Previous Section Index Home Page


Postal Service (Benefits)

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many claims process errors have been identified by local authorities using the "do not re-direct" postal service for benefit-related envelopes; [131355]

Angela Eagle: The information requested is not available. However, from 2000-01, local authorities are asked to provide details of the number of cases where fraud has been established as a result of using the "do not re-direct" service.

The recent Local Authority Omnibus Survey, published in April 2000, showed that of those authorities surveyed and operating "do not re-direct", around three-quarters said that it had enhanced their ability to protect the system against fraud, and more than half believed that it led to the identification of fraudulent activity. The deterrent effect of the scheme is less easy to quantify.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security which local authorities have yet to implement fully the "do not re-direct" postal service for benefit- related envelopes; and what reasons they have given for the delays. [131357]

Angela Eagle: According to information we have received from the Royal Mail, there are currently 57 local authorities who have not joined the "do not re-direct" postal service.

The following list shows the authorities that have not joined, or contacted their local Royal Mail sales centre to join, the scheme to date. The Royal Mail, in turn, depends on their local sales centres to keep them informed as authorities join up.

19 Jul 2000 : Column: 242W

Some of these authorities have in place arrangements with their local sorting office which fall outside of the national scheme. Others are proposing to join.

19 Jul 2000 : Column: 243W


Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioners from Dorset are suffering a loss of income as a result of the NIRS2 computer problems. [130835]

Mr. Rooker: It is not possible to give an accurate answer to this question. I can, however, confirm that the maximum number of pensioners in Dorset whose Retirement Pension will be subject to review is 1,041. We expect to make benefit adjustments to around 600 of these cases. We expect to complete work on these cases by October 2000.

Lone Parents

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people have moved to sustained unsubsidised employment from the New Deal for Lone Parents; and what percentage he estimates would have found employment without the New Deal for Lone Parents. [130682]

Angela Eagle: Up to the end of April, 54,241 lone parents had obtained jobs following participation in the New Deal for Lone Parents programme. All NDLP jobs are unsubsidised.

The evaluation of the programme's prototype phase, which ran from July 1997 to October 1998, estimates how many jobs gained were additional to those that would have occurred without the programme. Copies of the evaluation reports are available in the Library. This estimated that NDLP virtually paid for itself.

Comprehensive evaluation of the national phase of the NDLP programme is being conducted and will report in 2002.

19 Jul 2000 : Column: 244W

Pensioner Benefits

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the administration cost of processing applications for (a) winter fuel allowance and (b) concessionary television licences in the (i) last and (ii) current financial year. [130434]

Angela Eagle: In the last financial year (1999-2000), Winter Fuel Payments accounted for around 0.35 per cent. of the total departmental running costs. There were no costs paid in respect of concessionary TV licences for people over 75.

In the current financial year, administering these two important initiatives to improve the income of older people will account for around 1.7 per cent. of the total departmental running costs (0.93 per cent. in respect of the Winter Fuel Payment scheme and 0.75 per cent. for the concessionary television licence scheme).