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.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2019 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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UIN

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 by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 28 October 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
UK Shared Prosperity Fund
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on ensuring that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund for former coalfields and other less prosperous parts of the country has at least the same value as the EU funds it is planned to replace.
A
Answered by: Jake Berry
Answered on: 05 November 2019

The government no longer has a funding relationship with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT), as our final investment into the organisation from 2010 to 2015 was designed to assist it to become self-sustaining. This will support the CRT to respond to needs and opportunities in coalfield communities at a local level.

At the heart of the government’s commitment to places is recognising the crucial role of local leadership – such as the CRT - in directing investment to the priorities of their communities. In England, we have empowered communities to take decisions over investment by devolving over £9 billion of funding to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) between 2015 and 2021. We have also agreed nine devolution deals with core cities across England and introduced eight metro mayors. Furthermore, we have worked with devolved administrations and local partners throughout Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to negotiate ambitious City and Growth deals, creating strong partnerships to deliver investment throughout the UK.

We support organisations such as the CRT to discuss funding proposals with the relevant LEPs and Mayoral Combined Authorities, including for the forthcoming UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). Wider responsibility for regeneration in coalfield communities in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland is a responsibility largely devolved to the governments of those nations.

Final decisions on the overall quantum for the UKSPF will be made at a multi-annual Spending Review.

Grouped Questions: 6259
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 28 October 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Coalfields Regeneration Trust
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the Government plans to reintroduce funding for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.
A
Answered by: Jake Berry
Answered on: 05 November 2019

The government no longer has a funding relationship with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT), as our final investment into the organisation from 2010 to 2015 was designed to assist it to become self-sustaining. This will support the CRT to respond to needs and opportunities in coalfield communities at a local level.

At the heart of the government’s commitment to places is recognising the crucial role of local leadership – such as the CRT - in directing investment to the priorities of their communities. In England, we have empowered communities to take decisions over investment by devolving over £9 billion of funding to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) between 2015 and 2021. We have also agreed nine devolution deals with core cities across England and introduced eight metro mayors. Furthermore, we have worked with devolved administrations and local partners throughout Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to negotiate ambitious City and Growth deals, creating strong partnerships to deliver investment throughout the UK.

We support organisations such as the CRT to discuss funding proposals with the relevant LEPs and Mayoral Combined Authorities, including for the forthcoming UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). Wider responsibility for regeneration in coalfield communities in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland is a responsibility largely devolved to the governments of those nations.

Final decisions on the overall quantum for the UKSPF will be made at a multi-annual Spending Review.

Grouped Questions: 6254
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 29 October 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Social Rented Housing: Regulation
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the Government plans to create a new consumer regulator for social housing with powers for monitoring and enforcement.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 05 November 2019
Holding answer received on 04 November 2019

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Dissolution.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 17 October 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Young People
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the final report from the Young people's future health inquiry entitled A healthy foundation for the future published in October 2019, what steps the Government is taking to provide young people with (a) good quality and (b) secure housing.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 04 November 2019
Holding answer received on 22 October 2019

The government is committed to helping young people succeed and is setting out a vision for young people over the next generation and beyond. At the heart of this is ensuring that young people have the security and opportunities they need from the stability of a safe and secure home.

That is why we have taken a range of actions to ensure that houses are of good quality for future generations by strengthening the wording of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published in July 2018. Local planning authorities are expected to have planning policies which identify the size, type and tenure of homes needed by different groups in the community, including students, those who are in need of affordable housing and families with children. The guidance also encourages plan-making authorities to consider how people’s housing needs will change over-time. Furthermore, the revised NPPF has a dedicated chapter to promote healthy and safe communities through the provision of safe and accessible green infrastructure.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 22 October 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Housing: Sales
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the Government is taking steps to limit the number of properties bought as investments rather than as homes or rental properties.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 04 November 2019
Holding answer received on 28 October 2019

This government is determined that the housing market works for everyone. That is why we are considering all levers at our disposal, including reforms to the planning system, to increase the supply of discounted homes for local people to buy, as well as increasing the supply of homes overall.

We have also taken steps to reduce the numbers of long-term empty homes in England by bolstering local authorities powers and incentives to tackle empty homes. Local authorities have the discretion to increase the maximum level of premium charged on properties that have been empty for more than two years from 50 per cent to 100 per cent extra council tax. There are now 83,813 fewer empty homes than in 2010.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 23 October 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Affordable Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of introducing rent freezes to maintain affordable housing for low-income households.
A
Answered by: Esther McVey
Answered on: 04 November 2019
Holding answer received on 28 October 2019

The government does not favour the introduction of caps on private rents as this could restrict investment in the private rented sector. From 1915 to the late 1980s, successive governments implemented policies to control or restrict private rents, which coincided with the decline in the private rented sector from nine-tenths of the housing stock in 1915 to one tenth in 1991.

Rent caps have lead to worse property conditions for tenants by discouraging investment in existing accommodation.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 28 October 2019
Department for Transport
Bus Services: Urban Areas
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on new funding for the (a) restoration of bus services removed due to changes in local authority funding and (b) other bus services in (i) Newcastle-under-Lyme and (ii) other coalfield towns.
A
Answered by: George Freeman
Answered on: 04 November 2019

On 30 September, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced ‘A Better Deal for Bus Users’ package, worth £220 million, to boost bus services.

As part of this package, the Government will pay an extra £30 million directly to local authorities in 2020/21 to enable them to improve current bus services or to restore lost services. Further details, including the funding allocations for each local authority, will be announced in due course.

Further details of the package can be found online with the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-better-deal-for-bus-users/a-better-deal-for-bus-users

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 28 October 2019
Department for Transport
Railways: Staffordshire
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on new funding for (a) the reopening of local railway lines, (b) the reinstating of passenger services on freight lines, (c) new stations, (d) new rolling stock and (e) other local railway services in coalfield towns in North Staffordshire.
A
Answered by: Chris Heaton-Harris
Answered on: 04 November 2019

The Government assesses rail enhancement schemes including the reopening of closed lines, use of freight lines and opening of new stations on a case by case basis. The Department continues to work with local authorities and other partners to identify new rail projects that can deliver value for money for the UK taxpayer.

Proposals would be taken forward as part of the Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline (RNEP). The RNEP sets out the Department’s priorities for rail and principles for investment based around the progressive development of business cases and formal investment decision gateways.

From 2020 onwards, passengers using services in North Staffordshire will benefit from the modification and modernisation of West Midlands Train rolling stock which will provide additional capacity. Additionally, the West Coast Partnership will be replacing Voyager trains with 23 new trains which will provide more capacity, be more efficient and have lower emissions. The West Coast Partnership Pendolino fleet will also be refurbished providing increased capacity.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 28 October 2019
Department for Education
Schools: Discipline
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to limit the use of isolation booths in schools.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 31 October 2019

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. The school’s behaviour policy should set out the behaviour expected of pupils, the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour, and rewards for good behaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff, and parents.

To help schools develop effective strategies, the Department has produced advice for schools which covers what should be included in the behaviour policy. This advice can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.

Existing guidance makes clear that schools can adopt a policy which allows disruptive pupils to be placed in isolation away from other pupils for a limited period. If a school uses isolation rooms as a disciplinary penalty, this should be made clear in their behaviour policy. As with other disciplinary penalties, schools must act lawfully, reasonably and proportionately in all cases. The school must also ensure the health and safety of pupils.

It is for individual schools to decide how long a particular pupil should be kept in isolation and for the staff member in charge to determine what pupils may and may not do during the time they are there. Schools should ensure that pupils are kept in isolation no longer than is necessary and their time spent there is used as constructively as possible. Schools must allow pupils time to eat or use the toilet.

The Department has made no recent assessment of trends in the level of the use of isolation booths in schools, and has no plans to collect national data on their use.

Grouped Questions: 6249 | 6250
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 28 October 2019
Department for Education
Schools: Discipline
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to collect information on the use of isolation booths by schools.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 31 October 2019

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. The school’s behaviour policy should set out the behaviour expected of pupils, the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour, and rewards for good behaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff, and parents.

To help schools develop effective strategies, the Department has produced advice for schools which covers what should be included in the behaviour policy. This advice can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.

Existing guidance makes clear that schools can adopt a policy which allows disruptive pupils to be placed in isolation away from other pupils for a limited period. If a school uses isolation rooms as a disciplinary penalty, this should be made clear in their behaviour policy. As with other disciplinary penalties, schools must act lawfully, reasonably and proportionately in all cases. The school must also ensure the health and safety of pupils.

It is for individual schools to decide how long a particular pupil should be kept in isolation and for the staff member in charge to determine what pupils may and may not do during the time they are there. Schools should ensure that pupils are kept in isolation no longer than is necessary and their time spent there is used as constructively as possible. Schools must allow pupils time to eat or use the toilet.

The Department has made no recent assessment of trends in the level of the use of isolation booths in schools, and has no plans to collect national data on their use.

Grouped Questions: 6248 | 6250
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 28 October 2019
Department for Education
Schools: Discipline
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of the use of isolation booths in schools in each of the last five years.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 31 October 2019

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. The school’s behaviour policy should set out the behaviour expected of pupils, the sanctions that will be imposed for misbehaviour, and rewards for good behaviour. This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff, and parents.

To help schools develop effective strategies, the Department has produced advice for schools which covers what should be included in the behaviour policy. This advice can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-and-discipline-in-schools.

Existing guidance makes clear that schools can adopt a policy which allows disruptive pupils to be placed in isolation away from other pupils for a limited period. If a school uses isolation rooms as a disciplinary penalty, this should be made clear in their behaviour policy. As with other disciplinary penalties, schools must act lawfully, reasonably and proportionately in all cases. The school must also ensure the health and safety of pupils.

It is for individual schools to decide how long a particular pupil should be kept in isolation and for the staff member in charge to determine what pupils may and may not do during the time they are there. Schools should ensure that pupils are kept in isolation no longer than is necessary and their time spent there is used as constructively as possible. Schools must allow pupils time to eat or use the toilet.

The Department has made no recent assessment of trends in the level of the use of isolation booths in schools, and has no plans to collect national data on their use.

Grouped Questions: 6248 | 6249
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 28 October 2019
Department for Education
Children: Behaviour Disorders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the trend in the level of use of medication to treat behavioural issues in young children.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 31 October 2019

The information requested is not held centrally, on the number of pupils who use medication to treat behavioural issues.

The Government is committed to pupils with medical conditions being properly supported at school so that they have full access to education.

In 2014, the Government introduced a new duty on schools to support pupils with all medical conditions and has published statutory guidance on this for schools and others. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions--3.

The guidance does not specify which medical conditions should be supported in schools. Instead, it focuses on how to meet the needs of each individual child and how their medical condition impacts on school life.

In June 2014, the Department issued non-statutory advice on mental health and behaviour to help schools identify underlying mental health problems in young people, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2 .

The advice clarifies the responsibility of the school, outlines what they can do and how to support a child or young person whose behaviour may be related to an unmet mental health need.

Grouped Questions: 6252
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 28 October 2019
Department for Education
Children: Behaviour Disorders
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish the guidance his Department issues to schools on the use of medication prescribed to children to treat behavioural issues.
A
Answered by: Nick Gibb
Answered on: 31 October 2019

The information requested is not held centrally, on the number of pupils who use medication to treat behavioural issues.

The Government is committed to pupils with medical conditions being properly supported at school so that they have full access to education.

In 2014, the Government introduced a new duty on schools to support pupils with all medical conditions and has published statutory guidance on this for schools and others. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions--3.

The guidance does not specify which medical conditions should be supported in schools. Instead, it focuses on how to meet the needs of each individual child and how their medical condition impacts on school life.

In June 2014, the Department issued non-statutory advice on mental health and behaviour to help schools identify underlying mental health problems in young people, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2 .

The advice clarifies the responsibility of the school, outlines what they can do and how to support a child or young person whose behaviour may be related to an unmet mental health need.

Grouped Questions: 6251
Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 28 October 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Fireworks
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of restricting firework use to (a) licensed public displays at certain times of year and (b) organised events.
A
Answered by: Kelly Tolhurst
Answered on: 31 October 2019

I have asked the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) to compile a fact-based evidence base on the key issues that have been raised around fireworks. This includes looking at data around noise and disturbance, anti-social behaviour, non-compliance, environmental impact, and the impact on humans and animals.

The aim of the evidence base is to build a full picture of the data around fireworks in order to identify the key issues and what action - if any - is appropriate.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 28 October 2019
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Regional Planning and Development: Midlands
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps she is taking to ensure that the Midlands Engine policy focuses on the densely populated areas that surround big cities.
A
Answered by: Nadhim Zahawi
Answered on: 31 October 2019

As part of levelling up the regions the government is committed to a Midlands Engine Strategy to stimulate growth and increase productivity across the whole of the Midlands Engine region including densely populated areas that surround big cities. For example, we made commitments in the 2017 Midlands Engine Strategy to launch 5G tests beds to enhance digital connectivity in the region, including a Worcestershire test bed; to support the eight Enterprise Zones across the Midlands, including the Ceramic Valley Enterprise Zone in Staffordshire; and to allocate £392m of Local Growth Fund funding which is supporting a wide range of projects including £8.5 million for first phase improvements to the Hanley-Bentilee link road, and £6.9 million to support the formation of an Advanced Manufacturing Hub in Stoke and Staffordshire.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
Asked on: 28 October 2019
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Local Government Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to devise a new funding formula for local authorities which (a) adequately reflects need and (b) does not disadvantage areas with low levels of business rate revenue.
A
Answered by: Luke Hall
Answered on: 31 October 2019

The government’s aim is to increase local government’s retention of business rates from 50 per cent to 75 per cent in 2021-22. However, we recognise that redistribution of business rates between local authorities will continue to be necessary where locally retained business rates do not meet their needs.

We have listened to calls for a simpler, up-to-date, evidence-based funding formula and we will aim to deliver this alongside an increase in business rates retention. We are working closely with local government representatives to consider the drivers of local authorities’ costs, the resources available to them to fund services, and how to account for these in a way that draws a more transparent and understandable link between local circumstances and local authority funding.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 24 October 2019
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Plastics: Tobacco
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions she has had with cigarette manufacturers on eliminating plastic in cigarette butts.
A
Answered by: Rebecca Pow
Answered on: 29 October 2019

The Government published the Resources and Waste Strategy last year, setting out our plans to reduce, reuse and recycle more plastic than we do now. Our target is to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste throughout the life of the 25 Year Environment Plan, but for the most problematic plastics we are going faster.

We pledged £20 million to the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund which aims to reduce the environmental costs of plastic and litter. Our sights are set on problematic plastics such as cigarette filters which contain single-plastic polymers and blight our streets and seas. The fund will seek to deliver strategic networking and research that will coordinate existing knowledge across the UK, catalysing new ideas and rapid solutions.

Ministers have met twice with the Tobacco Manufacturers Association in the last three years, but the Government has not held discussions with any individual tobacco companies about eliminating plastic in cigarette butts.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 22 October 2019
Treasury
Electric Vehicles: VAT
Commons
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of scrapping VAT on the purchase of new electric cars.
A
Answered by: Jesse Norman
Answered on: 28 October 2019

The Government has set an ambitious, legally binding target to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the UK by 2050. Although there are no plans at present to reduce the VAT charge on electric vehicles, the Government keeps all taxes under review including against this target and other fiscal considerations.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 22 October 2019
Department for Education
Special Educational Needs: Visual Impairment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the report entitled Left out of learning: FOI 2019 report published by RNIB in October 2019, what steps he is taking to ensure (a) adequate and (b) equitable provision of specialists to support children with vision impairment throughout the UK.
A
Answered by: Michelle Donelan
Answered on: 28 October 2019

We want all schools to have a workforce fully equipped to support children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and are working with various organisations, including the National Sensory Impairment Partnership, to make sure that is the reality.

The Children and Families Act 2014 requires local authorities to work with parents, young people, and providers to keep the provision for children and young people with SEND under review, including its sufficiency. We have recently announced a £780 million increase to local authorities’ high needs funding, boosting the budget by 12% and bringing the total spent on supporting those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion for 2020-21.

We do not prescribe in detail how local authorities should allocate their high needs funding. In consultation with schools and other services, local authorities should consider carefully how best to meet the needs of children and young people in their area, including those with vision impairment.

Q
Asked by Paul Farrelly
(Newcastle-under-Lyme)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 22 October 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the report by the Resolution Foundation entitled A fraying net, what steps the Government is taking to (a) reform and strengthen the social security safety net for young adults and (b) ensure that parents under the age of 25 do not lose out financially when moving from the previous benefit system to universal credit.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 28 October 2019

The Government is committed to providing targeted support for young people. We aim to ensure that everyone, no matter what their start in life, is given the very best chance of getting into work. To support this, the Department delivers the Youth Obligation Support Programme, Jobcentre Plus Support for Schools and the recently introduced Mentoring Circles for young people.

Universal Credit is designed to replicate the world of work through the introduction of a range of measures such as monthly assessment periods. Setting a clear benefit rate for claimants under the age of 25 reflects the lower wages that younger workers typically receive. This is intended to maintain the incentive for younger people to find work.

The lower rates for younger claimants who are under the age of 25 years reflects the fact that they are more likely to live in someone else's household and have lower living costs and lower earnings expectations. It also reinforces the stronger work incentives that Universal Credit creates for this age group. Universal Credit also includes separate elements to provide support for housing costs, children and childcare costs and support for disabled people and carers.

Those who naturally migrate to Universal Credit will do so because they will have had a significant change in their circumstances which previously would have led to a new claim to another existing benefit. In these situations, it has always been the case that the assessment of their new benefit will be based on their new circumstances and under the rules of their new benefit without regard to their previous entitlement. As their circumstances will have changed it is not possible to make a meaningful comparison between their previous entitlement to their existing benefit and their new entitlement to Universal Credit.

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