To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure that prisoners can apply for universal credit before release.
We have been working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to improve access to Universal Credit for prisoners and prison leavers. We are exploring a range of options to improve the claims process and DWP has piloted a number of changes that will support offenders making claims prior to release.
One area that the pilots highlighted was the important role that dedicated DWP Prison Work Coaches play in our prison system to ensure access to Universal Credit. We continue to work with DWP to help support these work coaches, and to ensure they have both the right physical environment and access to the prisoners they need for efficient working.
In July 2019, we committed to ongoing collaboration in this area through the publication of our National Partnership Agreement with DWP, which sets out clear roles and responsibilities for each department in getting prisoners into work and access to benefits.