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
Asked by Steve McCabe
(Birmingham, Selly Oak)
Asked on: 24 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the answer of 22 July 2019 to Question 278344 on universal credit: fraud, what recourse is available to people, particularly vulnerable people, who have benefited financially but who were unaware that a universal credit advance was the source of the money.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
(Motherwell and Wishaw)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Post Office Card Account
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason her Department decided to close the Post Office Card Account; and whether her Department has plans to introduce a replacement for that account.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
(Motherwell and Wishaw)
Asked on: 02 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Overpayments
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what processes her Department uses to agree a repayment rate with claimants for over-payments of welfare payments before making collections.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The Department seeks to recover benefit overpayments as quickly as possible without creating any undue financial hardship to the claimant. The initial rate of repayment applied for the recovery of a benefit overpayment is calculated based on three factors:

  • How the overpayment occurred (through either fraud or error).
  • Whether the claimant is in work.
  • Whether any other deductions are applied to their Universal Credit award which might affect the amount that can be deducted.

The Department understands that claimants’ individual circumstances can vary widely. If a claimant contacts the Department to say that they cannot afford the proposed rate of repayment, we will discuss this with the claimant and can re-evaluate their repayment rate. This re-evaluation will be based on income and expenditure, alongside internal data and the industry standard credit information we can access, with the aim of agreeing a sustainable rate of repayment.

Q
Asked by Stephen Timms
(East Ham)
[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: 03 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Uprating
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of uprating benefits by CPI plus 2 per cent over the next four years, and will she make a statement.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

The Secretary of State is bound by law to complete an annual review of benefit and pension rates to determine whether they have retained their value in relation to the general level of prices or - in the case of the full rate of the new State Pension, basic State Pension and Standard Minimum Guarantee (SMG) in Pension Credit - earnings.

Where prices and earnings have increased relative to the value of those benefits or pensions, the Secretary of State must increase non-contributory benefits for additional disability needs and for carers, as well as Additional Pension, at least in line with the increase in prices. In the case of the basic and the full rate of the new State Pension, the triple lock guarantees that rates will be raised by the highest of the rise in prices, the rise in earnings, or 2.5% for the duration of this Parliament.

The Secretary of State must also consider the rates of other benefits including working age benefits, and may decide to increase those at her discretion taking into account considerations such as the prevailing national economic circumstances and Government priorities at that time. She will make her assessment later this year and announce it ahead of the up-rating of benefits in April 2020. From that date she is able to implement a discretionary decision since the four-year freeze set by the Welfare Reform & Work Act 2016 will have lapsed.

Q
(East Londonderry)
[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: 03 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Credit Unions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the recent talks between the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion and credit unions in Northern Ireland, what lessons have been learned by his Department on the expansion of credit unions for the England, Wales and Scotland.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
(Blackpool 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: 03 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Pensions: Chronic Illnesses
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to enable people affected with terminal illness to be able to transfer pension rights to a wife, husband or civil partner as part of their inheritance.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
Asked by Faisal Rashid
(Warrington South)
Asked on: 04 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Pension Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will publicise to eligible pensioners their right to claim pension credit.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

It is important to highlight that there are over 1.6 million people already claiming some £5.4 billion in Pension Credit but the Government wants to ensure that all pensioners eligible can claim the Pension Credit to which they are rightly entitled.

On a national basis the DWP targets activity on engaging with people who may be eligible to Pension Credit at pivotal stages, such as when they claim State Pension or report a change in their circumstances. The DWP uses a wide range of channels to communicate information about benefits including Pension Credit to potential customers; including information on https://gov.uk/, in leaflets and by telephone.

We know that often the best ways to reach eligible customers is through trusted stakeholders working in the community. That is why we have developed and resourced the Pension Credit toolkit which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pension-credit-toolkit and contains resources for anyone working with pensioners and includes guides to Pension Credit. It also contains publicity material and guidance designed to help older people understand how they could get Pension Credit and help organisations support someone applying for Pension Credit as well as ideas for encouraging take-up.

In addition, the Pension Credit calculator https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator enables potential customer to check if they are likely to be eligible and get an estimate of what they may receive; and of course the easiest way to make a Pension Credit claim is via the Freephone number 0800 99 1234.

Q
Asked by Steve McCabe
(Birmingham, Selly Oak)
[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 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Money and Pensions: Advisory Services
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much funding was provided to (a) the Money Advice Service, (b) the Pensions Advisory Service and (c) Pension Wise in each of the five years up to and including 2018.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
Asked by Steve McCabe
(Birmingham, Selly Oak)
[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 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Money and Pensions Service: Finance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much funding the Money and Pension Service will receive in 2019.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
Asked by Ruth George
(High Peak)
Asked on: 05 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the legal basis is for her department to ask claimants who are victims of third-party universal credit fraud to attend an interview under caution at a Jobcentre rather than provide a witness statement.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
Asked by Ruth George
(High Peak)
Asked on: 05 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work of 8 July 2019, Official Report, Column 321, if she will provide details of the successful third-party universal credit fraud prosecution.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
Asked by Ruth George
(High Peak)
Asked on: 05 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her oral contribution to the Work and Pensions Committee of 24 July 2019, how many of the 1,400 cases to have undergone interview under caution due to third-party universal credit fraud have been referred for prosecution.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
Asked by Ruth George
(High Peak)
Asked on: 05 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many third parties who have allegedly scammed people into making a universal credit claim have been identified and investigated; and how many of those third parties have been referred for prosecution.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
Asked by Ruth George
(High Peak)
Asked on: 05 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, at what point during the universal credit claim process her Department checks claims for potentially fraudulent details.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
Asked by Ruth George
(High Peak)
Asked on: 05 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department has taken to prevent third-party universal credit fraud.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
Asked by Ruth George
(High Peak)
Asked on: 05 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Fraud
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to prevent cases of third-party universal credit fraud taking place during managed migration.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
(Birmingham, Edgbaston)
Asked on: 05 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Pensions: Birmingham Edgbaston
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people in Birmingham, Edgbaston constituency have (a) opted out after being auto-enrolled into a workplace pension and (b) saved more than the auto-enrolment minimum contribution.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

Automatic enrolment has achieved a quiet revolution through getting employees into the habit of pension saving, and reversing the decline in workplace pension participation in the decade prior to these reforms. Workplace pension participation rates are being transformed with 87% of eligible employees saving into one in 2018, up from 55% in 2012.

The DWP does not hold data for individual constituencies in relation to opt outs or the number of individuals who have saved above the automatic enrolment minimum contribution level. However, we do know that overall around 9% of automatically enrolled workers have chosen to opt out which is significantly below original estimates; and our latest evaluation report shows that, in April 2017, approximately 5.9 million eligible employees were already meeting the April 2019 minimum contribution rates.

In the Birmingham, Edgbaston constituency, since 2012, approximately 10,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled and 1,630 employers have met their duties.

Automatic Enrolment Evaluation Report 2018, available via the following weblink: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764964/Automatic_Enrolment_Evaluation_Report_2018.pdf.

The Pensions Regulator’s data on Automatic enrolment declaration of compliance by constituency, available via the following weblink: https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/research-and-analysis/data-requests

Q
(Neath)
Asked on: 05 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Pensions: Neath
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people in Neath constituency have (a) opted out after being auto-enrolled into a workplace pension and (b) saved more than the auto-enrolment minimum contribution.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

Automatic enrolment has achieved a quiet revolution through getting employees into the habit of pension saving, and reversing the decline in workplace pension participation in the decade prior to these reforms. Workplace pension participation rates are being transformed with 87% of eligible employees saving into one in 2018, up from 55% in 2012.

The DWP does not hold data for individual constituencies in relation to opt outs or the number of individuals who have saved above the automatic enrolment minimum contribution level. However, we do know that overall around 9% of automatically enrolled workers have chosen to opt out which is significantly below original estimates; and our latest evaluation report shows that, in April 2017, approximately 5.9 million eligible employees were already meeting the April 2019 minimum contribution rates.

In the Neath constituency, since 2012, approximately 3,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled and 860 employers have met their duties.

Automatic Enrolment Evaluation Report 2018, available via the following weblink: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764964/Automatic_Enrolment_Evaluation_Report_2018.pdf.

The Pensions Regulator’s data on Automatic enrolment declaration of compliance by constituency, available via the following weblink: https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/research-and-analysis/data-requests

Q
(Twickenham)
Asked on: 05 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Pensions: Twickenham
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people in Twickenham constituency have (a) opted out after being auto-enrolled into a workplace pension and (b) saved more than the auto-enrolment minimum contribution.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

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

Q
(North Durham)
Asked on: 05 September 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Occupational Pensions: North Durham
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the proportion of people in North Durham constituency who have (a) opted out after being automatically enrolled into a workplace pension and (b) saved more than the auto-enrolment minimum contribution.
A
Answered by: Guy Opperman
Answered on: 09 September 2019

Automatic enrolment has achieved a quiet revolution through getting employees into the habit of pension saving, and reversing the decline in workplace pension participation in the decade prior to these reforms. Workplace pension participation rates are being transformed with 87% of eligible employees saving into one in 2018, up from 55% in 2012.

The DWP does not hold data for individual constituencies in relation to opt outs or the number of individuals who have saved above the automatic enrolment minimum contribution level. However, we do know that overall around 9% of automatically enrolled workers have chosen to opt out which is significantly below original estimates; and our latest evaluation report shows that, in April 2017, approximately 5.9 million eligible employees were already meeting the April 2019 minimum contribution rates.

In the North Durham constituency, since 2012, approximately 6,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled and 1,090 employers have met their duties.

Automatic Enrolment Evaluation Report 2018, available via the following weblink: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764964/Automatic_Enrolment_Evaluation_Report_2018.pdf.

The Pensions Regulator’s data on Automatic enrolment declaration of compliance by constituency, available via the following weblink: https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/research-and-analysis/data-requests

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