This Week #55

10th July 2017

Monday 3rd July 2017

On Monday, Marion received an answer from Caroline Dinenage, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to the following question:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the cost was to the public purse of legal fees in relation to defending the benefit cap in the High Court; and how much his Department estimates the cost of appealing the High Court’s decision on that case will be.

Ms Dinenage’s response was:

Legal fees of defending the case in the High Court are £67,690. This figure includes VAT where payable (for example on Counsel’s fees) and disbursements but does not include costs attributable to time spent by Government advisory lawyers, as time spent by such advisory lawyers is not recorded in a manner that allows it to be attributable to individual court cases.

DWP has also paid £125,000 (plus VAT) towards the Claimants’ costs.

DWP’s legal costs for appealing the case in the Court of Appeal are estimated to be between £25,000 and £40,000 (this includes our best estimate of external Counsel fees).

Tuesday 4th July 2017

On Tuesday, Marion had a busy day of parliamentary duties, meetings, and briefings in London as she continued to work hard for the people of Motherwell & Wishaw.

Wednesday 5th July 2017

Wednesday brought with it another written question response, with Caroline Dinenage dodging Marion’s question on the Child Maintenance Service:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will implement the recommendations in the Work and Pensions Select Committee report, Child Maintenance Service, HC587, published on 2 May 2017; and if he will make a statement.

The response was:

The Government welcomes the Work and Pensions Select Committee report and is carefully considering its recommendations. We will submit the Government response in due course.

Thursday 6th July 2017

MP Alison Thewliss urges DWP to drop appeal against court ruling that benefits cap is unlawful

Following a written question from myself to the DWP, it has been revealed that the legal bill to appeal the High Court’s decision that the ‘benefit cap’ is unlawful could rise to more than £100,000.

Many families are unable to make up the shortfall – that is why it has been deemed illegal. The UK Government is therefore hounding families in need for the scraps that have been given to them.

Rather than go after the poor, the Tories should go after their friends in the city, their donors and the wealthy who do not pay their fair share while the rest of us do.

Friday 7th July 2017

On Friday, Marion was back home in the constituency meeting local organisations, catching up on casework, and assisting constituents at this month’s Dalziel Building surgery.