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National Insurance

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security by what date those who have been underpaid as a result of the shut-down of the new national insurance computer will receive the full payments to which they are entitled. [63954]

Mr. Timms: All customers who are receiving interim or emergency awards of benefit will automatically have their entitlement reviewed. Any arrears due will be paid in full. The NIRS2 system is supporting the majority of business processes and once full functionality is available review of the cases affected will commence. It is not yet certain when this work will be complete.

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioners have, as a result of the shut-down of the new national insurance computer, been underpaid by (a) 1p to £1 per week, (b) £1 to £10 per week and (c) £10 to £100 per week. [63952]

Mr. Timms: The information is not available until all the affected cases have been reassessed. This reassessment is expected to commence in the first quarter of 1999.

Lone Parents

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the total cost of running the New Deal for Lone Parents from July 1997 to 25 September 1998 has been, broken down by Employment Service regions; and how much of this was spent on (a) advertising, (b) personal advisers and (c) other Employment Agency services. [63950]

Angela Eagle: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is as follows:

Phase 1 of the New Deal for Lone Parents (NDLP) started on 21 July 1997 and ran until the main national rollout of the programme commenced on 26 October 1998. It was delivered in four areas by the Benefits

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Agency and four areas by the Employment Service. Phase 2 commenced on 6 April 1998. There was a period of overlap between Phases 1 and 2.

The Benefits Agency ran the NDLP in Phase 1 only between 21 July 1997 and 25 October 1998. There are no separate figures for the Benefits Agency advertising costs for Phase 1.

The cost of the Advisers in the four Benefits Agency areas for that period was as follows:

Adviser costs
North Cheshire241,337
North Worcestershire233,776

The Benefits Agency did not have a separate allocation for Employment Service Programmes but were able to refer people to the Employment Service.

Expenditure details are not available in the same format for the Employment Service for Phase 1 of the NDLP between the period 21 July 1997 until 31 March 1998. However, the Employment Service's financial allocations for their regions for Phase 1 for 21 July 1997 to 31 March 1998 was as follows:

Running costsES Programmes
London and South East262,67685,100
West Midlands145,82444,203

Phase 2 of the NDLP extended the service to all lone parents who made a new claim for Income Support whose youngest child was aged at least 5 years and three months and those with younger children who put themselves forward. There were costs involved with the preparation of this phase of the programme which fell in the 1997-98 financial year. Expenditure details on Phase 2 of the NDLP in the 1997-98 financial year were not separately captured. However, the Employment Service financial allocations during that financial year for Phase 2 was as follows:

Running costs (19)
Yorks and Humberside80,665
East Midlands and Eastern79,004
London and South East296,497
South West64,648
West Midlands83,187
North West116,862

The Employment Service captured actual expenditure for the period 1 April 1998 to 30 September 1998 for the combined Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the NDLP. Separate

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expenditure for the two distinct strands of the NDLP is not available. The regional breakdown of this is as follows:

Running costs (19)
Yorks and Humberside297,436
East Midlands and Eastern270,455
London and South East987,706
South West375,845
Office for Wales305,076
West Midlands333,279
North West518,405
Office for Scotland344,028

(19) From 1 April 1998 Employment Service is recording expenditure details in respect of NDLP under the headings of Paybill, General Administrative Expenditure and ES Programme expenditure. The Paybill details do not show the costs of Advisers as a separate item and would include the costs of Adviser managers and clerical support etc.

The vast majority of publicity costs surrounding Phase 1 of NDLP were paid centrally and fell in the 1997-98 financial year. These amounted to £384,553. There would have been other much smaller local publicity costs for both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of NDLP and these would be contained in the expenditure/allocation details shown above.

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many lone parents with children of school age were receiving income support in Oxfordshire on 1 December. [63647]

Angela Eagle: The administration of benefits is a matter for Peter Mathison, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Mr. Peter Mathison to Mr. Shaun Woodward, dated 14 December 1998:

    The available figures are included in the attached table.

    I hope you find this reply helpful.

May 1998
Lone Parents with children of school age in receipt of Income Support in Oxfordshire4,000


1. Lone Parents are defined as single people with dependants who are not in receipt of a disability or pensioner premium.

2. School age children are taken to be aged between 5 and 18 years inclusive, and it is lone parents who have at least one child within this range who are included. However, these lone parents might also have children younger than school age.

3. The information has been provided by the Analytical Services Division 1 of the DSS using the postcode's for Oxfordshire. The figures are provisional and subject to change.

4. The definition of Oxfordshire used is based on version 1 of the 1998 postcode directory.

5. The figures provided relate to receipt of Income Support as at May 1998 and have been taken from the Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiry May 1998 which is the latest available.

6. Figures are based on a 5% sample and therefore subject to a degree of sampling error.

7. Figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand.

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Income Support (Pensioners)

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will place in the Library the report on research into why some pensioners do not claim income support. [63703]

Mr. Denham: Research to understand why pensioners do not claim the Income Support to which they are entitled was begun at the end of last year. The fieldwork is now complete and a report is being prepared. Preliminary findings from qualitative research were published in June 1998 and a copy was placed in the Library. Full results are due next year, and publication will follow as soon as possible. The report will also be placed in the Library.

Scotland Act 1998 (Schedule 5)

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list (a) total expenditure and (b) expenditure by programme by his Department in Scotland on areas covered by the exceptions under (i) D.5 of Head D and (ii) F.1 of Head F in Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998. [63799]

Mr. Timms: Schedule 5, Head D.5 of the Scotland Act relates to Parliament's role in promoting energy conservation. This Department is conscious of the need to conserve energy, but does not directly incur expenditure in doing so, following the letting of its estates contract to an outside contractor, Trillium, in April 1998. Trillium are currently developing a number of spend-to-save measures.

Schedule 5, Head F.1 of the Scotland Act lists social welfare matters which are excepted from the reservation of Social Security. All these matters in Scotland are currently the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and this Department has no responsibility for expenditure on them. They are identified in the Act to make it clear that they are not included within the definition of Social Security.

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the offices or agencies under his control which will be subject to L.2 of Head L in Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998; how many people are currently employed in these offices; and what equal opportunities practices are adopted in these offices. [63800]

Mr. Timms: This Department consists of a Headquarters business unit and a number of Executive Agencies; the Benefits Agency, Contributions Agency, Child Support Agency, Information Technology Services Agency and War Pensions Agency. In total, there are 9,434 Departmental staff in Scotland.

The Department is committed to providing equality of opportunity for all staff, in all of its business units, in all locations. This commitment is set out in the Department's Equal Opportunities policy statement which was revised and issued to all staff in September. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Equal Opportunities practices are integral to the work of the Department, both in terms of employment practices and service to customers. Examples include Equal Opportunities training for all staff, establishing consultative/development staff groups, a network of Harassment Advisers in each business unit, and implementing a range of "family friendly" policies such as career breaks and alternative working patterns.

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In addition, the Department uses the Employment Service's "positive about disabled people" symbol, conducts disability awareness sessions for staff and has completed staff disability surveys using the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) definition of disability. An increasing number of buildings occupied by the Department now fully meet the requirements of the DDA, and the impetus will be maintained by our private sector partner, Trillium, as they continue to upgrade the buildings.

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