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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Q
Asked by Laura Smith
(Crewe and Nantwich)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Dyslexia
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to encourage businesses to offer meaningful employment to people with dyslexia.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

Improving employment opportunities for people with learning difficulties, including those with dyslexia, is a Government priority.

When employers sign up to our Disability Confident scheme they are asked to make specific meaningful offers of opportunities for disabled people, such as jobs, apprenticeships, internships, and work experience opportunities. Disability Confident employers who use the Find a Job service to advertise jobs can now add a searchable Disability Confident tag to their vacancies. This allows disabled people to find Disability Confident employers who are offering jobs that match their skills. Over 10,500 employers have signed up to Disability Confident, and their number continues to grow.

Where people with dyslexia require additional support at work above the level of reasonable adjustments, the Access to Work scheme can help. In 2018, 3,440 people whose primary medical condition was recorded as dyslexia had an Access to Work award approved.

Q
(Cleethorpes)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Health
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to require employers to contract occupational health services; and what assessment she has made of the potential costs to business of implementing such a requirement.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

The Government wants to see employers of all sizes create healthy workplaces where people can thrive and will consult this year on measures to encourage and support all employers to play their part and to improve access to occupational health.

Q
(Cleethorpes)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Health
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the quality of (a) occupational health services and (b) SEQOHS accreditation scheme in measuring the effectiveness of those services in delivering successful returns to work.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

We have not made an assessment that would specifically address this question.

As outlined in the Government’s 2017 Command Paper ‘Improving Lives; the future of work, health and disability’ we have commissioned research to better understand occupational health provision. Findings are due to be published in 2019.

We have worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including through our Occupational Health Expert Group, to shape measures to improve access to high quality occupational health. We will set out our proposals in a consultation exercise in 2019.

Grouped Questions: 228635
Q
(Cleethorpes)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Health
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the average cost to an employer of contracting a physician-led occupational health service.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

We have not made an assessment that would specifically address this question.

As outlined in the Government’s 2017 Command Paper ‘Improving Lives; the future of work, health and disability’ we have commissioned research to better understand occupational health provision. Findings are due to be published in 2019.

We have worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including through our Occupational Health Expert Group, to shape measures to improve access to high quality occupational health. We will set out our proposals in a consultation exercise in 2019.

Grouped Questions: 228634
Q
(Cleethorpes)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Health
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential growth of the occupational health market in the event that all employers contracted occupational health services.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

We have not made an assessment that would specifically address this question. However, in 2017, the occupational health market was estimated to be worth around £800m a year.

In 2014, 51% of all GB employees had access to occupational health services provided for by their employer.

We have worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including through our Occupational Health Expert Group, to shape measures to improve access to high quality occupational health. We will set out our proposals in a consultation exercise in 2019.

Q
(Cleethorpes)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Health
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent financial incentives she has introduced to encourage employers to invest in the health and well being of their workforce through the contracting of services designed to facilitate more rapid returns to work by employees at risk of health-related job loss.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

The tax incentives available to employers to encourage investment in employee health and wellbeing include relief for employer-funded medical treatment up to £500 where there has been a recommendation from an occupational health professional and the employee has been absent for 28 days.

To inform future policy decisions, the Government is supporting the West Midlands Combined Authority to undertake a pilot study to assess whether and how financial incentives affect SME actions to improve health and wellbeing in the workplace.

The Government will consult this year on measures to encourage and support all employers to reduce health-related job loss, and to improve access to occupational health.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Work Capability Assessment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Disabled People of 22 January 2019, Official Report, column 106WH on the satisfaction ratings of disability benefit claimants, if she will commission independent research on the satisfaction rates of claimants who have recently undergone a work capability assessment.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

Research with claimants who have recently undergone a Work Capability Assessment is undertaken by a different organisation to the provider delivering the assessments. The telephone survey is voluntary and is based on a set of questions agreed with the department.

The Department also undertakes its own survey which is designed to monitor claimant satisfaction with the services offered by the department and to enable claimant views to inform improvements to the delivery of benefits and services. This information is published on gov.uk.

Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 05 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 30 May 2018 to Question 146988 on the revised wording of the ESA65B letters sent to employment support allowance claimants’ GPs, on what date the meeting took place at which the British Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners agreed to that revised wording.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

The British Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners agreed to the revised wording of the ESA65B on 4 August 2016.

The Department is committed to ensuring all of its communications are clear, accurate and understandable and we continuously improve our letters. We engage regularly with the welfare benefits advice sector and disability charities and take into account all of the feedback we receive.

We have received comments from a number of sources including MPs, stakeholder organisations and GPs on the current version of the ESA65B letter and will take all of their feedback into account when revising it.

Grouped Questions: 228790
Q
(Kensington)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if her Department will consult the welfare benefits advice sector and disability charities on the wording of the ESA65B letter to claimants’ GPs after a Work Capability Assessment that finds them fit for work.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

The British Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners agreed to the revised wording of the ESA65B on 4 August 2016.

The Department is committed to ensuring all of its communications are clear, accurate and understandable and we continuously improve our letters. We engage regularly with the welfare benefits advice sector and disability charities and take into account all of the feedback we receive.

We have received comments from a number of sources including MPs, stakeholder organisations and GPs on the current version of the ESA65B letter and will take all of their feedback into account when revising it.

Grouped Questions: 228789
Q
(Cleethorpes)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Health
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the contribution of the occupational health market to the economy.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

We have not made an assessment that would specifically address this question. However, ill health among working age people, which prevents them working, costs the economy around £100bn a year. Occupational health can prevent work-related illness, unnecessary sickness absence, people falling out of work, as well as supporting business productivity and potentially reducing NHS pressures.

We have worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including through our Occupational Health Expert Group, to shape measures to improve access to high quality occupational health. We will set out our proposals in a consultation exercise in 2019.

Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment: Chronic Illnesses
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people in receipt of personal independence payment who are known to have lifelong conditions which are unlikely to improve have been awarded an ongoing award (a) in Brighton and Hove and (b) nationally.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is not based on condition or on whether it is or isn’t lifelong, it instead is based on daily living or mobility needs. On 31st October 2018, there were 1,430 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims in payment that were in receipt of an ongoing award in the Brighton and Hove Local Authority area and 412,070 that were in receipt of an ongoing award in Great Britain.

Ongoing awards do not have an end date, but will be subject to a light touch review at the 10 year point. We have recently amended the guidance to ensure that all those awarded the highest level of support under PIP, and who have needs which will stay the same or deteriorate, will receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at the 10 year point.

Source: PIP ADS

Notes:

  • An ongoing award is defined as an award which has a blank end date in the PIP ADS.
  • Figures are based on the latest outcome for each case and will take into account the effect of a Mandatory Reconsideration, an Appeal, Award Review or Change of Circumstances on a claim.
  • Normal Rules only
  • Data has been rounded to the nearest 10.
  • This is unpublished data. It should be used with caution and it may be subject to future revision.
Q
(Brighton, Pavilion)
Asked on: 05 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment: Chronic Illnesses
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to end regular reviews of personal independence payment for claimants of working age with (a) motor neurone disease, (b) other degenerative conditions and (c) lifelong conditions which are unlikely to improve; and if she will make a statement.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 13 March 2019

Once someone has been awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which can be paid at one of eight rates, that award will be reviewed. Reviews of PIP are a key part of the benefit to ensure that awards remain correct where needs may change and that we maintain contact with the claimant, both features that are missing from its predecessor Disability Living Allowance. The length of an award is based on an individual’s circumstances and can vary from nine months to an on-going award, with a light touch review after ten years.

We introduced updated guidance for case managers and an updated PIP Assessment Guide in 2018 which will ensure that those people who receive the highest level of support under PIP, and where their needs are unlikely to change or may get worse, will now receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at the ten-year point. In line with PIP’s aim to be needs-based rather than condition-based, the change to the guidance is not condition specific. However, we believe the changes will ensure that those with severe and/or progressive conditions receive the most appropriate award duration that reflects their condition and the needs arising.

Q
(Bridgend)
Asked on: 04 February 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people are on the severe conditions criteria list; how long those people have been on that list; and what conditions they have.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 12 March 2019

The Severe Conditions Criteria was introduced on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on 29 September 2017 and means that claimants with the most severe and lifelong health conditions or disabilities will no longer be routinely reassessed. We worked closely with the assessment provider, the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA), healthcare professionals and disability charities when developing the criteria to cease re-assessments for people with the most severe health conditions or disabilities (unless there is a change in their circumstances).

Since August 2018 we also introduced updated guidance for Personal Independence Payment claimants to ensure that claimants on the highest level of support, whose needs will not improve, receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at the 10-year point.

The information requested on the length of time on the severe conditions criteria list is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The information requested is not centrally collated for Universal Credit claimants and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The available information on the number of people on the ESA caseload who have been assessed as meeting the severe conditions criteria, by primary medical condition group and claim duration is shown in the following table.

Number of Employment and Support Allowance claimants on the ESA caseload who have been assessed as meeting the severe conditions criteria, by primary medical condition group and by claim duration, as at the end of May 2018, Great Britain

Number

Total

23,900

By Primary Medical Condition group

Certain Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (A00 - B99)

100

Neoplasms (C00 - D48)

200

Diseases of the Blood and Blood forming organs and certain diseases involving the immune mechanism (D50 - D89)

-

Endocrine, Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases (E00 - E90)

200

Mental and Behavioural Disorders (F00 - F99)

9,500

Diseases of the Nervous System (G00 - G99)

4,700

Diseases of the Eye and Adnexa (H00 - H59)

400

Diseases of the Ear and Mastoid Process (H60 - H95)

200

Diseases of the Circulatory System (I00 - I99)

1,000

Diseases of the Respiratory System (J00 - J99)

500

Diseases of the Digestive System (K00 - K93)

100

Diseases of the Skin and Subcutaneous System (L00 - L99)

-

Diseases of the Musculoskeletal system and Connective Tissue (M00 - M99)

800

Diseases of the Genitourinary System (N00 - N99)

-

Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Puerperium (O00 - O99)

-

Congenital Malformations, Deformations and Chromosomal Abnormalities
(Q00 - Q99)

1,900

Symptoms, Signs and Abnormal Clinical and Laboratory findings, not
elsewhere classified (R00 - R99)

2,300

Injury, Poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes (S00 -
T98)

300

External causes of morbidity and mortality (V01-Y98)

100

Factors influencing health status and contact with health services (Z00 - Z99)

300

Unknown or claimants without diagnosis on the system

1,200

By Duration of claim

under 3 months

900

3- 6 months

1,000

6-12 months

2,000

1-2 years

1,000

2-5 years

10,700

5 years

7,900

Unknown

400

Source: Employment Support Allowance and Work Capability Assessment dataset and Work and Pensions Longitudinal Survey.

Notes:

  1. Statistical disclosure control has been applied to these tables to avoid the release of confidential data. Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 100. ‘-‘ denotes nil or under 50.
  2. The figures may not match with published sources as they have been derived from a different source.
  3. Individuals may have moved into the severe condition criteria list during their claim.
  4. Medical condition classification is based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, published by the World Health Organisation.
  5. Medical condition is based on evidence provided at the start of the claim, this in itself does not confer entitlement to Employment Support Allowance and may not represent a claimant’s most recent medical condition.
  6. For reporting purposes, the disability conditions as recorded on the Employment Support Allowance Benefit system have been mapped to reflect as closely as possible the appropriate ICD10 code.
  7. Where someone has more than one diagnosis or disabling condition, only the predominant one is reported on in these statistics, which should be the most predominant condition.
  8. From 29th September 2017 the Work Capability Assessment criteria changed for some ESA claimants. Claimants in the Support Group no longer need to go for reassessment if they meet the severe condition criteria.

Q
Asked by Neil Coyle
(Bermondsey and Old Southwark)
[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: 26 February 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance: Arrears
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many next of kin of the estimated 20,000 deceased disabled people who did not receive their full employment and support allowance entitlement due to errors by her Department have been contacted; how many of those next of kin have received a backpayment; and what the average backpayment has been.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 12 March 2019
Holding answer received on 04 March 2019

Due to the complex and sensitive nature of reviewing these cases, we have established an intensive checking process to identify instances where deceased claimants did not receive their full award of ESA entitlement.

It is important we get this right to avoid making undue contact with families and causing further distress, which is why these cases are initially checked against information held on various departmental administrative systems. We continue to review our processes to ensure we are as thorough as possible and have previously announced our aim of reviewing these cases by the end of 2019.

Out of the estimated 20,000 potential cases, we have reviewed 4,700 with 3,100 requiring no further action and next of kin contacted in 1,600 cases.

Of those, 600 were entitled to an average back payment of around £5,000

Notes:

  • Data was extracted from Department for Work and Pensions Management Information on 25 February 2019
  • Numbers of cases are rounded to the nearest 100.
  • The average payment is rounded to the nearest £1,000.
  • Completing case reviews includes cases identified on DWP administrative systems as not entitled or who have identified themselves as not entitled prior to assessment, and also cases which have been through the full journey to assessment
Q
Asked by Alex Sobel
(Leeds North West)
Asked on: 04 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many claimants of personal independence payment were sent home from their assessment appointments at Independence Assessment Services in 2018 due to staffing issues.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 12 March 2019

In 2018 the number of claimants who attended an assessment appointment for Personal Independence Payment that were sent home unseen by Independent Assessment Service (IAS) due to the unavailability of a Health Professional was 5,700.

This figure has been rounded to the nearest 100.

Q
Asked by Laura Pidcock
(North West Durham)
[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 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many medical assessments for personal independence payment have been held in private gyms and spas in (a) County Durham, (b) North East of England and (c) the UK in each of the last three years.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 12 March 2019
Holding answer received on 11 March 2019

Due to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the number of assessments for Personal Independence Payment held in private gyms and spas is only held for the last two years, not the three that has been requested.

For the last two years for which data is available; covering March 2017 to February 2019, the total number of assessments held in private gyms and spas in (a) County Durham, (b) North East of England and (c) the UK is set out in the table below.

March 2017 - Feb 2018

March 2018 - Feb 2019

(a) County Durham

6000

5300

(b) NE England

6000

5300

(c) UK

8800

7200

These numbers have been supplied direct from the provider and have been rounded to the nearest 100. The answers to (a) and (b) are the same as all assessments carried out in private gyms and spas in the North East of England are carried out in County Durham.

Capita do not carry out PIP assessments at private gyms or spa locations; the numbers included in this response are from Independent Assessment Services (IAS).

IAS uses its network of supply chain partners and their estates to help in the delivery of PIP consultations. All locations comply with the required contractual specifications and all of the sites used by IAS have been selected to ensure that they meet the standards set by the Department.

Q
Asked by Chris Ruane
(Vale of Clwyd)
[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 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Internet
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to written statement HCWS1376, what steps she is taking to ensure that the benefits of a single digital platform are extended to claimants who do not have access to computers or the internet.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 12 March 2019
Holding answer received on 11 March 2019

We recognise the challenges for customers who cannot access our online services. We will have a choice of other channels available including assisted digital where customers can ask for assistance from friends, family or other organisations, or by contacting DWP by phone or face to face.

We expect to increase this digital uptake over time, but are aware that we need to keep these channels open during and after our transition to digital.

Q
Asked by Laura Pidcock
(North West Durham)
[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: 06 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many home consultations were (a) requested, (b) granted and (c) refused for work capability assessments for universal credit claimants in the last 12 months.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 12 March 2019
Holding answer received on 11 March 2019

Information is not held on the number of home Work Capability Assessments (a) requested or (c) refused for Universal Credit claimants in the last 12 months.

However, I can confirm that over 1,000 home Work Capability Assessments for Universal Credit claimants were (b) granted in the last 12 months.

Q
(Maidstone and The Weald)
[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: 07 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Veterans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many veterans in receipt of a war pension are claiming employment support allowance as part of their universal credit claim.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 12 March 2019

New claims to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) have now stopped, however claimants can receive the ESA component of Universal Credit (UC). Claimants may also be entitled to New Style ESA which can be claimed alongside Universal Credit if the claimant has paid or been credited with sufficient National Insurance contributions, satisfying the New Style ESA eligibility conditions.

Q
(Maidstone and The Weald)
[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: 07 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Veterans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many veterans in receipt of (a) an armed forces compensation scheme guaranteed income payment and (b) the war pension scheme unemployability supplement have undertaken a work capability assessment to prove their entitlement to the housing element of universal credit in each year for which information is available.
A
Answered by: Sarah Newton
Answered on: 12 March 2019

The Work Capability Assessment is not a condition of entitlement to housing costs within Universal Credit.

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