Work and Pensions Questions House of Commons


Work and Pensions Questions

Live coverage of questions in the House of Commons to work and pensions secretary David Gauke and his ministerial team.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Work and Pensions Questions. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to the live

coverage of the House of Commons. In

0:00:120:00:15

one hour, the Shadow Secretary at

Emily Thornberry burlesque and

0:00:150:00:18

urgent question of the British

Iranian National Nazanin

0:00:180:00:23

Zaghari-Ratcliffe who is in prison

in Iran accused of -- trying to

0:00:230:00:30

overthrow the regime. David Davis

will update ministers on the latest

0:00:300:00:34

round of talks in Brussels. Margaret

Hodge will move a notion for a

0:00:340:00:39

debate on tax avoidance and the main

business is the Northern Ireland

0:00:390:00:43

Bill which will pass a budget for

Northern Ireland. Don't forget to

0:00:430:00:47

join me, Mandy Baker, at 11pm for a

round-up of the day from both Houses

0:00:470:00:52

of Parliament. First, questions to

the Work and Pensions Secretary and

0:00:520:00:57

his team of ministers.

The Department of Work and Pensions

0:00:570:01:09

has regular discussions with

colleagues across government about

0:01:090:01:11

the treatment of Gurkhas and the

benefits system and responsibilities

0:01:110:01:16

under the Armed Forces government.

Additional support is in play sport

0:01:160:01:20

all members of the Armed Forces

community to take account of their

0:01:200:01:22

needs and circumstances.

I thank the Minister for her

0:01:220:01:28

response. Gurkhas have put

themselves on the line or our

0:01:280:01:31

country and I recently met members

of the Gurkha community in Eastleigh

0:01:310:01:36

who travel long distances from home.

Having met these phenomenal

0:01:360:01:43

soldiers, will my honourable friend

continue to ensure that their very

0:01:430:01:47

unique circumstances are recognised

in our pensions and benefits system?

0:01:470:01:52

As you will be aware, Mr Speaker, I

am married to a former Gurkha so I

0:01:520:01:56

fully understand and share my

honourable friend's gratitude for

0:01:560:02:03

their bravery and their service. No

member of our Armed Forces should be

0:02:030:02:07

disadvantaged by their service to

our country. And I would like to

0:02:070:02:10

reassure her that the Department of

Work and Pensions takes very

0:02:100:02:14

seriously our commitment to the

Armed Forces government. And we will

0:02:140:02:17

do everything we can and work as

hard as we can tout them get the

0:02:170:02:20

best possible support.

Mr Speaker. Advances are interest

0:02:200:02:31

free and repayable over six months

for those making a new claim, or 12

0:02:310:02:34

months for those on benefits before

claiming the Universal Credit. Our

0:02:340:02:37

objective is to strike the right

balance between supporting claimants

0:02:370:02:42

with living expenses and ensuring

they have the ability to pay the

0:02:420:02:46

advance.

I think the Secretary of

State for that answer and he will no

0:02:460:02:50

guidance states that 40% of the

standard allowance can be used in

0:02:500:02:54

repaying an advance payment, and 40%

can be deducted from the payments to

0:02:540:03:02

pay back creditors. It is not clear

from the guidance whether a claimant

0:03:020:03:05

might end up paying both. Meaning

they will have more than 40%

0:03:050:03:10

deducted from their award. Could the

Secretary of State clarified the

0:03:100:03:14

maximum amount repayable and

recognise this is a charter for loan

0:03:140:03:18

sharks?

The deduction in terms of

subsequent payments to take into

0:03:180:03:27

account of an advance, there is not

-- this does not apply to the 40%.

0:03:270:03:34

But we have to remember that this is

an advance, this does give people

0:03:340:03:38

greater flexibility to have access

to their Universal Credit early so

0:03:380:03:42

that they are able to cope with that

initial first assessment period.

0:03:420:03:47

We hear a lot from the other side

about Universal Credit, but we do

0:03:470:03:51

need to remember that this is a much

more effective system of getting

0:03:510:03:54

people into work and that

nationally, 113 people move into

0:03:540:03:59

work and Universal Credit ban for

every 100 and the previous system.

0:03:590:04:04

In my constituency, which was a

pathfinder for Universal Credit, we

0:04:040:04:07

are seeing very substantial drops

and people claiming. Is this not a

0:04:070:04:11

better system altogether?

A my honourable friend is absolutely

0:04:110:04:16

right. Universal Credit is helping

people get into work, the progress

0:04:160:04:23

in work, and it is also clear that

people on Universal Credit are

0:04:230:04:27

spending more time looking for work

than on the legacy and effects. And

0:04:270:04:31

I think it is really important that

we all work to ensure that Universal

0:04:310:04:36

Credit is a success. We believe it

will result in 250,000 more jobs in

0:04:360:04:40

this country as a consequence of its

operation and that is something that

0:04:400:04:45

is worth achieving.

What the Secretary of State has

0:04:450:04:52

repeated again this afternoon falls

into the precise trap of treating

0:04:520:04:57

everyone on Universal Credit as if

they were out of work. Surely one of

0:04:570:05:01

the big issues is the problem of

applying conditionality to people

0:05:010:05:07

who already have jobs.

Well, the point about Universal

0:05:070:05:13

Credit is that it operates when

people are out of work and when they

0:05:130:05:17

are in work. That means that what

you will not get is what happens

0:05:170:05:20

with the legacy system, that people

are worried about doing extra hours

0:05:200:05:23

because they find they have claims

closed. That is holding people back

0:05:230:05:29

from progressing. But I do believe

that in work conditionality has a

0:05:290:05:33

role to play within our system to

ensure that people do progress. We

0:05:330:05:37

have an issue in terms of people who

are in work but still getting

0:05:370:05:42

substantial support from the

taxpayer. We want them to be able to

0:05:420:05:46

progress to be less dependent upon

the state and that is what Universal

0:05:460:05:49

Credit will deliver.

What steps has the Secretary of

0:05:490:05:53

State taken to increase the

awareness of advance payments?

Well,

0:05:530:05:59

we have changed the guidance that

applies in Job Centres in respect of

0:05:590:06:04

advance payments. There is also

increased publicity within Job

0:06:040:06:07

Centres. I saw myself visiting a Job

Centre in Bedford last week the way

0:06:070:06:13

in which the operation of advances

is working. We did believe there

0:06:130:06:19

would be increased to take up so

people will get the support they

0:06:190:06:22

need. And when it is suggested that

people under Universal Credit would

0:06:220:06:26

face weeks and weeks without any

financial support whatsoever, I am

0:06:260:06:32

afraid that is scaremongering

because that is what is happening

0:06:320:06:34

under the system as it is operating.

Yesterday, the Scottish Finance

0:06:340:06:41

Secretary Derek Mackay wrote to the

Chancellor ahead of his budget

0:06:410:06:44

appealing for Universal Credit is to

be fixed. Today, 140 academics

0:06:440:06:48

publish an open letter in the

Telegraph which criticised the

0:06:480:06:51

advance payment system and echoed

the Derek Mackay's call to reduce

0:06:510:06:57

the first payment waiting time and

move the twice monthly payments and

0:06:570:06:59

reverse cuts to allowances. Does the

Secretary of State agree that the

0:06:590:07:04

Chancellor should act?

Can I does

make a point about Universal Credit,

0:07:040:07:10

and early payments within the

system? There is flexibility for

0:07:100:07:17

Scotland, the Scottish government

has flexibility, which it is

0:07:170:07:19

exercising. But it means that the

second assessment period, people at

0:07:190:07:25

the end of that will only get 50% of

what they are entitled to and then

0:07:250:07:29

the rest will be deferred and it

will be paid in the third assessment

0:07:290:07:33

period. That strikes me, it is.

Scotland to decide, but it does

0:07:330:07:38

strike me as making the situation

more difficult for claimants, not

0:07:380:07:41

easier.

The Secretary of State is looking

0:07:410:07:46

for the Scottish Government to show

him how it is done committee should

0:07:460:07:49

devolve Universal Credit in full and

we will get on with it! I wonder if

0:07:490:07:54

he has seen a report from the Child

Poverty Action Group group and the

0:07:540:07:58

IPPR and they say cuts to Universal

Credit will leave an extra 1 million

0:07:580:08:03

children in poverty. Is a million

more children in poverty not

0:08:030:08:07

evidence enough for the UK

Government to reverse the cuts to

0:08:070:08:10

work allowances and make work pay?

Well, my point was that the Scottish

0:08:100:08:16

Government deliver and Universal

Credit in a different way, but a way

0:08:160:08:19

I think is worse than the situation

in England and Wales. But I have to

0:08:190:08:26

say, the point about Universal

Credit is that it will help people

0:08:260:08:29

into work. Let me give one brief

example. If I may, Mr Speaker. I

0:08:290:08:35

heard of an account last week of

someone, a single mother on income

0:08:350:08:40

support not currently able, not

previously able to claim the best

0:08:400:08:47

childcare costs. Now under Universal

Credit, they are able to do so,

0:08:470:08:51

she's taking up a job working eight

or nine hours a week where she was

0:08:510:08:55

not previously able to do, a first

step on the ladder. That is an

0:08:550:08:58

example of what Universal is

delivering.

0:08:580:09:04

It with recent report by the

Resolution Foundation using new data

0:09:040:09:09

based on bank transactions shows

58%, so the majority of new

0:09:090:09:13

claimants living and Universal

Credit as a result of leaving

0:09:130:09:16

employment in the last year were

paid either fortnightly or weekly.

0:09:160:09:19

In their previous job. A far higher

percentage than the economy on

0:09:190:09:23

average were around one in four paid

fortnightly or weekly. The guy

0:09:230:09:28

mentioning sure no claim and has to

wait more than ten days so will they

0:09:280:09:32

make sure it mirrors the end -- the

world of work for those who claim

0:09:320:09:37

it?

Universal Credit is replacing

tax credits, and tax credits, 57% of

0:09:370:09:45

claimants are paid monthly and 12%

get paid for weekly. That is nearly

0:09:450:09:53

70% are paid over that period of

time and if you are to have a system

0:09:530:09:59

that works for everybody, then a

monthly system is what it has to be.

0:09:590:10:06

We are committed to ensuring

claimants receive high-quality,

0:10:120:10:15

fair, accurate assessments. DWP

closely monitors assessments through

0:10:150:10:22

independent audit and assessments

deemed unacceptable returned. A

0:10:220:10:27

range of measures including provider

improvement plans address

0:10:270:10:31

performance falling below expected

standards and DWP continually looks

0:10:310:10:34

to improve the assessment process.

0:10:340:10:40

My office is inundated with people

dissatisfied and distressed after

0:10:400:10:42

their assessment. In light of

statistics showing an almost

0:10:420:10:46

ninefold increase in complaints to

the department, what analysis has

0:10:460:10:49

been made of the PIP assessment

process?

We are constantly striving

0:10:490:10:57

to improve the assessment period. It

is worth pointing out that the total

0:10:570:11:02

number of complaints on PIP is about

1%. We are continuing to work

0:11:020:11:07

closely with the assessors to ensure

that this can be delivered as

0:11:070:11:12

effectively as possible.

Justin

Tomlinson.

The vast majority of

0:11:120:11:17

successful appeals because of late

additional evidence. What further

0:11:170:11:21

consideration is being given to

sharing data between the two

0:11:210:11:25

different assessments and to

automatically access health records

0:11:250:11:29

where the claimant is welling in

advance of an assessment?

I think my

0:11:290:11:36

honourable friend raises an

important point. He is actually

0:11:360:11:38

right and is the reason why the

majority of overturned decisions are

0:11:380:11:43

reached. We continue to look at ways

in which the assessment process of

0:11:430:11:47

PIP and ESA, to the extent they can

be greater called nation between

0:11:470:11:53

them, that is something we are

considering.

Mr Speaker, my

0:11:530:11:58

constituent has a life limiting

illness and her medical consultant

0:11:580:12:01

has confirmed this affects even the

most basic of daily activities.

0:12:010:12:06

Without a transplant, she has

approximately two or three years

0:12:060:12:09

left to live. She has just been

turned down for PIP. Will the

0:12:090:12:14

Secretary of State please give an

undertaking he will look into this

0:12:140:12:17

as a matter of urgency? Can he

confirm that compassionate

0:12:170:12:20

conservatism is officially dead?

In

terms of her first point, of course,

0:12:200:12:28

I will happily look at that case if

she wants to provide me with the

0:12:280:12:31

details.

For our constituents, a

health assessment is an incredibly

0:12:310:12:40

important moment and it can be very

distressing. I have been calling for

0:12:400:12:44

a routine recording of assessments,

providing evidence of when they go

0:12:440:12:49

wrong. A recording in itself could

change behaviour for the better.

0:12:490:12:54

Could my honourable friend provide

an update on the recording pilot?

We

0:12:540:12:59

are looking at that. I think my

honourable friend makes an important

0:12:590:13:02

point in terms of the need for

independent audit of assessments to

0:13:020:13:12

ensure the advice provided by

decision-makers is of suitable

0:13:120:13:15

quality, fully explained

unjustified, and recording that is

0:13:150:13:21

part of the various options that we

have in terms of making those

0:13:210:13:23

improvements.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Can I start by welcoming the

0:13:230:13:31

honourable lady to her place? There

has been a 900% increase in

0:13:310:13:37

complaints about the personal

independence payment assessment. Her

0:13:370:13:41

Majesty's courts and tribunal

statistics show that the number of

0:13:410:13:47

appeals lodged and the proportion of

DWP decisions overturned has

0:13:470:13:49

increased. There has been a 67%

increase in the first quarter of

0:13:490:13:58

this year in appeals, in comparison

with the same period last year. Just

0:13:580:14:04

last week, Britain's Rosenior

tribunal judge stated that most of

0:14:040:14:07

the benefit cases that reach the

court are based on bad decisions,

0:14:070:14:13

where the DWP has no case at all.

The quality of evidence...

Order, we

0:14:130:14:19

do need a? Very soon. -- we do need

a question mark very soon. The text

0:14:190:14:28

is extensive, I know she is new to

the bench and I listened with

0:14:280:14:32

interest and respect, but we need to

proceed speedily. I know she is

0:14:320:14:36

getting to a question in her next

sentence.

I certainly am getting to

0:14:360:14:41

my question. What I will ask the

Secretary of State is what action is

0:14:410:14:45

he taking to improve the personal

independence payment framework,

0:14:450:14:50

improve the accuracy of

decision-making and standards of

0:14:500:14:53

mandatory reconciliation, and stop

wasting taxpayer money on funds -- a

0:14:530:15:03

necessary tribunal is and appeals.

Let me put this in context. Since

0:15:030:15:07

the personal independence framework

was introduced in 2013, the DWP has

0:15:070:15:12

carried over 2.6 million

assessments. As I said earlier, the

0:15:120:15:15

total number of complaints received

equates to fewer than 1% of all

0:15:150:15:19

assessments. Our latest research

shows that 76% of PIP claimants are

0:15:190:15:26

satisfied with the overall

experience. In terms of the 2.6

0:15:260:15:31

million decisions, 80% have been

appealed, 4% have been successfully

0:15:310:15:34

appealed. We constantly strive to

improve the PIP system. But let's

0:15:340:15:42

put this in some context.

Last week

I was able to spend the day in the

0:15:420:15:51

Jobcentre in my constituency, seeing

what is going well and what is not

0:15:510:15:54

going so well with some welfare

reforms, including Universal Credit

0:15:540:15:57

and PIP. One issue that came up as

the period of time that people are

0:15:570:16:00

waiting for health and work

capability assessments. Can I ask my

0:16:000:16:04

honourable friend what penalties are

being levied against some of the

0:16:040:16:07

third-party companies involved with

the assessments and what could be

0:16:070:16:09

done to close the gap for

constituents?

When it comes to

0:16:090:16:19

improving the timing, whether it be

of ESA or PIP assessments, it is the

0:16:190:16:23

case that they have that period of

time reduced in recent months. That

0:16:230:16:33

is something I welcome. We continue

to work closely with the providers

0:16:330:16:37

of the assessments to ensure that

their performance is adequate.

0:16:370:16:41

Question four, Mr Speaker.

0:16:410:16:46

With permission, I will answer

questions for Macron six together.

0:16:470:16:51

In 2012, overall participation of

female eligible employees in a

0:16:510:16:55

workplace pension was 58%. Since the

introduction of automatic enrolment,

0:16:550:16:59

this has increased to 80% in 2016.

For males this has increased from

0:16:590:17:06

52% to 76% in the same period.

Two

former pensions ministers have

0:17:060:17:12

criticised the Government for the

policy. The opposition parties

0:17:120:17:18

recognise the government matter is

wrong. The growing number of

0:17:180:17:21

cross-party MPs say it is wrong, and

hundreds of thousands of

0:17:210:17:27

disadvantaged 1950s women know it is

wrong. When will the current

0:17:270:17:31

pensions minister and the Government

admit their mistake and take action

0:17:310:17:35

to rectify this grave injustice?

0:17:350:17:39

The Government will not be

revisiting the state pension

0:17:400:17:43

arrangements for women born in the

1950s that are affected by the

0:17:430:17:46

pensions act of 1995, 2007 and 2011.

This would require people of working

0:17:460:17:53

age, more specifically younger

people, to bear an even greater

0:17:530:17:56

share of the cost of the pensions

system.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The

0:17:560:18:03

government matter's former pensions

minister has said that she regrets

0:18:030:18:07

the government's failure to properly

communicate the state pension age

0:18:070:18:11

equalisation and it is up to Macron

approach she describes as a massive

0:18:110:18:17

failure of public policy. Does the

Minister appreciate how much this

0:18:170:18:21

failure has affected 1950s women's

ability to plan for a happy

0:18:210:18:27

retirement? And the sense of outrage

they feel about this issue?

Since

0:18:270:18:33

1995, successive governments,

including the Labour Party, have

0:18:330:18:36

gone to significant lengths to

communicate the changes, including

0:18:360:18:41

targeted communications, hundreds of

press reports, parliamentary

0:18:410:18:44

debates, advertising and millions of

letters. In the last 17 years, the

0:18:440:18:48

department has also provided over 18

million personalised state pension

0:18:480:18:51

estimates.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. My

honourable friend confirm that if

0:18:510:18:59

changes or were changes to be made

to the women's pensions

0:18:590:19:02

arrangements, that this would

actually create discrimination

0:19:020:19:04

against men and that would be

unfair?

I am grateful to my

0:19:040:19:13

honourable friend from Dorset's

question. The proposal whereby women

0:19:130:19:17

would receive early pensions would

create a new inequality, Mr Speaker,

0:19:170:19:21

between men and women, the legality

of which is highly questionable.

The

0:19:210:19:28

government matter seem to be under

the misapprehension that the

0:19:280:19:31

campaign by the 1950s women will

eventually go away if they keep

0:19:310:19:37

ignoring it, even told the table

office that they would not answer a

0:19:370:19:40

question on a subject for my

honourable friend the member. Tim

0:19:400:19:43

Southee. It will not go away. So why

doesn't the minister engage with the

0:19:430:19:49

campaigners to find the solution and

support our proposals to extend

0:19:490:19:53

pension credit to the most

financially vulnerable and give them

0:19:530:19:56

all the opportunity to retire up to

two years earlier?

The honourable

0:19:560:20:02

gentleman will be aware that the

Government has already introduced

0:20:020:20:05

transitional arrangements, costing

£1.1 billion, in 2011, which mean

0:20:050:20:09

that no woman will see her pension

age change by more than 18 months,

0:20:090:20:13

relative to the 1995 acts timetable.

Question number five.

The

0:20:130:20:22

availability of advances at the

start of a Universal Credit claim

0:20:220:20:25

ensures that those that need money

immediately can access it. Data

0:20:250:20:28

shows that around half of claimants

are receiving advances. We have

0:20:280:20:32

recently undertaken an exercise to

improve awareness and access to the

0:20:320:20:35

support.

The manager of a food bank

in Lincoln has said that there is

0:20:350:20:43

evidence of a clear correlation

locally between the introduction of

0:20:430:20:47

Universal Credit and, in Lincoln, we

have only had a partially so far, a

0:20:470:20:51

full roll-out in March. There is a

clear correlation between that and

0:20:510:20:55

an increase in the use of food

banks. I would ask for your comments

0:20:550:20:58

on that and also asked people on the

benches opposite, including

0:20:580:21:00

yourself, think it is acceptable

that people in Lincoln would be

0:21:000:21:08

starving, not for food banks, but

because of waiting for Universal

0:21:080:21:15

Credit payments.

Presumably you say

what is acceptable in Lincoln, way

0:21:150:21:19

above my play the EU pay grade. The

Secretary of State?

I repeatedly

0:21:190:21:25

make this point, that nobody needs

to wait a long period of time for

0:21:250:21:28

cash support under the Universal

Credit system. To suggest otherwise

0:21:280:21:36

is causing unnecessary anxiety for

those that are not on the Universal

0:21:360:21:40

Credit. I'm afraid that I think we

should all discuss this in a

0:21:400:21:44

slightly more responsible manner.

When I visited the Newark Jobcentre

0:21:440:21:53

a week or so ago, 80% of the jobs in

the Jobcentre were paid either four

0:21:530:21:58

weekly or monthly. With the

Secretary of State agree that you

0:21:580:22:00

have to be careful not to patronise

working people, and not to stop them

0:22:000:22:04

from entering the workplace with as

much ease as possible? The vast

0:22:040:22:09

majority of jobs in my constituency

are paid monthly.

My honourable

0:22:090:22:15

friend is absolutely right. Part of

the purpose of Universal Credit is

0:22:150:22:19

to close the gap between being out

of work and being in work. For most

0:22:190:22:23

jobs in work, that is paid monthly,

getting people used to the monthly

0:22:230:22:28

system is a sensible approach. Can I

also say that I very much welcome

0:22:280:22:33

the fact that my honourable friend

has visited a Jobcentre. I recommend

0:22:330:22:38

honourable and right honourable

members to do so to hear how it is

0:22:380:22:43

operating on the ground, because the

experience that I know many

0:22:430:22:46

honourable members have is extremely

positive.

I won't ask the Government

0:22:460:22:54

bench for the fifth time whether I

should believe his statement, the

0:22:540:23:00

roll-out of Universal Credit in

Birkenhead will go hunky-dory, with

0:23:000:23:02

a food bank, which says it will need

ten tonnes more food to prevent a

0:23:020:23:08

scenario of people being hungry, if

you cannot abide the word starving.

0:23:080:23:14

We have a debate on Thursday which

is signed by members across the

0:23:140:23:18

House of Commons. It will be the

first time when members opposite can

0:23:180:23:25

actually vote, one if they want to

reform Universal Credit. Will he be

0:23:250:23:31

opening a debate on taking the

message back to Cabinet?

Well, the

0:23:310:23:38

position we have made very clear for

a long time is that we want to

0:23:380:23:41

ensure that Universal Credit works.

This is a test and learn system and

0:23:410:23:48

we are always looking at ways in

which we can improve the system,

0:23:480:23:50

particularly for that first period.

What I would say to the right

0:23:500:23:53

Honourable Member, and the house as

a whole, is that Universal Credit is

0:23:530:23:59

helping us address the best way of

dealing with poverty, which is

0:23:590:24:04

ensuring that people can get into

work. That is the argument that I

0:24:040:24:08

and my honourable and right

honourable friends will continue to

0:24:080:24:11

make.

0:24:110:24:12

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I have

visited job centres and I know that

0:24:150:24:20

in the Universal Credit system that

work coaches are very much an

0:24:200:24:23

important and integral part of the

system. May I ask my honourable

0:24:230:24:27

friend how the new word coaches will

boost job assist job-seekers in my

0:24:270:24:34

constituency, in their eager quest

to find work and to find employment?

0:24:340:24:41

My honourable friend is absolutely

right. That is why we are recruiting

0:24:410:24:45

work coaches up and down the United

Kingdom, providing the personalised

0:24:450:24:49

support that people need to help

them get into work. Again, I come

0:24:490:24:53

back to my experience of meeting

with word coaches in job centres up

0:24:530:24:56

and down the country. They believe

they have a system in place that is

0:24:560:25:01

helping them to do more to transform

lives. That is hugely important.

Mr

0:25:010:25:10

Speaker, one of the original

objectives of Universal Credit was

0:25:100:25:13

to reduce child poverty. In 2010,

the Government said Universal Credit

0:25:130:25:18

would reduce child poverty by

350,000. This was revised to 150,020

0:25:180:25:24

13. Last year, ministers failed to

produce a figure in answer to my

0:25:240:25:28

honourable friend, the member for

West Ham. What are the government's

0:25:280:25:32

current estimates of how many

children would be lifted out of

0:25:320:25:35

poverty as a result of UC?

Universal

Credit gives people a better

0:25:350:25:43

opportunity to work. It gives single

parents greater support. In fact, it

0:25:430:25:50

gives parents greater support on

childcare. I come back to the

0:25:500:25:54

example that I just gave a moment or

so ago. He was previously on income

0:25:540:26:00

support, not able to get help with

childcare, now able to get help with

0:26:000:26:04

childcare and is getting on the

employment ladder thanks to

0:26:040:26:09

Universal Credit. That is what

Universal Credit is delivering.

0:26:090:26:14

Well, that was a really

disappointing answer. We have

0:26:140:26:18

already heard that the Child poverty

action group published data last

0:26:180:26:20

week which is predicting that 1

million more children will be pushed

0:26:200:26:26

into poverty as a result of UC cuts.

300,000 of those that are under

0:26:260:26:33

five. Another objective was to make

work pay. Given that four out of ten

0:26:330:26:40

people on UC are in work and would

be, on average, £2600 a year work in

0:26:400:26:46

the worst off, when will the

Government admit that UC is not fit

0:26:460:26:51

for purpose and stop the roll-out of

UC?

0:26:510:26:57

Can I point out that child poverty

is down since 2010? I think the

0:26:570:27:08

Honourable Member has given the game

away there. She doesn't want to

0:27:080:27:13

pause and fix Universal Credit, Mr

Speaker. She wants to scrap and

0:27:130:27:19

rewind it. She wants to rewind to a

system when claimants were forced to

0:27:190:27:28

accept reduction rate of 90%, where

they had to claim a multitude of

0:27:280:27:32

benefits and where we have a benefit

system that was not an aid to people

0:27:320:27:36

working, but an impediment that

trapped people in poverty and

0:27:360:27:40

dependency. That is what Universal

Credit will bring an end to.

0:27:400:27:52

With permission, Mr Speaker, will

answer questions seven and 12

0:27:520:27:56

together. There are no financial

losers on those on the seat of

0:27:560:28:04

Employment Allowance and the

universal Reddit equivalent prior to

0:28:040:28:08

April 2017 including those who

temporarily leave the essay to try

0:28:080:28:14

out work and return. New claimants

from April and are capable of

0:28:140:28:18

preparing for work received a rate

of benefits on a par with Job

0:28:180:28:22

Seekers Allowance.

I welcome the

Minister to her place. Changes to

0:28:220:28:28

benefit are actually resulting in

huge cuts to the money people and

0:28:280:28:33

disabilities have to live on. The

ESA cut was touted by the government

0:28:330:28:36

as a way to remove perverse

incentives and encourage people into

0:28:360:28:40

work. With the Minister agree

starvation does not encourage anyone

0:28:400:28:45

into work and cutting funding the

people in need does not help and

0:28:450:28:49

that need, and will she commit to

reversing these invidious cuts?

I

0:28:490:28:54

think the honourable lady for her

question. There are no cuts to

0:28:540:28:58

people on those benefits, let's be

absolutely clear about this. Since

0:28:580:29:06

April 2017, people who are able to

work are receiving a personal

0:29:060:29:09

support package. We have already

recruited 300 new disability claim

0:29:090:29:15

advisers, we have a -- allocated 15

million to the flexible support

0:29:150:29:21

funds, we are doing everything we

can for people who are able to make

0:29:210:29:26

the journey back to work to have the

support that they need to do so.

It

0:29:260:29:34

may place more reliance on the

Minister's comments, that there is

0:29:340:29:40

an austerity. Is he aware that the

Scottish Government estimate between

0:29:400:29:46

7-10,000 people in my constituency

and in Scotland stands to lose the

0:29:460:29:50

work-related component of their

allowances and this is a cut they

0:29:500:29:55

cannot afford, so will she undertake

to speak as a matter of urgency to

0:29:550:29:58

the Chancellor ahead of the budget

to reverse the cuts and stop

0:29:580:30:02

punishing the poor and disabled for

the economic failures of this

0:30:020:30:05

Government.

I think the honourable

gentleman. Let's be absolutely clear

0:30:050:30:09

what we are trying to achieve here.

There are many people in Scotland

0:30:090:30:13

and across our country who are

recovering from health conditions,

0:30:130:30:19

who have disabilities, who really

want to work. And we are doing

0:30:190:30:22

everything that we can't to provide

them with tailored support so that

0:30:220:30:26

they can do that and they can play a

full part in the society to enable

0:30:260:30:31

them to do so.

Despite record

employment, only one in every 100

0:30:310:30:37

people on ESA leaves the benefits

system every month. Could the

0:30:370:30:43

Minister tell us what more she and

her department doing to help these

0:30:430:30:48

people into work.

He is quite right

to point out this unfair

0:30:480:30:55

discrimination for people with

disabilities in our country who

0:30:550:30:59

really want to make a contribution.

And we are doing everything

0:30:590:31:04

including working with employers as

well as providing people seeking

0:31:040:31:10

employment with a tailor-made

support that they need to play their

0:31:100:31:13

full part in society. The UK

continues to be a global leader in

0:31:130:31:26

disability rights. And we are

committed to further improving and

0:31:260:31:30

progressively implementing this

convention. We are considering the

0:31:300:31:35

committee's recommendations and we

will provide an update on the

0:31:350:31:38

progress we are making in the next

year, as requested by the UN.

Mr

0:31:380:31:44

Speaker, the UN found that UK cuts

disproportionately hit people with

0:31:440:31:49

disabilities and fundamentally and

systematically and gravely

0:31:490:31:54

undermined their human rights. So

will she ensure now, today, that

0:31:540:32:01

PIP, ESN and Universal Credit

brought into line with the

0:32:010:32:04

fundamental conventions of the UN so

the people are treated with dignity

0:32:040:32:10

instead of with discrimination and

cruelty?

This country has a proud

0:32:100:32:15

record of treating people fairly and

we will continue to uphold those

0:32:150:32:20

proud principles. Of course we are

considering the report and as I

0:32:200:32:24

said, we will be publishing our

findings. But let's put this in

0:32:240:32:28

context. Only Germany of the G7

presents more money supporting

0:32:280:32:32

people with disabilities and

long-term conditions. As a

0:32:320:32:37

percentage of GDP, we present 2.5%

and that is 6% of all government

0:32:370:32:44

spending. That is £50 billion year.

Can I just confirm any money

0:32:440:32:51

received on disability benefits as

PIP DLA is exempt under the benefits

0:32:510:32:57

capital.

Very grateful to my

honourable friend for that question

0:32:570:33:02

and I can give a very simple answer,

yes.

0:33:020:33:13

I thank the honourable gentleman for

his question. Up to October 20 7%

0:33:130:33:19

have been disallowed personal

independence payment. 45% of

0:33:190:33:25

claimants with Parkinson's disease

receive a higher award and a PIP

0:33:250:33:30

than they did previously.

Would it

not save a lot of time, money and

0:33:300:33:36

distress if all those on the higher

rate of disability allowance with

0:33:360:33:41

degenerative diseases like

Parkinson's were transferred

0:33:410:33:44

automatically onto personal

independence payments and how many

0:33:440:33:47

people with Parkinson's are

currently in the noble review

0:33:470:33:50

category?

It is absolutely right

that we get PIP right for anybody

0:33:500:33:58

with a disability, including those

people with degenerative diseases

0:33:580:34:01

like Parkinson's. At a big it is

absolutely right to notice, as my

0:34:010:34:06

honourable friend did earlier that

considering how many PIP assessments

0:34:060:34:12

have been made, over 2.6 million,

there have been fewer than 1% of

0:34:120:34:18

complaints. Most of the time, this

benefit is got right the first time.

0:34:180:34:23

But we worked tirelessly, including

with our stakeholders in the

0:34:230:34:28

voluntary sector organisations, to

make improvements.

Advances are

0:34:280:34:36

available at the start of a

Universal Credit claimed to ensure

0:34:360:34:40

people have money to tide them over

until the first payment. Around half

0:34:400:34:45

of claimants receiving advances and

we have undertaken an exercise to

0:34:450:34:49

improve awareness and access to the

support.

I thank the Secretary of

0:34:490:34:55

State for this answer. We are

fortunate in Bernd Ritthammer low

0:34:550:34:58

employment rates. Could you tell me

what the likely impact on jobs of

0:34:580:35:02

Universal Credit roll-out will be in

my constituency?

In total, it is

0:35:020:35:08

estimated that Universal Credit will

help around 250,000 people more into

0:35:080:35:13

employment. On average, that works

out at around 400 extra people in

0:35:130:35:18

work, in each Parliamentary

constituency. But Universal Credit

0:35:180:35:22

will have large impacts in areas

with a higher proportion of benefit

0:35:220:35:25

claimants or a higher prevalence of

single parents and out of work

0:35:250:35:28

families.

But Russell trust say that food bank

0:35:280:35:34

use has increased in areas where

Universal Credit has been rolled

0:35:340:35:38

out, it has not been rolled out yet

in my constituency, but this

0:35:380:35:42

weekend, the Hayward food bank ran

out of food. What safeguards will

0:35:420:35:46

the Minister put in place to ensure

Universal Credit claimants do not

0:35:460:35:50

have to rely on a charity of their

neighbours, a system that sometimes

0:35:500:35:53

fails?

We are improving the advances

0:35:530:35:57

system, awareness of the advances

system. This is a message we can all

0:35:570:36:03

take to our constituents. There is

support available, nobody needs to

0:36:030:36:07

wait six weeks because advances are

available within Job Centres and

0:36:070:36:13

they are being taken up, the

majority of new claimants are taking

0:36:130:36:15

up those offences.

Last week, I heard from one of my

0:36:150:36:21

constituents who was having

difficulty getting an advance

0:36:210:36:24

payment and had to result to a food

bank. When the error was corrected,

0:36:240:36:28

he took that food back to the food

bank when he got his advance

0:36:280:36:34

payment. Does this not show that

when mistakes are made, every effort

0:36:340:36:37

is being made to correct them and

secondly, the basic human decency of

0:36:370:36:42

those claiming Universal Credit?

I entirely agree with my honourable

0:36:420:36:48

friend and the point he makes. It is

worth pointing out that in the

0:36:480:36:53

normal course of events, if somebody

gets an advance, it usually takes

0:36:530:36:57

around three days through the

thanking system for the money to be

0:36:570:37:01

paid. But if need be, people can get

support on the same day.

0:37:010:37:11

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The comment's

position will set out in

0:37:110:37:15

Parliamentary debates in October

2016 and March 2015 by our Liberal

0:37:150:37:21

Democrat colleague says Steve Webb

and I have great sympathy for those

0:37:210:37:25

affected but they are protected by

the pension fund compensation

0:37:250:37:29

scheme. In 1996, the Government

actuaries Department in a note

0:37:290:37:35

bailed to clearly outline the risks

of transferring their pensions to

0:37:350:37:39

the new private sector scheme. We

regulate financial advice in this

0:37:390:37:43

country yet when it is the

Government giving the advice, not

0:37:430:37:47

even the Parliamentary ombudsman can

review it. Surely this is grossly

0:37:470:37:51

unjust. Why does the Minister not

pursue this mis-selling scandal is

0:37:510:37:55

the FCA did with the PPI, is it

because it would be the Government

0:37:550:38:00

that is to blame this time?

The

honourable lady suggests one thing.

0:38:000:38:06

I can only refer her to the two

Parliamentary debates that dealt

0:38:060:38:11

specifically with this matter, as

set out by her own Liberal Democrat

0:38:110:38:15

colleague when he was part of the

Coalition, says Steve Webb, in March

0:38:150:38:18

2015.

The pension protection fund is

a vital lifeline for those who

0:38:180:38:25

become insolvent, can Minister give

an update on when the white paper

0:38:250:38:31

looking at the affordability will be

available?

The Green paper as he

0:38:310:38:36

knows was published in debris 2017

and there has been extensive

0:38:360:38:40

consultation and much consideration

of the matters but forward. We are

0:38:400:38:44

analysing those responses and intend

to publish a white paper in the New

0:38:440:38:48

Year.

Since 2010, over 3 million more

0:38:480:38:56

people have found employment, the

employment rate is close to the

0:38:560:38:59

record high and the employment rate

is the lowest it has been since

0:38:590:39:04

1985.

11% of people in Cheadle are

0:39:040:39:11

self-employed, Mike constituent is

self-employed and also a wheelchair

0:39:110:39:14

user who finds valuable

opportunities to attend networking

0:39:140:39:18

opportunities are lost because they

are not always accessible. Does the

0:39:180:39:23

Minister agree to unlock the talent

and energy of disabled

0:39:230:39:27

entrepreneurs, event organisers must

make provisions for successful

0:39:270:39:31

people to attend them?

I do agree with my honourable friend

0:39:310:39:36

and I think service providers have a

duty to anticipate and provide

0:39:360:39:43

adjustments for disabled people and

certainly in the case of my

0:39:430:39:46

honourable friend's constituent,

this may include arranging events at

0:39:460:39:51

an accessible venue. Also worth

pointing out that the new enterprise

0:39:510:39:54

allowance which is designed to help

people set up businesses, one in

0:39:540:40:01

five of those taking up the new

enterprise allowance have been

0:40:010:40:04

disabled people.

Whilst every new job is welcome, in

0:40:040:40:10

a country where 55% of people knew

in the work of receipt of benefits.

0:40:100:40:17

Mark Webb and living in poverty.

And

the better off now disgustingly

0:40:170:40:24

well-paid, what is the Government

going to do about it.

The highest

0:40:240:40:30

earning 1% pay a bigger proportion

of income tax than they ever have

0:40:300:40:35

done before. I have also announced

that as a government, we have

0:40:350:40:42

substantially increased the Personal

Allowance and introduce the national

0:40:420:40:44

Living Wage and the support the

Universal Credit is going to provide

0:40:440:40:48

will help more and more people

progress into work.

0:40:480:40:55

Around half and we are working to

further improve awareness and access

0:40:550:40:58

to the support.

Mr Speaker, I am keen to ensure the

0:40:580:41:04

advance payments are made to my

constituents in need and I see the

0:41:040:41:09

Job Centre and these systems advise

Dutch Citizens Advice Bureau once a

0:41:090:41:11

month. Would he agreed that the

party opposite should start acting

0:41:110:41:18

responsibly and encourage

constituents to apply for this

0:41:180:41:20

additional help and tone down the

political rhetoric which can deter

0:41:200:41:24

vulnerable people from applying in

the first place?

He knows and the

0:41:240:41:29

party opposite should acknowledge

that no one need go without money

0:41:290:41:32

while waiting for their first

regular payment and they should not

0:41:320:41:35

try to put people off accessing the

support that is there for them.

0:41:350:41:43

Minister, today's exactly six weeks

until Christmas Day. If anyone

0:41:430:41:48

applies for Universal Credit today,

they will have to make do and just

0:41:480:41:53

two weeks of Universal Credit until

after Christmas. What assessment has

0:41:530:41:57

the Minister made of the impact on

those families and their ability to

0:41:570:42:01

let the children enjoy Christmas?

Our record on timeliness of

0:42:010:42:09

Universal Credit has improved

markedly. Advances are always

0:42:090:42:13

available. In the run-up to

Christmas, when there are many

0:42:130:42:17

temporary work opportunities

available, Universal Credit works

0:42:170:42:19

much better for people in being able

to access those opportunities,

0:42:190:42:22

particularly on the verge of the

festive season.

How much longer can

0:42:220:42:27

a time and spend looking for a job

on Universal Credit?

Very well, I

0:42:270:42:32

will take the Right Honourable

Gentleman on question 14. Though he

0:42:320:42:36

did not seek agreement to that

proposition, simply blurting it out.

0:42:360:42:40

We will accept it on that occasion.

Mr Speaker, we do know that people

0:42:400:42:46

spend a great deal more time on

Universal Credit looking for work.

0:42:460:42:50

They apply for a wider range of jobs

and consider jobs they may not have

0:42:500:42:53

considered before. This is all part

of the reason why we know there is

0:42:530:42:57

significantly better labour market

outcomes for people more likely to

0:42:570:42:59

be in work after six months than on

the old benefits.

Question 16, Mr

0:42:590:43:06

Speaker.

Universal Credit is

transforming and modernising the

0:43:060:43:14

welfare state, ending complicated

rolls around employment hours and

0:43:140:43:17

the cliff edges of the old system.

Universal Credit has a clear system

0:43:170:43:20

of allowances and tapers to ensure

that claimants know that they are

0:43:200:43:24

always better off in work.

Will the

Secretary of State agree with me

0:43:240:43:29

that one of the fundamental flaws of

the system we inherited from Labour

0:43:290:43:33

is that people that want it to work

more than 16 hours a week could lose

0:43:330:43:38

90p of every pound that they earned?

My right honourable friend is

0:43:380:43:42

absolutely right. It wasn't just a

very high marginal deduction rates,

0:43:420:43:47

which obviously we don't see with

Universal Credit, it was the fact

0:43:470:43:50

that people moving in and out of

work, or the hours fluctuating,

0:43:500:43:55

could find themselves moving from

one benefit system to another

0:43:550:43:57

benefit system, creating additional

hassle and uncertainty for

0:43:570:44:03

claimants, and indeed discouraging

people from taking on additional

0:44:030:44:06

hours.

Number 17, Mr Speaker.

With

permission, I would like to answer

0:44:060:44:16

question 17 and 19 together. The

Department for Work and Pensions are

0:44:160:44:19

currently undertaking work to

investigate the reality of rent

0:44:190:44:22

arrears and Universal Credit. It

aims to understand the true level of

0:44:220:44:25

rent arrears for the tenants, what

is causing them and any impact

0:44:250:44:29

Universal Credit may be having.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. New findings

0:44:290:44:35

say 49% of landlords are less likely

to rent to those in receipt of

0:44:350:44:40

Universal Credit. In Kirklees there

are only 121 social homes available

0:44:400:44:45

for 9000 700 on the waiting list.

Can the Minister tell us what steps

0:44:450:44:51

she is going to take to prevent

those on year. -- on Universal

0:44:510:44:59

Credit being swim in it against?

The

honourable lady is right to raise

0:44:590:45:04

the question, but there are

alternative arrangements available.

0:45:040:45:06

We have listened very carefully to

housing providers. We are seeing

0:45:060:45:11

improvements in this all the time.

I

listened very carefully to what the

0:45:110:45:18

Minister said in answer to the

question. I am wondering if it is

0:45:180:45:22

any surprise to hear that the chief

executive of a large housing

0:45:220:45:25

association in the north-west of

Raymond recently told me that there

0:45:250:45:28

are arrears from Universal Credit

alone was over £2 million. One

0:45:280:45:32

authority in Yorkshire and Humber

has an average per claimant of over

0:45:320:45:38

£1100 per claimant. Why is that

happening and what are you going to

0:45:380:45:42

do about it?

I think we have to be

really careful not to scaremonger on

0:45:420:45:47

this. The National Federation of

arm's-length management

0:45:470:45:53

organisations reports three quarters

of tenants who started claiming

0:45:530:45:59

Universal Credit were already in

arrears. Research shows that after

0:45:590:46:03

four months, the number of claimants

in arrears has fallen by a third.

0:46:030:46:08

The single biggest problem for

recipients of welfare coming into

0:46:080:46:12

Universal Credit, for some, is the

high level of debt. Could my right

0:46:120:46:16

honourable friend the employment

Minister tell me what he can do to

0:46:160:46:19

take forward his idea of an

interest-free period to resolve

0:46:190:46:22

outstanding debt, and secondly to

promote the use of credit unions in

0:46:220:46:26

advising strongly against loan

sharks in the run-up to Christmas?

0:46:260:46:33

Mr Speaker, and a half of my

honourable friend the employment

0:46:330:46:36

minister, he makes a very important

point. We do want people to adjust

0:46:360:46:39

their levels of debt. That is why we

had a system of advanced payments

0:46:390:46:45

which enables people to be able to

budget properly and meet their

0:46:450:46:50

debts.

Question 18.

Thank you, we

are rolling out Universal Credit

0:46:500:46:58

full-service in a very measured way.

I am not aware of any recent cases

0:46:580:47:02

of claims being lost. If the Right

Honourable Gentleman does no such

0:47:020:47:07

incidents, I very much welcome him

bringing them to my attention.

There

0:47:070:47:12

are serious concerns about glitches

with Universal Credit, apparently

0:47:120:47:17

arising because the IT does not yet

work properly in some areas. The

0:47:170:47:21

Child poverty action group has

reported instances of claims being

0:47:210:47:25

made and then vanishing into the

ether without trace. Will the

0:47:250:47:31

Minister assure the house that

glitches of this kind will be

0:47:310:47:37

addressed and will be resolved, not

simply denied?

Mr Speaker, I think

0:47:370:47:42

the report to which he refers says

that many claims seem to have

0:47:420:47:48

disappeared. In the texted says it

is a small number, and goes on to

0:47:480:47:52

mention just one case. That is not

to say that I ignore that or

0:47:520:47:56

belittle it in anyway. Of course I

take what he says very seriously and

0:47:560:48:00

he has my absolute assurance that I

will pay attention to any glitches.

0:48:000:48:05

Topical questions, Helena Smith.

Number one, Mr Speaker.

This

0:48:050:48:11

department's mission is to support

people through all stages of their

0:48:110:48:15

lives. Universal Credit is being

introduced slowly and steadily and

0:48:150:48:18

positively transforming people's

prospects by bringing satisfaction

0:48:180:48:23

and security of entering work and

increasing earnings. We are also

0:48:230:48:26

helping citizens prepare for later

life with workplace pensions and we

0:48:260:48:31

are committed to helping people at

all stages of their life, and will

0:48:310:48:34

continue to build on this body of

work to achieve our ends.

0:48:340:48:40

How does the department plan to

respond to their own research,

0:48:410:48:46

showing that Universal Credit is a

driver of rent arrears among

0:48:460:48:49

families who rely on it to support

them?

As my honourable friend has

0:48:490:48:55

addressed, we do need to recognise

that a number of other statistics

0:48:550:48:57

that have been quoted, that we have

seen rent arrears rising before

0:48:570:49:06

people went into Universal Credit,

and after a period of time the

0:49:060:49:09

numbers with rent arrears is

falling. Of course, we continue to

0:49:090:49:13

improve the system to ensure that,

for example, payment timeliness is

0:49:130:49:17

improved and that people are able to

access advances when they need it.

0:49:170:49:24

The Minister will know that motor

neurone disease is a degenerative

0:49:240:49:28

disease. Could I ask, therefore,

what plans they have to insure that

0:49:280:49:33

people who suffer from that terrible

disease don't have to be reassessed

0:49:330:49:37

for PIP?

I thank my honourable

friend for that question. The length

0:49:370:49:44

of the award is based on individual

circumstances and can vary from nine

0:49:440:49:47

months to an ongoing ward with a

very light touch review, at the

0:49:470:49:52

10-year point. With somebody as my

honourable friend describes, it is

0:49:520:49:57

very unlikely they would have

another face-to-face assessment with

0:49:570:50:01

a health care professional.

We all

know that the Government is bogged

0:50:010:50:06

down in all manner of ways and have

been slow to develop secondary

0:50:060:50:10

legislation for several new acts.

Can the Minister tell the house when

0:50:100:50:13

he will bring forward regulations to

enact defined contribution and give

0:50:130:50:18

pension savers the opportunity of a

vastly increased benefits system,

0:50:180:50:23

predicted by the pensions policy

Institute and Schroders?

These

0:50:230:50:28

matters are being considered and

will be addressed in the New Year.

0:50:280:50:33

Can the Minister update the house

with the pensions dashboard and

0:50:330:50:38

confirm that all pension schemes

will be required to release the

0:50:380:50:40

conference of data required to make

the system useful?

I am very firmly

0:50:400:50:47

committed to delivering the pensions

dashboard. Its introduction will

0:50:470:50:50

clearly transform the way people

think about retirement. I will make

0:50:500:50:54

a statement in the spring which will

tackle some of the delivery

0:50:540:50:57

challenges, including the point of

the honourable gentleman raises.

0:50:570:51:01

There is a feasibility study that is

ongoing. There is a stakeholder

0:51:010:51:04

meeting on December the 11th and I

would urge him to come along to

0:51:040:51:08

that, as will many interested

stakeholders.

How does the increased

0:51:080:51:14

conditionality associated with

Universal Credit, for example the

0:51:140:51:16

requirement to attend or frequently

at job centres, square with the DWP

0:51:160:51:19

Estates reviewing the decision to

close job centres, starting with

0:51:190:51:23

Merry Hill in my constituency, which

I have recently visited?

Mr Speaker,

0:51:230:51:30

we do have a comprehensive network

of job centres across the United

0:51:300:51:33

Kingdom, more in Scotland and

England and more again in Glasgow

0:51:330:51:36

than other cities. The Universal

Credit is a system which works to

0:51:360:51:40

help to support people to get into

work and it is the right system.

0:51:400:51:45

Does my right honourable friend

share my concern that the inaccurate

0:51:450:51:48

use of Universal Credit statistics

can cause huge distress and concern

0:51:480:51:53

to vulnerable claimants? And that

everyone has a duty to check their

0:51:530:51:56

facts before using them in this

house?

I agree. Can I give one

0:51:560:52:02

example? Speaking from that dispatch

box, the Leader of the Opposition

0:52:020:52:05

recently said that Gloucester city

Holmes had evicted one in eight of

0:52:050:52:11

Universal Credit tenants. If true,

it would amount to 650 tenants being

0:52:110:52:16

evicted. Gloucester city Holmes have

themselves described it does not

0:52:160:52:20

factually accurate. In fact, a total

of eight credits have been evicted.

0:52:200:52:27

All of them had considerable rent

arrears well before moving on to

0:52:270:52:31

Universal Credit. In one case, I

understand they had not been

0:52:310:52:35

resident in the property for 18

months.

Mr Speaker, many veterans

0:52:350:52:41

with psychological injuries carry

out physical activity as part of

0:52:410:52:44

their rehabilitation process. But

some are reporting that they have

0:52:440:52:48

been sanctioned because of this. Can

the Secretary of State give his

0:52:480:52:52

guarantee that his government will

no longer sanction recovering

0:52:520:52:55

veterans?

I will, of course, look at

the facts of the case. I cannot make

0:52:550:53:04

a blank and commitment. Obviously

one has to look at the particular

0:53:040:53:07

circumstances. -- a blanket

commitment. We do recognise and

0:53:070:53:12

support our veterans at every

opportunity.

Mr Speaker, a

0:53:120:53:18

constituency recently contacted me

concerned about the amount of time

0:53:180:53:20

they are having to wait for their

tribunal hearing. Will my right

0:53:200:53:25

honourable friend make

representations to the Ministry of

0:53:250:53:28

Justice about the efficiency of HM

Courts and tribunals?

I am happy to

0:53:280:53:34

convey my honourable friend's

concerns.

Where is the fellow?

0:53:340:53:43

I will take his place, thank you. My

local authority is having to set

0:53:450:53:52

aside £1 million to mitigate for the

devastating impact of the role of

0:53:520:53:56

Universal Credit, the impact it is

having on families, including having

0:53:560:54:00

to hire extra staff to deal with

rent arrears, which they expect to

0:54:000:54:03

increase by 5%. At all levels

government in Scotland forced to

0:54:030:54:08

pick up the government's slack, does

he not have to pause the roll-out

0:54:080:54:14

now?

Universal Credit is going to

help transform lives. It is already

0:54:140:54:21

doing it. Transforming a positively

by giving people the opportunity to

0:54:210:54:26

work and to progress in work. I just

have to say that the SNP can join

0:54:260:54:30

the Labour Party in being on the

wrong side of the adamant and

0:54:300:54:33

history will not forgive them for

it.

-- of the argument. Since 2010,

0:54:330:54:40

discover mug has overseen remarkable

job creation. My predecessor,

0:54:400:54:43

formerly of the SNP benches, has

just secured a very well-paid media

0:54:430:54:48

position with Yorkshire Today. Would

the Minister agree with me that

0:54:480:54:53

people must be flexible about career

choices to get on?

0:54:530:54:59

We sometimes hear enough fake news

within this chamber. To see the

0:55:020:55:14

former leader of the SNP find

themselves employed by a purveyor of

0:55:140:55:17

fake news is disappointing, even if

we welcome employment opportunities

0:55:170:55:19

in the round.

Universal Credit is

proving to be a real challenge for

0:55:190:55:27

people who are self-employed as it

fails to account for fluctuations in

0:55:270:55:32

income from one month to another,

meaning many are losing out on

0:55:320:55:36

hundreds of pounds of lost benefits.

This is totally counter to the

0:55:360:55:40

aspirational vision of Universal

Credit that the Government preaches.

0:55:400:55:46

Will the Minister committed to

immediately reviewing the benefits'

0:55:460:55:51

suitability for the self-employed

and fixing this anomaly?

On the

0:55:510:55:57

contrary, Universal Credit

specifically responds each month to

0:55:570:55:59

what earnings have been in that

month. That is at the heart of its

0:55:590:56:02

design. We do want to help people

that are in self-employment to grow

0:56:020:56:05

their earnings and dimension that

they have sustainable remunerative

0:56:050:56:08

work. That is why we haven't used a

new programme within the new

0:56:080:56:12

enterprise allowance to help you do

just that.

Great unhappiness

0:56:120:56:17

continues surrounding the issues of

pensions and the women who have come

0:56:170:56:24

to see us in our constituencies.

There is a plan to have a Private

0:56:240:56:28

members Bill next year. Does my

right honourable friend not agree

0:56:280:56:30

that given the continuing

accusations and counter accusations

0:56:300:56:34

as to whether people were told not

that it would be worthwhile to have

0:56:340:56:37

the debate? Will he support such

idea?

I am grateful to my right

0:56:370:56:44

honourable friend for his question

and I have no doubt that there will

0:56:440:56:47

continue to be debates on this

matter. As my honourable friend the

0:56:470:56:50

pensions minister has already

declared, we are not going to be

0:56:500:56:56

deviating from the policy we have

set out.

0:56:560:57:05

12% of council tenants in the

Universal Credit pilot accumulated

0:57:050:57:12

by .3 million pounds rent arrears.

Given his astonishing refusal in the

0:57:120:57:17

face of such evidence to halt the

roll-out, can the Secretary of State

0:57:170:57:22

to say precisely what he is doing to

stop more on my constituents being

0:57:220:57:25

made homeless as a consequence of

this decision?

Again, I come back to

0:57:250:57:31

this throwing around of accusations.

In terms of, we had the Leader of

0:57:310:57:37

the Opposition claiming that 650

people were being evicted, had been

0:57:370:57:43

evicted because of Universal Credit.

We are not seeing convictions in the

0:57:430:57:47

social rental sector and there are

clear reasons why that does not

0:57:470:57:50

happen. What we are getting from the

party opposite is scaremongering for

0:57:500:57:59

potential Universal Credit

claimants, which is creating

0:57:590:58:01

unnecessary anxiety.

Would he agree

with me and congratulate boxed OCA

0:58:010:58:08

be? We have Universal Credit rolled

out next year and they are putting

0:58:080:58:14

together the relevant agencies to

make some law we are ready for it.

0:58:140:58:19

And what you look at whether or not

for a very small amount of money my

0:58:190:58:24

CAB could have one person to deal

with all the cases, and we can make

0:58:240:58:28

this work as we all know it should

work?

I will take that as a spending

0:58:280:58:35

bid from my right honourable friend.

But she is right to highlight the

0:58:350:58:40

role of the Citizens Advice Bureau

and I met with some in St Albans and

0:58:400:58:46

Bedford last week and whether CAB

works closely with the Job Centres,

0:58:460:58:49

it helps deliver the support people

need and I very much welcome that.

0:58:490:58:55

My constituent was moved onto

Universal Credit in January 2016 and

0:58:550:58:59

has been given a 132 day sanction

and treated by psychiatric services

0:58:590:59:04

and will be back to look into her

case because it is very sensitive.

I

0:59:040:59:11

am happy to receive representations

from the honourable member on that

0:59:110:59:15

case. I cannot talk about

individuals matters but happy to

0:59:150:59:18

look at that case.

What is my right honourable friend

0:59:180:59:24

doing to close loopholes designed to

avoid child maintenance payments?

0:59:240:59:34

Where a nonresident payment fails to

pay on time or in full, we endeavour

0:59:340:59:40

to immediately try and establish

compliance before enforcement action

0:59:400:59:42

is needed. We have a range of powers

including the forced sale of

0:59:420:59:49

property, disqualification from

driving or commitments to prison.

0:59:490:59:51

But we are exploring options to

expand this to form part of the new

0:59:510:59:58

compliance strategy shortly, Mr

Speaker.

Members of the British

0:59:581:00:05

Steel pension scheme need to decide

whether to go into the pension

1:00:051:00:09

scheme or the PPF by December the 11

but there is a lack of clarity

1:00:091:00:14

around high low pensioners in the

PPF and whether that might change

1:00:141:00:20

after that point. Can the Secretary

of State look at this so the

1:00:201:00:23

information is available for people

make that decision?

1:00:231:00:28

I acknowledge the issue the

honourable gentleman is setting out.

1:00:281:00:31

If he contacts me, I will sit down

with him and go through it in more

1:00:311:00:35

detail. It is a matter for the

trustees

1:00:351:00:37