Ged Killen Portrait

Ged Killen

Labour (Co-op) - Former Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West

Ged Killen is not a member of any APPGs
5 Former APPG memberships
Green Deal Misselling, Photonics, Plumbers' Pensions, Technology Addiction, Unpaid Work Trials
Scottish Affairs Committee
11th Sep 2017 - 6th Nov 2019


Division Voting information

Ged Killen has voted in 376 divisions, and 2 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Jun 2018 - National Policy Statement: Airports - View Vote Context
Ged Killen voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 94 Labour No votes vs 119 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 415 Noes - 119
31 Jan 2018 - Restoration and Renewal (Report of the Joint Committee) - View Vote Context
Ged Killen voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 5 Labour Aye votes vs 162 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 47 Noes - 410
View All Ged Killen Division Votes

All Debates

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

View all Ged Killen's debates

Latest EDMs signed by Ged Killen

16th October 2019
Ged Killen signed this EDM on Friday 18th October 2019

Firework safety

Tabled by: Alison Thewliss (Scottish National Party - Glasgow Central)
That this House acknowledges the distress faced by countless individuals and families as a result of the improper use of fireworks in the lead up to and during bonfire night; welcomes the recent Scottish Government consultation, which invited the public to express their views on the sale of fireworks, on …
40 signatures
(Most recent: 4 Nov 2019)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 20
Labour: 12
Independent: 3
Conservative: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Crossbench: 1
Plaid Cymru: 1
16th October 2019
Ged Killen signed this EDM on Thursday 17th October 2019

ASDA contract 6

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House notes with concern the decision by ASDA to proceed with proposals to put all hourly paid employees on flexible contracts (Contract 6) despite considerable concern about the proposed changes to employee terms and conditions; further notes that the flexibility clause in Contract 6 will force employees to …
48 signatures
(Most recent: 16 Dec 2019)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 32
Scottish National Party: 9
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Independent: 2
Conservative: 1
Liberal Democrat: 1
View All Ged Killen's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Ged Killen, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Ged Killen has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Ged Killen has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Ged Killen


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to prohibit cash machine charges; to require banks to enable free cash withdrawals from current accounts in other circumstances; to require the Financial Conduct Authority to supervise an access to banking standard; to impose penalties for breaches of that standard; to establish a financial inclusion fund, and provide for amounts received in such penalties to be paid into that fund; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 16th May 2018
(Read Debate)

199 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
5 Other Department Questions
3rd Jul 2018
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if the Government will produce a reanalysis of the data collected in the National LGBT Survey to provide a regional breakdown of the responses to each question.

In line with the Government’s approach to open data, we will explore how best to make as much of the national LGBT survey data available as possible.

We will not share or publish any data from which individuals can be identified, but we will look to publish more aggregate-level, anonymous data which will be of use to the public at large.

We will be looking to publish more of the data later in the year, and as part of this release, we will look to provide regional breakdowns.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Jul 2018
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, whether the Government plans to make the anonymised raw data from the National LGBT Survey publically available.

In line with the Government’s approach to open data, we will explore how best to make as much of the national LGBT survey data available as possible.

We will not share or publish any data from which individuals can be identified, but we will look to publish more aggregate-level, anonymous data which will be of use to the public at large.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Nov 2017
To ask the Prime Minister, what recent discussions she has had with the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party on (a) the advancement of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples living in Northern Ireland and (b) the recognition in Northern Ireland of the relationship status of same-sex couples married elsewhere in the UK.

My position on this issue is clear and well known. I voted in support of equal marriage in England and Wales and hope this can be extended to Northern Ireland in the future. However, the fundamental position remains that equal marriage is an entirely devolved issue in Northern Ireland and one that should be resolved by a restored Assembly.

16th Oct 2017
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to the Answer of 12 October 2017 to Question 901069, whether the Government has plans to develop and implement best practice guidelines to ensure local providers account for sexual-gender identity within service provision.

In 2015, the Government published guidance for employers and service providers on how to specifically support and include transgender people at work. This helps them to meet their obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

We also recently issued instructions to offender management services to improve the treatment and management of transgender offenders. The new guidelines state that all transgender prisoners must be allowed to express the gender with which they identify.

Our National lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Survey has recently closed and we will use the data we collected from this to help to identify areas that service provision needs to improve for LGBT people.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th Oct 2017
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what progress the Government is making on its consultation with LGBT people on their experiences of accessing public services.

The National LGBT Survey will be closing on 15 October. We have received over 100,000 responses. We will analyse and publish the results and use the evidence to inform government policy on LGBT equality.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jul 2018
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants received voluntary redundancy under the 2016 terms of the Civil Service Compensation Scheme before those terms were quashed by judicial review and the 2010 terms were reinstated.

350 individuals received and accepted an offer of Voluntary Redundancy under the 2016 Civil Service Compensation Scheme terms.

3rd Jul 2018
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2018 to Question 158812 on Civil Servants: Redundancy, what obligations the Government has to those people that left on a payment under the 2016 Civil Service Compensation Scheme terms.

The Government has reviewed all exits under the 2016 Civil Service Compensation Scheme and where appropriate has made additional payments so that the same total amount has been paid as would have been under the 2010 Civil Service Compensation Scheme terms.

Oliver Dowden
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Jun 2018
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Government plans to provide a fair and appropriate remedy for those civil servants who received voluntary redundancy under the 2016 terms of the Civil Service Compensation Scheme as set out in the letter of March 2018 from the Minister for Implementation to the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

The Government has given careful consideration to ensure it meets its obligations to provide fair and appropriate remedy for individuals that left on a payment under the 2016 Civil Service Compensation Scheme terms.

Oliver Dowden
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Jan 2018
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many meetings with Ministers Keith Cochrane attended in his role on the Government Network of non-Executive directors.

As a routine, departments publish quarterly details of Ministers’ meetings with external organisations on GOV.UK, including those with representatives from companies such as Carillion. Cabinet Office returns can be viewed using the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/ministers-transparency-publications

Oliver Dowden
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many complaints he has received under the Green Deal Framework (Disclosure Acknowledgement Redress etc.) Regulations 2012; and on how many of those complaints he has issued a decision.

My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State has received ninety four cases under the Green Deal Framework (Disclosure, Acknowledgment, Redress etc.) Regulations 2012 (the Regulations). To date, three final decisions and intention notices for two other cases have been issued.

The Department is committed to resolving all these cases fairly and as quickly as possible. However, the complex and legal nature of the redress process prescribed by the Regulations and volume of information we receive from consumers means complaints take some time to resolve. In most cases we need to go back to the consumer to seek further information to determine whether a breach has occurred which has caused (or is likely to cause) the consumer to suffer ‘substantive loss’. We also have to allow for periods during which representations can be made.

The Department has obtained additional support to review cases in order to speed up the process and is aiming to address these appeals over the next few months.

The Department has separately put in place a process for redress at an earlier stage with the Green Deal Finance Company. This process relates to one particular Green Deal Provider, HELMS. Thus far, over 100 customers have received a settlement through that process.

12th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February to Question 128285 on Green Deal Scheme, what progress the Government has made on improving and revitalising the Green Deal; what progress his Department has made on considering the results from the call for Evidence on the Green Deal Framework; and what the timetable is for consultations on potential reforms to the Green Deal.

We began a fundamental review of the Green Deal Framework by publishing a Call for Evidence in October 2017. The Department has reviewed responses to the Call for Evidence and we plan to publish a summary of responses shortly. We will then consider the next steps for the review of the Framework, including the timetable for when we would consult on more significant proposals.

23rd Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what is the average waiting time was for a decision on a green deal complaint raised with the Secretary of State under the Green Deal Framewor (Disclosure Acknowledgement Redress etc) Regulations 2012.

To date, there have been 54 complaints received by the Secretary of State under the Green Deal Framework (Disclosure Acknowledgement Redress etc.) Regulations 2012 (‘the Regulations’). These complaints include 34 consumers who have rejected an offer made by a finance party to reduce or cancel a Green Deal loan.

Out of the 54 complaints received, one has completed the Green Deal sanctions process associated with consumer redress. In that case, no sanction was imposed as no redress beyond that provided by the finance party in question (which was cancellation of the loan and refund of loan repayments) was possible under the Regulations. The Secretary of State has issued intention notices for three further cases.

There may be Green Deal complaints with other bodies which have not been passed to the Department, and it is therefore not possible to accurately calculate the proportion of complaints that have been brought to my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

The legal nature of the redress process and detailed information involved means complaints can take some time to resolve. The case that has completed the sanction process took six months to resolve from being formally received by the Secretary of State. These are complex cases and the Department remains committed to resolving cases fairly and as quickly as possible.

23rd Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and what proportion of green deal complaints are appealed to the Secretary of State under the Green Deal Framework (Disclosure Acknowledgement Redress etc) Regulations 2012.

To date, there have been 54 complaints received by the Secretary of State under the Green Deal Framework (Disclosure Acknowledgement Redress etc.) Regulations 2012 (‘the Regulations’). These complaints include 34 consumers who have rejected an offer made by a finance party to reduce or cancel a Green Deal loan.

Out of the 54 complaints received, one has completed the Green Deal sanctions process associated with consumer redress. In that case, no sanction was imposed as no redress beyond that provided by the finance party in question (which was cancellation of the loan and refund of loan repayments) was possible under the Regulations. The Secretary of State has issued intention notices for three further cases.

There may be Green Deal complaints with other bodies which have not been passed to the Department, and it is therefore not possible to accurately calculate the proportion of complaints that have been brought to my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

The legal nature of the redress process and detailed information involved means complaints can take some time to resolve. The case that has completed the sanction process took six months to resolve from being formally received by the Secretary of State. These are complex cases and the Department remains committed to resolving cases fairly and as quickly as possible.

23rd Apr 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many complaints about the Green Deal have been raised with him under the Green Deal Framework (Disclosure Acknowledgement Redress etc) Regulations 2012; and how many of his decisions resulted in (a) a reduction (b) a cancellation (c) no sanction and (d) no cancellation in respect of a green deal loan.

To date, there have been 54 complaints received by the Secretary of State under the Green Deal Framework (Disclosure Acknowledgement Redress etc.) Regulations 2012 (‘the Regulations’). These complaints include 34 consumers who have rejected an offer made by a finance party to reduce or cancel a Green Deal loan.

Out of the 54 complaints received, one has completed the Green Deal sanctions process associated with consumer redress. In that case, no sanction was imposed as no redress beyond that provided by the finance party in question (which was cancellation of the loan and refund of loan repayments) was possible under the Regulations. The Secretary of State has issued intention notices for three further cases.

There may be Green Deal complaints with other bodies which have not been passed to the Department, and it is therefore not possible to accurately calculate the proportion of complaints that have been brought to my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

The legal nature of the redress process and detailed information involved means complaints can take some time to resolve. The case that has completed the sanction process took six months to resolve from being formally received by the Secretary of State. These are complex cases and the Department remains committed to resolving cases fairly and as quickly as possible.

7th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what information his Department holds on employers requiring staff to travel into work during a red weather warning; and if she will make a statement.

BEIS does not collect information on employers requiring staff to travel into work during a red weather warning.

7th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the Government's policy is on employers requesting workers to travel into work during a red weather warning.

We would encourage employers to exercise common sense and consider the advice given by agencies such as the Met Office on travelling in such adverse conditions.

Employers should consider their legal obligations under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act, if asking employees to travel for work.

Guidance for driving at work can be found in HSE’s leaflet: INDG382 Driving for Work, www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg382.pdf

19th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many green deal providers were investigated by the green deal oversight body between 2015 and 2018.

Since the Green Deal was introduced, two companies have been investigated by the Green Deal Ombudsman and Investigation Service. The first was concluded in 2015 by a sanction against the company Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd. The other investigation took place during 2015 and did not lead to a sanction. Separately, the Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body carried out 44 audits of Green Deal Providers since 2013.

19th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many green deal providers were investigated by the green deal oversight body between 2013 and 2015.

Since the Green Deal was introduced, two companies have been investigated by the Green Deal Ombudsman and Investigation Service. The first was concluded in 2015 by a sanction against the company Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd. The other investigation took place during 2015 and did not lead to a sanction. Separately, the Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body carried out 44 audits of Green Deal Providers since 2013.

19th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether existing providers will have to undergo new quality and standards checks before participating in the new green deal scheme.

The Green Deal Framework remains in place and we are aware that various sources of private finance have continued to be utilised under the Framework. As such, the Green Deal was at no point ended and consequently will not be “re-launched”.

We are, however, looking to improve and revitalise the Green Deal. My department published a Call for Evidence on the Green Deal Framework in October 2017. We are considering the responses and will consult on any proposals to reform the Green Deal in due course. Current participants in the Green Deal scheme must continue to adhere to all the requirements of the scheme that apply to them.

19th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to introduce a new code of practice for green deal providers and assessors in the relaunched green deal.

The Green Deal Framework remains in place and we are aware that various sources of private finance have continued to be utilised under the Framework. As such, the Green Deal was at no point ended and consequently will not be “re-launched”.

We are, however, looking to improve and revitalise the Green Deal. My department published a Call for Evidence on the Green Deal Framework in October 2017. We are considering the responses and will consult on any proposals to reform the Green Deal in due course. Current participants in the Green Deal scheme must continue to adhere to all the requirements of the scheme that apply to them.

19th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many green deal providers were refused the right to produce green deal reports.

Green Deal Providers are just one of four key authorised participants involved in the Green Deal customer journey, each with different customer interactions. There are also differences in the requirements to become authorised participants. The criteria that they have to meet are set out in the Green Deal Framework (Disclosure, Acknowledgement, Redress etc.) Regulations 2012.

Organisations are not required to have UKAS approval in order to become Green Deal Providers.

It is not the Provider’s role to produce Green Deal reports (or “Green Deal Advice Reports”). This is the responsibility of the Green Deal Assessor. No Providers, therefore, have been refused the right to produce Green Deal reports.

The table below sets out the number of organisations, by year, who have been registered as Green Deal Providers. These numbers do not take account of the numbers by year who have withdrawn from the scheme. The total number of currently-authorised Providers is 169.

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

19

100

52

16

11

7

19th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many green deal providers have registered with the Green Deal Registration and Oversight Body in each year since that body has been established.

Green Deal Providers are just one of four key authorised participants involved in the Green Deal customer journey, each with different customer interactions. There are also differences in the requirements to become authorised participants. The criteria that they have to meet are set out in the Green Deal Framework (Disclosure, Acknowledgement, Redress etc.) Regulations 2012.

Organisations are not required to have UKAS approval in order to become Green Deal Providers.

It is not the Provider’s role to produce Green Deal reports (or “Green Deal Advice Reports”). This is the responsibility of the Green Deal Assessor. No Providers, therefore, have been refused the right to produce Green Deal reports.

The table below sets out the number of organisations, by year, who have been registered as Green Deal Providers. These numbers do not take account of the numbers by year who have withdrawn from the scheme. The total number of currently-authorised Providers is 169.

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

19

100

52

16

11

7

19th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many green deal providers were not certified by UKAS as meeting the green deal standard in (a) 2013, (b) 2014 and (c) 2015.

Green Deal Providers are just one of four key authorised participants involved in the Green Deal customer journey, each with different customer interactions. There are also differences in the requirements to become authorised participants. The criteria that they have to meet are set out in the Green Deal Framework (Disclosure, Acknowledgement, Redress etc.) Regulations 2012.

Organisations are not required to have UKAS approval in order to become Green Deal Providers.

It is not the Provider’s role to produce Green Deal reports (or “Green Deal Advice Reports”). This is the responsibility of the Green Deal Assessor. No Providers, therefore, have been refused the right to produce Green Deal reports.

The table below sets out the number of organisations, by year, who have been registered as Green Deal Providers. These numbers do not take account of the numbers by year who have withdrawn from the scheme. The total number of currently-authorised Providers is 169.

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

19

100

52

16

11

7

18th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if the Government will bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that post offices provide free access to ATMs when there is no other ATM within 1km of that post office.

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK. Government has been engaging and will continue to engage with industry to ensure that this access is maintained.

LINK, the main scheme behind the UK’s ATM network, has assured us that industry is committed to maintaining an extensive network of free-to-use cash machines, and to ensuring that the present geographical spread of ATMs is maintained. LINK intends to bolster its Financial Inclusion Programme, which ensures the provision of ATMs in areas of deprivation, where demand would not otherwise make one viable, and has also committed to protecting all free-to-use ATMs which are a kilometre or more from the next nearest free-to-use ATM.

The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), which Government set up as an independent regulator in 2015 with a statutory objective to ensure that the UK’s payment systems work in the interests of their users, is monitoring developments within ATM provision, and is conducting ongoing work on the impact that changes may have. The PSR has recently published a summary of their work to date, which can be found at https://www.psr.org.uk/psr-focus/the-UK-ATM-network.

The PSR has committed to using its powers to act should any of the firms it regulates behave in a way that conflicts with its statutory objectives.

99% of UK personal bank accounts and 95% of small business accounts can be accessed to withdraw cash and deposit cash and cheques over the counter in any of the UK’s network of over 11,600 post offices.

18th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment the Government has made of whether the post office network will have the capacity to meet any increase in demand for banking services after the closure of a number of RBS and NatWest bank branches; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to improving access to financial services for all consumers and small businesses in the UK.

99% of UK personal bank accounts and 95% of small business accounts can be accessed to withdraw cash and deposit cash and cheques over the counter in any of the UK’s network of over 11,600 post offices. It is the operational responsibility of the Post Office to meet its contractual obligations under the agreement it has with the banks to provide banking services.

14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation on the level of cold calling from (a) inside and (b) outside the EU.

The General Data Protection Regulation will ensure that data processed within the EU, and the data of European citizens processed outside the EU, is done in accordance with the Regulation's principles.

14th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation on (a) nuisance calls and (b) the ability of nuisance callers to retain and share personal data.

The General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Bill - currently progressing through Parliament - will require organisations to apply the data protection principles. Organisations using personal data to make nuisance calls risks breaching these principles. Organisations may be liable to the new financial penalties and other enforcement action if they are found to be in breach of the rules.

26th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect on the (a) frequency and (b) viability of large-scale automated ticket reselling of the (a) Digital Economy Act 2017 and (b) other recent steps the Government has taken.

We are determined to crackdown on unacceptable behaviour in the online ticketing market, whilst ensuring there are no unintentional consequences for the operations of the events sector.

The Digital Economy Act 2017 provides the power to create a specific offence, where tickets are purchased electronically, of purchasing more tickets than the maximum permitted, to address concerns over large scale automated ticket reselling. We intend to enact this power via secondary legislation later this year, and will be monitoring its effectiveness once enacted. This measure is in addition to existing measures in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 relating to the information about tickets offered for sale on the secondary market, along with the additional requirement also contained in the Digital Economy Act for ticket sellers to provide a unique ticket number when re-selling a ticket, where one has originally been given.

We recognise that Government can’t act alone in addressing this issue, and that the ticketing industry, regulatory bodies, and online platforms need to take actions themselves. We welcome the action taken earlier this month by the Advertising Standards Authority against four of the main operators in the secondary ticketing sector banning the misleading presentation of pricing information on their websites, which we hope will help improve transparency in the market and help consumers find legitimate official ticketing sites.

The measures set out above, together with the ongoing enforcement work of the National Trading Standards and the Competition and Markets Authority, and industry’s own initiatives should go a long way to reducing people’s frustrations at the way the ticketing market works.

26th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the steps taken by the Advertising Standards Authority as a result of its investigation into the big four secondary ticketing websites; and if he will make a statement.

We are determined to crackdown on unacceptable behaviour in the online ticketing market, whilst ensuring there are no unintentional consequences for the operations of the events sector.

The Digital Economy Act 2017 provides the power to create a specific offence, where tickets are purchased electronically, of purchasing more tickets than the maximum permitted, to address concerns over large scale automated ticket reselling. We intend to enact this power via secondary legislation later this year, and will be monitoring its effectiveness once enacted. This measure is in addition to existing measures in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 relating to the information about tickets offered for sale on the secondary market, along with the additional requirement also contained in the Digital Economy Act for ticket sellers to provide a unique ticket number when re-selling a ticket, where one has originally been given.

We recognise that Government can’t act alone in addressing this issue, and that the ticketing industry, regulatory bodies, and online platforms need to take actions themselves. We welcome the action taken earlier this month by the Advertising Standards Authority against four of the main operators in the secondary ticketing sector banning the misleading presentation of pricing information on their websites, which we hope will help improve transparency in the market and help consumers find legitimate official ticketing sites.

The measures set out above, together with the ongoing enforcement work of the National Trading Standards and the Competition and Markets Authority, and industry’s own initiatives should go a long way to reducing people’s frustrations at the way the ticketing market works.

26th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment the Government has made of the effect on the revenue of the entertainment and sports industries of consumers paying higher prices for tickets purchased through secondary sites and less on further tickets and purchases at music and sports venues.

We are determined to crackdown on unacceptable behaviour in the online ticketing market, whilst ensuring there are no unintentional consequences for the operations of the events sector.

The Digital Economy Act 2017 provides the power to create a specific offence, where tickets are purchased electronically, of purchasing more tickets than the maximum permitted, to address concerns over large scale automated ticket reselling. We intend to enact this power via secondary legislation later this year, and will be monitoring its effectiveness once enacted. This measure is in addition to existing measures in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 relating to the information about tickets offered for sale on the secondary market, along with the additional requirement also contained in the Digital Economy Act for ticket sellers to provide a unique ticket number when re-selling a ticket, where one has originally been given.

We recognise that Government can’t act alone in addressing this issue, and that the ticketing industry, regulatory bodies, and online platforms need to take actions themselves. We welcome the action taken earlier this month by the Advertising Standards Authority against four of the main operators in the secondary ticketing sector banning the misleading presentation of pricing information on their websites, which we hope will help improve transparency in the market and help consumers find legitimate official ticketing sites.

The measures set out above, together with the ongoing enforcement work of the National Trading Standards and the Competition and Markets Authority, and industry’s own initiatives should go a long way to reducing people’s frustrations at the way the ticketing market works.

23rd Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing a percentage cap on the amount that tickets can be sold above face value on secondary ticketing websites.

The Government has a continuing interest in the area of secondary ticketing, and recognises the process of distributing and buying tickets can often be a cause for public frustration and concern. We are determined to crackdown on unacceptable behaviour and improve fans’ chances of buying tickets at a reasonable price. We have strengthened the Consumer Rights Act 2015 in this area, and will shortly be introducing secondary legislation to make it an offence to purchase more tickets than that permitted by an event organiser online.

An independent review of consumer protection measures was commissioned by the Government in 2015, undertaken by Professor Waterson, which was published in May 2016. The Government published its response to the review on 13th March 2017, which welcomed the Review and accepted all nine recommendations contained in the review in full. Professor Waterson specifically considered the issue of a cap on ticket resale prices, and we agree with his conclusion that it should not be taken forward as it would raise a number of practical considerations and be of limited effect, as it would be extremely difficult to enforce.

27th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 5 February 2018 to Question 125135, on Housing: Broadband, if she will make initial reports on the effectiveness of the Government's brokered agreement available to (a) the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee and (b) the Scottish Affairs Select Committee inquiry into digital connectivity in Scotland.

The agreement brokered by DCMS between the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and Openreach offers full fibre broadband to new builds at no cost to the developer when threshold conditions have been met. Virgin and GTC have similar agreements with the HBF. DCMS’s Barrier Busting Task Force are in the process of measuring the impact of these agreements and will report to the Select Committees once that work is complete.

27th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answer of 5 February 2018 to Question 125135, on Housing: Broadband, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of that brokered agreement.

The agreement brokered by DCMS between the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and Openreach offers full fibre broadband to new builds at no cost to the developer when threshold conditions have been met. Virgin and GTC have similar agreements with the HBF. DCMS’s Barrier Busting Task Force are in the process of measuring the impact of these agreements and will report to the Select Committees once that work is complete.

26th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent assessment he has made of reports of poor broadband provision for new housing developments, particularly developments in rural and sub-urban areas.

My Department brokered an agreement in February 2016 between the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and Openreach to connect new build developments to superfast broadband, and where possible, ultrafast broadband. Both Virgin Media and the utility provider GTC have made similar agreements with the HBF. Whilst these are voluntary agreements between industry stakeholders, we are monitoring the effectiveness of the agreements closely and, as part of this, reports of poor broadband provision for new housing development. We are prepared to explore further measures, including legislative options if necessary, in order to ensure residents get the connectivity they deserve.

26th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment his Department has made of the number of broadband cabinets that are (a) at capacity and (b) over capacity; and what assessment his Department has made of the effect of full to capacity cabinets on broadband speeds.

The department does not hold information on the overall number of cabinets that are currently at capacity. Thinkbroadband (www.thinkbroadband.com) have recently estimated that between 1,500 and 2,500 of Openreach’s 79,000 cabinets are at capacity at any point in time.

26th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what recent steps his Department has taken to prevent cold calls from call centres based abroad being routed through UK phone lines to appear as domestic telephone numbers.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) independently regulate the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, the framework which governs unsolicited direct marketing and nuisance calls. Unsolicited calls coming from beyond our jurisdiction remain a concern, although the ICO has not identified any noticeable or recent increase in volume in respect of this issue.

To help tackle the problem, the ICO engages with the Do Not Call Forum of the Unsolicited Communications Enforcement Network, which includes overseas regulators with responsibility for tackling nuisance calls. The ICO works with other members, including the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and regulators in South Africa and Australia, to drive forward co-ordinated actions, including sharing relevant intelligence. They are also exploring with local trade associations, representing call centres based in India and other countries, ways to work with relevant authorities to tackle the problem at source.

The Government have already forced companies to display their number when calling, and made it easier for the ICO to prosecute those in breach of direct marketing legislation. We continue to review the ICO's powers of enforcement, and will consider what we are able to do to assist them in tackling this problem.

18th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress has been made on introducing compulsory Relationships and Sex Education in schools by September 2019.

The Department is currently assessing the evidence gathered during an engagement process, including a call for evidence, to support decisions on the content of Relationships Education for primary schools and Relationships and Sex Education for secondary schools, and on the status of Personal, Social, Health and Economic education.

The Department plans to publish the results of the call for evidence shortly alongside a consultation on draft regulations and accompanying statutory guidance, before laying the regulations in the House for debate.

The Department is working towards schools being able to teach the new subjects from September 2019.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress the Government is making on engaging with stakeholders on the scope and content of Relationships and Sex Education; and if he will publish an (a) summary of evidence received and (b) list of those stakeholders.

The Department has conducted a thorough engagement process on the scope and content of Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education, and on the status of Personal, Social, Health and Economic education, involving a wide-range of interested stakeholders, including those representing the interests of LGBT groups such as Stonewall and Terrence Higgins Trust.

The Department has also sought views on these subjects from parents, teachers, young people and other interested parties through a call for evidence, which closed on 12 February. The call for evidence attracted over 23,000 responses.

The Department is currently considering the responses and will publish the outcome of the call for evidence and the engagement process in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
9th May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government's engagement with stakeholders on the scope and content of Relationships and Sex Education, if he will publish a summary of the evidence received from stakeholder groups representing LGBT people.

The Department has conducted a thorough engagement process on the scope and content of Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education, and on the status of Personal, Social, Health and Economic education, involving a wide-range of interested stakeholders, including those representing the interests of LGBT groups such as Stonewall and Terrence Higgins Trust.

The Department has also sought views on these subjects from parents, teachers, young people and other interested parties through a call for evidence, which closed on 12 February. The call for evidence attracted over 23,000 responses.

The Department is currently considering the responses and will publish the outcome of the call for evidence and the engagement process in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
27th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to adopt the REACH chemical use and transport regulations for chemicals produced and imported into the UK after the UK leaves the EU; and if he will make a statement.

The Withdrawal Bill will convert current EU law into domestic law wherever practical, giving consumers and businesses as much certainty as possible. This includes the REACH Regulation. The UK is strongly committed to the effective and safe management of chemicals. That will not change when we leave the EU.

As part of the exit negotiations the Government will discuss with the EU and the 27 Member States how best to continue cooperation in the field of chemicals regulation in the best interests of both the UK and the EU.

It would not be appropriate to pre-judge the outcome of the negotiations.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
27th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment on the consequences of the UK changing its regulatory standard away from the REACH chemical use and transport regulations for chemicals produced or imported into the UK once the UK leaves the EU.

The EU (Withdrawal) Bill will convert current EU law into domestic law. This will include REACH as well as other related chemicals regulation. This will mean that the standards established by REACH will continue to apply in the UK.

We will continue publishing impact assessments to accompany legislation, where appropriate. An impact assessment was published alongside the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.

Thérèse Coffey
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
21st May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, if he will make an assessment of the implications for the Government's policies of the conclusions of the the paper, Northern Ireland and the UK’s Exit from the EU, What do people think, published by Queen’s University Belfast in May 2018.

The Prime Minister reaffirmed her commitments at Mansion House, recognising the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland, and our shared commitments to avoiding a hard border, including any physical infrastructure and related checks and controls between Northern Ireland and Ireland. The Prime Minister has also been clear that we must ensure the same unfettered access for Northern Ireland’s business to the whole of the UK’s internal market. We want a deal that works for all parts of the community in Northern Ireland.

We have always been clear from the outset that the best way to achieve this is through the overall relationship between the UK and the EU. We agreed in the Joint Report that a backstop option to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and maintain the economic integrity of the UK should be translated into legally binding text. The Prime Minister has been clear that the current drafting of the EU’s backstop proposal is unacceptable and we will bring forward our own proposal.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether the Government plans to make it its policy to remove EU citizenship from UK citizens once the UK leaves the EU.

EU treaty provisions state that only citizens of EU Member States are able to hold EU citizenship. Therefore, when the UK ceases to be a member of the European Union, British nationals will no longer hold EU citizenship, unless they hold dual nationality with another EU Member State.

However, we know that in the future, many UK nationals will wish to continue to travel, live and work within the European Union, just as EU citizens will still wish to do so in the UK. We look forward to discussing our future relationship with the European Union, one which will work in the interest of both the UK and the EU.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
24th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, pursuant to the Answer of 21 December 2017 to Question 118696 on Brexit and the oral contribution of the Secretary of State for Scotland of 24 January 2018, what steps his Department is taking to make available the non-redacted sectoral reports to Members of the Scottish Parliament.

We have provided sectoral information to Parliament as required by the motion passed by the House of Commons on 1 November 2017. As we made clear on the 21 December 2017 in answer to Question 118696, the same information was shared with the devolved administrations and the reports are now the property of the House of Commons Committee on Exiting the European Union. The Committee made these reports partially available at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/exiting-the-european-union-committee/publications/


The Department will continue to balance our commitment to transparency with the need to protect information which could undermine the UK’s ability to negotiate the best deal for the UK. Ministers have a specific responsibility, which Parliament has endorsed, not to release information that would undermine our negotiating position.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
11th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether he plans to make available the sectoral analysis papers he provided to the Exiting the European Union Committee to members of the (a) Scottish Parliament, (b) the Northern Ireland Assembly and (b) members of the National Assembly for Wales; and if he will make a statement.

We have provided sectoral information to Parliament as required by the motion passed by the House of Commons on 1 November.


As we made clear in our written ministerial statement on 28 November, the same information was shared with the devolved administrations. You will be aware that under the Osmotherly Rules the reports are now the property of the aforementioned Committee. Therefore, you may wish to contact the Chair of the Commons Exiting the EU Committee directly.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
7th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what representations he has received from the social care sector on the effect of the UK leaving the EU on non-UK EU staff working in that sector.

Ministers from the Department for Exiting the European Union have organised and undertaken more than 400 recorded engagements with business and civil society stakeholders from every sector of the British economy since July 2016. Details of ministerial meetings are published in the Department’s Quarterly Transparency Returns, which are publicly available on GOV.UK.

The Government’s sector report on Medical Services and Social Care sets out a description of the sector and the current EU regulatory regime. This report has now been published by the Exiting the EU Committee.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
10th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2019 to Question 217138, what designation has been assigned to those complaints.

I refer the honourable gentlemen to the answer previously given in response to Question 217138. The Independent Case Examiner closed all live complaints concerning changes to women’s State Pension age when they became subject to legal proceedings, as is required under its governance contract. In the event the legal proceedings fall away or there is no determination on the matters which form the basis of this group of complaints, the Independent Case Examiner could consider reopening the cases at the request of the Department. The Department cannot evaluate the potential merits of making such a request until the legal proceedings have been concluded.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th May 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2019 to Question 217138, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of her Department instructing the Independent Case Examiner to reopen complaints relating to the equalisation of the state pension age cases in the event that legal proceedings fall away.

I refer the honourable gentlemen to the answer previously given in response to Question 217138. The Independent Case Examiner closed all live complaints concerning changes to women’s State Pension age when they became subject to legal proceedings, as is required under its governance contract. In the event the legal proceedings fall away or there is no determination on the matters which form the basis of this group of complaints, the Independent Case Examiner could consider reopening the cases at the request of the Department. The Department cannot evaluate the potential merits of making such a request until the legal proceedings have been concluded.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Feb 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 4 February 2019 to Question 214627 on State Retirement Pensions: Females, whether she plans to instruct her Department to re-open complaints relating to the equalisation of the state pension age in the event that (a) the matter is no longer the subject of legal proceedings and (b) there has been no legal determination on the issues which form the basis of the complaint to the Independent Case Examiner as set out in that Answer.

The Independent Case Examiner closed all live complaints concerning changes to women’s State Pension age when they became subject to legal proceedings, as is required under its governance contract. In the event the legal proceedings fall away or there is no determination on the matters which forms the basis of this group of complaint, the Independent Case Examiner could consider reopening the cases at the request of the Department.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether as a result of the ongoing judicial review into complaints in relation to the equalisation of state pension age, women that have lodged complaints that are being processed will have their complaints (a) paused or (b) closed until the judicial review is complete.

This government and the various other bodies are acting no differently to all previous governments subject to a legal challenge on such an issue.

Following the High Court’s decision on 30 November 2018 to grant the claimants permission to proceed to a full judicial review hearing on the changes to State Pension age, the department has reviewed its handling of such complaints.

The department has concluded that the issue in the Judicial Review does impact on the ongoing complaints. Therefore, the DWP has decided to temporarily suspend action on current and future complaints on State Pension age matters until the final court decision in the judicial review. We do not think it is appropriate for the DWP to investigate a matter that is currently being considered by the High Court. An update explaining this will be added to the gov.uk website, and anyone who has an affected complaint we will notify. Matters that are unrelated to the judicial review will be progressed as normal under DWP’s complaints procedure.

This approach is consistent with the decision taken by the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman. Following the decision of the High Court to grant permission for a judicial review to go ahead on the changes to State Pension age, the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman’s office has confirmed that they will be taking no further action on current and future complaints they receive on changes to State Pension age until the court proceedings conclude.

The Independent Case Examiner provides an independent review of complaints which remain unresolved following a final response from the DWP. As such, the Independent Case Examiner has also considered its position in light of the High Court decision. The Independent Case Examiner Office has no role to play in matters which are, or have been, the subject of legal proceedings. As a result, following the High Court decision, the Independent Case Examiners’ Office took action to close all live State Pension age complaints, in line with its agreed operational parameters.

The table provides information on the number of cases closed at the Independent Case Examiner relating to State Pension age changes, and the rationale for closing them. The number rejected (b) may increase (complaints cannot currently be accepted due to the judicial review).

Reason for complaint closure

Number

(a) Independent Case Examiner investigation report issued

192

(b) Rejected (the complaint failed to meet the Independent Case Examiner acceptance criteria)

1,598

(c) Withdrawn by complainant

1

(d) Closed following the High Court decision to grant permission for a judicial review of the Department’s handling of the change to women’s State Pension age – it is not within the Independent Case Examiner remit to consider issues which are, or have been, subject to legal proceedings.

2,505

In the event that the High Court makes no legal determination in respect of the complaint regarding State Pension age change, the Department will review its position once more and consider lifting the suspension.

At this point the Independent Case Examiner Office could, at the request of the Department, also re-open those complaints closed as a result of the judicial review. This would be on the understanding that: (a) the matter is no longer the subject of legal proceedings and (b) there has been no legal determination on the issues which form the basis of the complaint to the Independent Case Examiner.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has plans to revise the payment dates for universal credit payments over Christmas and new year to allow claimants whose specified payment date is on or after 25 December 2018 to be paid more than one working day in advance of 25 December 2018.

The Department has extensive experience of paying claimants over holiday periods and we have also paid Universal Credit to significant numbers of claimants over previous Christmas periods.

The Department will advance the timing of all payments for people affected by bank holidays, to make sure they have money over the festive period.

Universal Credit payments due to be received on 24, 25 and 26 December will be paid no later than 21 December.

Universal Credit payments due to be received on 30, 31 December and 1 January will receive payment no later than 31 December.

This information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/how-to-have-your-benefits-paid

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
12th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to universal credit, what estimate she has made of the (a) proportion of claimants who apply for an advanced payment that are successful, (b) number of claimants who seek a deferred payment of three months when repaying an advanced payment and (c) proportion of claimants who receive an advanced payment and apply successfully for a deferred payment.

I refer the hon Member to the reply to Question 176262 on 11 October.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
2nd Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 1 November 2018 to Question 185131 on Independent Case Examiner, if she will publish that same information for complaints by women on the equalisation of the state pension age.

Individual departments have set up complaints procedures. That approach has not changed under Labour 1997-2010 or successive governments. The DWP has a two tier complaints process which considers formal complaints about our service. Once a complainant has exhausted the DWP complaint process they are signposted to the Independent Case Examiner’s Office if they are dissatisfied with the final response to their complaint.

The Independent Case Examiner is independent, and discusses complaints. The Independent Case Examiner is appointed under contract to adjudicate on escalated complaints about the DWP, and its contracted service providers, in cases where the complainant has exhausted the relevant internal complaints process and remains dissatisfied. If a complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of an I Independent Case Examiner investigation (or the service provided by the Independent Case Examiner) they can ask their Member of Parliament to escalate their complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

The table below provides details of the number of complaints concerning the equalisation of women’s state pension age, that have been (a) received; (b) accepted for investigation and (c) resolved by the Independent Case Examiner in each month since January 2017 (we have interpreted (c) as a request for the number of concluded complaint examinations).

At the end of October 2018, there were 865 such cases awaiting a decision on whether the complaint could be accepted for investigation, which explains the drop in the number of cases accepted for investigation since April 2018.

Month

Complaints received

Complaints accepted for investigation

Concluded complaint examinations

January 2017

2

1

0

February 2017

26

5

0

March 2017

211

187

0

April 2017

172

157

0

May 2017

171

148

0

June 2017

144

124

1

July 2017

222

185

0

August 2017

290

243

0

September 2017

297

232

0

October 2017

418

338

3

November 2017

320

265

6

December 2017

222

177

4

January 2018

314

254

11

February 2018

240

210

28

March 2018

171

132

16

April 2018

196

2

11

May 2018

159

2

15

June 2018

147

2

30

July 2018

131

0

13

August 2018

108

5

14

September 2018

101

1

15

October 2018

119

0

14

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints have been (a) received, (b) accepted for investigation and (c) resolved by the Independent Case Examiner in each month since January 2017 for which information is available.

The table below provides details of the number of complaints (a) received; (b) accepted for investigation and (c) resolved by the Independent Case Examiner in each month since January 2017 (we have interpreted (c) as a request for the number of concluded complaint examinations).

Month

Complaints received

Complaints accepted for investigation

Concluded complaint examinations

January 2017

283

121

72

February 2017

250

92

70

March 2017

448

140

109

April 2017

380

244

58

May 2017

445

252

84

June 2017

391

226

85

July 2017

491

304

83

August 2017

507

336

69

September 2017

512

326

71

October 2017

664

428

81

November 2017

556

373

76

December 2017

358

66

65

January 2018

585

130

85

February 2018

517

82

82

March 2018

451

17

83

April 2018

479

177

74

May 2018

430

147

87

June 2018

444

309

108

July 2018

415

370

91

August 2018

442

238

104

September 2018

373

116

91

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the number of instances where universal credit claimants have not received universal credit payments due to being paid every four weeks rather than per calendar month.

The amount of Universal Credit paid reflects, as closely as possible, the actual circumstances of a household during each monthly assessment period, including any earnings reported by the employer during that assessment period, regardless of when they were paid. Monthly assessment is aligned to the way the majority of employees are paid and also allows Universal Credit to be adjusted each month. This means that if a claimant’s income falls, they will not have to wait several months for a rise in their Universal Credit.

Some claimants are paid in differing patterns, including four-weekly, fortnightly, weekly or on a variable day every month, which may mean that for some months these claimants receive two or more sets of earnings during one Universal Credit assessment period (AP). This may reduce, or in some cases completely reduce the Universal Credit award the claimant receives that month.

We have produced guidance to help ensure claimants, staff and representatives are aware of the importance of reporting accurate dates and the impact on payment cycles: this is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-different-earning-patterns-and-your-payments/universal-credit-different-earning-patterns-and-your-payments-payment-cycles.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
10th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people have contacted (a) her Department and (b) pension providers on having been unaware that they had a pension which had been contracted out.

Under successive governments the Department has never kept records on numbers contacting the Department or pension providers on having been unaware that they had a pension which had been contracted out.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Oct 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of 7 February 2018, Official Report, column 1489, when an online password reset function will be implemented for universal credit claimants.

Universal Credit Claimants are able to reset their password online unless they have forgotten all of their details.

We are currently making some improvements which we hope will simplify the process for claimants.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
24th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the causes of unsuccessful transfers from disability living allowance to personal independence payments in the Glasgow area, and if will she make a statement.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has different eligibility criteria and takes a more holistic view of a person’s health condition or disability and the impact it has on their ability to live an independent life, compared to Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Therefore, when someone on DLA is invited to claim PIP and is reassessed, the level of their award may stay the same, go up, down or cease altogether depending on the claimants assessed level of needs.

Source: Stat-Xplore – www.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

24th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to investigate the causes of the high proportion of unsuccessful transfers of disability living allowance claiminats to personal independence payments in the Glasgow area.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has different eligibility criteria and takes a more holistic view of a person’s health condition or disability and the impact it has on their ability to live an independent life, compared to Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Therefore, when someone on DLA is invited to claim PIP and is reassessed, the level of their award may stay the same, go up, down or cease altogether depending on the claimants assessed level of needs.

Source: Stat-Xplore – www.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

24th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the implications are for her policies of the finding in the June 2018 NAO report Rolling Out Universal Credit which questioned her expectation that most claimants would have enough money to manage over the initial waiting period.

Some claimants at the start of their Universal Credit claim an income, such as final earnings, to help them manage until their first payment. However, for Universal Credit claimants not in this position, advance payments have always been available in order to prevent financial hardship.

The Department had previously estimated 49% of Universal Credit claimants would apply for a new claims/benefit transfer advance (what the NAO report refers to as “most claimants not needing support”); however as the NAO report showed the actual figure is 60%. This clearly shows that claimants are being made aware of advances, that our advance system is being utilised and is working, and consequently that people are getting help when they need it.

Personal Budgeting Support (PBS) is also offered to Universal Credit claimants from the outset of their claim. PBS helps claimants as they transition to Universal Credit and adapt to the financial changes that Universal Credit brings. PBS can be online, telephone or face to face support. Face to face support is delivered through local authorities via Universal Support.

We constantly review the working of Universal Credit in line with our test and learn approach, and we have already implemented policy changes to address many of the concerns raised in the report. This includes the package of measures announced at the Autumn Budget 2017, such as making advances of up to 100% of the indicative award available and increasing the repayment period to 12 months, removing the 7 waiting days, providing an additional payment of 2 weeks of Housing Benefit to support claimants when they transition to Universal Credit, and changing how claimants in temporary accommodation receive support for their housing costs. People can claim advances as soon as they make their claim, so no-one needs to experience hardship when claiming Universal Credit or waiting for their first payment.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
24th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the effect of section 75 rules on debt calculations for multi-Employer Pension Schemes on directors of plumbing companies.

There are nearly 1,000 multi-employer schemes. The legislation requiring employers to pay debts applies to all. This legislation helps ensure employees receive the pension they have been promised and worked for.

The Green Paper “Protecting Defined Benefit Pensions” specifically discussed Multi Employer Schemes. The government looked closely at evidence submitted from employers and representatives from the Plumbing & Mechanical Services (UK) Industry Pension Scheme regarding this legislation. After careful consideration the government concluded that it cannot consider amending an important area of legislation further, which would disadvantage scheme members, just to address one particular scheme’s problems.

Summaries of the responses to the Green Paper can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/defined-benefit-pension-schemes-security-and-sustainability

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate has she made of the number of women who have seen an increase in the age threshold at which they can claim their state pension as a result of the Government's reforms to the equalisation of the state pension age.

The decision to equalise the State Pension age for men and women dates back to 1995 and has been supported by Coalition, Labour and Conservative governments since then.

The Office for National Statistics publishes annual mid-year population estimates for the UK and its constituent countries. These detail persons by single year of age and sex. The most recent data is for mid-2017 and was released in June 2018. It can be found at the below link:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/populationestimatesforukenglandandwalesscotlandandnorthernireland

The State Pension age is currently 64 years and 9 months for women and 65 for men. Female State Pension age will reach 65 in November 2018. State Pension age for women and men will then start to increase to reach 66 by September 2020.

The State Pension age timetable, showing when people with different dates of birth reach State Pension age, is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/310231/spa-timetable.pdf

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 4 June 2018 to Question 146980 on State Retirement Pensions: Females, what the average length of time taken was for a complaint in relation to the equalisation of the state pension age to be (a) received and referred to be Independent Case Examiners Office, (b) allocated to a case manager and (c) investigated by the case manager and a response issued to the complainant.

The Independent Case Examiner’s Office can only accept a complaint for examination once the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) complaint process has been exhausted. Final complaint responses from DWP signpost complainants to the ICE Office if they remain dissatisfied with the response to their complaint and tell them they have six months in which to do so.

In response to: (a) we do not collect information about the average time taken by complainants to escalate their complaint to the Independent Case Examiner’s Office, following receipt of DWPs final complaint response; (b) to date, the average time take to allocate complaints about the equalisation of state pension age to an investigation case manager is 47 weeks; and (c) following allocation to an investigation case manager the average time taken to conclude an investigation into this group of complaints is 9 weeks (against a target of 20 weeks).

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Funeral Expenses Payment claims there have been in each year since 2005.

Data on the amount claimed for Funeral Expenses Payments (FEPs) is not collated centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The number of FEP applications received by the DWP and awards as a proportion of FEP applications processed, in each calendar year since 2005, are given below in table 1. They are rounded to the nearest 0.1%. Figures are not given for 2018 as the calendar year is incomplete.

Due to the timing of application processing, figures on awards may relate to applications processed in the previous year.

Table 1: FEP applications received and proportion of FEP applications resulting in an award, Great Britain 2005 - 2017

Year

Applications received (000s)

Awards as a proportion of applications processed

2005

68.5

62.5%

2006

67.7

61.3%

2007

63.8

61.3%

2008

67.5

59.5%

2009

68.9

58.3%

2010

66.8

56.6%

2011

71

54.6%

2012

66.4

54.4%

2013

62.2

56.3%

2014

52.5

59.1%

2015

46.6

62.5%

2016

44.3

60.9%

2017

41.8

61.7%

Source: Social Fund Policy, Budget, and Management Information System

Notes:

  • These figures do not include applications that were processed clerically and have not been entered on to the Social Fund Computer System.
  • Figures on applications received differ from the number of applications processed by the DWP. Some applications may have been withdrawn before a decision was made.
  • The number of applications made in each year is not equal to the number of people who made applications in that year. An individual may make multiple applications in a given time period.
  • The proportion of FEP claims resulting in an award is calculated by dividing the number of awards in a given year by the number of applications processed by the DWP in a given year. The number of awards used in this calculation includes awards made after review, reconsideration or appeal following an initial refusal.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the average amount claimed for each funeral expenses payment in each year since 2005.

Data on the amount claimed for Funeral Expenses Payments (FEPs) is not collated centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The number of FEP applications received by the DWP and awards as a proportion of FEP applications processed, in each calendar year since 2005, are given below in table 1. They are rounded to the nearest 0.1%. Figures are not given for 2018 as the calendar year is incomplete.

Due to the timing of application processing, figures on awards may relate to applications processed in the previous year.

Table 1: FEP applications received and proportion of FEP applications resulting in an award, Great Britain 2005 - 2017

Year

Applications received (000s)

Awards as a proportion of applications processed

2005

68.5

62.5%

2006

67.7

61.3%

2007

63.8

61.3%

2008

67.5

59.5%

2009

68.9

58.3%

2010

66.8

56.6%

2011

71

54.6%

2012

66.4

54.4%

2013

62.2

56.3%

2014

52.5

59.1%

2015

46.6

62.5%

2016

44.3

60.9%

2017

41.8

61.7%

Source: Social Fund Policy, Budget, and Management Information System

Notes:

  • These figures do not include applications that were processed clerically and have not been entered on to the Social Fund Computer System.
  • Figures on applications received differ from the number of applications processed by the DWP. Some applications may have been withdrawn before a decision was made.
  • The number of applications made in each year is not equal to the number of people who made applications in that year. An individual may make multiple applications in a given time period.
  • The proportion of FEP claims resulting in an award is calculated by dividing the number of awards in a given year by the number of applications processed by the DWP in a given year. The number of awards used in this calculation includes awards made after review, reconsideration or appeal following an initial refusal.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of funeral expenses payment claims were successful in each year since 2005.

Data on the amount claimed for Funeral Expenses Payments (FEPs) is not collated centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The number of FEP applications received by the DWP and awards as a proportion of FEP applications processed, in each calendar year since 2005, are given below in table 1. They are rounded to the nearest 0.1%. Figures are not given for 2018 as the calendar year is incomplete.

Due to the timing of application processing, figures on awards may relate to applications processed in the previous year.

Table 1: FEP applications received and proportion of FEP applications resulting in an award, Great Britain 2005 - 2017

Year

Applications received (000s)

Awards as a proportion of applications processed

2005

68.5

62.5%

2006

67.7

61.3%

2007

63.8

61.3%

2008

67.5

59.5%

2009

68.9

58.3%

2010

66.8

56.6%

2011

71

54.6%

2012

66.4

54.4%

2013

62.2

56.3%

2014

52.5

59.1%

2015

46.6

62.5%

2016

44.3

60.9%

2017

41.8

61.7%

Source: Social Fund Policy, Budget, and Management Information System

Notes:

  • These figures do not include applications that were processed clerically and have not been entered on to the Social Fund Computer System.
  • Figures on applications received differ from the number of applications processed by the DWP. Some applications may have been withdrawn before a decision was made.
  • The number of applications made in each year is not equal to the number of people who made applications in that year. An individual may make multiple applications in a given time period.
  • The proportion of FEP claims resulting in an award is calculated by dividing the number of awards in a given year by the number of applications processed by the DWP in a given year. The number of awards used in this calculation includes awards made after review, reconsideration or appeal following an initial refusal.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the funeral expenses payment in covering average funeral costs.

The Department has not carried out such an assessment. Funeral costs vary by circumstance, and the Funeral Expenses Payments scheme continues to make a significant contribution towards the cost of a simple funeral for claimants on certain income based benefits or tax credits.

The Social Fund Funeral Expenses Payment scheme meets the necessary costs of a cremation or burial for eligible claimants, with the average Funeral Expenses Payment increasing year-on-year to meet the necessary costs. We also provide up to £700 for other costs. In 2016/17, my department made approximately 27,000 Funeral Expenses Payments, costing around £38.6 million.

In addition to Funeral Expenses Payments, my department provides interest-free Social Fund Budgeting Loans to help meet additional funeral costs for eligible claimants.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2018 to Question 150254, what estimate she has made of number of face-to-face interviews which have taken place as a result of a claimant forgetting all of their their universal credit online login details.

Password interviews and password reset only interviews are recorded under one interview type, and resets can also be conducted during any interview. Therefore quantifying and differentiating password reset interviews only is not possible.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
6th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 21 May 2018 to Question 905453 on Food Banks, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of commissioning independent research to analyse the factors which lead to food bank use.

The Department for Work and Pensions is currently reviewing research carried out by several organisations including the Trussell Trust, to add to our understanding of food bank use, and will consider requirements to add to its evidence base.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the numbers of universal credit claimants who have attended a face-to-face interview in a job centre to remind them of or reset their universal credit online login details.

The information requested is not available.

Passwords can be reset by claimants online. Interviews are only required if the claimant has forgotten all of their details, including their username and password, email address, and security questions.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
22nd May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the average length of time taken for a complaint in relation to the equalisation of the state pension age to be (a) received and referred to be Independent Case Examiners Office (b) allocated to a case manager and (c) investigated by the case manager and a response issued to the complainant.

The Independent Case Examiner’s Office can only accept a complaint for examination once the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) complaint process has been exhausted. Final complaint responses from DWP signpost complainants to the ICE Office if they remain dissatisfied with the response to their complaint and tell them they have six months in which to do so.

In response to: (a) we do not collect information about the average time taken by complainants to escalate their complaint to the Independent Case Examiner’s Office, following receipt of DWPs final complaint response; (b) to date, the average time take to allocate complaints about the equalisation of state pension age to an investigation case manager is 44 week; and (c) following allocation to an investigation case manger the average time taken to conclude an investigation into this group of complaints is 9 weeks (against a target of 20 weeks).

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2018 to Question 128375 on universal credit: internet, and the oral contribution of the Prime Minister in response to the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West on 7 February 2018, Official Report, column 1489, what progress she has made on the establishment of an online password reset function for universal credit claimants.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer I provided to Questions 131045 and 131046 on 08 March 2018.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
21st May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if the Government will commission independent research to assess trends in the number of people (a) signposted and (b) referred to food banks in areas where full service universal credit has been rolled out.

The Department has not carried out any research into trends in the number of people using food banks. The Department for Work and Pensions is currently reviewing research carried out by organisations including the Trussell Trust, to add to our understanding of food bank use.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st May 2018
What assessment her Department has made of trends in the number of people signposted or referred to food banks in areas where full service universal credit has been rolled out.

We have made no assessment of food bank use.

The reasons for food banks use are complex, so it’s wrong to attribute it to any one cause. The best way to help people improve their lives is through employment, and people on Universal Credit move into work faster and stay in work longer.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether people who take out a mortgage interest loan will be required to notify or seek the permission of their existing mortgage lender to do so.

Mortgage lenders do not require their borrowers who are Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) claimants to seek their permission to take an SMI loan. The Department will issue and manage SMI loans. The level of support will be calculated in the same way as under the current system and claimants and mortgage lenders will not see any difference in the payments they receive. The Department will notify lenders where a claimant decides to take up the offer of an SMI loan.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what provisions there are for the repayment of an SMI loan in the event of bankruptcy or home repossession; and whether such loan repayments will be prioritised over other existing debt in such an event.

Where possible, a legal charge will be secured over the claimant’s property as security for the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loan. The legal charge will rank below any pre-existing charges on the property including the mortgage. Pre-existing charge holders will always have priority in recovering their debt from the equity when a house is sold or in the event of bankruptcy and if the amount of equity available after the sale of the property is less than the amount due to be recovered the balance will be written off. Where a customer in receipt of SMI loan becomes bankrupt or enters an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) there is provision for SMI loan payments to continue if the claimant has a continuing liability to make mortgage repayments. The Department does not anticipate that the introduction of SMI loans will lead to an increase in the number of homes that are repossessed.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the support for mortgage interest loan will have implications for a person's credit rating.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loans are not a typical credit product and as such will not appear on a customer’s credit report. There is no requirement to make monthly repayments and the loan is only recoverable on the sale or transfer of the customer’s property.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2018 to Question 128116, what the average time taken is between (a) a complaint being received on the equalisation of the state pension age and (b) the completion of checks on that complaint to establish it can be accepted for examination by her Department's independent case examiner.

The average time taken from receipt of a complaint about the equalisation of the state pension age, to the point at which the Independent Case Examiner’s Office makes a decision on whether it can be accepted for examination is currently 4 weeks.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2018 to Question 128375, on Universal Credit: Internet, what funding the Government has made available for the development of IT systems for universal credit; and which private contractors her Department has commissioned to develop such systems.

Expenditure on the development of IT systems for Universal Credit to February 2018 is approximately £500 million.

The key IT providers who have supported the development include:

· Accenture

· IBM

· DXC

· CapGemini

· Capita

· Thoughtworks

· Mongo

· Oracle

· Experian

· Booking Bug

· SCC

· Computacenter

· BT

· RedHat

· Amazon Web Services

Development of the Universal Credit Full Service is being led by an in-house team.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2018 to Question 128375, on Universal Credit: Internet, if she will she set an estimated year of delivery for the development of an online password reset function for universal credit claimants.

Improvements to features including those for making payments to claimants, further enhancements to the security of the system and features to improve the experience of people with specific needs are being addressed before the online password reset. It would not be useful to produce a schedule of changes as they are constantly reviewed and adapted as we work in an agile environment.

We are continually delivering the functionality that gives the most value at any time, whilst ensuring the service is safe, secure and performing. This method ensures we will deliver this functionality at the most appropriate point.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
5th Mar 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2018 to Question 128375, on Universal Credit: Internet, if he will publish a timetable for those features mentioned which have a higher priority than the establishment of an online password reset function for universal credit claimants.

Improvements to features including those for making payments to claimants, further enhancements to the security of the system and features to improve the experience of people with specific needs are being addressed before the online password reset. It would not be useful to produce a schedule of changes as they are constantly reviewed and adapted as we work in an agile environment.

We are continually delivering the functionality that gives the most value at any time, whilst ensuring the service is safe, secure and performing. This method ensures we will deliver this functionality at the most appropriate point.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
26th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2018 to Question 128116, on State Retirement Pensions: Females, what steps her Department plans to take to address the outstanding complaints in a timely fashion and whether she (a) is seeking more funding for that purpose and (b) plans to appoint more investigator staff.

The Independent Case Examiner’s Office has established a dedicated team of investigation case managers from within existing resources, to examine this group of complaints. The resources allocated to the Office are reviewed on an annual basis; however, there are no plans to seek additional funding or appoint more investigation staff to consider this group of complaints.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2018 to Question 128116, on State Retirement Pensions: Females, how many complaints have been dismissed while undergoing checks to establish if they can be accepted for examination since 2 October 2017.

Between 2 October 2017 and 20 February 2018, the Independent Case Examiner’s Office declined to accept 243 complaints concerning the equalisation of State Pension age, as a result of checks to see if the complaint could be accepted for examination.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints received by the Independent Complaint Examiner on the equalisation of the state pension age since 2 October 2017; and how many of these complaints (a) have been resolved and (b) were not progressed to investigation.

We have interpreted this question as a request for information about: the number of complaints received about the equalisation of State Pension age between 2 October 2017 and 27 February 2018; the number investigations concluded into complaints about the equalisation of State Pension age between 2 October 2017 and 27 February 2018; and the total number of complaints about the equalisation of State Pension retirement age outstanding at 27 February 2018 (including those undergoing checks to determine whether the complaint can be accepted for examination; those awaiting examination; and those being investigated).

Between 2 October 2017 and 27 February 2018 the Independent Case Examiner’s Office received 1,476 complaints and concluded 52 investigations into complaints about the equalisation of State Pension age. On 27 February 2018, the Office had 2,492 outstanding complaints about the equalisation of state pension retirement age.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the average number of complaints reported to the Independent Case Examiner on the equalisation of the state pension age per month since 2 October 2017.

Since October 2017, the Independent Case Examiner’s Office has received on average 295 complaints a month concerning the equalisation of State Pension age.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what resources are available to the Independent Case Examiner for investigating complaints on the equalisation of the state pension age in terms of (a) number of staff, (b) operating budget and (c) cross departmental resources.

The Independent Case Examiner’s Office does not have a dedicated operating budget, or cross departmental resource available, for processing complaints concerning the equalisation of State Pension age. However there is a dedicated team of three investigation case managers tasked with investigating this group of complaints.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of including a replacement for the Reduced Earnings Allowance benefit within universal credit; and if she will make a statement.

Universal Credit already provides support for people with disabilities, both in and out of work. Specific help for injuries caused at work is still available to claimants outside of Universal Credit through the Industrial Injuries Scheme, which can include Reduced Earnings Allowance, providing eligibility conditions are met.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
19th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the oral answer of the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West on 7 February 2018, Official Report, column 1489, what progress she has made on the establishment of an online password reset function for universal credit claimants.

Establishing an online password reset function for claimants who lose their issued credentials is in the scope for development. But as a workable system is in place (i.e. appointments in Jobcentres) for those who have misplaced their credentials, it is not a priority for early development and deployment. The relative priority of other features which enable claims to be paid more quickly, appointments to be made on line, further enhancements to the security of the system and features to improve the experience of people with specific needs are ahead of this particular feature in our plans.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
19th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the average time taken for a reply to be issued to a complaint submitted to the Independent Case Examiner regarding the equalisation of the state pension age.

The average time taken to respond to complaints about the equalisation of state pension age, from the point at which the investigation of the complaint commenced, is currently 9.75 weeks.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will set out (a) the number of complaints relating to the equalisation of the state pension age that her Department's independent case examiner is currently considering and (b) the number of cases that the independent case examiner has resolved since 2 October 2017.

(a) Details of the number of complaints relating to the equalisation of state pension age, that are currently (as at 20th February 2018) being considered by the Independent Case Examiner’s Office are detailed below:

  • 369 complaints undergoing checks to establish if they can be accepted for examination
  • 1,800 complaints awaiting investigation
  • 36 complaints being investigated

(b) Since 2 October 2017, the Independent Case Examiner’s Office has issued 44 investigation reports into complaints about the equalisation of state pension age.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will set a maximum waiting time for responses to complaints regarding the equalisation of the state pension age received by the Independent Case Examiner.

We will not set a maximum waiting time for responses to complaints regarding the equalisation of state pension age.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January to Question 123049, if the Government will review the guidelines for decisions on mandatory reconsiderations for employment support allowance claims to take account of the decline in the number of cases in which the mandatory reconsideration decision is upheld since the introduction of that system.

Mandatory reconsideration benefits claimants, as it enables (i) the Department to provide a clear explanation of the decision; (ii) the claimant a further opportunity to present their case, including providing new evidence; and (iii) crucially, for decisions to be changed at the earliest opportunity, when appropriate.

The overturn rate of appeals does not mean that mandatory reconsideration is not working. The main reason decisions are overturned on appeal is due to additional evidence, both oral and written, being provided at tribunal, which was not previously available at the initial decision or the mandatory reconsideration stage.


There are strands of work in progress to drive continuous improvement in the appeals process. This includes improving the way further evidence is collected to ensure all relevant information is available to decision makers at the earliest opportunity and the recruitment of approximately 150 Presenting Officers who represent DWP cases at Tribunals and provide valuable insight into why decisions are overturned.

1st Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of (a) personal independence payments and (b) employment support allowance cases subject to a mandatory reconsideration decision were subsequently taken forward to tribunal in each of the last five years.

The number of Personal Independent Payment (PIP) Mandatory Reconsiderations (MRs) cleared can be found in the official published statistics: “Data tables: Personal Independence Payment: Official Statistics to October 2017”. The relevant data can be found in Tavle 7b. This data shows the number of mandatory reconsiderations for New Claims and Reassessments broken down by month since PIP was introduced:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/personal-independence-payment-april-2013-to-october-2017

The number of mandatory reconsiderations (MRs) and appeals from Employment Support Allowance (ESA) Work Capability Assessments can be found in the official published statistics: “ESA: outcomes of Work Capability Assessments including mandatory reconsiderations and appeals: December 2017”. The relevant data can be found in Table 17.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-december-2017

The number of appeals registered for both benefits can be found in the official published statistics: “Tribunals and gender recognition certificate statistics quarterly – July to September 2017”. The relevant data can be found in table SSCS.1 in the “Main Tables (July to September 2017)” document.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunals-and-gender-recognition-certificate-statistics-quarterly-july-to-september-2017

31st Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2018 to Question 123047, if the Government will review the guidelines for decisions on mandatory reconsiderations for personal independence payments to take account of the decline in the number of cases in which the mandatory reconsideration decision is upheld since the introduction of that system.

Mandatory reconsideration benefits claimants, as it enables (i) the Department to provide a clear explanation of the decision; (ii) the claimant a further opportunity to present their case, including providing new evidence; and (iii) crucially, for decisions to be changed at the earliest opportunity, when appropriate.

The overturn rate of appeals does not mean that mandatory reconsideration is not working. The main reason decisions are overturned on appeal is due to additional evidence, both oral and written, being provided at tribunal, which was not previously available at the initial decision or the mandatory reconsideration stage

There are strands of work in progress to drive continuous improvement in the appeals process. This includes improving the way further evidence is collected to ensure all relevant information is available to decision makers at the earliest opportunity and the recruitment of approximately 150 Presenting Officers who represent DWP cases at Tribunals and provide valuable insight into why decisions are overturned.

30th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2018 to Question 124678, on Universal Credit, which programme is dealing with the implementation of the automated login system; and what the cost of that programme is.

The Universal Credit programme deals with the implementation of the automated login system. Overall investment costs of Universal Credit, for the 10 year lifetime of the programme, are estimated at £1.7bn.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
25th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of errors in benefit payments resulting from claimants moving from one job centre catchment area to another, particularly when one jobcentre operates universal credit and the other does not.

Full guidance is made available to all DWP staff on what action is required when a claimant moves to a different area. To assist with this process, claimants are made aware of what steps they need to take to ensure that there are no delays in their payments. Work coaches and colleagues in service centres work hard to ensure that any errors made are kept to a minimum and rectified promptly.

If a claimant moves out of a postcode area where Universal Credit Full Service is delivered into a postcode area where it is not, their Universal Credit Full Service claim will remain open.

Their previous office would retain ownership of their records and, in collaboration with the new site, work with the claimant to move them closer to or into work. The claim would then transfer fully when the new office the claimant is now attending begins to deliver Universal Credit Full Service.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
25th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department has issued to jobcentres on processing claimants who have moved from one job centre catchment area to another, particularly when a claimant moves to or from a universal credit full service rollout area to one that does not yet offer universal credit.

Full guidance is made available to all DWP staff on what action is required when a claimant moves to a different area. To assist with this process, claimants are made aware of what steps they need to take to ensure that there are no delays in their payments. Work coaches and colleagues in service centres work hard to ensure that any errors made are kept to a minimum and rectified promptly.

If a claimant moves out of a postcode area where Universal Credit Full Service is delivered into a postcode area where it is not, their Universal Credit Full Service claim will remain open.

Their previous office would retain ownership of their records and, in collaboration with the new site, work with the claimant to move them closer to or into work. The claim would then transfer fully when the new office the claimant is now attending begins to deliver Universal Credit Full Service.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
24th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2018 to Question 123035, what estimate her Department has made of the cost of introducing an automated system for universal credit claimants to reset their login details.

In line with programmes of this size, it is not our policy to cost individual features. Costs are managed at a programme level.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
17th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to tackle miscalculations of child maintenance liabilities by paying parents who are (a) self-employed or (b)company directors.

The Child Maintenance Service’s definition of income includes almost all sources of gross income reported to HMRC by company directors or self-employed parents. The specially trained Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) are able to look into cases where there is concern about a parent’s income. The FIU has been expanded since it was set up in 2014; and between July and September 2017 it opened 1100 complex earner investigations. We recently launched a consultation on our new Child Maintenance Compliance and Arrears strategy which proposes further improvements to the treatment of the income of complex earners, such as high value assets owned by a parent being used to create a notional income.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if the Government will issue new guidance to Financial Investigation Units in the Child Maintenance Service for dealing with miscalculations of child maintenance liabilities by paying parents who are self-employed or company directors.

Current guidance for all Child Maintenance Service caseworkers is to refer cases to the Financial Investigations Unit (FIU) should there be any credible, evidence based challenges to a child maintenance assessment which are unable to be resolved through our routine income verification processes.

The guidance used by FIU Investigators is updated as required in regards to all areas for investigation including possible miscalculations of maintenance for clients who are deemed complex earners.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will review the accuracy of reporting on DLA and PIP assessments; and if she will update best practice guidance for producing these reports.

As Personal Independence Payment has replaced Disability Living Allowance for people aged 16 to 64, the vast majority of Disability Living Allowance claims are decided on the basis of self-reporting of need. Where a medical assessment is required, the Department has published comprehensive guidance for Health Professionals on how to complete the assessment report. This guidance was last updated in July 2017.

As the majority of assessments are now undertaken on Personal Independence Payment, we work closely with the Assessment Providers to further improve the quality of assessments which includes ensuring their assessment reports are to the standard that the Department expects and are completed within an optimum timeframe. We have a programme of continuous improvement which includes Assessment Providers increasing clinical coaching, along with feedback and support available to each assessor. We are undertaking more observations of assessments and have introduced an independent audit of assessment reports to ensure that the advice provided to the Department’s Case Managers is of suitable quality, fully explained and justified. We will commit to progress the recommendations in Paul Gray’s second independent review around quality and consistency of Personal Independence Payment assessments.

The Personal Independent Payment Assessment Guide provides comprehensive guidance for Health Professionals regarding all aspects of the assessment process including completion of assessment reports. This guide is updated regularly and was last updated December 2017.

16th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 January 2019 to Question 121059, on universal credit, what data and research the Government would require before it would judge an automated system to be approved.

I refer the Hon. Gentleman to the answers of 8 January 2018 to Question 121059 and 21 December 119929.

Our design priorities are constantly being evaluated and updated. This means the Department has not yet set a date for implementation of the automated system.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
16th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 January 2018 to Question 121059, whether the Government is conducting data collection and research on the use of an automated system for universal credit claimants.

I refer the Hon. Gentleman to the answers of 8 January 2018 to Question 121059 and 21 December 119929.

Our design priorities are constantly being evaluated and updated. This means the Department has not yet set a date for implementation of the automated system.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
16th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether it is her policy to implement an automated system for universal credit claimants to reset their login details; and what the timetable is for setting up such a system.

I refer the Hon. Gentleman to the answers of 8 January 2018 to Question 121059 and 21 December 119929.

Our design priorities are constantly being evaluated and updated. This means the Department has not yet set a date for implementation of the automated system.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
16th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of paying parents involved in pay arrangements though the child maintence service who are listed as self-employed or as company directors.

The department does not hold data on the number of paying parents who are acting as company directors.

The Child Maintenance Service is currently in the process of assuring employment data and therefore this will be available at a future date when it would be released in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the transfer from disability living allowance to personal independence payments is made effectively; and what representations she has received on claimants whose payments have changed significantly despite there being no change in their circumstances.

The claiming process for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), including the arrangements to invite existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants to claim PIP, was co-produced with the assistance of disabled people, carers and their representative support organisations to ensure it works effectively. Up to the end of October 2017 nearly 1,177,000 DLA to PIP claims had been registered, of which nearly 1,100,000 claims had been cleared. To ensure continuity of payment, DLA claimants continue to get paid while their PIP claim is being assessed.

The Secretary of State and Ministers receive a wide range of representations about PIP from individuals, organisations and Parliamentarians. However, as PIP is a different benefit to DLA, with different assessment criteria, someone moving from DLA to PIP will not automatically be entitled to PIP, or guaranteed the same level of award. PIP is intended to focus support on those who need it most and 38 per cent of those previously in receipt of DLA are currently receiving the highest possible rate of benefit compared with only 15 per cent on DLA of working age at May 2013.

16th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of ESA cases taken to tribunal following a failed mandatory reconsideration are successful in changing the original decision.

The percentage of PIP and ESA appeals cleared at a tribunal hearing where the appeal decision was in favour of the claimant can be found in Table SSCS.3 of the quarterly bulletin “Tribunals and gender recognition certificate statistics quarterly – July to September 2017”.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunals-and-gender-recognition-certificate-statistics-quarterly-july-to-september-2017

These figures include all Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) decisions subsequently appealed - not just ‘failed’ MRs where the original decision has been maintained, but also MRs where the award was changed but which were still disputed.

16th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of PIP cases taken to tribunal following a failed mandatory reconsideration are successful in changing the original decision.

The percentage of PIP and ESA appeals cleared at a tribunal hearing where the appeal decision was in favour of the claimant can be found in Table SSCS.3 of the quarterly bulletin “Tribunals and gender recognition certificate statistics quarterly – July to September 2017”.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunals-and-gender-recognition-certificate-statistics-quarterly-july-to-september-2017

These figures include all Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) decisions subsequently appealed - not just ‘failed’ MRs where the original decision has been maintained, but also MRs where the award was changed but which were still disputed.

16th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of amount to be loaned to homeowners in the first year following the conversion of the Support for Mortgage Interest benefit to a loan.

Based on the assumptions in the 2017 Impact Assessment available at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukia/2017/117/pdfs/ukia_20170117_en.pdf

the Department estimates that £156m will be loaned to homeowners in 2018/19, which is the first year following conversion of the Support for Mortgage Interest benefit to a loan.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 21 December 2017 to Question 119929 on universal credit, when the automated system will be be operational.

In order to roll out Universal Credit safely and securely, improvements are built into the Universal Credit IT system using a test and learn approach. We learn from our data and research before features are considered, approved and progressed. Implementing the automated system is important to us and will be prioritised in due course.

21st Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many jobcentre premises were closed in 2017, including centres that were merged with larger jobcentres or co-located in other government buildings.

Since the Written Ministerial Statement laid out in Parliament on 5 July 2017 confirming our plan to rationalise the DWP estate, the Department has closed 46 jobcentres up to and including 20 December 2017.

The staff and services from 26 jobcentres have merged into nearby, larger Jobcentre offices, and there have been 20 co-locations with Local Authorities.

21st Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the average distance a claimant travels to reach their nearest job centre for an appointment; and what the average distance is in rural areas.

DWP does not collect information on the travel times and distances for individual claimants.

When DWP looked at proposed jobcentre closures, there was a reasonable expectation that claimants can travel 3 miles or 20 minutes by public transport to a new jobcentre location from their existing jobcentre.

There are large areas of the country where claimants have always travelled further than this.

If claimants are experiencing any difficulties with accessing DWP services, they should discuss their issues with their work coach who will be happy to help overcome any issues affecting their claim or work search.

18th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether some universal credit claimants are being required to attend in-person appointments to reset their universal credit login details; and if he will ensure that all universal credit claimants are able to amend their account details using online portals.

Currently, Universal Credit requires claimants to attend the Jobcentre for a face to face interview to reset their Universal Credit login in details. We plan to automate this process in the very near future.

14th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average waiting time was for claimants of universal credit from (a) the opening of a universal credit account and (b) an interview at a job centre to the first payment of universal credit.

The information is not available in the format requested. However, we do have data for the declaration date to payment date.

Data published on 2 October 2017 shows that, 81% of new Universal Credit households received their first payment in full and on time. Across the whole of Universal Credit 92% of all households received full payment on time. The published data can be found here. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/universal-credit-payment-timeliness-january-to-june-2017

The policy intention is that claimants receive the first payment 5 weeks after their date of entitlement (6 weeks if waiting days are served). This mirrors the world of work and allows for time in which to gather information about a claimant’s earnings.

Our internal data shows that for those cases where full payment has not been made, around a sixth, have not signed their Claimant Commitment or passed identity checks . The others have outstanding verification issues, for example, housing, self-employed earnings and child-care costs.

14th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has received any representations on technical and administration problems regarding the transfer of claimants from employment and support allowance to universal credit.

Our Ministerial Correspondence Team has not received any letters relating to claimants facing technical or administrative problems when transferring from Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to Universal Credit.

However, Universal Credit Programme colleagues have received representations from various customer support groups seeking clarification of the ESA to UC journey for their service users. These concerns have been raised informally at engagement events as well as through more formal routes into the Programme.

As a result, the Department has worked to produce a set of communications, to help local partnership managers better explain the ESA to UC journey to our stakeholders.

In addition we are improving the learning for work coaches and case managers to better understand the process and how to support claimants effectively.

14th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the change in the real terms value of the maximum amount of benefit entitlement as a result of inflation since the introduction of the benefit cap in November 2016.

The Work and Pensions Secretary of State has a duty to review the Lower Benefit Cap levels once in each Parliament with regard to the national economic situation and any other matters he considers relevant, as set out in the 2016 Welfare Reform and Work Act. New lower and tiered Benefit Cap rates were introduced from November 2016 prior to the election in June 2017. We intend to review the Lower Benefit Cap during this Parliament.

For context, outside of London, around 4 in 10 households have net earnings less than the £20,000 cap level. In London around 4 in 10 households have net earnings of less than the £23,000 cap level.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Nov 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what financial assistance is available to unemployed claimants of universal credit and jobseekers allowance who are unable to use public transport and are required to attend job centre appointments.

Whilst it is Government Policy to encourage people to use public transport, it is recognised that there will be circumstances where this is not possible, for example when a person is infirm or disabled, public transport is not available, or the customer is accompanied by a helper or support worker. This can be discussed with the Work Coach.

Work Coaches already have flexibility to support claimants who are required to attend regular Jobcentre Plus appointments.

Alternative arrangements can be made for claimants who live more than one hour away from their nearest Jobcentre Plus office using public transport and for journeys which result in an absence from home of four hours or more. In these circumstances claimants can engage with us through digital or telephony channels or exceptionally by post for Jobseekers Allowance claimants.

16th Nov 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department has carried out an equality impact assessment on the move from implicit to explicit consent for third-party agencies assisting universal credit claimants.

There was no move from implicit to explicit consent in the Universal Credit Full Service (UCFS). UCFS was conceived on the basis that explicit consent would be required owing to the need for higher levels of security for claimants and their data.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of PIP cases taken to tribunal following a failed mandatory reconsideration are successful in changing the original decision.

The percentage of PIP and ESA appeals cleared at a tribunal hearing where the appeal decision was in favour of the claimant can be found in Table SSCS.3 of the quarterly bulletin “Tribunals and gender recognition certificate statistics quarterly – July to September 2017”.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunals-and-gender-recognition-certificate-statistics-quarterly-july-to-september-2017

These figures include all Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) decisions subsequently appealed - not just ‘failed’ MRs where the original decision has been maintained, but also MRs where the award was changed but which were still disputed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of ESA cases taken to tribunal following a failed mandatory reconsideration are successful in changing the original decision.

The percentage of PIP and ESA appeals cleared at a tribunal hearing where the appeal decision was in favour of the claimant can be found in Table SSCS.3 of the quarterly bulletin “Tribunals and gender recognition certificate statistics quarterly – July to September 2017”.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunals-and-gender-recognition-certificate-statistics-quarterly-july-to-september-2017

These figures include all Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) decisions subsequently appealed - not just ‘failed’ MRs where the original decision has been maintained, but also MRs where the award was changed but which were still disputed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of amount to be loaned to homeowners in the first year following the conversion of the Support for Mortgage Interest benefit to a loan.

Based on the assumptions in the 2017 Impact Assessment available at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukia/2017/117/pdfs/ukia_20170117_en.pdf

the Department estimates that £156m will be loaned to homeowners in 2018/19, which is the first year following conversion of the Support for Mortgage Interest benefit to a loan.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
1st Mar 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential correlation between the use of sunbeds for tanning the risk of skin cancer; and if he will make a statement.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation-emitting tanning devices, including sunbeds, were classified in 2009 as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer based on consistent evidence of a positive association between their use and incidence of melanoma.

In 2009, the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment published advice to United Kingdom Government on the health effects and risks from UV sunbeds and concluded that there is evidence to suggest an increased risk of skin cancer among those who use sunbeds before the age of 35. The Committee's Report is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/comare-13th-report

The World Health Organization (WHO) report on ‘Artificial tanning devices: public health interventions to manage sunbeds’ states that melanoma risk increases with younger age of first sunbed use and with greater lifetime use of sunbeds. The WHO report can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.who.int/uv/publications/artificial-tanning-devices/en/

A systematic review in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) showed that people who have used a sunbed at least once at any stage in their life have a 20% higher risk of developing melanoma than people who have never used a sunbed, and the first use of sunbeds before the age of 35 increases the risk of developing melanoma by 59%. The BMJ report can be viewed at the following link:

https://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e4757.long

16th Jan 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the recommendations of the World Health Organization report, Artificial tanning devices: public health interventions to manage sunbeds, published in 2017.

Public Health England (PHE) contributed to the revision of the World Health Organization (WHO) report, ‘Artificial tanning devices: public health interventions to manage sunbeds’. The recommendations in the report are in line with PHE advice and the recommendations of the 13th report of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE). The full COMARE report is available to view at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/comare-13th-report

18th Dec 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will seek discussions with his Israeli counterpart on the Israeli Government's decision to restrict the ability of the Palestinian Ministry of Health to import vaccines.

We regularly raise the urgent need to ease all access and movement restrictions with Israeli authorities. The availability of some medical supplies and services in the Occupied Palestinian Territories can be restricted by Israeli security procedures. The UK Government supports a project that provides medical equipment and training to medical professionals in Gaza.

20th Feb 2018
What steps he is taking to challenge human rights abuses in other countries.

Championing and defending human rights is central to this government’s foreign policy. FCO ministers regularly raise human rights issues at senior level with foreign governments. We also defend human rights in multilateral fora, and deliver projects funded by the Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy.

7th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reports he has received on the alleged torture of Jagtar Singh Johal in Punjab.

​Consular staff in India were made aware of allegations of mistreatment through Mr Johal's legal representation. Consular staff have visited Mr Johal on several occasions since early November and are in contact with his lawyer. Our priority is to inquire about these specific allegations with Mr Johal in private. With his consent we will then raise any allegations made with the relevant authorities. When considering how to act, we will avoid any action that might put the individual in question or any other person that may be affected at risk.

4th Jun 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his Department's news story of 3 May 2019, Cash here to stay as government commits to protecting access, if he will publish the remit of the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group.

As part of our response to the Call for Evidence on access to cash, the Government announced that the Treasury would set up and chair the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy (JACS) Group.

The Group brings together the Bank of England, Payments Systems Regulator and Financial Conduct Authority. This was in recognition of the need to ensure joined-up oversight of the UK’s cash infrastructure, in light of the changing behaviours and preferences of consumers and businesses.

The Group will coordinate strategy across members, to ensure that the roles and responsibilities of each regulator remain clear and relevant, and that the effects of regulatory activities are evaluated across the full end-to-end cash system. The Group does not affect the statutory responsibilities of individual regulators.

The Group is up and running and further details of its activities will be announced in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Jun 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his Department's news story of 3 May 2019, Cash here to stay as government commits to protecting access, if he will publish the schedule of meetings of the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group; and whether minutes will be taken at those meetings.

As part of our response to the Call for Evidence on access to cash, the Government announced that the Treasury would set up and chair the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy (JACS) Group.

The Group brings together the Bank of England, Payments Systems Regulator and Financial Conduct Authority. This was in recognition of the need to ensure joined-up oversight of the UK’s cash infrastructure, in light of the changing behaviours and preferences of consumers and businesses.

The Group will coordinate strategy across members, to ensure that the roles and responsibilities of each regulator remain clear and relevant, and that the effects of regulatory activities are evaluated across the full end-to-end cash system. The Group does not affect the statutory responsibilities of individual regulators.

The Group is up and running and further details of its activities will be announced in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Jun 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if his Department will publish in full any recommendations produced by the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group.

As part of our response to the Call for Evidence on access to cash, the Government announced that the Treasury would set up and chair the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy (JACS) Group.

The Group brings together the Bank of England, Payments Systems Regulator and Financial Conduct Authority. This was in recognition of the need to ensure joined-up oversight of the UK’s cash infrastructure, in light of the changing behaviours and preferences of consumers and businesses.

The Group will coordinate strategy across members, to ensure that the roles and responsibilities of each regulator remain clear and relevant, and that the effects of regulatory activities are evaluated across the full end-to-end cash system. The Group does not affect the statutory responsibilities of individual regulators.

The Group is up and running and further details of its activities will be announced in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
3rd May 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending (a) the marriage allowance and (b) other benefits to long-term cohabiting couples.

The Government introduced the Marriage Allowance in April 2015. Every time the personal allowance increases, the Marriage Allowance automatically becomes more generous.

The increase to personal allowance to £12,500 means that, from April this year, eligible couples will be able to transfer £1,250, compared to £1,060 in 2015-16. This means that in 2019-20, eligible couples can receive a tax reduction of up to £250, or £1,150 if they make a backdated claim to 2015-16.

The Marriage Allowance was introduced specifically to recognise marriage and civil partnerships in the tax system. Therefore, the Government has made no assessment of extending Marriage Allowance to cohabiting couples.

The majority of benefits are paid on a household basis and the Government currently has no plans to change this.

26th Mar 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the final report of the Access to cash review published on 6 March 2019; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK. Government has been engaging and will continue to engage with the regulators and industry on this topic.

The Treasury initiated a discussion on payment methods at Spring Statement 2018 through a Call for Evidence on Cash & Digital Payments in the New Economy. This sought to gather evidence on how changing preferences for cash and digital payments impact on different sectors, regions and demographics.

The Government welcomes the recent Access to Cash Review, which is an important contribution to the debate on cash and which will help inform our future policy development.

The Government will formally respond to the Call for Evidence in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Feb 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the (a) Bank of England, (b) Financial Conduct Authority and (c) Payment Systems Regulator on the availability of access to cash through (i) ATMs and (ii) other means.

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK. Government has been engaging and will continue to engage with the regulators and industry, including both the Payment Systems Regulator and LINK (the scheme that runs the UK’s ATM network), on this topic. For example, last year we conducted a call for evidence on cash and digital payments in the new economy. This explored how the trend from cash to digital payments impacts on different sectors, different regions and different demographics. The Government will formally respond to the call for evidence in due course.

The Government established the Payment Systems Regulator with a statutory duty to ensure that payment systems work well for those who use them. As part of this, the PSR regulates LINK and is closely monitoring developments within ATM provision. LINK has committed to maintain the broad geographical coverage of the ATM network in the UK. The PSR has used its powers to hold LINK to account over its commitments and to ensure LINK reports to it on a regular basis.

Government also notes that LINK has commissioned an independent review (chaired by Natalie Ceeney) which is looking at long-term access to cash.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Feb 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if the Government will include in the statutory objectives of the Payment Systems Regulator powers to protect access to cash; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK. Government has been engaging and will continue to engage with the regulators and industry, including both the Payment Systems Regulator and LINK (the scheme that runs the UK’s ATM network), on this topic. For example, last year we conducted a call for evidence on cash and digital payments in the new economy. This explored how the trend from cash to digital payments impacts on different sectors, different regions and different demographics. The Government will formally respond to the call for evidence in due course.

The Government established the Payment Systems Regulator with a statutory duty to ensure that payment systems work well for those who use them. As part of this, the PSR regulates LINK and is closely monitoring developments within ATM provision. LINK has committed to maintain the broad geographical coverage of the ATM network in the UK. The PSR has used its powers to hold LINK to account over its commitments and to ensure LINK reports to it on a regular basis.

Government also notes that LINK has commissioned an independent review (chaired by Natalie Ceeney) which is looking at long-term access to cash.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Feb 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions the Government has had with the Payment Systems Regulator on its review of cash infrastructure; and what the timeframe is for the publication of (a) further details on the review and (b) the review itself.

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK. Government has been engaging and will continue to engage with the regulators and industry, including both the Payment Systems Regulator and LINK (the scheme that runs the UK’s ATM network), on this topic. For example, last year we conducted a call for evidence on cash and digital payments in the new economy. This explored how the trend from cash to digital payments impacts on different sectors, different regions and different demographics. The Government will formally respond to the call for evidence in due course.

The Government established the Payment Systems Regulator with a statutory duty to ensure that payment systems work well for those who use them. As part of this, the PSR regulates LINK and is closely monitoring developments within ATM provision. LINK has committed to maintain the broad geographical coverage of the ATM network in the UK. The PSR has used its powers to hold LINK to account over its commitments and to ensure LINK reports to it on a regular basis.

Government also notes that LINK has commissioned an independent review (chaired by Natalie Ceeney) which is looking at long-term access to cash.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Dec 2018
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when his Department plans to publish its response to the call for evidence on cash and digital payments in the new economy that closed on 5 June 2018.

The Call for Evidence produced a wide range of evidence, which requires thoughtful consideration.

We have recently announced that the denominational mix of notes and coins would not change. Response to other matters will be made in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jul 2018
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate he has made of the (a) average level and (b) total value of personal debt in the UK.

The household debt-to-income ratio was 140% in Q1 2018, significantly below its pre-crisis high of 160% in Q1 2008.

The independent Financial Policy Committee was set up by the government to assess and mitigate financial stability risks, including from household debt. The FPC has taken action to ensure against a significant rise in highly indebted households.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jul 2018
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the proposed extension of IR35 off-payroll tax rules to the private sector with the recommendations of the 2017 Good Work: Taylor review of modern working practices.

The Government is currently consulting on non-compliance with the off-payroll working rules (known as IR35). As part of the consultation, officials are meeting a wide range of business leaders, representative bodies and other stakeholders.

Once the consultation finishes on 10 August 2018, the Government will consider responses received, including comments raised at meetings with stakeholders, and will issue its response in due course.

The Government is fully aware of the links between the off-payroll working rules and the Taylor review of modern working practices. It has recently consulted on whether and how employment status rules might be reformed in the longer-term.

Any potential impact on businesses will depend on the outcome of the ongoing consultation.

16th Jul 2018
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the validity of the concerns of the CEO of Contract Calculator on the extension of the IR35 off-payroll tax rules to the private sector.

The Government is currently consulting on non-compliance with the off-payroll working rules (known as IR35). As part of the consultation, officials are meeting a wide range of business leaders, representative bodies and other stakeholders.

Once the consultation finishes on 10 August 2018, the Government will consider responses received, including comments raised at meetings with stakeholders, and will issue its response in due course.

The Government is fully aware of the links between the off-payroll working rules and the Taylor review of modern working practices. It has recently consulted on whether and how employment status rules might be reformed in the longer-term.

Any potential impact on businesses will depend on the outcome of the ongoing consultation.

16th Jul 2018
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential increased cost of hiring contractors as a result of the extension of IR35 off-payroll tax into the private sector.

The Government is currently consulting on non-compliance with the off-payroll working rules (known as IR35). As part of the consultation, officials are meeting a wide range of business leaders, representative bodies and other stakeholders.

Once the consultation finishes on 10 August 2018, the Government will consider responses received, including comments raised at meetings with stakeholders, and will issue its response in due course.

The Government is fully aware of the links between the off-payroll working rules and the Taylor review of modern working practices. It has recently consulted on whether and how employment status rules might be reformed in the longer-term.

Any potential impact on businesses will depend on the outcome of the ongoing consultation.

22nd Jan 2018
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will consider the merits of introducing rules to govern the provision of free to use cash machines (a) within a given geographic area and (b) on the basis of per head of population.

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK. Government has been engaging and will continue to engage with industry, including LINK, to ensure that this access is maintained.

The Government has not made any formal assessment of the potential effect of LINK’s proposals to change the interchange fee rate on consumers or small businesses, including in Scotland. However, the Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), which Government set up as an independent regulator in 2015 with a statutory objective to ensure that the UK’s payment systems work in the interests of their users, is monitoring developments within ATM provision, and is conducting ongoing work on the impact that changes may have. The PSR has recently published a summary of their work to date, which can be found at https://www.psr.org.uk/psr-focus/the-UK-ATM-network.

The PSR has committed to using its powers to act should any of the firms it regulates behave in a way that conflicts with its statutory objectives.

LINK has assured the Government and the PSR that industry is committed to maintaining an extensive network of free-to-use cash machines, and to ensuring that the present geographical spread of ATMs is maintained. LINK intends to bolster its Financial Inclusion Programme, which ensures the provision of ATMs in areas of deprivation, where demand would not otherwise make one viable, and has also committed to protecting all free-to-use ATMs which are a kilometre or more from the next nearest free-to-use ATM.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jan 2018
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the relationship between the availability of bank branches and the numbers of loans issued to small and medium sized enterprises.

The Treasury has no made no such assessments. The decision to open and close branches remains a commercial judgement for banks. However, the impact of closures on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated where possible.

The industry’s Access to Banking Standard, launched in May 2017, commits banks to ensure personal and business customers are better informed about branch closures and the reasons for them closing, along with the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help. The Access to Banking Standard is monitored and enforced by the independent Lending Standards Board.

99% of personal and 95% of banks’ business customers are now able to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and make balance enquiries at a Post Office counter via its network of 11,600 branches. At Autumn Budget 2017, my predecessor wrote to the Post Office and UK Finance to ask them to raise public awareness of the banking services available at the Post Office for individuals and SMEs. I look forward to receiving their proposals later this month.

More widely, the Government remains committed to supporting SMEs’ access to the finance they need to grow and expand, and has: established the British Business Bank to make finance markets work better for small businesses; supported challenger banks; introduced a bespoke regime for peer-to-peer lending; and made structural interventions such as the Bank Referral Scheme and the SME credit data sharing scheme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Jan 2018
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the relationship between the productivity of small and medium sized enterprises and access to physical banking services.

The Treasury has no made no such assessments. The decision to open and close branches remains a commercial judgement for banks. However, the impact of closures on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated where possible.

The industry’s Access to Banking Standard, launched in May 2017, commits banks to ensure personal and business customers are better informed about branch closures and the reasons for them closing, along with the options they have locally to continue to access banking services, including specialist assistance for customers who need more help. The Access to Banking Standard is monitored and enforced by the independent Lending Standards Board.

99% of personal and 95% of banks’ business customers are now able to withdraw cash, deposit cash and cheques, and make balance enquiries at a Post Office counter via its network of 11,600 branches. At Autumn Budget 2017, my predecessor wrote to the Post Office and UK Finance to ask them to raise public awareness of the banking services available at the Post Office for individuals and SMEs. I look forward to receiving their proposals later this month.

More widely, the Government remains committed to supporting SMEs’ access to the finance they need to grow and expand, and has: established the British Business Bank to make finance markets work better for small businesses; supported challenger banks; introduced a bespoke regime for peer-to-peer lending; and made structural interventions such as the Bank Referral Scheme and the SME credit data sharing scheme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Dec 2017
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his Answer of 5 December 2017 to Question 116912, whether it is his policy to bring forward legislative proposals to refund all VAT paid by Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service since the establishment of those services in 2013.

Autumn Budget 2017 announced the government’s intention to amend legislation so that Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be eligible for VAT refunds from April 2018. This change will be enacted through the Finance Bill and will save these services c.£40 million a year.

11th Dec 2017
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of relative poverty of areas where ATMs which are not free to use are located.

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK, and will continue to work with industry to ensure continued free access to cash. Since 1998, the number of free to use ATMs has more than doubled, from 24,600 to over 53,000.

Government has not made an assessment of the relative poverty of areas where there are no free to use ATMs. However LINK, the organisation behind the ATM network in the UK, carries out an assessment of areas where there are no free to use ATMs as part of the financial inclusion programme it runs, in collaboration with Toynbee Hall, to ensure the provision of ATMs in areas of deprivation, where demand would not otherwise make one viable. LINK is intending to strengthen its financial inclusion programme even further to ensure that the need for ATMs continue to be met.

HM Treasury has not had discussions with the Bank of England or the Financial Conduct Authority about imposing a cap on charges to customers for ATMs which are not free to use or introducing powers to prevent the development of areas where there are no free-to-use ATMs. The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) is monitoring developments within ATM provision, and is conducting ongoing internal work on the impact that changes to interchange fees may have. The Government set the PSR up in 2015 with the statutory objective to ensure that the UK’s payment systems work in the interests of their users. Government is confident that the PSR will use its powers to act should any of the firms it regulates behave in a way that conflicts with its statutory objectives.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
11th Dec 2017
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Bank of England and (b) the Financial Conduct Authority about imposing a maximum cap on charges to customers using ATMs.

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK, and will continue to work with industry to ensure continued free access to cash. Since 1998, the number of free to use ATMs has more than doubled, from 24,600 to over 53,000.

Government has not made an assessment of the relative poverty of areas where there are no free to use ATMs. However LINK, the organisation behind the ATM network in the UK, carries out an assessment of areas where there are no free to use ATMs as part of the financial inclusion programme it runs, in collaboration with Toynbee Hall, to ensure the provision of ATMs in areas of deprivation, where demand would not otherwise make one viable. LINK is intending to strengthen its financial inclusion programme even further to ensure that the need for ATMs continue to be met.

HM Treasury has not had discussions with the Bank of England or the Financial Conduct Authority about imposing a cap on charges to customers for ATMs which are not free to use or introducing powers to prevent the development of areas where there are no free-to-use ATMs. The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) is monitoring developments within ATM provision, and is conducting ongoing internal work on the impact that changes to interchange fees may have. The Government set the PSR up in 2015 with the statutory objective to ensure that the UK’s payment systems work in the interests of their users. Government is confident that the PSR will use its powers to act should any of the firms it regulates behave in a way that conflicts with its statutory objectives.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
11th Dec 2017
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Bank of England and (b) the Financial Conduct Authority about introducing powers to prevent the development of areas where there are no free-to-use ATMs.

The Government recognises that widespread free access to cash remains extremely important to the day-to-day lives of many consumers and businesses in the UK, and will continue to work with industry to ensure continued free access to cash. Since 1998, the number of free to use ATMs has more than doubled, from 24,600 to over 53,000.

Government has not made an assessment of the relative poverty of areas where there are no free to use ATMs. However LINK, the organisation behind the ATM network in the UK, carries out an assessment of areas where there are no free to use ATMs as part of the financial inclusion programme it runs, in collaboration with Toynbee Hall, to ensure the provision of ATMs in areas of deprivation, where demand would not otherwise make one viable. LINK is intending to strengthen its financial inclusion programme even further to ensure that the need for ATMs continue to be met.

HM Treasury has not had discussions with the Bank of England or the Financial Conduct Authority about imposing a cap on charges to customers for ATMs which are not free to use or introducing powers to prevent the development of areas where there are no free-to-use ATMs. The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) is monitoring developments within ATM provision, and is conducting ongoing internal work on the impact that changes to interchange fees may have. The Government set the PSR up in 2015 with the statutory objective to ensure that the UK’s payment systems work in the interests of their users. Government is confident that the PSR will use its powers to act should any of the firms it regulates behave in a way that conflicts with its statutory objectives.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
30th Nov 2017
To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, will he give a commitment to refund all VAT paid by Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to date.

Autumn Budget 2017 announced the government’s intention to amend legislation so that Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be eligible for VAT refunds. This change will be enacted through Finance Bill 2017-18.

23rd Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his Department has undertaken a recent review of international best practice in relation to the criminalisation of prostitution; and if he will make a statement.

The Home Office has examined different legislative approaches to prostitution around the world, however, we have not yet seen unequivocal evidence that any approach is better at tackling harm and exploitation – and that remains our priority.

The Government recognises the strong arguments for commissioning a research project into the prevalence and nature of prostitution in England and Wales and believes that such an evidence base is vital prior to considering any further changes to policy and legislation.

The University of Bristol has been granted £150,000 to carry out this research.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2018 to Question 150775 on Asylum: LGBT People, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the experimental statistics on asylum claims on the basis of sexual orientation; and whether his Department has plans to include those statistics in future regular statistical releases.

Home Office statisticians continue to review the quality of data on asylum claims on the basis of sexual orientation in line with National Statistics protocols, and intend to update the published statistics in due course.

On top of this, guidance around the use of the sexual orientation identifier has been issued since 2013 and will be reviewed in due course as part of a wider review into asylum instructions.

11th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 11 June 2018 to Question 150775 on Asylum: LGBT People, which (a) stakeholders (b) organisations and (c) individuals his Department consulted on the new instruction on Gender Identity and Expression that will replace the instructions on Gender Identity and handling asylum claims where a Gender Recognition Certificate is presented.

The Home Office has actively sought the contributions of a wide range of stakeholders in developing its guidance on Gender Identity and Expression. These include Stonewall, the UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group and Asylum Aid, as well as legal experts including the Trans Equality Legal Initiative (TELI).

We expect to publish the new instruction later this year.

6th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of LGBT people seeking asylum from persecution overseas were successful in their application; and whether he has any plans to review the guidelines of such applications.

In November, the Home Office published experimental statistics on asylum claims on the basis of sexual orientation.

These statistics relate to the number of asylum claims where sexual orientation was raised as a basis, or part of the basis, of the claim, and refer to claims made between 1 July 2015 and 31 March 2017. The data do not indicate whether the individual seeking asylum actually had a particular sexual orientation, whether this was the sole basis for the claim, or whether this had any bearing on the outcome of the claim.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/asylum-claims-on-the-basis-of-sexual-orientation

We remain committed to improving the asylum process for those claiming asylum on the basis of their sexual or gender identity and decision-makers are provided with dedicated guidance on the management of such claims.

We are developing a new instruction on Gender Identity and Expression that will replace both the current instructions on Gender Identity and on handling asylum claims where a Gender Recognition Certificate is presented. We expect to be able to publish this instruction later this summer.

We are also committed to reviewing the asylum instruction on claims based on sexual orientation on a regular basis. We will progress this review in the near future.

6th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government plans to replicate in legislation the opinion of European Court of Justice ruling C-673/16 on same sex spousal rights after the UK leaves the EU.

The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016, which implement EU free movement law in the UK, already recognise same-sex marriages and unmarried partnerships. This will be replicated in the eligibility rules for the EU Exit Settlement Scheme for those EU citizens and their family members arriving before the end of the implementation period. Existing non-EU immigration rules also recognise same-sex marriages and unmarried partnerships.

In terms of the post-Brexit immigration regime, we are considering the options for our future immigration system carefully. We are building a comprehensive picture of the needs and interests of all parts of the UK and intend to develop a system which works in the national interest. In doing so, we will provide for equal treatment of same-sex couples, as we do now and in line with our obligations under the Equalities Act 2010.

17th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has carried out modelling on potential changes in migration numbers caused by the savings and salary thresholds for spousal visa applications being raised or lowered.

The savings and salary thresholds for spousal visa applications are dictated by the minimum income requirement. It was set following advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee and considering the Policy Equality Statement published on 13 June 2012. In February 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the lawfulness of the minimum income requirement under the family Immigration Rules, including in terms of equalities impacts and in light of the published Policy Equality Statement.

Any future amendment to the minimum income requirement would be subject to thorough equality and impact analysis and a further Policy Equality Statement will be published.

17th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department plans to introduce a maximum waiting time for a reply to applications for indefinite leave to remain under the ten-year settlement route.

The current maximum waiting time for a straightforward application for indefinite leave to remain under the ten-year settlement route is six months, there are currently no plans to change this.

16th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of Parliamentary cases received a response within the 20-working day service standard from the UK Visas and Immigration office at Festival Court in Glasgow in 2017.

Statistics on UKVI performance in answering written MP written enquiries within 20 working day target are published at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data
Final quarter statistics for 2017 are due to be published in February 2018.

16th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on the proportion of spousal visa applications which failed because the sponsoring spouse is unable to meet the salary and savings thresholds in each of the last three years.

The specific information requested is not available in published statistics.

Information on the total number of entry clearance visa applications and resolved (i.e. grants, refusals, withdrawn and lapsed) cases, and the proportion of resolved cases that are either granted or refused, in the ‘Family: Partner’ category is published quarterly.

The most recent information can be found in the Home Office publication ‘Immigration Statistics, July – September 2017’, Visas data tables volume 1, table vi_01_q, available from https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-july-to-september-2017

15th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has examined the Canadian Provincial Nominee Programme scheme as part of its policy planning for a new UK immigration system after the UK leaves the EU.

The Prime Minister has proposed that there should be an Implementation Period immediately after the UK leaves the EU, while we and the EU put in place the necessary preparations for the future arrangements, and to ensure that people and businesses only have to plan for one set of changes. During this time, EU citizens will continue to be able to come and live and work in the UK, but there will be a registration system

There is a wide range of options as to how EU migration might work after that Period. We are considering these options very carefully and we will take decisions based on evidence and the views of stakeholders.
We will be setting out initial proposals for our future immigration arrangements shortly.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many meetings she has had with Scottish Government Ministers on the Government's proposed reforms to the UK's immigration system after the UK leaves the EU.

The Government is considering a range of options for the immigration system for EU citizens after the UK leaves the EU. Since the Referendum result last year, Ministers have been undertaking an extensive programme of engagement and evidence gathering with all interested parties including the Devolved Administrations, businesses, educational institutions and many others. Most recently, I discussed the recent agreement on citizens’ rights and next steps on the future immigration arrangements at the Joint Ministerial Committee (European Negotiations) on 12 December 2017. Home Office officials also have frequent meetings with their colleagues in the Devolved Administrations, including the Scottish Government.

On 27 July, the Government commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to advise on current patterns of EU migration across all sectors, and the role of migration in the wider economy and society. This will be an important element in our decisions about future immigration arrangements that work for all parts of the UK.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of reforming the immigration system with a view to increasing working age populations in regions where growth in that demographic has halted or is in decline; and if she will make a statement.

There is a wide range of options as to how EU migration might work we leave the EU. We are considering these options very carefully and we will take decisions based on evidence. As part of this, on 27 July, the Government commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to gather evidence on patterns of EU migration and the role of migration in the wider economy, ahead of our exit from the EU. We have asked the MAC to report by September 2018 and flagged that interim reports throughout the period would be helpful as we develop future immigration arrangements that work for the whole of the UK.


Immigration remains a reserved matter and we will consider the needs of the UK as a whole. Applying different immigration rules to different parts of the UK would complicate the immigration system, harming its integrity, and cause difficulties for employers who need the flexibility to deploy their staff to other parts of the UK.


The Government will be setting out initial proposals for our future immigration arrangements shortly.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which Scottish business sectors have made representations to her on immigration schemes for Scotland after the UK leaves the EU.

The Government is considering a range of options for the immigration system for EU citizens after the UK leaves the EU. Since the Referendum result last year, Ministers have been undertaking an extensive programme of engagement and evidence gathering with all interested parties including the Devolved Administrations, businesses, educational institutions and many others. Most recently, I discussed the recent agreement on citizens’ rights and next steps on the future immigration arrangements at the Joint Ministerial Committee (European Negotiations) on 12 December 2017. Home Office officials also have frequent meetings with their colleagues in the Devolved Administrations, including the Scottish Government.

On 27 July, the Government commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to advise on current patterns of EU migration across all sectors, and the role of migration in the wider economy and society. This will be an important element in our decisions about future immigration arrangements that work for all parts of the UK.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
12th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of implementing a maximum time limit of eight days for the registration of deaths in England.

Section 16(3) of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1953 requires deaths to be registered by a qualified informant within five days for England and Wales. There are no current plans to amend this legislation.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
7th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing regional variations in the salary thresholds for tier two visas for skilled non-EU migrants.

The Government is committed to developing an immigration system that serves the national interest and are clear that applying different immigration rules to different parts of the UK would complicate the immigration system, harm its integrity, and cause difficulties for employers who need the flexibility to deploy their staff to other parts of the UK.

The Government commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to undertake a comprehensive review of the Tier 2 route in June 2015.

The MAC concluded and has repeatedly recommended that we should not operate different salary thresholds for different regions and countries in the UK. More information about the MAC and its report on Tier 2 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/migration-advisory-committee-mac-review-tier-2-migration

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
7th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions has she had with (a) WhatsApp and (b) other technology companies on access by the security services to encrypted messages sent by a person of interest.

The Government is in favour of strong encryption: it is critical to protect UK citizens from harm online, and billions of people use it every day for a range of services including banking, commerce and communications.

However, like many powerful technologies, encrypted services are abused by a small minority of people. There is a particular problem with end-to-end encryption where certain providers have deliberately designed their systems so that even they cannot see the content of the message.

The Secretary of State meets with a range of stakeholders to discuss various issues as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings. However, we are committed to working with service providers to fulfil our collective responsibility to protect us from terrorists and those who commit serious crimes, while allowing providers to protect privacy. We are quite clear that it is essential for law enforcement to access content when there is a clear need and when properly warranted. The Government will continue to press for that ability.

A mature dialogue between government and industry on this issue is crucial, and we expect them to live up to their responsibilities: working with law enforcement where there is a warrant authorised by a Secretary of State and approved by a senior judge under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

Ben Wallace
Secretary of State for Defence
13th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 12 November 2018 to Question 188235 on Defence: Scotland and with reference to the Scottish Government's document entitled Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland 2017-18, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of disaggregating his Department's data on defence spending in Scotland to separate resource and capital expenditure.

We do not collate data on total Defence spending figures for Scotland (or any other part of the UK) and, therefore, it cannot be disaggregated to separate resource and capital expenditure.

Stuart Andrew
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
5th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2018 to Question 907182 on Defence: Scotland, how much of the £1.592 billion of his Department's expenditure in 2016-17 was spent on (a) maritime, (b) land and (c) air equipment.

The budgetary structure of the Ministry of Defence does not show separately the costs of the three individual Armed Services. This is because large parts of the Armed Services operate as fully integrated joint organisations in which elements from the Navy, Army and Air Force work closely together and share land, buildings and facilities, and sometimes equipment. The attached table shows expenditure with Scottish industry broken down by industry group.

Stuart Andrew
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
5th Nov 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 22 October 2018 to Question 907182 on Defence: Scotland, if he will estimate the total defence spending by (a) current and (b) capital expenditure in Scotland in each year for which information is available since 2010-11.

Our regional analyses do not provide a breakdown on whether defence spending relates to resource or capital expenditure.

Stuart Andrew
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
22nd Oct 2018
What estimate he has made of the change in real terms defence spending in Scotland since 2010.

Ministry of Defence (MOD) expenditure with Scottish industry has increased in real terms from £1.372 billion in 2013-14 to £1.592 billion in 2016-17.

The number of jobs supported by MOD expenditure with industry in Scotland currently stands at 10,500, and this has increased every year since 2013.

Stuart Andrew
Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
4th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has instituted an inquiry into leaked correspondence in the last month; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 July 2018 to Question 159554 to the hon. Member for Llanelli (Nia Griffith).

Gavin Williamson
Secretary of State for Education
27th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK leaving the REACH chemical framework on the defence supply chain.

The Ministry of Defence is working closely with defence industry and other Government Departments to understand the opportunities and implications of EU exit for the defence sector, including REACH.

24th Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses on UK high streets that have closed in the last 12 months.

High streets are a crucial part of our communities. The Government is determined to see our high streets thriving, both now and in the future. We want to see vibrant hubs where people live, shop, use services, and spend their leisure time.

This is why we have announced that the Department will launch a call for evidence over the summer looking at the future of our high streets. We are establishing an expert panel of industry leaders to draw on their experience and expertise to diagnose the issues currently affecting our high streets, and advise on the best long-term approach to help their revival.

In the last 12 months, 51,504 businesses on UK high street closed. Over the same period, 42,166 new business units opened. This is based on Local Data Company Data, which looks at openings and closures of individual units rather than businesses. We do not currently hold data on business closures.

23rd Jul 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effect of changes in the level of business rates on the number retail businesses closing.

The majority of businesses saw no change or a fall in their business rates liability following the 2017 revaluation. In addition to the £3.6 billion transitional relief scheme to support those facing increases, the Government has introduced a range of business rates reforms and measures worth over £10 billion to 2023 to support all businesses, including the retail sector.

High streets are a crucial part of our communities, and the Government recognises the sector faces challenges. That’s why we recently announced a call for evidence looking at the future of our high streets. We are establishing a panel of industry leaders to diagnose the issues currently affecting our high streets, and advise on the best long-term approach to help their revival.

Rishi Sunak
Chancellor of the Exchequer
27th Jun 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of Public Health Funerals arranged by local authorities or local hospitals in every year since 2005.

The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government does not collect the information requested. Figures on local authority expenditure on, and income from, the provision of cemetery, cremation and mortuary services, including closed churchyards and post-mortem services within mortuaries, are collected on the Revenue Outturn (RO) form available from:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2016-to-2017-individual-local-authority-data-outturn

Rishi Sunak
Chancellor of the Exchequer
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of businesses on UK high streets that have closed in the last 12 months.

High streets are a crucial part of our communities. The Government is determined to see our high streets thriving, both now and in the future. We want to see vibrant hubs where people live, shop, use services, and spend their leisure time.

This is why we have announced that the Department will launch a call for evidence over the summer looking at the future of our high streets. We are establishing an expert panel of industry leaders to draw on their experience and expertise to diagnose the issues currently affecting our high streets, and advise on the best long-term approach to help their revival.

In the last 12 months, 51,504 businesses on UK high street closed. Over the same period, 42,166 new business units opened. This is based on Local Data Company Data, which looks at openings and closures of individual units rather than businesses. We do not currently hold data on business closures.

11th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether the savings accrued to the public purse as a result of the reduction in the pay of Members of the Legislative Assembly will be allocated to her Department.

The budget for the payment of salaries to MLAs is held by the Assembly Commission which is the corporate body of the NI Assembly. Any money that is unspent or savings realised throughout a year would be returned to the central Consolidated Fund for redistribution within the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

10th Sep 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what estimate she has made of the savings that will accrue to the public purse of the change in the pay for Members of the Legislative Assembly announced in her statement on 6 September 2018.

On 6 September, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced that she will, by way of determination, bring forward a two stage 27.5% reduction in MLA pay with the first reduction to come into effect from November.

The Northern Ireland Office has not undertaken any estimate of the savings that will accrue from this reduction. The budget for the payment of salaries to MLAs is held by the Assembly Commission which is the corporate body of the NI Assembly.

22nd May 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether she has taken steps to assess public opinion towards different potential border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after the UK leaves the EU.

We are committed to there being no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which will mean no physical infrastructure at the border, or related checks and controls. Throughout engagements with a broad range of stakeholders both the Secretary of State and I have made that commitment very clear.

9th May 2018
What the Government's policy is on customs arrangements on the island of Ireland after the UK leaves the EU.

The UK as a whole will be leaving the Customs Union.

This Government is committed to delivering a Brexit that upholds the Belfast Agreement and the commitments that we have made to the people of Northern Ireland to avoid a hard border with Ireland and any border down the Irish Sea.

28th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what her policy is on the recognition in Northern Ireland of same sex marriages performed in the UK.

Marriage remains a devolved matter in Northern Ireland. The UK Government will continue to do all it can to support delivery of an effective, stable, power-sharing devolved Government, so that decisions on issues such as same sex marriage are taken by locally accountable politicians.

27th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what her policy is on proposals to reduce the pay of Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly while that Assembly is not sitting; and what assessment she has made of the potential effect of such a reduction on Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly's (a) staff and (b) wider office costs.

The former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland asked Trevor Reaney to provide advice on pay and allowances for Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly. This advice was published on the Northern Ireland Office website on 20 December and includes an assessment of, and recommendations on, staff and office costs. As the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland told the House on 20 February, she is considering that advice carefully and will update Parliament when a decision has been made.

23rd Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if she will meet representatives of the Love Equality Coalition to discuss moves to improve LGBT rights in Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland intends to meet Love Equality in the coming weeks, subject to diary commitments.

23rd Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what discussions she has had with representatives of the DUP and Sinn Fein on cross-party attempts to improve LGBT rights in Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has discussed a wide range of issues with the Northern Ireland parties, with the focus of initial engagement being the restoration of a fully functioning Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive.

27th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to the Answer of 5 February 2018 to Question 125135, on Housing: Broadband, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Government’s brokered agreement to connect new build developments in Scotland; and what recent representations he has received from (a) Scottish Government Ministers and (b) local authorities on that agreement.

I have regular discussions with the Scottish Government to discuss a wide range of issues, including connectivity across Scotland.

The agreement brokered by DCMS between the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and Openreach offers full fibre broadband to new builds at no cost to the developer when conditions of threshold have been met. Virgin and GTC have similar agreements with the HBF. DCMS’s Barrier Busting Task Force are in the process of measuring the impact of these agreements. DCMS meet regularly with representatives from the Scottish Government and Scottish local authorities on a wide range of issues, including connectivity and new build developments.

27th Feb 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what recent discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on improving digital connectivity; and what recent discussions he has had with that Government on improving broadband (a) connections and (b) speeds to new housing developments.

I have regular discussions with the Scottish Government to discuss a wide range of issues, including connectivity across Scotland. I also have regular discussions with DCMS regarding connectivity issues in Scotland.

The agreement brokered by DCMS between the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and Openreach offers full fibre broadband to new builds at no cost to the developer when threshold conditions have been met. Virgin and GTC have similar agreements with the HBF. DCMS’s Barrier Busting Task Force are in the process of measuring the impact of these agreements and will report on them once that work is complete.

24th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether he plans to renew Keith Cochrane's membership of the Joint Management Board of the Scotland Office at the end of his three year term.

The Scotland Office has not made any decisions on the future membership of the Joint Management Board.

22nd Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many meetings he had with Keith Cochrane during his term as a member of the Joint Management Board of his Department.

Keith Cochrane attended nine meetings of the Joint Management Board between December 2015 and December 2017.

22nd Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, whether he had any discussions with Keith Cochrane at meetings of the Joint Management Board of the Scotland Office on the financial health of Carillion.
16th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps he is taking to ensure that major public sector construction projects in Scotland held by Carillion will still proceed as planned.

The UK Government has instructed the Official Receiver to maintain public services across the UK. Those public services which are provided in Scotland by Carillion through contracts with devolved bodies are for the relevant devolved bodies to oversee. The UK and Scottish Governments are in close contact at all levels, and are working together constructively.

16th Jan 2018
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what representations he has received on the effect of the Carrillion entering liquidation on the non-construction services it provides in Scotland.

My Department is monitoring the position with regard to Carillion’s non-construction service contracts in Scotland and is in close touch with other UK Government departments and the Scottish Government.

14th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his oral contribution on 6 December 2017, Official Report, column, 1014, what the outcome was of his discussions with RBS on bank branches across Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

The Royal Bank of Scotland’s decision to close bank branches are commercial decisions for the Royal Bank of Scotland. However, the impact on communities must be understood, considered and mitigated.

I met RBS chief executive Les Matheson on 7 December to discuss their decision and I made clear the concerns that had been raised by MPs and communities about their plans.

6th Dec 2017
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, if he will meet with the National Farmers Union Scotland to discuss a specific Agricultural Labour Scheme to meet labour shortages in the agricultural sector in Scotland.

I have regular discussions with the National Farmers Union Scotland on a range of matters of importance to the agriculture sector in Scotland.

The precise nature of the UK’s seasonal labour needs, and how they might best be met post-EU exit, have yet to be determined. The Home Secretary has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to undertake a detailed assessment of the impact of EU migration across all parts of the UK’s economy and society, and to gather evidence on patterns of EU migration ahead of our exit from the European Union.

I do, of course, recognise that it is crucial that we secure a strong agricultural workforce as we develop a new approach to farming outside the EU, and I will continue to work closely with our food and farming industry in Scotland to consider their specific needs.