Photo of John Hemming

John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if the Government will change the benefits rules to allow volunteers on benefits to be paid the cost of lunch.

Photo of James Plaskitt

James Plaskitt (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions; Warwick and Leamington, Labour)

When considering entitlement to means-tested benefits all income should be taken into account. To not do so would set an inappropriate precedent and represent unequal treatment within the income rules. If an organisation provides a lunch to a volunteer, benefit entitlement is not affected. However, we are aware of and listening to the concerns that have been raised. The Department is looking at this issue as part of a wider examination of the way the benefit system works.

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