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Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people received (a) income support on the grounds of incapacity, (b) income support disability premium, (c) income support enhanced disability premium and (d) income support severe disability premium in each year since 1995. 
|August||IS and IB/SDA, no DP||IS with DP only||IS with DP and EDP||IS with DP and SDP||IS with DP and EDP and SDP|
Mrs. McGuire: Depreciation is provided on IT equipment, using the straight-line method, at rates calculated to write off, in equal instalments, the current replacement cost of each asset over its expected useful life, in this case five years. The assets are depreciated from the month following acquisition. No depreciation is charged in the month of disposal.
Mrs. McGuire: My Department publishes an annual religious calendar for all staff on its intranet site. The calendar includes information on all the major religions, including Judaism, and provides dates and background to all the key religious festivals and events. We take into consideration the religious festivals and events when arranging interviews with our customers.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking whether further reductions in numbers of jobs for jobcentre workers in West Dunbartonshire are planned. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
As announced in the 2004 Spending Review, the Department has plans to reduce overall staff numbers by 30,000 by 31 March 2008. Our staffing plans for West Dunbartonshire take account of the challenging headcount targets Jobcentre Plus has to meet annually up to 2008 as part of the wider DWP Efficiency Challenge.
By way of background, Jobcentre Plus had 223.8 full time equivalent staff in West Dunbartonshire at the end of April 2005. The latest available month end figure, for December 2005, was 226.2 full time equivalent staff. Just over 13 per cent. of staff included in the December figure are employed on temporary contracts.
The budget allocation for 2006/07 for our Highland, Islands, Clyde Coast & Grampian District, which includes West Dunbartonshire, has yet to be finalised. At the moment, planning assumptions are, however, that staffing in West Dunbartonshire will reduce by approximately 5 per cent. by the end of 2006/07.
Mr. Plaskitt: Jobseeker's allowance (JSA) is intended for those people seeking work. 16-year-olds are not normally entitled to JSA, as the policy intention is to encourage young people of that age to be in education or training rather than become dependent on the benefits system.
However, as a safety net for the most vulnerable, income based JSA may be paid for a limited period in certain circumstances while a young person looks for suitable training, education or employment that involves training. JSA rates, payable in such cases, are prescribed nationally and are not subject to regional variations.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the departmental target is for the time taken to process a benefit application when a customer requires language support or documentation from other Government Departments; and how many days applications took in the last period for which figures are available. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply direct to your question asking what the departmental target is for the time taken to process a benefit application when a customer requires language support or documentation from other Government departments; and how many days applications took in the last period for which figures are available. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Considerable progress has been made in helping lone parents back into work in the last three years. The lone parent employment rate rose 3.3 percentage points between spring 2002 and spring 2005, and, since it started in 1998, new deal for lone parents has been successful in helping more than
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423,000 lone parents into work, 230,810 of whom have gone into work through the programme in the last three years.
In October, we introduced a requirement for lone parents whose youngest child is aged at least 14 to participate in quarterly work focused interviews. We are also piloting a number of measures to help lone parents, including the new deal plus for lone parents, which is testing whether a range of additional support will help lone parents to find and to stay in work.
In our recently published Green Paper 'A new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work', we have proposed increased contact with lone parents through more frequent work focused interviews, as well as the intention to pilot a work-related activity premium to encourage lone parents with older children to take serious steps to return to work.
Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents moved from income support to incapacity benefit when their youngest child reached age 16 in the last five years. 
|Time period during|
which the customer left income support
|Number of lone parents leaving income support within three months of their youngest child turning 16||Number of those claiming incapacity benefit (IB) within 12 months||Proportion that claimed IB within 12 months of leaving IS (percentage)|
|August 1999-July 2000||12,000||2,000||16.4|
|August 2000-July 2001||13,500||2,100||15.9|
|August 2001-July 2002||12,800||2,000||16.0|
|August 2002-July 2003||12,500||2,100||17.2|
|August 2003-July 2004||11,400||2,100||18.6|
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents whose youngest child is aged between 11 and 16 years are caring for a child who is sick or disabled in (a) Coventry, South and (b) the West Midlands region. 
As at August 2005, there were 1,600 lone parents in receipt of income support in the West Midlands, whose youngest child was aged between 11 and 16 years, and whose benefit included a disabled child premium.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents whose youngest child is 14 years had received benefits for more than a year in Coventry, South in the last year for which figures are available. 
As at August 2005, there were 100 lone parents whose youngest child is 14 who had been in receipt of income support for a year or more in the Coventry, South parliamentary constituency. The number of such claimants in receipt of other benefits is too small to provide accurate estimates.
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