Previous Section Index Home Page

21 Jul 2005 : Column 2020W—continued

Internal Audit Recommendations

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library internal audit recommendations made in the last four years for (a) Jobcentre Plus, (b) the Pension Service and (c) the Disability and Carers Directorate. [1341]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department will review all internal audit recommendations for the last four years and in due course will place these in the Library. The only exceptions to this will be those recommendations where there is specific commercial or policy reason not to make the information available and those recommendations already placed in the Library on 22 March 2005 for the Child Support Agency.

Local Housing Allowance Scheme

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the most recent average waiting time for a new claim to be assessed under the Local Housing Allowance scheme is in each of the original nine Pathfinder authorities; and what the average waiting time was for a housing benefit claim to be assessed in each of these authorities in each year since 1997. [1329]

Mr. Plaskitt: The available information is in the following table.
Average housing benefit (rent allowance) claim processing times in local housing allowance pathfinder authorities.

Brighton and Hove79.77n/a30.729.9934.02
NE Lincolnshire32.8949.3864.5948.9635.76

n/a = not available.
(14)First three quarters.
1.Average processing times are given in days.
2.Data is collected on rent allowance claims which includes, but is not exclusive to, the local housing allowance.
3.Data on average processing times is not available prior March 2000 when the best value performance indicators were introduced
4.The increase in processing times in Leeds have been caused by a change of IT system.
Source: Local Authority MIS data.

21 Jul 2005 : Column 2021W

Jobcentre Plus

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Jobcentre Plus offices there are in Coventry. [13923]

Margaret Hodge: In Coventry there are currently three Jobcentres, one Jobcentre Plus office and one Social Security office.

Management Consultants

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the total expenditure saved in each of the last three years as a result of implementing recommendations by management consultancies within his Department. [13624]

Margaret Hodge: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Maternity Pay

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how much employers spent in (a) the UK and (b) Scotland on statutory maternity pay in (i) 2002, (ii) 2003, (iii) 2004 and (iv) 2005; and if he will make a statement; [10060]

(2) what the cost of statutory maternity pay has been to employers in the UK in 2005; and if he will make a statement. [10284]

Mrs. McGuire: Information is not available for Scotland. The available information, which is on a UK basis, is in the following table.
UK expenditure on statutory maternity pay by employers
£ million

Initial employer expenditure8401,2081,3191,357
Amount recovered through national insurance deductions7851,1291,2331,268
Net employer expenditure55798689

1.Expenditure information is on an accruals basis.
2.Outturn information is available for the financial year 2002–03. Data for other financial years are forecasts.
3.Although statutory maternity pay is originally paid for by the employer, they are entitled to receive a reimbursement of 92 per cent. of their costs through deductions to national insurance contributions. Small employers, in addition to the 92 per cent. reimbursement, receive Small Employers Relief of 12.5 per cent. which brings their total reimbursement to 104.5 per cent. As a result the final net expenditure paid by the employer is much lower than their initial outlay.
4.There is a large increase in expenditure between 2002–03 and 2003–04 because the number of weeks a woman is entitled to claim SMP rose from 18 to 26.
Source of forecast information is the Government Actuary Department's forecasting model for Budget 2005.

Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women in Scotland received maternity payments in (a) 2003, (b) 2004 and (c) 2005; and if he will make a statement. [10062]

21 Jul 2005 : Column 2022W

Mrs. McGuire: The information is not available below GB level.

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) when he expects the review of eligibility for earnings disregards under maternity allowance and statutory maternity pay to be completed; [12594]

(2) how many women are receiving (a) maternity allowance and (b) statutory maternity pay; and if he will make a statement on eligibility for earnings disregards in relation to such benefits. [12595]

Mrs. McGuire: Neither maternity allowance nor statutory maternity pay is subject to earnings disregards; they are income replacement benefits.

As 28 February 2005, there were 25,600 women in receipt of maternity allowance. During 2004–05, the number of new statutory maternity pay claims was 313,000.

Ministerial Taskforce for Health, Safety and Productivity

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the Ministerial Taskforce for Health, Safety and Productivity last met; and what progress it has made in reducing days lost through sickness and absence in the public sector. [13978]

Margaret Hodge: The Ministerial Task Force on Health, Safety and Productivity met on 22 June and 20 July 2005. The Task Force produced a report on Managing Sickness Absence in the Public Sector" in December 2004. It has since reviewed how its recommendations are being implemented within the civil service.

A number of pilots to test effectiveness of management interventions and develop best practice are now in place, including in my own Department. Some are already showing positive results. For example in HM Prison Service there has been a fall in sickness rates of 4.7 per cent. overall in one year.

The Task Force will be agreeing realistic targets for the public sector and monitoring progress.

New Deal

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have started on a new deal scheme more than once. [12521]

Margaret Hodge: The new deal has been successful in helping more than 1.3 million people into work. 577,020 people have started the new deal more than once. There are several possible reasons for this. In a dynamic, shifting labour market, it is inevitable that some people entering the new deal will return to unemployment. Equally a person may cease their involvement on the new deal because they move from jobseekers' allowance on to another benefit or stop claiming at all. These people may subsequently reclaim and return to the new deal. However, the new deal is a long-term investment to make a real difference to the lives of its participants.
21 Jul 2005 : Column 2023W
Those who do return to benefits have still added to their skills, confidence and experience, making it easier for them to find a job in the future.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will reply to question reference 7079 from the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam. [14637]

Mrs. McGuire: A reply was given on 19 July.

Next Section Index Home Page