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20 Dec 2005 : Column 2861W—continued

Christmas

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether staff in his Department and its executive agencies have been required to remove from their offices (a) charity collection boxes and (b) charity appeal literature referring to Christmas and the birth of Jesus; and if he will make a statement. [27022]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions standards of behaviour policy allows for charitable collections to be made at the approval of local managers.

In exercising this discretion we expect managers to take into account local knowledge, operational needs and the personal responsibilities all managers have for implementing diversity principles in their day to day dealings with customers, with DWP staff and with partner organisations. This includes respecting cultural and religious differences.

The Department has not issued any instructions centrally relating to charity boxes or appeal literature referring to Christmas.

Debt Manager Software

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total implementation costs of the new Debt Manager software package has been to his Department. [38386]

Mr. Plaskitt: The introduction of the new IT system is part of the programme to modernise the recovery of overpaid benefits; in particular to bring about improvements in accounting controls to ensure that accounting irregularities, which have contributed to the qualification of DWP accounts by the C&AG in previous years, are removed from the system.

The total cost of introducing the new DWP Debt Manager system is £21.509 million: this includes all supplier costs (including hardware and software), the costs of project staff and the debt management operational staff costs relating exclusively to the implementation of the new system.

Community Care Grants

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many community care grants were awarded in the (a) Staffordshire county council area and (b) Tamworth borough council area in each year since 2001. [35677]

Mr. Timms: Data is not available by county council area or borough council area but only by Jobcentre Plus district (and previously by social fund district). The available information is in the following tables.
Community care grants for the Staffordshire social fund district

Initial awards
2001–023,108
2002–03 (to October)1,859









 
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Community care grants for the area covered by the Staffordshire Jobcentre Plus district

Initial awards
2002–03 (from November)1,433
2003–043,572
2004–053,567
2005–06 (to November)2,701

Community care grants for the Derwent and Trentsocial fund district

Initial awards
2001–022,157
2002–03(to October)1,278




Notes:
1. Staffordshire county council area was not included in a single social fund district, but used to be part of the area covered by Staffordshire and Derwent and Trent social fund districts. It is now part of Staffordshire Jobcentre Plus district. The latter was formed in November 2002 by combining Burton-on-Trent (from Derwent and Trent social fund district) with Staffordshire social fund district. Tamworth borough council area used to be part of Staffordshire social fund district and is now part of Staffordshire Jobcentre Plus district. The three areas for which data is given above are thus different, so the data is not comparable.
2. Initial awards do not include awards made after review.
Source:
DWP Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System




John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many community care grants were awarded for each year in the period 2001 to 2005 in the Leeds metropolitan district area. [35127]

Mr. Timms: The available information is in the table.
Community care grants in the Leeds metropolitan district area

Initial awards
2001–022,475
2002–032,989
2003–043,217
2004–052,998
2005–06 (to November)2,303




Notes:
1. Initial awards do not include awards made after review.
2. Data is held by Jobcentre Plus District, not by local authority. However, Leeds metropolitan district coincides with Leeds Jobcentre Plus District.
Source:
DWP Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System.




Contributory Benefits

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total expenditure on contributory benefits was in each of the last three years, broken down by benefit category. [34096]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is in the tables.
 
20 Dec 2005 : Column 2863W
 

Great Britain: Contributory benefits, nominal terms

£ million
Outturn
2002–032003–042004–05(27)
Basic state pension38,46939,81941,318
State earnings related pension/state second pension5,8696,6477,440
Incapacity benefit6,7586,6416,679
Widow's / bereavement benefits1,0871,004912
Statutory maternity pay7241,0051,202
Jobseeker's allowance519506438
Christmas bonus120123124
Statutory sick pay707277
Maternity allowance69128148
Guardian's allowance ad child's special allowance200
Total contributory benefits expenditure53,68755,94658,339


(27) Estimated.



Great Britain: Contributory benefits, real terms, 2005–06 prices

£ million
Outturn
2002–032003–042004–05(28)
Basic state pension41,34541,62342,351
State earnings related pension / state second pension6,3086,9487,626
Incapacity benefit7,2636,9426,846
Widow's / bereavement benefits1,1691,049935
Statutory maternity pay7781,0511,232
Jobseeker's allowance557529449
Christmas bonus129129127
Statutory sick pay757579
Maternity allowance74133152
Guardian's allowance and child's special allowance200
Total contributory benefits expenditure57,69958,48059,797


(28) Estimated.
Notes:
1. Figures are for Great Britain.
2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest million pounds.
3. When the parent benefit is paid out of the National Insurance Fund (NIF), Christmas bonus is paid from the NIF too, otherwise Christmas bonus is paid out of the Consolidated Fund. The Christmas bonus expenditure in the table is that paid from the NIF.
4. From April 2003 responsibility for guardian's allowance and child special allowance has been transferred to the Inland Revenue.
5. All benefit expenditure figures are consistent with Budget 2005 and with expenditure information which is published on the Department's internet website at the following address: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/expenditure.asp. These tables will be updated following the publication of the 2005 pre-Budget report.
Source:
Expenditure figures have been taken from the DWP Expenditure Tables (Table 3).




Data Protection

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints about his Department have been made to the Information Commissioner in connection with the Data Protection Act 1998 since it came into force. [20341]

Mrs. McGuire: Since the Data Protection Act came into force on 1 March 2000, 214 letters have been received from the Information Commissioner following complaints.

Departmental Expenditure

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total departmental expenditure was on the administration of (a) the Employment Service, (b) the Benefits Agency and (c) Jobcentre Plus in each of the last five years; and what the projected expenditure is in each organisation for the next three years. [34386]

Margaret Hodge: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. She will write to the hon. Member.
 
20 Dec 2005 : Column 2864W
 

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 20 December 2005:


£ million

Net administration costs
2000–013,043
2001–023,001









 
20 Dec 2005 : Column 2865W
 


£ million

Net administration costs
2002–032,951
2003–043,042
2004–053,148


£ million

Net administration costs
2005–063,301
2006–073,323
2007–083,146


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