Previous Section Index Home Page


LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Parental Rights

Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will equalise the rights and the responsibilities of unmarried parents where both parents' names are given on the child's birth certificate and where there is financial commitment by both parents to the maintenance and welfare of the child. [101338]

Jane Kennedy: I refer my hon. Friend to the written answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South (Mr. Cunningham) on 6 December 1999, Official Report, column 398W.

Family Law

Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when the Lord Chancellor will publish the report on the consultation on the document, Contact between Children and Violent Parents. [101507]

Jane Kennedy: The consultation paper on the question of parental contact in cases where there is domestic violence was issued by the Children Act Sub-Committee of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Board on Family Law in June 1999. The Advisory Board is an independent, advisory non-departmental public body. The consultation period was extended to 1 December and the responses are currently being collated for consideration by the Sub-Committee. The Advisory Board will consider in the new year the question of how and when the results of the consultation should be made public.

Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department which organisations responded to the consultation document, Contact between Children and Violent Parents, produced by her Department's Advisory Board on Family Law; and what issues they raised. [101506]

Jane Kennedy: The consultation paper on the question of parental contact in cases where there is domestic violence was issued by the Children Act Sub-Committee of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Board on Family Law in June 1999. The Advisory Board is an independent, advisory non-departmental public body. Over 200 responses have been received and these are currently being collated and summarised for consideration by the Sub-Committee in the New Year. The Sub-Committee will consider the issues raised, the advice to be given and the question of how the results of the consultation should be made public.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Departmental Transport

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much his Department has spent on ministerial transport in 1995-96 and 1996-97. [98715]

Mr. Bayley: The information my hon. Friend has requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, information dating from the establishment of the Government Car and Despatch Agency in April 1997

7 Dec 1999 : Column: 490W

is available, and I refer her to the answer provided by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office, on 1 December 1999, Official Report, columns 255-56W.

Special Payments

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what changes he has made to the indicators of delay which have to be satisfied before a special payment can be considered since 1 May 1997; [101095]

Mr. Bayley: No changes have been made to the indicators of delay which have to be satisfied before a special payment can be considered since 1 May 1997.

The indicators of delay which must be satisfied in respect of each benefit before a special payment can be considered due to late payment are published in "Financial Redress for Maladministration". This document is available in every Local Office for the general public to read upon request. It is also available in the Library, at main public libraries and as a priced document from The Stationery Office bookshops.

Work-focused Gateway

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to extend (a) private and voluntary sector involvement in and (b) call centre facilities to all the single work-focused gateway pilot projects. [100873]

Angela Eagle: There are no plans to extend the private sector involvement or call centre facilities to the four 'basic model' pilots. The three pilot variants were chosen to test different methods of delivering the ONE service. We are monitoring the pilots carefully and have planned a full evaluation of the ONE service using qualitative as well as quantitative research.

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what recent assessment he has made of the performance of the single work-focused gateway pilot project in Clyde Coast and Renfrew; [100874]

Angela Eagle: The early signs are encouraging; clients are pleased with the ONE service and the active support that it offers. It is helping people to make links with the labour market who might hitherto never have considered that work was even a possibility. It is not, however, meaningful to assess the pilots further at such an early stage or to draw any conclusions from the figures while the pilots are settling down. We are investing considerable resources in a thorough evaluation of the ONE service and when robust and reliable data are available we will make them public.

7 Dec 1999 : Column: 491W

Benefit Administrator

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish in respect of all benefits payable the length of time which his Department expects to clear claims for that particular benefit. [101094]

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

Letter from Mark Fisher to Mr. Christopher Chope, dated 6 December 1999:



    The Benefits Agency Customer Charter, which was published on 29 November, sets out national standards for a range of activities that customers can expect the Agency's offices to provide. This includes the length of time the Agency expects to take to clear benefit claims made by the Agency's main client groups, i. e. those of working age, pension age, the disabled and children. It also takes account of the need to balance accuracy and speed.


    The information is set out in the attached table.


    I hope this is helpful.

Charter standards: Time taken for decisions on claims and change of circumstances

BenefitClaims (working days)
Income Support13
Jobseeker's Allowance21
Incapacity Benefit30
Disability Living Allowance53
Retirement Pension60
Child Benefit30

Income Support

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people living in the London Borough of Wandsworth are in receipt of income support. [101045]

Mr. Bayley: The administration of benefits is a matter for Peter Mathison, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. Tom Cox, dated 6 December 1999:



    The information is not available in the format requested as the Benefits Agency does not collate information by local authority boundary. However, a figure can be obtained by identifying the postcode of customers living in the area.


    The number of IS claims from within the London Borough of Wandsworth is approximately 18,500. This represents the number of IS claims, not the total number of beneficiaries of those claims. It is rounded to the nearest hundred cases, and is subject to a degree of sampling error. The sample size was 5% of the IS live load, taken from the IS Statistics Quarterly Enquiries, August 1999.


    I hope this is helpful.

Parental Benefits

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many non-resident parents are exempt from payment of child support maintenance under regulation

7 Dec 1999 : Column: 492W

26 of the Child Support (Maintenance Assessment and Special Cases) Regulations 1992 on the grounds that they have the family premium included in the calculation or estimation of their protected income level. [101202]

Angela Eagle: There are 44,440 non-resident parents on benefit who are exempt from payment of child support maintenance under regulation 26 because they are receiving the family premium.


Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the number of parents with care who will have the level of their maintenance assessments reduced under the proposed changes to the child support scheme and are (a) not in receipt of tax credits, Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and (b) in receipt of tax credits but have a child support assessment under the current rules of less than £15 per week. [101201]

Angela Eagle: We estimate that, of the parents with care whose current maintenance assessment is higher than the liability worked out using the new rates, there are around 140,000 who are not in receipt of tax credits, Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance. On the same basis, there are around 10,000 parents with care who we anticipate will have a lower maintenance calculation under the new scheme who are receiving tax credit and have a child support assessment of less than £15 a week.


Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the cost of disregarding the full amount of child support maintenance payment received in calculating entitlement to housing benefit and council tax benefit. [101203]

Angela Eagle: We estimate that the cost of fully disregarding maintenance payments in Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Benefit would be about £30 million a year. This includes an estimate for the cost for cases who would become newly entitled as a result of the full disregard.







Next Section Index Home Page