Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker's Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 2013 — Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:45 pm on 13th February 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Freud Lord Freud The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 9:45 pm, 13th February 2013

Under the current position, there is a voluntary process whereby people can go for reconsideration and the ESA is not payable until the decision is taken to go formally to an appeal. The difference is that we are moving from a voluntary process that some people do to a mandatory process that all people will have to do, and there is a gap. That is where concern has been expressed, and my response to that concern is that we need to keep it under control and look at how long that timing really is. I take that specific point, but on a more general point my understanding is that there was a bit of concern from the noble Lord that there was actually a change in payment from appeal. As I say, that is not happening.

The noble Baroness, Lady Lister, asked about late reporting. I am always frightened when she claims to be a bear of very little brain because obviously something terrible is going to come at me. Her example was this: you have a baby in the middle of the month, or towards the end of the month-babies come at any time, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hollis, says-and then get paid the extra amount from the beginning of the next month when you have the requirements, looking ahead. Likewise, if the teenager leaves the household, you will have had money for the whole of that period for the teenager at the beginning of the month, but for the next month when the teenager is not there you will not have it.

I hope that the noble Baroness does not come back with something utterly devastating, but I cannot understand why this is a problem for a household. When the household gets the money that is to be spent over the next month, it reflects the position that the household is in when that money is received. That is the objective of whole-month reporting, and it is designed utterly benignly. I can testify to that because I spent a long time going through the rights and wrongs of the way to do it. It is designed to ensure that, as the month starts, the payment reflects the requirements of that household.