Point of Order

Grenfell Tower – in the House of Commons at 5:38 pm on 11th June 2018.

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Photo of Margaret Greenwood Margaret Greenwood Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 5:38 pm, 11th June 2018

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Have you had any indication from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on whether she plans to make an oral statement on transitional protection in universal credit for people claiming severe disability premium?

On Thursday, the Government announced, via a written statement, that people receiving severe disability premium would not transfer to universal credit until its managed migration begins in 2019, at which point they will receive transitional protection. People who have already moved to universal credit will receive back payments.

This is an extremely important issue affecting more than half a million people. This is the fourth review that the Department has been forced to undertake in the past year, and an oral statement from the Secretary of State would give Members the opportunity to seek clarity over the steps the Department is intending to take in relation to the people affected.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her point of order and for her courtesy in giving me advance notice of her intention to raise it. The short answer is that I have received no indication from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions that she intends to make an oral statement on this subject. I advise the hon. Lady and the House that the question of whether the Government choose to announce a change of policy by written statement or by oral statement is a matter for Ministers to decide rather than for the Chair. That said, if the hon. Lady is dissatisfied—she has voiced her dissatisfaction this afternoon that a judgment has been made to indicate the change only via a written statement—there are various avenues open to her to pursue the issue further. The fact of being unsuccessful one day does not automatically preclude the possibility of success at a later stage, but Members are usually advised to be sensitive to the priorities of the House on the days in question. For example, tomorrow—I mention this en passant, although not entirely at random—the House is focused on very important legislative matters, and the same is true of Wednesday. But in my experience in this House, a combination of persistence and patience can pay. Meanwhile, the hon. Lady has put her view firmly on the record, and it will have been heard on the Treasury Bench.