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Income-related Benefits

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of those on income related benefits are subject to the tariff incomes schedule; and what plans he has to review the coverage of the schedule. [15616]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is in the table:

Income Support (IS) (including Minimum Income Guarantee)136,000
Jobseeker's Allowance (income-based) (JSA(IB))9,000
Housing Benefit (HB) only20,000
Council Tax Benefit (CTB) only170,000
HB and CTB170,000


1. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.

2. IS and JSA(IB) figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling error.

3. HB and CTB figures are based on a 1 per cent. sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling error.

4. Of those receiving IS and JSA(IB), 10,000 were also receiving HB, 50,000 were receiving CTB and 60,000 were receiving both HB and CTB.

5. HB/CTB figures refer to households, which may be a single person, a couple or a family.


IS Quarterly Statistical Enquiry, May 2000.

JSA Quarterly Statistical Enquiry, May 2000.

HB and CTB Management Information System, annual 1 per cent. sample, May 2000.

We keep the rules on the treatment of capital in the income-related benefits under review. We will shortly announce reforms of the treatment of capital for the pension credit.

Unemployment Benefits

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the trends in the numbers of those receiving benefits relating to unemployment in the last 12 months. [19395]

Malcolm Wicks: During the last 12 months unemployment has fallen below 1 million for the first time since 1975. The latest figures, for October 2001, show the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance at 951,100. Although this is 4,300 higher than in September, the labour market is still in a better position than a year ago, with claimant unemployment 95,700 lower than in October 2000.

Child Care Grant

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if the child care grant payable to full-time students is classed as income for housing benefit and income support claimants. [19481]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 30 November 2001]: The child care grants payable by the Department for Education and Skills are disregarded as income for those full-time students who are eligible to claim housing benefit and income support, as are the child care grants paid by the Scottish Executive.

Stakeholder Pensions

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employers are contributing

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to stakeholder pensions; and what information he has collated about the levels of contribution in relation to wage levels. [11407]

Mr. McCartney: The information requested is not yet available. Provisional estimates of contributions to stakeholder pensions by employers are scheduled to be available in early 2002. Information on the earnings bands of stakeholder pension contributors is not yet available. However, recently published research from the Association of British Insurers found that the majority of those intending to take out a stakeholder pension in the 12 months following the research had an individual annual income of less than £25,000.

Vehicle Excise Duty

Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons (a) a claimant who applies after his 65th birthday is not exempt from vehicle excise duty and (b) a claimant who claims before his 65th birthday continues to receive an exemption afterwards; and if he will make a statement. [18304]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

As a matter of law and policy, entitlement to the VED exemption in respect of disability, is linked to receipt of

The effect of the policy is that a licence is issued without charge, where evidence of receipt of any of the above is produced at vehicle licensing.

The Government have adopted this course because it ensures well defined criteria for entitlement which, in the main targets the exemption on people who become disabled before they reach the age of 65 and, through restricted mobility, may face a lifetime of limited opportunities to work, earn and save compared with their able-bodied counterparts. To introduce different criteria for entitlement VED exemption would be to add further to bureaucracy.



33. David Taylor: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what recent representations he has received from members of the Magistrates Association about future changes in their role. [17521]

Mr. Wills: The only recent representations received have been in response to Sir Robin Auld's Review Report. So far five magistrates have responded, although not all of these may be members of the Magistrates Association. The period for public comment runs until the end of January.

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Small Claims Courts

34. Harry Cohen: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans she has for reform of the small claims courts. [17522]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There are no plans at the moment for the reform of the small claims procedure within the county courts in England and Wales. The current procedure has been in place for two and a half years and the Lord Chancellor's Department and the Court Service are now looking to evaluate the effectiveness of these procedures.

Local Magistracy

35. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he next expects to meet representatives of the lay justice to discuss the administration of local magistracy. [17524]

Mr. Wills: Each magistrates courts committee is responsible for the efficient and effective administration of the magistrates courts in its area. This will include allocating administrative responsibility among its staff and providing training for magistrates, to ensure justice is administered throughout the local area.

I continue to have meetings with various representatives of the magistrates courts community on a variety of issues.

Electoral Register

37. Mr. Bryant: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans she has to make the marked electoral register more readily available to political parties. [17526]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Access to marked electoral registers is provided by the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery. The terms of access are agreed with the Speaker, in accordance with powers under the Representation of the People Act 1983. I understand there are no plans to change the arrangements at present.

Family Law Act

38. Margaret Moran: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans she has to introduce third party orders under section 60 of the Family Law Act 1996. [17527]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government are concerned to ensure that the range of remedies available to survivors of domestic violence provides sufficient support and protection. We will therefore be conducting a short research project in the New Year, fully to assess the implications and benefits of introducing third party orders as provided under Section 60 of the Family Law Act 1996. We will work closely with stakeholders and interest groups to ensure that the project addresses the diverse needs of all those who need to use the court system.

Criminal Justice Review for Northern Ireland

39. Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will make a statement on her proposed functions under the criminal justice review for Northern Ireland, indicating the changes from her present functions. [17528]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government's response to the Criminal Justice Review Report in Northern Ireland has been published in a detailed Implementation Plan and related draft Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill.

When the Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill receives parliamentary approval and the Government are satisfied that the devolved institutions are working effectively, those functions of the Lord Chancellor which relate to judicial appointments in Northern Ireland will pass to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and a new Judicial Appointments Commission. The most senior judicial appointments will be made on the advice of the Prime Minister. Other functions of the Lord Chancellor in relation to court sittings and membership of Court Rules Committees will be transferred to the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland. The Lord Chief Justice will also have a new role in relation to the handling of complaints against the judiciary. The Lord Chancellor is also currently responsible for the Northern Ireland Court Service. The Bill anticipates the abolition of the Court Service as a separate and distinct Civil Service and the transfer of its functions and staff, most probably to the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

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