Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
On numerous occasions, persons have requested information regarding a breakdown of living costs as calculated by DWP/Paliament. Such requests have not been answered sufficiently and have been responded to with "scapegoat" answers quoting aspects of legislation and not a calculation.
In order for parliament/DWP to ascertain a figure of "reasonable" living costs, calculation's should have been made. Unless, you wish to tell me that a figure was decided out of thing air using just information from the retail price index and inflation (Social Security Administration Act 1992).
I hereby, formally request under The Freedom of Information Act 2000:
1 -- A breakdown of living costs (the figures used to decide the latest JSA amounts for 18-24 Year olds and those aged 25+)
2 -- Detailed information relating to the decision making process for the aforementioned.
3 -- Details of costs incurred in making such decisions.
As per 1, please detail at least (the breakdown of "FORTNIGHTLY JSA AMOUNT" to basic living expenses):
* Fortnightly shopping
* Water Bill
* Gas Bill
* Electricity Bill
* Travel Costs (Optional)
"The DWP award a single male aged 23 years who does not have children and is claiming JSA a total amount of £xx.xx per fortnight. From this £xx.xx per fortnight, it is calculated that "on average" he will be required to spend £xx.xx on his shopping, £xx.xx on his water bill, £xx.xx on his gas and electricity bill in order to cover his living expenses for this period."
I am aware that every individual is going to spend a different amount on their living expenses per living expense category, however the amount "the law says you need to live on" should have been calculated using ALL of the information statistically available to the DWP/Parliament and living expenses should have been considered and calculated on an approximate basis to allow a figure to be decided upon.
Michael James Swan
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DWP Central FoI Team
Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act
If you are not happy with this response you may request an internal review by e-mailing [DWP request email] or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, Caxton House, Tothill Street, SW1H 9NA. Any review request should be submitted within two months of the date of this letter.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office for a decision. Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk
Please see the attached reply to your Freedom of Information request
DWP Strategy FoI team
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