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Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time taken to process (a) crisis loans, (b) budgeting loans and (c) community care loans in (i) Vale of Clwyd constituency and (ii) Denbighshire was in (A) each of the six months prior to closure of the Rhyl Benefits Office and (B) each month since. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply direct to your question concerning the average time taken to process (a) crisis loans (b) budgeting loans and (c) community care loans in (i)Vale of Clwyd constituency and (ii) Denbighshire was in (a)each of the six months prior to closure of the Rhyl Benefits Office and (b) each month since. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus does not keep statistical information about social fund applications broken down to the Vale of Clwyd constituency or the county of Denbigshire. However, I have detailed social fund performance for our Wrexham and North Wales coast district, which covers both these areas and others.
|Crisis loans||Budgeting loans||Community care grants|
|Applications received||Average clearance times (days)||Applications received||Average clearance times (days)||Applications received.||Average clearance times (days)|
The District Manager is aware of the increase in clearance times for community care grants and is now putting measures in place to improve performance. This involves using additional help from the social fund processing team in Llanelli.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the Total Oil Depot site at Buncefield, near Hemel Hempstead, was classed as a (a) tier one and (b) tier two site for the purposes of the Control of Major Accident Hazard Regulations 1999. 
Mrs. McGuire: Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd. at Buncefield is joint operated by Total UK Ltd. and Texaco Ltd. The Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd. operation is classed as a top tier site under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 1999.
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on reorganisation of (a) (i) Jobcentre Plus and (ii) social fund application services in North Staffordshire and (b) current services provided at Burslem jobcentre. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the reorganisation of (a) (i) Jobcentre Plus and (ii) Social Fund application services in North Staffordshire and (b) current services provided at Burslem Job Centre. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Under our reorganisation in North Staffordshire there will be four local service outlets providing the full range of face-to-face Jobcentre Plus services. In Hanley, a new building designed specifically for Jobcentre Plus delivery is scheduled for completion by May 2007. Kidsgrove Jobcentre Plus has been fully refurbished to the new Jobcentre Plus design, and work is underway to complete the refurbishment of Longton Jobcentre Plus. The final Jobcentre Plus office will be in Newcastle-under-Lyme scheduled for completion by July 2006.
Burslem Jobcentre is scheduled to close as part of the reorganisation, but will not do so until the new Hanley building is complete. Leek Jobcentre is also being considered for closure and we are currently consulting with all local MPs, stakeholders and Trade Union with our proposed plans. We will make a formal decision early in the New Year.
The processing work for Social Fund claims is being transferred from Newcastle-under-Lyme to Birmingham Perry Barr, as part of a wider centralisation of this work for the West Midlands Region. Crisis Loan applications will continue to be made by telephone with the option of face-to-face contact if required. All other Social Fund applications will continue to be made by post either through Jobcentre Plus or via agencies such as Citizen's Advice Bureau. Payments will continue to be issued at the customer's local office.
Mrs. McGuire: In the National Strategy for Carers, 'Caring About Carers', published in February 1999, the Government set out its commitment to encourage and enable carers of working age to remain in work and to help those carers who are unable, or do not want, to combine paid work with caring to return to work when their caring responsibilities cease or diminish. Many people providing informal care already do paid work as well.
From April 2004, Work Focussed Interviews (WFIs) have been introduced for partners of benefit customers in Jobcentre Plus areas. Although partners who are full-time carers with entitlement to carer's allowance are exempt from WFIs, they are however entitled to help and support, including through new deal for partners, on a voluntary basis.
Carers who are in receipt of carer's allowance can work and earn up to £82 per week. This amount is calculated net of expenses such as income tax, some national insurance contributions, and half of any contribution towards an occupational or personal pension. Help can also be given with the cost of care of the disabled person when the carer is at work, provided that the substitute carer is not a close relative of either the carer or the disabled person. The amount allowable is 50 per cent. of the net earnings after deduction of the other allowable expenses. Therefore, it is possible for a carer to earn well in excess of £82 and still remain eligible for carer's allowance.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many child support cases were referred to the special payments department for financial loss in each year since 1997; and how much was paid out by the Child Support Agency in special payments in each year. 
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many child support cases were referred to the special payments department for financial loss in each year since 1997 and how much was paid out by the Child Support Agency in special payments in each year.
We are unable to provide precisely the information you have requested. This is because a referral could consist of more than one component of maladministration (for example, delay, consolatory, and financial loss) and robust information is only available from 1 December 2001.
We can provide the number of financial loss components considered and paid for the period 1 December 2001 to 31 October 2005 and also the total amount of special payments paid in each year during the same period.
The table below contains the number of financial loss components considered, the number paid and the amounts paid for the period 1 December 2001 to 31 October 2005 (this is different from either the total number of Special Payments made or indeed the number of people paid Special Payments).
|Period||Number of financial loss components considered||Number of financial loss components paid||Total amount paid during the period (£)|
|1 December 2001 to|
31 March 2002
|1 April 2002 to|
31 March 2003
|1 April 2003 to|
31 March 2004
|1 April 2004 to|
31 March 2005
|1 April 2005 to|
31 October 2005
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of Child Support Agency old scheme cases have not had a reassessment for more than (a) six months, (b) one year, (c) two years, (d) three years, (e) four years, (f) five years and (g) 10 years. 
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