Results 1–20 of 1360 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Alok Sharma

Employment Rates — [Sir Roger Gale in the Chair] (6 Jun 2018)

Alok Sharma: It is an absolute pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir Roger. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Dorset and North Poole (Michael Tomlinson) on securing, for the second time, this important debate on recent trends in employment. He made a fine speech, as did colleagues from all parts of the House. I have time in this debate to respond to a lot of the points that have...

Employment Rates — [Sir Roger Gale in the Chair] (6 Jun 2018)

Alok Sharma: I will of course come on to discuss precisely those points, because they are important. The labour market statistics published last month by the independent Office for National Statistics—I point out once again to the hon. Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Luke Pollard) that it is independent—show that employment in the United Kingdom reached a record high in the last...

Employment Rates — [Sir Roger Gale in the Chair] (6 Jun 2018)

Alok Sharma: Frankly, any kind of bullying and any such acts are completely unacceptable, whether someone is on a zero-hours contract or a full-time contract. As the hon. Lady knows, there are avenues open to people, but if she has specific cases, she is welcome to come and talk to me about them. It is important that we have flexibility in work patterns, which is what zero-hours contracts allow, but it is...

Employment Rates — [Sir Roger Gale in the Chair] (6 Jun 2018)

Alok Sharma: I am, of course, happy to reflect on that. Perhaps it would be useful to have a discussion with the hon. Gentleman after the debate on any thoughts that he may have. The hon. Gentleman mentioned the claimant count, which is down significantly in his constituency from 2010. However, the claimant count is no longer a consistent indicator. The ONS has acknowledged that and removed it from its...

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Child Tax Credits and Universal Credit: Two-child Limit (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: The aim of the two-child limit is to strike the right balance between support for claimants and fairness to taxpayers who support themselves solely through work. The policy has been in effect only since April 2017 and statistics relating to its implementation will be published in due course.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Child Tax Credits and Universal Credit: Two-child Limit (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: We welcome the High Court ruling, which showed that the policy is lawful. However, the hon. Lady is absolutely right: in terms of kinship carers, we are going to be making those changes. This will have to come about through regulations in Parliament and we will bring those forward shortly. I would point out that, as the Secretary of State made clear in her written statement, we will be making...

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Child Tax Credits and Universal Credit: Two-child Limit (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: As I said in response to the hon. Member for Blaydon (Liz Twist), the aim of this policy is to strike the right balance between support for claimants and fairness to taxpayers, but of course we do have exceptions in place, quite rightly.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Child Tax Credits and Universal Credit: Two-child Limit (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: I will just report that we have exceptions in place and of course this policy is ultimately about being fair both to claimants and to taxpayers.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Universal Credit: Household Debt (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: The Government have taken a number of steps to prevent problem debt, such as capping payday lending costs. We also have interest-free advances within universal credit, and a system of priority deductions to help claimants who are in arrears.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Universal Credit: Household Debt (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: As the hon. Lady will know, a report that was published last year by the National Federation of ALMOs found that more than three quarters of tenants who started claiming universal credit were already in rent arrears. Other research shows that after four months on universal credit the number of claimants in arrears fell by a third. The key point is to make sure that we get help to individuals...

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Universal Credit: Household Debt (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: Yes, I can absolutely confirm that under universal credit claimants can get into work faster and stay in work longer than under the legacy system.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Topical Questions (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: We always aim to work constructively with the Scottish Government. Fair Start Scotland is a recent scheme that we are supporting proactively. My hon. Friend makes a point about changes. Introducing changes such as automatic split payments is a complex policy area, and we are having a detailed dialogue with the Scottish Government. There are currently many issues for the Scottish Government to...

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Topical Questions (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: Ahead of the roll-out, my hon. Friend’s local jobcentre will speak to local partners, such as the local authority and Citizens Advice, to ensure that claimants are supported as they come on to universal credit. My officials and I will host an induction session tomorrow for all colleagues who have UC rolling out in their area in the near future, so I hope that he will join us.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Topical Questions (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: I of course congratulate Harlow College, but I also thank my right hon. Friend for the enormous amount of work that he does to promote employment both here and in his constituency.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Topical Questions (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: Ninety-nine per cent. of universal credit claims are made online, and those who need support to gain basic digital skills are offered digital support as part of our universal support offering.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Topical Questions (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: As the hon. Gentleman knows, we have record levels of employment across the country. There are more than 800,000 vacancies in the economy and help is available at jobcentres, with one-to-one personalised support.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Topical Questions (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: Budgeting loans are indeed available, but under universal credit we also have budgeting advances. If my hon. Friend has any specific cases she wishes to raise, I would be happy to talk to her about them.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Topical Questions (21 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: I will look at it, but if the hon. Lady would come forward with specific cases, that would make it easier.

DWP Offices Closures: Merthyr Tydfil — [Steve McCabe in the Chair] (9 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: It is always a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr McCabe. I congratulate the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Gerald Jones) on securing this important debate. The level of employment in the United Kingdom is at a record high. In the hon. Gentleman’s constituency, the employment rate is 70.1%—an increase of 7 percentage points since 2010. That trend has been...

DWP Offices Closures: Merthyr Tydfil — [Steve McCabe in the Chair] (9 May 2018)

Alok Sharma: I will talk about the Welsh Government in a moment. By choosing Treforest, we will be securing quality jobs for the next generation in an area that still lags in terms of employment rates. The hon. Lady talked about the Welsh Government, and the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney talked about following the Welsh Government. The Welsh Government recently set out their “Our...


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