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Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average housing benefit payment in (a) the London borough of Haringey and (b) Greater London has been in each of the last eight years; and if he will make a statement. 
|£ per week|
|As at November:||Haringey||London|
|City of London||66.54||67.44||78.53||73.15||79.44|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||67.82||74.11||81.92||82.66||90.40|
|Kensington and Chelsea||79.88||83.02||95.50||91.36||104.41|
|Kingston upon Thames||73.46||78.94||87.17||91.04||97.08|
|Richmond upon Thames||70.03||74.11||82.46||86.28||91.96|
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how long it took for payments of (a) income support, (b) jobseeker's allowance and (c) incapacity benefit to be made to recipients who claimed those benefits at the Job Centre in High Wycombe in (i) 2001, (ii) 2002, (iii) 2003 and (iv) 2004. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how long it took for payments of Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance and Incapacity Benefit to be made to customers who claimed those benefits at the jobcentre in High Wycombe in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The mean clearance times in the table show how long it took for a claim to be decided. Where payment is due to the customer at the time the claim is decided, it is made on the same day. If the claim is decided before the first payment is due, then payment is made on the following payday.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with the pensions industry about the number of people aged 53 years and over who remain contracted into the state second pension. 
It is for individuals to decide and keep under review whether it is in their best interest to contract out, taking into account their attitude to risk and their personal circumstances. The Department is however committed to ensuring that people are properly informed of the issues involved so that they can make a decision that best suits their needs. This includes the fact that when they reach the age at which the age-related rebate is capped, currently age 54, most personal pension holders would be better off contracting back in.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of housing benefit and council tax benefit claims that will need to be reassessed as a result of overpayments of tax credits in the last 12 months; what assessment he has made of the cost implications for local authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 13 June 2005]: No housing benefit or council tax benefit assessments need to be revisited solely because of an incorrect tax credit award. Both housing benefit and council tax benefit take into account the actual amount of tax credit in payment at the time. This means that when someone is getting a higher amount of tax credit than they are due, they will receive less housing benefit or council tax benefit. However, when the tax credit is reduced on account of an earlier overpayment, the individual will receive a higher amount of housing benefit or council tax benefit.
14 Jun 2005 : Column 264W
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