Social Security Benefits: Prisoners on Remand

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 16th September 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 6 August (HL7232), how many prisoners currently being held on remand have had (1) Housing Benefit, and (2) Universal Credit housing costs support, discontinued because the anticipated period in detention on remand exceeds the relevant time limits; and what plans they have to prevent this from happening, in the light of the delays to remand hearings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

The Department does not centrally collect data for claimants who are serving a custodial sentence, or who are remanded in prison and in receipt of housing benefit, or the housing element of Universal Credit. To provide this would incur a disproportionate cost.

The written answer of 6th August (HL7232) explained that the Department is routinely notified by Prison Services across England, Wales and Scotland when offenders enter custody, including those on remand. For those who exceed the time limits for retaining housing costs support whilst remaining detained on remand, the specialist teams referred to previously ensure that the appropriate action is taken. The Department has no plans to extend the time limits for retaining housing costs support.

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