Written statements

Government Ministers and a small number of other Members of the two Houses can make a written statement to one or both Houses.

Written statements are published below shortly after receipt in Parliament. They also reproduced in the next edition of the Daily Report and of Hansard in the relevant House.

Written statements made before 17 November 2014 were published only in Hansard:

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Written Statement Indentifying Number – Every written statement in the House of Commons and House of Lords has a WSID per parliamentary session.
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WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 15 July 2019
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 8th July 2019, Brussels

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council took place on 8th July 2019 in Brussels. The Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union, Katrina Williams, represented the UK.

The Council approved the non-binding 2019 Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) to Member States, and endorsed the joint opinion of the Employment and Social Protection Committees, assessing the 2019 CSRs and the implementation of those from 2018. The Council also adopted Guidelines for the Employment Policies of the Member States 2019.

The Council debated the “economy of wellbeing” and “employment aspects of the strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy”.

The Council closed with employment and social policy updates by the Commission on the International Labour Organisation, G7 and G20.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1677
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 04 July 2019
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 8th July 2019, Brussels

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 8th July 2019 in Brussels. The Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union, Katrina Williams, will represent the UK.

This extraordinary meeting of the Council is held to deal with the traditional “Spring Package” of items relating to the EU Semester, which exceptionally were not available in time for its meeting on 13th June. The Council is to approve non-binding Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) to Member States, and it will receive a joint opinion of the Employment and Social Protection Committees assessing the 2019 CSRs and the implementation of those from 2018. The Council will also adopt Guidelines for the Employment Policies of the Member States 2019, the substance of which is rolled-forward from last year’s guidelines.

Additionally, there will be policy debates on the “economy of wellbeing” and on “employment aspects of the strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy”.

Under other business, the Commission will provide information on international developments in the area of social and employment policy.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1651
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 20 June 2019
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 13th June 2019, Luxembourg

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council took place on 13th June 2019 in Luxembourg. The Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union, Katrina Williams, represented the UK.

The Council adopted Conclusions on: Closing the gender pay gap; implications for the safety and health of workers in the changing world of work; and the EU Council Auditors’ report on the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD).

The Council noted a progress report on the Directive on equal treatment and debated employment and social policy aspects of Country Specific Recommendations.

The Presidency gave updates on two current legislative proposals: a Regulation on European social statistics and Revision of the Regulations on the coordination of social security systems. The Council closed with information on events and initiatives in the broader field of employment and social policy.

In the margins of the meeting, Bratislava, Slovakia, was elected to host the new European Labour Authority.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1600
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 10 June 2019
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 13th June 2019, Luxembourg

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 13th June 2019 in Luxembourg. Kelly Tolhurst, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will represent the UK.

The Council will be provided with a progress report on the Directive on equal treatment. Conclusions will be presented to the Council for adoption on: Closing the gender pay gap; implications for the safety and health of workers in the changing world of work; and the EU Council Auditors’ report on the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD).

Under the agenda item on the European Semester agenda item there will be a high level policy debate on the employment and social policy aspects of Country Specific Recommendations.

Under other business, the Presidency will give updates on current legislative proposals: a Regulation on European social statistics and Revision of the Regulations on the coordination of social security systems. Information will also be provided on Presidency conferences, Gender balance on company Boards and the work programme of the incoming Finnish Presidency. The Maltese delegation will provide additional information on the Outcome of the EU-Arab high-level meeting on disability Rights and Prioritising gender budgeting in the future Multiannual Financial Framework.

In the margins of the meeting, representatives of the Government of each Member State will make a decision on which Member State will host the European Labour Authority.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1569
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 21 March 2019
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 15th March 2019, Brussels

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council took place on 15th March 2019 in Brussels. I represented the UK.

The Council agreed a partial General Approach Regulation on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF).

The Council debated the social dimension of Europe post 2020 and the European Semester. As part of the Semester agenda item, the Council adopted the Joint Employment Report for 2019, along with conclusions on the 2019 Annual Growth Survey.

There were a number of progress reports and information items during the Council. The Presidency gave updates on six current legislative proposals: Regulation establishing a European Labour Authority; Revision of the Regulations on the coordination of social security systems; Revision of the Directive on carcinogens and mutagens (third batch); and Directives on work-life balance, on accessibility requirements for products and services and on transparent and predictable working conditions.

The Council closed with information on events and initiatives in the broader field of employment and social policy.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1404
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 12 March 2019
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 15th March 2019, Brussels

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 15th March 2019 in Brussels. I plan to represent the UK.

The Council will be invited to agree a partial General Approach on a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council that continues the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF).

Under the European Semester agenda item, the Council will adopt the Joint Employment Report for 2019, along with conclusions on the 2019 Annual Growth Survey, and the Commission will present its Country Reports for 2019. The Romanian Presidency has chosen the social dimension of Europe post 2020 as the theme for debate.

Under other business, the Presidency will give updates on six current legislative proposals: a Regulation establishing a European Labour Authority; Revision of the Regulations on the coordination of social security systems; Revision of the Directive on carcinogens and mutagens (third batch); and Directives on work-life balance, on accessibility requirements for products and services and on transparent and predictable working conditions.

The Presidency will also provide information on its recent conference on an EU Framework on National Strategies for Roma Inclusion. The Commission will present information on the Tripartite Social Summit which will take place on 20th March, and the Chairs of the Employment Committee and the Social Protection Committee will present the committees’ Work Programmes for 2019.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1371
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 11 January 2019
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a vital reform. It overhauls a legacy system which trapped people out of work. As we move to the next stage, known as managed migration, it is vital that Universal Credit works for all.

To deliver this, the Government will seek powers for a pilot of managed migration so that the Department cannot issue any more migration notices once 10,000 people have been awarded Universal Credit through this process. This approach provides the opportunity for the Government to develop the best support for claimants.

This entails replacing the current regulations laid before the House, with two separate Statutory Instruments.

The first is a negative Statutory Instrument to provide for the Severe Disability Premium Gateway. This prevents legacy claimants who are in receipt of the Severe Disability Premium from moving naturally to Universal Credit and allows them to continue to claim legacy benefits until they are moved over as part of the managed migration process. We committed to bringing this important extra protection into force on 16 January and this provision ensures that we will meet that commitment.

A second affirmative Statutory Instrument will contain the remaining regulations as laid on 5th November 2018. These deliver our commitment to provide the vital transitional protection for claimants who are moved by the Department, which is worth over £3 billion for claimants over 10 years. These also provide for transitional payments to those claimants who were previously in receipt of Severe Disability Premium and have moved to UC before the gateway came into force.

In addition, we are including a new provision in this Statutory Instrument, which will mean that once 10,000 claimants have been moved onto Universal Credit as part of managed migration, no further migration notices can be issued. In this way the Government is legislating for ‘piloting powers’ rather than the migration of all claimants. This is in line with suggestions from both the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee and the Work and Pensions Select Committee. The Government will report on our findings from the pilot before bringing forward legislation to extend managed migration.

The pilot will begin - as planned - from July 2019 and does not affect the timeline for delivering Universal Credit, which will be completed in 2023.

The current legislation provides that, from 1 February new claims to Universal Credit will support a maximum of two children, regardless of the date of birth of the children.

The Department has looked again carefully at this issue with particular focus on the families making a new claim whose children were all born prior to the implementation of the policy. We have concluded that including these families would not be right and therefore they will be entitled to support for any children born before 6 April 2017, the date that the policy was introduced. I am bringing forward the necessary legislation to enable this change.

The policy to provide support for a maximum of two children ensures that parents in receipt of benefits face the same financial choices when deciding to grow their family as those supporting themselves solely through work. Parents who support themselves solely through work would not usually see their wages increase simply because of the addition of a new child to their family. Exceptions are in place to support those who are not able to make decisions about the number of children in their family.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1211
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 13 December 2018
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), 6th December 2018, Brussels

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met on 6th December 2018 in Brussels. The Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union, Katrina Williams, represented the UK.


Two legislative proposals achieved General Approach at the Council. These were the proposed Regulation establishing a European Labour Agency and a third batch of amendments to the worker protection Directive on carcinogens and mutagens.

The Council reached Political Agreement on a Recommendation on access to social protection for workers and self-employed and there were Presidency Conclusions on gender equality, youth and digitalisation.

The Council also discussed the European Semester. As part of this agenda item, the Council approved a contribution to the draft Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area made jointly by the Employment Committee (EMCO) and the Social Protection Committee (SPC); endorsed their joint messages on aspects of digitalisation and robotisation; and endorsed EMCO’s key messages on the latest biennial assessment of Member States’ progress tackling long-term unemployment.

There were a number of progress reports and information items during the Council. These included an update on progress in negotiations regarding a Regulation on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF); a proposal from 2008 for a Directive on Equal Treatment; and a presentation from the Commission on its 2019 “Autumn Package” of Annual Growth Survey, Alert Mechanism Report, and draft Joint Employment Report.

The Council closed with updates on the status of other legislative files, broader developments in the field of employment and social policy, and an overview of the priorities of the incoming Romanian Presidency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1147
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 04 December 2018
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), 6th December 2018, Brussels

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 6th December 2018 in Brussels. I will represent the UK.

The Council will be invited to agree a General Approach on a Regulation establishing a European Labour Agency and on a third batch of amendments to the worker protection Directive on carcinogens and mutagens (2004/37/EC).

The Council will receive reports on progress in negotiations regarding a Regulation on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) and a proposal from 2008 for a Directive on Equal Treatment.

The Council is also expected to reach Political Agreement on a Recommendation on access to social protection for workers and self-employed, and to Adopt a set of Conclusions on gender equality, youth and digitalisation.

The Council will hold a policy debate on an issue related to the European Semester. It will also receive a presentation from the Commission on its 2019 “Autumn Package” of Annual Growth Survey, Alert Mechanism Report, draft Joint Employment Report, and draft Recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area. The Council will also approve a contribution on that Recommendation made jointly by the Employment Committee (EMCO) and the Social Protection Committee (SPC); endorse their joint messages on aspects of digitalisation and robotisation; and endorse EMCO’s key messages on the latest biennial assessment of Member States’ progress tackling long-term unemployment.

Under any other business, the Commission will present information on its activities, as well as the Tripartite Social Summit which took place on 16th October 2018. The Presidency will provide information on current legislative proposals, the joint declaration on Gender Equality and Presidency events on (i) Digitalisation of work; (ii) Fight against occupational cancer; and (iii) Gender equality. The Maltese delegation will present a non-paper on future of the LGBTI list of actions and the Romanian delegation will provide information on their work programme for their upcoming Presidency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1107
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 18 July 2018
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Contingency Fund Advance

The Department for Work and Pensions has identified the need for minor revisions to two Statutory Instruments. These relate to the award of some premiums to people entitled to income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, and to the application of the shared accommodation rate for foster carers in Universal Credit. Both drafting points date back to April 2013.

No customers have been adversely affected in either circumstance and payments of benefit have been – and continue to be – made fully in accordance with the policy intent.

The Department will amend the relevant legislation as soon as practically possible to ensure that these payments are included on the statutory framework.

Parliamentary approval for resources of £ 21,400,000 for this new service has been sought in the Main Estimate for the Department for Work and Pensions. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £ 21,400,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

Once the Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimates) (No.2) Bill achieves Royal Assent, the advance will be repaid in full and ongoing expenditure will legitimately rest on the sole authority of the Supply and Appropriation Act, until the amending legislation is in place.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS844
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 28 June 2018
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Jobseeker’s (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013

I am today laying a proposed draft Remedial Order to amend the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013.

The proposed draft Remedial Order ensures the right to a fair hearing for a small group of job seekers who had a live appeal against a sanction decision made under the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Schemes) Regulations 2011 (“the ESE Regulations”) when the 2013 Act came into force. It enables the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to change this sanction decision and refund the amount withheld, without those affected individuals having to continue with their appeal.

In 2013, the courts ruled that the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Schemes) Regulations 2011 that underpinned a range of programmes of support to help people into work did not describe the individual schemes in enough detail, and that our referral letters did not say enough about the activities required. The 2013 Act reinstated the original policy intent of these Regulations. This ensured that job seekers who had failed to take all reasonable steps to increase their chances of finding work between 2011 and 2013 did not unfairly obtain advantage over claimants who complied with the benefit conditionality requirements.

The Court of Appeal has since ruled that the 2013 Act is effective.

The 2013 Act did not prevent people from appealing if they felt they had a good reason for not participating in one of the employment schemes, but it meant their appeal would be unsuccessful if it related to their compliance with the 2011 Regulations or the referral notification letters they received. The Court of Appeal has ruled that the Act has prevented claimants who had an appeal for failing to comply with the 2011 Regulations still in the Tribunal system on 26 March 2013 from having a fair hearing. For this small, specific group, the Court found that the Act is incompatible with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The proposed draft Remedial Order addresses the Court of Appeal’s decision but does not affect the continuing validity of the 2013 Act.

I am using the non-urgent Remedial Order process to allow time for Parliamentary scrutiny. The next 60 sitting days, are a consultation period for members of both Houses to send me any views. The Order will also be scrutinised by the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and they will write a report. I will consider all representations I receive on the proposed draft Order, and the Committee’s report. Once I have done so, I will revert to both Houses with a draft of the Remedial Order for consideration for a further 60 days.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS778
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 28 June 2018
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 21st June 2018, Luxembourg

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met on the 21th June 2018 in Luxembourg. The Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union, Katrina Williams, represented the UK.

Three legislative proposals achieved general approach at the Council. These were the proposed Revision of Regulations on coordination of social security systems (883/04 and 987/09); the Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union 16018/17; and the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Work-Life Balance for Parents and Carers and Repealing Council Directive 2010/18/E.

The Council also discussed the European Semester. As part of this agenda item, the Council approved Draft Council Recommendations on the National Reform Programmes 2018 of each Member State; endorsed the opinions of the Employment Committee (EMCO) and the Social Protection Committee (SPC) on the 2018 Country-specific Recommendations (CSRs) and the implementation of the 2017 CSRs; and adopted a proposal on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States.

There were a number of progress reports and information items during the Council. These included an update on proposals for an equal treatment directive, the proposed European Labour Authority, and an overview of the Commission’s plans for the future European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGAF).

The Council closed with updates on the status of other legislative files, broader developments in the field of employment and social policy, and an overview of the priorities of the incoming Austrian presidency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS781
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 18 June 2018
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), 21 June 2018, Luxembourg

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) will take place on 21 June 2018 in Luxembourg.

The Council will first be invited to agree a general approach on directives on work life balance for parents and carers, and transparent and predictable working conditions. The Presidency will also pursue a general approach on the revision of regulations governing the coordination of EU social security systems.

The Council will then receive progress reports on a proposal to create a European Labour Authority, and a directive related to equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

Under non-legislative items, there will first be a policy debate on the European Semester. As part of this agenda item, the Council will be asked to approve Draft Council Recommendations on the National Reform Programmes 2018 of each Member State; endorse the opinions of the Employment Committee (EMCO) and the Social Protection Committee (SPC) on the 2018 Country-specific Recommendations (CSRs) and the implementation of the 2017 CSRs; and adopt a proposal on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States.

Following this, the Council will be asked to adopt a number of draft council conclusions on the future of work, early childhood development and free frameworks.

Under any other business, the Commission will provide information on plans for a new European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) programme and an update on recent international developments in the field of social policy. To close the meeting the Austrian delegation will outline the work programme of the incoming Presidency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS747
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 21 May 2018
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Jobseeker’s Allowance trial

It has been a long-standing policy of successive Governments that claimants on work-related benefits are generally expected to undertake certain activities in return for financial support through the benefit system. This system of ‘conditionality’ can lead to sanctions, which deduct benefit from claimants when they fail, without good reason, to meet a conditionality requirement, such as failing to attend a Jobcentre interview or failing to search for work. This ensures a fair, proportionate and effective use of public money, in support of employment and wider outcomes for society.

Today, we are publishing the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) Sanctions Early Warning Trial’s final evaluation report (Jobseeker’s Allowance Sanctions Early Warning Trial Evaluation – Final report) and qualitative research (Jobseekers Allowance: Sanctions Early Warning Trial).

In October 2015, the Department for Work and Pensions announced that it would be trialling a new process for JSA sanctions in response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee’s recommendations to review the JSA sanction process.

The trial was delivered between April and September 2016 and involved 6,500 claimants. It tested an approach of adding an additional step into the sanction decision making process, by informing claimants through a ‘Sanction Warning Letter’ that, on the basis of information available, the Decision Maker intended to apply a sanction. Claimants were then given a further 14 days (on top of the standard 7 days they already receive before the decision is initially considered) to submit evidence of good reason for not meeting their conditionality.

The aim of the trial was to consider whether such an approach would have an effect on:

  • The volume of claimants that provide reasons for not meeting their conditionality requirements.
  • The volume of claimants sanctioned who request a Mandatory Reconsideration of the initial sanction decision.
  • The service received by the claimant and whether this represented value for money.
  • The effectiveness of the process as perceived by Decision Makers.

The key findings of the trial were:

  • 13 per cent of those receiving a ‘Sanction Warning Letter’ responded to it during the additional 14 days and provided evidence. In around half of these cases the evidence provided did not contain a good reason for the Labour Market Decision Maker to change their decision and the sanction was applied.
  • There were some indications that the trial had an impact on reducing the proportion of cases where a Decision Review or Mandatory Reconsideration was carried out. However, as these findings are based on low volumes, they are indicative only.
  • The qualitative evaluation concluded that given the additional burden placed on the Departmental resources and marginal gains achieved, the trial did not appear to be an effective use of the Department’s resource.
  • Results from the qualitative evaluation showed that there was support from staff for the intentions underpinning the trial, however evidence from interviews with staff suggested that in practice the trial appeared to make little difference to the outcomes of claimants.

Given the low proportion of cases in which claimants provided further evidence and the even lower proportion of cases where decision outcomes were changed, we do not consider that the benefits of the approach are sufficient to justify the extra time and cost it adds to the process.

We are now exploring the feasibility of an alternative process to give claimants written warnings, instead of a sanction, for a first sanctionable failure to attend a Work-Search Review. The aim will be to conduct a small-scale proof of concept to obtain qualitative feedback from staff on this new process, followed by any subsequent tests. More details will be made available once we have progressed with the design work.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS674
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 24 April 2018
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Informal Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 17/18 April 2018, Sofia, Bulgaria

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met on 17/18 April 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria. DWP officials represented the United Kingdom at this informal council.

The agenda consisted of presentations from experts and panel discussions amongst experts, member states, the Presidency and the Commission.

The first day focussed on how member states and social partners can deliver upon principle 1 of the European Pillar of Social Rights: education, training and life-long learning. Following an opening plenary, a number of speakers presented on themes including Early Childhood Development, and the Implementation of the Council Recommendation on Upskilling Pathways. Panellists then reflected on how to best provide upskilling opportunities for adults.

The second day centred on delivering on principle 4 of the European Pillar of Social Rights: active support to employment. The Commission first took stock of progress against the Council Recommendation on the Integration of the Long-term Unemployed into the Labour Market and the Youth Guarantee. A presentation was then provided by Eurofound on the remaining challenges with regard to integrating young people and the long term unemployed into the labour market. Panellists then discussed domestic measures being taken to address the challenges.

The informal council concluded with remarks from the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills, and Labour Mobility, and Dr Biser Petkov, Minister of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Bulgaria.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS619
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 22 March 2018
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Rollout of Universal Credit

The Implementation of Universal Credit continues to make good progress. The full service is now operating in 250 jobcentres and we expect to complete national coverage and be in all jobcentres as planned by December 2018.

Within this timetable, I am announcing today some modifications to reflect local considerations and discussions.

We continue to make progress in delivering a Welsh language capability within the full service. Whilst it has always been possible to speak to DWP in Welsh, either in jobcentres or on the telephone, and to have dialogue in Welsh on online journals, we want to be able to offer full Welsh functionality as soon as we can for those areas of Wales with the highest density of Welsh speakers. In order to increase the chances that functionality will be in place in time with local rollout, we are moving the 13 jobcentres with the highest density of Welsh speakers to December 2018.

In addition, Barrow Council have asked if their rollout date could be changed to December to reflect the fact that they are bringing their Housing Benefit administration back in-house and they would like to sequence that change before Universal Credit rolls out. This is sensible planning and we have agreed to meet that request.

Finally, in order to balance resources more effectively within DWP we are making several other modifications to the rollout timetable, as set out in the table I have attached to this statement.

We will modify the master schedule on gov.uk to reflect these changes. District Managers are contacting local stakeholders about these changes and writing to their local MPs with details.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS559
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 22 March 2018
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 15th March 2018, Brussels

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met on 15th March 2018 in Brussels. I represented the United Kingdom.

Under an agenda item on the European Semester, the Council adopted the Joint Employment Report (JER) and Council Conclusions on the Annual Growth Survey (AGS).

The Council received a presentation on the 2018 Country Reports on the implementation of 2017 Country Specific Recommendations.

The Council endorsed the opinion of the Employment Committee (EMCO) on the latest biennial assessment of Member States’ progress against the non-binding Council recommendation of 2013 on a Youth Guarantee for tackling youth unemployment.

The Council adopted a Recommendation for a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships.

The Council then conducted policy debates on The Future of Social Europe Post 2020 and Closing the gender pay gap: contributing to the achievement of the goals of the European Social Pillar.

Under any other business, the Commission presented information on its awaited Social Fairness Package, the Commission and the President presented information on the Tripartite Social Summit, and the chairs of the EMCO and the Social Protection Committee (SPC) provided information on their respective 2018 Work Programmes.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS557
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 12 March 2018
Made by: Alok Sharma (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) 15th March 2018, Brussels

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 15th March 2018 in Brussels. I will represent the UK at the Council.

The Council will be invited to conduct a policy debate on The Future of Social Europe Post 2020.

Under an agenda item on the European Semester, the Council will be invited to adopt the following documents of the European Semester: the Joint Employment Report (JER) and Council Conclusions on the Annual Growth Survey (AGS).

The Council will receive a presentation from the Commission on its 2018 Country Reports on the implementation of Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) from 2017.

The Council will be invited to endorse the opinion of the Employment Committee (EMCO)’s on the latest biennial assessment of Member States’ progress against the non-binding Council recommendation of 2013 on a Youth Guarantee for tackling youth unemployment.

The Council will be invited to adopt a Recommendation for a European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships. The Council will then conduct a policy debate on Closing the gender pay gap: contributing to the achievement of the goals of the European Social Pillar.

Under any other business, the Commission will present information on its awaited Social Fairness Package, the Commission and the President will present information on the Tripartite Social Summit, and the chairs of the EMCO and the Social Protection Committee (SPC) will provide information on their respective 2018 Work Programmes.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS514
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