Results 1–20 of 1644 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:Sarah Newton

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: In 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions identified an error that had resulted in some claimants being underpaid employment and support allowance between 2011 and 2014 while their claims were being converted from incapacity benefit, a legacy disability payment. The Department proactively informed the House of this problem in 2017 through a written statement before briefing partners and...

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: I will take each of the hon. Lady’s detailed points in turn, but I first want to disabuse the House and the hon. Lady of the characterisation of people working in the DWP that we hear week after week. It simply is not fair. Day in and day out, the staff of the DWP work very hard to support people with health conditions and disabilities. The amount of money that this Government—in...

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: We are absolutely determined to ensure that everyone with a health condition or a disability is supported so that they can lead as full and as independent a life as possible. That includes supporting people with a health condition or a disability who want to work into work. I am delighted that we have seen 600,000 more people with disabilities in work in the last four years. Of course, we...

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: May I remind the hon. Gentleman that this action was due to the work of Department itself? Because it is so important to us to make sure that people are not underpaid, it was our own work that led us to find this error and, as soon as we did, to put in place the actions to ensure that it was corrected. On the hon. Gentleman’s point about the date on which we pay back the benefit, as I...

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: I thank my hon. Friend for making such an important point. We must always recognise the really positive contribution that people with health conditions and disabilities make across the whole of society, including at work. I commend her for accepting the community challenge. I commend all Members across the House who will go out into their communities this summer and encourage more employers...

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: Yes, I can make that commitment. We have already started to contact people and we are already making payments. Once we have contacted someone, we will make the freephone telephone number available to them, and we will pay them as soon as possible, but certainly within 12 weeks.

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: I thank the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. Of course, the whole Department will take her report very seriously. The Secretary of State herself wanted to be here today, but she is making a very important speech elsewhere. That is the only reason she is not here herself to really underline the importance of what we are doing in the Department. The hon. Lady raises a very good point...

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: My hon. Friend makes such an important point. I work very closely with a range of stakeholders, including the absolutely outstanding citizens advice bureaux. We will ensure, as we do in all the work we do, that they are fully updated so that they can give their customers good advice. I say to everyone in the House and to everyone listening that if people are struggling to make ends meet or...

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question and for his vital contribution. His work on autism, along with colleagues across the House, is really important. I always welcome opportunities to meet the cross-party group and I seriously consider all its reports. As soon as we identified the problem and how to sort it out, we were very open, coming to the House and updating it regularly, so that...

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: Yes, I can give that assurance. The permanent secretary has been scrutinised and questioned by the Public Accounts Committee. He has made all sorts of commitments to improve the internal processes of the DWP, and, as I outlined in a previous answer, those processes are up and running. This summer I will visit the operating centre that is undertaking this administrative exercise, and I will...

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: It was not the media that brought this out into the open; there was a written ministerial statement to this House. We have been acting at speed to make sure that we identify people we have underpaid, and we have already started to make payments. In the original statement, we said that we hoped to complete the exercise within the year, which takes us up to next spring. We are absolutely...

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: I gently remind the hon. Lady that we made a written statement yesterday—the third statement we have made—and that we have been open with the House and will continue to be open with the House because this is a matter of such importance to us. I also respectfully point out that she should look at the facts. Each year, we are spending more money supporting disabled people and people...

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: Let me absolutely clear: I do not want anyone in our country to be living in poverty. Nobody on the Conservative Benches wants to see anyone living in poverty, which is why we have put so much effort since 2010 into lifting people out of poverty, including people with disabilities. We have been increasing benefits each and every year, and we will continue to do so. We are also increasing the...

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: Every person who deserves their payment will be treated fairly and equally—I absolutely assure the hon. Gentleman of that—but I will write to him with specific details about people in Northern Ireland.

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: I have repeatedly said that we are very sorry that this happened in the first place, and that we are doing everything possible to rectify the system—not just in this particular case, but to learn across all our benefits. Of course we take underpayments very seriously, and we have a well-resourced team that is taking up that issue.

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: The hon. Lady raises a very important point. I am more than happy to put it beyond any doubt for people who are receiving payments for these underpayments that those payments will be disregarded for the purposes of other benefits.

Esa Underpayments (19 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: The hon. Gentleman makes an important point, and as a constituency MP I understand the important role that we all have to play. I will ensure that he is able to raise constituency cases effectively and swiftly, and if he experiences any specific problems, he should please contact me so that I can rectify them.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: PIP Assessments: Appeals (2 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: Data published by the Ministry of Justice last month shows that 57,000 decisions on personal independence payment claims were overturned on appeal in the last year. Of the 3.3 million decisions made since PIP was introduced, 9% have been appealed and 4% have been overturned. The average clearance time for PIP appeals in the last available quarter is 25 weeks.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: PIP Assessments: Appeals (2 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: It is not necessarily the case that the decision made was the wrong decision; mostly what happens is that more information comes forward at the appeal. Hon. Members should look at the data I have already given. One wrong decision is one too many, however, which is why we have done a great deal of work to improve our decision-making process.

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions: PIP Assessments: Appeals (2 Jul 2018)

Sarah Newton: I respectfully point out to the hon. Gentleman that more people are receiving higher awards on PIP than did on the legacy benefit, disability living allowance, and people moving from DLA to PIP remain in payment while going through the process. I utterly refute what he said.


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