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Written Answers — House of Lords: Employment and Support Allowance (27 November 2014)

Lord Freud: The information as requested is not available.

Written Answers — House of Lords: Work Capability Assessment (25 November 2014)

Lord Freud: All healthcare professionals who carry out work capability assessments on behalf of the DWP are fully trained in disability assessment and are registered with their respective Regulatory Body. Healthcare professionals receive comprehensive training in the functional effects of mental health conditions. In addition all health professionals are supported by mental function champions who have...

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: The information requested is not currently available. The department published its strategy for releasing official statistics on universal credit in September 2013; officials are currently quality-assuring data for universal credit. It is not yet possible to give a date for when these statistics will become available.

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: We have put out some statistics on the level of housing arrears, which show that, right at the start, 16% of people were in arrears. That compares with 7% for JSA equivalents. In the second wave of research, that 16% figure had come down to 12%. We have put in a lot of measures to ensure that we get that figure right down and give people the support that they need to manage their finances.

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: We have a very active programme working with the banks to ensure that they provide services for the clients who are on universal credit. An exercise is currently going through to expand the ability of credit unions to provide these kinds of facilities by giving them a common banking platform.

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: We conducted a painstaking process of testing how people respond to paying their housing rent directly. We found that there was a three-month adjustment process until people got familiar with it. We are now ensuring that we have the right systems to help people make that adjustment into the monthly payment situation.

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: In the last strategic outline business case the costs of the programme to 2023-24 were 1.8 billion. That is down from the 2.4 billion figure that we had in 2011. Under that case, we anticipate that the bulk of the exercise to transfer people on to universal credit will be completed by 2019.

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: The poverty figures show that we are making really good progress in tackling poverty, with 600,000 fewer people in poverty through this Government. We are ensuring that housing costs are covered within universal credit and that people can take control of their lives in that way.

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: The working allowances in universal credit are much greater than under the legacy system, so there is a freeze that will have a small effect. Nevertheless, the poverty impacts are to take 300,000 children out of poverty.

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: We have a system with the spare room subsidy where there is support at a local level through discretionary housing payment, and this is exactly the kind of case where you would expect to see that payment made.

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: We have some financial incentives within universal credit to encourage people to go into work compared with the legacy system. The best and most recent data we have show that over a six-month period, 69% of people would have had some work in universal credit compared with 65% in the comparable JSA cohort.

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: The number of people claiming housing benefit has come down by more than 2% in the last year, which makes the point that for the first time in a decade housing benefit has fallen.

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: It is very important that local areas look after the more vulnerable people, and one of the most important elements that we are introducing alongside universal credit and supplementing it is universal support delivered locally. That produces a partnership where we can get all the resources that people need to become independent and take responsibility for their own lives and get them into a...

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: Excuse me, I just missed that. The housing what were too high?

Universal Credit — Question (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: Thank you. We have borne down on rents in the local housing allowance rates and have seen rents come down—I do not know if that was as a direct result, but they have come down at the same time. I have some statistics that I will send to the noble Lord.

Written Answers — House of Lords: Social Security Benefits (24 November 2014)

Lord Freud: The Government has sympathy for the women who suffered by their admission to and work in the Magdalene institutions. However, payments made under the Republic of Ireland’s ex gratia scheme do not meet GB legal criteria to be treated as personal injury payments. The payments are not being made ‘in consequence of any personal injury’, but are made in consequence of being...

Written Answers — House of Lords: Carer’s Allowance (19 November 2014)

Lord Freud: The number of people who are entitled to receive Carer’s Allowance (CA), including those who receive no actual payment, for 2013/14 is published and available at: http://tabulation-tool.dwp.gov.uk/100pc/tabtool.html The figure for 2013/14 is 1,071,220. Information for 2014/15 is not yet available. Source: DWP 100% Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (Caseload) Notes: 1. The figure is...

Written Answers — House of Lords: State Retirement Pensions (17 November 2014)

Lord Freud: The state pension is based on the National Insurance contributions a person has paid or been credited with and it is paid out of the National Insurance Fund. The state pension is technically and legally a benefit and has been so since the 1946 National Insurance Act. The Government does not include the state pension in the Welfare Cap.

Underoccupancy Charge: Carers — Question (10 November 2014)

Lord Freud: An unpaid resident carer is allocated a bedroom, unless they are the partner of the housing benefit claimant, in which case they will share a bedroom. A non-resident unpaid carer who regularly undertakes overnight care in respect of the claimant or their partner is also provided with a bedroom.

Underoccupancy Charge: Carers — Question (10 November 2014)

Lord Freud: We clearly value carers greatly, and we have put support into the system at different levels for them. In this case we have given local authorities some guidance to make it absolutely clear that they can make longer-term determinations of discretionary housing payments. We have also made it clear that DHPs will be paid next year as well as this year.

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