|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the outcome is of the review of parole and lifer processes announced by the right hon. Member for Brent South in February 2000. 
Beverley Hughes: The report of the comprehensive review of parole and lifer processes was published today on the Prison Service website, www.hmprisonservice.gov.uk. A copy has also been placed in the Library. The report concluded that the Parole Board for England and Wales should continue to function as an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by Her Majesty's Prison Service. The report also recommended a series of improvements to the parole and lifer processes, consolidate and continue improvements over the last few years, which will now be taken forward.
Malcolm Wicks: The Social Security Fraud Act contains important new powers for the Department and local authorities to get information from organisations such as banks and utility companies to help in the fight against benefit fraud. These new powers come into effect from today and a revised Code of Practice has been laid before Parliament.
30 Apr 2002 : Column 710W
Further sections of the Fraud Act are also brought into effect from today. These include new powers for the Department and local authorities to offer financial penalties to benefit offenders, on behalf of each other, as an alternative to prosecution, rather than each having to offer a separate penalty as was previously the case; and for the Department and local authorities to offer financial penalties to employers who collude with their staff in the commission of benefit offences, again as an alternative to prosecution.
These new measures should send out a strong message to all benefit cheats and would-be cheats, and those who collude with them, that we are on to them. From today, the odds on getting away with it have lengthened.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) of 29 January 2002, Official Report, column 261W, how many households are estimated to be eligible for one or more of (a) pension credit, (b) housing benefit, (c) council tax benefit, (d) child tax credit, (e) working tax credit, (f) income support and (g) income- based jobseeker's allowance. 
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the average time taken by the CSA Appeals Service to deal with appeals over the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what performance targets he has set for the Child Support Agency for 200203; and when he will publish business plans for the Child Support Agency, Child Benefit Centre and the Disability and Carers Service. 
30 Apr 2002 : Column 711W
Business plans for the Child Benefit Centre and the Disability and Carers Directorate have also been published today and copies have been placed in the Library. Child Support Agency targets 200203
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer to the Member for South-West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous) of 25 January 2002, Official Report, columns 118586W, on Government funding of the voluntary sector, if he will list the grant schemes and other mechanisms by which his Department distributes funding to voluntary sector organisations. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer 19 April 2002]: The voluntary sector is a key partner in the Departments efforts to help people back into work, particularly those facing the greatest disadvantages. Organisations in the voluntary sector receive funding under contract to the Department for delivering a range of our employment and training programmes, including for example elements of the New Deal. We also have key relationships with, and make grants to, the voluntary sector in: helping people with disabilities to live more independently in the community; providing mobility related assistance; and free help and advice to members of the public regarding their company, stakeholder or personal pension scheme.
Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will introduce proposals to require employees to pay into a joint insurance policy to underwrite employees pension schemes. 
Mr. McCartney: We have no plans to introduce proposals requiring employers to contribute to a joint insurance policy to underwrite employees pension schemes. Compulsory mutual insurance to support the pension fund of an insolvent company was among the options considered when we consulted on the future of the minimum funding requirement in September 2000, but it received little support. Such an arrangement could lead to schemes neglecting their obligations knowing that their liabilities would still be met in the event of insolvency. Many employers sponsoring well-funded schemes would object to subsidising firms which neglected their obligations.
30 Apr 2002 : Column 712W
Pension schemes are set up voluntarily by employers for the benefit of their workforce, and the financial commitment this involves means they have a legitimate interest in the running of the scheme. Where decisions made by trustees have a direct implication for the financial position of the employer, it is understandable and right that the employer wants to be part of that decision making process.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of people who had to make a claim for the 200102 winter fuel payment; and of that number how many failed to do so by 31 March. 
Exact numbers of people who need to claim are not available. However, by the deadline of 30 March, around 220,000 claims forms have been received. It is up to the individual to choose whether to claim.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the functions of his Department that have been (a) market tested and (b) outsourced in each of the last five years, specifying the (i) money saving and (ii) percentage saving in each case. 
|Money saving (£)||Percentage saving|
|Market tested functions:|
|Corporate Document Services||403,803||3|
|Accommodation and Office Services||41.5 million||17.6|
|Benefits Agency Medical Services||62.2 million||14|
|Estates Management Services||560 million||22|
|Employment Service HR and payroll||11 million||27.5|
|Strategic Outsourcing of IS/IT||72 million||3|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|