Universal Credit: Prisoners

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 16th April 2019.

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Photo of Liz Saville-Roberts Liz Saville-Roberts Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Women and Equalities) , Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the effect of the roll-out of universal credit on prisoners who are at risk of losing rental accommodation.

Photo of Liz Saville-Roberts Liz Saville-Roberts Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Women and Equalities) , Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the number of prisoners in (a) Wales and (b) England that have lost rental accommodation as a result of universal credit.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Department is committed to providing personalised support for all claimants. This support extends to those who are in prison, to ensure rehabilitation is as seamless as possible upon release. To facilitate this, the Department has Prison Work Coaches who are based in resettlement prisons across the country.

Prisoners serving short sentences are able to retain the housing element for up to 6 months to prevent them from being homeless on release.

For those prisoners serving longer sentences the Prison Work Coach will engage with the prisoner 2-3 weeks prior to release and will identify any accommodation issues at this point.

All discharged prisoners (sentence to 2 days or more) are supported on release by a MoJ contracted provider – a Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC), the CRC should consider any accommodation issues and support in signposting/engaging with the any appropriate support.

If a Prison Work Coach has identified any accommodation issues during their intervention with the prisoner they would use the District Provision Tool (DPT) to identify any suitable support that might be available locally and refer or signpost the prisoner to that provision.

For those engaging with the Prison Work Coach an advanced appointment will be made for as soon as possible following release. Once the claim to UC is made by the prisoner, they would be able to apply for an advance of their first payment straightaway, meaning that money could be made available on the same day as the claim is made.

Managed Payments to Landlords are also available to support claimants, including prison leavers, who may struggle to manage their monthly payments.

The information requested on the number of prisoners in (a) Wales and (b) England that have lost rental accommodation is not available.

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