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Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison), of 12 November 2001, Official Report, column 569W, on new deal programmes, if the number of sanctions imposed on people participating in the new deal for the long-term unemployed is now available. 
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of the pre-April 2001 entrants to the new deal for the long-term unemployed who undertook the full time education and training option (a) left the option for employment before completing their course, (b) completed their course and (c) obtained an accredited qualification. 
26 Nov 2001 : Column: 705W
Mr. Nicholas Brown: The latest results for the new deal for long-term unemployed are contained in the Statistical First Release which is available in the Library. Information on numbers completing options and on qualifications gained is not available.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what changes have been made to housing benefit to support the policy that 16 to 17-year-old lone parents should be housed in semi-independent adult- supervised accommodation. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Social Exclusion Unit report on Teenage Pregnancy recommended that parents under 18 years old who are unable to remain at home with their parents are provided with supported housing.
So far the Housing Corporation has approved funding for over 720 new supported units, estimated to constitute between a third and a half of the total additional supported accommodation needed for full implementation of the policy. They are currently considering a further round of bids.
After careful consideration we concluded that, pending further progress in providing supported housing, it would not be appropriate to make changes to the Housing Benefit entitlement of 16 to 17-year-old lone parents at the present time.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the new minimum income guarantee claim form will be introduced for all applicants; and if he will place a copy in the Library. 
Mr. McCartney: The law sets requirements as to the time allowed to trustees and managers of occupational pension schemes to calculate and provide cash equivalent transfer values, and the manner in which they do so. Members' interests are adequately protected by those requirements. We have no plans to make any further provision.
26 Nov 2001 : Column: 706W
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if the CSA is required to recalculate maintenance liabilities back to the beginning of a claim in cases where a parent with care is shown to have been fraudulently claiming income support for some or all of the period during which the CSA was involved. 
Malcolm Wicks: The CSA can supersede a maintenance assessment from the date that it came into effect if a parent with care is discovered to have given false information that has resulted in an increase in maintenance liability. In practice, however, few parents with care have sufficient income to affect the maintenance assessment. The discovery that a claim for income support was fraudulent will, therefore, often have no effect on the amount of maintenance due.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints have been made to the Child Support Agency in each of the last five years by hon. Members on behalf of their constituents. 
Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what is the average waiting time between submission of the complaint and completion of the investigation of CSA cases referred to the Independent Case Examiner in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what was the backlog of Child Support Agency cases awaiting the attention of the Independent Case Examiner at (a) 1 January 2000, (b) 1 July 2001, (c) 1 January 2001 and (d) 1 July 2001. 
26 Nov 2001 : Column: 707W
|Date||Number of cases awaiting initial action||Number of cases awaiting investigation of evidence||Total|
|1 January 2000||16||130||146|
|1 July 2000||152||8||160|
|1 January 2001||213||36||249|
|1 July 2001||290||51||341|
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what recent representations he has received on delays in estimation of absent parents' contributions to child support; 
(3) what targets he has set the Child Support Agency to improve times taken to determine absent parents' contributions to child support; 
(4) when he last discussed with the Chief Executive of the Child Support Agency the time taken to determine absent parents' contributions to child support; 
(5) what assessment he has made of the time taken by the Child Support Agency to determine absent parents' contributions to child support. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 21 November 2001]: My right hon. Friend holds regular meetings with the Chief Executive of the Child Support Agency, Mr. Doug Smith, to discuss all aspects of Child Support Agency performance. The time taken to complete a child support assessment is monitored on a monthly basis. For information about the latest performance information I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 15 November 2001, Official Report, column 1339. The agency has received 6,375 complaints from customers and 1,584 from Members of Parliament about delays in making maintenance assessments in the last 12 months.
Delays in completing assessments are largely due to the complexity of the current scheme. The simpler child support arrangements to be introduced for the new cases from April 2002 will allow this work to be completed more quickly. We will expect the agency to get child support flowing within six weeks for the majority of applicants.
In common with other agencies, the Child Support Agency compensates clients for financial loss arising from maladministration. Delays caused by the clients themselves, however, and the inevitable length of the current process are not covered by these arrangements.
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