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Benefit Entitlements

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact of

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withdrawing social security benefit from adults unwilling to have their basic skills levels tested; and if he will make a statement. [3371]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government set out their strategy for helping adults improve their basic skills in the document "Skills for Life", published in March this year. This strategy includes a strong focus on helping unemployed people improve their literacy and numeracy skills and so increase their chances of getting and keeping a job. As part of our overall strategy, it is right that we pilot arrangements to sanction people receiving jobseeker's allowance who refuse to take up offers of help in improving their basic skills. The pilots, which we propose to implement in the autumn, will be fully evaluated.

Executive Agencies

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the numbers of actual and whole-time equivalent employees of (a) the Benefits Agency as at 1 April, (b) the headquarters functions of the Benefits Agency as at 1 April, (c) the Working Life Agency as at 1 July, (d) the headquarters functions of the Agency as at 1 July, (e) the Pensions Service Agency as at 1 July, (f) the headquarters functions of the Pensions Agency as at 1 July, (g) the Disability and Carers Directorate as at 1 July, (h) the headquarters functions of the Disability Directorate as at 1 July, (i) the Child Support Agency as at 1 July and (j) the headquarters function of the Child Support Agency as at 1 July. [3700]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Since 1 April 2000, the HQ functions of the Benefits Agency have been carried out by Department of Social Security (DSS) departmental directorates which support all business units in the Department. The reason for this was to ensure more resources were focused on front line delivery and to reduce duplication across the agencies. As a result, as at 1 February 2001 (the last published figures), 2,523 staff had moved from departmental support services and were not replaced. The resource was transferred to the Benefits Agency. The figures show the staffing levels for those directorates.

At 1 April 2001, the total staffing in Benefits Agency and DSS departmental directorates was as follows (a separate figure is not available for BA HQ for the reasons outlined above):

Benefits Agency and DSS departmental directorates staffing as at 1 April 2001

Actual staffWhole time equivalent staff
Benefits Agency70,33064,683.4
DSS departmental directorates7,1126,852.6

At 1 July 2001, the Department for Work and Pensions continues to be structured as the Benefits Agency and the Employment Service. Formation of the working age organisation (to be known as JobCentre Plus) and the pensions organisation (to be known as the Pensions

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Service) will not take place until April 2002. The information is therefore not available in the precise format requested.

The Department for Work and Pensions staffing at the latest available date is shown in the following table. During the period in question responsibility for the calculation and recovery of overpayments has been transferred to one of the departmental directorates, resulting in a reduction of staff numbers in the Benefits Agency and an increase in numbers in the directorates.

Department for Work and Pensions 1 June 2001 (latest information available)

Actual staffWhole time equivalent staff
Benefits Agency68,90863,470.0
Disability and Carers Directorate(61)7,2556,623.6
Employment Service35,06730,465.3
DSS Departmental Directorates8,9708,471.3
Child Support Agency10,99810,145.2
Child Support Agency HQ1,1011,056.1

(61) Also included in Benefits Agency figures.


Pension Forecasts

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will set out the target implementation dates for the provision of new pension forecasts. [3735]

Mr. McCartney: I will write to the hon. Member.

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Disability Benefits

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) target times and (b) average time it took to deal with (i) revisions, (ii) renewal claims and (iii) original applications for (A) disability living allowance and (B) attendance allowance were in the last 12 months. [4354]

Maria Eagle: The administration of disability living allowance and attendance allowance is a matter for Alexis Cleveland, chief executive of the Benefits Agency. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Alexis Cleveland to Andrew George, dated 20 July 2001:





ClaimsRenewalsReconsiderationsSupersessions
Disability Living Allowance 2000–01
Target, 95 per cent. cleared in73.084.099.099.0
Actual average clearance days (in month)
July48.739.349.062.1
August47.539.443.057.9
September46.234.844.855.6
October45.732.344.755.0
November44.532.142.652.5
December44.031.939.451.5
January45.534.741.654.3
February44.429.838.847.3
March41.728.733.744.5
April41.428.635.644.6
May41.530.337.444.6
June43.532.336.848.4
Attendance Allowance
Target, 95 per cent cleared in63.066.087.087.0
Actual average clearance days (in month)
July33.630.750.954.3
August32.026.847.550.8
September29.425.251.848.2
October27.126.146.146.5
November25.924.744.945.8
December26.025.142.243.1
January28.725.444.445.6
February26.920.740.536.6
March24.919.235.632.9
April25.320.636.031.5
May25.921.633.932.6
June26.823.035.335.3

Note:

All figures in days


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Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children broken down by (a) age group and (b) proportion of households with children in that age group, live in households where a parent is in receipt of (i) Incapacity Benefit, (ii) Severe Disablement Allowance, (iii) Income Support with a Disability Premium and (iv) Disability Living Allowance. [4356]

Malcolm Wicks: The available information is in the tables.

Number of dependent children living in families where a parent receives Incapacity Benefit (IB), Income Support (IS) Disability Premium or Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Age groupIBDLAIS Disability Premium
0–485,000130,000100,000
5–10150,000290,000150,000
11–15165,000275,000155,000
16+70,00090,00055,000

Number of dependent children living in families where the parent has IB, DLA or IS Disability Premium as a proportion of all children in Great Britain

Percentage
Age groupIBDLAIS Disability Premium
0–4243
5–10373
11–15484
16+674

Notes:

1. Caseloads are rounded to the nearest 5,000 and percentages to the nearest percentage point.

2. For IB and DLA the figures have been calculated from the 1999–2000 Family Resources Survey. For the IS Disability Premium they have been taken from the February 2001 Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiry and the February 2001 Child Benefit statistics.

3. Data are not provided for Severe Disablement Allowance because the sample sizes are too small to support a reliable estimate.

4. People are not counted as receiving a benefit if they receive it on behalf of someone else.



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