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21 Feb 2005 : Column 417W—continued

External Suppliers

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many tenders were let by his Department to external suppliers in the financial year 2003–04; and what the value was. [209102]

Maria Eagle: The majority of tenders received are in response to low value, low risk procurements let locally under devolved budget arrangements. The Department does not collect information centrally about these tenders and to provide a complete answer to the question would incur disproportionate cost. However, information is collected centrally on high value, high risk procurements conducted by specialist procurement teams. In 2003–04 the Department let 440 contracts and framework agreements with values over the EU threshold level (about £100,000). The total value of these over their full durations, which range between two and 18 years, is expected to be about £2,012 million. The actual value will depend upon the volume of business we place and the quality of services delivered over the period.

Five Year Strategy

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how the employment advisers pledged in the Department's Five Year Strategy will be recruited; and if they will be exempt from the Department's proposed job cuts. [217343]

Jane Kennedy: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Jobcentre Plus, David Anderson. He will write to the hon. Member.
21 Feb 2005 : Column 418W

Letter from Mr. David Anderson to Mr. Paul Holmes, dated 21 February 2005:

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library a list of the wards referred to in paragraph 30, page 29, of his Department's Five Year Strategy, broken down by constituency. [215530]

Jane Kennedy: The requested information has been placed in the Library.

Generators (Accidents)

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the number of accidents involving low voltage single phase generators since 1996–97 (a) in total and (b) in fair and amusement park sites; and if he will make a statement. [215703]

Jane Kennedy: Accident data, collected by the Health and Safety Executive is not collected in this level of detail. It is therefore not possible to provide these estimates.

Housing Benefit

Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the impact that implementation of the Verification Framework has had on the processing of housing benefit by local authorities; [215130]

(2) how his Department measures the impact that the Verification Framework has had on the performance of housing benefit delivery. [215131]

Mr. Pond: We monitor processing times for new claims and change of circumstance across all local authorities, but we have not specifically assessed the impact of the Verification Framework (VF) since 2002. The assessment was inconclusive but suggested that there is an initial dip in performance followed by an improvement in some groups of local authorities.
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Local authority performance is affected by a multitude of factors, but using the most recent data, the average processing times for new claims for VF and non-VF local authorities are currently 45 days and 52 days respectively. The average processing times for changes of circumstances are 13 days and 15 days respectively. In some other recent quarters, however, these differences have been smaller.

It is our conclusion that this recent data provides no evidence that VF currently has a significant effect on the performance of housing benefit delivery.

Mr. Ronnie Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were claiming housing benefit in Blyth Valley on the latest date for which figures are available. [217189]

Mr. Pond: As at May 2004 there were 6,200 people in receipt of housing benefit in the Blyth Valley borough council area.

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Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claimed housing benefit in Scotland in the latest period for which figures are available. [217380]

Mr. Pond: As at May 2004 there were 446,900 people in receipt of housing benefit in Scotland.

Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people leaving incapacity benefit in each year since 1995 had received the benefit for (a) less than six months, (b) less than 12 months, (c) less than two years and (d) more than five years. [216044]

Maria Eagle: The available information is in the table.
All incapacity benefit and severe disability allowance terminations in the quarters shown, by duration of claim.

Quarter endingAllUp to 6 monthsOver 6 months
up to 1 year
Over 1 up to 2 yearsOver 2 up to 5 yearsOver 5 years
May 1995201,500n/an/an/an/an/a
August 1995245,200n/an/an/an/an/a
November 1995272,300n/an/an/an/an/a
February 1996266,300127,400n/an/an/an/a
May 1996277,400117,600n/an/an/an/a
August 1996251,500116,80031,200n/an/an/a
November 1996235,000121,40029,700n/an/an/a
February 1997244,000118,10030,600n/an/an/a
May 1997257,100116,50033,600n/an/an/a
August 1997241,800115,70031,00022,600n/an/a
November 1997245,300115,10032,70021,500n/an/a
February 1998230,400105,20032,10021,900n/an/a
May 1998238,500107,00034,90022,700n/an/a
August 1998215,90094,20030,80021,600n/an/a
November 1998242,400104,90031,70023,300n/an/a
February 1999193,80095,00024,90017,700n/an/a
May 1999214,50095,60029,30018,900n/an/a
August 1999217,40093,40028,00018,600n/an/a
November 1999214,50094,30029,10018,100n/an/a
February 2000213,30093,50027,60018,800n/an/a
May 2000193,40089,70025,80017,300n/an/a
August 2000174,90084,60025,50016,30022,50026,000
November 2000180,50085,00027,40016,50023,40028,200
February 2001183,50080,80027,80017,80022,70034,400
May 2001187,40081,70030,10017,60025,50032,400
August 2001175,30077,50028,60017,30022,00029,800
November 2001188,40082,50030,80019,10022,70033,300
February 2002176,30074,70027,40017,50022,70033,900
May 2002181,20076,70027,60017,50025,10034,400
August 2002176,60074,20027,20017,30023,50034,400
November 2002186,10080,70027,70017,40024,40035,900
February 2003170,70072,00026,50015,90021,90034,300
May 2003166,30072,80029,80017,30023,20023,000
August 2003183,40075,20028,00017,10024,60038,500
November 2003187,50076,10030,20015,70024,60040,900
February 2004173,90070,00028,10015,50022,50037,800
May 2004178,10069,00029,30017,20025,70036,800
August 2004125,30051,60022,00012,70020,00019,100

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
2. Information is not available on claims which commenced prior to April 1995.
3. n/a" not available.
4. Figures include all incapacity benefit, severe disability allowance and credits-only cases.
5. These figures have been updated to include late notified terminations, including terminations for retirement pension. Figures for the latest quarter do not include any late notifications and are subject to major changes in future quarters. For illustration purposes, total terminations for August 2003 increased by 34 per cent. in the year following their initial release.
Information Directorate, 5 per cent. sample.

21 Feb 2005 : Column 421W

Angela Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in each ward of Wallasey constituency claim incapacity benefit. [217115]

Maria Eagle: The information is in the table.
Incapacity benefit (IB) and severe disability allowance (SDA) claimants in Wallasey, by ward

Ward nameNumber
New Brighton1,195

1. All wards based on census wards—those current as at April 2003.
2. Figures include all IB, SDA and IB credits-only cases.
3. IB and SDA figures are taken at August 2004.
4. All benefit counts at ward level are rounded to a multiple of five to protect the confidentiality of individual claimants.
IAD Information Directorate, Department for Work and Pensions.

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