Wendy Chamberlain Portrait

Wendy Chamberlain

Liberal Democrat - North East Fife

First elected: 12th December 2019

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip

(since September 2020)

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

(since September 2020)

Firearms Bill
8th Mar 2023 - 15th Mar 2023
Hunting Trophies (Import Prohibition) Bill
18th Jan 2023 - 25th Jan 2023
Child Support Collection (Domestic Abuse) Bill
7th Dec 2022 - 14th Dec 2022
Carer’s Leave Bill
2nd Nov 2022 - 9th Nov 2022
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Wales)
6th Jan 2020 - 10th Jul 2022
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland)
6th Jan 2020 - 10th Jul 2022
Public Order Bill
25th May 2022 - 21st Jun 2022
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Development)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020


Oral Question
Monday 26th February 2024
14:30
Home Office
Topical Question No. 9
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
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Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - General Committee
27 Feb 2024, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Occupational Pension Schemes (Collective Money Purchase Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2023
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Tuesday 27th February 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee - Debate - Select & Joint Committees
27 Feb 2024, 2:30 p.m.
The draft Occupational Pension Schemes (Collective Money Purchase Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2023
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Oral Question
Thursday 29th February 2024
09:30
Cabinet Office
Topical Question No. 10
If he will make a statement on his departmental responsibilities.
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Oral Question
Thursday 29th February 2024
09:30
Cabinet Office
Oral Question No. 21
If he will undertake a review of the effectiveness of gov.uk for the public and businesses.
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Department Event
Monday 18th March 2024
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
18 Mar 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 10 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 226 Noes - 287
Speeches
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Draft Carer's Leave Regulations 2024 Draft Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hollobone. I am conscious that being present at a delegated …
Written Answers
Wednesday 21st February 2024
Electoral Commission
To ask the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whether the Committee …
Early Day Motions
Thursday 22nd February 2024
SRUC awarded Queen's Anniversary Prize
That this house celebrates Scotland’s Rural University Campus’ (SRUC) being awarded with the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize; acknowledges that this …
Bills
Wednesday 24th May 2023
Ministerial Conduct (Training) Bill 2022-23
A Bill to require Ministers of the Crown to undertake annual training in matters relating to propriety, ethics and standards; …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Channel Four Television Corporation
Address of donor: 124 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2TX
Amount of donation or …
EDM signed
Monday 19th February 2024
Deaths of journalists in Gaza
That this House expressers its extreme concern at the mounting and unprecedented death toll of journalists in Gaza; notes that …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 7th February 2024
State Pension Age (Compensation) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish proposals for a compensation scheme for women born between 6 …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Wendy Chamberlain has voted in 711 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Wendy Chamberlain Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Mark Spencer (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(24 debate interactions)
Sarah Jones (Labour)
Shadow Minister (Industry and Decarbonisation)
(21 debate interactions)
Kit Malthouse (Conservative)
(20 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(86 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(81 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(80 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Public Order Act 2023
(11,012 words contributed)
Parliamentary Constituencies Act 2020
(2,668 words contributed)
Carer's Leave Act 2023
(2,592 words contributed)
Pension Schemes Act 2021
(2,582 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Wendy Chamberlain's debates

North East Fife Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

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

The Government should remove the requirement for people claiming disability benefits, such as the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), to have to go through an assessment process. Claims should be based solely on evidence from medical professionals, such as a letter from a GP or consultant.

We want the Government to conduct a full review of the PIP process. This should look at DWP policy and the performance of ATOS and Capita, which conduct the health assessments for applicants. We believe the current process is inherently unethical and biased, and needs a complete overhaul.

No general statutory duty of care exists in HE. Yet, a duty of care is owed to students, and the Government should legislate for this. HE providers should know what their duty is. Students must know what they can expect. Parents expect their children to be safe at university.

Weddings take months and even years of intricate planning. Myself and many others believe the maximum number of guests authorised at wedding ceremonies should be increased. The number of guests permitted at weddings should be calculated according to venue capacity.

Extend funding to nightclubs, dance music events and festivals as part of the £1.57bn support package announced by the government for Britain's arts and culture sector to survive the hit from the pandemic. #LetUSDance


Latest EDMs signed by Wendy Chamberlain

22nd February 2024
Wendy Chamberlain signed this EDM as the primary signatory on Thursday 22nd February 2024

SRUC awarded Queen's Anniversary Prize

Tabled by: Wendy Chamberlain (Liberal Democrat - North East Fife)
That this house celebrates Scotland’s Rural University Campus’ (SRUC) being awarded with the prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize; acknowledges that this is the highest form of national recognition open to educational institutions in the UK; commends that the award recognises SRUC’s contribution to animal welfare, veterinary science, education, research and the …
1 signatures
(Most recent: 22 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 1
16th January 2024
Wendy Chamberlain signed this EDM on Monday 19th February 2024

Deaths of journalists in Gaza

Tabled by: John McDonnell (Labour - Hayes and Harlington)
That this House expressers its extreme concern at the mounting and unprecedented death toll of journalists in Gaza; notes that the independent Committee to Protect Journalists has recorded the death of 82 journalists in this conflict since October 2023; welcomes the support provided by the National Union of Journalists for …
36 signatures
(Most recent: 20 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 18
Scottish National Party: 6
Independent: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 3
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
View All Wendy Chamberlain's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Wendy Chamberlain, 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.


3 Urgent Questions tabled by Wendy Chamberlain

Thursday 14th September 2023

5 Adjournment Debates led by Wendy Chamberlain

Tuesday 16th January 2024
Thursday 24th February 2022
Tuesday 15th June 2021
Wednesday 27th January 2021
Monday 8th June 2020

7 Bills introduced by Wendy Chamberlain


A Bill to make provision about unpaid leave for employees with caring responsibilities.

This Bill received Royal Assent on 24th May 2023 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to require the Government to have regard to the desirability of boards of public bodies including at least one person with relevant experience in at least one of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to require the Government to have regard to the desirability of boards of public bodies including at least one person with relevant experience in at least one of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 20th June 2022

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on the merits of extending to 5 April 2025 the period for which voluntary Class 2 and 3 National Insurance contributions may be paid in respect of one or more of the tax years 2006-07 to 2016-17; to require the Secretary of State to publish certain information about the performance of the Future Pension Centre in providing advice about voluntary Class 2 and 3 contributions in relation to the state pension; to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for increasing public awareness of voluntary Class 2 and 3 contributions; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 1st March 2023

A Bill to require Ministers of the Crown to undertake annual training in matters relating to propriety, ethics and standards; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 24th May 2023

A Bill to require a Minister to move a motion in the House of Commons seeking to establish a select committee to monitor Overseas Development Assistance expenditure by government departments.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 16th September 2020

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report on the use of official development assistance to increase the availability of women’s sanitary products; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Wednesday 4th March 2020

678 Written Questions in the current parliament

(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
16th Feb 2024
To ask the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whether the Committee has had recent discussions with the Electoral Commission on the independence of the Commission.

The Committee has had recent discussions with the Commission on this issue. The Commission regularly discusses its independence and accountability arrangements, which underpin public confidence in its work and decisions, during its regular meetings with the Committee.

The Commission and the Committee have both noted concerns about the introduction of a Strategy and Policy Statement, including its inconsistency with the role that an independent electoral commission plays in a democratic system.

However, now that a statement has been passed by the UK parliament, the Commission will meet its legal duty to have regard to it. It will continue to act independently and impartially to help maintain public confidence in elections and political finance regulation.

2nd May 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the Government response to the report from the House of Lords Select Committee on the Licensing Act 2003, published in November 2017, whether the Government has taken recent steps to ensure equal access to licensed premises for disabled people; what recent assessment the Government has made of trends in the level of businesses managing licensed premises that comply with the requirements in the Equality Act 2010; and if she will make a statement.

In common with all businesses and providers of services, licensed premises are required to comply with the provisions of the Equality Act 2010. This includes making reasonable adjustments for disabled customers and this duty is anticipatory, meaning that service providers must anticipate the adjustments that disabled customers may reasonably need, rather than await requests for such adjustments before acting.

In line with civil law principles, it is for individuals who feel that they have experienced discrimination - for example by a licensed premises for failing to make a reasonable adjustment - to take advice and if necessary legal action under the 2010 Act, to remedy the situation.

The Equality Hub expects all sectors, including hospitality, to comply with their legal duties and does not routinely consider the performance of individual sectors. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has powers to investigate such matters but as a body is independent of Government and makes its own decisions on prioritising its work.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Apr 2023
To ask the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, whether the Committee has had recent discussions with the Electoral Commission on when secondary legislation on overseas voting would need to be introduced to Parliament to ensure that all overseas voters can properly register and vote.

The Speaker's Committee has not had discussions with the Electoral Commission on the matter referred to.

The Commission has consistently highlighted to the UK Government that any changes to legislation should be in place six months before being implemented or complied with, so that Electoral Registration Officers, Returning Officers and voters have enough time to prepare.

The Commission is working to develop guidance for electoral administrators to help them understand and deliver the forthcoming changes to the overseas voter franchise. It will also expand its public awareness work targeting the overseas voter audience in the lead-up to UK parliamentary elections.

20th Jul 2022
To ask the President of COP26, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of Government policies to tackle climate change.

Over the last thirty years the UK has reduced its emissions by over 40% whilst GDP has gone up over 80%.

In recent years, we have decarbonised our economy faster than any other G7 nation.

Alok Sharma
COP26 President (Cabinet Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, in the context of the reintroduction of enforcement on Gender Pay Gap reporting requirements in October, what estimate she has made of the proportion of employers that have put in place plans to tackle their pay gaps.

Over nine thousand employers reported their gender pay gap data for 2020/21, having been given an additional six months before enforcement action began in October, to reflect the impact of the pandemic on businesses. Many took the additional step of producing an action plan detailing how they intend to close their gap.

As there is no mandatory requirement to publish an action plan, not every employer who has one will have noted this on the Government reporting portal, making it difficult to establish an accurate estimate of how many have a plan to tackle their pay gap.

The reporting regulations have helped to motivate employers to take action, and the UK’s gender pay gap currently stands at a record low of 15.5%.

Kemi Badenoch
President of the Board of Trade
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Attorney General, whether reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been found within their Department's estate.

For now, the focus is on bringing together the information we hold about the Government estate into one place. This work is being coordinated by the Office for Government Property.

Survey work is underway.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Attorney General, on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member was not agreed to by (a) a Minister and (b) their office on behalf of a Minister in the last 12 months.

This information is not centrally collated and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Ministers will regularly seek to engage with hon. Members, whilst balancing wider Ministerial and Parliamentary responsibilities.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Attorney General, how many sewage leaks have been recorded within their Department's estate in the last twelve months.

The Attorney General's Office (AGO) is managed by government property services provided by the Government Property Agency. This includes wastewater management and therefore the AGO does not hold this information.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Attorney General, how much her Department spent on consultancy fees in each of the last five years.

The Attorney’s General Office spent £7,000 in the 2020/21 financial year and £4,450 in the 2021/22 financial year on consultancy services. The figures for the last five years are available in the table below.

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

£0

£0

£0

£7,000

£4,450

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason international students studying in the UK are included in overall immigration statistics.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority.

A response to the Hon Members Parliamentary Question of 18th December is attached.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
28th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish an updated list of Parliamentary Private Secretaries.

A list of Parliamentary Private Secretaries is published on gov.uk. The Government plans to publish an updated list shortly, taking into account recent changes within Government.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what funding is being made available to provide compensation for those affected by the Infected Blood Inquiry; and when this funding will be made available.

I thank the honourable Member for her question. I would like to reassure her that I am meeting with colleagues across Whitehall, including Treasury Ministers, to discuss the Infected Blood Inquiry recommendations, and the Government’s response, and will update the House as soon as I can.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
14th Nov 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made with Cabinet colleagues of the level of poverty among veterans.

This Government is committed to supporting all households, including veterans, with the cost of living.

Veterans who are particularly vulnerable to increased living costs are likely to be eligible for targeted cost of living support payments, including the £150 disability cost of living payment, in addition to accessing targeted welfare and cost of living support, including the Energy Price Guarantee.

For the first time, a veteran marker has been included in the national Census which will transform our understanding of employment, finance, housing and other related priorities among veterans and their families.

We are also taking action to further support veterans, their families and communities across the UK. This includes Op FORTITUDE, the dedicated referral scheme for veterans facing homelessness and rough sleeping, which is part of a broader £8.55 million of funding for specialist help and wrap-around support for veterans in more than 900 supported housing units; the £20 million Veterans Capital Housing Fund, supporting projects which contribute towards extra housing for veterans through new builds and refurbishment of existing social and charitable housing; the £700,000 Veterans Career Development Fund, supporting projects which enable access for veterans and their families to qualifications and training to secure, sustainable, valuable employment; and an Independent Review of HMG Welfare Services for Veterans.

Johnny Mercer
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been found within their Department's estate.

Survey work is underway. For now, the focus is on bringing together the information we hold about the Government estate into one place. This work is being coordinated by the Office for Government Property.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
8th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many sewage leaks were recorded within the estate managed by Government Property Agency in the last twelve months.

The Government Property Agency currently operates in c.230 different sites across the UK. There have been 4 small scale sewage leaks within the Agency’s estate within the last 12 months. 2 in York and 2 in London due to exceptionally heavy rainfall.

These were also referenced in PQs 186466/186468.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
8th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the purpose was of official business on account of which the Cabinet Office spent £1,946.30 on air travel on 18 October 2022 for the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster at that time.

This relates to Ministerial air travel, on government business. Such costs are standard practice under multiple administrations, both Conservative and Labour.

23rd May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many sewage leaks have been recorded within their Department's estate in the last twelve months.

The Cabinet Office currently operates in 32 different sites across the UK. There have been 4 small scale sewage leaks within the Department’s office estate within the last 12 months. 2 in York and 2 in London due to exceptionally heavy rainfall.

Estate management of the Prime Minister’s Office falls under the Cabinet Office. No sewage leaks occurred within the PMO estate in the last twelve months.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many sewage leaks have been recorded within the estate of the Prime Minister's Office in the last twelve months.

The Cabinet Office currently operates in 32 different sites across the UK. There have been 4 small scale sewage leaks within the Department’s office estate within the last 12 months. 2 in York and 2 in London due to exceptionally heavy rainfall.

Estate management of the Prime Minister’s Office falls under the Cabinet Office. No sewage leaks occurred within the PMO estate in the last twelve months.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
19th Apr 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse is of legal advice provided to the Rt hon. Member for Uxbridge for the investigation into his conduct by the Committee of Privileges.

I refer the Hon Member to PQ 173102 and 111722. As set out in my previous answers, the Government has previously committed to setting out the final costs of the total legal support in relation to the Privileges Committee in due course after the conclusion of this matter.

Information about the contract between the Cabinet Office and Peters & Peters can be found on ContractsFinder at the following link: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/26bfbb02-7e5b-4500-9746-6513393bfd27

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish a list of formal complaints being considered by the investigation into the conduct of the Deputy Prime Minister.

In line with the usual process, costs will be accounted for in the Cabinet Office Annual Report and Accounts. Mr Adam Tolley KC is undertaking his investigation and his findings will be made public.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse is of engaging Adam Tolley KC to undertake an investigation into the conduct of the Deputy Prime Minister.

In line with the usual process, costs will be accounted for in the Cabinet Office Annual Report and Accounts. Mr Adam Tolley KC is undertaking his investigation and his findings will be made public.

8th Mar 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to respond to Question 152308, tabled on 24 February 2023 by the hon. Member for North East Fife.

I tabled an answer to Question 152308 on 9 March.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
24th Feb 2023
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential impact of the vacancy for the position of Anti-Corruption Champion on (a) public trust in Westminster, (b) ministerial standards, (c) Government transparency and (d) the publication of a second Anti-Corruption Strategy.

My Rt Hon Friend, the Minister for Security and Member for Tonbridge and Malling, leads within Government on the work on the current Anti-Corruption Strategy and its update.

My noble Friend, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, leads within the Cabinet Office on Transparency and Freedom of Information.

On ministerial standards, the Prime Minister is the arbiter of the Ministerial Code, supported by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in relation to oversight of Government Propriety and Ethics.

All Ministers, and indeed, Parliamentarians, are guided by the Seven Principles of Public Life, which help ensure and maintain public trust.

An announcement on a new Anti-Corruption Champion will be made in due course.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse has been of (a) legal disbursements paid to Peters and Peters in relation to the Privileges Committee and (b) other legal expenses incurred as a result of that investigation.

As the Committee’s inquiry remains ongoing, the contract for the provision of legal support to the former Prime Minister is being extended. Updates to the contract can be found at the following link: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/26bfbb02-7e5b-4500-9746-6513393bfd27.

The Government has previously committed to setting out the final costs of the total legal support in relation to the Privileges Committee in due course after the conclusion of this matter.

15th Dec 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what is the projected cost to the public purse of the proposed renewal of the contract with Peters and Peters in relation to the Privileges Committee.

As the Committee’s inquiry remains ongoing, the contract for the provision of legal support to the former Prime Minister is being extended. Updates to the contract can be found at the following link: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/26bfbb02-7e5b-4500-9746-6513393bfd27.

The Government has previously committed to setting out the final costs of the total legal support in relation to the Privileges Committee in due course after the conclusion of this matter.

15th Dec 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse has been of the contract with Peters and Peters in relation to the Privileges Committee.

As the Committee’s inquiry remains ongoing, the contract for the provision of legal support to the former Prime Minister is being extended. Updates to the contract can be found at the following link: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/26bfbb02-7e5b-4500-9746-6513393bfd27.

The Government has previously committed to setting out the final costs of the total legal support in relation to the Privileges Committee in due course after the conclusion of this matter.

9th Dec 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the next 3-5 year review of the Honours System is due to (a) take place and (b) report.

The review will take place and is expected to report in 2023.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much his Department spent on consultancy fees in each of the last five years.

For management and staffing purposes the Prime Minister’s Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office. Spend on consultancy is published in the Annual Report and Accounts. Figures for the last five years are:

Year

£000s

2021/22

28,997

2020/21

79,799

2019/20

35,380

2018/19

36,893

2017/18

23,988

Note - currently 2020/21 remains provisional until our annual audit is finalised.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how much the Prime Minister's Office spent on consultancy fees in each of the last five years.

For management and staffing purposes the Prime Minister’s Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office. Spend on consultancy is published in the Annual Report and Accounts. Figures for the last five years are:

Year

£000s

2021/22

28,997

2020/21

79,799

2019/20

35,380

2018/19

36,893

2017/18

23,988

Note - currently 2020/21 remains provisional until our annual audit is finalised.

24th Feb 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when his Department plans to publish the outcome of its consultation on Fairness in government debt management.

The Government published a summary of responses to its Call for Evidence in February 2021, and will make any further announcements in the usual way. Findings from the consultation helped government develop the UK’s first public sector Vulnerability Toolkit to identify and support vulnerable people. The Debt Functional Standard has also been strengthened, which sets expectations for government debt management.

23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to the Answer of 10 February 2022 to Question 119829, if he will list the party political receptions that were held at 10 Downing Street from October to December 2020.

Details of official receptions are published in quarterly transparency returns on gov.uk. Political receptions are not a Government matter. Notwithstanding, over the last two years, the planning and organisation of formal receptions have followed and reflected the prevailing covid restrictions and guidance.

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, if he will list the official receptions held at 10 Downing Street in the financial years (a) 2020-21 and (b) 2021-22.

I refer the Hon. Member to the published Cabinet Office transparency returns available on the gov.uk website. Cabinet Office: ministers' transparency publications - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what the cost to the public purse is of the No. 10 Downing Street photographer.

It has been the case under successive governments that civil servants and special advisers provide assistance on communications. We are now in a digital age, where social media and digital communications are an essential part of government. It is already in the public domain that there is a cross-Government resource, who document the work of government in this regard. Some information can be found in the Annual report on Special Advisers published on gov.uk. The salary of a non-Senior Civil Service member is their personal information and would not be appropriate to release under data protection provisions.

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse is of (a) his new Chief of Staff and (b) his new Director of Communications.

In relation to the Chief of Staff, I would refer the Hon. Member back to the reply I gave to her on 7 February 2022 (Hansard volume 708, from column 695).

In relation to the Director of Communications, pursuant to the Constitution Reform and Governance Act 2010, a report is published annually containing information about the number and cost of special advisers. Salaries of individuals above £70,000 are detailed in bands of £5,000.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Prime Minister, what the estimated cost to the public purse is of the creation of the Office of the Prime Minister.

I refer the Hon Member to my answer given to 114642.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many cleaners are employed by his Department; and what the average salary is for cleaners.

Across the working buildings of 70 Whitehall, 35 Great Smith Street, Downing Street and Admiralty House, the Cabinet Office employs seven cleaners, all at grade AO. Our Facilities Management contractor, Mitie, provides a number of cleaners at a salary of their discretion.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse has been of cleaning in No. 10 Downing Street in each of the last five years.

This information is not centrally held and could only be provided at disproportionate cost

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish in full the Prime Minister's diary for 20 May 2020.

Ministers regularly meet departmental officials and external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK.



18th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish in full his predecessor's Ministerial diary for 20 May 2020.

Ministers regularly meet departmental officials and external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK.



18th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the whistleblowing guidance in place for his Office in (a) 2020, (b) 2021 and (c) January 2022.

The Cabinet Office is committed to ensuring high standards of conduct in all that it does. Ministers and civil servants share this commitment. If individuals suspect wrongdoing, they have a responsibility to speak up. The Cabinet Office also makes clear to staff that they should not make the assumption that someone else will come forward to report wrongdoing.

In December 2019, the Cabinet Office enhanced its ‘Raising a Concern’ policy (previously Whistleblowing) to align with recent changes introduced by Civil Service HR. These changes were introduced as a result of some confusion in navigating the process and from staff feedback suggesting the term ‘whistleblowing’ has negative connotations. The Cabinet Office will review the existing policy and procedures in line with recently updated cross-government guidance.

The associated guidance is attached.

17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many additional people will form part of the electorate following the extension of the franchise to citizens who have been living overseas for more than 15 years.

The Government intends to legislate to extend the franchise for UK Parliamentary General Elections to all British citizens living overseas who have been previously registered or previously resident in the UK.

These measures will be included in the Elections Bill, and we will shortly be publishing further information on the impact on the overseas franchise as part of this process.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the timetable is for the establishment of the proposed Commission on the Constitution, Democracy and Human Rights.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQs 1274-1279 on 13 January 2020.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the Government's timetable is for the formation of the Commission on the Constitution, Democracy and Human Rights.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQs 1274-1279 on 13 January 2020.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how the membership of the Commission on the Constitution, Democracy and Human Rights will be determined.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQs 1274-1279 on 13 January 2020.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the planned scope is of the Commission on the Constitution, Democracy and Human Rights.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQs 1274-1279 on 13 January 2020.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, what discussions (a) he, (b) his advisers and (d) Departmental officials have had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and his (i) advisers and (ii) Departmental officials on the Westferry Printworks development.

I refer the Hon. Member to my answer of 3 June 2020 to Questions 52440, 52441, 52442, 52443, and my answers of 3 June 2020, Official Report, Col 843 and of 17 June 2020, Official Report, Col 802.

Neither I nor No10 officials have had contact with the applicant or his representatives in relation to this planning application or appeal.

7th Jul 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, whether (a) he, (b) his advisers or (c) his Departmental officials have had a discussion with a representative of Thorncliffe Communications on the Westferry Printworks development project.

I refer the Hon. Member to my answer of 3 June 2020 to Questions 52440, 52441, 52442, 52443, and my answers of 3 June 2020, Official Report, Col 843 and of 17 June 2020, Official Report, Col 802.

Neither I nor No10 officials have had contact with the applicant or his representatives in relation to this planning application or appeal.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many times the Union Policy Implementation Committee has met in each of the last three years.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not normally shared publicly.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government plans to change the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK to (a) stand and (b) vote in local elections before the local government elections in England and Wales in 2021.

The May local elections were postponed until 2021 due to Covid-19.

In that context, the UK Government can confirm that resident EU citizens will remain able to vote and stand in the rescheduled May 2021 local elections in England (including London Assembly elections) and the May 2021 Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales. Those elected to office will be able to serve their full term and this will also apply to those elected before 2021.

The franchise for local elections are devolved in Scotland and Wales.

As I noted to the Hon. Member in previous answers, the UK Government has been clear that the issue of local voting rights of EU citizens living in the UK needs to be considered alongside the rights and interests of British expats living abroad.

The Government has signed bilateral voting rights agreements with Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg in 2019, and with Poland in May 2020. We continue to work on further bilateral voting rights agreements with other EU member states.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether EU citizens (a) with pre-settled or settled status and (b) without such status will be eligible to (i) stand as candidates in and (ii) vote in local government elections in England and Wales in 2021, including the London Assembly election.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answers given to PQ 38882 on 27 April 2020 and to PQ 1802 on 29 January 2020.

1st May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government has taken to mitigate the risks identified in the National Risk Registers of Civil Emergencies, published on 14 September 2017.

Departments are responsible for addressing their portfolio of risks as identified in the National Risk Register, working with a wide range of stakeholders to coordinate, enact and test appropriate plans.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government has used the powers under section 52(1A) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 to require local authorities to keep electoral registers in a standardised digital format.

The Government has not issued a ministerial direction to require local authorities to keep electoral registers in a standardised digital format. However, the issue of a common standard for electoral register data has been discussed previously at meetings between the Parliamentary Parties Panel and Cabinet Office officials.

This Panel is run by the Electoral Commission and gives representatives of the main political parties a forum to discuss issues affecting them. More information can be found at: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/who-we-are-and-what-we-do/who-we-are/how-we-make-decisions/party-panels

28th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require that digital copies of the electoral register be supplied to candidates and political parties in a standardised format consistent across all local authorities.

The Government has not issued a ministerial direction to require local authorities to keep electoral registers in a standardised digital format. However, the issue of a common standard for electoral register data has been discussed previously at meetings of the Parliamentary Parties Panel.

This Panel is run by the Electoral Commission and gives representatives of the main political parties a forum to discuss issues affecting them. More information can be found at: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/who-we-are-and-what-we-do/who-we-are/how-we-make-decisions/party-panels

26th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse of renovation works to Chequers has been in each the last five years up to and including February 2020.

Chequers is run and managed by an independent trust. Details of any renovation works are a matter for the Chequers Trust.

7th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the rates of theft of catalytic converters from automobiles in each of the last five years.

The information requested falls under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. I have therefore asked the Authority to respond.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, at what time his officials found out that the addresses of recipients of honours in the 2020 New Year Honours list had been published.

I refer the Hon Member to the written Ministerial Statement laid on Tuesday 7 January 2020, HCWS21, available on the Parliament website.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to investigate how the addresses of recipients of honours in the 2020 New Year Honours list were published in error; and whether the results of that investigation will be made public.

I refer the Hon Member to the written Ministerial Statement laid on Tuesday 7 January 2020, HCWS21, available on the Parliament website, which lays out the action taken by the Cabinet Office to limit the impact of the breach and to ensure it does not happen again.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of people whose addresses were published in the 2020 New Year Honours List his Department has contacted to date.

I refer the Hon Member to the written Ministerial Statement laid on Tuesday 7 January 2020, HCWS21, available on the Parliament website, which lays out the action taken by the Cabinet Office to limit the impact of the breach and to ensure it does not happen again.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether EU citizens (a) with pre-settled or settled status and (b) without it will be eligible to (i) stand as candidates in and (ii) vote in local government elections in England and Wales in 2020, including the London Assembly election.

The UK Government has been clear that the issue of local voting rights of EU citizens living in the UK needs to be considered alongside the rights and interests of British expats living abroad.

The rights of EU citizens to vote and stand in local elections will not immediately change on exit from the EU. We are seeking reciprocal bilateral agreements to maintain this right. The Government has already signed reciprocal bilateral agreements with Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg to guarantee local voting and candidacy rights for UK nationals in those states. Together these three voting rights treaties protect the rights of a third of UK nationals living in EU Member States.

In that context the Government can confirm that resident EU citizens will be able to vote and stand in the May 2020 local elections in England (including London Assembly elections) and the May 2020 Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales. Those elected to office will be able to serve their full term and this will also apply to those elected before 2020.

The National Assembly for Wales is responsible for the franchise in local elections in Wales and elections to the Nationals Assembly for Wales. The UK Government is responsible for the franchise in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales.

9th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential for legal action to be taken against his Department in connection to publishing the addresses of recipients of honours in the 2020 New Year Honours list.

It is not appropriate to comment on any legal advice the Government receives. The Cabinet Office is cooperating fully with the Information Commissioner, to which it reported itself.

26th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will introduce a minimum wage of £12 per hour for (a) early years and (b) elder care.

This Government is committed to building an economy that works for everyone. Through the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and the National Living Wage (NLW), the Government protects the lowest paid within our society. The Government has accepted all of the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission.

From April, the NLW will increase for workers aged 21 years and over to £11.44 an hour. For workers aged 18-20, the NMW rate will increase to £8.60 an hour. For those under 18, and for apprentices under 19, the NMW rate will increase to £6.40 an hour.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
5th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether she has had recent discussions with Post Office Limited on preventing errors with the current Horizon software.

There have been several iterations of the Horizon system since its introduction in 1999. The current version of the system was introduced from 2017. Post Office continue to make improvements to the system and will be moving away from Horizon to a new IT cloud-based system. Government recently announced that it is providing £103 million to help with the development of the replacement for the Horizon IT system and to ensure Horizon is maintained while that replacement is rolled out.

While publicly owned, Post Office operates at arm’s length from Government as a commercial business with its own Board. Post Office reports to Government on key issues and Government has robust mechanisms in place to maintain oversight of the company.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, with reference to regulation 13 of the draft Carer's Leave Regulations 2024 laid on 11 December 2023, for what reason the average rate of remuneration is calculated over a period of 12 weeks.

The calculation for establishing a week’s pay in the Employment Rights Act 1996 is set out in Part 14 Chapter II and the relevant period provided for the calculation is 12 weeks. Regulation 13 of the Carer’s Leave Regulations ensures that when making this calculation, weeks which include unpaid Carer’s Leave are discounted when it comes to calculating a week’s pay, as is the case with other forms of family leave, including unpaid Parental Leave.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, whether reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been found within their Department's estate.

Survey work is underway.

For now, the focus is on bringing together the information we hold about the Government estate into one place. This work is being coordinated by the Office for Government Property.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member was not agreed to by (a) a Minister and (b) their office on behalf of a Minister in the last 12 months.

This information is not centrally collated and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Ministers will regularly seek to engage with hon. Members, whilst balancing wider Ministerial and Parliamentary responsibilities.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, which (a) industry bodies and (b) UK civil society organisations the Department for International Trade consulted with on the TRIPS waiver extension to include COVID-19 tests and treatments.

Department for Business and Trade officials have discussed the potential extension of the Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) TRIPS decision with (a) the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), the BioIndustry Association (BIA), the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI), the British Generic Manufacturers Association (BGMA), (b) StopAids, Médecins Sans Frontières, Just Treatment, Global Justice, Oxfam, Access 2 Healthcare, and Christian Aid. HM Government appreciates the continuous engagement from industry and civil society organisations on this matter and remains committed to engage constructively with stakeholders on discussions taking place at the World Trade Organization.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been found within their Department's estate.

Departments have been asked to report on the current picture of suspected and confirmed RAAC in their estates as soon as possible. This will be updated on a regular basis as new buildings are identified and surveying and remediation are carried out.

Government published lists of education settings confirmed as having RAAC on Wednesday 6 September and committed to providing further updates.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member was not agreed to by (a) a Minister and (b) their office on behalf of a Minister in the last 12 months.

Details of meeting requests are not held centrally by the Department.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, for what reason Alternative Fuel Payments are not made to building society accounts.

The system for bank account payments in the UK is more standardised than for building society payments. Therefore, to reduce the burden on local authorities, the Government has taken the decision to only allow bank account payments for the Alternative Fuel Payment.

Basic bank accounts are free to open, and do not have the same credit check requirements as a standard current account. Applicants can open a basic bank account in branch, or sometimes online or over the phone, depending on the bank.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether an appeal process is in place for people whose applications for the Alternative Fuel Payment are refused.

Applicants should contact the contact centre helpline on 0808 175 3943 if the appeal relates to their initial application. If the appeal relates to evidence provided as part of the application, applicants should contact their Local Authority. Appeals may be escalated to the Department in some circumstances where further checks are required.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, for what reasons the manufacture of spirits was not included in the Energy Bills Discount Scheme.

The Government has taken a consistent approach to identifying the most energy and trade intensive sectors, with all sectors that meet agreed thresholds for energy and trade intensity eligible for ETII support. These thresholds have been set at sectors falling above the 80th percentile for energy intensity and 60th percentile for trade intensity, plus any sectors eligible for the existing energy compensation and exemption schemes. These thresholds were set to balance the UK's goals of delivering targeted support at lower overall cost, while capturing a broad enough share of affected companies.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether she has made a recent assessment of the potential merits of introducing a cap on mid-contract price rises for broadband providers.

The Government recognises that households across the country are struggling with their bills as a result of the rise in the cost of living.

The Government currently has no plans to intervene into the market to cap price increases. We would expect any such intervention would distort market competition.

However, it is essential that telecoms contracts are fair and transparent and any important clauses, such as in-contract price rises, are made clear at the point of sale.

In December 2023, Ofcom completed its review into the transparency of inflation-linked, in-contract price rises and is now consulting on proposals to ban providers from including CPI or RPI increases in their contracts. Ofcom’s proposals will require providers to set out clearly – in pounds and pence and at the point of sale – the price the consumer can expect to pay during their contractual period. Ofcom’s consultation closes on 13 February 2024. Ofcom expect to reach their final decision in the Spring.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been found within their Department's estate.

Survey work is underway. For now, the focus is on bringing together the information we hold about the Government estate into one place. This work is being coordinated by the Office for Government Property.

17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member was not agreed to by (a) a Minister and (b) their office on behalf of a Minister in the last 12 months.

This information is not centrally collated and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Ministers will regularly seek to engage with hon. Members, whilst balancing wider Ministerial and Parliamentary responsibilities.

23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, how many sewage leaks have been recorded within their Department's estate in the last twelve months.

The Department for Science, Technology & Innovation was created on 7th February 2023, and this response relates to the Department’s main occupation at 1 Victoria Street, London, and where it is a significant tenant.

The number of sewage leaks at 1 Victoria Street was 0 (zero).

This building is also the main occupation of the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero, and also contains a significant proportion of staff who work for the Department for Business & Trade.

22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will take steps to help ensure the Communication Workers Union and Royal Mail reach an agreement in their industrial dispute.

The Government is monitoring the situation closely however the industrial dispute is a matter for Royal Mail, as a private company, and the Communication Workers Union to resolve.

The Government strongly urges Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union to continue their negotiations to reach a resolution as soon as possible and minimise the disruption to consumers and businesses.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent discussions his Department has held with Royal Mail about their capacity to fulfil their Universal Service Obligation.

The Department has regular discussions with Royal Mail on a wide range of issues.

The Postal Services Act 2011 gives Ofcom responsibility to secure the provision of the UK’s universal postal service.

Ofcom has the powers and tools to protect the universal service and it has in place an effective monitoring regime that is able to identify any threats to it.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans his Department has to assist (a) vulnerable, (b) disabled and (c) elderly people in the event of energy blackouts in winter 2022.

The UK has a secure and diverse energy system. The Government is confident in its plans to protect households and businesses in the full range of scenarios this winter.

Electricity network operators are obliged to maintain a Priority Services Register to ensure support is given to the most vulnerable customers during power disruptions, including those who are disabled or elderly

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish his Department's most recent assessment on impact of the use of biomass fuels on the UK’s carbon emissions.

In accordance with international guidelines, carbon dioxide emissions from biomass use are reported in Greenhouse Gas Inventories as a change in carbon stocks in the Land-Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector of the country where the biomass is harvested. They are also reported as a memorandum item in the country where the biomass is used, but are not counted in that country’s total emissions to avoid double counting.

In the latest year for which emissions estimates are available (2020), carbon dioxide emissions from UK biomass use, reported as a memorandum item in the UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory, were 47.2 million tonnes.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department has taken pursuant to the Court ruling in The Queen (on the application of (1) Friends of the Earth Limited (2) ClientEarth (3) Good Law Project and Joanna Wheatley v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy [2022] EWHC 1841 (Admin) on the Government's Net Zero Strategy.

The Government has applied for permission to appeal the judgment. The Government is seeking permission to appeal specific elements of the court’s judgment on the section 13 and section 14 duties. Its grounds of appeal have been lodged with the court and set out the legal detail.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department plans to publish a communications campaign in respect of the UKCA marking regime to raise awareness of that regime among businesses.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy continues to deliver a comprehensive programme of communication with industry on the implementation of the UKCA marking. The Government will continue this work, with further communications and in person engagement, following our recent announcement of measures to make the UKCA regime easier for businesses.

23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much his Department has paid on average for each vaccine dose purchased from (a) AstraZeneca, (b) Moderna and (c) Pfizer BioNTech.

We are not able to disclose specific costs of individual vaccines procured to date, as details of contracts between the Government and vaccine manufacturers are commercially sensitive.

1st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish (a) any assessment undertaken and (b) the methodology of any such assessment on the cost and productivity differential between civil servants working from home and working in Whitehall.

The Government is committed to encouraging flexible working, which has many benefits for both individuals and employers. The Review of the Flexible Working Regulations 2014 showed that flexible working can reduce vacancy costs; increase skill retention; enhance business performance; and reduce staff absenteeism rates.

To help organisations realise the benefits of flexible working, we issued a consultation and accompanying impact assessment on “making flexible working the default” in Autumn of last year. The consultation closed on 1 December 2021, receiving over 1,600 responses. We will be publishing our consultation response in due course.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish in full his Ministerial diary for 20 May 2020.

Ministers regularly meet with departmental officials and external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/beis-ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings.

14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when a statutory entitlement to carer's leave will be introduced.

The Government response to the consultation on carer’s leave, published in September 2021, confirmed the Government’s intention to deliver on the manifesto commitment to introduce a new entitlement to one week of leave for unpaid carers.

This will be a day 1 right, available to all employees who are providing care for a dependant with a long-term care need. Eligible employees will be entitled to 5 days of unpaid leave per year, which will be available to take flexibly in individual or half days.

Legislation to introduce carer’s leave will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.

18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what risk assessment he has carried out on bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for covid-19 vaccine candidates on the effect on availability of covid-19 vaccine candidates for healthcare workers and vulnerable groups throughout the world.

The UK’s bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for covid-19 vaccines include funding for research and development, investment in manufacturing and vaccine trials. This investment supports the global scale up of vaccine production and therefore the quantity of vaccines available for healthcare workers and vulnerable groups globally. The UK is a strong supporter of the multilateral Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) initiative as a means to both get vaccines for the UK population and ensure equitable global access. The UK announced that it will contribute up to £500 million for the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment, which will give lower and middle-income countries equitable access to vaccines that are developed.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the terms of agreement between Oxford and AstraZeneca for their covid-19 vaccine.

We are not able to disclose details of this agreement because of the commercially confidential nature of the contracts between the Government and vaccine manufacturers while commercial negotiations are ongoing.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to ensure that any covid-19 vaccines are sold at cost and are accessible to (a) low-income and (b) middle-income countries.

The UK’s bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for covid-19 vaccines include funding for research and development, investment in manufacturing and vaccine trials. This investment supports the global scale up of vaccine production and therefore the quantity of vaccines available for low and middle-income countries. The UK is a strong supporter of the multilateral Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) initiative as a means to both get vaccines for the UK population and ensure equitable global access. The UK announced that it will contribute up to £500 million for the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment, which will give lower and middle-income countries equitable access to vaccines that are developed.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the veracity of reports that (a) AstraZeneca's no profit pricing commitment for the covid-19 vaccine will expire when that company declares the pandemic is over and (b) that company's contract for vaccine development permits declaration of the end of the covid-19 pandemic in July 2021.

The timings or nature of any commitments regarding vaccine pricing are for the parties involved.

The World Health Organisation declared a coronavirus pandemic on 11 March 2020, and we would expect it in due course to declare a move to a post-pandemic period as it has done previously for the H1N1 pandemic in 2010.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been found within their Department's estate.

Survey work is underway. For now, the focus is on bringing together the information we hold about the Government estate into one place. This work is being coordinated by the Office for Government Property.

17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member was not agreed to by (a) a Minister and (b) their office on behalf of a Minister in the last 12 months.

Ministers regularly engage hon. Members on a wide range of issues, whether on their request or proactively. The department does not keep a central record of meetings that are declined.

23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, how many sewage leaks have been recorded within their Department's estate in the last twelve months.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport can confirm that there have been no recorded sewage leaks within the Department’s estate in the last twelve months.

29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that prize draws return an appropriate percentage of sales income to good causes.

We are aware of concerns, including those raised by the DCMS Select Committee in its recent report What next for the National Lottery?, about the different approaches to society lotteries (regulated under the Gambling Act 2005) and prize draws (which are not). The Gambling Act 2005 generally defines a lottery as requiring payment to participate, an outcome determined wholly by chance, and the allocation of prizes. Large society lotteries operate under a licence issued by the Gambling Commission. There are limits on ticket sales and prizes and a minimum return to good causes. The National Lottery, with its unique status, has its own separate legal framework under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993.

Prize draws may resemble lotteries but not meet the Gambling Act 2005 definition of a lottery because there is a free entry route or because there is an element of skill involved. Where prize draws do not meet the definition of a lottery, they are not considered gambling under the Gambling Act 2005 and the Gambling Commission has no regulatory responsibilities for them. It does however monitor the boundary between them and society lotteries to ensure that products are regulated when required by the Act.

We are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure it is fit for the digital age, and will publish a white paper setting out our conclusions in the coming weeks. We are also carefully considering the Select Committee’s recommendation and will respond in due course.

29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the amount of regulations governing prize draws compared to those regulating (a) charity lotteries and (b) the National Lottery.

We are aware of concerns, including those raised by the DCMS Select Committee in its recent report What next for the National Lottery?, about the different approaches to society lotteries (regulated under the Gambling Act 2005) and prize draws (which are not). The Gambling Act 2005 generally defines a lottery as requiring payment to participate, an outcome determined wholly by chance, and the allocation of prizes. Large society lotteries operate under a licence issued by the Gambling Commission. There are limits on ticket sales and prizes and a minimum return to good causes. The National Lottery, with its unique status, has its own separate legal framework under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993.

Prize draws may resemble lotteries but not meet the Gambling Act 2005 definition of a lottery because there is a free entry route or because there is an element of skill involved. Where prize draws do not meet the definition of a lottery, they are not considered gambling under the Gambling Act 2005 and the Gambling Commission has no regulatory responsibilities for them. It does however monitor the boundary between them and society lotteries to ensure that products are regulated when required by the Act.

We are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the Gambling Act 2005 to ensure it is fit for the digital age, and will publish a white paper setting out our conclusions in the coming weeks. We are also carefully considering the Select Committee’s recommendation and will respond in due course.

29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when her Department plans to update the charity lottery sales limits.

The society lottery annual sales limit was last increased as part of a wider package of reforms in 2020. These were reviewed 12 months after they were implemented, and the results of the review were published in March 2022. Early indicators were positive. The higher annual sales limit has allowed some multiple licensed operators who previously had annual sales in excess of £10 million, to restructure and become single licence holders, and divert the savings to good cause returns. The review concluded that it was too soon to reach any firm view on the impact of the changes, especially during a time when the effect of the Covid pandemic made any evaluation more difficult, and that more data on annual growth of the sector was required before considering any further changes. My officials will continue working with the Gambling Commission, as part of its regulatory role, to keep the sector under review.

29th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what analysis her Department has made of the impacts of charity lottery sales limits on the funds raised by charity lotteries.

The society lottery annual sales limit was last increased as part of a wider package of reforms in 2020. These were reviewed 12 months after they were implemented, and the results of the review were published in March 2022. Early indicators were positive. The higher annual sales limit has allowed some multiple licensed operators who previously had annual sales in excess of £10 million, to restructure and become single licence holders, and divert the savings to good cause returns. The review concluded that it was too soon to reach any firm view on the impact of the changes, especially during a time when the effect of the Covid pandemic made any evaluation more difficult, and that more data on annual growth of the sector was required before considering any further changes. My officials will continue working with the Gambling Commission, as part of its regulatory role, to keep the sector under review.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how much her Department spent on consultancy fees in the last five years.

The Department has spent the following amount on consultancy services in the past 5 financial years. Values include VAT that is non-recoverable, whilst VAT that is recoverable has been deducted accordingly. The values for FY21/22 are subject to change following audit and the final value will be published in the DCMS Annual Report and Accounts FY21/22.

FY17/18

FY18/19

FY19/20

FY20/21

FY21/22*

Consultancy

£2,700,000.00

£3,300,000.00

£3,900,000.00

£16,600,000.00

£17,512,000.00

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish in full his predecessor's Ministerial diary for 20 May 2020.

Ministers regularly meet with departmental officials and external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether there was a cost to the public purse of developing proposals for a potential Great Exhibition.

The Great Exhibition 2.0 is a project led by the Royal Albert Hall. The government is not involved in its planning or development, and no government funding has been provided.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the level of online gambling advertising on television during the covid-19 lockdown.

Gambling advertising is subject to strict controls set out in the advertising codes of practice issued by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). Rules on content mean that these adverts must never seek to exploit or appeal to children or vulnerable people, and rules on placement mean that they must never be targeted at these groups. Both the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – as the independent advertising regulator – and the Gambling Commission can take action where gambling advertising is found to be in breach of these rules.

The Advertising Standards Authority received 82 complaints about gambling advertising in March this year, and a further 97 complaints between 1 and 28 April. This is compared to 79 complaints received in January, and 71 received in February. Of the 179 complaints received between 1 March and 28 April, 109 related to TV advertising, 8 to radio advertising and the rest to online and non-broadcast media. The ASA does not record what proportion of these adverts were promoting online gambling sites. It did not find any of the adverts complained about to be in breach of the codes for gambling advertising but did take enforcement action where a gambling advert was found to be misleading and therefore in breach of the wider advertising codes.

Between 23 March and 28 April, the Gambling Commission identified a total of 11 online adverts for online gambling products that were in breach of the rules on advertising that relate to the protection of vulnerable adults. Gambling Commission intervention with the operators involved ensured that these adverts were removed or altered. During that period it did not find any adverts to be in breach of rules requiring adverts not to be targeted at children or of particular appeal to them.

The government, Gambling Commission and the ASA do not hold information about the volume of broadcast advertising promoting online gambling. The Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage has written to operators to urge them to increase the prominence of safer gambling messaging adverts across all channels during the current period. In addition, the ASA has warned operators that they must continue to abide by existing rules and must not look to exploit the current situation. Industry group the Betting and Gaming Council announced on 27 April that in response to public concern its members would replace adverts for online slot, casino and bingo products on TV and radio with safer gambling adverts, or donate the slots to charity, for an initial period of six weeks.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many and what proportion of eligible two year olds received free funded early education in each year between 2019 and 2023.

Data relating to government-funded early education and childcare is published in the annual ‘Education provision: children under 5 years of age’ statistical release which is available on the GOV.UK website at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/education-provision-children-under-5.

The figures requested can be found at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/941bcc65-3f3a-4cc8-9712-08dc1cb7c782.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when she will next review the repayment threshold for repayment of (a) student tuition fee loans and (b) student maintenance loans; and if she will carry out a public consultation on this review.

Higher Education policy, including student finance, is devolved and this answer relates to England only.

The student finance and funding system must provide value for money for all of society at a time of rising costs. It is important that a sustainable student finance system is in place that is fair to students and fair to taxpayers. The department has frozen maximum tuition fees for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 academic years. By the 2024/25 academic year, maximum fees will have been frozen for seven successive years.

The mechanism for setting repayment thresholds for student loans is set out and governed by the Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009 (as amended). This includes provision for annual adjustments, where applicable, which do not require public consultation. The repayment threshold is the same for both tuition fee and maintenance loans.

The department will continue to keep the terms of the student finance system under review to ensure that they keep delivering value for money for both students and taxpayers.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has made a recent assessment of the potential impact of the level of student maintenance loans on the labour market.

The department has not made an assessment of the potential impact of the level of student maintenance loans on the labour market.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
18th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has carried out an equality impact assessment on the uprating of the student maintenance loan.

The department publishes an equality impact assessment of changes to student support in England annually on GOV.UK.

For the current 2023/24 academic year, the equality impact assessment can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-student-finance-2023-to-2024-equality-analysis.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to (a) monitor and (b) inspect residential care homes in Scotland where (i) referrals are made for children residing in England and (ii) children with primary home addresses in England are staying.

The department collects and publishes data on the number of children’s residential placements, including children placed in Scotland. The data is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/methodology/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions-methodology#content-section-4-content-5.

Local authorities hold the responsibility for monitoring a child in residential care where they have legal responsibility for that child. Each child’s care, including contact and monitoring, is agreed and detailed in their individual care plan. All residential care homes are inspected, and this is the responsibility of the Care Inspectorate in Scotland, and Ofsted in England.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department takes to monitor the number of children with home addresses in England that are placed in residential care in Scotland.

The department collects and publishes data on the number of children’s residential placements, including children placed in Scotland. The data is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/methodology/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions-methodology#content-section-4-content-5.

Local authorities hold the responsibility for monitoring a child in residential care where they have legal responsibility for that child. Each child’s care, including contact and monitoring, is agreed and detailed in their individual care plan. All residential care homes are inspected, and this is the responsibility of the Care Inspectorate in Scotland, and Ofsted in England.

David Johnston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been found within their Department's estate.

For now, the focus is on bringing together the information we hold about the Government estate into one place. This work is being coordinated by the Office for Government Property. Survey work is underway.

17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will make an equalities impact assessment of (a) the length of placements and (b) the timing of funding payments for the Turing Scheme.

The Secretary of State for Education carried out an Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA) into the Turing Scheme during the design stage of policy development as a way of facilitating and evidencing compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty contained in Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. This requires public authorities to have due regard to several equality considerations when exercising their functions.

Under the Turing Scheme, eligible organisations in each education sector have flexibility to design projects in line with their needs and those of their students, including setting the duration of mobilities within a broad window above 4 weeks to 12 months in higher education (HE), 2 weeks to 12 months in further education, and 3 days to 6 months in schools. The department reduced the minimum duration of HE placements to 4 weeks, which is half the shortest duration previously permitted under the Erasmus+ Programme. This is intended to widen access to international opportunities to people from disadvantaged backgrounds for whom the duration of an international placements may represent a potential barrier to participation.

The Turing Scheme is creating more opportunities than ever before for students across the UK who were previously unlikely to take up international exchanges. Of the more than 40,000 pupils, learners and students who will have the opportunity to do study and work placements across the globe this year, nearly two thirds of these opportunities will be for participants from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Turing Scheme is a demand led, competitive programme with an annual application cycle. Successful applicant institutions are notified of their funding allocation before the start of the academic year and before the funding period for international placements commences. Once the grant agreement is in place, it is the responsibility of grant recipients to make timely requests for payments, so that they can disburse funding to their participants at the point of need.

The department will continue to work closely with the scheme’s delivery partner to collect and act on feedback from participating organisations and sector stakeholders, including on the payment mechanism and timing.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member was not agreed to by (a) a Minister and (b) their office on behalf of a Minister in the last 12 months.

Engagement with hon. Members is a priority for the Secretary of State and her ministers, and every effort is made to respond to their requests for meetings promptly.

The specific information requested is not centrally collated and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Ministers at the Department will regularly seek to engage with hon. Members, whilst balancing wider Ministerial and Parliamentary responsibilities.

19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what criteria is used to assess which countries are (a) high and (b) low cost under the Turing scheme for the purpose of funding determinations.

The UK government is supporting access to study abroad through the Turing Scheme. ​​The scheme provides grant funding for education providers and organisations to offer their students, learners and pupils undertake study or work placement across the globe. Participants can study or work anywhere in the world, subject to Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office travel advice.

Education providers and other eligible organisations are able to apply to the Turing Scheme. Organisations that have been awarded funds are responsible for planning projects that will see their students undertake international placements funded through the Turing Scheme. Students do not apply directly to the Turing Scheme. This is the same institution-led model used for international placement schemes like the Erasmus+ Programme.

The Turing Scheme allocated funding for international study and work placements for 41,024 students, learners, and pupils in the 2021/22 academic year and 38,374 in the 2022/23 academic year. Funding results by sector are published on the Turing Scheme website: https://www.turing-scheme.org.uk/. Application outcomes for the 2023/24 academic year will be announced in July 2023.

Whilst the Turing Scheme focuses on study and work placements for students, the Erasmus+ Programme also included some staff mobility, and youth and adult educational mobilities. However, the European Commission does not break down the total number of UK participants in any other sector than Higher Education (HE) between staff and students. The department is therefore unable to provide all the information requested. HE student participant numbers in Erasmus+ from the UK were 15,784 in the 2015/16 academic year, 16,559 in 2016/17, 17,048 in 2017/18, 18,305 in 2018/19 and 16,596 in 2019/20. The Turing Scheme is providing funding for 23,472 HE placements in the 2022/23 academic year and provided funding for over 28,000 HE placements in 2021/22.

The Turing Scheme has an annual application window in which eligible organisations can apply for funding:

  • For 2021/22 placements, the application window opened on 12 March 2021 and closed on 16 April 2021. Applicants were notified of the outcome of their application and funding amounts by 4 August 2021. There were no appeals. The period between the closing of the application window to the notification of results was 15 weeks and 5 days, during which time the applications were assessed.
  • For 2022/23 placements, the application window opened on 31 March 2022 and closed on 29 April 2022. Applicants were notified of the outcome of their application by 30 June 2022 and of their funding amounts by 17 July 2022. Successful appellants were notified of their funding amounts by 16 Aug 2022. The period between the closing of the application window to the notification of initial application results was 8 weeks and 6 days, during which time the applications were assessed. Notification of funding amounts were issued 2 weeks and 3 days later. The duration of the appeals process was 15 weeks and 4 days from the initial notification to the notification of the final outcomes of the appeal.
  • For 2023/24 placements, the application window opened on 14 February 2023 and closed on 6 April 2023. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications and funding amounts in July 2023. Appeal outcomes will be confirmed to appellants in August 2023.

Under the Turing Scheme, participants receive grants to help cover the general costs of living while they are abroad. The amount of funding provided towards the cost of living for each participant will vary depending on the sector and destination country/territory. Destination countries/territories are grouped into three categories: Group 1 (high cost of living), Group 2 (medium cost of living) and Group 3 (lower cost of living). These categories were determined with reference to the World Bank’s International Comparison Program which compares countries’ Price Level Indexes, the country groupings used by the European Commission for the Erasmus+ Programme, and data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what the (a) shortest, (b) longest and (c) average time for (i) processing applications and (ii) confirming funding under the Turing scheme was in each academic year from 2021 to date.

The UK government is supporting access to study abroad through the Turing Scheme. ​​The scheme provides grant funding for education providers and organisations to offer their students, learners and pupils undertake study or work placement across the globe. Participants can study or work anywhere in the world, subject to Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office travel advice.

Education providers and other eligible organisations are able to apply to the Turing Scheme. Organisations that have been awarded funds are responsible for planning projects that will see their students undertake international placements funded through the Turing Scheme. Students do not apply directly to the Turing Scheme. This is the same institution-led model used for international placement schemes like the Erasmus+ Programme.

The Turing Scheme allocated funding for international study and work placements for 41,024 students, learners, and pupils in the 2021/22 academic year and 38,374 in the 2022/23 academic year. Funding results by sector are published on the Turing Scheme website: https://www.turing-scheme.org.uk/. Application outcomes for the 2023/24 academic year will be announced in July 2023.

Whilst the Turing Scheme focuses on study and work placements for students, the Erasmus+ Programme also included some staff mobility, and youth and adult educational mobilities. However, the European Commission does not break down the total number of UK participants in any other sector than Higher Education (HE) between staff and students. The department is therefore unable to provide all the information requested. HE student participant numbers in Erasmus+ from the UK were 15,784 in the 2015/16 academic year, 16,559 in 2016/17, 17,048 in 2017/18, 18,305 in 2018/19 and 16,596 in 2019/20. The Turing Scheme is providing funding for 23,472 HE placements in the 2022/23 academic year and provided funding for over 28,000 HE placements in 2021/22.

The Turing Scheme has an annual application window in which eligible organisations can apply for funding:

  • For 2021/22 placements, the application window opened on 12 March 2021 and closed on 16 April 2021. Applicants were notified of the outcome of their application and funding amounts by 4 August 2021. There were no appeals. The period between the closing of the application window to the notification of results was 15 weeks and 5 days, during which time the applications were assessed.
  • For 2022/23 placements, the application window opened on 31 March 2022 and closed on 29 April 2022. Applicants were notified of the outcome of their application by 30 June 2022 and of their funding amounts by 17 July 2022. Successful appellants were notified of their funding amounts by 16 Aug 2022. The period between the closing of the application window to the notification of initial application results was 8 weeks and 6 days, during which time the applications were assessed. Notification of funding amounts were issued 2 weeks and 3 days later. The duration of the appeals process was 15 weeks and 4 days from the initial notification to the notification of the final outcomes of the appeal.
  • For 2023/24 placements, the application window opened on 14 February 2023 and closed on 6 April 2023. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications and funding amounts in July 2023. Appeal outcomes will be confirmed to appellants in August 2023.

Under the Turing Scheme, participants receive grants to help cover the general costs of living while they are abroad. The amount of funding provided towards the cost of living for each participant will vary depending on the sector and destination country/territory. Destination countries/territories are grouped into three categories: Group 1 (high cost of living), Group 2 (medium cost of living) and Group 3 (lower cost of living). These categories were determined with reference to the World Bank’s International Comparison Program which compares countries’ Price Level Indexes, the country groupings used by the European Commission for the Erasmus+ Programme, and data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students (a) applied for and (b) received a place under the Erasmus Scheme in the academic years (i) 2015-2016, (ii) 2017-2018, (iii) 2018-2019, (iv) 2019-2020 and (v) 2020-2021.

The UK government is supporting access to study abroad through the Turing Scheme. ​​The scheme provides grant funding for education providers and organisations to offer their students, learners and pupils undertake study or work placement across the globe. Participants can study or work anywhere in the world, subject to Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office travel advice.

Education providers and other eligible organisations are able to apply to the Turing Scheme. Organisations that have been awarded funds are responsible for planning projects that will see their students undertake international placements funded through the Turing Scheme. Students do not apply directly to the Turing Scheme. This is the same institution-led model used for international placement schemes like the Erasmus+ Programme.

The Turing Scheme allocated funding for international study and work placements for 41,024 students, learners, and pupils in the 2021/22 academic year and 38,374 in the 2022/23 academic year. Funding results by sector are published on the Turing Scheme website: https://www.turing-scheme.org.uk/. Application outcomes for the 2023/24 academic year will be announced in July 2023.

Whilst the Turing Scheme focuses on study and work placements for students, the Erasmus+ Programme also included some staff mobility, and youth and adult educational mobilities. However, the European Commission does not break down the total number of UK participants in any other sector than Higher Education (HE) between staff and students. The department is therefore unable to provide all the information requested. HE student participant numbers in Erasmus+ from the UK were 15,784 in the 2015/16 academic year, 16,559 in 2016/17, 17,048 in 2017/18, 18,305 in 2018/19 and 16,596 in 2019/20. The Turing Scheme is providing funding for 23,472 HE placements in the 2022/23 academic year and provided funding for over 28,000 HE placements in 2021/22.

The Turing Scheme has an annual application window in which eligible organisations can apply for funding:

  • For 2021/22 placements, the application window opened on 12 March 2021 and closed on 16 April 2021. Applicants were notified of the outcome of their application and funding amounts by 4 August 2021. There were no appeals. The period between the closing of the application window to the notification of results was 15 weeks and 5 days, during which time the applications were assessed.
  • For 2022/23 placements, the application window opened on 31 March 2022 and closed on 29 April 2022. Applicants were notified of the outcome of their application by 30 June 2022 and of their funding amounts by 17 July 2022. Successful appellants were notified of their funding amounts by 16 Aug 2022. The period between the closing of the application window to the notification of initial application results was 8 weeks and 6 days, during which time the applications were assessed. Notification of funding amounts were issued 2 weeks and 3 days later. The duration of the appeals process was 15 weeks and 4 days from the initial notification to the notification of the final outcomes of the appeal.
  • For 2023/24 placements, the application window opened on 14 February 2023 and closed on 6 April 2023. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications and funding amounts in July 2023. Appeal outcomes will be confirmed to appellants in August 2023.

Under the Turing Scheme, participants receive grants to help cover the general costs of living while they are abroad. The amount of funding provided towards the cost of living for each participant will vary depending on the sector and destination country/territory. Destination countries/territories are grouped into three categories: Group 1 (high cost of living), Group 2 (medium cost of living) and Group 3 (lower cost of living). These categories were determined with reference to the World Bank’s International Comparison Program which compares countries’ Price Level Indexes, the country groupings used by the European Commission for the Erasmus+ Programme, and data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many students (a) applied for and (b) received a place under the Turing Scheme in each academic year since 2021-2022.

The UK government is supporting access to study abroad through the Turing Scheme. ​​The scheme provides grant funding for education providers and organisations to offer their students, learners and pupils undertake study or work placement across the globe. Participants can study or work anywhere in the world, subject to Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office travel advice.

Education providers and other eligible organisations are able to apply to the Turing Scheme. Organisations that have been awarded funds are responsible for planning projects that will see their students undertake international placements funded through the Turing Scheme. Students do not apply directly to the Turing Scheme. This is the same institution-led model used for international placement schemes like the Erasmus+ Programme.

The Turing Scheme allocated funding for international study and work placements for 41,024 students, learners, and pupils in the 2021/22 academic year and 38,374 in the 2022/23 academic year. Funding results by sector are published on the Turing Scheme website: https://www.turing-scheme.org.uk/. Application outcomes for the 2023/24 academic year will be announced in July 2023.

Whilst the Turing Scheme focuses on study and work placements for students, the Erasmus+ Programme also included some staff mobility, and youth and adult educational mobilities. However, the European Commission does not break down the total number of UK participants in any other sector than Higher Education (HE) between staff and students. The department is therefore unable to provide all the information requested. HE student participant numbers in Erasmus+ from the UK were 15,784 in the 2015/16 academic year, 16,559 in 2016/17, 17,048 in 2017/18, 18,305 in 2018/19 and 16,596 in 2019/20. The Turing Scheme is providing funding for 23,472 HE placements in the 2022/23 academic year and provided funding for over 28,000 HE placements in 2021/22.

The Turing Scheme has an annual application window in which eligible organisations can apply for funding:

  • For 2021/22 placements, the application window opened on 12 March 2021 and closed on 16 April 2021. Applicants were notified of the outcome of their application and funding amounts by 4 August 2021. There were no appeals. The period between the closing of the application window to the notification of results was 15 weeks and 5 days, during which time the applications were assessed.
  • For 2022/23 placements, the application window opened on 31 March 2022 and closed on 29 April 2022. Applicants were notified of the outcome of their application by 30 June 2022 and of their funding amounts by 17 July 2022. Successful appellants were notified of their funding amounts by 16 Aug 2022. The period between the closing of the application window to the notification of initial application results was 8 weeks and 6 days, during which time the applications were assessed. Notification of funding amounts were issued 2 weeks and 3 days later. The duration of the appeals process was 15 weeks and 4 days from the initial notification to the notification of the final outcomes of the appeal.
  • For 2023/24 placements, the application window opened on 14 February 2023 and closed on 6 April 2023. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications and funding amounts in July 2023. Appeal outcomes will be confirmed to appellants in August 2023.

Under the Turing Scheme, participants receive grants to help cover the general costs of living while they are abroad. The amount of funding provided towards the cost of living for each participant will vary depending on the sector and destination country/territory. Destination countries/territories are grouped into three categories: Group 1 (high cost of living), Group 2 (medium cost of living) and Group 3 (lower cost of living). These categories were determined with reference to the World Bank’s International Comparison Program which compares countries’ Price Level Indexes, the country groupings used by the European Commission for the Erasmus+ Programme, and data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many sewage leaks have been recorded within their Department's estate in the last twelve months.

There have been two sewage leaks within the Department’s office estate within the last 12 months. The leaks were contained within the building and rectified quickly.

21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much his Department spent on consultancy fees in the last five years.

Consultancy expenditure is published in the department’s annual report and accounts, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dfe-annual-reports.

Although the audit is still ongoing, figures for the 2021/22 financial year are included. As a result, this value may be subject to change.

The figures below cover the entirety of the departmental group, including executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies, for the years specified:

  • 2021/22: £6.8 million (unaudited)
  • 2020/21: £8.7 million
  • 2019/20: £12.7 million
  • 2018/19: £13.1 million
  • 2017/18: £14.6 million.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on the decision to exclude staff mobility from the Turing Scheme; and what assessment he has made of the impact of that decision on staff and participants under the scheme.

Teaching and college staff mobility will not be funded as part of the Turing Scheme in the 2022/23 academic year, to maximise the amount of student, learner, and pupils’ access to life-changing mobilities. The department will continue to keep this decision under review and plans to assess the impact of the scheme following its first year of delivery.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish in full the Ministerial diary of the former Secretary of State for Education for 20 May 2020.

Ministers regularly meet with departmental officials and external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on https://www.gov.uk/.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish in full his Ministerial diary for 20 May 2020.

Ministers regularly meet with departmental officials and external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2021 to Question 152653 on the Turing Scheme, what estimate he has made of student demand for the Turing Scheme in the 2021-22 academic year.

Funding distributed under the Turing scheme will be demand-led, based on the bids that UK universities, colleges, training providers and schools will make to the scheme, and upon the demand for international mobilities for the academic year 2021-22 they have from their students.

The Turing Scheme provides funding for approximately 20,000 higher education students, 10,000 further education and vocational training students and 5,000 school pupils, a similar number as under Erasmus+. These numbers are subject to the above-mentioned demand.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding (a) projects and (b) institutions in Scotland have received through Erasmus+ in each year since 2015.

The Turing scheme will be backed by £110 million for the 2021-22 academic year, providing funding for similar numbers of UK students to travel abroad as under Erasmus+, which is approximately 20,000 higher education (HE) students, 10,000 further education and vocational training students and 5,000 school pupils, subject to demand.

Widening participation and levelling up is a core aim of the Turing Scheme. That is why we plan the following, to widen access to mobilities for disadvantaged groups with additional grants for living costs and living expenses:

  • When bidding, providers will need to demonstrate how their project will support widening access. The assessment criteria will be heavily weighted towards this criterion.
  • Maintaining parity with Erasmus+ grant rates and existing student finance support, but provide additional financial support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds by reimbursing travel-related costs.
  • We will actively target and promote the scheme in those geographical areas of disadvantage, helping to level up the country.
  • We have reduced the minimum HE duration of outward mobilities from a minimum of one term to 4 weeks.

Adult education mobilities under Erasmus+ were for staff rather than students. In considering which elements of the Erasmus+ programme we would immediately replicate under the Turing Scheme, we prioritised ensuring that as many students, learners and pupils as possible have access to life-changing mobilities to support them in developing the skills that will help them to thrive.

Youth and sport are policy responsibilities of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Erasmus+ Sport is a very small part of the programme, representing only 1.8% of the overall budget. DCMS estimates that UK organisations have, on average, benefited by less than £1.5 million a year from Erasmus+ Sport.

We do not need to create a specific programme to replace Erasmus+ Sport activities. We are already investing significant sums of money in sport programmes that align with Erasmus+ Sport themes and objectives. For example, through Sport England, we are investing more than £1.2 billion between 2016-21 on grassroots sport and physical activity programmes.

The National Agency collect and publish data on projects funded as part of Erasmus+, including for broken down by England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which can be found here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

The table below shows the value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Scotland from call year 2015 to 2017 (the call year is the year in which applications can be made). This is the latest data available, and it can be found in table 11 at the following link: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/file/14125/download.

Value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Scotland (in euros)

2015 Call

2016 Call

2017 Call

Total value of projects funded

€14,719,965

€15,617,009

€21,436,222

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of not including (a) adult educational institutions, (b) youth groups and (c) sporting bodies in the Turing Scheme on the Government's levelling up agenda.

The Turing scheme will be backed by £110 million for the 2021-22 academic year, providing funding for similar numbers of UK students to travel abroad as under Erasmus+, which is approximately 20,000 higher education (HE) students, 10,000 further education and vocational training students and 5,000 school pupils, subject to demand.

Widening participation and levelling up is a core aim of the Turing Scheme. That is why we plan the following, to widen access to mobilities for disadvantaged groups with additional grants for living costs and living expenses:

  • When bidding, providers will need to demonstrate how their project will support widening access. The assessment criteria will be heavily weighted towards this criterion.
  • Maintaining parity with Erasmus+ grant rates and existing student finance support, but provide additional financial support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds by reimbursing travel-related costs.
  • We will actively target and promote the scheme in those geographical areas of disadvantage, helping to level up the country.
  • We have reduced the minimum HE duration of outward mobilities from a minimum of one term to 4 weeks.

Adult education mobilities under Erasmus+ were for staff rather than students. In considering which elements of the Erasmus+ programme we would immediately replicate under the Turing Scheme, we prioritised ensuring that as many students, learners and pupils as possible have access to life-changing mobilities to support them in developing the skills that will help them to thrive.

Youth and sport are policy responsibilities of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Erasmus+ Sport is a very small part of the programme, representing only 1.8% of the overall budget. DCMS estimates that UK organisations have, on average, benefited by less than £1.5 million a year from Erasmus+ Sport.

We do not need to create a specific programme to replace Erasmus+ Sport activities. We are already investing significant sums of money in sport programmes that align with Erasmus+ Sport themes and objectives. For example, through Sport England, we are investing more than £1.2 billion between 2016-21 on grassroots sport and physical activity programmes.

The National Agency collect and publish data on projects funded as part of Erasmus+, including for broken down by England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which can be found here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

The table below shows the value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Scotland from call year 2015 to 2017 (the call year is the year in which applications can be made). This is the latest data available, and it can be found in table 11 at the following link: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/file/14125/download.

Value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Scotland (in euros)

2015 Call

2016 Call

2017 Call

Total value of projects funded

€14,719,965

€15,617,009

€21,436,222

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of students who will take part in the Turing Scheme in the 2021-22 academic year.

The Turing scheme will be backed by £110 million for the 2021-22 academic year, providing funding for similar numbers of UK students to travel abroad as under Erasmus+, which is approximately 20,000 higher education (HE) students, 10,000 further education and vocational training students and 5,000 school pupils, subject to demand.

Widening participation and levelling up is a core aim of the Turing Scheme. That is why we plan the following, to widen access to mobilities for disadvantaged groups with additional grants for living costs and living expenses:

  • When bidding, providers will need to demonstrate how their project will support widening access. The assessment criteria will be heavily weighted towards this criterion.
  • Maintaining parity with Erasmus+ grant rates and existing student finance support, but provide additional financial support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds by reimbursing travel-related costs.
  • We will actively target and promote the scheme in those geographical areas of disadvantage, helping to level up the country.
  • We have reduced the minimum HE duration of outward mobilities from a minimum of one term to 4 weeks.

Adult education mobilities under Erasmus+ were for staff rather than students. In considering which elements of the Erasmus+ programme we would immediately replicate under the Turing Scheme, we prioritised ensuring that as many students, learners and pupils as possible have access to life-changing mobilities to support them in developing the skills that will help them to thrive.

Youth and sport are policy responsibilities of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Erasmus+ Sport is a very small part of the programme, representing only 1.8% of the overall budget. DCMS estimates that UK organisations have, on average, benefited by less than £1.5 million a year from Erasmus+ Sport.

We do not need to create a specific programme to replace Erasmus+ Sport activities. We are already investing significant sums of money in sport programmes that align with Erasmus+ Sport themes and objectives. For example, through Sport England, we are investing more than £1.2 billion between 2016-21 on grassroots sport and physical activity programmes.

The National Agency collect and publish data on projects funded as part of Erasmus+, including for broken down by England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which can be found here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

The table below shows the value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Scotland from call year 2015 to 2017 (the call year is the year in which applications can be made). This is the latest data available, and it can be found in table 11 at the following link: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/file/14125/download.

Value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Scotland (in euros)

2015 Call

2016 Call

2017 Call

Total value of projects funded

€14,719,965

€15,617,009

€21,436,222

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK's withdrawal from the Erasmus scheme on the number of modern foreign language teachers in the UK.

The Department does not collect or hold information on the proportion of qualified modern foreign language (MFL) teachers in England that have taken part in the Erasmus+ scheme.

The Turing scheme, which replaces the UK’s participation in Erasmus+, will be backed by at least £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges, and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021. The scheme will be global and not limited to the European Union. The Turing scheme will be available to students of all subjects, including those studying degrees in MFL. Further details of the scheme will be published shortly.

Alongside the Turing scheme, the Government remains committed to ensuring pupils have access to high quality languages provision and that we continue to attract, retain, and develop the high quality languages teachers we need. To support MFL teacher recruitment, we are offering a £10,000 bursary for MFL trainees starting initial teacher training (ITT) in the 2021/22 academic year. We have also confirmed that ITT providers will be able to offer subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses to support MFL candidates for the academic year 2020/21 from April 2021. SKE courses are designed to help ITT applicants gain the depth of subject knowledge they need to train to teach their chosen subject.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the proportion of qualified modern foreign language teachers in England who took part in the Erasmus scheme.

The Department does not collect or hold information on the proportion of qualified modern foreign language (MFL) teachers in England that have taken part in the Erasmus+ scheme.

The Turing scheme, which replaces the UK’s participation in Erasmus+, will be backed by at least £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges, and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021. The scheme will be global and not limited to the European Union. The Turing scheme will be available to students of all subjects, including those studying degrees in MFL. Further details of the scheme will be published shortly.

Alongside the Turing scheme, the Government remains committed to ensuring pupils have access to high quality languages provision and that we continue to attract, retain, and develop the high quality languages teachers we need. To support MFL teacher recruitment, we are offering a £10,000 bursary for MFL trainees starting initial teacher training (ITT) in the 2021/22 academic year. We have also confirmed that ITT providers will be able to offer subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses to support MFL candidates for the academic year 2020/21 from April 2021. SKE courses are designed to help ITT applicants gain the depth of subject knowledge they need to train to teach their chosen subject.

5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the amount of funding made available for the disabled students premium in 2020-21.

The Disabled Students’ Premium is allocated by the Office for Students (OfS) each year.

The budget for the disabled students premium in academic year 2020/21 is £39.7 million.

In his strategic guidance letter to the OfS in January this year, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, asked the OfS to continue to prioritise allocations for the student premium.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
1st Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what information his Department holds on the number of trees planted during this Parliament.

The Forestry Commission produces statistics on all new planting of woodland for the UK. These can be found in Forestry Statistics on the Forest Research website. These statistics are reported for each financial year in thousands of hectares. The latest available figures are for 2022-23 published in September 2023.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to meet its target to create 30,000 hectares of new woodland each year from May 2024.

After the Nature for Climate Programme ends, the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) and Woodland Creation Planning Grant (WCPG) will transition to become part of the Countryside Stewardship scheme – one of the new environmental land management (ELM) schemes. We will take a phased approach to the transition of EWCO and WCPG into the ELM schemes to ensure there is no gap in offering grants to applicants for woodland creation. The future Countryside Stewardship woodland creation offer will largely mirror the EWCO offer.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made with Cabinet colleagues of the adequacy of business preparedness for future controls on the import of (a) food and (b) fresh products from the EU.

Following publication of the draft Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) in April 2023, the Government ran a six-week engagement period with industry. The feedback received is reflected in the final BTOM, notably the decision to delay implementation by three months, to January 2024, giving businesses more time to prepare. Before implementation of controls, awareness of and readiness for new controls will be boosted through a series of engagement events. Further guidance will be available on GOV.UK.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been found within their Department's estate.

For now, the focus is on bringing together the information we hold about the Government estate into one place. This work is being coordinated by the Office for Government Property.

Survey work is underway.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member was not agreed to by (a) a Minister and (b) their office on behalf of a Minister in the last 12 months.

This information is not centrally collated and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Ministers will regularly seek to engage with hon. Members, while balancing wider ministerial and parliamentary responsibilities.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many sewage leaks have been recorded within their Department's estate in the last twelve months.

Defra has had no sewage leaks on our estate over the last 12 months.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to her Department’s announcement on 23 March 2023 that it plans to introduce a phased reduction in the use of peat for the professional horticultural sector from 2026 onwards, how will the technical exemptions be determined; and what her planned timescale is for announcing what these will be.

An impact assessment was completed alongside our consultation in 2022. As the plans for the legislation evolve that assessment will be updated alongside our legislative proposals. The Government is currently co-funding research into peat free growing media with the RHS and industry leaders over the next three years; this research will expand the knowledge base regarding the quality of peat free growing media and our understanding of particular technical difficulties.

Technical exemptions have already been identified for plugs using less than 150ml of substrate and for casing material for mushroom production. Evidence provided for other plant types or production processes requiring a technical exemption will be considered and we will be engaging with the sector to refine any of these. We are proposing that the legislation will be framed to allow ministers to amend the dates, or modify the exemption, where exigent circumstances mean that the removal date is shown to be unachievable. The proposed legislation will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.

19th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to her Department’s announcement on 23 March 2023 that it plans to introduce a phased reduction in the use of peat for the professional horticultural sector from 2026, what recent assessment she has made of the potential impact of that ban on the on the capacity of UK growers to supply garden centres with the same number of tree and plant varieties.

An impact assessment was completed alongside our consultation in 2022. As the plans for the legislation evolve that assessment will be updated alongside our legislative proposals. The Government is currently co-funding research into peat free growing media with the RHS and industry leaders over the next three years; this research will expand the knowledge base regarding the quality of peat free growing media and our understanding of particular technical difficulties.

Technical exemptions have already been identified for plugs using less than 150ml of substrate and for casing material for mushroom production. Evidence provided for other plant types or production processes requiring a technical exemption will be considered and we will be engaging with the sector to refine any of these. We are proposing that the legislation will be framed to allow ministers to amend the dates, or modify the exemption, where exigent circumstances mean that the removal date is shown to be unachievable. The proposed legislation will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.

17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether her Department has made an assessment of how the cost of any difference in the usage of utilities by workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme can be (a) accounted for and (b) passed on to workers; and if she will publish further guidance for employers on the usage of utilities by workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.

While individual farm businesses are responsible for charging seasonal workers for their usage of utilities, approved scheme operators must comply with requirements outlined in the sponsor guidance. This includes ensuring farm businesses with whom they have placed workers do not impose additional, unnecessary charges on workers, whether directly or indirectly. The new team within the Home Office compliance network will focus specifically on farm businesses in this sector and ensure sponsors are adhering to this guidance and fulfilling their sponsorship responsibilities.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the press release of 16 December entitled Government provides boost to horticulture industry with certainty over seasonal workers, what is the guaranteed minimum of paid hours each week for workers on the scheme; who is responsible for monitoring that this is received by workers for the duration of their 6 month visa; and what are the channels for redress if workers are not paid.

All recruitment operators for the Seasonal Workers visa route offer a guaranteed minimum number of hours for seasonal migrant workers, with most working in excess of these hours. The usual rules prohibiting zero hours contracts continue to apply. Recruitment operators can transfer seasonal workers between farms to ensure these minimum hours are met and they also have welfare measures in place to ensure workers are well cared for.

The Home Office and Defra continue to monitor the visa route closely to make sure operators and growers adhere to the stringent requirements set for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the seasonal workers, including redress if workers are not paid. The operators of the Seasonal Worker visa route are licensed via a rigorous government selection process. As a minimum requirement, operators must be licensed by the Gangmasters Labour and Abuse Authority (GLAA). This makes sure that all workers are only placed with farms that adhere to all relevant legislation. Should a scheme operator lose their GLAA licencing at any point, their sponsor licence will be revoked with immediate effect.

Defra run an annual workers survey and liaise regularly with operators to monitor any issues. A new team will also focus on ensuring sponsors are abiding by workers' rights by improving training and processes for compliance inspectors and creating clear policies and guidance for robust action for scheme operators where workers are at risk of exploitation.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of including UK ornamental horticulture and landscaping in the Government's global export strategy.

With production of ornamentals being worth £1.4 billion in the UK at farm-gate in 2020, the Government recognises the importance of the ornamental horticultural industry sector to our economy. Last year the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group published their 'Unlocking green growth: A plan from the ornamental horticulture & landscaping industry'. This identifies how barriers to the sector's growth can be unlocked through a collaborative approach between government and industry, with one of the opportunities for the sector's growth identified as the inclusion of UK ornamental horticulture and landscaping as part of the government's global export strategy. We are working with industry and across government to explore how this can be achieved.

Exports of ornamentals were worth £68 million in 2020. DIT works closely with the Commercial Horticulture Association (CHA), providing support to horticultural exporters from across the UK (including tree and plant growers, ornamental horticulture and landscaping). Jointly, DIT and CHA have developed a capability brochure showcasing UK capability in horticulture, which is available on the Agri-Tech UK portal www.agritech-uk.org. The portal is used by DIT commercial officers overseas to support companies listed in the searchable company directory expand their business overseas.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that tree and plant growers are globally competitive and able to meet demand.

We have already made £1 million available to UK nurseries and seed suppliers through the Tree Production Innovation Fund to encourage the adoption of innovative technologies and ways of working in the nursery sector. We have also opened a new Tree Production Capital Grant, providing capital support to modernise facilities and improve the quantity, quality, diversity, and biosecurity of sapling supply. These actions are fulfilling commitments made in the England Trees Action Plan, highlighting the vital role of these sectors to support our ambitions on tree planting, woodland creation and management.

With production of ornamentals being worth £1.4 billion in the UK at farm-gate in 2020, the Government recognises the importance of the ornamental horticultural industry sector both to local economies and to people's well-being. Defra meets regularly with the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group (OHRG), who last year published their ‘Unlocking green growth: A plan from the ornamental horticulture & landscaping industry’. This identifies how barriers to the sector’s growth can be unlocked through a collaborative approach between government and industry. We are currently working with the OHRG on the opportunities outlined in their plan to accelerate the sector's growth.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much his Department spent on consultancy fees in the last five years.

The provisional consultancy spend for 2021-22 is £26.970m for the Core Department and Agencies.

The department’s spend on consultancy is published each year in the Annual Report and Accounts.

2020-21

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/defras-annual-report-and-accounts-2020-to-2021 (page 100)

2019-20

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/defras-annual-report-and-accounts-2019-to-2020 (page 87)

2018-19

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/defras-annual-report-and-accounts-2018-to-2019 (page 64)

2017-18

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/defras-annual-report-and-accounts-2017-to-2018 (page 51)

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has undertaken an assessment of the potential merits of an earned recognition trusted trader imports system for the professional tree and plant growers.

We will publish a Target Operating Model in the autumn (2022) that will set out how and when we will introduce an improved global regime of all border import controls. It will be based on a further assessment of risk and will harness the power of data and technology. We are working with stakeholders to develop these proposals. This includes looking at the role a trusted trader scheme might play in the plant health control system, which applies to the import of trees, plants and plant products.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of steps needed to facilitate access to alternatives to peat for use in horticulture.

Since we agreed the voluntary commitment to phase out the use of peat with the horticultural industry in 2011, many peat-free alternatives have been introduced to the market and some are readily available. However, we know that these products will need to be scaled up to meet demand, and that there might be some specific plants where alternatives are still under development.

We are currently analysing the responses from our recent consultation and call for evidence on ending the sale of peat and peat-containing products in horticulture, to add to our understanding of any challenges and opportunities regarding peat-free alternatives. We are also continuing to work with the industry to understand the support they will require to make the transition. This includes the funding of research to help underpin the development and management of alternative growing media in the professional sector. We will publish our response to the consultation as soon as possible.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish in full his Ministerial diary for 20 May 2020.

Ministers regularly meet with departmental officials and external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to publish its evaluation of the Seasonal Workers Pilot scheme.

The first-year evaluation information on the Seasonal Workers Pilot scheme will be published later this year.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions he has had with representatives of the Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority on the Seasonal Workers Pilots scheme.

Defra works closely with the Home Office and the Gangmasters Labour and Abuse Authority to monitor and evaluate the Seasonal Workers Pilot against its stated aims and ensure that its rules and regulations are being adhered to.

The Government takes the safety and wellbeing of seasonal workers extremely seriously. The Home Office sponsor licencing system places clear and binding requirements and obligations on the operators of the Seasonal Workers Pilot to safeguard seasonal workers.

The Seasonal Workers Pilot requires the operators to ensure all seasonal workers have a safe working environment, are treated fairly and paid properly, and robust systems are in place for the reporting of concerns and rapid action. A prerequisite for becoming an operator is that each organisation must hold and maintain licencing from the Gangmasters Labour and Abuse Authority. Defra would be notified should an operator or farm not be meeting the required standards and appropriate action taken.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to obtain Part 1 Listed Status under the Pet Passport scheme for assistance dogs and their owners.

The Department previously submitted an application to the European Commission to become a 'Part 1' listed third country in relation to non-commercial movement of pet dogs, cats and ferrets. On 3 December 2020 the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed of the EU voted in favour of, and has now adopted, the UK as a ‘Part 2’ listed status third country for the non-commercial movement of pet dogs, cats and ferrets. The rules that govern pet travel also apply to assistance dogs.

We are clear we meet all the animal health requirements to become a Part 1 listed third country and have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity. Our disease risk has not changed, and we recognise the challenges that ‘Part 2’ listed status pose for assistance dog users. We will continue to press the EU Commission on securing Part 1 listed status.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK-EU trade deal on travel (a) to the EU and b) to Northern Ireland for assistance dogs and their owners.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement does not include provisions relating to the movement of pet animals and assistance dogs. These movements are separately governed under the EU’s Pet Travel Scheme, and for Great Britain to continue to take advantage of eased pet and assistance dog movements we applied to become a ‘Part 1’ listed third country specifically for these movements. This was a technical process that was separate to the wider negotiations.

On 3 December 2020 the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) of the EU voted in favour of giving the United Kingdom “Part 2” listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel after the Transition Period, and this has now been formally adopted. A Part 2 listed status means similar health requirements for assistance dogs travelling to the EU, but new documentation and rules on points of entry. These rules also now apply for movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
6th Feb 2020
What plans the Government has to reduce food waste by 20 per cent as recommended in the Committee on Climate Change's January 2020 report, Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK.

Waste is a devolved matter. Data recently published by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) shows UK food waste fell by almost 15% since 2007 – enough to fill Wembley Stadium three times. However, I know there is more to do everywhere. The Resources and Waste Strategy which covers England only sets out a range of policy actions to reduce food waste further including a £15 million food waste fund, a consultation on mandatory reporting of food waste by businesses, and continued support of cross-sector collaboration through the Courtauld Commitment 2025 to achieve a 20% reduction.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 7 July 2020 Question 67776 on Department for International Development: Public Expenditure, when her Department's Annual Report and Accounts 2019 to 2020 will be published.

DFID’s Annual Report and Accounts 2019-20 will be laid in Parliament and published on gov.uk on 21 July 2020.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 7 July 2020 to Question 67777 on Overseas Aid, what the value is of the allocations that have been made from the £200 million un-allocated component of the ODA Crisis Reserve in 2020-21 so far; to what programmes that funding has been allocated; and whether any of the £300 million re-deployable component of the ODA Crisis Reserve has been redeployed.

The UK ODA Crisis Reserve is an annual allocation of £500 million. This consists of a £200 million un-allocated reserve and a £300 million re-deployable reserve.

We used initial the £200 million to respond to COVID-19. We have now replenished this through using the redeployable element of the reserve. To date DFID Secretary of State has approved a total of £5 million from the 2020/21 ODA Crisis Reserve. The £5 million was approved by DFID SoS in February 2020 to the World Health Organisation to provide resilience to vulnerable countries in response to the global pandemic (£10 million approved from 19/20 crisis reserve and £5 million from 20/21 crisis reserve).

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the value of promissory notes her Department planned to issue in 2020-21 was for (a) each institution at the Main Estimate stage in 2020 by date to each institution; and the planned value of promissory note issuance is by institution for the remainder of the calendar year 2020.

DFID uses promissory notes with organisations such as international development banks. A promissory note allows that organisation to commit to an activity in full, in advance of funding being transferred.

DFID’s made no adjustment at Main Estimates 2020-21 to the Net Cash Requirement as a result of Promissory Notes.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department plans to allocate the match funding to her Department's partners in compliance with the Aid Match agreements that have been agreed.

All government departments are working through how their plans will need to change in light of the risk of a significant recession this year. DFID is no exception. The Government’s 0.7% GNI target is directly linked to the performance of the UK economy. No decision has been taken, but we are considering the full range of our work. In the short term, we have paused new financial arrangements while we agree our future work in close cooperation with other aid spending Departments.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what her Department’s 2020-21 programme plans were at the start of that financial year; and what changes in internal funding allocations have been made since the Main Estimates.

Since the Main Estimates were published in May this year, HMG has had to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated risks to the UK economy. All government departments are considering how their plans need to change in light of COVID-19.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what budget (a) reprofiling, (b) repurposing and (c) additional allocations for 2020-21 have already taken place in relation to each regional programme in each country office.

DFID’s Annual Report and Accounts is due to be published on 14 July and will set out baseline programme budgets for 2020/21 spend by DFID spending unit.

DFID is working with the FCO and other ODA spending departments to assess how to manage the 0.7% commitment this year, in light of the risk of a fall in Gross National Income. No decision has been taken, but we are considering the full range of our work.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the most recent funding allocations are for the (a) central contingency and (b) portfolio components of the 2020-21 Crisis Reserve.

DFID do not hold a central contingency budget and have not requested any funding from the central exchequer reserve held by HM Treasury.

The UK ODA Crisis Reserve is an annual allocation of £500 million. This consists of a £200 million un-allocated reserve and a £300 million re-deployable reserve. This enables ?exible, quick and effective cross government responses to crises as they happen as set out in the UK Aid Strategy published in 2015. We do not report on expenditure drawn down from the ODA Crisis Reserve.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the planned level of promissory note issuance was to each institution in (a) calendar year 2020 and (b) financial year 2020-21 in the Main Estimates.

DFID uses promissory notes with organisations such as international development banks. A promissory note allows that organisation to commit to an activity in full, in advance of funding being transferred.

DFID’s made no adjustment at Main Estimates 2020-21 to the Net Cash Requirement as a result of Promissory Notes.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how many gender technical experts are working in her Department as at 1 July 2020.

As of 1 July 2020, the Department for International Development has 102 Social Development Advisers, all of whom are technical experts on gender equality and shape DFID’s work in this area. These advisers undergo continuous assessments and are quality assured as they progress up the grades, in terms of both depth and breadth of this expertise, to ensure that they can effectively advance gender equality and women’s rights globally.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 15th June to Question 57377, (a) what percentage of the £764 million of UK AID is going to UN agencies and WHO, and (b) which countries have so far benefitted from UK AID funding to combat covid-19.

We have committed up to £764 million of UK Aid to combat COVID-19 and reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine. We are using UK aid to its full effect to counter the health, humanitarian, and economic risks and impact of this pandemic in the developing world.

The UK has committed £145 million, roughly 19% of the £764 million, to the UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan. Details of which countries are included in the GHRP can be found here.

We have also adapted over one hundred existing bilateral health and humanitarian programmes, and close to two hundred existing social protection, economic, governance, conflict and other programmes, across 35 countries and regions relevant to the COVID-19 response.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 15th June to Question 57377, (a) how much UK aid to combat covid-19 has been allocated to the Democratic Republic of Congo; and (b) what percentage of UK aid designated to combat covid-19-19 in DRC is allocated to UN agencies and WHO.

At the forefront of global efforts to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, the UK has provided £764 million of UK aid toward ending the pandemic as quickly as possible. This includes funding to vulnerable countries, like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and to global organisations like the WHO, and investment in rapid diagnostics and vaccines.

Within DRC, UK programmes are supporting health facilities to respond to the virus and support the most vulnerable to maintain access to food. Existing humanitarian, health and economic development programmes are also addressing needs arising from the impact of COVID-19. This includes support to UNICEF.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, following lessons learned during the recent West Africa Ebola epidemic, how is the UK Government working with faith leaders in developing countries to maximise the effectiveness of the covid-19 response.

I recognise both the important place that religious belief has for many people around the world affected by COVID-19 and the role that faith leaders are playing in the response.

The Ebola Crisis has shown that faith groups are amongst the first to respond and can play an effective role in the behaviour change essential to slow the spread, reduce infection, illness and death of epidemics.

Faith groups are key policy and delivery partners for DFID. We are committed to working with and alongside faith-based actors to meet the challenges posed to both the UK and internationally by COVID-19.

DFID is taking forward a structured approach to working with UK and international civil society organisations, including faith-based actors. This is incorporating strategic and technical discussions to help inform the sector’s response to the pandemic. Specifically, Baroness Sugg has chaired round table discussions with the Chief Executive Officers from key civil society organisations, including faith-based organisations. This has been to update the sector on DFID’s COVID-19 response to date, engage with concerns across the sector, and explore how to mitigate the threats posed by COVID-19 to sector resilience.

Lord Ahmad also hosted a round table with faith leaders and faith-based development organisations on 8 June to discuss how we can work together more effectively on the response to COVID-19.

DFID has pledged new funding for civil society organisations, including faith-based organisations, to support the response. This includes £20 million through the Rapid Response Facility, which includes funding for Christian Aid; up to £30 million of new grants through the next round of the UK Aid Direct programme, and significant funding through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition.

Faith-based organisations can receive funding through multilateral organisations, as downstream partners as part of the UK’s response, and through our country office network.

We have been reviewing our programme portfolio in light of the COVID-19 response, enabling us to identify existing activities which can already support the response and others that can be adapted or scaled up, such as our support to health systems and humanitarian crises.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of the merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The Government will implement these changes in the most cost effective way possible. While we anticipate there may be cost savings in the long term as a result of using our resources more effectively and efficiently, it is not the primary goal of the merger of these two Departments. This is primarily about bringing together our international efforts so we can maximise the UK’s influence around the world. By aligning our efforts, the merger will maximise our influence and expertise and ensure we are in the best position to confront the challenges that lie ahead. This will strengthen our ability to lead the world’s efforts to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and allow us to seize the opportunities ahead, as we prepare to take on the G7 presidency and host COP26 next year.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effect of the merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the number of staff employed by her Department.

Merging the departments will bring together the best of what we do in aid and diplomacy, and create new opportunities for staff. The ambition, vision and expertise of DFID staff will be at the heart of the new department – taking forward the work of UK aid, which will remain central to our mission. There will be no compulsory redundancies.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effect of the merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the number of staff employed by her Department in East Kilbride.

Merging the departments will bring together the best of what we do in aid and diplomacy, and create new opportunities for staff. There are no plans to close DFID’s office in Scotland, where staff play a vital role in ensuring UK aid delivers results for the world’s poorest and represents value for money for UK taxpayers.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to support developing countries to increase the number of ventilators available during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is at the forefront of the global response to COVID-19. We are using UK aid to its full effect to counter the health, humanitarian, and economic risks and impact of this pandemic in the developing world. We have committed up to £764 million of UK Aid to combat COVID-19 and reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine.

Our funding is supporting a range of initiatives and partners to ensure it can reach those who need it the most. This includes £75 million for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help lead international efforts to stop the spread of the virus and access critical medical supplies; £55 million to International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement appeals to provide medical supplies and equipment to hospitals and clinics, and build quarantine areas and disinfection facilities; and a range of support to NGOs.

The WHO and UNICEF are working with governments to identify requirements and ensure that supplies, including the critical medical equipment for oxygen therapy, reach those in need.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the purpose is of the £20 million of UK aid that has been allocated to tackle the covid-19 pandemic through UNICEF; when that funding will be spent; how that funding will be spent; and what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) received on the proportion of that funding which will be allocated to NGOs and civil society organisations.

The UK Government’s funding to UNICEF is in support of its global COVID-19 appeal. Through the appeal, UNICEF will contribute to both outbreak control and mitigation of the collateral impacts of the pandemic, including interruptions to water and sanitation, health, nutrition, education, protection and essential social services for children, women and vulnerable populations.

It is anticipated that all funding received from both the UK Government and other donors will be fully utilised by 31 December 2020, in line with the current appeal. In providing these funds to UNICEF, DFID did not require that a specific amount be channelled to NGOs. However, DFID welcomes the vital role that NGOs will continue to play in service delivery through multilaterals, and we are pleased that some UN agencies, such as UNICEF, are seeking to simplify their processes for NGO partners to help ensure funding reaches them more swiftly. We will be working with the UN and DFID’s country offices to increasingly better understand and track eventual flows to NGOs in-country.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of Official Development Assistance has been spent on projects tackling gender inequality in each financial year since 2009-10.

All of DFID’s aid activities reported to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are screened against the gender equality policy marker. This is a measurement of the proportion of aid that supports gender equality and women’s empowerment. An activity can be marked as ‘principal’ if gender equality is the main objective of the programme, or as a ‘significant’ if gender equality is an important and deliberate objective, but not the principal reason for undertaking the programme.

DFID’s spend on bilateral allocable activities targeting gender equality is made publicly available through the OECD statistics portal. For example, in 2018 £4.2 billion of DFID’s total bilateral spend was marked principal or significant (66%).

These world-leading investments are delivering results at scale. Between 2015 and 2019, DFID reached 50.6 million women of childbearing age, children under 5 and adolescent girls through our nutrition-relevant programmes and supported 5.8 million girls gain access to a decent education. Last year, UK aid helped 23.5 million of the world’s poorest women and girls access to vital, voluntary family planning.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, which charities and NGOs have received Official Development Assistance to help tackle covid-19 in the global south; what funding each of those charities and NGOs received; and what facility they received it through.

NGOs are key policy and delivery partners for DFID and we are committed to working with the sector to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19. CSOs including NGOs and charities deliver roughly one quarter of DFID programmes around the world. A total of 40 charities and NGOs are receiving funding from the Department for International Development’s (DFID) £20 million humanitarian support package, announced in April, or the £100 million global hygiene partnership with Unilever, unveiled in March.

DFID is providing £24.4 million as part of our Unilever partnership to Action Aid, The African Medical and Research Foundation, PSI, Save the Children, Oxfam, WaterAid, International Rescue Committee, World Vision, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor.

Through DFID’s Rapid Response Facility, £18 million of DFID funding is supporting Action Against Hunger, CARE, Christian Aid, GOAL, Humanity & Inclusion and Norwegian Refugee Council to provide healthcare, water and sanitation, food and shelter to meet the basic needs of some of the world’s most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis.

Through the Humanitarian 2 Humanitarian network and its host Danish Refugee Council, £2 million of DFID funding will support 14 partners to manage information on the virus and share this with global partners, and to communicate facts to communities across Africa, the Middle East and beyond. These partners are: Fondation Hirondelle, Ground Truth Solutions, the New Humanitarian, CDAC Network, ACAPS, CartONG, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap, Map Action, Evidence Aid, Sphere, Red R UK, Humanitarian Academy for Development, Atlas Logistique and Insecurity Insight.

In country a significant proportion of existing DFID programmes are implemented directly through NGO partners and we expect NGOs will play a significant role in our country level COVID response. Many NGOs will also receive funding as part of DFID’s significant investment in the multilateral response to COVID-19. Collating the full list of organisations in receipt of funding for COVID-19 work from existing programmes or as downstream partners would take a disproportionate amount of time to extract.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what additional budget allocations her Department has made to individual country offices since March 2020 to support the covid-19 response; and what proportion of that additional funding has been allocated to (a) local and (b) international NGOs, by country.

Since March 2020 there have been no additional budget allocations to individual country offices, but we have adapted over one hundred existing bilateral health and humanitarian programmes, and close to two hundred existing social protection, economic, governance, conflict and other programmes, across 35 countries and regions relevant to the COVID-19 response. For some programmes this included moving funding from programme components less relevant to the COVID-19 response to increase funding to those that are most in need. Many of these programmes are delivered in part or wholly through NGOs.

We have committed up to £764 million of UK aid to combat COVID-19 and to reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine. £296 million of this has been provided to support the global health response and vulnerable countries. This includes support to UK charities and international organisations to help reduce mass infections in developing countries.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the purpose is of the £65 million of UK aid that has been allocated to tackle the covid-19 pandemic through the World Health Organization; when that funding will be spent; how that funding will be spent; and what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) received on the proportion of that funding which will be allocated to NGOs and civil society organisations.

The UK is a key donor to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and have already contributed £75 million to help the organisation lead international efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and end the pandemic, including: global coordination; planning for country level preparedness and response; global procurement and supply; the science and research and development agenda; and communications. This £75 million is going towards the WHO’s COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) and includes £10 million to the flash WHO appeal announced in February and March 2020 and a further £65 million for the SPRP was announced in April 2020. The SPRP outlines the public health measures that need to be taken to support countries to prepare for and respond to COVID-19. Funding that is provided to countries is allocated to NGOs when and as needed based on the individual country context. This funding will be spent this calendar year. The UK’s funding for the WHO is based on our assessment of the organisation’s needs and we continue to keep this under review.

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations are key partners for DFID in responding to the unprecedented challenges arising from COVID-19. We know that in many places NGOs will be best placed to meet the needs of those most vulnerable and at risk. CSO including NGOs and charities deliver roughly one quarter of DFID programmes around the world. A total of 40 charities and NGOs will receive funding from DFID’s £20 million humanitarian support package or the £100 million global hygiene partnership with Unilever. NGOs are also receiving £24 million of extra funding through the DFID COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the purpose is of the £20 million of UK aid that has been allocated to tackle the covid-19 pandemic through the UN Refugee Agency; when that funding will be spent; how that funding will be spent; and what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) received on the proportion of that funding which will be allocated to NGOs and civil society organisations.

The UK Government’s funding to UNHCR is in support of its global COVID-19 appeal. Through the appeal, UNHCR will support refugees and IDPs, through scaling up of health and water, sanitation and hygiene preparedness, and response interventions.

It is anticipated that all funding received from both the UK Government and other donors will be fully utilised by 31 December 2020, in line with the current appeal. Given the global nature of this pandemic, UK funding to UNHCR’s appeal is pooled with that of other donors and is therefore not earmarked for any specific implementing partner whether they be NGOs, local government etc. Given UNHCR’s presence in over 130 countries, it is best placed to determine the specific needs in each country, as well as which implementing partner is best placed to deliver these needs.

However, given the important role that NGOs and civil society organisations can play in tackling COVID-19, UNHCR has undertaken a review of its existing procedures related to partnership management and issued additional internal guidance to simplify and expedite collaboration where appropriate.

My officials continue to liaise with UNHCR on all aspects of its COVID-19 response, including its work with NGOs and civil society organisations.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the purpose is of the £15 million of UK aid that has been allocated to tackle the covid-19 pandemic through the World Food Programme; when that funding will be spent; how that funding will be spent; and what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) received on the proportion of that funding which will be allocated to NGOs and civil society organisations.

The UK Government’s funding to the World Food Programme (WFP), is in support of its global COVID-19 appeal. WFP is setting up a platform of services to enable the health and humanitarian communities (including NGOs) to deliver support to the most vulnerable populations. So far, 39 NGOs have used WFP’s cargo and passenger services.

WFP has established eight international strategic consolidation hubs to support global movement of cargo. These hubs will be connected to regional staging areas in East, West and Central Africa, Central America, Asia and the Middle East.

WFP is setting up air transport links between strategic hubs and regional staging areas to ensure the predictable and sustained movement of life-saving humanitarian and medical cargo.

WFP operates passenger air services to ensure that humanitarian and medical staff are not restricted by commercial transport closures and can reach the areas where they are most needed.

Due to the increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, worldwide movement restrictions and the grounding of commercial transport systems, WFP also set up global medical evacuation services for the whole humanitarian community.

The WFP appeal is for USD $965 million; this is 9% funded with $85 million in confirmed contributions, of which the UK has contributed 22%.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the purpose is of the £15 million of UK aid that has been allocated to tackle the covid-19 pandemic through the UN Population Fund; when that funding will be spent; how that funding will be spent; and what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) received on the proportion of that funding which will be allocated to NGOs and civil society organisations.

The UK Government has committed £10 million of UK aid to UNFPA in support of its global COVID-19 appeal, through the Global Humanitarian Response Plan. Through the appeal, UNFPA will address the needs of women and girls impacted by COVID-19, including strengthening health systems to deliver sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence services, and plugging gaps in the availability of SRH supplies caused by coronavirus.

It is anticipated that all funding received from both the UK Government and other donors will be fully utilised by 31 December 2020, in line with the current appeal. DFID welcomes the vital role that NGOs will continue to play in service delivery through multilaterals, and we are pleased that some UN agencies, such as UNFPA, are seeking to simplify their processes for NGO partners to help ensure funding reaches them more swiftly. We will be working with the UN and DFID’s country offices to understand, improve and track eventual flows to NGOs in-country.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans she has to increase the Rapid Response Facility for covid-19 to help support a rapid humanitarian response.

Decisions on allocating funds through the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) are being made in relation to the wider DFID COVID19 response. We will keep the funding under review as we do with all our humanitarian interventions. DFID is also adapting its programmes across its country network to respond to COVID-19 and has committed significant new funding through the multilateral system. We expect NGOs to play a key role in delivery through both these channels, and indeed recognise that in many places NGOs will be best placed to meet the needs of those most vulnerable, at risk and hard to reach. In addition, extra funding has been allocated to NGOs through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will publish the funding her Department has allocated to each programme responding to the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is at the forefront of the global response and has publicly committed up to £744 million of UK aid so far to support the global efforts to combat the outbreak of COVID-19. This is split across three areas 1) £276 million to support UN, NGOs and Red Cross efforts to build resilience in vulnerable countries 2) £318 million to find a vaccine, new drugs and therapeutics and 3) £150 million to support countries facing the economic shock of COVID-19.

This is on top of our work to pivot much of our existing activity to provide health, humanitarian and economic support where it is needed most. This ongoing exercise includes close collaboration with our existing partners on their ability to operate and adapt their programmes during the pandemic.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to establish a £320 million stabilisation fund to ensure that UK charities working internationally can continue to operate during the covid-19 pandemic.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) are key partners for DFID in our response to COVID-19 and we have pledged new funding specifically for CSOs to support our work to tackle the virus. This includes funding allocated through the Rapid Response Facility and significant funding through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition. In addition, International Non-Government Organisations will receive funding through multilateral organisations as downstream partners as part of the UK’s response. As DFID’s country network adapts programming to respond to COVID-19, country teams are considering how they can do this through partners, including through CSOs. For example, in Sudan and Nepal, preparedness and response plans will support both UN and CSO operations.

We are working flexibly with existing civil society partners to respond to the pandemic, maintain delivery of essential programmes and manage the impacts on organisations and staff. DFID is also offering support to all suppliers, including civil society, in line with the provisions of the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note and associated guidance for grants, which allows for relief on services and goods provided in the UK, to DFID aid programmes as a last resort and on a case-by-case basis for DFID contracts and grants. UK-based CSOs are also eligible for the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she plans to introduce greater flexibility for existing donor funds for UK NGOs to support the covid-19 response.

The expertise, resilience and flexibility of our supply partners, both in the private sector and civil society, is vital to deliver UK aid to protect the most vulnerable in the world’s poorest countries.

DFID is currently reviewing its entire portfolio and assessing the expected impact of COVID-19 on our programmes, both in-country and centrally, and prioritising (in this order) the health and humanitarian response; livelihoods, social protection, and support to the governments of vulnerable countries. Many of these programmes are delivered in part or wholly through NGOs. We are assessing each of our programmes to evaluate their contribution to these objectives and for opportunities to adapt them to support the COVID-19 response.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to support civil society organisations in receipt of grants and contracts from her Department during the covid-19 pandemic.

DFID is engaging with supply partners to address the challenges posed to them and DFID-funded projects by COVID-19. We will work collaboratively with supply partners to find pragmatic solutions to support both our partners and continuation of our programmes where appropriate.

DFID is offering support to suppliers and partners where this is appropriate, in line with the UK government position and will apply the provisions of the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note and associated guidance for grants, which allows for relief on services and goods provided in the UK, to DFID aid programmes as a last resort and on a case-by-case basis for DFID contracts and grants.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to support UK civil society organisations not currently in receipt of her Department's (a) grants and (b) contracts during the covid-19 pandemic.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) are key partners for DFID in our response to COVID-19. We have pledged new funding specifically for civil society, including UK-based CSOs, to support the international COVID-19 response, including £20 million, the majority of which will be allocated through the Rapid Response Facility, and funding through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition. The Small Charities Challenge Fund is open for grant applications from small UK-based development charities.

Aside from new opportunities to gain funding through grants and contracts, there are no plans for DFID to support organisations it does not fund. UK-based CSOs are also eligible for the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to support local civil society organisations providing front line services in the Global South to tackle the (a) spread and (b) consequences of the covid-19 pandemic.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) in the global south are key partners for DFID. Many of DFID’s programmes support local CSOs in order to deliver humanitarian and development outcomes, including providing humanitarian support to tackle the spread and consequences of COVID-19. As DFID’s country network adapts programming to respond to COVID-19, country teams are considering how they can do this through partners, including local CSOs.

In addition to direct funding from DFID, there are funds available through our global multilateral support, with southern-based CSOs acting as delivery partners. A key funding avenue is the Country-Based Pooled Funds, to which DFID is a major donor. CSOs receive significant funding through these. COVID-19 allocations have been made through these funds, including in Myanmar, Afghanistan and Sudan so far. We expect further allocations soon.

16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans she has to discuss the development of the health strengthening systems position paper with representatives of third-sector non-governmental organisations.

The UK government’s manifesto committed to build on existing efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children by 2030. Our support for the poorest countries to strengthen their health systems, scale up quality health services and achieve universal health coverage is central to this commitment. We will continue to discuss plans for publication of the health system strengthening position paper with our civil society colleagues, who have contributed valuable feedback to earlier drafts.

13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, in which month her Department plans to publish its health systems strengthening position paper.

Our support for low-income countries to scale up quality health services and achieve universal health coverage is central to the UK government’s manifesto commitment to build on existing efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children by 2030. Publication of the health systems strengthening position paper must therefore be coordinated with other information on how the UK government will deliver this manifesto commitment. We are committed to publishing the health systems strengthening position paper but the exact month cannot be determined until this other information is available.

24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of Official Development Assistance has been allocated to (a) healthcare, (b) physical health and (c) mental health in each of the last ten years.

Details of the UK’s Official Development Assistance spend on health are published in Statistics on International Development. Our reporting is based on internationally agreed Organisation for Co-operation and Development - Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) codes, as part of our commitment to transparent reporting of development assistance in a way that permits international comparisons. We do not currently collect the information disaggregated between physical and mental health as these are not categories within the OECD-DAC codes.

We are focused on ending the preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children. We work to strengthen countries’ health systems, including for both physical and mental health, towards achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030, which will enable us to lead the way in helping countries to tackle diseases such as malaria and Ebola.

20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of his Department's budget was allocated to food costs for the UK-Africa investment summit 2020.

As with all such Government events, the full costing will be available in due course. 2020 UK ODA spend, including for this Summit, will be reported in Statistics on International Development, published by DFID in Autumn 2021.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of his departmental budget was allocated to funding accommodation for attendees of the UK-Africa investment summit 2020.

As with all such Government events, the full costing will be available in due course. 2020 UK ODA spend, including for this Summit, will be reported in Statistics on International Development, published by DFID in Autumn 2021.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she had discussions with the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs on extending the TRIPS waiver to include COVID-19 tests and treatments.

I refer the Hon. Member for North East Fife to the answer I gave to the Hon. Member for Warrington North on 7 November 2022, UIN: 72474.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
7th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department held discussions with international counterparts at the WTO Council meeting on 22 November 2022 on the extension of the TRIPS waiver to include covid-19 tests and treatments.

The UK is engaging in the ongoing discussions taking place in the World Trade Organization, as Members consider extending the TRIPS Decision to COVID-19 therapeutics and diagnostics.  The UK looks forward to making progress in this area and remains committed to engaging constructively.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
21st Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how much her Department spent on consultancy fees in the last five years.

The Department for International Trade reported spend on consultants in its Annual Report and Accounts and this information is publicly available on www.gov.uk on the following links:

The 2021-2022 consultancy spend will be published in the 2021-2022 Annual Report and Accounts in the coming weeks.

Department for International Trade Annual Report and Accounts 2016 to 2017, page 49

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/department-for-international-trade-annual-report-and-accounts-2016-to-2017

Department for International Trade annual report and accounts 2017 to 2018, page 115

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/department-for-international-trade-annual-report-and-accounts-2017-to-2018

Department for International Trade Annual Report and Accounts 2018 to 2019, page 120

https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ukgwa/20200704143806/https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/department-for-international-trade-annual-report-and-accounts-2018-to-2019

Department for International Trade Annual Report and Accounts 2019 to 2020, page 109

https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ukgwa/20200716232216/https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/department-for-international-trade-annual-report-and-accounts-2019-to-2020

Department for International Trade Annual Report and Accounts 2020 to 2021, page 137

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1002839/DIT-annual-report-2020-to-2021.pdf

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, in the context of the EU dropping its blanket ban on the EU TRIPS waiver, whether she has plans for the UK to do the same; what assessment she has made of the impact of the UK's opposition to the TRIPS waiver on the reputation of the UK; and what steps her Department plans to take to facilitate global vaccine production in place of a TRIPS waiver.

The UK has engaged constructively in the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver debate and will continue to do so when presented with further formal text proposals. This has not yet happened. HM Government remains open to initiatives that could help with equitable vaccine distribution and their prompt administration, but there is no evidence that waiving intellectual property protections would advance this objective. Instead, the UK is working with international and regional partners, including the African Union, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), international development banks and the private sector to catalyse strategic investments for vaccine manufacturing in low- and middle-income countries.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will publish her predecessor's Ministerial diary for 20 May 2020.

Ministers regularly meet with departmental officials and external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether riot gear sold to the US has been used against peaceful protestors.

I refer the Honourable Lady to the answer I gave on 23rd November (UIN: 117290).

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has discussed the role of the proposed Office for the Internal Market with her foreign counterparts as part of trade talks.

There have been no discussions with foreign counterparts about the Office for the Internal Market (OIM) as set out in the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill. HM Government has been clear that the purpose of the OIM is to support the effective operation of the United Kingdom internal market by providing non-binding advice and reporting.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government supports the World Trade Organisation proposed waiver for covid-19 intellectual property.

The Government has long-supported affordable and equitable access to medicines, including in developing countries. A robust and fair intellectual property system is essential to drive innovation, allow economic growth and enable society to benefit from knowledge sharing. There are flexibilities within the Agreement for the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and World Trade Organisation (WTO) Members can use these to ensure access to medicines. The Department for International Trade welcomes initiatives such as Diatropix launched this week in Dakar – where British and Senegalese partners will share technology to produce COVID-19 antibody tests, making 10 million available across west Africa by the end of March 2021. This initiative, supported by development funding from the UK and elsewhere, will make a practical difference in the fight against COVID-19.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
14th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department has taken to communicate to the fishing community the (a) requirements to hold a medical certificate and (b) deadlines for applications for such certificates.

The requirement to hold a medical certificate has formed part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) ongoing communication and engagement with the fishing community since the regulations were made in 2018. Over the last year, as the deadline approached, the MCA has intensified its communication to raise awareness of the requirements and the deadlines for applications for medical certificates. This included MCA officials attending 36 roadshows in locations around the UK coast to engage with individual fishers. The MCA has also utilised social media, the fishing press, local and national radio to ensure the message was put out to a wide audience. Additionally, the MCA has met regularly with fishing industry representatives to discuss the medical certification requirements and update them on the progress of implementation.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has had discussions with his Irish counterpart on that country's decision to exempt fishermen who go out to sea for less than 72 hours from medical certificate requirements; and if he will consider alignment with this policy.

The Secretary of State for Transport has not had discussions with his Irish counterpart about their approach to medical standards for fishermen. The UK’s requirements have been subject to careful consideration, and public consultation, to ensure that they support the safety and wellbeing of those working on our UK fishing fleet.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the adequacy of funding for transport infrastructure in Scotland.

The Secretary of State has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on funding for transport infrastructure in Scotland, as well as with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders.

In addition to the block grant, the UK Government provides funding for Scottish transport schemes through a variety of sources, including the recently announced Levelling Up Fund, and has announced further funding in our Network North plan and our response to Lord Hendy of Richmond Hill’s Union Connectivity Review.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been found within their Department's estate.

Survey work is underway and for now, the Government’s focus is on bringing together the information it holds about its estate in one place. This work is being coordinated by the Office of Government Property.

17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member was not agreed to by (a) a Minister and (b) their office on behalf of a Minister in the last 12 months.

This information is not centrally collated and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Ministers will regularly seek to engage with hon. Members, whilst balancing wider Ministerial and Parliamentary responsibilities.

9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the timeline is for (a) announcing the outcome of Access for All applications for 2024-26 and (b) applying for future funding under the Access for All scheme.

The Department is currently assessing over 300 stations nominated for Access for All funding beyond 2024. I hope to be in a position to announce successful projects later this year. Funding on any subsequent funding for Access for All will be announced in due course.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether Personal Independence Payment appeals found in favour of the claimant that confirm mobility restrictions are accepted as evidence for blue badge applications.

The Department for Transport has issued clear non-statutory guidance to local authorities who are solely responsible for administering the scheme at a local level. It is for each local authority to assess on a case-by-case basis to decide whether applicants meet the conditions of eligibility. Local authorities must determine and implement assessment procedures which they believe are in accordance with the governing legislation.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much his Department spent on external consultants in each of the last five years.

Expenditure figures are available from the Department’s Annual Report and Accounts, which are available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/dft-annual-reports-and-accounts.

We are in the process of producing the Department’s Annual Report which will be published in July, this will include our audited consultancy spend for 2021-22.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the waiting period is for (a) a PCV theory test and (b) the granting of a PCV licence.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency offers a six-month window for people to book theory tests so people can book appointments at the time they choose. There is no backlog for theory tests as capacity is available for more people to book.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has focused extra resource on vocational driving licence applications. Routine applications and renewals of vocational licences, including passenger carrying vehicles, are being processed within normal turnaround times of five working days. Applications where medical investigations are needed will take longer.

24th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason applicants with a PIP score of 10 out of 12 for planning and following a journey are automatically eligible for a Blue Badge while those applicants with a score of 12 out of 12 are required to provide additional evidence of eligibility.

The Department for Transport is responsible for the legislative and policy framework of the Blue Badge Scheme in England only, where applicants with scores other than 10 under PIP descriptor ‘e’ would only be eligible for a badge following further assessment.

The rules relating to Blue Badges in England, Scotland and Wales differ as each country runs its own Blue Badge scheme and is responsible for determining the eligibility criteria that will apply. Questions about how the scheme operates outside England should be addressed to the Government of the relevant nation.

18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish in full his Ministerial diary for 20 May 2020.

Ministers regularly meet with departmental officials and external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what effect the plans set out in the Integrated Rail Plan published on 18 November 2021 will have on transport connectivity within Wales.

The Integrated Rail Plan confirms that HS2 will be built from Crewe to Manchester, enabling improved onward connectivity to Wales. Crewe Northern Connection would improve connections from North Wales to the HS2 network, potentially bringing many passengers within 2 hours 15 minutes of London. Work to progress options on completing the Midlands Rail Hub could also give passengers from South Wales easy access to the HS2 network at Birmingham Curzon Street.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the implementation of the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands, published on 18 November 2021, on transport connectivity within Scotland.

The core pipeline set out in the Integrated Rail Plan, which includes completing HS2 Phases One and 2a and completing HS2 Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, including the link to the West Coast Main Line, will help reduce journey times between England and Scotland. Birmingham and London to Glasgow and Edinburgh could be cut by between 40 and 50 minutes compared to today. In addition, the package of upgrades to the East Coast Main Line will separately improve journey times for services to Edinburgh from London King’s Cross. Journey times could be cut by 25 minutes compared to today depending on stopping patterns. The recent Union Connectivity Review also considered the reduction of rail journey times to Scotland.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 11 January 2021 to Question 129986 on Vehicle Number Plates, if he will compensate people who purchased new GB vehicle number plates after his announcement in January 2021 and communications with the UN in June 2021 to change the distinguishing sign for display on vehicles for international travel from GB to UK.

From 1 January 2021, regulations prohibited the display of the European Union symbol on new number plates fitted to vehicles from that date. Since then, the Government has decided that the appropriate distinguishing sign for vehicles registered in the United Kingdom should be the letters UK. This reflects the four nations of our union and is consistent with the sign used on other motoring documentation including driving licences of UK nationals.

From 28 September the UK distinguishing sign should be displayed on vehicles travelling internationally but there has been no change to legislation which permits a range of letters and flags to be incorporated in vehicle number plates. Any vehicle displaying these markings (or the European Union symbol if attached prior to 1 January 2021) may continue to do so but when driving abroad they must display the UK identifier which can be a sticker on the rear of the vehicle. Compensation is not available for those who choose to purchase new number plates.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the backlog of driving theory tests (a) in Scotland and (b) the UK.

The theory test centre estate and service for England, Scotland and Wales, which is currently delivered by a sole supplier, is changing. From 6 September 2021, the contract for running theory test centres is to be split into three regions and the number of theory test centres in Great Britain will increase from 180 to 202.

As part of its service recovery, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has extended theory test centre opening hours in England and Wales, where conditions allow, creating 300,000 extra theory test appointments. It has also opened 10 temporary theory test super centres in England, which will create a minimum of 120,000 extra appointments each month.

In Scotland, the DVSA has increased opening hours and run tests on extra days, where possible. When theory tests resumed in Scotland on 26 April, the Scottish Government made the decision to keep the two-metre physical distancing restrictions in place. Due to this, the DVSA was unable to increase the number of desks for theory tests, which reduced capacity at most theory test sites in Scotland by 50%. The recent relaxing of physical distancing rules will provide additional testing capacity at theory test centres in Scotland.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the current waiting period is for receipt of a renewed driving licence; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce that waiting period.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) online services are the quickest and easiest way to renew a driving licence. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their driving licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application for a driving licence. The DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day which must be dealt with in person. Ongoing industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services union is leading to delays for customers who make paper applications.

Currently, paper applications are likely to take between six and ten weeks to process. There may be additional delays in processing more complex transactions, for example, if medical investigations are needed as part of a driving licence application. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.

The DVLA has leased an additional building to accommodate more operational staff and has reconfigured its accommodation to safely maximise the number of staff on site and is working hard to process applications as quickly as possible. The DVLA has accelerated the development of additional online services to reduce the number of paper applications and supported their take up through a publicity campaign. Further digital service enhancements are underway.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the interim report of the Union Connectivity Review.

The Union Connectivity Review is an independent review led by Sir Peter Hendy. The Interim Report will be published shortly with final recommendations expected in summer 2021.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the change in the level of haulage through-traffic from the Republic of Ireland to the EU via Great Britain since the end of the transition period.

No formal assessment has been made. The Department for Transport does not directly hold data on the level of haulage through-traffic from the Republic of Ireland to the EU via Great Britain since the end of the transition period. The government keeps the flow of goods in and out of Great Britain and the UK under review.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of direct ferry links for haulage from France to the Republic of Ireland on UK businesses.

No formal assessment has been made. It is too early to assess the overall effect of recent increases in the services available, but we do not foresee a significant impact on UK businesses.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of direct ferry links for haulage from France to the Republic of Ireland on the Welsh economy.

No formal assessment has been made. It is too early to assess the overall effect of recent increases in the services available, but we do not foresee a significant impact on the Welsh economy. Welsh ports will continue to offer essential and attractive routes between the Republic of Ireland and the Continent.

Robert Courts
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
30th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many civil servants are employed in roles relating to the administration of the Access to Work scheme as of 30 January 2024.

As of 30 January 2024, there were 487.48 full time equivalent civil servants employed to administer Access to Work.

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

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has made a recent assessment of the potential impact of Carers Allowance and State Pension being overlapping benefits on levels of pensioner poverty.

No such assessment has been made. Although there is no upper age limit to claiming Carer’s Allowance, it cannot normally be paid with the State Pension. It has been a long-held feature of the UK’s benefit system, under successive Governments, that where someone is entitled to two benefits for the same contingency, then whilst there may be entitlement to both benefits, only one will be paid to avoid duplication for the same need.

Although entitlement to State Pension and Carer’s Allowance arise in different circumstances, they are nevertheless designed for the same contingency – as an income replacement. Carer’s Allowance replaces some income where the carer is not able to work full time due to their caring responsibilities, while State Pension replaces income in retirement. For this reason, social security rules normally operate to prevent them being paid together. However, if a carer’s State Pension is less than Carer's Allowance, State Pension is paid and topped up with Carer's Allowance to the basic weekly rate of Carer's Allowance, which is currently £76.75.

Where underlying entitlement of Carer’s Allowance occurs (all entitlement conditions are met, but the overlapping benefit rule prevents payment), additional financial support may be available through Pension Credit, notably including the additional amount payable to carers. This additional amount is currently £42.75 a week – over £2,200 a year - and around 100,000 carers receive it as part of their Pension Credit award. It is paid to recognise the additional contribution and responsibilities associated with caring and means that lower income pensioners with caring responsibilities can receive more than other lower income recipients of Pension Credit. If a pensioner’s income is above the limit for Pension Credit, they may still be able to receive Housing Benefit.

The Government is committed to action that helps to alleviate levels of pensioner poverty. The State Pension is the foundation of state support for older people. In April 2023 the State Pension was increased by 10.1% and, subject to parliamentary approval, will be increased by a further 8.5% increase from April 2024. In 2021/22, there were 200,000 fewer pensioners in absolute poverty after housing costs than in 2009/10. As far as pensioner carers are concerned, additional financial support is already available, focussed on those in most need.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the longest time taken to transfer a claim for a Personal Independence Payment to a claim under Social Security Scotland for an Adult Disability Payment was in each month in 2023.

The Department does not hold the data requested. The process for transferring claims from Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to Adult Disability Payment (ADP) has been designed and agreed with the Scottish Government in order to facilitate a safe and secure process. Most cases transferring from PIP to ADP are designed to take between 13 weeks and 16 weeks and 6 days to transfer, aligning with pay cycles. However, the time it takes for ADP to be put into payment following a case transfer trigger is a matter for the Scottish Government.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average processing time was for transferring a claim for the Personal Independence Payment to the Adult Disability Payment under Social Security Scotland in each month in 2023.

The Department does not hold the data requested. The process for transferring claims from Personal Independence Payment (PIP) to Adult Disability Payment (ADP) has been designed and agreed with the Scottish Government in order to facilitate a safe and secure process. Most cases transferring from PIP to ADP are designed to take between 13 weeks and 16 weeks and 6 days to transfer, aligning with pay cycles. However, the time it takes for ADP to be put into payment following a case transfer trigger is a matter for the Scottish Government.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Universal Credit recipients had payments reduced to nil due to two earnings payments in the assessment period between (a) 26 January 2023 and 25 February 2023 and (b) 18 August 2023 and 17 September 2023.

The information requested is the subject of an upcoming statistical release, and cannot be released before that publication is ready, subject to usual quality assurance.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
5th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 28 November 2023 to Question 3350 on Access to Work Programme, how many applications to the Access to Work scheme were rejected in each month from April 2021 to April 2022.

In response to your question, I have provided the information on applications not receiving an Access to Work award below:

April 2021 – 1,678

May 2021 – 1,579

June 2021 – 1,909

July 2021 – 1,784

August 2021 – 1,285

September 2021 – 1,547

October 2021 – 1,853

November 2021 – 2,082

December 2021 – 1,954

January 2022 – 1,807

February 2022 – 1,615

March 2022 – 2016

April 2022 – 1,478

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

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications for Access to Work support were received in each month since 1 May 2022.

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

However, Access to Work statistics include how many applications result in provision being approved from 2007/08 to 2022/23. Please see Table 3 of the Access to Work statistics.

The latest Access to Work statistics can be found here:

Access to Work statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the refreezing of Local Housing Allowance after 2025 on low income renters.

The Secretary of State has completed his review of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates for 2024/25. As announced by the Chancellor in the recent Autumn Statement, from April 2024 the Government will be investing £1.2 billion increasing LHA rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents. This results in a significant investment of £7bn over five years and ensures 1.6 million private renters in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will gain, on average, nearly £800 per year in additional help towards their rental costs in 2024/25.

The Secretary of State has committed to reviewing LHA rates annually and the rates for 2025/26 have not yet been reviewed.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make it his policy to extend the Household Support Fund beyond 31 March 2024.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ3412.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the Autumn Statement 2023 on levels of poverty among benefit claimants.

We are providing support to households to help with the high cost of living worth £104 billion over 2022-23 to 2024-25. This includes, subject to Parliamentary approval, raising working age benefits by 6.7% and State pensions by 8.5% from April next year on top of this year’s 10.1% uprating for all State pensions and benefits.

To support low-income households with increasing rent costs, the government will also raise Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of local market rents for private renters from April 2024. This will benefit 1.6m low-income households by on average £800 a year in 24/25.

We are also, from April, increasing the National Living Wage for workers aged 21 years and over by 9.8% to £11.44 representing an increase of over £1,800 to the gross annual earnings of a full-time worker on the National Living Wage.

We estimate that in 2024/5 around 20 million families will benefit from the uprating of DWP and HMRC benefits in Great Britain. This will include around 8 million pensioner and around 11 million working age families and around 1 million mixed age couples.

In 2024/25, around 5.5 million Universal Credit families are forecast to benefit from uprating with an average annual gain for a family on Universal Credit estimated to be £470 (equivalent to an increase of around £39 per month), however gains will vary depending on the elements received by different family types. An assessment of the benefit uprating policy has been published here.

On average, households in the poorest income deciles are gaining the most in cash terms and as a percentage of net income in 2023-24 as a result of government policies announced at Autumn Statement 2022. This Government has overseen significant falls in absolute poverty since 2009/10. In 2021/22 there were 1.7 million fewer people in absolute poverty after housing costs than in 2009/10, including 400,000 fewer children and 1 million fewer working age adults.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Autumn Statement 2023, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of changes to Work Capability Assessments on levels of poverty among benefit claimants.

It is not possible to produce a robust estimate of the impact of the changes to Work Capability Assessments on levels of poverty amongst benefit claimants.

We published our response to the consultation on changes to the Work Capability Assessment criteria on 22 November, having carefully considered feedback from disabled people, and people with health conditions, as well as the organisations that represent and support them.

From 2025, we will make changes to the WCA that continue to protect those with the most severe conditions, while ensuring those that can work are supported in doing so. Most existing claimants that have already been assessed without work-related requirements, will be able to benefit from our Chance to Work Guarantee. This change will in effect abolish the WCA for the vast majority of this group, and they will be able to move towards work without fear of reassessment.

It is right that where people can be supported towards work that they are given that opportunity. There is clear evidence about the importance of work in substantially reducing the risks of poverty - in 2021/22, working age adults living in workless families were seven times more likely to be in absolute poverty after housing costs than working age adults in families where all adults work. These measures are focused on improving employment and independent living outcomes for disabled people and people with health conditions and spreading opportunity right across the country so people can fulfil their potential.

Jo Churchill
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length of time was for Access to Work applications to be processed in each month since May 2022.

Month

Initial date of contact to decision Actual Average Clearance Time in days

May-22

49.1

Jun-22

56.0

Jul-22

59.7

Aug-22

58.6

Sep-22

61.1

Oct-22

63.1

Nov-22

61.8

Dec-22

62.3

Jan-23

60.7

Feb-23

58.2

Mar-23

62.7

Apr-23

56.2

May-23

50.1

Jun-23

41.4

Jul-23

47.2

Aug-23

46.9

Sep-23

45.2

Oct-23

45.0

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

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many applications to the Access to Work scheme were rejected in each month since May 2022.

Month

Applications not awarded AtW

May-22

2002

Jun-22

2480

Jul-22

2577

Aug-22

2792

Sep-22

2873

Oct-22

3277

Nov-22

3524

Dec-22

2812

Jan-23

3354

Feb-23

2943

Mar-23

3807

Apr-23

2497

May-23

3029

Jun-23

3718

Jul-23

3706

Aug-23

3698

Sep-23

3392

Oct-23

3566

Applications not awarded include advice provided to the applicant, no contact with applicant, no evidence provided by the applicant, applicant not eligible, applicant not pursued application and closed other (those that do not fall in to the other categories).

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

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the most common reason was for rejecting an application to the Access to Work scheme in each month since May 2022.

Month

Reason for rejection

May-22

Application not pursued

Jun-22

Application not pursued

Jul-22

Closed Other

Aug-22

Closed Other

Sep-22

Closed Other

Oct-22

Closed Other

Nov-22

Closed Other

Dec-22

No Contact

Jan-23

No Contact

Feb-23

Application not pursued

Mar-23

No Contact

Apr-23

No Contact

May-23

Closed Other

Jun-23

Closed Other

Jul-23

Closed Other

Aug-23

Closed Other

Sep-23

Closed Other

Oct-23

Closed Other

Reasons for the application being rejected/not awarded include:

  • Advice provided to the applicant.
  • No contact with applicant.
  • No evidence provided by the applicant.
  • Applicant not eligible.
  • Applicant not pursued application.
  • Closed other (those that do not fall in to the other categories).

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

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the longest length of time has been for an Access to Work application to be processed in each month since May 2022.

The case that has taken the longest to have a decision was made on 13/12/2021 with a decision being made on 11/05/2023. This took 354 working days for a decision being made.

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

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
16th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the (a) average length of time taken between notification being received from HMRC of a change to a person's National Insurance record and that change being reflected in a revised state pension (i) forecast and (ii) award and (b) how many such notifications are outstanding.

This information is only available at disproportionate cost to The Department for Work & Pensions as the Department does not have a business requirement for this information to be retained.

The vast majority of voluntary contributions paid result in records being updated within days, though more complex cases requiring specialist caseworkers can take longer to resolve.

The Government has extended the deadline to 5 April 2025 to give taxpayers more time to fill gaps in their National Insurance record and help increase the amount they receive in State Pension.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he last met with former Allied Steel and Wire employees to discuss their pensions campaign.

The Secretary of State has not met with the former Allied Steel and Wire employees to discuss their pension campaign. However, the former Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman, met with members of the Allied Steel and Wire pension scheme on 16 June 2021 to discuss their financial assistance payment.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in the context of married women who reach state pension age prior to 6th April 2016, whether it is his Department's policy for a woman who draws a category A state pension prior to her husband reaching pension age and who is widowed after her husband reaches pension age and draws his pension should be automatically assessed at the point of being widowed for a backdated category BL pension in the case where her category A pension is lower than the Category BL rate; and whether a woman over pension age with no entitlement to a category A state pension, and who is widowed after her husband reaches pension age and draws his pension should automatically be assessed at the point of being widowed for a deferred Category BL pension, with her date of claim treated as the date when her late husband first drew his pension.

For married women who reach State Pension age prior to 6th April 2016 the Department’s policy is as follows.

  • For those in receipt of a Category A state pension based on their own National Insurance contributions and whose husband became entitled to his state pension on or after 17th March 2008, a Category BL pension will be paid automatically by the Department. There is a LEAP exercise currently underway to identify and correct some historical cases where this did not happen.

  • For those in receipt of a Category A pension and whose husband became entitled to his state pension before 17th March 2008, including where someone is widowed, a claim is required in order for the Department to be able to assess entitlement to any Category BL pension.

  • Women who have not made a claim for and are not receiving a state pension at the point they are widowed must also make a claim to become entitled to a state pension based on their late husband’s National Insurance contributions. If it is their preference, they can get any Category BL pension backdated for a maximum of 12 months before their claim. They may also be entitled to a deferral payment (one-off lump sum or an additional weekly amount) for the time they have deferred their Category BL pension.
Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
5th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been found within their Department's estate.

For now, the focus is on bringing together the information we hold about the Government estate into one place. This work is being coordinated by the Office for Government Property. Survey work is underway.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member was not agreed to by (a) a Minister and (b) their office on behalf of a Minister in the last 12 months.

This information is not centrally collated and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Ministers will regularly seek to engage with hon. Members, whilst balancing wider Ministerial and Parliamentary responsibilities.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what information his Department holds on (a) demographic and (b) diversity data for users of the Mid-life MOT service.

The Midlife MOT within Jobcentres was rolled out from the end of January 2023.

Data is not yet available.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people accessed the Mid-life MOT service in each month between April 2022 and May 2023.

The Midlife MOT within Jobcentres was rolled out from the end of January 2023.

Data is not yet available.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an estimate of the average time taken to process Carers Allowance claims made since May 2020.

The Average Actual Clearance Time (AACT) to process a claim for Carer’s Allowance, for each of the tax years from April 2021 to May 2023, is shown in the table below:

Tax Year

AACT

21/22

38.9 days

22/23

23.1 days

23/24 *

15.2 days

* April & May 2023 data only

Source: Carer’s Allowance Computer System

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many benefits claims were suspended under the Risk Review Process in (a) 2018, (b) 2019, (c) 2020, (d) 2021 and (e) 2022.

The department’s Risk Review Team (RRT) was created in 2020, as a direct response to threats identified by the department’s Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service (IRIS). A breakdown of cases suspended as a result of the RRT process is therefore only available from the financial year ending March 2021.

In the last three financial years the number of cases suspended as a result of the process are as follows:

  • 2020/2021 – 152,101 cases

  • 2021/2022 – 31,445 cases

  • 2022/2023 – 6,244 cases

We do not suspend claims lightly, and where we do, it will be clear to claimants what actions they need to take to resolve matters. Where a customer does contact us, and provides the information requested, we have processes in place to ensure people’s claims are put back into payment as soon as possible, and any arrears that are due are paid.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data his Department holds on the proportion of workers who were not eligible for statutory sick pay in each of the last 10 years.

Information on the proportion of workers who were not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay over the last ten years is not readily available and to produce it would incur a disproportionate cost.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data his Department holds on the number of people who have claimed statutory sick pay for each year from 2015 to 2023.

Statutory Sick Pay is administered and paid by employers, and information on recipients is not held by government. Therefore, we are not able to make a robust assessment on the number of people who have claimed SSP in each year from 2015 to 2023.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many benefits claimants have had third-party deductions taken directly from their benefits payments in each of the past 10 years.

Third Party Deductions information is only available from 2018.

Table 1 provides the volume of households subject to at least one Third Party Deduction for each financial year from April 2018 to February 2023. The latest figures show that between April 2022 and February 2023 there were 912,200 households on Universal Credit that had at least one Third Party Deduction.

Table 1: Number of Universal Credit households in Great Britain with at least one Third Party Deduction for the time periods shown

Date

Number of households

Apr-18 to Mar-19

179,500

Apr-19 to Mar-20

594,000

Apr-20 to Mar-21

823,100

Apr-21 to Mar-22

917,900

Apr-22 to Feb-23

912,200

Notes:

1. The number of households have been rounded to the nearest hundred.

2. Household level figures have been provided. Please note that some households will have more than one Third Party Deduction within the time period provided. The volumes capture households that have at least one deduction in that time period.

3. Third Party Deductions contains debt types such as rent arrears, court fines and child maintenance (Last Resort Deductions and Enforcing Social Obligations Deductions).

4. Complete data for Third Party Debts is only available from 2018.

5. Data up to February 2023 has been provided in line with the latest available UC Household Statistics.

6. The data for 2018/19 only provides data for Universal Credit full-service claims. Data on Universal Credit live service for 2018/19 is not available. In May 2016 the Universal Credit full service for all claimant types began to rollout nationally and was completed by the end of 2018.

7. Comparison across the different financial years is problematic due to changes in the deductions policy for Universal Credit, which would have affected the number of households having a Third-Party Deduction.

8. Figures have been provided for Universal Credit households in Great Britain. Northern Ireland claims are administered by the Department for Communities.

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

10. The methodology used is different to those used to derive the Official Statistics Household series and therefore, figures may not be comparable.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many individuals have successfully made a claim for Carers Allowance (a) once, (b) twice and (c) three or more times since 2013.

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

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to reduce (a) the time taken to process and (b) resolution times for outstanding Child Maintenance Service complaints; and what the average time is for resolving Child Maintenance Service complaints.

DWP aims to contact customers within 15 working days to clear their complaint or agree how to investigate it if it will take longer.

DWP now triage complaints giving priority to vulnerable claimants who may be at risk, and those with benefit payment issues. We continue to investigate all complaints as quickly as we can and, as part of the triage process, we write or call those customers, where there may be a delay in answering their complaint.

Since 2021, Child Maintenance Service complaints team have seen their response times to complainants steadily improve and are now responding to almost all complaints within the timescale.

The Department does not measure complaints as described in the question and to determine this request, we would need to examine each individual case, which the Department considers to be cost prohibitive to provide.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has made an estimate of the number of people who have purchased extra state pension top-ups since 12th October 2015.

The State Pension top up was a scheme introduced on 12 October 2015 and ran until 5 April 2017. The scheme allowed people who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 to obtain extra State Pension income for life by making a voluntary lump sum National Insurance contribution (class 3A). Data was published State Pension top up: 12 Oct 2015 to 17 Sept 2017 (publishing.service.gov.uk) that shows that 13,200 people purchased State Pension top ups. The scheme ended on 5 April 2017, so no further people will be eligible to purchase State Pension top ups by 31 July 2023.Please note, this is a different scheme to VNICs.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether he has made an estimate of the number of people who will be eligible to purchase extra state pension top-ups by 31 July 2023.

The State Pension top up was a scheme introduced on 12 October 2015 and ran until 5 April 2017. The scheme allowed people who reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016 to obtain extra State Pension income for life by making a voluntary lump sum National Insurance contribution (class 3A). Data was published State Pension top up: 12 Oct 2015 to 17 Sept 2017 (publishing.service.gov.uk) that shows that 13,200 people purchased State Pension top ups. The scheme ended on 5 April 2017, so no further people will be eligible to purchase State Pension top ups by 31 July 2023.Please note, this is a different scheme to VNICs.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
7th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many calls have been handled by the Future Pensions Centre since 7 March 2023.

Period of calls made to the

Future Pension Centre

Helpline

(four weeks)

Calls Answered

**last entry is only one week

27/02/2023 - 26/03/2023

47,345

27/03/2023 - 23/04/2023

47,300

24/04/2023 - 21/05/2023

42,439

**22/05/2023 - 28/05/2023

12,943

The Management Information used has been taken from the same operational source data systems as our published administrative data. However, as this Management Information is not a recognised National or Official Statistic, it has not been subjected to the same level of Quality Assurance. As a result, these figures should be treat with caution.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
25th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to (a) identify and (b) reduce fraud within the benefits system.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) estimates on the value of both fraud and error in the benefit system, can be found in our annually published statistical report on the Monetary Value of Fraud and Error. Reports for each of the last ten financial years can be found at:

Fraud and error in the benefit system - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

This year’s figures show that the work we have been undertaking to reduce Fraud and Error is having an impact, with the headline rate of overpayment having decreased by 0.4% from 4.0% to 3.6%.

Our Fraud Plan, Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System, published on 19 May 2022, sets out our approach and explains how additional investment is allowing us to recruit 1,400 more staff into our counter-fraud teams and develop enhanced data analytics as a means of preventing and detecting fraud and error.

Additionally, we are creating a dedicated team to deliver Targeted Case Reviews of existing Universal Credit claims. This supports wider Government aims of strong oversight and control and efficiently managing the public purse. Over the next five years we expect to review millions of potentially high-risk claims, including suspicious cases which entered our system at the height of the pandemic.

More information on our Fraud Plan, which also explains our ambition to modernise and strengthen our legislative framework, can be found here:

Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
25th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of benefits that were fraudulently claimed in each of the last ten financial years.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) estimates on the value of both fraud and error in the benefit system, can be found in our annually published statistical report on the Monetary Value of Fraud and Error. Reports for each of the last ten financial years can be found at:

Fraud and error in the benefit system - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

This year’s figures show that the work we have been undertaking to reduce Fraud and Error is having an impact, with the headline rate of overpayment having decreased by 0.4% from 4.0% to 3.6%.

Our Fraud Plan, Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System, published on 19 May 2022, sets out our approach and explains how additional investment is allowing us to recruit 1,400 more staff into our counter-fraud teams and develop enhanced data analytics as a means of preventing and detecting fraud and error.

Additionally, we are creating a dedicated team to deliver Targeted Case Reviews of existing Universal Credit claims. This supports wider Government aims of strong oversight and control and efficiently managing the public purse. Over the next five years we expect to review millions of potentially high-risk claims, including suspicious cases which entered our system at the height of the pandemic.

More information on our Fraud Plan, which also explains our ambition to modernise and strengthen our legislative framework, can be found here:

Fighting Fraud in the Welfare System - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
25th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to increase participation by disabled people in the Access to Work programme.

Access to Work is a demand-led, discretionary grant that supports the recruitment and retention of disabled people in sustainable, paid employment. In 2021/22 over 38,500 people with a disability or a health condition received a payment from Access to Work and this year Access to Work has already seen a significant rise in the number of applications.

Access to Work regularly engages with stakeholders, partners, and employer associations, to raise awareness of the scheme. To support local engagement Access to Work has delivered a series of upskilling sessions to Jobcentre Work Coaches and developed a toolkit to support employer engagement. In addition, the DWP regularly provides information about the support available via its social media channels.

To further raise awareness of Access to Work and support transitions into employment, my department has worked with stakeholders to develop an Adjustments Passport. The Adjustments Passport provides the holder with an up-to-date record of their workplace adjustments, it can support conversations with employers and help remove the need for an Access to Work assessment.

In May 2022, the Health Adjustments Passport was rolled out in Jobcentres to support disabled jobseekers. In the coming months a service leavers passport will be made available to support Armed Forces personnel with their transition into civilian employment; and from September 2023 the Adjustments Passport will be rolled out across universities.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
25th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average response time was for answering calls to the personal independence payment new claims phone line in each year since 2015.

Please find below Average Speed to Answer data for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) New Claims lines for each year since April 2015. This includes calls routed through the Service Lines PIP New Claims, PIP New Claims Reassessment and PIP New Claims Special Rules for the Terminally Ill.

Year

Business Group

Product Line

Average Speed to Answer (hh:mm:ss)

2015/16

Disability

Personal Independence Payment

00:01:39

2016/17

Disability

Personal Independence Payment

00:04:33

2017/18

Disability

Personal Independence Payment

00:01:51

2018/19

Disability

Personal Independence Payment

00:02:26

2019/20

Disability

Personal Independence Payment

00:03:49

2020/21

Disability

Personal Independence Payment

00:05:33

2021/22

Disability

Personal Independence Payment

00:05:32

2022/23

Disability

Personal Independence Payment

00:02:33

Please note this information is derived from the department’s management information designed solely for the purpose of helping the department to manage its business. As such, it has not been subjected to the rigorous quality assurance checks applied to our published official statistics. As the DWP holds the information internally, we have released it. However, it is possible information held by the DWP may change due to operational reasons and we recommend that caution be applied when using it.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
25th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average waiting time was for a Personal Independence Payment assessment in the latest period for which data is available.

This information is readily available. It is published quarterly as part of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) statistics on GOV.UK and can be found within the PIP: Clearance/Outstanding Times and Customer Journey statistics tables.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many sewage leaks have been recorded within their Department's estate in the last twelve months.

The DWP can confirm that there have been no sewage leaks reported to the water authorities within the Department’s estate in the last twelve months.

There have been 25 minor sewage leaks across the estate in the period, generally relating to individual toilets and blocked pipes.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to tackle the number of Deduction of Earnings Orders issued by the Child Maintenance Service to the Ministry of Defence's Defence Business Services instead of Deduction of Earnings Requests.

Deduction from Earnings Orders (DEO) are applied as a method of payment where the Child Maintenance Service deducts maintenance directly from the Paying Parent’s wages. The DEO is primarily used to enforce payments but can be set up voluntarily. Deduction from Earnings Requests are similar to a Deduction from Earnings Order but used for Paying Parents who are serving members of the Armed Forces. The Child Maintenance Service can only request a deduction to the Ministry of Defence (MOD), unlike civilian employers they cannot order or enforce payment. MOD policy aims to comply with requests however if the Paying Parent is committed to operational duties MOD may suspend the collection of debt.

Child Maintenance Service takes action to ensure the correct method of payment is applied through identifying whether a Paying Parent is in the Armed Forces through its use of Real Team Information (RTI) Data taken from HMRC. This provides up to date information about Pay As You Earn income as the information submitted by employers online is displayed in RTI immediately. To ensure that the correct method of payment is used for a Paying Parent who is serving in the Armed Forces caseworkers are provided with step-by-step procedural instructions and training.

As at December 2022 Child Maintenance Service had 46,205 Deduction from Earnings Orders and 483 Deduction from Earnings Requests in operation.

(source – Published stats – stat-xplore – CMS Paying Parents = method of payments).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Deduction from Earnings Orders have been issued by the Child Maintenance Service to the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Business Services in each financial year from 2013-14 to 2022-23.

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

The Department publishes quarterly Child Maintenance Service (CMS) statistics, with the latest statistics available to the end of December 2022 here.

The quarterly number of Deduction Orders set up and in process can be found in Table 7.1: Enforcement Actions of the National Tables.

Quarterly statistics showing the method of payment for CMS Paying Parents are available on Stat-Xplore here.

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found here.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of disability benefit assessments.

Assessment quality is a priority for the department. We work extensively with providers to make improvements to ensure a quality service is delivered. An Independent Audit function continually monitors performance and provides feedback to its providers, ensuring a high standard is always maintained.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether it is his policy to retain the work allowance for people with (a) caring responsibilities and (b) disabilities.

There are no plans to change this policy.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he plans to publish the results of the consultation on helping savers understand their pension choices.

I want pension savers to have access to information and support that helps them to understand their retirement choices whatever their level of engagement is with their pension. That is why between June and July 2022 my department conducted a call for evidence to get an understanding of the support and information savers need when accessing their pensions in order to choose the option that meets their retirement goals and what is currently on offer.

I am grateful for those who provided responses. My officials are currently reviewing those responses, with a view to publishing a response in due course.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many requests for mandatory reconsideration were made on the basis of a Universal Credit run on payment not being made during the assessment period in which a Claimant reached the state pension age in (a) 2021 and (b) 2022.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department has provided recent guidance to decision makers on the application of the Universal Credit (Persons who have attained state pension credit qualifying age) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

I can confirm the Department has published guidance on this subject and details are available within the Advice for Decision Making (ADM) on Gov.uk.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many UK pensioners living overseas had their pensions suspended in (a) 2019, (b) 2020, (c) 2021 due to (i) non-return and (ii) late return of life certificates, broken down by country of residence.

DWP holds data relating to the late and non-return of a Life Certificate for the 2019 period, which resulted in the temporary suspension of a customer’s State Pension payments. In 2019, 26,206 claims were temporarily suspended, which is broken down by country as shown in the following table: -

Country

Number of State Pension claims temporarily suspended in 2019 due to the late or non-return of a completed Life Certificate

India

1,280

Uganda

65

Iceland

11

Costa Rica

24

Ukraine

21

Gambia

37

Jamaica

2,269

Nigeria

1,265

Venezuela

39

Sierra Leone

35

Dominican Republic

30

Ecuador

52

Greece

539

Bulgaria

256

Poland

116

Netherlands

624

Hong Kong

124

Fiji

4

Anguilla

9

Jordan

13

Montserrat

14

Malawi

4

Canada

15,798

Cook Islands

0

Norfolk Islands

3

Papua New Guinea

11

Western Samoa

2

Ascension Island

1

Lesotho

8

Dominica

277

South Korea

52

Oman

55

Lebanon

35

Romania

69

Peru

33

Serbia

63

Namibia

26

Libya

3

Tonga

4

Cape Verde Islands

5

Belarus

2

Bangladesh

473

Mauritius

125

Azerbaijan

4

Kazakhstan

2

Vietnam

74

Virgin Islands (British)

25

Estonia

10

Taiwan

19

Panama

36

Uruguay

19

Kuwait

28

Liechtenstein

6

Antilles (Netherlands)

11

St Kitts & Nevis

76

Switzerland

1,529

Brazil

164

Vanuatu

11

Bolivia

30

Cambodia

37

Nepal

26

Brunei

9

Bosnia Herzegovina

7

Ethiopia

14

Iran

14

Hungary

127

Swaziland

29

Russia

23

As a result of the outbreak of COVID in 2020, DWP suspended the Life Certificate exercise in March 2020, to ensure that our customers were not negatively impacted by any postal service issues which could have resulted in their State Pension payments being temporarily suspended. Therefore, DWP does not hold any data for this period.

DWP reintroduced the Life Certificate exercise in November 2021. Therefore, DWP does not hold any data for 2021, as any potential suspensions would be applied after 16 weeks of issue of the Life Certificate, which would mean that the suspension occurred in 2022.

The Management Information used has been taken from the same operational source data systems as our published administrative data. However, as this Management Information is not a recognised National or Official Statistic, it has not been subjected to the same level of Quality Assurance. As a result, these figures should be treated with caution.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
20th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, from what location life certificate forms for UK pensioners living overseas are posted from; and which company is responsible for the posting of the forms.

Life Certificates are issued from our supplier, Allied Publicity Services (APS) who is based in Runcorn, Cheshire.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
16th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many UK pensioners living overseas had their pensions stopped in 2022 because of life certificate forms and postal issues, broken down by country.

DWP allows 16 weeks for the completed Life Certificate to be returned under normal circumstances. In 2022, DWP was notified of the postal issues effecting deliveries in Canada. In light of this, we reinstated the State Pension of those effected and extended the normal 16-week time limit by another 48 weeks for the completed Life Certificates to be returned.

DWP does not maintain data regarding the temporary suspension of International State Pensions owing to postal issues, as this is not something the Department is able to determine. However, DWP does hold data for the temporary suspensions due to the non/late return of a Life Certificate in 2022.

The number of UK State Pension customers whose payments were temporarily suspended due to the non/late return of Life Certificates issued in 2022 was 37,517; this is broken down by country as follows: -

Albania

7

Andorra

51

Anguilla

74

Antigua

88

Antilles (Netherlands)

8

Armenia

1

Bahamas

211

Bangladesh

429

Barbados

796

Benin

2

Bermuda

90

Brazil

737

Bulgaria

348

Burkina Faso

1

Canada

19,061

Cayman Islands

42

Central African Republic

1

Costa Rica

55

Croatia

105

Cyprus

1,831

Czech Republic

126

Denmark

525

Djibouti

1

Dominican Republic

38

Egypt

224

Estonia

18

Falkland Islands

11

Fiji

60

France

1,690

Gambia

50

Georgia

12

Greenland

0

Grenada

217

Guam

0

Guyana

86

Hong Kong

527

Hungary

146

India

1,934

Indonesia

246

Israel

426

Jamaica

2,847

Jordan

67

Kenya

234

Kuwait

17

Kyrgyzstan

5

Liberia

2

Luxembourg

85

Malawi

33

Malaysia

74

Maldive Islands

0

Mexico

454

Monaco

92

Montserrat

27

Morocco

7

North Korea

0

Panama

28

Philippines

1,564

Puerto Rico

4

Republic of the Congo

2

Russia

5

Saudi Arabia

3

Serbia & Montenegro

77

Seychelles

2

Singapore

191

Slovakia

8

Sri Lanka

30

St Lucia

457

St Vincent/Grenadines

190

Sudan

5

Swaziland

2

Switzerland

105

Syria

6

Taiwan

17

Tanzania

34

Trinidad & Tobago

264

Turks & Caicos Islands

4

Uganda

49

United Arab Emirates

50

Uruguay

22

Vietnam

88

Virgin Islands (British)

29

Virgin Islands (USA)

15

Zimbabwe

47

The Management Information used has been taken from the same operational source data systems as our published administrative data. However, as this Management Information is not a recognised National or Official Statistic, it has not been subjected to the same level of Quality Assurance. As a result, these figures should be treat with caution.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to his Annual Report and Accounts 2021-22, what steps he has taken to investigate and correct issues with Home Responsibilities Protection not being recorded on National Insurance Records; how many people are impacted by these issues; and when he next plans to update the House on this matter.

Work continues across DWP and HMRC on the analysis of the historic Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP) issue. This work has been to understand more about the scale, the root cause, and options to correct historical errors relating to HRP for customers who claimed Child Benefit. The analysis is complex, involving using National Insurance records to identify customers who may have been eligible for Child Benefit and may be impacted.

The complexity means that the investigation work is continuing. We expect that the impact on State Pension payments will be quantified and the next steps for correction activity will be set out during the first half of 2023.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether overseas British pensioners who have received multiple Proof of Life letters should ignore subsequent letters received within a 24 month period if they have provided the requested evidence.

DWP issues Life Certificates to overseas State Pension customers on a rolling 24-month cycle. Therefore, if a customer receives multiple Life Certificates in this period, when they have already completed and returned a Life Certificate, we recommend that they contact the International Pension Centre helpline on 0044 191 2187777 to ensure that we have received the completed Life Certificate for the period concerned. This will ensure that their State Pension remains in payment and is not subject to a potential temporary suspension.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what process is being used to manually correct the NI records for current or former Universal Credit claimants nearing State Pension age; and what steps are being taken to ensure no individuals become eligible to claim their State Pension without their records having been corrected.

The Department has been working with HMRC to resolve this issue. We expect NI records will be fully updated by HMRC over the course of 2023/24, any State Pension entitlement will be reassessed, and any underpayment addressed accordingly.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to rectify the administrative error with Proof of Life forms which led to some overseas pensioners having their State Pensions suspended.

The issues which occurred in 2022, relating to the temporary suspension of the State Pension of some customers living in Canada, was not caused by DWP and was due to reasons outside the Department’s control.

DWP is closely monitoring international postage issues with our service provider and we use this information to determine any necessary changes to the Life Certificates process. DWP is also monitoring the return of completed Life Certificates and, if we identify any particular postal issues within countries, we are allowing customers an additional 16 weeks to return their documents before any potential temporary payment suspensions may be required.

The Life Certificate (CFN698) is a form which DWP routinely issues to customers in receipt of State Pension who permanently reside in certain countries outside the UK. The form is used to verify that the customer is still eligible to receive their State Pension and it is an integral part of DWP’s strategy to ensure that all overseas State Pensions are being paid correctly.

Life Certificates are an integral part of protecting the public purse and are issued in accordance with The Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1987.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
9th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many pensioners in (a) Canada and (b) elsewhere have been impacted by his Department's administrative errors relating to the processing of Proof of Life letters, which have led to the suspension of UK state pension payments.

The issues which occurred in 2022, relating to the temporary suspension of the State Pension of some customers living in Canada, was not caused by DWP and was due to reasons outside the Department’s control.

In 2022, there were 120,479 Life Certificates issued to State Pension customers living in Canada. DWP’s international postal provider confirmed there were postal issues in Canada due to air capacity. This resulted in the temporary suspension of 12,858 customers State Pension after 16 weeks of the issue of the Life Certificate, which was due to a completed Life Certificate not being returned within the prescribed time limit. At this point, corrective action was taken by DWP to reinstate the State Pension of all customers effected and allowed a further 48 weeks for customers to return their completed Life Certificate.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2023 to Question 147384 on Pensions: Telephone Services, what the average time is that callers were put on hold before being connected to the Future Pension Centre as of 23 February 2023; and what percentage of callers abandoned the call.

We do not hold data as of 23rd February.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
23rd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance his Department issues to its staff on the (a) suspension and (b) closure of a claim for carer's allowance when eligibility has ceased.

We hold and maintain step-by-step operational instructions published on the DWP intranet for the Carer’s Allowance Unit operational staff to follow when suspending or closing Carer's Allowance claims when eligibility has ceased.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of energy prices on the (a) health and (b) wider welfare of disabled people.

No such assessment has been made by the department.

The Government understands the pressures people are facing with the cost of living, including disabled people, and has taken further, decisive action to support people with their energy bills. The Energy Price Guarantee is supporting millions of households with rising energy costs in addition to other cost of living support delivered last year, which includes:

  • The £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme;
  • A Disability Cost of Living Payment of £150 to six million people in recognition of the extra costs they face, including with energy costs;
  • Up to £650 in Cost of Living Payments for the eight million households in receipt of a means-tested benefit; and
  • A one-off payment of £300 through, and as an addition to, the Winter Fuel Payment from November to pensioner households.

For those who require additional support, the current Household Support Fund, running in England from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023, is providing £421 million of funding. The devolved administrations have been allocated £79 million through the Barnett formula.  The Household Support Fund will continue until March 2024. This year long extension allows local authorities in England to continue to provide discretionary support to those most in need with the significantly rising cost of living. The devolved administrations will receive consequential funding as usual to spend at their discretion.

In 2023/24, we are uprating all benefit rates and State Pensions by 10.1%. In order to increase the number of households who can benefit from these uprating decisions, the benefit cap levels are also increasing by the same amount.

In addition, for 2023/24, households on eligible means-tested benefits will get up to £900 in Cost of Living Payments. This will be split into three payments of around £300 each across the 2023/24 financial year. A separate £300 payment will be made to pensioner households on top of their Winter Fuel Payments, and individuals in receipt of eligible disability benefits will receive a £150 payment. Further to this, the Energy Price Guarantee will be extended from April 2023 until the end of March 2024, meaning a typical household bill will be around £3,000 per year in Great Britain.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time was that callers were on hold before they are connected to the Future Pension Centre in (a) 2023 (b) 2022 and (c) 2021; what percentage of callers abandoned the call in (a) 2023 (b) 2022 and (c) 2021; and if he will make a statement.

The average time callers to the Future Pension Service Telephony Platform were on hold (rounded to the nearest minute) was as follows. We do not have figures for the full year 2023 at this time

2021: 13 Minutes

2022: 10 Minutes

The percentage of callers to the Future Pension Service Telephony Platform who abandoned their call was as follows:

2021: 28%

2022: 21%

Please note this information is derived from the Department’s management information designed solely for the purpose of helping the Department to manage its business. As such, it has not been subjected to the rigorous quality assurance checks applied to our published official statistics. As the Department holds the information internally, we have released it. However, it is possible information held by Department may change due to operational reasons and we recommend that caution be applied when using it.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department’s Help to Claim contract with Citizen’s Advice contains clauses preventing Citizen’s Advice from bringing his Department into disrepute.

The Help to Claim Grant Funding Agreement is based on a Model Grant Funding Agreement that uses standard provisions that allow exit from the Grant Funding Agreement if the grant recipient takes any actions which unfairly bring, or are likely to unfairly bring, the Department or its name or reputation into disrepute.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department takes to reinstate full Universal Credit payments when an individual who had been in receipt of both Universal Credit and Carer's Allowance loses eligibility for Carer's Allowance.

When eligibility of Carers Allowance ends and the award is closed, the UC award will be adjusted.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report by the UK Commission on Bereavement entitled Bereavement is everyone's business, published in October 2022, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies of the (a) finding on the proportion of adult respondents who had difficulties with at least one practical or administrative task following bereavement and (b) recommendation on extending the Tell Us Once service.

The Government established a cross-Government bereavement working group that includes representatives from over ten Government departments. This group is the vehicle by which we are working to ensure how the findings of the UKCB’s report can inform Government policy in the future. We are continuing our dialogue with the Commission Steering Group and are committed to working with the voluntary sector.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in relation to Answer of 14 November 2022 Question 80893 on occupational health, when he plans to start financial incentive and market navigation support for small and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed people.

As referenced in the answer to Question 80893, The Government has committed to testing a financial incentive and market navigation support scheme to gather evidence on whether this is effective in increasing access to OH for SMEs and self-employed people. We have begun to test the concepts in a prototyping phase, and subject to test findings, funding and approvals, we expect to test the end-to-end service at small scale in 2023.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department issues to help ensure that Personal Independence Payment claimants with degenerative conditions are identified and recorded for the purposes of scheduling future reassessments.

The Personal Independence Payment Assessment Guide (PIPAG) contains guidance for health professionals carrying out PIP assessments. The PIP assessment is not a medical assessment to diagnose a condition, its severity, or recommend treatment options. Rather it is assessed on the basis of the needs arising from a health condition or disability and, as such, regular reviews are a key feature of PIP, to ensure that payments accurately match the current needs of claimants.

When recommending an appropriate review period, assessors are asked to consider when a significant change in functional needs is likely, giving due regard to the expected progression of a condition and whether it is likely to improve, stay the same, or worsen. It may be appropriate to set a specific review period for a claimant with a degenerative condition as, if the condition is likely to deteriorate over time, the claimant may become entitled to a higher rate of PIP. However, claimants with very high levels of functional impairment who are on the highest PIP awards, and whose needs are only likely to increase, should receive an ongoing award of PIP, with a light-touch review at the 10-year point.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
23rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Personal Independence Payment claimants with degenerative conditions have been reassessed within (a) 10, (b) five and (c) three years of their original award.

Information on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claimants with degenerative conditions is not available. While the department holds data on a range of conditions, these are not collected centrally in a way that defines them as degenerative or not.

Detailed statistics on PIP can be found on Stat-Xplore. In particular, the PIP datasets on Award Reviews list the disability categories recorded on PIP. These cover over 500 conditions, but none are grouped or marked in any way as being degenerative. You can also view the disability categories here.

Guidance on how to use Stat-Xplore can be found here. An account is not required to use Stat- Xplore; the ‘Guest Login’ feature gives instant access to the main functions.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
18th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to paragraph 5.13 of the Autumn Statement, CP 751 published on 17 November 2022, whether his Department plans to assign any of the £280 million allocated to target benefit fraud, error and debt to the large-scale exercise to correct state pension underpayments; and if he will make a statement on the progress of that exercise.

As set out in the Autumn Statement, the government is taking further action to protect taxpayer money by investing an extra £280 million between now and 2024-25 to target fraud, error and debt across the benefits system. This funding will expand fraud and error capabilities in DWP to help prevent abuse of the system. The expansion will better equip DWP to proactively review and correct Universal Credit claims that are at risk of fraud, and help prevent, detect and correct overpayments across the entire benefits system.

The Government is fully committed to ensuring that these historical State Pension errors, made by successive Governments, are addressed as quickly as possible. We have set up a dedicated team and devoted significant resources towards completing the exercise, with further resources being allocated throughout 2023. In line with previous commitments to publish further Management Information related to the State Pension underpayments exercise around the time of fiscal events. DWP will be publishing the next update shortly.

Overall, Official Error Underpayment rates for State Pension remain low, at 0.5% of benefit expenditure.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
7th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on implementing the proposals relating to occupational health in the Government response to the joint DWP and DHSC consultation Health is Everyone’s Business.

Access to Occupational Health (OH) services can play an important role in supporting people with ill health conditions to remain in, and thrive in, work. Since publishing the joint DWP-DHSC consultation response, good progress has been made on the proposals. This includes developing the test for a financial incentive and market navigation support for SME and self-employed people; working with the OH sector to identify ways to support development of the OH workforce; identifying ways to stimulate innovation in the OH market; and piloting the collection of outcome-linked metrics with a small group of OH providers.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish any equality impact assessment that was carried out to assess the impact on those with disabilities and long term conditions as a result of the decision to raise the Administrative Earnings Threshold in Universal Credit.

The Department will consider its approach on this issue in due course.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an estimate of the number of people with disabilities or long term conditions who are affected by the announcement to raise the Administrative Earnings Threshold in Universal Credit.

It is not possible to answer the question with precision.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 23 September 2022 to Question 51977 on Pension Credit, whether she has plans to improve how pension credit (a) eligibility and (b) take up is monitored.

There are no plans to change the methodology for determining the number of people eligible for Pension Credit and take-up of Pension Credit.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason Carers Allowance has been excluded from the list of qualifying benefits for receipt of the Cost of Living payment.

This Government recognises and values the vital contribution made by carers every day in providing significant care and continuity of support to family and friends, including pensioners and those with disabilities.

The Cost-of-Living Payment is being targeted at households who are in receipt of a means-tested income replacement benefit. Carers Allowance is a non means tested benefit.

Carers on low incomes can claim income-related benefits, such as Universal Credit and Pension Credit. These benefits can be paid to carers at a higher rate than those without caring responsibilities through the carer element and the additional amount for carers respectively. Nearly 60% of carers on low incomes who are of working age and on Carer’s Allowance also claim an income-related benefit through which they may be entitled to receive a Cost-of-Living Payment.

Six million people in receipt of an eligible disability benefit will also receive the £150 Disability Cost of Living Payment. This includes carers who are themselves in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

All Carer’s Allowance recipients who are domestic energy customers will benefit from the new “Energy Price Guarantee” this is in addition to the over £37bn of cost-of-living support announced earlier this year which includes the £400 non-repayable discount to eligible households provided through the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

In England those who pay Council Tax should have also received a £150 rebate.

In addition, to support people who need additional help, the Government is providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing total funding for this support to £1.5 billion. In Scotland this is taking the form of an extension to the Household Support Fund backed by £41m, running from 1 October 2022 to 31 March 2023.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent steps her Department has taken to tackle the number of underpayment errors for PIP applications.

Underpayments are usually identified through the PIP review process or when customers report a change in their circumstances. When a decision is being made on a case related to either a review or reported change in circumstances, if an underpayment identified, any arrears due to the customer are calculated at that time and paid to the customer.

Through the DWP quality assurance procedures, if any underpayments are identified when quality checking cases, these are immediately corrected. Any errors identified are fed back to Decision Makers, and if required additional up-skilling and training is put in place.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the policy set out in section 4.31 of the Government's Growth Plan 2022 published on Friday 22nd September 2022 that claimants who do not fulfil their job-search commitment without good reason could have their benefits reduced (a) who will conduct the assessment to determine whether a claimant's benefits will be reduced as part of that policy and (b) if she will set out a definition of the term 'without good reason' as it appears in that policy.

All requirements are set in discussion with the claimant, tailored to their capability and circumstances, making them realistic and achievable. The requirements will be clearly set out in the Claimant Commitment.

Where a claimant does not fulfil their agreed requirements, DWP will give them every opportunity to provide their reasons before referring to a Decision Maker. The Decision Maker will take into account the claimant’s individual circumstances, the external situation, and any evidence of good reason they have provided, before deciding whether a sanction is warranted.

The Department’s guidance for Universal Credit decision makers is contained in “Advice for Decision Making” (“ADM”) and Decision Makers are trained to judge the merits of each individual case.

The Chapter on Good Reason in the ADM can be accessed on gov.uk at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1046460/adm-k2.pdf

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average wait time is for her Department to correct underpayment errors for Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

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

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 September 2022 to Question 47660 on Pension Credit, if she will publish equivalent data on the number of people eligible for Pension Credit in the period since 2019-20.

Data on the number of people eligible for Pension Credit in the period since 2019-20 is not available. The Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up Official Statistics series is suspended. Estimates will not be published for the financial year 2020 to 2021 due to data issues following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is affecting the methodology used to produce these statistics. We will provide an update on the financial year 2021 to 2022 publication when we have assessed if it will be possible to publish these statistics in line with the UK Statistics Authority Code of Practice for Statistics.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
5th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 July 2022 to Question 31232 on Pension Credit and the Answer of 11 July 2022 to Question 31233 on Pension Credit, what estimate she has made of the number of people eligible for Pension Credit who have not yet applied; and what assessment she has made of the potential reasons for people not applying for Pension Credit.

The latest published estimates for the number of people eligible for Pension Credit relate to the financial year 2019 to 2020 and show that up to 850,000 pensioner households were eligible for but not claiming Pension Credit. These are available in the Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up publication which can be found on the statistics section of gov.uk. Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2019 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Previous DWP research found that the main reason pensioners don’t claim Pension Credit is because they believe that they are not eligible – they may think they have too much income, have savings or own their own home. There does also appear to be a secondary barrier around perceived stigma. Further details are available in the 2012 Research report Pension Credit eligible non-recipients: Barriers to claiming. Pension Credit eligible non-recipients: Barriers to claiming (publishing.service.gov.uk)

That is why one of the main objectives of our Pension Credit awareness campaign has been to dispel the myths around perceived ineligibility. Our messaging has also emphasised that even a small award of Pension Credit can open the door to a range of other financial support, including help with rent, Council Tax and heating costs, a free TV licence for those 75 or over and help with NHS dental treatment, glasses and transport costs for hospital appointments.

It is also now more important than ever before to ensure that eligible pensioners claim Pension Credit, because a successful claim also qualifies them for the Cost of Living payments. That’s why the work to raise awareness of Pension Credit and increase take-up is ongoing.

5th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish the outcome to the public consultation on the Second State Pension age review which closed on 25 April 2022; and if she will provide an interim update.

The call for evidence was undertaken by the Independent Reviewer. The Independent Review has not yet concluded and will be published in due course.

18th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her Department’s Annual Report and Accounts 2021-22, HC 193, published on 7 July 2022, which notes at page 71 errors in the recording of Home Responsibilities Protection, how many people benefited from the correction exercise undertaken by her Department between 2009 and 2011; what the cost of that correction exercise was; for what reason further corrective action is needed; and if she will make a statement.

The Department published figures for the 2009-11 exercise on 15 June 2011. These showed that as a result of the correction exercise around 36,000 cases had an improved State Pension and around £89million had been paid in arrears. As part of our work to improve the accuracy of State Pensions, a small number of errors relating to historic NI records has been identified during DWPs Fraud and Error investigations for 2021/22. We are working with HM Revenue and Customs to investigate data discrepancies in the recording of historic periods of awards of Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP). HRP formed part of an individual’s National Insurance record.

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Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the impact of Carer's Allowance on the ability of unpaid carers to undertake employment.

The benefit system aims to support unpaid carers to work where they can and choose to do so. Those receiving Carer’s Allowance can receive net earnings of up to £132 a week. This earnings limit has increased by around one third since 2010. Many carers who are receiving Carer’s Allowance and doing some work will also be receiving Universal Credit. For those receiving Universal Credit, the 55% taper rate and any applicable work allowance will help to ensure that people are better off in work.

11th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what factors her Department will take into account when it next makes an assessment of the potential merits uprating of benefits; and whether the energy price cap will be taken into account when making that assessment.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is required to undertake an annual statutory review of benefits and pensions. She uses the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in the year to September to measure inflation and average weekly earnings for the period May to July to measure earnings. The Office for National Statistics publish these figures in October.

The Secretary of State must increase certain benefits by at least the increase in prices or earnings. If she considers it appropriate, having regard to the national economic situation and any other matters which she considers relevant, she may increase others by such a percentage(s) as she thinks fit.

Her review will commence in the autumn and her decisions will be announced to Parliament in November in the normal way.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to monitor the take-up of pension credit awards by (a) those who qualify but have not previously claimed pension credit (b) new recipients of the state pension.

Pension Credit applications have increased massively following the launch of the Pension Credit awareness campaign in April. This builds on the extensive campaigning on this issue over the last few years.

Early indications are that the Pension Credit Day of Action on 15 June has been highly effective. The Day of Action involved working closely with broadcasters, media, newspapers and other stakeholder partners who were encouraged to reach out to pensioners to promote Pension Credit through their channels.

Although not all claims can be directly attributed to the campaign, the internal management information suggests there were over 10,000 Pension Credit claims made during the week of the media day – an increase of 275% compared to the same week in 2021, which itself was an enhanced week due to the 2021 Pension Credit Action Day.

The impact of these claim volumes on numbers of successful awards and on Pension Credit take-up will take longer to establish given the usual cycle involved in producing those statistics. However, the campaign is ongoing including encouraging the private sector to drive forward efforts to enhance claims, and specific effort to reach out to communities who have traditionally not claimed Pension Credit.

We are continuing to monitor the impact of the campaign and the Department will publish estimates of take-up in due course.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
5th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of her Department's Pension Credit Day of Action and associated awareness raising activities; and whether she has made an estimate of the number of applications for pension credit made as a result of those activities.

Pension Credit applications have increased massively following the launch of the Pension Credit awareness campaign in April. This builds on the extensive campaigning on this issue over the last few years.

Early indications are that the Pension Credit Day of Action on 15 June has been highly effective. The Day of Action involved working closely with broadcasters, media, newspapers and other stakeholder partners who were encouraged to reach out to pensioners to promote Pension Credit through their channels.

Although not all claims can be directly attributed to the campaign, the internal management information suggests there were over 10,000 Pension Credit claims made during the week of the media day – an increase of 275% compared to the same week in 2021, which itself was an enhanced week due to the 2021 Pension Credit Action Day.

The impact of these claim volumes on numbers of successful awards and on Pension Credit take-up will take longer to establish given the usual cycle involved in producing those statistics. However, the campaign is ongoing including encouraging the private sector to drive forward efforts to enhance claims, and specific effort to reach out to communities who have traditionally not claimed Pension Credit.

We are continuing to monitor the impact of the campaign and the Department will publish estimates of take-up in due course.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an estimate of the proportion of decisions on Personal Independence Payment awards that were reversed as a result of mandatory reconsideration in the past year; and if she will make an assessment of the principal reasons for the reversal of those decisions.

The proportions of decisions on Personal Independence Payments that were reversed as a result of mandatory reconsideration in the past year is available on Stat-Xplore: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/. In particular, see the ‘PIP MR Clearances’ table and the column “New Decision – Award Changed” for reversed decisions. To calculate the proportions, divide the values in this column by the total values of all decisions in the time period of interest.

The principal reasons for reversal are not collated centrally.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department is taking steps to (a) collect and (b) evaluate evidence in order to understand the reasons for successful Mandatory Reconsiderations.

The reasons for successful Mandatory Reconsiderations are not collated centrally.

Whilst evaluation does take place at a local level on a case by case basis, and we will continue to build on this, the Department’s overarching focus at the MR stage is on ensuring that each application is thoroughly reviewed, including as necessary contacting the claimant, so that it achieves its goal of making the right decision at the earliest opportunity.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, who has responsibility for holding data relating to mandatory reconsideration of benefit decisions.

Various divisions within the Department hold responsibility for the recording, use, and management of these data items.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department takes to mitigate against and prevent death by suicide linked to benefit claims.

The Department has a detailed mental health training package which includes modules on supporting customers at risk, for all customer facing staff, providing colleagues with learning that they can then apply in different scenarios. Comprehensive staff guidance is available on how to support customers who express thoughts of self-harm and suicide. Where this is identified, staff follow a six-point plan that helps them take the right action at the right time; this could include alerting the emergency services where appropriate.

The Department is constantly learning, and work is ongoing to strengthen guidance and training as part of continuous improvement activities, ensuring colleagues have the necessary tools and confidence to support these customers.

DWP does not have a statutory safeguarding duty, but we recognise the positive impact that a joined-up approach can have on customers with safeguarding concerns. The Department has appointed more than 30 Advanced Customer Support Senior Leaders across Great Britain. They proactively engage with external organisations and if our customers are experiencing crises or are at risk of abuse or harm, assist them in getting the help they need.

28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of migrating people to Universal Credit.

UC provides significant improvements and efficiencies compared to the legacy systems it replaces. The Programmes Full Life Costs, forecast the running costs of UC at £13,547m compared to projected equivalent Legacy running costs of £15,400m. This presents a net saving of £1,853m over the 10-year period which runs from 2017/18 to 2026/27.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the impact of automatic deductions from Universal Credit on families' financial wellbeing.

Deductions from Universal Credit are made to protect claimants who have priority debts, ensure social obligations are met and recover taxpayer money. We have to strike the right balance between ensuring those protections are in place and allowing claimants to retain as much of their award as possible for day-to-day needs.

The standard deductions cap has been reduced three times – from 40% to 30% to 25%. This has helped hundreds of thousands of UC claimants to retain more of their award.  Reducing the standard cap below 25% would reduce the range of debts a claimants could address, and risk vital obligations (such as Child Maintenance payments) not being made at all.

Claimants can contact DWP Debt management if they are experiencing financial hardship, to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment or a temporary suspension,depending on their financial circumstances.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what safeguards her Department has put in place to minimise errors during the Universal Credit migration process.

We have begun to move small, controlled volumes through the managed migration process, starting with 500 legacy benefit claimants in Bolton and Medway. Optimising our support for claimants in moving to Universal Credit will be a critical part of the managed migration process. The department will work closely with our stakeholder groups throughout this work to monitor and understand what support is required and what works bests for claimants.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of people who will receive a reduced benefit award after migrating to Universal Credit.

Parliament has committed to providing transitional financial protection for those who are moved onto Universal Credit through the managed migration process. This means those eligible households with a lower calculated award in Universal Credit than their legacy benefits awards will see no difference in their entitlement at the point they are moved to Universal Credit, provided there is no change in their circumstances during the migration process. Relevant figures are included in the Department for Work and Pension’s policy paper, ‘Completing the Move to Universal Credit.’

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department offers additional support to people with complex disabilities through the migration process to Universal Credit.

We recently restarted work to design and deliver a service for claimants to move to Universal Credit. The first phase is Discovery with controlled small volumes; during this phase we will work with small numbers of claimants to learn how best to ensure a smooth transition to Universal Credit and identify what support claimants need to make their claim to Universal Credit.

A variety of support is currently in place for those issued with migration notices, including for individuals with health conditions and disabilities. Our current support consists of:

  • A dedicated phoneline.
  • Further guidance on Welcome to GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  • Specially trained staff in JCP’s and service centres who can identify local tailored support; and
  • Independent support through the Help to Claim service.

As we progress through the discovery phase, we are keen to understand what additional support is required for people to make their claim to Universal Credit. The Department also holds regular engagement sessions with a broad range of external stakeholders, including in the health and disability sector in order to seek their feedback and input into the process.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what protections her Department has put in place for people undergoing managed migration to Universal Credit.

Our overarching analysis shows that at the benefit point of migration, the vast majority of claimants will either be better off, or at the very least retain the same entitlement, thanks to transitional protection. Transitional Protection ensures that eligible claimants do not have a lower entitlement, to Universal Credit than their legacy benefit entitlement at the point they move to Universal Credit.

Claimants moving to Universal Credit will also receive a two-week run on of Jobseeker’s Allowance (income based), Employment and Support Allowance (income related), Income Support and Housing Benefit before they receive their first payment of Universal Credit.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of people who have migrated to Universal Credit as a result of a change of circumstances without transitional protection.

We do not centrally collate the number of claimants that have made a claim for Universal Credit as a result of a change in circumstances. Data relating to Universal Credit at national, regional and constituency level is published at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk. Guidance for users is available at: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Getting-Started.html

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department spent on external consultants in each of the last five years.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) publishes details about headcount and payroll costs for permanent staff and contractors on GOV.UK, monthly.

DWP workforce management information - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The DWP consultancy spend for the financial years ending 2018 through to 2022 is shown below.

2017/18 £7,200,259

2018/19 £4,446,169

2019/20 £4,570,665

2020/21 £1,284,861

2021/22 £1,041,058

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on what date she last visited a foodbank.

As Minister, I have engaged through visits and meetings with a wide range of food security charities and projects, and will continue to do so.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her Department's publication entitled Benefit Expenditure and caseload tables 2022, what the level of expenditure on Category D retirement pensions is in each year from 2019-20; what estimate she has made of the level of fluctuations from year to year in the total amount paid; and if she will make a statement.

The table below shows the total level of expenditure on Category D retirement pensions for each financial year from 2019/20 to 2026/27. The year-on-year change is also included in the table to show the fluctuations in total Category D expenditure over this period. The increase in outturn in 2020/21 relates to the Department’s estimated liability due to underpaid Category D State Pension. The increase in forecast in 22/23 reflects the increased expenditure for the year in which it will be repaid to customers.

£ million, nominal terms

19/20

20/21

21/22

22/23

23/24

24/25

25/26

26/27

Outturn

Outturn

Forecast

Forecast

Forecast

Forecast

Forecast

Forecast

State Pension (non contributory 'Category D')

£119

£275

£149

£271

£187

£174

£180

£188

Year on year change

£0

£156

-£126

£122

-£84

-£13

£6

£8

Source: Benefit expenditure and caseload tables 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the impact on the finances of unpaid carers of uprating Carer's Allowance by 3.1 per cent in the context of a predicted increase in inflation of 7.25 per cent.

I refer the Hon member to the answer I gave on 24 March 2022 to Question Number 142004.

8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to learn lessons from the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018: benefit take-up strategy following the publication of Estimates of Take-up for Pension Credit in 2019-20.

The latest estimates of Pension Credit take-up for 2019/20, published on 24 February, show an encouraging improvement across all headline measures.

Compared to 2018/19; take-up of Guarantee Credit increased from 70% to 73% and take-up of Pension Credit overall increased from 63% to 66%. In 2019/20, 77% of the total amount of Pension Credit that could have been claimed was claimed.

The Department is aware of the work conducted by the Scottish Government to encourage take-up of their benefits.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps are being taken to identify those entitled to pension credit who have not taken it up in each region of the UK.

Pension Credit take-up statistics cannot be broken down to regional level.

The Department has undertaken a range of actions to raise awareness of Pension Credit, encourage pensioners to check their eligibility, and to make a claim. This has included a Pension Credit media day of action in June last year as well as setting up a Pension Credit working group, which is made up of a diverse range of organisations and tasked with identifying new practical initiatives that we can work on together to help increase Pension Credit take up. We continue to use opportunities to promote Pension Credit using proactive press activity and social media to reach potential recipients, their families and friends.

Our initial internal management information suggests new claims for Pension Credit in the past twelve months to December 2021 were around 136,000, representing an increase of around 30% compared to the 12 months to December 2019 when they were around 105,000. It also suggests that we have been receiving consistently high volumes of claims over recent months, at around 3,300 per week.

This management information has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics but are provided here in the interests of transparency.

The impact of these claim volumes on numbers of successful awards and on Pension Credit take-up will take longer to establish given the usual cycle involved in producing those statistics.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 benefit take-up strategy.

No such assessment has been made.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Bereavement Benefits: Proposal for implementation of the McLaughlin (2018) and Jackson (2020) judgments published on 15 July 2021, when she plans to lay before Parliament that draft remedial order.

The draft Bereavement Benefits (2021) Remedial Order, to extend Widowed Parents Allowance and the higher rate of Bereavement Support Payment to surviving cohabitees with dependent children, was laid before Parliament on 15 July 2021. This laying period concluded on 12 November 2021 and the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) also published its report on the proposals on this date.

We are now considering whether to make changes to the draft Order in light of the JCHR recommendations and other representations received during this time. Due to the complexity of the points raised and the need to give these careful consideration, we cannot say at this stage when the draft Order will be laid for its second 60-day sitting period. We are progressing this work as a priority and will continue to update the GOV.UK website at key points during the process:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bereavement-benefits-proposal-for-implementation-of-the-mclaughlin-2018-and-jackson-2020-judgments.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average processing time is for a new state pension claim; how many unprocessed claims for new state pensions her Department holds; what steps she is taking to tackle delays in processing new state pension claims; and if she will make a statement.

We have deployed significant additional resource onto processing new state pension claims following a backlog in 2021. As a result, all claims received by DWP for UK State Pension should be paid on time, other than for those customers where further information is required or evidence is awaited. State Pension is paid in arrears and, in most instances, the first payment will be due four weeks after the customer’s 66th Birthday.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the relationship between people owing money to her Department as a result of benefit claims and their use of food banks.

No assessment has been made.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims in each parliamentary constituency had sums deducted from their claim in the most recent month for which data is available; what the (a) average and (b) total sums deducted in each constituency were; and what proportion of deductions were to repay an advance payment or historic tax credit debt.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. We seek to balance recovery of debt against not causing hardship for claimants and their families. Processes are in place to ensure deductions are manageable, and customers can contact DWP Debt Management if they are experiencing financial hardship, to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment or a temporary suspension, depending on their financial circumstances.

Since April 2021, we have reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 40% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance. These positive measures were put in place to support claimants to manage financial difficulties

Advances are a claimant’s benefit entitlement paid early, allowing claimants to access 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. They ensure nobody has to wait for a payment in Universal Credit and those who need it are able to receive financial support as soon as possible. Claimants can receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit award if required, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period. This is not a debt.

The requested analysis of Universal Credit claims with a payment due in November 2021 by Parliamentary Constituency in Great Britain (GB) is provided in the separate spreadsheet.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many households are facing deductions to their universal credit award as a result of debts owed to the public purse.

Advances are not Government debt. They are a claimant’s benefit entitlement paid early, allowing claimants to access 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. They ensure nobody has to wait for a Universal Credit payment, and those who need it are able to receive financial support as soon as possible. Claimants can receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit award if required, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period.

For Universal Credit claims with a payment due during November 2021:

  • 1,032,000 (22% of all claims) had a deduction towards a Government debt
  • 1,296,000 (27% of all claims) had a deduction towards the repayment of an Advance.

Notes:

1) Claims may have a deduction for both advance repayments and Government debt.

2) All volumes are rounded to the nearest thousand and percentages rounded to nearest percent.

3) Government debt includes: DWP Benefit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Tax Credit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Housing Benefit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Social Fund Loan, Recoverable Hardship Payment, Administrative Penalty, Civil Penalty, Eligible Loan Deductions, Integration Loan.

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

5) Number of claims rounded to the nearest 1,000 and percentage rounded to nearest percent.

6) Data for November 2021 has been provided in line with the latest available UC Household Statistics

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of her Department investigating complaints where phone records have been deleted.

The information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost to the department.

The Data Protection Act (DPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires that personal data is not kept longer than is necessary. If records have been deleted in accordance with our retention policy, we can still consider the complaint, and make a decision on a balance of probabilities.

The retention policy for complaints is designed to ensure that any records which are available at the outset, are retained throughout the life of the complaint.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many complaints in the year 2021 were investigated by her Department in which phone records had been deleted.

The information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost to the department.

The Data Protection Act (DPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires that personal data is not kept longer than is necessary. If records have been deleted in accordance with our retention policy, we can still consider the complaint, and make a decision on a balance of probabilities.

The retention policy for complaints is designed to ensure that any records which are available at the outset, are retained throughout the life of the complaint.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her Department's policy on managing customer records, if she will publish her Department's guidance on what triggers a departmental issue for the purposes of records being retained.

DWP’s Information Management Policy and Managing Customer Records guidance is publicly available on the GOV.UK website. The internal version of this policy additionally sets out how changes to the Policy, including retention, can be requested by business areas should they identify that this is necessary.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish cost assessments made by her Department in relation to its customer record retention policy.

There are no specific cost assessments in relation to this policy.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants are being deducted the maximum amount of 25 per cent of their standard allowance from their entitlement as a result of (a) an advance or (b) other outstanding Government debts.

New Claim Advances are a claimant’s benefit entitlement paid early, allowing claimants in need to access up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period. They ensure nobody in need has to wait for their first payment in Universal Credit.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. We seek to balance recovery of debt against not causing hardship for claimants and their families. Processes are in place to ensure deductions are manageable, and customers with deductions for benefit overpayments can contact DWP Debt Management if they are experiencing financial hardship, to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment or a temporary suspension, depending on their financial circumstances.

We reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 40% to 30% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance enabling them to retain more of the award. These changes were implemented from October 2019 to April 2021. These positive measures were put in place to support claimants to better manage financial difficulties

For Universal Credit claims with a payment due during November 2021:

  • 198,000 (4% of all claims) had a deduction for Government debt that accounted for 25% of their standard allowance
  • 124,000 (3% of all claims) had a deduction for the repayment of an Advance that accounted for 25% of their standard allowance.

Notes:

1) All volumes are rounded to the nearest thousand and percentages rounded to nearest percent.

2) Government debt includes: DWP Benefit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Tax Credit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Housing Benefit Overpayment (fraud and non-fraud), Social Fund Loan, Recoverable Hardship Payment, Administrative Penalty, Civil Penalty, Eligible Loan Deductions, Integration Loan.

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

4) Data for November 2021 has been provided in line with the latest available UC Household Statistics.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claimants had deductions made to their monthly payment in the most recent month for which figures are available by (a) advance payments, (b) benefit overpayments, (c) categories of third party debt deductions and (d) other types of deductions.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. We seek to balance recovery of debt and advance payment against not causing hardship for claimants and their families. Processes are in place to ensure deductions are manageable, and customers can contact DWP Debt Management if they are experiencing financial hardship, to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment or a temporary suspension, depending on their financial circumstances.

In April 2021, we reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 40% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance enabling them to retain more of the award. These positive measures were put in place to support claimants to manage financial difficulties.

Advances are a claimant’s benefit entitlement paid early, allowing claimants to access 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. They are not a debt. They ensure nobody has to wait for a payment in Universal Credit and those who need it are able to receive financial support as soon as possible. Claimants can receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit award if required, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period.

The requested information is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether there has been an increase in the uptake of Pension Credit in each year since 2010.

The estimated Pension Credit take up caseloads since 2010 are available in the “Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up” publication which can be found on the statistics section of gov.uk. The latest publication relates to the financial year 2019 to 2020.

Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2019 to 2020 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much has been spent on promotion campaigns to encourage the take up of Pension Credit in each year since 2010.

It is not feasible to undertake such an assessment.

The Department has undertaken a range of actions to raise awareness of Pension Credit, including using proactive press activity and social media posts, the annual uprating mailing to over 11 million pensioners in Great Britain and our work with stakeholders.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what communications strategy her Department has to help ensure that pensioners who are eligible for but not in receipt of Pension Credit are aware that applying for Pension Credit may entitle them to other top-up payments to other benefits.

The Department continues to raise awareness of Pension Credit through the annual uprating mailing, sent to over 11 million pensioners in Great Britain, including those who are eligible for Pension Credit but not claiming. Proactive press and stakeholder activity will also continue.

Our initial internal management information suggests new claims for Pension Credit in the twelve months to December 2021 were around 136,000, representing an increase of around 30% compared to the 12 months to December 2019 when they were around 105,000. It also suggests that we have been receiving consistently high volumes of claims over recent months, at around 3,300 per week.

This management information has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics but is provided here in the interests of transparency. The impact of these claim volumes on numbers of successful awards and on Pension Credit take-up will take longer to establish given the usual cycle involved in producing those statistics.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many pension credit claimants there are by (a) constituency and (b) region as at 22 February 2022.

Quarterly statistics for the number of Pension Credit claimants by (a) constituency and (b) region can be found on Stat-Xplore. The latest figures are for August 2021.

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

Guidance for users is available at:

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to improve the health assessments process for people with (a) multiple sclerosis and (b) other relapsing and progressive conditions.

We recognise that improvements could be made to the assessment process for health and disability benefits and are committed to making changes in this area.

In the Shaping Future Support Green Paper published last year we set out several areas we wish to explore, taking in account feedback from a wide range of stakeholders including disabled people, disability charities, academics and thinktanks to better understand what needs to change, and how.

We will follow up on the responses to this Green Paper with a White Paper later this year to outline the changes we want to make.

18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many staff in her Department are working on the State Pension underpayment correction exercise; and if she will recruit additional staff to work on that exercise.

DWP currently has 488 members of staff working on the State Pension Correction Exercise Team and we are planning to increase resources in this area of our business throughout 2022/23.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will lift the benefit cap in the context of the rise of the cost of living.

There is a statutory duty for the Secretary of State to review the benefit cap levels once in each Parliament. The review will happen at the appropriate time, as determined by the Secretary of State.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effect of the benefit cap on women who are lone parents.

No recent assessment has been made of the effect of the benefit cap on women who are lone parents.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the impact of the benefit cap on levels of poverty.

No recent assessment has been made of the impact of the benefit cap on the levels of poverty.

There is a statutory duty for the Secretary of State to review the benefit cap levels once in each Parliament. The review will happen at the appropriate time, as determined by the Secretary of State.

The Benefit Cap provides a strong work incentive and fairness for hard-working taxpaying households and encourages people to move into work, where possible. This aligns with our long-term focus of continuing to support people into, and to progress in, work. Our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, will help people across the UK to find work and to boost their wages and prospects.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent progress has been made on securing reciprocal agreements with countries outside of the EU to facilitate the uprating of state pension to UK citizens living abroad.

The UK State Pension is payable worldwide to all who satisfy the qualifying conditions.

The policy on the up-rating of UK State Pensions paid overseas is longstanding and has been supported by successive post-war governments for over 70 years.

The Government has no plans to change this policy.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance her Department has issued to Jobcentre staff on the celebration of religious festivals, birthdays, retirements and other occasions during periods of covid-19 restrictions.

In respect of the workplace, we ask staff at all times and in all circumstances to comply with covid safety measures in place.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publish in full her Ministerial diary for 20 May 2020.

Ministers regularly meet with departmental officials and external stakeholders. Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published quarterly and can be found on GOV.UK.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what meetings she has had with disabled people on the design of the reforms proposed in the Health and Disability Green Paper.

For the 18 months prior to the formal launch of the consultation underpinning the Green Paper, we ran a significant stakeholder engagement programme to ensure the views of disabled people and their representatives shaped the content.

During the consultation period, we delivered a wide-ranging programme of more than 40 events to promote the Green Paper and hear people’s views on the proposals. These included face-to-face and virtual public events, events with the Regional Stakeholder Networks, and a forum of disabled people from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Whilst the formal consultation period has now ended, we continue to engage stakeholders regularly, particularly on the broader aspects of the paper that focus on future reform.

29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of ending the £20 uplift to universal credit on levels of foodbank use in the UK.

The uplift to Universal Credit was a temporary measure, that is why an assessment has not been completed on its withdrawal.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. There is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level. We understand the data limitations in this area, and thus from April 2021 we introduced a set of questions into the Family Resources Survey (FRS) to measure and track food bank usage. The first results of these questions are due to be published in March 2023 subject to usual quality assurance. These questions will allow us to gauge where people in food security are seeking help and over time will allow us to build a time series on the scale of food bank usage.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting low-income families, including through spending over £110 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22 and by increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 from April 2022.

With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, our focus now is on continuing to support people into and to progress in work. Our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, will help people across the UK to find work and to boost their wages and prospects.

In addition, Universal Credit recipients in work will soon benefit from a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, while eligible in-work claimants will also benefit from changes to the Work Allowance. These measures represent, for the lowest paid in society, an effective tax cut of around £2.2 Billion in 2022-23, and will benefit almost two million of the lowest paid workers by £1000 a year on average.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

To support low income families further we have also increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins, and we are investing over £200m a year from 2022 to continue our Holiday Activities and Food programme, which is already providing enriching activities and healthy meals to children in all Local Authorities in England.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the announcement of 8 November 2021 on preventing pension scams, what estimate she has made of the impact on the number of referrals to MoneyHelper for mandatory guidance once the new rules come into force; and whether additional resources have been allocated to MoneyHelper for that purpose.

The legislation will fully come into force on the 30 November. We anticipate that accurate data will become available after this point. It is the Departments intention to monitor the volumes of referrals to MoneyHelper and include this in the review of the regulations I have committed to carry out within 18 months of them coming into force having worked closely with the Money and Pension Service.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what definition her Department uses to classify social security claimants as vulnerable; what method is used to identify those claimants; and how that information is recorded.

The Department does not identify or record claimants as ‘vulnerable’ or ‘not vulnerable’. However, we often need to consider a customer’s particular circumstances to provide the right service or ensure appropriate support. Where a staff member recognises that a customer has particular needs which should be flagged within their case file, they can do this by recording relevant information on the appropriate customer profile record. For example, in Universal Credit, complex needs information is recorded in profile notes within the claimant history.

In 2019 we created a central team in the Customer Experience Directorate who focus on supporting customers who require advanced support. We have also appointed over 30 regional Advanced Customer Support Senior Leaders across Great Britain; their role is to provide targeted support to customers who most need it.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the National Audit Office report entitled Investigation into underpayment of State Pensions published on 22 September 2021, if she will set up a task force to target and prioritise assistance for pensioners who are most in need of support as a result of the underpayment of State Pension.

The Legal Entitlements and Administrative Practice (LEAP) exercise to correct State Pension underpayments began in January 2021. We are prioritising older cases and those who we believe are the most vulnerable. The Department will write to affected individuals to inform them of the changes to their State Pension amount and of any arrears payment they will receive in accordance with the law.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on implementing its policy to (a) extend automatic enrolment of employees in a workplace pension scheme to employees under the age of 22 years and (b) remove the lower earnings threshold for that automatic enrolment by the mid-2020s.

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

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

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an estimate of the proportion of employees automatically enrolled in a workplace pension scheme who are likely to reach a moderate lifestyle in retirement as defined by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association's Retirement Living Standards.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association's (PLSA) consultation paper entitled Responsible Investment Quality Mark: Consultation on Standards, published in June 2021, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of PLSA’s proposal to develop a quality mark to recognise good practice of pension schemes on responsible investment.

The Secretary of State will consider the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association's proposals in the usual way. DWP officials look forward to discussing stakeholder responses with their PLSA counterparts in due course. 

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 13 September 2021 to Question 45271 on State Retirement Pensions: Administrative Delays, if she will provide statistical information on the (a) average processing time for a new state pension claim and (b) average processing time 12 months ago; and how many unprocessed claims for new state pensions her Department holds.

DWP is aware that a small number of new State Pension claims have been subject to delays in receiving payment.

The Department is working hard to clear the current backlog, many of which have accrued since the Covid Pandemic.

We are prioritising overdue payments and payments that are imminent within the next few weeks. Normal service will be resumed by the end of October 2021.

Claimants don’t need to act, we have identified the cases and will process them as soon as possible.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average processing time is for a new state pension claim; what the average processing time was 12 months ago; how many unprocessed claims for new state pensions her Department holds; what steps she is taking to tackle delays in processing new state pension claims; and if she will make a statement.

DWP is aware that a small number of new State Pension claims have been subject to delays in receiving payment.

The Department is working hard to clear the current backlog, many of which have accrued since the Covid Pandemic.

We are prioritising overdue payments and payments that are imminent within the next few weeks. Normal service will be resumed by the end of October 2021.

Claimants don’t need to act, we have identified the cases and will process them as soon as possible.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on establishing an Extra Costs Taskforce.

As set out in the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Cabinet Office will set up an Extra Costs Taskforce, bringing together disabled people, regulators and businesses, to better understand the extra costs faced by disabled people, including how this breaks down for different impairments – by summer 2022.

Officials are currently developing proposals for the taskforce and its terms of reference and membership. Insight from disabled people and organisations will inform the development of the Taskforce.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing people in receipt of contracted provision such as the Work and Health Programme to transfer to the Kickstart scheme.

The Kickstart scheme is part of the wider package available for young people aged between 16 and 24 years old. Prior to any referral to other provision, including Work and Health Programme, DWP Work Coaches will assess if Kickstart is the most suitable support to improve the employment prospects for the young person.

Once a young person has completed a contracted intervention they can be referred to apply for a Kickstart job. The Department is currently reviewing under which circumstances it is appropriate for a young person to benefit from both a contracted employment intervention and the Kickstart Scheme at the same time.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of enabling disabled people over the age of 24 to access the Kickstart scheme.

The Kickstart Scheme is a COVID19 response to support young people aged between 16 and 24 years who are at risk of long term unemployment. All young people on Universal Credit including those with a disability can take up the offer of a Kickstart Scheme job.

Kickstart is a part of the government’s Plan for Jobs. Young jobseekers with a disability have a number of different routes and support offers available to them alongside Kickstart, including Access to Work, dedicated Disability Employment Advisors, and opportunities through the Work and Health programme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the Government will launch its consultation on workforce reporting on disability for large employers.

As set out in the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July, the Cabinet Office will consult later this year on workforce reporting on disability for large employers, exploring voluntary and mandated workplace transparency, before publishing next steps.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many participants in the Kickstart scheme are single claimants and have declared that they are looking after a child under the age of 16.

An initial assessment of the first 50,000 claimants starting a Kickstart job found that around 1,700 young people on the Kickstart scheme were single person claimants responsible for a dependent child under the age of 16. This equates to 2% of all participants during this period. This compares to 3% of UC claimants in the Intensive Work Search group aged 16-24 who made a claim during the same time period above.

The Department will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart scheme throughout its implementation, and will continue to evaluate the longer term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six-month jobs. This will include an examination of the demographic make-up of participants, including family type.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to ensure a wide range of disabled people and their families are involved in the Extra Costs Taskforce; and if she will make it her policy to work with disability charities and organisations to ensure as many experiences as possible are included.

As set out in the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Cabinet Office will set up an Extra Costs Taskforce, bringing together disabled people, regulators and businesses, to better understand the extra costs faced by disabled people, including how this breaks down for different impairments – by summer 2022.

Officials are currently developing proposals for the taskforce and its terms of reference and membership. Insight from disabled people and organisations will inform the development of the Taskforce.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the case of K v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions CO/4263/2020, on whose authority staff in her Department were acting when contacting benefits claimants to make offers of payments lower than their statutory entitlement; and whether her Department has plans to compensate those benefits claimants in that case.

The Department’s aim is to ensure that claimants are paid the correct amount of benefit at the earliest opportunity. Accordingly, if new evidence or information becomes available after an appeal has been lodged, it is right that decisions are reviewed and claimants put in the best position where they can choose either to continue with their appeal, or have the decision revised. To this end decision makers, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State under section 8 of the Social Security Act 1998, were authorised to contact affected claimants about the changed outcome.

These claimants have, and have always had, a right of appeal against the revised decision, and to have their payments fully backdated if successful at appeal. Claimants are notified of this right of appeal in their revised decision letter.

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of employment support available to people who (a) claim Employment and Support Allowance and (b) want to move into employment.

No recent assessment has been made. We have recently restarted our employment support for people claiming ESA following a pause due to Covid-19. We adopt a personalised approach for every claimant, supporting them to undertake tailored activities designed to move them towards and into employment, if and when they are able.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to promote the Restart scheme to disabled people.

There are no current plans to extend the eligibility criteria of the Kickstart Scheme or the Restart Scheme beyond Universal Credit claimants.

Disabled people, including those on Employment Support Allowance, who require more intensive employment support would also have access to both the Work and Health Programme (WHP) and Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) and can volunteer for this support at any time irrespective of benefit claimed or no benefit. The WHP predominantly helps people with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions to enter into and stay in work, and is suited to those who expect to find work within 12 months. IPES is an intensive, highly personalised voluntary support package that is flexible to participants’ needs. It supports disabled people with complex barriers to work who are more than 12 months from the labour market without the benefit of IPES support.

The department will be monitoring the characteristics of people who participate in employment programmes, including which benefit conditionality group they are from. We will be evaluating the Kickstart Scheme and Restart Scheme to explore the delivery and outcomes from the programmes. This will include capturing the experiences of a range of participants, including disabled participants.

Universal Credit claimants are supported by a Work Coach who will seek to recommend and refer to the most appropriate provision for the individual.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to record the number of disabled people who participate in the Restart scheme.

There are no current plans to extend the eligibility criteria of the Kickstart Scheme or the Restart Scheme beyond Universal Credit claimants.

Disabled people, including those on Employment Support Allowance, who require more intensive employment support would also have access to both the Work and Health Programme (WHP) and Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) and can volunteer for this support at any time irrespective of benefit claimed or no benefit. The WHP predominantly helps people with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions to enter into and stay in work, and is suited to those who expect to find work within 12 months. IPES is an intensive, highly personalised voluntary support package that is flexible to participants’ needs. It supports disabled people with complex barriers to work who are more than 12 months from the labour market without the benefit of IPES support.

The department will be monitoring the characteristics of people who participate in employment programmes, including which benefit conditionality group they are from. We will be evaluating the Kickstart Scheme and Restart Scheme to explore the delivery and outcomes from the programmes. This will include capturing the experiences of a range of participants, including disabled participants.

Universal Credit claimants are supported by a Work Coach who will seek to recommend and refer to the most appropriate provision for the individual.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending the eligibility criteria for the (a) Kickstart and (b) Restart schemes to include people claiming Employment and Support Allowance.

There are no current plans to extend the eligibility criteria of the Kickstart Scheme or the Restart Scheme beyond Universal Credit claimants.

Disabled people, including those on Employment Support Allowance, who require more intensive employment support would also have access to both the Work and Health Programme (WHP) and Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) and can volunteer for this support at any time irrespective of benefit claimed or no benefit. The WHP predominantly helps people with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions to enter into and stay in work, and is suited to those who expect to find work within 12 months. IPES is an intensive, highly personalised voluntary support package that is flexible to participants’ needs. It supports disabled people with complex barriers to work who are more than 12 months from the labour market without the benefit of IPES support.

The department will be monitoring the characteristics of people who participate in employment programmes, including which benefit conditionality group they are from. We will be evaluating the Kickstart Scheme and Restart Scheme to explore the delivery and outcomes from the programmes. This will include capturing the experiences of a range of participants, including disabled participants.

Universal Credit claimants are supported by a Work Coach who will seek to recommend and refer to the most appropriate provision for the individual.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 2 June to Question 1397 on National Insurance Contributions, if he will publish for each cell in each table a further breakdown of the data by five year age bands.

The tables below show a breakdown by five-year age bands of how qualifying years were built up for the tax years 2011/12 and 2018/19.

The line ‘No Full Qualifying Year’ refers to those individuals who may have had some contributions or credits recorded, but did not build a qualifying year in the respective years.

The line ‘NI Contributions and Credits’ indicates where a qualifying year includes some periods of contributions and some of credits within the year.

Please note - for 2011/12, the low numbers of qualifying years for women aged 60-64 is because the staged introduction of State Pension ages above 60 was just beginning at that time.

2011/12

Gender & Age

Contributions and NI

Contributions Only

NI Credits only

Total

No Full Qualifying Year

Male 15-19

21,100

315,800

24,900

361,800

595,000

Male 20-24

72,200

1,326,200

91,300

1,489,700

563,500

Male 25-29

55,100

1,686,900

116,400

1,858,400

317,200

Male 30-34

46,900

1,668,300

140,100

1,855,300

203,200

Male 35-39

44,500

1,701,500

181,300

1,927,300

160,800

Male 40-44

42,000

1,828,600

229,500

2,100,100

158,100

Male 45-49

37,900

1,831,900

251,300

2,121,100

135,200

Male 50-54

33,300

1,548,300

243,300

1,824,900

113,700

Male 55-59

24,700

1,214,300

259,200

1,498,200

113,900

Male 60-64

68,000

729,400

815,300

1,612,700

186,000

Female 15-19

20,400

236,300

56,500

313,200

566,200

Female 20-24

118,600

1,161,900

286,200

1,566,700

453,900

Female 25-29

151,000

1,459,900

400,900

2,011,800

172,500

Female 30-34

150,000

1,340,000

439,400

1,929,400

105,100

Female 35-39

143,500

1,351,500

485,700

1,980,700

93,700

Female 40-44

116,400

1,570,000

455,200

2,141,600

117,700

Female 45-49

72,100

1,637,300

342,900

2,052,300

146,800

Female 50-54

40,800

1,374,000

279,300

1,694,100

143,900

Female 55-59

27,300

1,025,900

301,300

1,354,500

144,100

Female 60-64

100

300

100

500

83,600

Total

1,285,900

25,008,300

5,400,100

31,694,300

4,574,100

2018/19

Gender & Age

Contributions and NI

Contributions Only

NI Credits only

Total

No Full Qualifying Year

Male 15-19

300

87,200

24,500

112,000

516,900

Male 20-24

32,100

1,317,300

84,000

1,433,400

446,900

Male 25-29

29,800

1,834,700

105,100

1,969,600

250,600

Male 30-34

29,300

1,841,600

129,400

2,000,300

182,700

Male 35-39

29,800

1,740,500

151,000

1,921,300

142,600

Male 40-44

24,500

1,578,500

167,200

1,770,200

112,600

Male 45-49

23,200

1,715,000

203,100

1,941,300

112,400

Male 50-54

16,900

1,657,700

227,200

1,901,800

110,100

Male 55-59

13,600

1,349,900

228,900

1,592,400

110,600

Male 60-64

10,800

741,000

198,500

950,300

183,500

Female 15-19

700

26,400

45,300

72,400

486,900

Female 20-24

76,500

1,211,100

196,100

1,483,700

413,100

Female 25-29

133,000

1,632,000

322,500

2,087,500

178,500

Female 30-34

144,900

1,590,400

413,700

2,149,000

140,000

Female 35-39

115,500

1,503,700

436,000

2,055,200

106,700

Female 40-44

81,700

1,391,200

366,800

1,839,700

108,700

Female 45-49

57,800

1,575,500

327,800

1,961,100

134,700

Female 50-54

36,200

1,586,900

283,800

1,906,900

147,200

Female 55-59

22,000

1,234,300

278,900

1,535,200

147,700

Female 60-64

14,400

627,300

247,400

889,100

153,600

Total

893,000

26,242,200

4,437,200

31,572,400

4,186,000

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) men and (b) women (i) built up a qualifying year towards the state pension by paying National Insurance Contributions, (ii) built up a qualifying year towards the state pension through National Insurance credits and (iii) did not build up a qualifying year towards the state pension in (A) 2011-12 and (B) the latest year for which figures are available.

We do not have the specific data. However, the Local Labour Market Statistics of 2019 provides us with a 1% sample data. If that was to be scaled to 100% the probability is that the 100% data would show the following:

The tables below show a breakdown of how qualifying years were built up for the tax years 2011/12 and 2018/19.

2011/12

Male

Female

Total

NI Contributions only

13,851,200

11,157,100

25,008,300

NI Credits only

2,352,600

3,047,500

5,400,100

NI Contributions and Credits

445,700

840,200

1,285,900

Total

16,649,500

15,044,800

31,694,300

No full qualifying year

2,546,600

2,027,500

4,574,100

2018/19

Male

Female

Total

NI Contributions only

13,863,400

12,378,800

26,242,200

NI Credits only

1,518,900

2,918,300

4,437,200

NI Contributions and Credits

210,300

682,700

893,000

Total

15,592,600

15,979,800

31,572,400

No full qualifying year

2,168,900

2,017,100

4,186,000

The line ‘NI Contributions and Credits’ indicates where a qualifying year includes some periods of contributions and some of credits within the year.

The line ‘No full qualifying year’ refers to those individuals who may have had some contributions or credits recorded, but did not build a qualifying year in the respective years.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what comparative assessment she has made of the effect on trends in the level of poverty among young parents of those in receipt of (a) universal credit and (b) legacy benefits.

It is not possible to make meaningful comparisons between universal credit and legacy benefit claimants due to differences in the size, and composition of these caseloads.

Anyone on legacy benefits, who feels they would be better off on UC, can make a new claim to UC.

The Government encourages anybody to go on GOV.UK and use one of the independent benefit calculators to check carefully their eligibility, because on applying for Universal Credit, their entitlement to legacy benefits will cease and they will not be able to return to them in the future.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, at which jobcentres disability employment advisers are located.

Disability Employment Advisers cover every Jobcentre in England, Scotland and Wales. They work alongside all Work Coaches, specialising in finding the right support to help customers who have a disability or health condition into work.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to increase the number of disability employment advisers.

The government will boost the number of specialist advisers dedicated to helping disabled jobseekers to secure and stay in work, with an additional 315 Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) roles to be in Jobcentre across the UK by May 2021.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many disability employment advisers have been employed by her Department in each of the last five years.

The number of disability employment advisers employed by the department in March:-

2018 was 465

2019 was 441

2020 was 546

2021 was 479

Please note that we only have figures back to March 2018 because around that time we updated our business systems and any figures before this update are no longer available. The demand for DEA’s in March 2020 was 500 and this coming year is 1000 so we will be recruiting extra staff to meet this target by March 2022.

The government will boost the number of specialist advisers dedicated to helping disabled jobseekers to secure and stay in work, with an additional 315 Disability Employment Advisor (DEA) roles to be in jobcentres across the UK by May 2021.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) men and (b) women (i) built up a qualifying year towards the state pension by paying National Insurance Contributions, (ii) built up a qualifying year towards the state pension through National Insurance credits and (iii) did not build up a qualifying year towards the state pension in (A) 2011-12 and (B) the latest year for which figures are available.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people who are claiming benefits as a result of long covid receive the correct claim.

As research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 is ongoing, we are collaborating across Government to monitor emerging evidence and consider our response.

People living with a condition arising from exposure to the COVID-19 virus can access the financial support that is available through Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit and New Style ESA. They are also able to access Personal Independence Payment in the same way as other people with long-term health conditions or disabilities. Disability benefits do not include or exclude by condition, instead they look at the needs arising from a long-term health condition or disability. People may be able to claim ESA or Pension Credit depending on their individual circumstances.

Claimants are offered additional support where appropriate alongside signposting to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. They can also get help through the Government funded Help to Claim scheme as well as the Citizens Advice Bureau and Citizens Advice Scotland to support them in receiving the benefits they are entitled to.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) men and (b) women are receiving the new state pension; and how many and what proportion of those people receiving that benefit are receiving an amount in respect of a deceased spouse or civil partner.

At August 2020, there were 1,103,080 men and 483,540 women in receipt of new State Pension (figures rounded to nearest 10).

It is not possible to provide further accurate detail.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 2 February 2021 to Question 145157 on bereavement benefits, whether the remedial order will be fully retrospective to ensure that those who have already lost their partner will receive the entitlement for themselves and their children that they would have been able to obtain had they been married to their partner at the time of his or her death.

Whilst it is possible for Remedial Orders to make retrospective changes, Orders are subject to detailed consultation and Parliamentary Scrutiny before they become law. The detail of the proposed changes will be set out in the Remedial Order when it is laid before the House.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to relation to the Minister for Welfare Delivery's correspondence of 21 December 2020 to the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee on automating the identification of affected claimants following the Johnson case at the Court of Appeal, what the cost is of the automated fix; and whether the automated fix will require a full rebuild of the universal credit system.

No estimates have been made for the cost of an automated approach and there are no plans for this as each instance can be complex.

The Universal Credit (Earned Income) Amendment Regulations 2020 were laid in October 2020, so for cases affected by this issue, monthly earnings can be reallocated to another assessment period. To support this, we have designed a tool which interacts with the Universal Credit Service to allow the redistribution of earnings where appropriate, with guidance having been issued to staff to ensure that where an issue is identified, the correct remedial action is taken.

Automated identification of affected claimants is expected to be implemented in early 2021. This will allow us to proactively correct Universal Credit awards before they are paid without the claimant needing to raise the issue.

4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number or people who will take part in the Job Entry Targeted Support programme in (a) the UK and (b) Scotland over the lifetime of that programme.

The Job Entry Targeted Support programme went live in England and Wales on 5 October 2020 and will run for a period of 18 months, with capacity to support 263,560 participants. The Job Entry Targeted Support programme in Scotland began on 25 January 2021, also has a duration of 18 months, and has capacity to support 22,000 participants

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made towards appointing 13,500 additional work coaches.

As at 29 January 2021 8,863 Work Coaches have started in the Department.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she will allocate funding to implement the Department for Work and Pensions’ proposals on access to benefits for people with a terminal illness.

The Department for Work and Pensions is committed to delivering improvements to the benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the proportion of the 13,500 additional work coaches that will be recruited that will be deployed in Scotland.

Circa 7% of the 13,500 work coaches are planned to be deployed in Scotland.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of cases transferred from the Child Support Agency to the Child Maintenance Service where the debt has been written off; and what the value of debt that has been written off is to date.

Information regarding the legacy debt accrued under the Child Support Agency (CSA) that has been written off in cases which were transferred and held on Child Maintenance Service (CMS) systems is available on Gov.UK.

Chapter 2: Main Stories, and bullet point 3 refers.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-of-statistics-september-2020-experimental/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-of-statistics-data-to-september-2020-experimental

Paragraph 6 refers entitled. ‘CSA debt written off’.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what changes she plans to make to the rules on bereavement benefits following the verdicts reached in the cases of (a) James Jackson and Kevin Simpson in 2020 and (b) Siobhan McLaughlin in 2018.

We are considering the judgement and will bring forward necessary Orders in due course.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish the Government response to the consultation entitled, Health is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss, which closed on 7 October 2019.

The Government is committed to reducing the disability employment gap and supporting disabled people and those with health conditions to thrive at work. We received a good response from a range of stakeholders. The Government is considering the timing of the response in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate that a response will be available shortly.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2021 to Question 1311810 on Pension Schemes Bill powers, by what means she plans to ensure that none of the provisions in Part 3 can be applied retrospectively.

I confirm that Part 3 of the Pension Schemes Bill does not contain any provision which would enable it to have retrospective effect.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the value of unclaimed (a) housing benefit and (b) income support and income-related employment support allowance in North East Fife constituency.

The information requested is not available. On 29th October 2020 the Department for Work and Pensions published the report “Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2018 to 2019”. This provided figures on the value of some unclaimed benefits in Great Britain. However, sub-national figures are not published because of small sample sizes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)