Decision not to raise legacy benefits in line with UC through COVID-19

Finn Keaney made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to HM Treasury

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HM Treasury Nid oedd gan y wybodaeth y gofynnwyd amdani.

Dear Her Majesty's Treasury,

I am writing today with a request adjacent to my FOI submitted on the 17th April to the Department for Work and Pensions which can be found here : https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d... . I have been unable to get an answer so far in that FOI and as such was hoping you could advise.

It was recently announced by the Chancellor that the base rate for Universal Credit would be raised to match Statutory Sick Pay in rate.

Please :

- advise whether or not this increase was made on the request or advice of the DWP?
- advise if the DWP made a similar request for an increase in ESA, JSA and/or Income Support?
- provide copies of any internal guidance or discussion regarding the increase and the decision not to raise the above legacy benefits in line with Universal Credit.

Yours faithfully,

Finn Keaney

FOI Requests, HM Treasury

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eCase@hmtreasury.gov.uk on behalf of FOI Requests, HM Treasury

Our ref: FOI2020/26287

Dear Mr Keaney,

Thank you for your request for information which we are considering under
the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

This is to confirm receipt of your request and to let you know that it is
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Yours sincerely

Information Rights Unit | Correspondence and Information Rights | HM
Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A 2HQ [1]www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

Correspondence and Information Rights | HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road,
London, SW1A 2HQ [2]www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

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2. http://www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

FOI Requests, HM Treasury

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Keaney

 

Please find attached a letter in response to your Freedom of Information
request.

 

For ease of reference, the attached letter contains the following
clickable hyperlinks:

 

[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

 

[2]commonslibrary.parliament.uk/insights/coronavirus-increases-to-benefits-payments/?utm_source=HOC+Library+-+Research+alerts&utm_campaign=d4de1d1ff3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_05_28_08_30&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a9da1c9b17-d4de1d1ff3-102517865&mc_cid=d4de1d1ff3&mc_eid=e572ac2745

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Rights Unit | HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A
2HQ   [3]www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

 

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2. https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/ins...
3. http://www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

Dear Her Majesty's Treasury,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Her Majesty's Treasury's handling of my FOI request 'Decision not to raise legacy benefits in line with UC through COVID-19'.

I will respond to the two points of your refusal in turn and ask that you please release the information as requested.

The Information Commissioner’s Office guidance on FOI Act Section 35 states that “Arguments will be strongest when there is a live policy process to protect,”[1] and that “the Commissioner does not accept that there is inevitably a continuous process or ‘seamless web’ of policy review and development."

As this FOI is about policy which has long since been put into practice I would argue that this exemption does not apply. This policy is not currently under development and as such this FOI cannot be seen to be interfering with a process which has already completed.

To quote the same document, “as with the other limbs of section 35, this is qualified by the public interest test. Departments can only withhold the information if the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure. “

The information in question in pertaining to a policy which has led to claimants of Universal Credit receiving an increase to the rate of their benefit which more than 13,000 [2][3][4] disabled and long-term sick claimants have not. As such I would argue that the public interest in disclosing this information outweighs the justification for maintaining an exemption.

[1]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
[2] https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/Press-re...
[3] https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/07/1...
[4] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020... )

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

Yours faithfully,

Finn Keaney

FOI Requests, HM Treasury

Dear Mr Keaney

Thank you for your email regarding your request for an internal review.

I can confirm that your review request was received on 29 July 2020 and is
receiving attention under our reference IR2020/30033.

There is no statutory deadline for responding to internal review requests.

However, in line with the Information Commissioner’s guidelines and the
2018 FOI Code of Practice, we aim to complete internal reviews within 20
working days.

Yours sincerely

Information Rights Unit | Correspondence and Information Rights | HM
Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A 2HQ [1]www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI Requests, HM Treasury

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr Keaney

 

Please find attached a letter in response to your Internal Review request.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Rights Unit | HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A
2HQ   www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

 

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are intended solely for the
use of the individual(s) to whom they are addressed. If you are not the
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Gadawodd Finn Keaney anodiad ()

This has gone to the ICO's office as of 9th September 2020.

FOI Requests, HM Treasury

1 Atodiad

  • Attachment

    IC 55592 F7G5 Clarification on Parts 1 and 2 for requester 2021 08 27.pdf

    1.0M Download View as HTML

Dear Mr Keaney

 

Further to your complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office on your
request and subsequent internal review, please find attached further
clarification on the first two parts of your request. 

 

Kind regards

 

 

Information Rights Unit | HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A
2HQ [1]www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

 

From: FOI Requests
Sent: 09 September 2020 09:52
To: Finn Keaney <[FOI #673692 email]>
Subject: IR2020/30033 Reply

 

Dear Mr Keaney

 

Please find attached a letter in response to your Internal Review request.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Rights Unit | HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A
2HQ [2]www.gov.uk/hm-treasury

 

 

This email and any files transmitted with it are intended solely for the
use of the individual(s) to whom they are addressed. If you are not the
intended recipient and have received this email in error, please notify
the sender and delete the email. This footnote also confirms that our
email communications may be monitored to ensure the secure and effective
operation of our systems and for other lawful purposes, and that this
email has been swept for malware and viruses.

References

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1. http://www.gov.uk/hm-treasury
2. http://www.gov.uk/hm-treasury