|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mrs. McGuire: There are 272 thousand active council tax benefit claims in Wales, with over 11 thousand in Wrexham. Data on the rate of council tax benefit take-up in Wales are not available as it is only produced for Great Britain as a whole.
We are working with local authorities to make sure they have procedures in place locally to encourage people to apply for council tax benefit. I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my colleague gave earlier.
20 Jun 2005 : Column 709W
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what meetings he has had with the Deputy Prime Minister in the past two weeks to discuss a revision of the regulations relating to pensioners paying council tax; and if he will make a statement. 
23. Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the transfer to child tax credit of the remaining families with children in receipt of income support and income-based jobseeker's allowance. 
Mr. Plaskitt: I refer the hon. Member to my earlier reply. We have asked Stephen Geraghty, the new Chief Executive to report to us in the summer when we will consider his findings and proposals for action.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff were employed at the Child Support Agency in each year since 199798; what the projected numbers are for each year to 200607; and if he will make a statement. 
The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Mr. Stephen Geraghty. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.
20 Jun 2005 : Column 710W
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many staff were employed at the Child Support Agency in each year since 199798; what the projected numbers are for each year to 200607; and if he will make a statement.
The Agency is planning to employ 9,561 staff in March 2006 and March 2007. This is equivalent to 9,388 staff excluding those on unpaid absences, and is in line with the staffing levels agreed with Ministers.
Margaret Hodge: There are currently 2.1 million under 25s who are classified as economically inactive, two thirds of whom are in full-time education. Of the remaining 695,000, many will be participating in part-time study or receiving support from either the Connexions Service or Jobcentre Plus.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of whether people with mental health problems will be affected by the planned reform of the incapacity benefit system. 
The information requested is not available in the format requested. However independent research has shown that there are very high levels of
20 Jun 2005 : Column 711W
satisfaction among customers who have transferred to Direct Payment with 93 per cent. of customers stating they were happy to receive their benefits in this way.
Modernising a system, which came in with ration books, caused understandable concerns, but this research has shown that the new system is proving popular. More customers now have accounts and over 12 million payments each week are now paid into customer's nominated accounts.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) information and (b) training has been given to Post Office staff about the exceptions scheme for people who are unable to use Post Office Card Accounts or basic bank accounts to receive their pensions or benefits. 
The cheque (formerly girocheque) is a well established method of payment and Post Office staff were already very familiar with the general processes and procedures surrounding encashment at a Post Office.
Training for Post Office staff is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. However, Post Office Ltd. were given information about changes to the cheque design and crossing limit introduced in October 2004 which they communicated to their network of branches throughout GB and Northern Ireland by means of an internal 'Operational Focus' publication.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what steps the (a) Benefits Agency and (b) Pensions Agency have taken to publicise the availability of the exceptions scheme for people who are unable to use Post Office card accounts or basic bank accounts to receive their pensions or benefits; 
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimates were made prior to the introduction of Direct Payment of the proportion of people for whom this method of paying pensions and benefits would be unsuitable; and if he will make a statement. 
During the Spending Review 2000, a public service agreement target was set at paying 85 per cent. of benefit and pension customers into an account by the end of 2005. We met that target by January 2005 and are now paying over 96 per cent. of customer accounts by Direct Payment.
20 Jun 2005 : Column 712W
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|