Department for Work & Pensions 

MPs request industry input on DWP budget

MPs request industry input on DWP budget

The Work and Pensions select committee is inviting individuals and organisations to submit their views on what should be included in the department for Work and Pensions’ "model budget".

The committee has invited individuals and businesses from the pension industry to submit what they would want to be included in a DWP budget, to highlight what spending priorities should be.

The committee explained: "It could be a costed policy statement, or a diagram of spending priorities, including at least rough estimated costs of ideas for where DWP’s money should be spent for the three years from April 2020, and what trade-offs it might have to make."

The Work and Pensions committee has also launched an inquiry last week (June 7) to examine DWP’s spending priorities and how it makes its spending decisions, as part of a forthcoming cross-government spending review. 

The inquiry will consider how DWP plans to achieve its own performance and customer service objectives as well as its use of caps and freezes and how they have related to spending decisions. 

Frank Field, chair of the committee, said: "The government’s strategy for reducing the budget deficit has been paid for by cuts, cuts, and cuts again in benefits for the poor. 

"We will be putting this centre stage in our review of the government’s spending plans, and we’ve asked experts of all kinds to set out a different kind of budget. Will the government promise to consider implementing the model DWP budget we get back?"

Individuals and businesses have been asked to answer several questions put forward by the committee focusing on the DWP’s spending.

The questions include:

  • What should DWP’s spending plans and priorities for the next three years be, and what trade-offs should it be willing to make in its spending plans?
  • What resources does DWP need to achieve its performance and customer service objectives? 
  • How well does DWP use evidence to inform its spending decisions? Does it have the evidence it needs to understand how to spend its budget most effectively?

Tim Morris, financial adviser at Russell & Co, said: "For me, the state pension is in desperate need for reform.

"I appreciate there is great resistance to changing the 'triple lock' guarantee. However, with the Government Actuary Department predicting the state pension will run out by 2032, it's clear that drastic measures need to be taken sooner rather than later."

But he thought due to Brexit there was little appetite for any legislative change at present. 

He said: "Sadly, for the foreseeable future, I can only see the pension time bomb continuing to run down the clock.

"However, this has to be a priority in the next three years. As well as potential reductions for current pensioners, further funding must be found for future pensioners."

Neither the DWP or HM Treasury confirmed whether they would consider the findings of the inquiry.

The deadline for written evidence is 19 July 2019.

amy.austin@ft.com

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