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.

Show
by:
Find by:
Close

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.
Showing 1-20 out of 39
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all answers
Print selected
Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 24 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2019 to Question 273727, whether her Department consulted (a) advice agencies and (b) disability charities on the wording of the revised ESA65B letters to employment and support allowance claimants’ GPs before authorising the use of that letter from 3 June 2019 onwards.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 05 September 2019

We received comments from a number of sources, including the welfare benefits advice sector and disability charities, on the previous version of the ESA65B letter. We took this feedback into account when developing the revised letter.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
Asked on: 24 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 10 July 2019 to Question 273727, whether her Department has written to the GPs of all those employment and support allowance claimants whom her Department sent an ESA65B letter between August 2017 and 3 June 2019 to correct the advice that they no longer need to provide fit notes for patients.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 05 September 2019

Prior to the revised ESA65B letter going live in June, GPs were reminded of all the circumstances in which fit notes may continue to be issued for those found fit for work. GPs were also sent a copy of the final version of the revised ESA65B.

The standing guidance for all GPs, clearly setting out the circumstances in which fit notes should be issued, has been in place since 2013. The guidance has always been clear that no further fit notes will be required unless the patient wishes to appeal the decision, their patient’s condition significantly worsens or they develop a new disability or condition.

Q
Asked by Stephen Twigg
(Liverpool, West Derby)
[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 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 May 2019 to Question 237584, if she will place in the Library a copy of letter from the Minister for Disabled People clarifying previous answers on the ministerial requirement to amend the wording of the ESA65B letter to claimants’ doctors.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 23 July 2019

A copy of this letter has been placed in the library of the House.

Q
Asked by Tom Brake
(Carshalton and Wallington)
[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 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the 29 April 2019 Health Select Committee news item, Committee publishes doctors’ views on Fit Notes and ESA appeals, what estimate her Department has made of the number of claimants who challenged their work capability assessment decisions but were refused employment support allowance while their appeal was pending due to her Department sending ambiguous ESA65B letters to claimants’ GPs.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 10 July 2019

The information requested is not available.

We have revised the ESA65B letter, which went live from 3rd June 2019. The letter gives clear clinical discretion to GPs to continue issuing fit notes in appropriate circumstances, such as when an appeal against a Department for Work and Pensions decision is being undertaken, where a claimant’s condition has worsened or if the claimant has developed a new health condition or disability.

Q
Asked by Patrick Grady
(Glasgow North)
[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
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answers of 8 and 29 April 2019 to Questions 239928 and 245887, what progress she has made on revision of form ESA65B and whether that revision will make clear to doctors that they should continue to provide fit notes for claimants if they are appealing a decision or their condition worsens.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 19 June 2019

The revised version of the ESA65B letter went live from 3rd June 2019. The revised letter states clearly the circumstances in which fit notes are required including to support Employment and Support Allowance appeals, where a claimant’s condition has worsened or if the claimant has developed a new health condition or disability.

Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 03 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many ESA65B letters her Department sent to GPs in Yorkshire and the Humber in 2018.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 11 June 2019

The Department does not hold information on the number of ESA65B letters sent to GPs.

The ESA65B letter is normally automatically issued to GPs by the Department’s IT system in every case where an Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimant has been found ‘fit for work’ following a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

If a claimant states that they do not agree to information about the determination of their WCA being shared with their GP, the claim will be maintained clerically and the papers noted that the letter is not to be issued.

The latest ESA statistics, which show the number of claimants found fit for work, can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-march-2019

Q
Asked by Alan Brown
(Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
Asked on: 18 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 May 2018 to Question 142518 on Employment and Support Allowance, whether any subsequent changes have been made to the ESA65B letter to inform doctors that they should continue to provide fit notes for claimants if they are appealing a decision or their condition worsens.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 29 April 2019

I refer the right honourable member to Parliamentary Question 239928 answered on 8th April 2019.

Q
(Motherwell and Wishaw)
[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 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 April 2019 to Question 239928 on Employment and Support Allowance, when she plans to complete her update of the ESA65B letter.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 25 April 2019

I refer the right honourable member to Parliamentary Question 242946 answered on 15th April 2019.

Q
(Motherwell and Wishaw)
[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 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 April 2019 to Question 239928 on Employment and Support Allowance, which medical organisations she is consulting to advise on the updating of the ESA65B letter.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 25 April 2019

The Department is consulting the British Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners on the revised wording of the ESA65B letter.

Q
Asked by Layla Moran
(Oxford West and Abingdon)
[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 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many ESA65B letters her Department has sent to GPs in 2018.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 25 April 2019

The ESA65B letter is sent to GPs when an Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimant has been found fit for work following a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), to inform them of the outcome of the WCA and advise them that fit notes are no longer required for ESA purposes.

The ESA65B is computer generated and the action of sending it out is a ‘business as usual’ process. As a result, we do not hold the information required to calculate the number of staff used to issue this type of letter.

Furthermore, due to the volumes of different letters issued by the Department to claimants and third parties, we are unable to provide a figure for how many ESA65B letters were sent to GPs in 2018.

Grouped Questions: 245963 | 245964
Q
Asked by Layla Moran
(Oxford West and Abingdon)
[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 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
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 posting ESA65B letters to GPs in 2018.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 25 April 2019

The ESA65B letter is sent to GPs when an Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimant has been found fit for work following a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), to inform them of the outcome of the WCA and advise them that fit notes are no longer required for ESA purposes.

The ESA65B is computer generated and the action of sending it out is a ‘business as usual’ process. As a result, we do not hold the information required to calculate the number of staff used to issue this type of letter.

Furthermore, due to the volumes of different letters issued by the Department to claimants and third parties, we are unable to provide a figure for how many ESA65B letters were sent to GPs in 2018.

Grouped Questions: 245962 | 245964
Q
Asked by Layla Moran
(Oxford West and Abingdon)
[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 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of staff hours that were used by her Department to issue ESA65B letters to GPs in 2018.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 25 April 2019

The ESA65B letter is sent to GPs when an Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimant has been found fit for work following a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), to inform them of the outcome of the WCA and advise them that fit notes are no longer required for ESA purposes.

The ESA65B is computer generated and the action of sending it out is a ‘business as usual’ process. As a result, we do not hold the information required to calculate the number of staff used to issue this type of letter.

Furthermore, due to the volumes of different letters issued by the Department to claimants and third parties, we are unable to provide a figure for how many ESA65B letters were sent to GPs in 2018.

Grouped Questions: 245962 | 245963
Q
(Battersea)
[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 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her letter of 4 April 2019, in what time frame she will complete updating the current ESA65B letter with input from medical organisations.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 15 April 2019

We expect the revised version to be delivered by Summer 2019.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 02 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to revise the ESA65B letter to GPs to make it clear that a patient may appeal a fit for work decision made through a work capability assessment and a fit note is needed for the patient to obtain employment and support allowance payments until the appeal is heard.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 08 April 2019

The Department is updating the current ESA65B letter, with input from medical organisations, to clarify when a fit note should be provided for Employment and Support Allowance purposes.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 02 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which bodies record how many ESA65B letters have been sent to GPs in (a) the Brighton and Hove area (b) other areas since the wording of that letter was revised; and if he will take steps to obtain and publish that information.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 08 April 2019

The Department does not hold information on the number of ESA65B letters sent to GPs.

The ESA65B letter is normally automatically issued to GPs by the Department’s IT system in every case where an Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimant has been found ‘fit for work’ following a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

If a claimant states that they do not agree to information about the determination of their WCA being shared with their GP, the claim will be maintained clerically and the papers noted that the letter is not to be issued.

The latest ESA statistics, which show the number of claimants found fit for work, can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-march-2019

Q
Asked by Stephen Twigg
(Liverpool, West Derby)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 May 2018 to Question 142517 on employment support allowance, which Minister authorised revisions to the wording of ESA65B letters to claimants’ GPs.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 05 April 2019

The Department routinely works with the Cabinet Office, other government departments and stakeholders to ensure its claimant communications are as clear as possible. The final wording in such communications is authorised by DWP Ministers or officials acting on their behalf.

Grouped Questions: 237582 | 237583
Q
Asked by Stephen Twigg
(Liverpool, West Derby)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 16 May 2018 to Question 142517, whether the Cabinet Secretary has issued any further ministerial requirements in relation to the ESA65B letters to employment support allowance claimants’ GPs after the initial requirement in November 2014.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 05 April 2019

The Department routinely works with the Cabinet Office, other government departments and stakeholders to ensure its claimant communications are as clear as possible. The final wording in such communications is authorised by DWP Ministers or officials acting on their behalf.

Grouped Questions: 237581 | 237583
Q
Asked by Stephen Twigg
(Liverpool, West Derby)
Asked on: 27 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 21 March 2018 to Question 132727, for what reason the revised wording of the ESA65B letters to employment support allowance claimants’ GPs was implemented by a ministerial requirement issued by the Cabinet Secretary instead of the Permanent Secretary of her Department; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 05 April 2019

The Department routinely works with the Cabinet Office, other government departments and stakeholders to ensure its claimant communications are as clear as possible. The final wording in such communications is authorised by DWP Ministers or officials acting on their behalf.

Grouped Questions: 237581 | 237582
Q
(Battersea)
[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 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many ESA65B letters have been sent to GPs since the wording of that letter was revised, in each month in (a) 2018 and (b) 2019.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 03 April 2019

The Department does not hold information on the number of ESA65B letters sent to GPs.

The ESA65B letter is automatically issued by the IT system to GPs in every case where an Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimant has been found ‘fit for work’.

Link to the latest ESA statistics:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-march-2019

Q
(Oldham East and Saddleworth)
[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: 19 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when Ministers authorised a change to the ESA65B letter to GPs telling them there is no longer a need for them to supply fit notes to their patients who had been found fit for work through a Work Capability Assessment.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 22 March 2019

I refer the Honourable Member to the response given on 6 June 2018 to Parliamentary Question 146986.

The original internal recommendation to change the ESA65B letter was in summer 2016.

Expand all answers
Print selected
Showing 1-20 out of 39
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100