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29 Mar 2006 : Column 1020W—continued

Working Futures Programme

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will increase funding for the working futures programme. [47182]

Mr. Plaskitt: The working future project is testing the effect that reduced rents and increased access to employment services can have on the incentives for housing benefit claimants in temporary accommodation to find work.

The employment service element of this project is funded by the European Social Fund EQUAL programme, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, The Mayor of London, East Homes (a registered social landlord) and the London boroughs of Waltham Forest, Redbridge and Newham. DWP are also supporting this project by transferring funds to ODPM to cover the cost of the central Government grant for the duration of the pilot.

Additional funding for the employment services strand of this project is currently being considered against the eligibility criteria of the EQUAL programme.

Debt Management

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's Debt Management administration budget was for each quarter since Q2 2001, broken down by main area of expenditure. [52497]

Mr. Plaskitt: Debt Management was established within the department in April 2001. Financial records for Debt Management as a separate entity were not available prior to April 2002. Between 2001 and 2005, responsibility for staff working on benefit Debt Management was transferred to the organisation, with ten debt centres being operational from August 2004. All overpayment work from Jobcentre Plus and The Pension Service was transferred to Debt Management by August 2005.

The details required are in the following tables:
£ million

PeriodApril-June 2002July-September 2002October-December 2002January-March 2003
Total budget12.38613.04913.40712.829

£ million

PeriodApril-June 2003July-September 2003October-December 2003January-March 2004
Total budget11.16111.98912.74112.331

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£ million

PeriodApril-June 2004July-September 2004October-December 2004January-March 2005
Total budget12.69912.81212.39812.111

£ million

PeriodApril-June 2005July-September 2005October-December 2005
Total budget15.41616.68217.967

The increase in staff costs in 2005–06 is accounted for by the movement of work from other DWP businesses to Debt Management and the consequential staff increase.

Winter Fuel Allowance

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what mechanisms are in place to reclaim overpayments of winter fuel allowance to households where more than one payment of £200 was issued. [60775]

Mr. Timms: If customers are overpaid a winter fuel payment because of official error which the Department becomes aware of, they are invited to repay it, but no
29 Mar 2006 : Column 1022W
further action is taken if they do not. If they are overpaid because they gave us incorrect information it is departmental policy to recover the overpayment.

Pensioner Incomes

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) average and (b) total income of the poorest 10 per cent. of pensioners has been in each of the last 30 years at today's prices. [61131]

Mr. Timms: Information that is available is in the following table, based on the Family Resources Survey introduced in 1994–95.
Median income of the bottom decile of pensioners
in £ per week
Aggregate gross weekly income of the bottom
decile of pensioners in £ million per week
Pensioner couplesSingle pensionersPensioner couplesSingle pensioners

1. Figures are in 2004–05 prices.
2. Deciles are based on the before housing costs net income distribution.
3. Figures are provided for pensioner couples and single pensioners in the bottom decile of the pensioner couples and single pensioners net income distribution respectively.
4. Pensioner couples are defined as where the head of the household is above state pension age.
5. Gross income includes income from all sources including state benefits, private pensions and any earnings.
Family Resources Survey.

Post Office Card Accounts

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of each payable benefit was transacted through (a) a Post Office card account, (b) another account at a post office and (c) a bank account that is not accessed at a post office in (i) the UK, (ii) Wales, (iii) Bridgend, (iv) Ogmore constituency and (v) Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough area in the last period for which figures are available. [55107]

Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 2 March 2006]: The information is not available in the format requested. The available information is set out in the following table.

The table shows the proportion of each payable DWP benefit account that was transacted through (a) a Post Office card account (b) a bank/building society account as at 24 December. Values marked —" represent figures below 50 and have been suppressed in line with standard practise to preserve accuracy.

We are unable to distinguish between bank accounts accessed at post offices and those accessed elsewhere.
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Great Britain
Bridgend local authority
Ogmore parliamentary constituency
Rhondda Cynon Taff local authority
Post Office card accountBank/
building society account
Post Office card accountBank/
building society account
Post Office card accountBank/ building society accountPost Office card accountBank/
building society account
Post Office card accountBank/
building society account
Attendance allowance16.579.521.475.430.865.6
Bereavement benefit6.093.29.388.9
Disability living allowance17.779.322.474.722.375.225.472.127.769.2
Incapacity benefit20.477.025.572.823.874.827.471.333.565.1
Carers allowance21.077.825.473.2
Industrial death benefit41.
Industrial injuries death benefit24.474.833.566.0
Income support28.767.335.361.432.764.537.559.644.453.4
Jobseekers allowance16.476.417.776.516.
Pensions credit34.760.942.454.041.256.446.551.052.644.7
Passported incapacity benefit14.480.820.373.7
Retirement pension19.978.829.569.029.969.039.359.442.656.1
Severe disablement allowance20.471.628.864.1
Widows benefit17.081.325.672.6
Workman's compensation33.761.4

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