|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Ms Roseanna Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many complaints were lodged against the Child Support Agency in (a) 1999-2000 and (b) 2000-01; and for what reasons they were lodged. 
|Category of complaints||1999-2000||2000-01(84)|
|Delay/failure to take appropriate action||12,001||8,652|
|Complaints about staff||1,500||1,109|
|Disclosure of information||316||282|
|Human Rights Act||0||77|
(84) Year to date
The total number of complaints is higher than the number of letters because some letters of complaint covered more than one subject.
Angela Eagle: Either parent can apply to the Child Support Agency (CSA) for their case to be looked at again if they think the latest decision on their case is wrong, or there has been a change in circumstances since their case was last considered.
The Child Support Agency (CSA) will accept an application for child maintenance from a person with care or non-resident parent provided that they do not already have a court order or written maintenance agreement dated before April 1993. In Scotland, a child of 12 or over may also apply for child support maintenance provided there is no court order in place and at least one parent is living apart from them.
The CSA only has jurisdiction to assess and collect child support when the parent with care and child concerned are habitually resident in Great Britain or Northern Ireland. In cases where the non-resident parent lives abroad, the CSA can handle maintenance only if the non-resident parent is working for a UK-based employer.
26 Feb 2001 : Column: 536W
A parent with care who is in receipt of Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, or who is the partner of someone who receives one of these benefits, can be required to co-operate with the Child Support Agency in seeking child maintenance, unless doing so would put themselves or their children at risk of harm or undue distress.
Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will calculate for someone on earnings of £15,000 (a) the size of a contracted-out rebate for a final salary occupational scheme and (b) the proportion of the National Insurance contribution for someone on earnings of £15,000 that is contributed to SERPS if they are not contracted out. 
Mr. Rooker: For someone with annual earnings of £15,000 in the 2000-01 tax year, the size of the contracted-out rebate for a final salary occupational scheme would be £529.74. The employee's share of the rebate would be £184.26. It is not possible to provide details of the proportion of the National Insurance contribution that is contributed to SERPS for someone on earnings of £15,000 who is not contracted out. This is because Class 1 National Insurance contributions are not separable into elements for the State Earnings Related Pensions Scheme (SERPS) or for other benefits paid out of the National Insurance Fund.
Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will calculate the outstanding liability to SERPS for each of the next 40 years if all workers turning 25 years were automatically contracted out of SERPS at the standard occupational pension rate. 
Dr. Jack Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Copeland constituency, the effect of his Department's policy initiatives and actions since May 1997 on pensioners living in Copeland, indicating (a) the numbers and (b) the percentage of pensioners who have been affected in each case; and if he will make a statement. 
26 Feb 2001 : Column: 537W
Mr. Rooker: The Department's policies and initiatives have made a significant contribution to the Government's overall objective to combat poverty and promote security and independence in retirement for today's and tomorrow's pensioners.
Older people are disproportionately affected by fuel poverty, so we have introduced Winter Fuel Payments to help with their heaviest fuel bill. This winter, the payment is £200 for households who qualify. Over 14,000 older people in Copeland have received a Winter Fuel Payment for this winter.
To demonstrate our commitment to combating pensioner poverty, this year we will spend £4.5 billion extra in real terms on pensioners. Over 14,000 pensioners in Copeland will benefit from the substantial increases in the basic State pension this April and next; this year's increase is £5 a week for single pensioners and £8 for couples. In addition, we have introduced free TV licences for the over-75s, of whom we estimate there are about 4,700 in Copeland. Around 1,700 pensioner families in Copeland are receiving the Minimum Income Guarantee, which we introduced in April 1999 to help our poorest pensioners. From April they will be at least £15 a week, or £800 a year, better off in real terms as a result of Government measures since 1997.
Other reforms in the pipeline include: the new Pension Credit in 2003, designed to ensure that pensioners benefit from their savings; the launch of Stakeholder Pensions in April this year; and the introduction of the State Second Pension in April 2002, both of which will help provide greater security for tomorrow's pensioners.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the identity of the private sector partner contracted to process claims for winter fuel payments for customers not already in receipt of a benefit; and what are (a) the terms of the contract in respect of the time scale for processing claims; and (b) the contractual arrangements for ensuring that the published helpline telephone number can cope with every inquiry from the public. 
Mr. Rooker: An information campaign commenced in April 2000 and continued throughout the year informing people of the changes to the Winter Fuel Payment scheme and what, if any, action was required of them. The campaign also encouraged people who were newly eligible for payments to make a claim. The campaign included: advertisements in national and local press; a
26 Feb 2001 : Column: 538W
dedicated leaflet and poster made available in a variety of venues, including local social security offices, post offices and doctors' surgeries.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|