Lord Pearson of Rannoch – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Work and Pensions

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch on 2016-02-03.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 27 January (HL5012), why that answer provided a reference to a Written Answer in the House of Commons given by the then Minister of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, on 20 November 2014 on a different subject to the question asked; and whether they will now state what is the annual cost of the in-work benefits for EU workers.

Lord Freud

I apologise to the noble Lord for the incorrect answer to HL5012 this was due to an administrative error. The correct answer was given by my Rt. Hon. Friend the Minister for Employment (Ms. Esther McVey) in the House of Commons on 20 November 2014 to Question number 211618 as below:

While the Government checks the immigration status of benefit claimants to ensure the benefit is paid properly and to prevent fraud, traditionally that information has not been collected as part of the payment administrative systems.

However, the Government is looking at ways to reform the current administrative system under Universal Credit so that it will systematically record nationality and immigration status of migrants who make a claim.

The Government has made a radical series of changes over the last year to restrict the access by non-UK citizens from the European Economic Area to UK benefits and tax credits. This is in order to protect the UK’s benefit system and discourage people who have no established connection with the UK from moving here, unless they have a job or a genuine prospect of work, or have savings to support themselves until they do.