The Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 25th April 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Durham asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they applied the Family Test to the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2022.
Baroness Stedman-Scott (Con): In making her decisions relating to the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2022, the Secretary of State considered her obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty which also included the impact on families.
Specific consideration was given to the profile of disability related benefits; the proportion of families in receipt of State Pension and Pension Credit by ethnicity; and the gender and age of claimants for Universal Credit (UC), Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment & Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support and Housing Benefit (HB). In addition, consideration was given to the ethnicity breakdown of ESA and JSA claimants and the family type of UC and HB households.
The Lord Bishop of Durham asked Her Majesty’s Government whether they applied the Family Test to the Universal Credit two child limit when the policy was introduced; and whether they intend to do so on the policy’s fifth anniversary.
Baroness Stedman-Scott (Con): When developing the policy to provide support to a maximum of two children, the Department considered its obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty which included some impacts on families where members are protected under the Equality Act 2010.
Specific consideration was given to the impact on claimants with protected characteristics who would be affected by the introduction of the policy, including but not limited to, the gender and age of claimants in receipt of the child element of Universal Credit, ethnic minority households and households who are in receipt of disability related benefits.
The Family Test should be considered in the process of policy development. There are currently no plans to apply the test now.