Results 1–20 of 1544 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

The Secretary of State’S Handling of Universal Credit (11 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: I believe that each of us in this House, whatever our political persuasion, came into politics to help build a fairer society. Indeed, that sense of fairness is part of the very DNA of the British people, and the desire for fairness extends to our welfare system—a system where we support the vulnerable, those looking to get into work and those wanting to increase their hours. That is...

The Secretary of State’S Handling of Universal Credit (11 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: I will not give way. What did the Opposition do? They cynically voted against the regulations that allowed the £1.5 billion of support to be made available to claimants. I get that the Opposition are there to oppose, but that should not be at the cost of helping the very people they claim to represent. Opposition Members have raised individual cases of claimants who have been suffering...

The Secretary of State’S Handling of Universal Credit (11 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: Let us talk about the help that the work coaches are giving. The NAO report says: “A survey of live service claimants found that claimant satisfaction levels were similar to those on legacy benefits and in our visits to jobcentres we observed good relationships between work coaches and claimants.” The support is available, and it is working and helping people to get into work.

The Secretary of State’S Handling of Universal Credit (11 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: No, I will not give way. Thanks to the policies of this Conservative Government, we are at record levels of employment. Once universal credit is fully rolled out, we will support another 200,000 people into work. The tone and the wording of Labour’s motion today has been disappointing and, frankly, ill-judged in personally attacking my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. My right...

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Universal Credit: Supporting People into Work (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: The Department published an analysis on 8 June which showed a near doubling of the proportion of UC claimants in a paid job after eight months into the claim. The Department published analysis last year which shows that UC claimants are 4 percentage points more likely to be in work than an equivalent claimant on JSA six months after their claim.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Universal Credit: Supporting People into Work (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: As the Secretary of State has said, we are at record levels of employment in this country and that is because of the policies of this Government. The hon. Gentleman talks about the 200,000 extra people who will be in work as a result of UC. He will also know that, in 2012, the Institute for Fiscal Studies looked at the methodology, which related to the key element of this, which was the...

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Universal Credit: Supporting People into Work (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We are at record levels of employment in this country. It is interesting that the Opposition talk about estimates. If I remember correctly, back in 2010, the Opposition said we would lose 1 million jobs as a result of our policies, but we have created 3.2 million. At the end of the day, when it comes to estimates, I am not taking lectures from the Opposition.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Universal Credit: Roll-out (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: Nearly 1 million people are now claiming universal credit, with around 37% of them in employment. We take 5,000 new claims a day and universal credit is operational in half of all jobcentres, with the full roll-out expected to be concluded by the end of the year.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Universal Credit: Roll-out (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: The hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Gavin Newlands) talks about sanctions, but he will know that the regime is different. For example, under JSA if somebody who was due to come in for an interview does not contact us after five days, they fall out of the system and are not sanctioned. Under universal credit, however, we continue to pay all the elements—the child element...

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Universal Credit: Roll-out (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: The hon. Lady knows that advance payments are available if they are required on the day. As for verification, there is a set of criteria that can be applied so that we do not have to go through the verification system. If the hon. Lady has specific cases, she should please bring them to me as I would be happy to look into them.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Universal Credit: Death of Applicants (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: For universal credit full service, around 1,200 cases have been closed with a deceased closure reason since roll-out began in 2016, with the vast majority receiving a payment.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Universal Credit: Death of Applicants (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: I have corresponded with the hon. Gentleman about one specific case. There are circumstances in which payment is still made after the death of a claimant and where payments have continued for two subsequent assessment periods, such as when the individual was in a couple. However, I note the hon. Gentleman’s point and will look into the policy.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Universal Credit: Death of Applicants (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: We do not want anybody to be in distress. If colleagues on either side of the House have specific cases, they should bring them to Ministers. We hear a lot of general commentary, but we would like to help individuals, so please bring us those specific cases.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Topical Questions (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: As the hon. Gentleman will know, a “new burdens” policy is in operation and has been for many years. Where local councils come forward with specific costs, we review them and make payments. In 2017-18, £13 million was paid out to local councils.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Topical Questions (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: My hon. Friend will be receiving a letter from the local jobcentre manager, and that will give him an opportunity to engage. We make sure that work coaches provide the one-to-one support that is so important under universal credit.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Topical Questions (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: May I commend my hon. Friend on all the work she does in her constituency? Youth unemployment is at a record low—it is 40% lower than it was under the last Labour Government—and programmes such as the youth support programme are available to help individuals. We value young people. It is about time that Labour did the same.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: Topical Questions (2 Jul 2018)

Alok Sharma: As the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my hon. Friend the Member for North West Hampshire (Kit Malthouse), made clear, since 2010 there are 300,000 fewer children living in absolute poverty. As we have heard, the route out of poverty is work. We have record levels of employment, and that is something we should all welcome across the House.

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...


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