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Results 1-20 of 248 for in the 'Westminster Hall debates' speaker:Esther McVey

Benefit Claimants (North-east) — [Mrs Linda Riordan in the Chair] (7 January 2015)

Esther McVey: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mrs Riordan. I thank the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central (Chi Onwurah) for securing the debate, as it allows me to clarify and explain some of the points that have been raised. First off, I want to speak on behalf of the 34,000 jobcentre staff who work in over 740 jobcentres across the country and see about 400,000 people a...

Benefit Claimants (North-east) — [Mrs Linda Riordan in the Chair] (7 January 2015)

Esther McVey: I will continue, because I have heard specific quotes today. I have to defend those people, because I believe they work incredibly hard.

Benefit Claimants (North-east) — [Mrs Linda Riordan in the Chair] (7 January 2015)

Esther McVey: No, they were specific quotes used by Members about what advisers had said. Those people in the past year alone have helped record numbers of people into work, and work consistently hard every day, to the best of their abilities, so I want to speak on their behalf. I will also say that nobody, whoever they are, should be treated shoddily, badly or rudely—I think those were the words...

Benefit Claimants (North-east) — [Mrs Linda Riordan in the Chair] (7 January 2015)

Esther McVey: I am trying to follow the logic. Apparently we were not talking about the staff, but there are people who are treating people shoddily, badly and so on; the hon. Gentleman therefore is talking about people who work in jobcentres—[Interruption.] I would like to finish my sentence.

Benefit Claimants (North-east) — [Mrs Linda Riordan in the Chair] (7 January 2015)

Esther McVey: Not at this moment, no. When people have been spoken to or treated like that, the people who have done that will be brought to account. I am saying that it is not acceptable that anybody is spoken to in such a manner, irrespective of who they are. I will defend the right of anybody to be spoken to properly and courteously. That is only right, and it is the way I would expect everybody to...

Benefit Claimants (North-east) — [Mrs Linda Riordan in the Chair] (7 January 2015)

Esther McVey: I will give way first to the hon. Lady who secured the debate.

Benefit Claimants (North-east) — [Mrs Linda Riordan in the Chair] (7 January 2015)

Esther McVey: As I said, I take full responsibility, because I would not accept anyone speaking to anyone else, irrespective of who they are, in a discourteous way. Obviously, hon. Members would like to know that, actually, claimant satisfaction has increased under this Government. It has increased in the north-east, and at the moment it stands at 81%. That is only right. We constantly monitor how people...

Benefit Claimants (North-east) — [Mrs Linda Riordan in the Chair] (7 January 2015)

Esther McVey: Absolutely. If anyone comes forward to point out what has happened, the people involved should be brought to task. I would like to think that these are instances of bad apples, because I do not believe that that reflects the 34,000 people who are doing a sterling job, and who have helped so many people into employment—that is their job. They come into the profession because they want to...

Benefit Claimants (North-east) — [Mrs Linda Riordan in the Chair] (7 January 2015)

Esther McVey: On what happened pre-2010, that was so significantly different from what is happening now. There was widespread inconsistency in decision making, with similar cases treated differently in different jobcentres.

Benefit Claimants (North-east) — [Mrs Linda Riordan in the Chair] (7 January 2015)

Esther McVey: I will not; I will proceed a little further. We had to ensure that we did not have different approaches and inconsistencies. We had to ensure that everyone was treated the same and fairly across the country. In 2010, 1.4 million people had spent most of the previous decade trapped on out-of-work benefits, so our mission was to renew the incentives to work and to remove barriers in...

Benefit Claimants (North-east) — [Mrs Linda Riordan in the Chair] (7 January 2015)

Esther McVey: Part of the picture—perhaps Opposition Members do not want to hear this—is about why welfare has been changing and what has been happening. How many people are sanctioned? We know that, per month for JSA, the figure is between 5% and 6%, and that for ESA the figure is less than 1%. In the past year, the number of people sanctioned actually decreased. The number of adverse...

Benefit Claimants (North-east) — [Mrs Linda Riordan in the Chair] (7 January 2015)

Esther McVey: I have been answering those points. Today’s statistics were specifically for the north-east. They show the help and support that we have given to individuals who would have been locked out of the workplace but who were given support to get into work. We have reduced the figures for worklessness and for children living in workless households; all of that is key. On digital separation,...

[Mr George Howarth in the Chair] — Benefit Sanctioning (2 December 2014)

Esther McVey: It is a pleasure, Mr Howarth, to serve under your chairmanship. I thank the hon. Member for Sheffield Central (Paul Blomfield) for bringing this important debate to the Chamber. It is important for us to keep a spotlight on the sanctions regime. Sanctions have always been part of the benefits system. As Oakley stated, benefits sanctions provide a vital backdrop in the social security system...

[Mr George Howarth in the Chair] — Benefit Sanctioning (2 December 2014)

Esther McVey: The Labour party has already been brought to task by the UK Statistics Authority for talking about a significant increase in zero-hours contracts that did not happen. The contracts began in 2000 as the minimum wage was brought in. We know the number of people on them, and for the vast majority they work. When they do not work, we have not allowed exclusive contracts. We are doing something...

[Mr George Howarth in the Chair] — Benefit Sanctioning (2 December 2014)

Esther McVey: I will not give way. I am setting the scene. I will answer the questions raised, and then I will take some more interventions, but not at the moment. We know that the best route out of poverty is to have a job and that children born into a household where no one works are three times more likely to be in poverty. This year, we have reduced that number by 390,000. We are talking about poverty,...

[Mr George Howarth in the Chair] — Benefit Sanctioning (2 December 2014)

Esther McVey: What I will do first, so that I do not run out of time, is to answer the hon. Gentleman’s questions. He referred to various people who did not want their names given but had reasons why they thought they should not have been sanctioned. In many cases, there will have been good reasons for the sanction, but I would like to know what happened to those people. The claimant commitment is...

[Mr George Howarth in the Chair] — Benefit Sanctioning (2 December 2014)

Esther McVey: I had the same cough.

Separated Families Initiative — [Mr Gary Streeter in the Chair] (21 October 2014)

Esther McVey: It is a pleasure, Mr Streeter, to serve under your chairmanship. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Pensions could not be here today, but I am happy to respond as best I can, and if I do not have the full information, I will write to hon. Members individually. I thank the hon. Member for Edinburgh East (Sheila Gilmore) for securing this important debate. As a former family lawyer, she...

Separated Families Initiative — [Mr Gary Streeter in the Chair] (21 October 2014)

Esther McVey: No, we have to look at what has worked throughout this journey, so that we can use whatever worked with the CSA and on the ground with families. We must go into the process knowing that, without a shadow of doubt, it is complex. This is about families, emotions and relationships that are not working, but what are we trying to do? We all agree that the sad reality is that too many people are...

Separated Families Initiative — [Mr Gary Streeter in the Chair] (21 October 2014)

Esther McVey: I have spoken to people who use the site, and I have been on the site myself. There is a lot of information that people can get from it, and there are names and links to the various organisations that they might want to go to. It is not a site where people would do everything at once. They would jot the names down, follow up what they want to, and speak to friends and to other people who...

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