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16 Feb 2006 : Column 2439W—continued

New Deal/Workstep

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people in Beverley and Holderness registered on the new deal for disabled people programme found work in the last five years; [44313]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the new deal for disabled people programme. [44315]

Margaret Hodge: The new deal for disabled people (NDDP) programme is designed to support disabled people and people with health conditions in finding and sustaining paid employment. The programme has been extended to 2007, and, so far, it has been successful in helping more than 83,000 people into work, of whom 65 per cent. have enjoyed sustained employment. Information on the numbers of people helped into work through the programme is not available at constituency level.

The majority of disabled people who move into work through NDDP do so in the first few months of registering on the programme, almost half in the first month, and 70 per cent. in the first three months. People participating on the programme, and those moving into work, have a wide range of health conditions and disabilities, which demonstrates the flexibility and responsiveness of this programme. The majority of participants have positive views about the services they receive through the programme and of working with NDDP Job Brokers.

We know that the benefits to the economy and society as a whole from more disabled people being helped into work outweigh the costs of running the programme. We are currently evaluating the effectiveness of NDDP and will publish results in the autumn. We have placed in the Library those reports on the programme listed which have already been published.

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Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been assisted by the new deal for musicians; and if he will make a statement. [51922]

Margaret Hodge: New deal for musicians is intended to help unemployed aspiring musicians into a sustainable career in the music industry, either as artists under contract or self-employed artists within the music industry. It is available to jobseekers who are eligible for either new deal for young people or new deal 25 plus. Up to the end of November, new deal for musicians had helped 3,880 people into unsubsidised employment.

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to extend (a) the new deal for disabled people and (b) Workstep to help people back into work in Tamworth; and if he will make a statement. [48650]

Margaret Hodge: Contracts for the new deal for disabled people and Workstep are now being extended, where necessary, to 31 March 2007. We are currently considering the future of this provision alongside the range of disability employment programmes to ensure they continue to meet the needs of disabled people, including those in Tamworth.

As outlined in Chapter 5 of our Welfare Reform Green Paper 'A new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work', we are reviewing our employment services for disabled people and intend to consult with key stakeholders on our proposals later in the year.

Our proposals in the Green Paper are based on our successful Pathways to Work pilots which we will be extending across the country by 2008, and in Tamworth in October of this year. The Pathways pilots have achieved over 21,000 job entries in total with very positive feedback from claimants, advisers and partners. We are already seeing an eight percentage points increase in off-flows from incapacity benefit at six months compared with non-Pathways areas.
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Occupational Pension Schemes (Beverley and Holderness)

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many occupational pension schemes in Beverley and Holderness have fully wound up since 1997; and how many are in the process of winding up. [51520]

Mr. Timms: The information is not available.


Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the amount of overpayments made owing to official error in each social security benefit paid by his Department in each of the last six years; and if he will make a statement. [42549]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Department publishes National Statistics reports including estimates of overpayments through official error. Estimates for income support (IS), jobseeker's allowance (JSA), pension credit and housing benefit (HB) are published every year so these are the benefits where we have most information on changes over time.
IS/JSA/Pension credit official error overpayments fromNational Statistics reports

IS(63)JSAIS for pensioners/
Pension credit
October 1997 to September 1998
Percentage of benefit overpaid1.64.21.6
Overpaid (£ million)13015060
April 1998 to March 1999
Percentage of benefit overpaid1.65.61.3
Overpaid (£ million)13020050
April 1999 to March 2000
Percentage of benefit overpaid1.54.01.5
Overpaid (£ million)13013060
April 2000 to March 2001
Percentage of benefit overpaid1.32.81.2
Overpaid (£ million)1208050
April 2001 to March 2002
Percentage of benefit overpaid1.33.50.8
Overpaid (£ million)1309040
April 2002 to March 2003
Percentage of benefit overpaid1.44.21.0
Overpaid (£ million)14011050
April 2003 to March 2004
Percentage of benefit overpaid1.83.82.1
Overpaid (£ million)190100100
April 2004 to March 2005
Percentage of benefit overpaid1.92.32.1
Overpaid (£ million)20050130

(63) Not including pensioners.
The figures for April 2003 to March 2004 and April 2004 to March 2005 in the table have been adjusted for data quality problems found. Previous figures have not been adjusted in this way as there is not enough information available to do so. The tables therefore are not all suitable for making reliable comparisons over time but give a reference of our best estimate of these overpayment figures in each year. Confidence intervals are not provided in these tables although are typically around +—20 to 30 per cent. of the central estimates.

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Housing benefit (HB) official error overpayments fromNational Statistics reports

Percentage/£ million
April 2002 to March 20031.1
Percentage of benefit overpaid
Overpaid (£ million)140
April 2003 to March 2004
Percentage of benefit overpaid1.2
Overpaid (£ million)150
April 2004 to March 2005
Percentage of benefit overpaid1.1
Overpaid (£ million)150

1. The continuous measurement system for fraud and error in housing benefit began in 2001, so earlier comparable results are not available.
2. Note that these figures are made up of reviews of around 85 per cent. of HB expenditure (used for measuring performance against the relevant PSA target to reduce fraud and error in HB) combined with more approximate estimates of error in the remaining 15 per cent. of expenditure. For further details on this, please see the relevant National Statistics reports.

The Second National Housing Benefit Accuracy Review, in 1997–98 gave an estimate of £60 million for Official Error, but was based on a different methodology, so the results are not considered comparable with more recent estimates.

The Department also publishes one to off snapshot reviews. The most recent report covered disability living allowance (DLA) and the official error figures from these are as follows:
2004–05 DLA official error overpayments fromNational Statistics report

Amount of money overpaid (£ million)Percentage benefit overpaid
Official Error60 (20–110)0.8 (0.3–1.4)

In addition, annual estimates of official error only are made for Short to Term Benefit overpayments (Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance) and Long to Term Benefit overpayments (Retirement Pension, Widow's Benefit and Bereavement Benefit). Previous results were carried out using a different methodology and are not comparable. The most recent results are shown in the following tables.
Short to term benefits Official Error overpayments

As at April to March each year:Monetary value (£ million)

(64) These estimates are subject to wide margins of error. Our best estimate of STB overpayments for 2004–05 includes a further amount of around £20 million due to incorrectness types not captured under methodology in earlier years.

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Long-term benefits Official Error overpayments

As at April to March each year:Monetary value (£ million)

1. The sample for long-term benefits is a small one and excludes some types of cases. It provides reassurance that official error on these benefits is a very low proportion of expenditure, but the estimate is only a broad indicator.
2. As a result of the wide margins of error, the changes over time are not statistically significant.

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