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Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people living in Regent's Park and Kensington, North were in receipt of income-related benefits in each of the last four years. 
Malcolm Wicks: The available information is in the tables.
|May 1998||May 1999||May 2000||May 2001|
|Jobseeker's allowance (income based)||4,900||4,700||3,600||3,200|
|Family credit/working families' tax credit(30)||1,300||1,600||1,900||2,200|
|Disability working allowance/disabled person's tax credit(30)||20||24||31||38|
(30) Family credit and disability working allowance were replaced in October 1999 by working families' tax credit and disabled person's tax credit which are not social security benefits.
1. Figures (other than disability working allowance/disabled person's tax credit which is a 100 per cent. count of all cases) are based on a 5 per cent. sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling error.
2. Income support, jobseeker's allowance (income-based), family credit/working families' tax credit and "Total" figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred.
3. Income support/jobseeker's allowance claimants in receipt of family credit/working families' tax credit or disability working allowance/disabled person's tax credit are not shown in income support/jobseeker's allowance totals.
4. Disability working allowance/disabled person's tax credit figures are for April each year.
5. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiries May 1998-May 2001
Jobseeker's Allowance Quarterly Statistical Enquiries May 1998-May 2001
Family Credit/Working Families' Tax Credit Quarterly Statistical Enquiries May 1998-May 2001
Disability Working Allowance/Disabled Person's Tax Credit Quarterly Statistical Enquiries April 1998-April 2001
17 Dec 2001 : Column: 155W
Housing benefit and council tax benefit figures are not available for the Regent's Park and Kensington, North constituency but are available for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster.
|Housing benefit||Council tax benefit|
|Housing benefit||Council tax benefit|
1. Regent's Park and Kensington, North parliamentary constituency is covered in part by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and City of Westminster local authority areas. Figures are not therefore representative of the constituency area.
2. The data refer to households, which may be a single person or a couple.
3. The figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 cases.
4. City of Westminster figures for May 1998 are estimated because the authority failed to provide statistical data for that quarter.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information
System quarterly 100 per cent. caseload stock-count taken each May from 1998 to 2001
17 Dec 2001 : Column: 156W
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) when he intends to reply to the letter of 7 November from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. L. J. Sullivan; 
Mr. Darling: A reply has already been sent to my right hon. Friend about Mr. Sullivan.
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he intends to reply to the letter of 2 November from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. M. Willingham. 
Mr. Darling: I replied to my right hon. Friend on 12 December.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of appeals against the rejection of applications for incapacity benefit were successful in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: The available information on the number of appeals against an incapacity benefit 'Personal Capability Assessment' decision found in the appellants favour is given in the table:
|Number of appeals heard||50,360||56,920||53,215||35,305||15,305|
|Number of appeals found in appellants favour||21,925||23,410||22,500||14,575||6,365|
|Proportion of appeals heard found in appellants favour (percentage)||43.5||41.1||42.3||41.3||41.6|
(31) To June
Figures may be subject to change.
Figures are rounded to the nearest five.
Decision making and appeals legislation was changed from 6 September 1999.
The 'All Work Test' was replaced by the 'Personal Capability Assessment' test from April 2000.
100 per cent. download of Generic Appeals Processing System.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how long his Department keeps records of people who have signed on as unemployed and in respect of which they have received national insurance contribution credits. 
Malcolm Wicks: Information relating to an individual jobseeker is kept for a minimum of two years after they have ceased to register as unemployed. National insurance records are maintained for the lifetime of each individual.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on preparation for the introduction of the Pension Service with particular reference to (a) access to services for users and (b) development of partnership working. 
Mr. McCartney: The Pension Service will offer an improved service for pensioners. It will be customer focused and will give pensioners a modern, personalised and efficient service designed to meet their needs. It will be accessible by telephone, post, in time the internet and locally where pensioners need to do so. It will also provide information for future pensioners to help them make decisions about their future pension arrangements.
The Pension Service is committed to providing a seamless service to its customers. The local service will develop relationships with third parties and other local service providers, and will be looking to use other premises, particularly to enable them to hold surgeries, either for appointments or for drop-in sessions. This negotiation will be done at a local level.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employees of the Benefits
17 Dec 2001 : Column: 157W
Agency and job centres have been assaulted at work in each of the past three years; and what impact the introduction of Job Centre Plus offices has had on the level of assaults. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: For information on incidents in the Benefits Agency and Jobcentres I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mrs. Curtis-Thomas) on 20 November 2001, Official Report, column 176W.
We estimate that over a quarter of a million people have passed through the Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices during the first month of their operation. To date there have been no serious incidents in these offices. While it is still early days, this experience from the Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices so far confirms our belief that the new service and the new environment which we are offering in these offices promotes better behaviour in our customers. This, along with improved risk management arrangements, will we believe lead to fewer incidents of verbal and physical assaults on staff.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what reasons underlay his decision not to engage in discussions with the PCS Union on their concerns about the safety of staff; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: Since the beginning of September 2001, my officials have engaged in over 60 hours of talks with the PCS union about their concerns on the safety of staff. Proposals for settling the current dispute were put to the PCS on 17 October, but were narrowly rejected by the PCS national executive committee. These proposals reflected the fact that the safety of staff has been our number one concern in developing the Jobcentre Plus offices. Security measures are stronger than ever, underpinned by comprehensive risk assessments which were developed in conjunction with PCS. In November, following further discussions, the PCS were asked, if they were still unable to accept the previous proposals, to put forward their own tangible and detailed proposals on which the dispute could be settled. We have made it clear to the PCS that we are willing to have further discussions on this basis.
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