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 2019-21 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked by Kate Osamor
(Edmonton)
Asked on: 29 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Habitual Residence Test: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to review the Habitual Residence Test to improve access to (a) universal credit and (b) other welfare benefits for EEA migrants and their families during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 07 July 2020

The Government has taken steps to provide reassurance to and protect the rights of EEA citizens’ resident in the UK by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, so that they will be able to continue their lives in the UK much as before. In order to give effect to this, on 30 March 2019, the Home Office fully launched the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

By being granted status under the EUSS, EEA citizens living in the UK are able to continue to work, study and access benefits and services in the UK on the same basis as they did before we left the EU.

EU citizens with settled status who demonstrate habitual residence in the UK will pass the Habitual Residence Test (HRT) and be eligible to access tax-payer funded benefits. EEA citizens with pre-settled status are eligible to claim DWP income-related benefits such as Universal Credit if they are exercising a qualifying EU Treaty Right. This includes those with a worker or self-employed status and EEA workers with retained worker status who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Government measures to support workers and their families through Covid-19 are also available for EEA citizens with pre-settled status under the EUSS who meet the eligibility criteria. These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self-employed Income Support Scheme and Statutory Sick Pay.

Q
Asked by Daisy Cooper
(St Albans)
Asked on: 01 July 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Work and Pensions: Appeals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many direction notices have been served on her Department (a) where her Department has not submitted a response to an appeal within the statutory timescale and (b) after her Department has received a reminder of its obligation to submit such a response since 2015; and if she will publish that information by type of appeal.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 07 July 2020

The information requested is not held.

Q
Asked by Robert Halfon
(Harlow)
[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: 02 July 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Industrial Health and Safety
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has in place to support the extremely clinically vulnerable to covid-19 who have not been furloughed and are asked to return to work after 1 August 2020 in the event that they believe that their workplace is not covid-19-secure.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 07 July 2020

Guidance for the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Guidance for employers can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Guidance for employees (including links to advice services if a person is worried about going back to work) can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/worker-support

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: 02 July 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of retaining online and telephone assessments for benefit claimants as the covid-19 restrictions are eased.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 07 July 2020

Assessments for health and disability benefits are not conducted online.

Paper based reviews have always been a feature of Personal Independence Payment assessments and Work Capability Assessments, and wherever possible Assessment Providers will conduct a paper-based review, if there is sufficient evidence available to make a recommendation. Telephone-based assessments for suitable cases across health and disability benefits were introduced from 17 March due to Covid-19. Whether an assessment is conducted on the paper-based evidence alone or via a telephone consultation is a decision made by assessment providers based on the available evidence and ability to assess to health condition via these channels.

Face-to-face assessments remain suspended but will be kept under review.

We remain fully committed to making continuous improvements to the support we provide to people with health conditions and disabilities, and are evaluating the changes temporarily introduced to inform the approach taken to conducting assessments in the future.

Grouped Questions: 68352
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: 02 July 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what role (a) claimants, (b) work coaches and (c) assessment providers have in determining whether benefit assessments are conducted (i) online, (ii) by telephone and (iii) face to face.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 07 July 2020

Assessments for health and disability benefits are not conducted online.

Paper based reviews have always been a feature of Personal Independence Payment assessments and Work Capability Assessments, and wherever possible Assessment Providers will conduct a paper-based review, if there is sufficient evidence available to make a recommendation. Telephone-based assessments for suitable cases across health and disability benefits were introduced from 17 March due to Covid-19. Whether an assessment is conducted on the paper-based evidence alone or via a telephone consultation is a decision made by assessment providers based on the available evidence and ability to assess to health condition via these channels.

Face-to-face assessments remain suspended but will be kept under review.

We remain fully committed to making continuous improvements to the support we provide to people with health conditions and disabilities, and are evaluating the changes temporarily introduced to inform the approach taken to conducting assessments in the future.

Grouped Questions: 68351
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: 02 July 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the number of people waiting for an (a) online and (b) telephone benefit assessment as at 2 July 2020.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 07 July 2020

I am interpreting your question to relate to all benefits where an assessment is made to determine entitlement to benefit. The information requested is not collated centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 29 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on the personal independence payment administrative exercise; and what the timeframe is for the completion of that exercise.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 06 July 2020

We are answering with reference to the administrative exercise following the MH and RJ judgments on Personal Independence Payment.

As of 5 January 2020, we had cleared around 720,000 cases under the MH decision and around 820,000 cases under the RJ decision. Most, but not all, cases are cleared against both decisions.

We have paused this exercise to support the Department’s coronavirus response. We understand the importance of continuing the exercise and this decision is currently under review. When the exercise resumes, we will announce the date of the next progress update at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/pip-administrative-exercise-progress-on-cases-cleared.

Q
Asked by Munira Wilson
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 29 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to prevent delays to the mandatory reconsideration process during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 06 July 2020

DWP is continuing to process Mandatory Reconsiderations during the current Covid-19 pandemic and is aiming to avoid delay where possible.

Q
Asked by Paul Bristow
(Peterborough)
Asked on: 29 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that people with (a) disabilities and (b) long-term conditions and (c) arthritis are supported (i) to work from home and (ii) when returning to work during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 06 July 2020

Recognising the additional challenges Covid-19 may produce for people who have a disability or health condition, Access to Work has introduced a number of measures to support disabled people and those with a health condition whether they are working in the workplace, working from home, or returning to work.

During the pandemic Access to Work has been keen to support the use of assistive technology and where necessary has adapted existing awards to meet new working environments. This could include switching from face to face British Sign Language Interpreting to Video Remote Interpreting services where possible as well as making greater use of assistive technology and software.

In addition, to reflect concerns raised by stakeholders Access to Work has introduced and following measures:

  • Accepting email claim forms from customers who request this as a reasonable adjustment;
  • Accepting employer and support worker signatures via email;
  • Extending Support Worker awards that are coming to an end by 6 months;
  • Extending the timeframe customers have to submit payment claim forms to 9 months;
  • Adapting the way our assessments are undertaken to support customers who don’t know what support they need and/or where coping strategies are required as part of the Mental Health Support Service;
  • Flexing support and supporting the moving of special aids and equipment from the workplace to home, and providing new equipment for employees working from home where necessary; and
  • Prioritising new applications from key workers and those with jobs starting within the next 4 weeks.
Q
Asked by Paul Bristow
(Peterborough)
Asked on: 29 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many additional people with (a) a disability, (b) long-term health conditions and (c) arthritis have been supported by the Access to Work Scheme since the covid-19 lockdown.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 06 July 2020

Access to Work continues to provide practical and financial support for people who have a disability or a health condition and require reasonable adjustments which are beyond standard adjustments an employer is required to provide.

Information about Access to Work can be found in the Official Access to Work Statistics which are published annually and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2019.

The figures which relate to number of people who received an Access to Work payment this year will be available in the future Access to Work publication. Under the Code of Practice for Statistics the figures for 2020/21 cannot be released ahead of the official publication of the Access to Work Statistics. For this reason, it is not possible to provide the aggregated figures you have requested. This year’s statistics are due to be published in September 2021, and when published can be found using the link provided.

The Access to Work Statistics report the number of people who have received at least one Access to Work payment in a given financial year. Table 8 of the statistics in particular shows the number of people who have received an Access to Work payment broken down by primary medical condition (PMC). Disability, long-term health conditions and arthritis are not classed as individual PMC’s, and these conditions are recorded under the PMC categories.

To support disabled people to retain, adapt and move into employment during the pandemic, Access to Work has introduced a package of measures. These are:

  • Accepting email claim forms from customers who request this as a reasonable adjustment;
  • Accepting employer and support worker signatures via email;
  • Extending Support Worker awards that are coming to an end by 6 months;
  • Extending the timeframe customers have to submit payment claim forms to 9 months;
  • Adapting the way our assessments are undertaken to support customers;
  • Flexing support and supporting the moving of special aids and equipment from the workplace to home, and providing new equipment for employees working from home where necessary; and
  • Prioritising new applications from key workers and those with jobs starting within the next 4 weeks.
Q
Asked by Drew Hendry
(Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)
[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: 01 July 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Terminal Illnesses
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what comparative assessment her Department has made of the number of DS1500 forms issued during March to June (a) 2020 and (b) 2019.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 06 July 2020

The DS1500 is not issued by DWP. It is completed by a terminally ill patient’s doctor or other healthcare professional and returned to DWP. The doctor or healthcare professional provides information about their patient’s condition, including its clinical features and ongoing or planned treatment on the DS1500.

The DS1500 is not a claim form in itself and is not a requirement to support a claim under the special rules for terminal illness but it remains the quickest and most appropriate route to gather evidence to support entitlement in these cases.

Guidance for Healthcare Professionals can be found here

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dwp-factual-medical-reports-guidance-for-healthcare-professionals/dwp-medical-factual-reports-a-guide-to-completion

Q
(Wycombe)
Asked on: 29 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Terminal Illnesses
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish the findings from the review, announced in July 2019, on how the welfare system supports people who are terminally ill.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 02 July 2020

The evaluation remains a priority for the Department. The Department has made good progress and we expect to be able to provide an update on the outcome of the evaluation shortly.

Q
(Nottingham South)
[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 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme: Sign Language
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the accuracy of the current British Sign Language translation published in 2015 of the Access to Work factsheet for customers.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 02 July 2020

Access to Work have been working hard to ensure high standards of their British Sign Language (BSL) translations, including working with the British Deaf Association (BDA) to obtain feedback on their videos and BSL translations and to better understand what matters to BSL users.

Access to Work works with one professional translator when developing BSL products. Recognising the need to ensure the translator has enough time to understand the key messages and interpret them in a way that can be easily understood by BSL users, additional time is built into the contract. The additional times enables Access to Work to work closely with the translator to go through the draft scripts and ensure information is accurately translated and that key messages are interpreted in a way that makes sense for BSL users whilst ensuring accuracy.

Wherever possible, post-production testing is included as part of the assurance process, to ensure user comprehension. This has been more difficult during the COVID-19 outbreak, due to the pace of change and social distancing measures.

Please note that the Access to Work factsheet was not published in 2015 – it was first pub-lished on 1 October 2012 and has been amended 12 times in subsequent years.

Q
(Nottingham South)
[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 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme: Sign Language
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when her Department plans to update its British Sign Language translation of the Access to Work factsheet for customers.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 02 July 2020

Access to Work (ATW) is a demand-led, discretionary grant scheme administered by Jobcentre Plus (JCP). The scheme de-risks the recruitment and retention of disabled people for employers by contributing towards covering the costs of support above the level of reasonable adjustment for disabled people at work.

Since the Access to Work factsheet was published in October 2012, it has been amended 12 times in subsequent years. Access to Work recognises the importance of providing information in accessible formats and works with stakeholders to gain an understanding of the key issues. To ensure accessible information was made available during the coronavirus pandemic. British Sign Language (BSL) videos reflecting the new measures Access to Work introduced to support disabled people were developed. These videos can be accessed via the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC0aQWFFHARyXcQd-0mz0lOTZOfI15L8H

To provide accessible information Access to Work continues to work with stakeholders including UK Council on Deafness (UKCOD) to ensure key communications are translated into British Sign Language. Access to Work engages regularly with stakeholders to prioritise communications, and will be publishing advice on Access to Work “Reconsiderations” in the near future, with more communications to follow.

Q
(Nottingham South)
[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 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme: Sign Language
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what criteria her Department uses when deciding which Access to Work materials are translated into British Sign Language.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 02 July 2020

Access to Work (ATW) is a demand-led, discretionary grant scheme administered by Jobcentre Plus (JCP). The scheme de-risks the recruitment and retention of disabled people for employers by contributing towards covering the costs of support above the level of reasonable adjustment for disabled people at work.

Access to Work guidance is available in English and Welsh in html, word and PDF formats on the gov.uk website, and in addition information on DWP services is produced in accessible formats, including BSL videos.

When deciding which communications are translated into British Sign Language, Access to Work will consider the following:

  • Direct feedback from Access to Work British Sign Language users,
  • Stakeholder engagement with disability charities and organisations, including the UK Council on Deafness (UKCOD),
  • Feedback from the Access to Work Stakeholder Forum, and
  • Departmental communication priorities.

Using feedback from these groups and taking account of the wider Departmental communication priorities, Access to Work will identify communications that are causing the most concern and will be the most beneficial for British Sign Language users.

Disabled people who are British Sign Language users who have queries about Access to Work can contact Access to Work via the BSL video relay service (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) to discuss queries.

Q
(Bolton South East)
Asked on: 23 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Work and Pensions: Overseas Aid
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department allocates Official Development Assistance to any programmes that are targeted at supporting women and girls.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 01 July 2020

The information is not available. DWP’s ODA spend has no initiatives targeted specifically at women and girls.

Q
Asked by Ruth Jones
(Newport West)
Asked on: 24 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Mental Health
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of trends in the level of incidences of (a) stress, (b) anxiety and (c) depression for those in work.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 01 July 2020

The information requested is not available.

The Government recognises the need to monitor trends in mental health and work as the UK responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department is actively reviewing available information on mental health and work, which will enable examination of trends in due course, and intends to examine changes in mental health for people in work as data becomes available.

Q
(East Renfrewshire)
Asked on: 22 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Statutory Sick Pay
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of permanently removing waiting days for statutory sick pay for all illnesses and impairments.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 30 June 2020

As part of the Government’s strategy to support people affected by coronavirus (COVID 19), my department has made a number of limited changes to the operation of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). In doing so, we have balanced the need to provide additional support for employees who are sick, self-isolating or shielding due to coronavirus and are unable to work as a result, with considerations about the burden on employers.

Temporarily suspending waiting days ensures SSP is payable from day one of a period of absence, rather than day four, to encourage people to follow government advice to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

We consulted last year on a range of measures, including reform of SSP, designed to reduce ill-health related job loss. We will bring forward proposals on next steps later this year.

SSP is just one part of the government’s safety net. Where an employee’s income is reduced while off sick and they require further financial support they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on individual circumstances.

Background

  • SSP is paid at £95.85 per week for up to 28 weeks by the employer.
  • Employers can choose to go further than their statutory requirements and provide more financial support to their employee throughout their sickness absence.
  • We have increased the standard rate in Universal Credit by £20 a week for one year – this will mean claimants will be up to £1040 a year better off.
  • The consultation: Health is everyone’s business was published in July 2019 and closed in October 2019.


Q
(Stoke-on-Trent North)
Asked on: 22 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment: Disability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on the production of a Green Paper on disability.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 30 June 2020

The Department will be bringing forward a Green Paper on health and disability support, focusing on how the welfare system can better meet the needs of claimants with disabilities and health conditions. The Green Paper will be strongly influenced by the views of disabled people and representatives from disability organisations, drawing on the significant engagement we have conducted and which will continue, albeit through different channels, over the summer.

Given the necessary focus on the departmental response to COVID-19, we are working to a longer timescale than previously anticipated but we remain committed to publishing in the coming months.

Q
(Erith and Thamesmead)
Asked on: 22 June 2020
Department for Work and Pensions
Disability: Coronavirus
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the easing of covid-19 lockdown restrictions on disabled people.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 30 June 2020

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources.

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organisations and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify the support needed as lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government is ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to accessible communications, updated guidance, including workplace and transport related guidance, as well as other support during the Covid-19 outbreak. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit continues to work with disability stakeholders and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the UK Government’s response to COVID-19.

Grouped Questions: 62686
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