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Results 1-20 of 236 for in the 'Westminster Hall debates' speaker:Esther McVey

[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...

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

Esther McVey: As I said, I have talked to people I know who have used the site, and I have used it myself. The number of click-throughs is nearly double what has been claimed. Equally, it is a usable site in its current form, and people can get all the information that they want from it, then and there. People might reflect and, later on, type all the information into a Google search, so I do not...

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

Esther McVey: I can tell the hon. Lady that we will provide further details as part of our overall evaluation strategy, which we expect to publish by the end of this year. I was giving details of what was working, what we know is happening and various innovative projects. For example, a Birmingham project run by Malachi recently worked very closely with both the mother and the father of a boy who had been...

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

Esther McVey: As I said, we will provide further information on that, and hon. Members will have that by the end of the year. A point was raised about the 38% drop in applications. Of course we felt that there would be a drop, but not that great. However, as the application fees have been in effect for less than four months, it would be imprudent to draw any meaningful conclusions from the early...

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

Esther McVey: I will come to those points, but I believe that it is important that we put in context what we are doing, who we believe should be sorting out the arrangements and how best we can help these families—the mum and the dad—to put the arrangements in place. That is why we believe that family-based child maintenance arrangements are often the best option, and we want to encourage and...

Welfare Reform (Cumbria) (16 July 2014)

Esther McVey: It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Dobbin, and to reply to the hon. Member for Copeland (Mr Reed). I congratulate him on securing the debate. I have listened closely to all that he has said, so I will answer all the points he has raised. It is important to put the situation into context. When the Government came into office, it was clear that the welfare system we...

Welfare Reform (Cumbria) (16 July 2014)

Esther McVey: I am putting the situation in context and showing how many of the figures that the hon. Gentleman cited were inaccurate. I am putting into context why and how we are doing things. Today, the most recent employment statistics have been published. The aim of all our benefit changes has been to liberate people and help them to get into work, and today we have seen a record rate of people getting...

Welfare Reform (Cumbria) (16 July 2014)

Esther McVey: I will give way to the hon. Gentleman if he will provide some facts rather than fantasy.

Welfare Reform (Cumbria) (16 July 2014)

Esther McVey: I was in Cumbria only a week or two ago, discussing those things. I get out regularly and speak to people right across the country, many of whom have told me how they had been abandoned on long-term unemployment, but not any more. Many of them have been on the Work programme and they have now got a job. About 5 million people have been through the Work programme and 300,000 have got sustained...

Welfare Reform (Cumbria) (16 July 2014)

Esther McVey: There have always been people in work who find things hard. The figures I read out have significantly reduced under this Government. The process, ideology and thought behind universal credit is to ensure that work pays and that every extra hour worked pays, rather than having cliff edges as we had under the old system with which the hon. Gentleman was happy to live. People did not know...

Welfare Reform (Cumbria) (16 July 2014)

Esther McVey: The chap obviously wants to write a press release—he wants to write something that is not true—to put in his local papers. Competence is not an issue. We have introduced some of the biggest ever welfare changes. We know they are working, because the things that the hon. Gentleman and his party talked about, such as double-dip and triple-dip recessions, never happened. They talked...

Welfare Reform (Cumbria) (16 July 2014)

Esther McVey: Most people’s motivation is for the best and is to support people—

Welfare Reform (Cumbria) (16 July 2014)

Esther McVey: Hang on a second. People produce figures that have not been fully authorised, cleared or passed off. Our figures have to go through the National Audit Office and independent bodies such as the International Labour Organisation because their estimation of what has happened are much more thorough and valid. Estimates based on very small samples may be right, but they can be distorted by the...

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