Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked on: 04 December 2017
HM Treasury
Individual Savings Accounts
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of people aged (1) 50–59, (2) 60–69, (3) 70–79, (4) 80–89, and (5) 90 or over, who own ISAs; and for each age group, what is the average holding.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 13 December 2017

The number of people over 65 who own ISAs and their average value is set out in the table below.

Numbers: thousands

Age

Number of ISA holders

Average ISA Market Values

65 and over

6,353

£38,859

This information is taken from HMRC Individual Savings Account (ISA) statistics which is available on Gov.uk

The number of people who hold ISA in the age bands (1) 50–59, (2) 60–69, (3) 70–79, (4) 80–89, and (5) 90 or over, who own ISAs; and the average holding is set out in the table below.

ISA Holders

Numbers: thousands

Age

Total Number of ISA holders

Average ISA Market Values

50-59

4,052

£22,406

60-69

4,017

£34,409

70-79

2,670

£39,484

80-89

1,362

£40,373

90 and over

256

£40,097

Total1

21,575

£22,387

Footnotes

1 Total is for all ages, including those not shown in the table.

Grouped Questions: HL3800
Q
Asked on: 04 December 2017
HM Treasury
Individual Savings Accounts
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of people aged over 65 who own ISAs; and what is the average value of their holdings.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 13 December 2017

The number of people over 65 who own ISAs and their average value is set out in the table below.

Numbers: thousands

Age

Number of ISA holders

Average ISA Market Values

65 and over

6,353

£38,859

This information is taken from HMRC Individual Savings Account (ISA) statistics which is available on Gov.uk

The number of people who hold ISA in the age bands (1) 50–59, (2) 60–69, (3) 70–79, (4) 80–89, and (5) 90 or over, who own ISAs; and the average holding is set out in the table below.

ISA Holders

Numbers: thousands

Age

Total Number of ISA holders

Average ISA Market Values

50-59

4,052

£22,406

60-69

4,017

£34,409

70-79

2,670

£39,484

80-89

1,362

£40,373

90 and over

256

£40,097

Total1

21,575

£22,387

Footnotes

1 Total is for all ages, including those not shown in the table.

Grouped Questions: HL3799
Q
Asked on: 04 December 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money has been spent in (1) the past 12 months, and (2) each year since 2014, on the administration of Employment and Support Allowance mandatory reconsiderations in (a) England, (b) Scotland, and (c) Wales.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 12 December 2017

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

Grouped Questions: HL3796
Q
Asked on: 04 December 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance: Appeals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money has been spent in (1) the past 12 months, and (2) each year since 2014, on the process of administering Employment and Support Allowance tribunals in (a) England, (b) Scotland, and (c) Wales.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 12 December 2017

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

Grouped Questions: HL3795
Q
Asked on: 04 December 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Pension Credit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is was the value of Pension Credit in each year since it was introduced from 2010–11; and what is their estimate of what that value would be from April 2018 if Pension Credit had been increased by the triple lock which has applied to the Basic State Pension.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 12 December 2017

Pension Credit was introduced in October 2003 and has a number of elements, including additional amounts for severe disability for example.

Table 1 below shows the value of the Pension Credit Standard Minimum Guarantee (PC SMG) for single claimants in weekly terms, between 2010/11 and 2017/18.

Table 1: Pension Credit Standard Minimum Guarantee for single claimants, 2010/11 to 2017/18

Year

Rate

2010/11

£132.60

2011/12

£137.35

2012/13

£142.70

2013/14

£145.40

2014/15

£148.35

2015/16

£151.20

2016/17

£155.60

2017/18

£159.35

In 2018/19, the PC SMG will be £163.00 per week for single claimants. It is estimated that, if from 2010/11 the PC SMG had been uprated in the same way that the basic State Pension was uprated; then the PC SMG for single claimants would be £171.20 per week in 2018/19.

Q
Asked on: 04 December 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Pension Credit
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many single (1) women, and (2) men, over 80 years old are in receipt of Pension Credit.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 12 December 2017

In May 2017, there were 445,302 single women aged over 80 that were claiming Pension Credit, and 97,080 single men aged over 80 that were claiming Pension Credit.

Q
Asked on: 07 November 2017
HM Treasury
Occupational Pensions: Tax Allowances
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are planning to ensure that workers earning below £11,500 a year who are automatically enrolled into Net Pay Schemes are able to obtain the tax relief they are due; if so, how; and if not, whether they intend to introduce alternative measures to ensure that either (1) the employer, or (2) the pension provider, compensates such low earners for the money they lose out on.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 21 November 2017

The Government recognises the different impacts on workers earning below the personal allowance. However, it has not been possible to identify any straightforward or proportionate means to align the effects of the net pay and relief at source mechanisms more closely for this population.

Workplace pension schemes are chosen by employers and the Pensions Regulator provides guidance on this in relation to automatic enrolment. The guidance covers the choice between net pay and relief at source schemes, and the implications of net pay schemes for employees who do not pay tax. It also says that some schemes that use the net pay arrangement may have lower charges than schemes that operate relief at source.

Q
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money has been spent in each of the last 12 months on the process of administering Personal Independence Payment (1) mandatory reconsiderations, and (2) tribunals, in (a) England, (b) Scotland, and (c) Wales.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 20 November 2017

The table attached at Annex A Table 1 provides data on the amount spent by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on administering Personal Independence Payment (PIP) mandatory reconsiderations in each of the last 12 months (October 2016 to September 2017 inclusive)

DWP does not hold separate costs relating to mandatory reconsiderations for England, Scotland and Wales and these could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The table attached at Annex A Table 2 provides data on the amount spent by DWP on internal costs of administering PIP appeals in each of the last 12 months (October 2016 to September 2017 inclusive)

DWP does not hold separate costs relating to appeals for England, Scotland and Wales and these could only be obtained at disproportionate cost

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service holds data on overall tribunal costs for the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support Appeals). Therefore, to give PIP-only tribunal costs could only be done at disproportionate cost.

Annex A (Word Document, 16.55 KB)
Q
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the performance measures in (1) England, (2) Scotland, and (3) Wales, for the percentage of Personal Independence Payment mandatory reconsiderations which are to be upheld.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 20 November 2017

There are no targets within the Department for Work and Pensions and none set for Atos and Capita for upholding applications for mandatory reconsiderations. Each application is considered on its merits.

Grouped Questions: HL2975
Q
Asked on: 06 November 2017
HM Treasury
National Insurance Credits
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of women who are not claiming Child Benefit due to a parent earning above £50,000 and who do not receive the credit for National Insurance State Pension each year.
A
Answered by: Lord Bates
Answered on: 20 November 2017

Child Benefit can help some claimants qualify for National Insurance credits. These credits count towards their State Pension and protect it by making sure they don’t have gaps in their National Insurance record.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) ensures that individuals have the information they need to make well-informed choices about their pension position and Child Benefit. HMRC provides specific information on the Child Benefit claim form, through the HMRC helpline, online at gov.uk, through partners such as Citizen’s Advice, and in the Bounty Packs that go to new parents.

However, some people may choose not to claim Child Benefit. HMRC does not have an estimate of the number of people whose state pension entitlements are affected by their decision not to claim.

Q
Asked on: 07 November 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their target for the percentage of mandatory reconsideration requests to be refused; what key performance indicators the Department for Work and Pensions has set for (1) Atos, and (2) Capita, in relation to that target; and what contractual penalties will apply to any failure to meet that target.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 20 November 2017

There are no targets within the Department for Work and Pensions and none set for Atos and Capita for upholding applications for mandatory reconsiderations. Each application is considered on its merits.

Grouped Questions: HL2879
Q
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
National Insurance Credits
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to allow women who do not claim Child Benefit due to a parent earning above £50,000 and who do not realise they are losing out on their State Pension accrual, to reclaim the lost National Insurance credits for past years; and if not, why not.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 17 November 2017

There are National Insurance credits linked to Child Benefit which are awarded to the parent or carer who makes a claim for a child under age 12. These credits help build qualifying years towards the State Pension and are awarded even if individuals choose not to receive payment of Child Benefit on the basis of their household income. A claim for child benefit is required to award the credit as the Department does not hold information that would allow us to separately identify individuals who might be eligible.

The Child Benefit claim form and guidance notes included in Bounty packs available to new parents and on GOV.UK stresses the importance of making a claim whether or not they are entitled to receive a payment as Child Benefit entitlement can only be backdated for up to 3 months before the claim date. There are no plans to alter the current arrangements.

Grouped Questions: HL2881
Q
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
National Insurance Credits
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government why women who have lost National Insurance State Pension accruals as a result of failing to claim Child Benefit due to a parent earning over £50,000, are not permitted to backdate any claim for more than three months.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 17 November 2017

There are National Insurance credits linked to Child Benefit which are awarded to the parent or carer who makes a claim for a child under age 12. These credits help build qualifying years towards the State Pension and are awarded even if individuals choose not to receive payment of Child Benefit on the basis of their household income. A claim for child benefit is required to award the credit as the Department does not hold information that would allow us to separately identify individuals who might be eligible.

The Child Benefit claim form and guidance notes included in Bounty packs available to new parents and on GOV.UK stresses the importance of making a claim whether or not they are entitled to receive a payment as Child Benefit entitlement can only be backdated for up to 3 months before the claim date. There are no plans to alter the current arrangements.

Grouped Questions: HL2877
Q
Asked on: 06 November 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
National Insurance Credits
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their most recent estimate of the number of women who are in part-time low-paid employment with more than one employer who fail to receive National Insurance credits as a result of each employment falling below the Lower Earnings Threshold.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 16 November 2017

DWP analysis suggests that at any one time around 50,000 people, 40,000 of whom are women, have multiple jobs with earnings in each job below the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) (£113 per week in 2017/18), although their combined earnings exceed that limit. The LEL is the threshold for treating contributions as having been paid for the purpose of determining contributory benefit entitlement.

This analysis also estimates that of the women in this group, around 30 per cent are getting a childcare credit for their State Pension. Others in this group may be receiving credits through another route or be paying voluntary national insurance contributions.

Asked on: 14 June 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Holiday Accommodation: Fire Prevention
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many pensioners received Attendance Allowance in (1) London, and (2) the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, in each year since 2012, broken down between (a) the higher, and (b) the lower, rate.
A
Answered by: Baroness Altmann
Answered on: 21 June 2016

The numbers of claimants receiving higher or lower rate Attendance Allowance in (1) London and (2) the London Borough of Tower Hamlets are detailed below:

Nov - 2012

Nov - 2013

Nov - 2014

Nov - 2015

London Total

138,710

133,470

131,930

130,760

Higher

80,690

78,510

78,790

79,800

Lower

58,050

54,950

53,120

51,000

Tower Hamlets Total

3,420

3,310

3,380

3,460

Higher

2,030

2,020

2,100

2,200

Lower

1,380

1,290

1,290

1,260


Source: DWP Tab Tool (Cases in Payment)

Note: Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.

Figures may not sum due to rounding.

Q
Asked on: 04 July 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Lords
Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the cost of introducing a double lock on Pension Credit uprating from 2018–19 onwards, uprating pensions by the highest of the consumer price index or earnings inflation, (1) over the course of this Parliament, (2) over the next 10 years, and (3) up to 2050.
A
Answered by: Baroness Buscombe
Answered on: 18 July 2017

No estimate of the cost of introducing a double lock on Pension Credit uprating has been made. The legislative requirement is that the standard minimum guarantee in Pension Credit should increase at least in line with earnings.

Asked on: 19 May 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Voting Rights: British Nationals Abroad
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they have allocated £22 million to hire new presenting officers to support them at disability benefit tribunals.
A
Answered by: Baroness Altmann
Answered on: 27 May 2016

The government is increasing the number of Presenting Officers from 2017, to help the department present its case more effectively and gather valuable feedback from the Tribunal.

Asked on: 19 May 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Voting Rights: British Nationals Abroad
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of cuts in the number of welfare rights officers and to legal aid, they will provide resources to Citizens Advice Bureaux, local mental health charities and disability organisations to provide support for disabled people who go to tribunal when appealing against their Personal Independence Payment assessment.
A
Answered by: Baroness Altmann
Answered on: 31 May 2016

Tribunal proceedings are designed to be straightforward and accessible to all. The tribunal panel is trained and possess special expertise to ensure that all issues which have a bearing on the outcome of an appeal are investigated irrespective of whether or not they have been raised by the parties.

DWP does not provide funding for this purpose. Individual local authorities may provide funding for these types of organisations but it would be a matter for the individual local authority to decide.

Q
Asked by Lord Beecham
Asked on: 18 May 2016
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Services: Fees and Charges
Lords
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is (1) the role, and (2) the annual cost, of presenting officers employed by the Department for Work and Pensions in relation to benefit appeals.
A
Answered by: Baroness Altmann
Answered on: 02 June 2016

The role of the Presenting Officer is to present the Department’s case effectively thereby helping the tribunal reach the right decisions and to gather feedback from the tribunal for its decision makers.

The year to date costs for existing DWP Presenting Officers (to January 2016) is approx. £1.5m.

Q
Asked on: 03 July 2017
Department for Work and Pensions
Lords
Her Majesty's Government whether they have estimated the number of workers earning below the personal tax threshold who have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension scheme that operates on a Net Pay basis; and if not, why not.
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