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Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how much his Department spent on providing jobcentre services in (a) 200405 and (b) 200506 in the London borough of Wandsworth, broken down by (i) jobcentre and (ii) (A) capital and (B) resource spending; and if he will make a statement; 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions asking (a) what his Department spent on providing Jobcentre services in 200405 and 200506 in the London borough of Wandsworth, broken down by (i) Job Centre and (ii) (A) capital and (B) resource; and (b) how much his Department plans to spend on Wandsworth Jobcentre Plus in 200607. This is something that falls under my responsibility as chief executive of Jobcentre Plus.
As the district boundary does not correspond with that of the London borough of Wandsworth it is not possible to give details of expenditure or budgets for specific London boroughs or individual Jobcentre Plus offices.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking for a statement on the current time taken to process claims for Jobseeker's Allowance. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus measures the time taken to process a claim for Jobseeker's Allowance as the Actual Average Clearance Time. This is measured against a Key Management Indicator which is agreed at the beginning of each year. For 2005/06, this was set at 12 working days. Latest figures show that for the year to February 2006 claims were processed in an average of 14.3 working days.
Jobcentre Plus is transforming the service it provides by making it available via the telephone, via the Internet and through the personal service offered to people in Jobcentre Plus offices. With change on this scale there can be difficulties in the beginning and, as a consequence, average clearance times have temporarily increased. This is clearly causing unacceptable delays for customers and we have taken action to address the delays.
Senior Operational Managers were required to provide a formal assurance at the end of February that all elements of the plan are being complied with, although it has been acknowledged that concentration on backlogs of work may initially cause average clearance times to rise. The Chief Operating Officer is monitoring performance very closely.
In order to focus management attention on this issue, the Actual Average Clearance Times measure, which will remain at 12 days for Jobseeker's Allowance claims, has been added to the suite of Jobcentre Plus Targets for 2006/07.
Margaret Hodge: The work search premium pilots are running in eight Jobcentre Plus districts, including west Lancashire. Lone parents participating in the pilot are paid a £20 a week premium for a maximum of 26 weeks to help with the costs associated with searching for work. Participation is voluntary and certain eligibility criteria must be met. Participants agree to undertake intensive work search and will also be entitled to help with the cost of formal childcare while undertaking work search activities.
Between October 2004, when the pilots started, and November 2005, the latest date for which information is available, 407 lone parents in the west Lancashire Jobcentre Plus district had received the work search premium. Constituency information is not available.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he was first shown the final draft of the parliamentary ombudsman's report Trusting in the Pensions Promise"; and when the Government's response was given to the ombudsman. 
Mr. Timms: The parliamentary ombudsman sent a copy of her draft report to the Department on 21 December 2005. In line with the ombudsman's timetable, the Permanent Secretary responded on 27 January 2006. The contents of this reply appear at Annex D to the ombudsman's report.
The ombudsman then sent a second draft report on 13 February 2006 and, again in accordance with the ombudsman's deadline, the Permanent Secretary replied on 28 February 2006. This reply appears at Paragraph 7.116 of the report.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions why those contracted out of (a) SERPS and (b) the Second State Pension do not receive the national insurance rebate in the year prior to retirement. 
State Second Pension (formerly SERPS) does not accrue in respect of the tax year in which people reach state pension age. Consequently, because the national insurance rebate is intended to replace the state benefit foregone when someone contracts out, age-related rebates made to those contracted out into a personal pension or a defined contribution occupational pension, are not made in respect of that tax year.
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In the case of contracted-out occupational pension schemes, both employer and employee pay reduced rate national insurance contributions. Additional costs and administrative burdens would arise for employers if the rebate ceased in the year in which people reach state pension age and a higher national insurance rate became payable. Payment of reduced rate contributions is permitted to continue into the tax year in which state pension age is reached.
Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households with at least one full-time employee in (a) Wirral, West, (b) Wirral borough and (c) England are living in poverty. 
Margaret Hodge: Specific information regarding low income for Government office regions of Great Britain is available in the latest publication of the 'Households Below Average Income (HBAI) 1994/95 to 2004/05', available in the Library. The threshold of below 60 per cent. contemporary median income is the most commonly used in reporting trends in low income.
The seventh annual 'Opportunity for all' report (Cm6673) sets out the Government's strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion and reports progress against a range of indicators. The data source does not allow us to provide robust estimates below regional level, therefore estimates for Wirral, West and Wirral borough are not available.
Information on the numbers (in millions) of households in absolute and relative low income with at least one full-time employee in the north west and Merseyside region, and in England is shown in the following table as three-year averages. Relative low income is defined here as below 60 per cent. of the contemporary median income, and absolute low income is defined here as below 60 per cent. of 199697 median income which has been fixed in real terms.
|Relative low income||Absolute low income|
|Before housing costs||After housing costs||Before housing costs||After housing costs|
|North West and Merseyside||0.08||0.10||0.04||0.05|
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