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7 Nov 2002 : Column 656W—continued


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what income sources his Department includes when measuring progress towards the Government's target on increasing the balance of spending on pensioners' incomes that comes from the private sector, as outlined on page 103 of the 1998 Green Paper on pensions Command Paper 4179; and what the figures were for each of these income sources in each year since 1998. [78331]

Mr. McCartney: I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to the hon. Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) on 20 May 2002, Official Report, column 41W, and on 3 July 2002, Official Report, columns 420W–22W.

Harrow Benefits Agency

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints have been received about late payment of benefits by the Harrow Benefits Agency in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [77228]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Over the last 12 months, a total of 1,051 complaints have been received at the Harrow Social Security Office regarding late payment of benefits.

The last 12 months have seen substantial change in what was Harrow Benefits Agency and a period of industrial action which has had some impact on performance. The Harrow Social Security Office now forms part of the Jobcentre Plus District for Brent, Harrow and Hillingdon. The District has already begun an improvement programme including re-training for

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staff in some areas of their work. This is already showing improved results in customer service and performance, with a corresponding reduction in the number of complaints received. There were 153 complaints about late payments of benefit in October 2001. By October 2002 there were only 13 complaints.

Disability Benefits

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many disabled benefit recipients have failed his Department's tests in each of the last five years for which records are available; and

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how many have had those benefits restored on appeal for each of the different tests for which disabled people are required to undergo. [76089]

Maria Eagle: Two medical assessments are used to determine incapacity for work for benefit purposes: the Own Occupation Test, which is applied during the first 28 weeks of incapacity, and the Personal Capability Assessment. Attendance Allowance (AA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are self-assessment benefits and as such there is no requirement for a medical assessment. However, Decision Makers may request further evidence which can include a report from an examining medical practitioner.

The available information is in the tables.

Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA) claims disallowed following application of the Personal Capability Assessment or the Own Occupation Test

YearIncapacity BenefitPersonal Capability Assessment(17)Own Occupation TestSevere Disablement AllowancePersonal Capability Assessment(17)Own Occupation Test
1 March 1997 to 28 February 1998173,4002,7001,500
1 March 1998 to 28 February 1999116,300(18)4,7001,000(18)
1 March 1999 to 29 February 2000127,6004,500900*100
1 March 2000 to 28 February 200196,9005,600700
1 March 2001 to 28 February 2002103,9005,1001,100


(17) The Personal Capability Assessment replaced the All Work Test in April 2000.

(18) Figures are for 3 quarters only. Due to a change in the recording system reliable figures for the personal capability assessment are not available for the quarter ending 30 November 1998.

(19) National Insurance Credits Only cases are included in these figures.

(20) Numbers marked ''*'' are based on a very few sample cases and are therefore subject to a high degree of sampling error and should be used as a guide to the current situation only.

(21) ''—'' denotes nil or negligible.


Figures are based on 5 per cent samples of the Incapacity Benefit computer system and exclude a small number of clerically held cases.

Appeals against disallowance of IB following a Personal Capability Assessment found in favour of the appellant

PeriodFound in favour
1 July 2000–31 December 20006,660
1 January 2001–31 December 200112,800
1 January 2002–30 September 200211,570

Appeals against disallowance of other benefits following a Personal Capability Assessment found in favour of the appellant

PeriodFound in favour
01 July 2000–31 December 2000165
01 January 2001–31 December 2001315
01 January 2002–30 September 2002260


1. Includes cases where people are in receipt of SDA or Income Support with the Disability Premium.

2. Information on appeals following the Own Occupation Test is not collected separately.

3. All figures are subject to change as more up to date data become available.

4. Figures are rounded to the nearest five.

5. Figures for 2002 are provisional.

6. Reliable data are not available prior to 1 July 2000.


100 per cent download of the Generic Appeals Processing System.

Jobcentre PWS Interviews

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many (a) income support, (b) incapacity benefit, (c) invalid care allowance, (d) bereavement benefit and (e) severe disablement allowance claimants have had (i) a new claim refused as a result of work focused interview non-attendance and (ii) benefit reduced as a result of failure to attend a repeat work-focused interview, under The Social Security (Jobcentre Plus Interviews) Regulations 2001; [79371]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library.

NIRS2 Recalculation

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the average (a) underpayment and (b) overpayment for (i) retirement pension, (ii) widow's

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benefit, (iii) bereavement benefit, (iv) incapacity benefit and (v) jobseeker's allowance is as a result of incorrect NIRS2 calculations; [79370]

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Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 4 November 2002]: Up to 30 November 2001, the information requested is as follows:

Benefit or pensionTotal amount underpaidNumber underpaidAverage amount underpaidTotal amount overpaidNumber overpaidAverage amount overpaid
Retirement pension#64,171,357190,791#336#2,895,93711,629#249
Widow's benefit/bereavement benefit#29,420,18417,496#1,681#316,123722#438
Incapacity benefit#3,339,2749,984#334#746,525793#941
Jobseekers allowance#906,4732,524#359#180,251475#379

Underpayments have been rectified. There should be no cases awaiting a review as a direct result of a NIRS2 recalculation.

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