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Policing Initiatives

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will list (a) the Government Departments and (b) the publicly-funded bodies which have used the People's Panel to test policing initiatives;

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and if she will list the initiatives concerned. [148670]

Mr. Stringer: To date the People's Panel has not been used to test any policing initiatives.

The panel is directed towards service delivery and the following is a list of the issues pursued by it:

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DepartmentDescription of research
Cabinet OfficeCollection of baseline data on attitudes towards public services.
Cabinet OfficeResearch into attitudes to a wide range of services, with a particular focus on transport, local democracy and complaints handling.
Cabinet OfficeTo complement the Ministerial Roadshow element of the Listening to Women exercise which identified issues of importance to women.
Cabinet OfficeExperiences of citizens using public services to evaluate how well Departments and agencies work together to deliver a joined-up service, and identify suggestions for improvement. The work was commissioned as part of the research for the Modernising Government White Paper.
Cabinet OfficeStandards of service the public receive when they contact local and central government agencies.
Cabinet OfficeResearch to help the Cabinet Office prepare a new directory that brings together information for the main government helplines.
Cabinet OfficePeople's Panel: Analysis of the views of older people from the first three waves of Panel research.
Cabinet OfficeAssessment of demand for extended delivery of public services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Cabinet OfficeCentral IT Unit Portal Demonstrator
Cabinet OfficeAttitudes to public services in deprived and non-deprived areas.
Cabinet OfficeResearch into what people from ethnic minority communities think of the services they receive and how their opinions differ across and between different ethnic minority groups.
Cabinet OfficeSatisfaction with public services; what people expect from them; and perceptions about how public services deal with complaints.
Cabinet OfficeQualitative research to explore public perception of electronic service delivery.
DETRResearch using Panel members living in England to inform the Urban White Paper and Housing Green Paper.
DETR--Commission for Integrated TransportResearch into the public's expectations for transport in the future. In particular to investigate consumer concerns about, and expectations of, transport in the longer term, and their priorities for investment.
DfEETo investigate parents' attitudes to value added information in school performance tables.
DfEEResearch to examine attitudes to the daily literacy hour in primary schools, during which pupils spend an hour every day reading and writing.
HSEAttitudes to gas safety and regulation.
MAFFQualitative research to evaluate a draft leaflet about GM food leaflet.
MAFF--Food Standards AgencyResearch to assess how important it is to consumers to know the country of origin of food and what impact it has on the buying process; and what inferences the public is making about food products based on their country of origin.
Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA)Qualitative research to investigate perceptions of the ministerial public appointments process.
OSTResearch part of a public consultation to explore public attitudes to biosciences regulatory system.
Post Office CountersAspects of locations for one-stop shops and electronic service delivery.

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Summaries of the research results have been placed in the House Library and published on the internet.



Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security for each year since 1988, how many married men have transferred their company preserved pension into an appropriate personal pension; and what effect this has on a married man's widow's SERPS entitlement should he die before retirement age. [148495]

Mr. Rooker: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is as follows.

A married man who contracts out of SERPS into an appropriate personal pension gives up all or part of his additional pension from the state scheme. He must provide for a widow's benefit when he buys an annuity on retirement.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment he has made of proposals to change the arrangement for pension entitlements to a dependent spouse after the death of the policyholder. [147491]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 26 January 2001]: On the state pensions side, where the person with the SERPS entitlement dies, there will be no change to the current arrangements for the following people:

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We are also consulting on regulations which would mean there would also be no change for people who are widowed on or after 6 October 2002 but whose late husband or wife reached state pension age on or before 5 October 2002.

We have no plans to alter the inheritance arrangements with regard to the basic state pension or to contracted-out occupational pension schemes or appropriate personal pensions.

Incorrect Benefit Payments

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the amount of erroneous (a) underpayment and (b) overpayment arising as a result of error or fraud was by (i) officials and (ii) customers in respect of each benefit administered by his Department for each year since 1996-97. [148488]

Mr. Rooker: The information requested is not available. Snapshot estimates of fraud and customer error in particular benefits are captured in the National Benefit Reviews, which have been placed in the library.

Area Benefit Reviews, which started in October 1997, provide on-going measurement of fraud and customer error for Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance. Reports are placed in the Library.

Uprated Benefits

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Havant (Mr. Willetts), of 30 January 2001, Official Report, column 139W, if he will recalculate the table on the basis that both (a) the basic State Pension and (b) the Minimum Income Guarantee were uprated with prices. [148757]

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Mr. Rooker [holding answer 5 February 2001]: The information is in the table.

A comparison of total net cost with my previous reply to the hon. Member for Havant suggests that uprating by prices would have reduced net expenditure by about £2¼ billion--from around £3¼ billion to around £1 billion.

Estimated costs of uprating selected benefits by prices, 2001-02

Basic State Pension£1,100 million
Minimum Income Guaranteebetween -£50 million and zero
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit for those aged 60 and over-£50 million
Total cost£1,000 to £1,050 million


1. Figures are in cash terms and are rounded to the nearest £50 million.

2. Estimates relate to Great Britain.

3. The costs of uprating MIG, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit with prices are negative. This can be explained by the fact that the September RPI was higher (3.3 per cent.) than the September Rossi (1.6 per cent.). This means that with price uprating, pensioners' State Pensions would have increased at a faster rate than the applicable amount limits in the income-related benefits.

Winter Fuel Payments

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what recent representations he has had from disability organisations in relation to Winter Fuel Payments to severely disabled people under the age of 60 years; and what action he intends to take. [148612]

Mr. Rooker: There have been representations from the Kilmarnock and Loudoun Forum on Disability, and from the publication "Disability Now". Both representations concern extending Winter Fuel Payments to younger disabled people who receive the middle or higher rate of Disability Living Allowance.

For younger disabled people, Disability Living Allowance provides a contribution towards the extra costs associated with disability. The care and mobility needs entitlement criteria to the benefit are used as broad indicators of all the extra costs, including heating costs, that a disabled person may have. The disability premium in income-related benefits is paid in recognition that the poorest disabled people need additional help. Disabled people are free to use either of these benefits to pay for additional heating costs.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people who are eligible for a full Winter Fuel Payment have, in the first instance, received only half of the total amount owed in each year since 1997. [148486]

Mr. Rooker: The administration of benefits is a matter for Alexis Cleveland, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Alexis Cleveland to Mr. David Willetts, dated 6 February 2001:

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