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Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the costs of administering the payroll in his Department and associated agencies in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Mr. Rooker: [holding answer 1 November 2000]: The annual cost of administering the Department's integrated pay, personnel and expenses system was £8.3 million 1999-2000. This will reduce to £4.9 million per annum from January 2001 due to restructuring of payroll and expenses services as part of the Department drive to refocus resources on the front-line services.
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Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what the level of the average payment made to date is to pensioners to make up for income lost as a result of the NIRS2 computer problems, broken down into (a) outstanding benefit payments and (b) compensation; 
(3) which benefits, apart from state pensions, are still affected by the problems with NIRS2; and how many claimants of each benefit are still awaiting their correct benefit entitlement as a result. 
Pensioners who have been affected by the NIRS2 problems and who are entitled to compensation under the Departmental Special Payments Scheme receive an average amount of arrears of £377 and an average amount of compensation of £11.77.
Claims for Widows Benefit, Incapacity Benefit and Jobseeker's Allowance are also affected by the NIRS2 problems. At 15 September 200, Benefits Agency offices had 12,402 Incapacity Benefit claims waiting to be reviewed and 2,255 Jobseeker's Allowance claims. The exact number of Widows Benefit claims waiting to be reviewed is not known but the combined total of Widows Benefit and Retirement Pension claims outstanding at 15 September was 96,776.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will estimate the number of pensioners who are currently receiving incorrect payments in respect of (a) the state retirement pension and (b) SERPS that have been caused by problems with the NIRS2 computer system; 
(3) if he will estimate the average weekly (a) underpayment and (b) overpayment in respect of (i) the state retirement pension and (ii) SERPS caused by problems with the NIRS2 computer system at the latest date for which figures are available. 
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The number of pensioners not receiving their full rate of pension and the number of newly entitled pensioners who do not receive their full rate of pension in time for their first pension pay day specifically because of NIRS2 problems is not available.
Separate figures are not held for SERPS, which is a component of the overall State Retirement Pension. At 30 September 2000, NIRS2 problems had caused 128,000 pensioners to be underpaid a total of £43.5 million. At 31 August 2000, NIRS2 problems had caused 5,300 pensioners to be overpaid a total of £920,000. The average underpayment is £340 and the average overpayment £174.
Angela Eagle: The ECHR case of Christopher Crossland, which was resolved by friendly settlement, concerned only the Widows Bereavement (Tax) Allowance, and therefore has no implications for Widows Benefits.
In introducing Bereavement Benefits from 9 April 2001, we will, for the first time, introduce specific benefits for widowers on the death of their spouse. These benefits will be available equally to men and women.
Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what plans he has for the body that will administer the pension credit to share data relevant to the pension credit with (a) the Benefits Agency, (b) local authorities, (c) banks and building societies, (d) pension providers and (e) the Inland Revenue; 
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Mr. Rooker: We will consider carefully administration issues as part of our detailed programme to take forward the pension credit. As part of this, we will endeavour to reduce barriers to the claims process.
Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many, and what percentage of, first degree full-time graduates from higher education institutions in Scotland were unemployed six months after graduation in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the President of the Council how many letters have been received by the Government alleging that there was a threat to religious freedom posed by the EU directive on employment agreed between the Governments of the EU on 17 October. 
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