circumstances.

The Department currently provides two Payment Exception Services which allow customers access to their payments. These are Her Majesty’s Government Payment Exception Service (HMG PES) and the Post Office Card account.

The Payment Exception Service is aimed at those customers who are unbanked and are either unable to open or use a bank account. It is designed for access to cash only. The contract expires 30 September 2021, but a similar procured new Payment Exception Service will replace HMG PES.

The Post Office Card Account is a basic deposit service for benefits and pensions, delivered by Post Office Limited on behalf of the Department. This service is due to end and customers will either convert to a standard bank, building society or credit union account. Those customers who are unable to open or use an account will be migrated to the new Payment Exception Service on a staged basis from August 2021.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to produce guidance for employers, to accompany the lifting of COVID-19 related restrictions on 19 July, about the health and safety of employees who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed and therefore not protected by the COVID-19 vaccine.

Throughout the pandemic, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has encouraged businesses to manage risks in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in workplaces through the provision of detailed guidance. HSE published updated guidance on 19 July - Keeping workplaces safe as coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are removed (which can be found at https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/roadmap-further-guidance.htm) - to reflect changes as a result of the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in England.

HSE does not consider vaccination of employees to be a workplace control. Businesses must control the risks and review and update their risk assessment to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 by providing adequate ventilation, regular cleaning and frequent handwashing. Businesses can also continue to reduce the risk of transmission during the pandemic by taking measures to limit the number of people their workers are in contact with, and UK government guidance on working safely (which can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19) provides further information and advice on these measures covering a range of different types of work.

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

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

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was paid in compensation to beneficiaries of Disability Living Allowance because of financial abuse by their appointees, for the latest year for which figures are available.

Where an allegation of financial abuse is confirmed, that is, that the DLA received by the appointee has not been used in the best interests of the claimant, the appointment is revoked. However, compensation is not paid.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in insecure work.

The Government is committed to supporting people from all backgrounds, including those from ethnic minorities, to move and stay in work. Our Plan for Jobs Programme protects, supports and creates jobs, targeting young people, the long term unemployed, and those in need of new training and skills.

As the economy improves, we will increasingly focus on progression to improve opportunities for those in low-paid work and support them towards financial independence. The In-Work Progression Commission published an independent Call for Action (see attached) to help people progress out of low pay on the 1 July. Government will consider the recommendations and respond later in the year.

We also continue to develop the evidence base for helping people progress their careers and raise their earnings. Building on the findings of our In-Work Progression Randomised Controlled Trial, published in 2018 we are conducting research and working across Government to support progression. We are also testing a work coach led support offer to develop new approaches to progression for Universal Credit claimants.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that jobseekers being supported through Department for Work and Pensions programmes have been referred to websites that advise them to state in job interviews that climate change may not exist; and what steps they plan to take as a result.

This was content provided by a third party supplier and was designed to help individuals understand that they can acknowledge different points of view when answering questions. The choice of “global warming” as an example subject was not appropriate and the content has been removed.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many jobs facilitated by the Kickstart Scheme have (1) been approved, (2) been advertised, and (3) started, in each region of Great Britain.

As of the 22nd July, 50,000 young people have started Kickstart jobs.

As of the 21st of July, over 155,000 jobs have been made available for young people to apply for through the Kickstart Scheme with over 263,000 jobs approved for funding by the Scheme.

Between 23/06/2021 and 22/07/2021 an average of almost 600 young people started a Kickstart job each working day.

We are currently unable to provide data on the number of approved jobs by location, as at that stage in the process we do not hold information about the exact location of a job, only the head office of the employer.

Below are tables listing the number of Kickstart jobs which have been made available and started by young people to date by geographical area of Great Britain and work sector. The figures used are correct as of the 21st July and these figures have been rounded according to departmental standards.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system, which has been developed quickly.

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Location

Jobs Made Available

Total Jobs Started

East Midlands

10,200

3,000

East of England

12,200

3,500

London

30,400

11,110

North East

6,000

2,400

North West

20,200

6,300

Scotland

11,200

4,400

South East

18,100

5,400

South West

11,600

3,400

Wales

8,900

2,600

West Midlands

14,400

4,400

Yorkshire and The Humber

11,900

3,700

*These numbers are rounded and so may not match provided totals. Figures provided include jobs created but not funded by the scheme.

Sector

Jobs Made Available

Total Jobs Started

Administration

38,800

12,900

Animal Care

700

400

Beauty & Wellbeing

1,100

400

Business & Finance

5,700

1,800

Computing, Technology & Digital

11,400

4,600

Construction & Trades

4,900

1,700

Creative & Media

11,800

5,100

Delivery & Storage

4,800

1,500

Emergency & Uniform Services

300

100

Engineering & Maintenance

5,400

1,500

Environment & Land

2,900

1,000

Government Services

600

100

Healthcare

4,600

1,200

Home Services

1,200

200

Hospitality & Food

15,400

3,600

Law & Legal

300

200

Managerial

1,000

300

Manufacturing

3,700

1,400

Retail & Sales

23,600

8,000

Science & Research

700

200

Social Care

3,900

800

Sports & Leisure

3,800

1,100

Teaching & Education

7,700

1,800

Transport

600

100

Travel & Tourism

500

200

* These numbers are rounded and so may not match provided totals. Figures provided include jobs created but not funded by the scheme.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to help supply workforce for sectors experiencing labour shortages, including (a) HGV driving, (b) hospitality, (c) tourism, (d) construction and (d) agriculture, as reported by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

The Department is continuing to work with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Transport, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Devolved Authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as other Government Departments to fill vacancies in haulage, hospitality, construction, agriculture, tourism and other sectors experiencing labour shortages. We are working collaboratively to offer training for those who need it and secure jobs directly for those ready to move into roles.

We have worked with key Trade Associations and industry partners across high demand sectors to develop relationships that utilise DWP’s Jobcentre Plus network, fosters strong local links between employers and work coaches, and gives jobseekers the skills and knowledge they need to enter the sector.

We are working with industry to provide our Work Coaches with the key knowledge they need to identify suitable candidates and to develop relationships with key employers and stakeholders in their local areas. As a result, local Jobcentres are now directly connecting with employers in their area, to discuss their recruitment needs and to offer advice on the support available, including work trials, work experience and sector based work academies.

Two websites, JobHelp and Employer Help, were launched last year by DWP in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. JobHelp offers job search advice, showcases recruiting sectors and signposts to job vacancies to help people successfully find work. DWP continues to work with industry and sector bodies to collaborate on content that promotes working in recruiting sectors, including the haulage sector for JobHelp,

In hospitality, DWP is working closely with key employers and trade associations such as UK Hospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association to promote opportunities in the hospitality sector to DWP customers

DWP is also helping jobseekers become HGV drivers to alleviate current shortages. DWP continues to work with DfT on additional measures to support the haulage and logistics sector and to support jobseekers into sustainable, long-term employment. For example, DWP’s driver training pilot is underway, as part of the wider Road to Logistics scheme that supports people to become HGV drivers and we encourage industry to access their local Jobcentre Plus network to take advantage of the range of support on offer.

To support agricultural recruitment, DWP is supporting Defra to develop and deliver a long-term recruitment strategy that supports the domestic workforce into both seasonal and long-term roles in the agriculture sector.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with the recruitment sector on (a) providing sufficient workforce for businesses and (b) tackling the increasing vacancy level.

The Department is continuing to work with a number of other Government Departments, Devolved Authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as sector and trade bodies to fill vacancies in sectors experiencing labour shortages, offering training for those who need it, and securing jobs directly for those ready to move into roles.

We regularly meet with stakeholders such as the Recruitment Employers Confederation (REC) and the Federation of Small Business (FSB) to discuss recruitment.

The Department’s National Employer and Partnership Team work collaboratively with a number of recruitment agencies across the UK, notably Manpower, Capita, Reed, Adecco and Staffline. Each of these accounts have a dedicated Senior National Account Manager to support them.

The National Employer and Partnership Team also work closely with the Recruitment Employers Confederation (REC) who are the Trade Body for the sector.

All of the recruitment agencies are employing people direct, and all are reporting high levels of vacancies, including permanent jobs. The National Employer and Partnership Team work closely with the agencies to promote their opportunities to the department’s growing network of Jobcentre Plus. Recent examples are Adecco recruiting for Amazon across the UK, who are placing opportunities with local jobcentres in a variety of locations. Capita are also recruiting for Go – Centric who have 1500 contact centre opportunities across the UK.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure fraudulent universal credit claims are (a) identified and (b) reported as soon as possible.

DWP takes fraud and error very seriously and it should be noted that, during a period when we have faced the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, fraud and error in the benefits system remains low, with 95% of benefits, worth more than £200bn. paid correctly in 2020/21.

We recognise that a small percentage of Universal Credit claims made during COVID-19 are in payment incorrectly and we are now re-visiting those cases which have the highest residual risk of incorrectness. Any overpayments will be pursued and where fraud is a factor, we will consider formal action.

We continue to invest in fraud and error prevention, with the Chancellor announcing £44m at the Spring Budget to support the expansion of both our Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service and our new Enhanced Checking Service and the development of Transaction Risking as a means of identifying high risk claims.

Our work with other Government departments and law enforcement agencies, both nationally and across borders, helps ensure appropriate intelligence and resources are shared,

enabling the totality of any criminality to be identified and investigated.

Our Annual Report and Accounts published on 15 July 2021 provides more information on what we are doing to prevent fraud from occurring: DWP annual report and accounts 2020 to 2021

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to make it easier for unemployed individuals to access clear labour market information on local green job opportunities.

The green recovery presents a significant opportunity for UK workers to benefit from increased employment opportunities in green sectors.

The Department for Work and Pensions stands ready to support people into green jobs as the sector grows through work coach interventions and targeted provision. We have recently recruited an additional 13,500 Work Coaches into our Jobcentres. The support they provide with skills and retraining advice for individuals is informed by knowledge of local employment opportunities and growing sectors, including green job opportunities. Our local leaders also engage directly with local employers, who are encouraged to deliver information sessions directly to work coaches and customers.

The Department’s Find A Job service also offers on line access to jobs advertised both nationally and locally, which again includes green/renewable jobs.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide regulations and guidance for workplaces on health and safety compliance measures.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the national regulator of health & safety legislation in Great Britain. The principal legislation is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, which is supported by a framework of Regulations covering specific topic areas e.g. the Work at Height Regulations 2005, Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 etc.

HSE provides an advisory service which can be accessed online via a form or by telephone. In addition, it provides a comprehensive suite of guidance documents and publications on compliance with all aspects of health and safety law and which are available for free from its website https://www.hse.gov.uk/guidance/index.htm.

During the period 1 March 2020 – 28 February 2021, HSE’s analytics recorded:

• 74.3 million page views of its guidance

• 17.5 million people visited the site

• 6.3 million downloads of our free publications (books) and guidance material

• 71 per cent of users surveyed said the guidance they used was useful

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 14 July 2021 to Question 30321 on Business Premises: Coronavirus, what budget has been made available for enforcement activities in respect of business premises ventilation in each of the last 10 years; what enforcement action has been taken in respect of ventilation of business premises in each of the last 10 years; and when she most recently discussed ventilation of business premises with national bodies representing businesses.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) allocates resources based on planned levels of activity to deliver it’s published strategy and plans. It does not allocate budgets by specific risk areas such as business premises ventilation, but inspectors will take action to respond to poor ventilation if identified during regulatory activity.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the risks associated with poor general ventilation in a workplace increased due to the risk of transmitting coronavirus. HSE has carried out more than 300,000 interventions since the start of the pandemic, to check how businesses are implementing measures to reduce transmission of coronavirus at their sites, including whether employees are working in poorly ventilated spaces. Where contraventions are identified, HSE inspectors will take action to secure compliance by providing verbal advice, written correspondence or serving enforcement notices.

HSE has also updated their website guidance to support businesses in addressing the issue of ventilation in businesses www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation/index.htm.

HSE does not collate all enforcement action taken specifically in respect of ventilation. However, HSE’s operational database shows that in the last ten years, there have been 7 enforcement notices specifically citing Regulation 6 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (as amended), which imposes general requirements for ensuring workplaces are adequately ventilated. Please see table below for figures:

Year

Number of enforcement notices citing contraventions of Regulation 6 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (as amended)

2011

2

2012

1

2013

0

2014

1

2015

0

2016

0

2017

0

2018

0

2019

3

2020

0

Total

7

This table does not, however, provide a full picture of HSE enforcement in respect of ventilation, for example because enforcement action on coronavirus-related ventilation deficiencies may be taken under the general provisions of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, without reference to the above-mentioned regulation (and in such cases cannot readily be identified on HSE systems). Further, HSE does not collate information to identify how often verbal advice or written correspondence has been provided by inspectors to deal specifically with ventilation deficiencies.

HSE has had numerous recent meetings with national representative groups in which the issue of workplace ventilation was discussed and is involved in scientific activities researching ventilation issues. The Secretary of State has not been involved in these discussions personally.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of guidance on high workplace temperatures.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regularly reviews and, where necessary, refreshes guidance published on its website. HSE is satisfied that guidance on high workplace temperatures remains current and relevant.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, places a legal obligation on employers to provide a ‘reasonable’ temperature in the workplace. Employers should consult with employees or their representatives to establish sensible means to cope with high temperatures.

These regulations do not specify a maximum working temperature. No meaningful upper limit can be imposed because in many workplaces extreme temperature is not seasonal, rather it is created by the work, for example, in a glass works or foundry. Factors other than air temperature, i.e. radiant temperature, humidity and air velocity, become more significant and the interaction between them become more complex with rising temperatures. In such environments it is still possible to work safely provided appropriate controls are present.

Detailed guidance on workplace temperature and thermal comfort is available on the HSE website. This includes how to undertake a thermal comfort assessment and measures that can be taken to improve thermal comfort.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 17 June 2021 to Question 15239, whether her Department is on schedule to automate the process of proactively correcting universal credit payments at risk of being reduced when coinciding with the claimant receiving multiple wages during one assessment period by mid-summer 2021.

We are currently on schedule to deliver the automation which will allow us to identify and take action when claimants are impacted by two earnings in the one assessment period by Summer 2021.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the Landlord Portal will be made available to private landlords.

There has never been a plan to expand the landlord portal for social sector landlords to the 2 million private sector landlords.

We provide clear pathways for private landlords to raise general queries or concerns about individual cases, for example, through our Partnership Manager network.

In May 2020 we also introduced a new online system for private landlords to enable better interaction with Universal Credit. Private landlords are now able to request a Universal Credit tenant’s rent is paid directly to them online, which helps claimants who struggle with managing their money to pay their rent. This system replaces the arrangement of completing a form and submitting it via email or post.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many EEA nationals in receipt of in work, out of work, or health and impairment-related benefit have yet to apply for Settled Status.

I refer the honourable member of Bermondsey and Old Southwark to my previous response on this subject : UIN 31481.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what support the Government is providing to clinically extremely vulnerable people who have (a) been unable to work from home and consequently have been unable to work as a result of the nature of their employment and (b) amassed debts in covering basic living costs.

The Government has put in place an unprecedented package of support to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting livelihoods with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and a range of temporary welfare measures. The Government has also worked with mortgage lenders, credit providers and the Financial Conduct Authority to help people manage their finances with payment holidays, and has taken unprecedented action to support renters, ensuring that no-one has been forced from their home during lockdown.

Although Shielding advice was paused on 1 April 2021, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is still available until 30 September, and clinically extremely vulnerable people may be eligible throughout this period, providing their employer agrees. Clinically extremely vulnerable people may also be eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if they are sick or incapable of work due to coronavirus or other health reasons, subject to meeting the eligibility conditions. Those who are not receiving any support through the furlough scheme or Employment and Support Allowance may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) where they meet the qualifying conditions.

The Government recognises that the full impact of COVID-19 on people’s personal finances is still unfolding, and that some are struggling at this challenging time. To help people in problem debt get their finances back on track, the Government has agreed to maintain record levels of funding for free-to-consumer debt advice in England for the Money and Pension Service in 2021/22.

In addition to this, the Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) has now been launched in England and Wales. A standard breathing space offers people in problem debt a pause of up to 60 days on most enforcement action, interest, fees and charges, and will encourage them to seek professional debt advice. A mental health crisis breathing space, with some stronger protections, is available to people receiving mental health crisis treatment. It lasts as long as the person's mental health crisis treatment, plus a further 30 days.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Order by Consent issued by the High court on 13 July 2021 (CO/4263/2020), what assessment she has made of the potential merits of conducting an inquiry into her Department's handling of Personal Independence Payment benefit calls.

The Department’s aim is that claimants are paid the correct amount of benefit at the earliest opportunity. Where new evidence or information becomes available after an appeal has been lodged, but before it is heard at a tribunal, DWP is able to revise a decision and increase the award where appropriate. In circumstances where the decision can be revised but not to the level the claimant is seeking on appeal, we contact claimants to give them the option to continue with their appeal or to have the decision revised, in which case they can still appeal the new decision. The right of appeal was always set out in the decision letter claimants receive notifying them of the new decision. Accordingly, we have no plans to further review the Department’s handling of past calls.

We began contacting claimants in this way in 1998 consequent on the change in the law introduced by the Social Security Act 1998, whereby the Secretary of State may revise a decision in the claimant’s favour even if they would not get everything they were seeking on appeal. An equality impact assessment was not conducted at that time and has not been conducted pursuant to the Equality Act 2010.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Order by Consent issued by the High court on 13 July 2021 (CO/4263/2020), whether her Department carried out an equalities impact assessment of its policy to make on-the-spot personal independence payment benefit calls to recipients of that benefit.

The Department’s aim is that claimants are paid the correct amount of benefit at the earliest opportunity. Where new evidence or information becomes available after an appeal has been lodged, but before it is heard at a tribunal, DWP is able to revise a decision and increase the award where appropriate. In circumstances where the decision can be revised but not to the level the claimant is seeking on appeal, we contact claimants to give them the option to continue with their appeal or to have the decision revised, in which case they can still appeal the new decision. The right of appeal was always set out in the decision letter claimants receive notifying them of the new decision. Accordingly, we have no plans to further review the Department’s handling of past calls.

We began contacting claimants in this way in 1998 consequent on the change in the law introduced by the Social Security Act 1998, whereby the Secretary of State may revise a decision in the claimant’s favour even if they would not get everything they were seeking on appeal. An equality impact assessment was not conducted at that time and has not been conducted pursuant to the Equality Act 2010.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to support an urgent independent inquiry into (a) the impact of the benefits assessment process on claimants' mental health and (b) preventing future deaths of those wrongly declared fit for work.

The Department’s key obligation is to ensure that claimants receive the benefits that they are entitled to, in a timely manner. We continually review our processes to ensure that benefits assessment processes are accessible and supportive to all customers, including those with mental health conditions. We recently put in place a number of improvements to disability benefits assessments, to ensure that vulnerable customers are identified and all evidence relevant to the claim is taken into account. These include enhancing Additional Support Markers on digital case files to indicate vulnerable claimants.

The Department is committed to learning from cases where there is suggestion or allegation that the Department’s actions or omissions may have negatively contributed to the customer’s circumstances. We conduct internal retrospective investigations (known as Internal Process Reviews) to capture these lessons, and take them forward to inform future policy and service.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason people of retirement age are ineligible for the mobility component of personal independence payment.

Government mobility support is focused on people who are disabled earlier in life; developing mobility needs in older life is a normal consequence of ageing.

You can claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) until you reach State pension age. Thereafter if you are receiving PIP you will continue to do so including the mobility component. If you have a change in circumstances where a health condition worsens after state pension age, you cannot claim the mobility component if you did not receive this previously.

A mobility component is also not provided to those who claim Attendance Allowance.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish her Department's impact assessments for the removal of the uplift to universal credit.

No assessment has been made.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the change has been in attendance allowance award success rates from 2012 to 2020.

The Attendance Allowance Award Success Rate for the 2012/13 (full financial year) was 75.2% and the rate for 2020/21 (full financial year) was 88.9%.

Source: Output from Attendance Allowance Computer System (AACS)

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government has made of effect of the covid-19 outbreak on the health and wellbeing of disabled people.

The impact of COVID-19 on disabled people, and those with health conditions, continues to be monitored across Government using a range of sources including regular engagement with disabled people and disability stakeholders to ensure the needs of disabled people are considered in the Government’s response to COVID-19. The Disability Unit is working with the Office for National Statistics to improve our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people.

We are learning as much as we can, as quickly as we can about this virus, who it affects and how best to keep everyone safe from it and protect those who may be more vulnerable than others.

We are committed to ensuring all disabled people can play a full role in society. That is why we will publish a National Disability Strategy in the coming weeks which will take into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people and will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that mental health is included in the decision-making processes on provision of social security.

The impact of a claimant's mental health is taken fully into consideration when deciding on their entitlement to health and disability benefits. Decision makers receive mental health awareness training, have access to guidance and to the support of healthcare professionals when considering entitlement to benefit. The Green Paper on health and disability benefits, which was published on 20 July, explores how the welfare system can better meet the needs of disabled people, including those with mental health conditions, now and in the future, to build a system that enables people not only to receive the benefits to which they are entitled but to live independently, and move into work where possible.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many disabled people who first claimed personal independence payment in 2020 are waiting for their claim to be processed.

Data to 30th July 2021 will be published on 14th September 2021, as part of the next scheduled release of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Official Statistics.

At 30th April 2021 (the latest available data) 59,000 initial claims for Personal Independence Payment registered in 2020 were awaiting clearance. This includes both new claims to PIP and reassessments from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to PIP and is 10% of the 614,000 initial claims for PIP registered in 2020.

We are committed to ensuring that people can access financial support through Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in a timely manner. We always aim to make an award decision as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to review all available evidence. We are currently operating within expected levels.

Notes

Data Source: PIP Atomic Data Store (ADS)

  • The number and proportion of PIP claims registered in 2020 and awaiting clearance at 30th April 2021 is unpublished. It should be used with caution and it may be subject to future revision.
  • Data is based on initial clearances only (prior to any reconsideration and appeal action).
  • Data provided is for Great Britain only.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claimants had a managed payment to landlord arrangement in place in England in (a) January 2020 and (b) June 2021.

Monthly statistics on the number of Households on Universal Credit, including those that make use of a Managed Payment to Landlord Arrangement, are published, and a breakdown by country to February 2021 can be found at:

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

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

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

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to prevent (a) universal credit overpayments and (b) the subsequent debt caused by those overpayments.

DWP recognises that stopping fraud and error before is happens and preventing debt is the best approach, both for Government and claimants alike, and it should be noted that, during a period when we have faced the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, fraud and error in the benefits system remains low, with 95% of benefits, worth more than £200 billion, paid correctly in 2020/21.

We continue to invest in fraud and error prevention, with the Chancellor announcing £44m at the Spring Budget to support the expansion of both our Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service and our new Enhanced Checking Service and the development of Transaction Risking as a means of identifying high risk claims.

Our Annual Report and Accounts published 15 July 2021 provides more information on what we are doing to prevent overpayments occurring – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dwp-annual-report-and-accounts-2020-to-2021

Where an overpayment does occur, the Department has a responsibility to recover the money without creating undue financial hardship. In Universal Credit, all overpayments are recoverable. Where recovery is made by deduction from Universal Credit, there is a limit placed on the overall amount that can be deducted. Formerly 40% of the Universal Credit Standard Allowance, this was reduced from 30% to 25% in April 2021.

Where requested deductions exceed the 25% maximum, or there is insufficient Universal Credit in payment for all deductions to be made, a priority order is applied, which determines the order in which items should be deducted. ‘Last resort’ deductions, such as rent or fuel costs, are at the top of the priority order, ensuring that claimant welfare is prioritised, followed by social obligation deductions, such as fines and child maintenance, and finally benefit debt, such as Social Fund loans and benefit overpayments.

Anyone with overpayment deductions who does experience financial hardship is encouraged to contact the Department’s Debt Management unit. Where a person cannot afford the proposed rate of these deductions repayment a lower amount can be negotiated.

DWP is also committed to HM Treasury’s Breathing Space policy, which provides citizens with problem debt the right to legal protections from creditor action for a period of time in order to enable them to receive debt advice and enter into an appropriate debt solution.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the adequacy of the support available to those required to repay overpayments of universal credit.

DWP recognises that stopping fraud and error before is happens and preventing debt is the best approach, both for Government and claimants alike, and it should be noted that, during a period when we have faced the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, fraud and error in the benefits system remains low, with 95% of benefits, worth more than £200 billion, paid correctly in 2020/21.

We continue to invest in fraud and error prevention, with the Chancellor announcing £44m at the Spring Budget to support the expansion of both our Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service and our new Enhanced Checking Service and the development of Transaction Risking as a means of identifying high risk claims.

Our Annual Report and Accounts published 15 July 2021 provides more information on what we are doing to prevent overpayments occurring – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dwp-annual-report-and-accounts-2020-to-2021

Where an overpayment does occur, the Department has a responsibility to recover the money without creating undue financial hardship. In Universal Credit, all overpayments are recoverable. Where recovery is made by deduction from Universal Credit, there is a limit placed on the overall amount that can be deducted. Formerly 40% of the Universal Credit Standard Allowance, this was reduced from 30% to 25% in April 2021.

Where requested deductions exceed the 25% maximum, or there is insufficient Universal Credit in payment for all deductions to be made, a priority order is applied, which determines the order in which items should be deducted. ‘Last resort’ deductions, such as rent or fuel costs, are at the top of the priority order, ensuring that claimant welfare is prioritised, followed by social obligation deductions, such as fines and child maintenance, and finally benefit debt, such as Social Fund loans and benefit overpayments.

Anyone with overpayment deductions who does experience financial hardship is encouraged to contact the Department’s Debt Management unit. Where a person cannot afford the proposed rate of these deductions repayment a lower amount can be negotiated.

DWP is also committed to HM Treasury’s Breathing Space policy, which provides citizens with problem debt the right to legal protections from creditor action for a period of time in order to enable them to receive debt advice and enter into an appropriate debt solution.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department will take to implement its commitments on the triple lock for state pensions.

As a result of the Triple Lock, the full yearly basic State Pension is now over £2,050 higher than in 2010 in cash terms.

Decisions on the rates for State Pensions are made each Autumn as part of the Up-rating review by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

We are committed to ensuring that older people are able to live with the dignity and respect they deserve; the State Pension is the foundation of support for older people

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that Department for Work and Pensions staff contacted disability claimants who were appealing their decisions to persuade them to abandon their appeals and accept a lower offer; and if such practices have been used, who authorised them.

The Department’s aim is to ensure that claimants are paid the correct amount of benefit at the earliest opportunity. Accordingly, if new evidence or information becomes available after an appeal has been lodged, it is right that decisions are reviewed and claimants put in the best position where they can choose either to continue with their appeal, or have the decision revised. At the same time claimants have, and have always had, a right of appeal against the revised decision, and to have their payments fully backdated if successful at appeal. Claimants are notified of this right of appeal in their revised decision letter.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the £20 increase in Universal Credit will be retained.

Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the pandemic, and we announced the temporary uplift as part of a £400 billion package of measures put in place that will last well beyond the end of the roadmap. Our focus now is on our multi-billion Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they are relying on telephone assessments to determine a claimant’s level of disability rather than using a video service.

We are committed to improving the experience of health and disability benefits and we are currently delivering health and disability assessments via a variety of channels. Face-to-face assessments are being delivered alongside new telephone and video assessments introduced in response to the pandemic.

A programme of in-house analysis and externally commissioned research into the outcomes from and experiences of the newly introduced assessment channels is underway. The Health and Disability Green Paper will offer an opportunity to hear views on how we can improve assessments, including how we might provide a multi-channel health assessment service. Any future decisions about channel will be evidence-based and to ensure this we will draw on existing evidence as well as continuing to build our understanding via research and analysis.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG Report on Jobs, published on 8 July; in particular, the finding that the availability of workers to fill vacancies fell at the quickest rates on record; and what steps they intend to take as a result.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) monitors a wide range of statistics and surveys on the labour market.

We want everyone to be able to find a job, progress in work and thrive in the labour market, whoever they are and wherever they live. Through Plan for Jobs, the government announced over £33 billion in measures to create, support and protect jobs, which includes £2.9 billion funding for Restart and £3 billion investment in the Kickstart programme alongside other measures focussed on boosting work search, skills and apprenticeships.

Alongside measures in Plan for Jobs, DWP is leading cross-government collaboration to identify and remove barriers to working in sectors with immediate or growing demand for jobs. We continue to work closely with these departments and sector bodies to identify and address barriers facing DWP customers and to ensure the provision is available to support individuals to access opportunities in these sectors. We work closely with a range of departments to shape skills support to enable individuals to develop the skills needed in order to move to roles in different sectors

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effect of self-isolation as a result of covid-19 on levels of poverty among children and families; and if she will make a statement.

No assessment has been made. It is not possible to measure the impact of self-isolating in the data that we use to measure poverty.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes, including by increasing the living wage, and by spending £111 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2020/21. This included around £7.4 billion of Covid-related welfare policy measures.

The Government through the Department for Health and Social Care introduced the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme which provides financial support to people on low incomes who have to self-isolate, if they are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result. Eligible individuals are able to access a payment of £500. The government has released £176 million of funding for the scheme so far.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of (a) the potential merits of excluding mandatory travel to work expenditure from income for universal credit purposes and (b) the effect of the inclusion of that expenditure as income for universal credit purposes on the ability of claimants to seek further employment.

No such assessment has been done.

Universal Credit provides support for everyday living expenses. Any earnings an employee receives would normally be expected to cover the costs of travel to and from work, irrespective of whether or not the employee was also claiming Universal Credit.

To keep Universal Credit as simple as possible, the definition of earnings aligns very closely to the rules in tax legislation (Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA)), so that rules across tax and benefits are aligned where possible. Any allowable expenses which are wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred as part of the duties of employment are not counted as employed earnings and would be excluded from the calculation of a Universal Credit Award. Travel from home to a permanent workplace is not an allowable expense for tax purposes.

The Flexible Support Fund is a discretionary fund and can be used by staff to remove barriers when a claimant is starting work for example it can cover the first 3 months travel costs. Where there are difficulties with public transport work coaches can consider funding for pedal cycles and e bikes to allow people to get to their place of employment. Discussion s should be held with their work coach in the first instance around this type of support.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what methodology she uses to evaluate the effectiveness of the Kickstart scheme across the regions and nations of the UK.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart Scheme throughout and after its implementation, and will continue to evaluate the longer term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six-month job placements.

The evaluation will include large scale surveys to capture the views and experiences of Kickstart participants and of employers and gateway organisations. The evaluation will consider how experiences and outcomes from the scheme vary and examine how participants’ and employers’ characteristics, local context and local approaches to delivery affect experiences. Qualitative case-studies will provide a detailed understanding of how different aspects of the scheme interact and we will draw on available data and insights.

We will publish the findings of the evaluation once complete.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in Hemsworth constituency are in receipt of any type of welfare payment as at 16 July 2021.

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

The Department does publish Experimental Statistics on Benefit Combinations and the latest available statistics to November 2020, which can be broken down by parliamentary constituency, are available on the Department’s Stat-Xplore website:

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

Guidance for users of Stat-Xplore is available at:

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

Statistics for a majority of the individual benefits administered by the Department are available at:

Statistics at DWP - Department for Work and Pensions - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Most of these statistics are available by parliamentary constituency on the Stat-Xplore website.

The Department also publishes annual benefit expenditure tables and the latest publication by parliamentary constituency is for 2019/20 and available at:

Benefit expenditure and caseload tables 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the suitability of local authority-run emergency food support schemes for people with special dietary requirements.

Local Authorities in England have powers to run Local Welfare Assistance Schemes at their discretion, which may include emergency support. It is for Local Authorities to assess need in their area and to determine the design of any such scheme, including eligibility, access and nature of provision, giving due consideration to their duties under the Equality Act and other relevant legislation. No assessment has been made by DWP of the suitability of local authority-run emergency food support schemes for people with special dietary requirements.

Since 1 December 2020, DWP has allocated funding to upper tier Local Authorities in England, through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme and the Covid Local Support Grant, to provide additional support to families and individuals who may be struggling with the cost of food and essential utility bills due to the pandemic. We have now extended this temporary scheme for a final time with an additional £160 million in funding between 21 June and 30 September, taking total funding under the scheme to £429 million. This brings the end date for this scheme past the lifting of restrictions, supporting families who might need additional help to get back on their feet as the vaccine rollout continues and our economy recovers. This scheme recognises that Local Authorities are best placed to understand needs in their area.

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 that takes into account dietary needs as well as fun and engaging activities and it is for the Local Authority who delivers the programme in their area to give due consideration to their duties under the Equality Act and other relevant legislation.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to ensure that people with special dietary requirements are able to access appropriate emergency food support from their local authority.

Local Authorities in England have powers to run Local Welfare Assistance Schemes at their discretion, which may include emergency support. It is for Local Authorities to assess need in their area and to determine the design of any such scheme, including eligibility, access and nature of provision, giving due consideration to their duties under the Equality Act and other relevant legislation. No assessment has been made by DWP of the suitability of local authority-run emergency food support schemes for people with special dietary requirements.

Since 1 December 2020, DWP has allocated funding to upper tier Local Authorities in England, through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme and the Covid Local Support Grant, to provide additional support to families and individuals who may be struggling with the cost of food and essential utility bills due to the pandemic. We have now extended this temporary scheme for a final time with an additional £160 million in funding between 21 June and 30 September, taking total funding under the scheme to £429 million. This brings the end date for this scheme past the lifting of restrictions, supporting families who might need additional help to get back on their feet as the vaccine rollout continues and our economy recovers. This scheme recognises that Local Authorities are best placed to understand needs in their area.

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 that takes into account dietary needs as well as fun and engaging activities and it is for the Local Authority who delivers the programme in their area to give due consideration to their duties under the Equality Act and other relevant legislation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants are eligible for support through the Restart scheme.

Over the course of 3 years of referrals, the Restart Scheme will provide intensive, tailored employment support to help over 1 million Universal Credit claimants back towards sustained employment.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to rulings of the (a) Supreme Court in 2018 and (b) High Court in 2020, what plans the Government has to ensure that cohabiting couples are recognised as being entitled to bereavement support payments.

On 15th July 2021, we laid the draft proposal for a Bereavement Benefits (2021) Remedial Order before Parliament. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bereavement-benefits-proposal-for-implementation-of-the-mclaughlin-2018-and-jackson-2020-judgments

This proposes to extend eligibility for Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment to surviving cohabitees with dependent children.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress the Government has made on ensuring that cohabiting couples are treated equitably for Bereavement Support Allowance.

On 15th July 2021, we laid the draft proposal for a Bereavement Benefits (2021) Remedial Order before Parliament. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bereavement-benefits-proposal-for-implementation-of-the-mclaughlin-2018-and-jackson-2020-judgments

This proposes to extend eligibility for Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payment to surviving cohabitees with dependent children.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)