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Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines his Department has issued on the use of the fingerprint testing machine quick check; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: Written guidance in the form of policy and process on the use of quick-check is available on the Immigration Nationality Directorate (IND) website. Additionally, training (and continued access to expert advice) on the practical application of the machines is made available on request.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of offenders (a) released early from prison and (b) who had completed their sentences reoffended within two years in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
However, information on offenders recalled while under Home Detention Curfew and on those offenders recalled to custody following release on parole are published annually. The latest data are shown in Chapter 10 of Offender Management Caseload Statistics, a copy of which is placed in the Library.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines for the issuing of licences to (a) sex offenders and (b) child sex offenders his Department publishes; and if he will make a statement. 
Offenders who are supervised in the community by the probation service following a custodial sentence are subject to a licence, which is issued by the governor of the releasing establishment.
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The licence contains the standard conditions for supervision, together with any additional conditions deemed necessary for the purpose of protecting the public from further offending and assisting the offender's rehabilitation.
The National Probation Service issued guidance on the use of licence conditions on 8 March 2005 under probation circular 16/2005 'Criminal Justice Act 2003Early Release and Recall'. This guidance concerns all offenders on licence including those who have been convicted of sexual offences against adults or children.
Fiona Mactaggart: The information from the court proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform is contained in the table and shows the number of people proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1949 to 1967 and the Communications Act 2003 (mainly television licence evasion), 1996 to 2004.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what rules apply to (a) asylum seekers and (b) illegal immigrants for (i) benefit claims and (ii) the repayment of overpayment of benefits; and if he will make a statement. 
DWP administered benefits are not payable to illegal immigrants; they have not been payable to asylum seekers arriving in Great Britain since April 2000. As such, the only overpayments that would arise
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would be through fraud and error. There are no different rules for such individuals when considering whether, and how, an overpayment should be recovered.
Mr. Plaskitt: As at May 2005, there were 4,300 pensioner households in the West Lancashire district council area, and 1,634,600 pensioner households in England, receiving both pension credit and council tax benefit.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will summarise the responses to the Housing Green Paper, Quality and Choice: a decent Home for All" relating to proposed simplification of the Housing Benefit Non-Dependent Deduction regime. 
Mr. Plaskitt: There were 495 respondents to the Housing Green Paper"Quality & Choice; A decent Home for All" in April 2000, 103 of whom supported simplification or reform of non-dependent deductions. Five respondents disagreed with simplification.
The Government's Paper The Way Forward for Housing", published in December 2000, stated that the Government did not intend to pursue further reform of non-dependent deductions. However, the Government have taken the opportunity to make changes to the scheme.
From October 2003, if the householder or their partner is aged 65 or more, and a non-dependant moves into their home, or an existing non-dependant's circumstances change to increase the deduction, then the start of the deduction or increase in deduction is delayed for 26 weeks. From April 2005, if the non-dependant is on pension credit, no deduction is made in respect of that non-dependant.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the proportion of private sector tenants in receipt of housing benefit or local housing allowance who have elected to move to alternative private sector accommodation while continuing their claim in (a) Pathfinder and (b) non-Pathfinder areas since the Pathfinder pilots started. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The impact of the local housing allowance on the propensity of private sector tenants on housing benefit to move will be monitored as part of the ongoing evaluation of the local housing allowance.
This will be reported in the forthcoming 15 month Claimant Report, due to be published this spring, and as part of the results from the final wave of the evaluation, due to be published at the end of the year.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact of widening the housing benefit extended
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payment scheme from April 2004 to include those in receipt of incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance; and if he will make a statement. 
Such data are estimated using the previous four quarters' returns. May 2005 is the first quarter that sufficient data were available to be analysed. That analysis is on-going; we expect figures to be available later this year.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost to public funds of paying the housing benefit of tenants transferred from council tenancies to registered social landlords since 1997. 
Mr. Plaskitt: We have not made such an estimate. To determine such a figure would require detailed assumptions about the rents each authority might theoretically have charged had it retained the stock. However, the potential impact on housing benefit where stock is transferred to registered social landlords is considered as part of the overall value-for-money assessment of transfers.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 19 January 2006, Official Report, column 1550W, on housing benefit, what additional information he would need to collect to estimate the cost. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The main constraint in calculating accurately the cost requested is that there is no information about the individuals that would have been affected (gainers and floaters on) and the additional benefit they would have received had the disregards been changed from 1988 onwards. We do not have the necessary information to make the estimate; it would not be possible collect the necessary information retrospectively.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people entitled to but not claiming (a) housing benefit and (b) council tax benefit in each year since 199798; what the annual cost saving was from this unclaimed benefit; and if he will make a statement. 
|Housing benefit||Council tax benefit|
Forecasts of spending on benefits are based on estimates of those who will actually receive the benefit, not those who are entitled. This is in accordance with
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Government Accounting rules that require forecasts to be taut and realistic. Forecasts are generally based on trends in administrative data on people actually in receipt of benefits. This normally means take-up of benefits is implicitly assumed to remain at around current levels, although the anticipated impact of initiatives to increase take up will also be included. Forecasts do not make an explicit assumption about take-up.
Consequently, there is no saving, relative to spending plans, from take-up of benefits being lower than 100 per cent. If take-up of benefits was higher than is implicit in the forecasts, spending would be higher than planned.
However, the department does publish estimates of the amount of benefit unclaimed in each year, The estimated amount of benefit unclaimed for housing benefit and council tax benefit in each year since 199798 is in the table.
|Housing benefit||Council tax benefit|
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