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Margaret Hodge: The new deal has been successful in helping 2,620 people into work in my hon. Friend's constituency. This includes more than 1,350 young people through New Deal for Young People, 84 per cent. of whom have gone into sustained employment.
Mr. Timms: The Pensions Regulator opened for business in April 2005 with a new regulatory approach placing greater emphasis on identifying and tackling real risks to members' benefits and a proactive, risked-based style of regulation.
It is clear that this approach is already making itself felt. The regulator is collecting and analysing a wide range of scheme data, enabling it to build a clearer picture of the current pensions landscape.
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The Pensions Regulator is required to assess and monitor the extent to which it is meeting its statutory objectives and targets, submitting an annual report to the Secretary of State. This report is then laid before Parliament. In addition, I meet with the chair of the Pensions Regulator on a quarterly basis and officials in my Department regularly monitor to ensure that the regulator is meeting its statutory objectives and pursuing its business activities effectively.
23. Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the contribution that the proposals set out in the welfare to work Green Paper will make to the Government's goal of 80 per cent. employment. 
Margaret Hodge: The proposals in the Green Paper will be a key role in achieving an employment rate of 80 per cent. of the working age population. To achieve our aim we will reduce the number of people on incapacity benefits by a million, help 300,000 more lone parents into work and increase by a million the number of older workers.
Since 1997, we have reduced fraud in income support and jobseeker's allowance by nearly two thirds. We now estimate that we lose around £0.9 billion to fraud each yearunder 1 per cent. of total benefit expenditure, and the lowest estimated levels ever recorded. However, we realise that there is more to do and will continue to drive this down further.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of telephone calls for benefit claims to Jobcentre Plus offices in Wales (a) received the engaged tone, (b) disconnected during the IVR process and (c) were abandoned by the caller in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question concerning how many and what proportion of telephone calls for benefit claims to Jobcentre Plus offices in Wales (a) received the engaged tone, (b) disconnected during the IVR process and (c) were abandoned by the caller in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
When a customer calls a Jobcentre Plus contact centre to make a claim for benefit, their call is either answered immediately or is placed in a queue until either their call is answered or they choose to abandon the call. They are not connected to an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and customers do not get an engaged tone. We do know however that customers make the choice to abandon their call and that Jobcentre Plus does not terminate calls. I suspect that customers may abandon calls because of domestic interruptions or simply that they do not wait for even a short time to speak to an adviser.
We have three contact centres in Wales: Pembroke Dock, Bridgend and Cwmbran that take calls from customers wishing to claim benefit. I have set out below the available information on calls offered and abandoned for those sites based in Wales.
|Calls offered||Calls abandoned||Percentage|
|2004 (June to December)||249,028||44,217||17.8|
|2005 (January to w/e|
Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people received (a) housing benefit, (b) council tax benefit, (c) income support and (d) incapacity benefit in the constituency of South Swindon, in each year since 1997. 
|Swindon borough council||South Swindon constituency|
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action he is taking to improve (a) the efficiency of delivery and (b) comparability of control systems of benefits paid to British citizens resident overseas. 
Mr. Timms: The Pension Service International Pension Centre applies the normal departmental security rules and law to prevent both external and internal fraud and abuse. It has recently upgraded its telephony systems to improve the level of service to customers overseas. Work in the centre has now been organised by country. This is to ensure there are specialist areas covering the European Union, countries with which the Department has Reciprocal Agreements and countries where non-uprated pensions are paid.
In addition The Pension Service has a team of specialists who determine if marriages and divorces that take place under foreign legislation meet the requirements of UK Social Security legislation and we carry out a programme of certification to ensure that benefit payments continue to be appropriate. There is also technology in place that allows us to authenticate foreign documents.
Following a comparison with the Dutch System The Pension Service is implementing a new approach to programme protection work based on the amount of expenditure, the number of residents and age of residents by country.
Other benefits administered by the Department for Work and Pensions, for non United Kingdom residents are entirely dependant 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.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was owed to the Department in overpaid benefits in each quarter of the past three years; how much was received in each quarter; and if he will make a statement on progress in recovery of the outstanding balance. 
|Balance owed at quarter end||1,087||1,101||1,116||1,145|
|Total recovered 188.8|
|Balance owed at quarter end||1,124||1,122||1,121||1,157|
|Total recovered 181.4|
|Balance owed at quarter end||1,161||1,174||1,187||1,230|
Within the Department, Debt Management was established in April 2001 to provide greater focus and expertise to the management and recovery of benefit overpayments within the Department. Since then, the bulk of benefit overpayment recovery work has been centralised from over 100 sites to 10 dedicated debt centres, and £750 million of overpaid benefits has been recovered up to March 2005.
Since April 2004, where DWP has been unsuccessful in seeking recovery from those no longer in receipt of benefit, the debt has been referred to our private sector partners under the Enforcement Initiative.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many recorded job entries there have been in the United Kingdom excluding pathways to work pilots for incapacity benefit claimants who have been claiming benefit for (a) nought to three months, (b) three to six months, (c) six to 12 months, (d) 12 to 24 months and (e) 24 months and over since 1997. 
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