19 December 2011

Nicholas Soames (Mid Sussex, Conservative) To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Witham (Priti Patel) of 12 December 2011, Official Report, column 594W, on social security benefits: foreign nationals, on what date the recording of the nationality of benefit claimants was discontinued; what the reasons were for this decision; and on what date he plans to resume such recording.

Chris Grayling (Minister of State (Employment), Work and Pensions; Epsom and Ewell, Conservative) The nationality of benefits claimants has never been systematically recorded by the Department for Work and Pension’s benefit payment systems, as nationality in itself is not a condition of entitlement.

I have commissioned work to release information regarding the nationality of benefits claimants at the point of registration for a national insurance number. I hope to make these preliminary statistics available shortly. In addition, I have asked my officials to look into ways of capturing nationality information at source.