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5 March, 2020 Open access

Select Committee questions Secretary of State about DWP’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak

Letter from Chair of Committee queries why government's action plan does not address potential impact on universal credit claims or people's earnings

The Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee Stephen Timms has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Dr Thérèse Coffey questioning the DWP's response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

In his letter to Dr Coffey (dated 4 March 2020 and requesting a response by 13 March 2020), Mr Timms queries whether the Department was involved in the development of the government’s Coronavirus Action Plan and, if so, why the plan does not address the potential impact on universal credit claims or people’s earnings.

In particular, Mr TImms asks - 

In addition, Mr TImms notes DWP Minister Justin Tomlinson's response to a recent written question that suggested that those required to self-isolate could make a claim for new-style employment and support allowance, and asks for details about how this would work.

Urging a flexible response from the Department, Mr Timms adds - 

'Minimising the harm to society from coronavirus will require a cross-government approach. With its staff delivering services to thousands of people every day, DWP has a vital part to play.'

The letter from Mr Timms to Dr Coffey is available from