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Universal Credit

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 14697, tabled on 10 February 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the cost to the public purse was of legal challenges to her Department's policy to remove (a) severe disability premium and (b) enhanced disability premium payments from claimants transferring to universal credit.

Answered on

18 February 2020

The Government remains committed to ensuring everyone receives the support they need, which is why we currently spend a record £55 billion a year to support people with disabilities. Universal Credit is a simpler system than its predecessor. By not replicating the SDP and other premiums, we have been able to target additional support to a wider group of claimants and create a more streamlined system. It is important that the Government can design policy and challenge court decisions, where appropriate, that seek to change that policy.

As at 13 February 2020, the Department has spent £215,846.89 on legal costs defending and appealing the cases in relation to people formerly in receipt of Severe Disability premium that have transferred to Universal Credit. These figures include Government Legal Department litigation fees, counsel’s fees and other disbursements, as well as VAT where payable.