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(2) when the decision to review the timetable for letting Jobcentre Plus contracts for employment and training programmes in 2005 was taken; and what the reasons are for reviewing the timetable; 
(4) what assessment has been made of the (a) time and (b) cost implications for (i) Jobcentre Plus officials and (ii) providers of the decision to review the timetable for letting Jobcentre Plus contracts for employment and training programmes in 2005; 
(5) how many Jobcentre Plus contracts for 2005 (a) have been extended to October 2005 and (b) have been cancelled since the decision to review the timetable for letting was made, broken down by value. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions concerning Jobcentre Plus contracts with employment and training providers and the decision to review the 2005 timetable. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Our normal practice, wherever possible, is to commence discussions with providers three months before a contract is due to end. We do not cancel contracts during their lifespan except in extreme circumstances, such as a provider becoming insolvent or committing a serious breach of its contractual obligations.
The need to review the timetable for letting new Jobcentre Plus Contracts was identified in December 2004. That review was prompted by the Department's recently published 5 year strategy which places an increased priority on helping those who are out of work because of sickness or disability and lone parents. With fewer people unemployed and a greater emphasis on providing support to disabled people through the New Deal for Disabled People and the Pathways to Work pilots, we needed to review our contracting strategy to ensure the provision we procure focuses support on those who need the most help.
In the light of that review, the decision was taken to cease current procurement competitions. However, we were not in a position to finalise our strategy for letting new contracts until shortly before 25 February 2005, when Jobcentre Plus Field Directors and others had been informed of the changes to our timetable and the criteria for extending current contracts i.e. satisfactory performance, a clear business need or a mandatory requirement for the provision had been established.
To deliver the DWP and Jobcentre Plus efficiency challenges and modernisation agendas it is vital that we obtain best value for money. We have now identified what provision needs to be in place to support our business objectives, and are now in the process of developing a timetable for the implementation of an overall contracting strategy designed to achieve better value for money in terms of process and required outcomes.
With regard to the time and cost implications for those involved with Jobcentre Plus contracts for employment and training programmes, this information is not available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
We are currently informing providers whether their current contracts are being extended or not. When this process has been completed I will write to you again with the answer to your question about this.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the main reasons for claimants leaving jobseeker's allowance; and how many people there were in each category of departure in the last period for which figures are available. 
|Number of people|
|Works on average 16+ hours per week||2,100|
|Claimed income support||3,800|
|Claimed incapacity benefit||6,200|
|Claimed another benefit||2,300|
|Retirement age reached||400|
|Gone to prison||1,300|
|Failed to sign||58,800|
|New claim review||1,000|
Ms Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 21 March 2005, Official Report, column 604W, on contracting out rebate rates, if he will publish the advice received from actuaries consulted during the consultation process. 
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the effect on the number of pensioners who will be in receipt of pension credit in 200910 of (a) a continuation of current uprating policy, (b) linking the basic state pension and the savings credit threshold to earnings and (c) linking the basic state pension to earnings and the savings credit threshold to prices from 200607 onwards. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 4 April 2005]: The number of pensioner benefit units estimated to be in receipt of pension credit if the current uprating rules are continued until the financial year 200910 is 3,350,000. Under option (b) where the basic state pension is uprated in line with earnings from 200607 onwards and the savings credit threshold is increased in line with prices as now, 150,000 fewer benefit units would be in receipt of pension credit by 200910. Under option (c) where the savings credit threshold is increased in line with the increase in the basic state pension from 200607 about 250,000 fewer benefit units would be in receipt by 200910.
3. The projection of the recipient population under continuation of current policy is derived from the Public Service Agreement target for recipients at the end of 200708, and the change in eligibility implied purely by assumed changes in incomes, entitlements and population between then and 200910.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on (a) male and (b) female recipients of (i) the basic state pension, (ii) additional pension, (iii) guarantee credit and (iv)savings credit in the last year for which figures are available, broken down by constituency. 
Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will extend the £200 refund to council tax paying pensioner households to include households comprising a single female pensioner under the age of 65 years. 
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in receipt of (a) housing benefit, (b) council tax benefit, (c) pension credit and (d) other means-tested benefits incur a marginal deduction rate of (i) 85 to 89 per cent., (ii) 90 to 94 per cent., (iii) 95 to 99 per cent. and (iv) 100 per cent. and over. 
Malcolm Wicks: The information is not available in the format requested. There were 760,000 pensioner households (939,000 individuals) receiving the guarantee element of pension credit only at August 2004. Private pension income is brought fully into account in these cases, although they are not subject to separate benefit withdrawal of CTB/HB. There were an estimated additional 390,000 pensioner households (510,000 individuals) with incomes above guarantee element levels, but receiving both tapered housing benefit (HB) and tapered council tax benefit CTB). These households would be subject to marginal deduction rates (MDRs) of less than 100 per cent., though they would often exceed 85 pence in the pound.
All recipients of the minimum income guarantee (MIG) were subject to MDRs of 100 per cent. These people are now entitled to pension credit and most of themof the order of 61 per cent. of those in private householdsare also benefiting from the savings element of pension credit. This majority no longer face MDRs of 100 percent.
3. Pension credit figures are rounded to the nearest thousand. Due to the estimation procedure to produce the figures for HB/CTB and the collection procedures in Scotland, HB/CTB figures are rounded to the nearest ten thousand.
Pension credit data from 5 per cent. extract of income support computer system at August 2004. HB/CTB data from housing benefit and council tax benefit management information system, Annual 1 per cent. sample, taken in May 2003.
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