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 2017-19 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
(Wirral West)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Work and Pensions: Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Table 13 on ring-fenced funding on page 21 of the DWP Main Estimate 2019-20 Select Committee Memorandum, if she will publish a regional breakdown of budgeted expenditure in 2018-19 under Depreciation.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 05 September 2019

Estimates are published by HMT. DWP has no plans to publish an additional breakdown of the Main Estimate.

There is some additional data, detailed below, already available in the public domain that may assist.

The DWP Annual Report and Accounts for 2018-19 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/812722/dwp-annual-report-and-accounts-2018-2019.pdf provide a description of each DEL Estimate line on page 146 and pages 156 -159 detail more information around our 2019-20 funding although not specifically by each line in the Main Estimate.

Additionally, within the published Main Estimate Section D, Executive Arm’s Length Bodies (Net), is broken down in Part III Note E (page 156 of the published Main Estimate). Note E therefore provides a further break down of row D of the Resource DEL table and the Capital DEL table.

Q
(Wirral West)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Work and Health Programme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Table 13 on ring-fenced funding on page 21 of the DWP Main Estimate 2019-20 Select Committee Memorandum, if she will publish a regional breakdown of budgeted expenditure in 2018-19 under the Work and Health programme.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 05 September 2019

Estimates are published by HMT. DWP has no plans to publish an additional breakdown of the Main Estimate.

There is some additional data, detailed below, already available in the public domain that may assist.

The DWP Annual Report and Accounts for 2018-19 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/812722/dwp-annual-report-and-accounts-2018-2019.pdf provide a description of each DEL Estimate line on page 146 and pages 156 -159 detail more information around our 2019-20 funding although not specifically by each line in the Main Estimate.

Additionally, within the published Main Estimate Section D, Executive Arm’s Length Bodies (Net), is broken down in Part III Note E (page 156 of the published Main Estimate). Note E therefore provides a further break down of row D of the Resource DEL table and the Capital DEL table.

Q
(Wirral West)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Work and Pensions: Expenditure
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to Table 13 on ring-fenced funding on page 21 of the DWP Main Estimate 2019-20 Select Committee Memorandum, if she will publish a breakdown of budgeted expenditure in 2018-19 under Supporting the Self Employed.
A
Answered by: Mims Davies
Answered on: 05 September 2019

Estimates are published by HMT. DWP has no plans to publish an additional breakdown of the Main Estimate.

There is some additional data, detailed below, already available in the public domain that may assist.

The DWP Annual Report and Accounts for 2018-19 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/812722/dwp-annual-report-and-accounts-2018-2019.pdf provide a description of each DEL Estimate line on page 146 and pages 156 -159 detail more information around our 2019-20 funding although not specifically by each line in the Main Estimate.

Additionally, within the published Main Estimate Section D, Executive Arm’s Length Bodies (Net), is broken down in Part III Note E (page 156 of the published Main Estimate). Note E therefore provides a further break down of row D of the Resource DEL table and the Capital DEL table.

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 09 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Disqualification
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to page 43 of the NAO report on the cost of administering benefit sanctions published in 2016, what estimate she has made of the cost of administering conditions and sanctions for social security benefits in the most recent year for which data is available.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The information requested is not collated centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 09 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what proportion of claimants have successfully applied for universal credit (a) once, (b) twice and (c) three or more times in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 15 July 2019

The proportion of claimants, between July 2018 and June 2019, that have successfully applied for Universal Credit

a) Once was 91%

b) Twice was 7%

c) Three or more times was 1%

A successful application to Universal Credit is defined as a contract for which at least one statement is provided i.e. has received at least one payment.

There are many reasons why a claimant might be required to make a claim on more than one occasion, such as a claimant entering temporary work and then reclaiming at the end of their employment.

Notes: Percentages are rounded to the nearest percent.  

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 08 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the proportion of claimants who received advance payments (a) below the value of, (b) the same value as and (c) above the value of their first universal credit payment in the most recent month for which data is available.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 11 July 2019

Claimants can access up to 100% of the total expected monthly award, for which they can pay back over a period of up to 12 months. From October 2021, this maximum repayment period will be extended from 12 to 16 months.

The Department ensures claimants are made aware of their maximum advance entitlement and informed that their Universal Credit award will be adjusted over the relevant recovery period to take into account the advance of benefit they received.

The available data shows that in the 12-month period up to the end of April 2019.

(a) Around 20% of claimants take an advance which is less than 50% of their actual award value

(b) Around 75% of claimants take an advance which is between 50-100% of their actual award value

(c) Around 5% of claimants take an advance which is over 100% of their actual award value.

To note on C): in a small number of cases the information provided by the claimant at the point of their new claim initially indicates a higher award than is actually applicable when the first assessment period has been completed.

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 14 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department has spent from the public purse on defending legal cases in relation to people formerly in receipt of severe disability premium that have transferred to universal credit.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 19 June 2019

As at 14th June 2019, the Department has spent £131,399.50 on legal costs defending and appealing the cases in relation to people formerly in receipt of Severe Disability premium that have transferred to Universal Credit, broken down as follows.

The Department has spent £91,528.68 on legal costs defending and appealing the case of TP and AR v SSWP. The Department has spent £39,870.82 on legal costs defending and appealing the case of TP, AR and SXC v SSWP. These figures include Government Legal Department litigation fees, counsel’s fees and other disbursements, as well as VAT where payable. This does not include payment of any costs paid or which may be owed to the claimants’ solicitors.

Time spent by Government advisory lawyers is not recorded in a manner that allows it to be attributed to individual cases. Time spent by policy officials supporting lawyers is not recorded.

Grouped Questions: 264776
Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 14 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department has spent to date on legal costs in the case of R (TP AR & SXC) v SSWP & Anor [2019] EWHC 1116 (QB) involving payments to former recipients of Severe Disability Premium who have transferred to universal credit.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 19 June 2019

As at 14th June 2019, the Department has spent £131,399.50 on legal costs defending and appealing the cases in relation to people formerly in receipt of Severe Disability premium that have transferred to Universal Credit, broken down as follows.

The Department has spent £91,528.68 on legal costs defending and appealing the case of TP and AR v SSWP. The Department has spent £39,870.82 on legal costs defending and appealing the case of TP, AR and SXC v SSWP. These figures include Government Legal Department litigation fees, counsel’s fees and other disbursements, as well as VAT where payable. This does not include payment of any costs paid or which may be owed to the claimants’ solicitors.

Time spent by Government advisory lawyers is not recorded in a manner that allows it to be attributed to individual cases. Time spent by policy officials supporting lawyers is not recorded.

Grouped Questions: 264775
Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 14 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department has spent on legal costs in the case of R (Johnson and Ors) v SSWP [2019] EWHC 23 (Admin) as of 14 June 2019.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 19 June 2019
As at 14th June 2019, the Department has spent £52,446 on legal costs defending and appealing the case of Johnson & Others v SSWP. This includes Government Legal Department litigation fees, counsel’s fees and other disbursements, as well as VAT where payable. This does not include payment of the claimants’ solicitor’s costs. Time spent by Government advisory lawyers is not recorded in a manner that allows it to be attributed to individual cases.
Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 14 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 30 July 2018 to Question 166515 on Universal Credit, what the latest estimate is that she has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of universal credit claims that have been started but not completed.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 19 June 2019

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for High Peak on 14 February 2019 to Question 219577.

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 04 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance: Carer's Premium
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many employment and support allowance claimants receive the carer premium.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 10 June 2019

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

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 16 May 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the effect of the 5-week wait for the first payment of universal credit on (a) a claimant’s level of (i) debt and (ii) rent arrears and (b) the finances of disabled claimants.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 21 May 2019

No one has to wait 5 weeks for their first payment of Universal Credit. Advances are available from the first day of a valid claim, if required, to support claimants.

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 16 May 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit payments have been subject to a deduction as a result of a claimant’s historic debt to (a) her Department and (b) HM Treasury in the latest month for which data is available.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 21 May 2019

Internal Management information shows that in April 2019, 280,000 payments of Universal Credit (UC) had a deduction applied to repay a non UC debt owed to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and 340,000 payments of UC had a deduction applied to repay a Tax Credit debt (these figures have been rounded to the nearest 10,000). Some payments of UC may have had a deduction for both a non UC debt and a Tax Credit debt. These claimants would appear in both totals, therefore the figures cannot be summed.

In line with the deductions policy in UC, for both types of debt, the deductions would not usually exceed the maximum amounts, which are set out legislation. Only in cases where last resort deductions are applied can these rates be exceeded. DWP ensures that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect claimants who have deductions from their benefit to repay overpayments. If a claimant is struggling they can contact DWP’s Debt Management to discuss lowering their repayment rate.

It is also worth noting that it is not possible to provide this as a proportion at April 2019, as the latest UC caseload data is only available as of 14 February 19. However, for context, as of 14 February 19, 1.4m households received payments of UC.

N.B. This data on deductions has been sourced from internal management information. It should therefore not be compared to any other similar data subsequently released by the DWP.

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 21 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Bereavement Support Payment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) widows, (b) widowers and (c) bereaved civil partners have been refused the (a) lower rate of Bereavement Support Payment and (b) higher rate of Bereavement Support Payment as a result of a (i) spouse and (ii) civil partner not having made sufficient National Insurance contributions.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 26 March 2019

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

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 18 February 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Pension Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 12 February 2019 to Question 217093 on Pension Credit, what estimate she has made of the number of couples affected in each region of the UK in (a) 2019-20, (b) 2020-21 and (c) 2021-22 by the changes to be introduced in May 2019 to the eligibility for Pension Credit of couples where one partner has reached state pension age and the other has not.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 21 February 2019

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 amended entitlement conditions for Pension Credit so as to require both members of a couple to have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit before the couple can be entitled to it.

The change will not affect mixed age couples who are entitled to Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit immediately before the implementation date unless their entitlement to both those benefits subsequently ends.

The number of mixed age couples that are estimated to be affected by forthcoming changes in each region of the UK in (a) 2019-20, (b) 2020-21 and (c) 2021-22 is not available.

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 18 February 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
British Nationals Abroad: EU Countries
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the number of UK citizens currently living in other EU countries who will return to live in the UK in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 21 February 2019

The UK government is committed to negotiating a deal for the UK when it leaves the EU in March 2019. However, as a responsible government, work will continue to prepare proportionately for all scenarios, including the outcome that we leave the EU without any deal in March 2019. As part of this work, DWP regularly works with other government departments on planning assumptions, and these assumptions are regularly reviewed and changed as more information arises.

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 14 February 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Work Capability Assessment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the extent to which the descriptors used for Work Capability Assessments take proper account of the way that people can be affected by impairment of stamina, breathing or fatigue.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 19 February 2019

All healthcare professionals who carry out Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) receive training on the assessment of claimants with fluctuating conditions associated with fatigue and breathlessness. Furthermore the WCA Handbook for healthcare professionals has a section dedicated to the assessment of variable / fluctuating conditions.

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 05 February 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Pension Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 29 January 2019 to Question 212389, what estimate she has made of the number of couples affected in (a) 2019-20, (b) 2020-21 and (c) 2021-22 of the changes to be introduced in May 2019 to the eligibility for pension credit of couples where one partner has reached state pension age and the other has not.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 12 February 2019
Holding answer received on 08 February 2019

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 amended entitlement conditions for Pension Credit so as to require both members of a couple to have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit before the couple can be entitled to it.

The change will not affect mixed age couples who are entitled to Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit immediately before the implementation date unless their entitlement to both those benefits subsequently ends.

An estimate of the number of mixed age couples who may be affected by the forthcoming changes to be introduced on 15 May 2019 is set out below:

Estimated mixed age couples affected by policy change

Year

2019/20

2020/21

2021/22

15,000

30,000

40,000

Q
(Wirral West)
[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 January 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Self-employed
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Office of Budget Responsibility’s Welfare Trends report published in January 2018, what the Government’s updated estimate is of the effect on the public purse of applying the minimum income floor to self-employed people claiming universal credit in (a) 2018-19, (b) 2019-20, (c) 2020-21, (d) 2021-22 and (e) 2022-23.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 31 January 2019

This data is currently going through quality assurance clearance procedures in line with the National Statistics and Official Statistics publication standard.

Q
(Wirral West)
[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: 25 January 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Self-employed
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 24 January 2019 to Question 210462, if she will take steps to publish information before Spring 2019 on the number of (a) self-employed and (b) self-employed people with a disability who are in receipt of universal credit.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 30 January 2019

This data is currently going through quality assurance clearance procedures in line with the National Statistics and Official Statistics publication standard.

Grouped Questions: 212626
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