Previous Section Index Home Page

26 Jan 2006 : Column 2387W—continued

Rough Sleepers

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what information his Department (a) collects and (b) evaluates to estimate the number of rough sleepers. [43042]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 17 January 2006]: As at June 2005 there were an estimated 459 people sleeping rough in England on any one single night, the lowest ever recorded figure.

This estimate is the result of data submitted to the Department from local housing authorities through their 2005 Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) return. Data reported on the HSSA reflect either a recent street count or an estimate, where no recent counts have taken place. Further detail on the methodology employed in producing the annual estimate of rough sleeping in England can be found via the following link on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website at: asp?id=1150134.

Standards Board for England

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much the Standards Board for England and adjudication panel have so far spent on administering the complaints against (a) the Islington council chief executive and (b) the Mayor of London, including legal fees. [42613]

Mr. Woolas: The cases referred to at (a) involved allegations of misconduct against a number of councillors in Islington in respect of the appointment of Islington council's chief executive. The Standards Board estimate that the costs incurred in respect of these cases are £675,000 by the Board and £50,000 by the adjudication panel.

The case referred to at (b) , in respect of the London Mayor, is ongoing. The Standards Board estimate that the costs incurred to date are £45,000 by the Board and £7,000 by the adjudication panel.

Urban Migration

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent assessment the Government have made of levels of migration out of towns and cities. [42614]

Yvette Cooper: Evidence from the Census shows that between 1991 and 2001 net out-migration from the English core cities (Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield) declined
26 Jan 2006 : Column 2388W
dramatically and Birmingham, Bristol and Leeds all gained rather than lost population. In all cases, the population of city centres has risen as people have started to move back in response to the urban renaissance and new housing and job opportunities.

Preliminary findings from the state of the cities report show that many smaller towns and cities in England, particularly in the south and east, gained population over this period largely as a result of in-migration.

Further information on demographic trends including patterns of migration out of, into and between English towns and cities will be available from the state of cities report, due for publication in spring 2006. A full thematic report on demographic trends in urban England will be published later.

Valuation Office Agency

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) Management Board meeting minutes of 15 December 2005; if he will place in the Library a copy of (a) the report sent to the Department and HM Revenue and Customs and (b) the paper on the sale of VOA data on the lessons learned from the CTR2007 programme. [43031]

Mr. Woolas: Both documents, namely (a) the report relating to the lessons learned from CTR2007, and (b) the paper relating to the Valuation Office Agency's (VOA) database were prepared as an input to the formulation of Government policy. Accordingly they cannot be made available.


Benefit Claimants Living Overseas

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which benefits and allowances are payable to claimants regardless of whether they are normally resident in the United Kingdom; what rules affect whether benefits are payable during short stays overseas; and what steps he takes to monitor the eligibility by place of residence of claimants into whose bank account benefits are paid. [41058]

Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 11 January 2006]: Whether a benefit is payable to people who are not resident or present in the United Kingdom depends in the first instance on the entitlement conditions for each individual benefit. These conditions may be modified for EU nationals moving within the EU by the EU Regulations on Social Security for Migrant Workers, and in other cases by reciprocal social security agreements between the United Kingdom and other countries.

The effect of long-term or short-term absence abroad on each social security benefit is summarised in DWP leaflet GL29 'Going Abroad and Social Security Benefits' a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

The Department's International Pension Centre issues 'Life Certificates' to customers abroad to sign to confirm that they are still entitled to United Kingdom
26 Jan 2006 : Column 2389W
benefit. The customer's signature must be witnessed by a person of standing in their community, for example a minister of religion, a civil servant, a police officer or a doctor. The purpose of Life Certificates is to uncover unreported deaths, and to provide an acceptable level of assurance that benefit is paid correctly.

Life Certificates are issued to a specific group of people chosen by, among other criteria, country, marital status, age and dependents. This allows for a manageable sample of customers to be chosen. The sample will, over time, reflect the customer variety. Customers are not selected on the basis of how they are paid.

Benefit is suspended if there is no contact from the customer after eight weeks. The letter advises the customer of this.
26 Jan 2006 : Column 2390W

Benefit Entitlements (Women)

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what entitlement is available for women who are supporting men aged below the state pension age; [44571]

(2) how many (a) men and (b) women in England and Wales are receiving the adult dependency addition; and if he will make a statement. [44572]

Mr. Timms: There is a range of benefits available to people below State pension age. In some cases people may be entitled to additional benefit if they have adult dependents. Whether or not adult dependency increases are payable will depend on the particular circumstances of each case.

The information relating to the number of men and women getting an adult dependency increase in England and Wales is in the table.
State pension50,4003,100100(46)
Incapacity benefit29,3006,6002,100400
Severe disablement allowance800100300(46)
Carer's allowance7,6008004,500400
Maternity allowancen/an/a100(46)
Industrial injuries disability benefit unemployability supplement(46)(46)(46)(46)

n/a=not applicable
(46)less than 100.
1.Figures show Dependency increases paid in respect of a spouse or someone looking after a child.
2.Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.
3.The maternity allowance figure for women in England is based on a five per cent. sample and is therefore subject to a high degree of sampling variation.
State pension, incapacity benefit, carer's allowance and severe disablement allowance information—DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. as at 31 May 2005.
Maternity Allowance—DWP Information Directorate: 5 per cent. sample as at 31 May 2005
Industrial injuries disability benefit unemployability supplement—Industrial Injuries Computer System 100 per cent. as at 31 March 2005.

Benefit Fraud

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost of benefit fraud in each year since 1990–91; and if he will make a statement. [41331]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Department produces estimates for the amount overpaid through fraud across the benefits system. Previously published results are in the table.
Estimate of benefit fraud
(£ billion)

Pre-1998(47)A few isolated reviews of fraud and error in individual benefits were carried out, but there was no systematic attempt to estimate the level of fraud across the whole benefit system
19982–7Published in the Green Paper, Beating Fraud is Everyone's Business". Around £2 billion was considered confirmed fraud, with the remaining £5billion coming from cases where there was a suspicion of fraud
1998–99 to 2002–032A change in methodology in the ongoing measurement system meant that cases were investigated in more detail, and it was no longer appropriate to include cases where fraud was suspected in the headline estimates. Figure rounded to nearest £1.0 billion
2003–04 initial estimate1.5Figure rounded to nearest £0.5 billion
2003–04 revised estimate1.0Figure rounded to nearest £0.1 billion. Development work to improve the quality of the estimate suggested that the original figure was an overstatement
2004–050.9Figure rounded to nearest 0.1 £billion

(47)No overall estimate available.

26 Jan 2006 : Column 2391W

In recent years, benefit fraud has been reducing and now stands at £0.9 billion per year—less than one per cent of total benefit expenditure.

On 13 October 2005, the Department published our achievements in reducing levels of fraud in the benefit system and plans to reduce it further in Reducing fraud in the benefit system: Achievements and ambitions". Copies are available in the Library.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what representations his Department has received in the last three years regarding the use of lie detectors in the investigation of suspected fraudulent (a) incapacity benefit claims and (b) other benefit claims; and if he will make a statement; [44432]

(2) what discussions his Department has had in the last three years regarding the use of lie detectors in the investigation of suspected fraudulent (a) incapacity benefit claims and (b) other benefit claims; and if he will make a statement. [44433]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Secretary of State has received a small number of written representations in the last three years about the use of voice stress analysis. The Department is currently considering how the technology could be piloted in order to establish its effectiveness in relation to DWP business.

Next Section Index Home Page