Social Security Benefits: Citizens' Juries

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 25th March 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether participants in the Innovation in Democracy Project who are in receipt of Universal Credit, or other means-tested support, are eligible to receive payment.

Photo of Baroness Stedman-Scott Baroness Stedman-Scott The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Department of Culture Media and Sport is the lead government department responsible for the Innovation in Democracy Programme. Participants in the citizens' assemblies, run as part of the Innovation in Democracy Programme, receive £75 per day to thank them for participating, which totals £300 for the four days of the citizens assembly. In addition, participants are reimbursed for costs of travel, childcare and other caring costs.

Participants in receipt of means-tested benefits, including Universal Credit, should report any income received through the Innovation in Democracy Programme to the Department. Awards of Universal Credit are calculated on the basis of the set benefit rate against money coming in to ensure fairness of treatment for all claimants against the money that they have earned. This means, as earnings increase, Universal Credit is gradually reduced in a predictable way. In households where a work allowance applies, only earnings above the work allowance are taken into account, and a single taper of 63 per cent per £1 is applied as earnings rise. Monthly assessment periods allow Universal Credit to be adjusted each month so if a claimant’s income falls or rises, they will not have to wait several months for a change in their Universal Credit.

Those people claiming Universal Credit, or other means-tested support, should seek advice from the Department before agreeing to receive money for involvement in the citizens' assembly to understand how it will affect their benefit entitlement. There is an option to attend the Citizen’s Assembly without payment.

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