Social Security (Special Rules for End of Life) Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:42 pm on 8th September 2022.

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Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions 3:42 pm, 8th September 2022

My right hon. and learned Friend makes an excellent point. In my interactions with DWP staff as a constituency MP, I have been blown away by their determination to help those we serve. I am sure that that accords with his experience.

In conclusion, the Bill will ensure that thousands more people who are at the end of their lives can get faster access to three disability benefits. It will change eligibility so that those expected to live for 12 months or less will be able to access support at an earlier stage. The changes will ensure a consistent end-of-life definition across health and welfare services and will introduce—this is very important, as clinicians begged for it—easily understood criteria that should lead to really effective implementation and wide take-up. The Government are committed to improving the benefit system so that people nearing the end of their lives will have a system that works, one that gives those who are affected the support they need when they need it and one that clinicians, charities and families can engage in with confidence.

I put on record my thanks to the individuals, charities, clinical groups and others who have supported the Department since the evaluation of how the benefits system supports people was launched in 2019, and I recognise the valuable work that has been done. The Department is absolutely committed to continuing to engage with them as the changes in this Bill are rolled out and implemented. This is only a small Bill, but it is one that will provide thousands more people with the valuable support they and their families need at what is a very difficult time, and I commend it to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Further proceedings on the Bill stood postponed (Order, this day).