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26 Apr 2006 : Column 1142W—continued


Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions at what date a claim is deemed to have commenced under the teleclaiming system where (a) there is a gap between the initial telephone contact and the issuing of a claim form and (b) there is a delay to the interview date due to the need for an interpreter, advocate or other facilitator to be present. [66068]

Margaret Hodge: To make a new claim to working age benefits through Jobcentre Plus, a customer telephones a contact centre. Contact centre staff ask the customer a series of questions to assess their potential eligibility to Jobcentre Plus benefits. They then arrange to call the customer back at a mutually agreed time, to assist in completion of a claim form.

The customer's date of claim normally commences from the date they first contact the contact centre, except where the customer wishes to claim in advance or in retrospect, in which case there are different processes in place. Any delay that might occur in dealing with a customer's claim does not impact on the initial date of claim. Likewise, if a customer needs an interpreter, advocate or facilitator at any point of the new claim process, any delay in arranging this will not adversely affect the date of claim.

Pathways to Work

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the off-flows from incapacity benefit at six months for each of the pathways to work pilot areas (a) were in the last 12-month period for which figures are available prior to the start of pathways to work and (b) have been since the start of pathways to work. [41171]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer on 18 January 2006]: The following table shows the average six month off-flow rate by district for the twelve months immediately prior to the pathways roll-out and the average six month off-flow rate since the pathways roll-out.
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The National Benefits Database does not include a proportion of short term incapacity benefit claims, therefore, the off-flow rates presented will be lower than
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the actual rates; however, trends over time will be consistent.

Phase 1
Bridgend Rhondda Cynon and TaffDerbyshireRIAB(18)
Twelve months prior to pathways353339
Post pathways rollout403842
Average increase following pathways rollout553

Phase 2

EssexEast LancashireGateshead and South TynesideSomerset
Twelve months prior to pathways26373336
Post pathways rollout35414240
Average increase following pathways rollout8394

(18) Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Argyll and Bute
The statistics quoted in this response are taken from the Department's National Benefits Database.


Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the basic state pension was for (a) single pensioners and (b) pensioner couples in each year since 1997–98; and what the pension will be for each category in 2006–07. [66246]

Mr. Timms: The information is in the table.

Basic state pension for a single pensionerBasic state pension for a pensioner couple

Both members of a pensioner couple are entitled to the full basic category A state pension for a single pensioner if they satisfy the contribution conditions. However, the combination of Category A and Category B (based on the husband's contributions) rates is commonly referred to as the couple's rate and is shown in the table.


Mr. David: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for Remploy. [53502]

Mrs. McGuire: The Minister for Disabled People made a written ministerial statement to the House of Commons on the 16 March announcing a review of Remploy. Since then, PricewaterhouseCoopers have been appointed to conduct the review. To ensure that the employment needs of disabled people are fully taken into account, Dr Stephen Duckworth of Disability Matters has joined the review team. The review team will report to Ministers by the end of May.

Social Fund

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Social Fund grants were made in each year since 1995–96. [63374]

Mr. Plaskitt: The available information is in the table.
Community Care Grants

Initial awards (thousands)

1. Figures are for Great Britain.
2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 1,000.
DWP Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System.

Winter Fuel Payment

Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has paid the winter fuel payment automatically to anybody who is not in receipt of another form of benefit since 2000–01. [64916]

Mr. Timms: People who have made a successful claim for a winter fuel payment since winter 2000–01 do not have to claim again in subsequent years, as long as there is no break in their eligibility and they keep us informed of their changes in circumstances.
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Anyone who becomes newly eligible for a winter fuel payment and who is in receipt of a DWP benefit will receive a winter fuel payment automatically; others will need to submit a claim.



Mr. Harper: To ask the Prime Minister when he will reply to the letter, dated 19 January 2006, from the hon. Member for Forest of Dean with regard to Mr. Robin Caulkett. [65549]

The Prime Minister: My Office has replied to the hon. Member.

World Cup (Complimentary Tickets)

Mr. Hands: To ask the Prime Minister how many complimentary tickets his Office has received for gamestaking place at the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany. [63896]

The Prime Minister: I have not received any complimentary tickets for World Cup matches taking place in Germany this summer.



John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Argentina about the prosecution of those guilty of human rights violations during the 1976 to 1983 Dirty War. [65644]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK and our EU partners welcome the Government of Argentina's decision to tackle impunity and bring to justice those responsible for human rights abuses during the 1976–83 dirty war". Although my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no recent discussions with the Government of Argentina on the issue, it is a frequent subject of conversation between our embassy officials in Buenos Aires and a wide range of government and non-governmental contacts.

Better Regulation

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress was made on better regulation at the recent EU Council. [65396]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Council reinforced the good progress made during the UK presidency, urging the EU Institutions to continue to deliver on their commitments including robust impact assessments and simplification of existing regulations. It asked the Commission to focus on concrete actions, including measuring administrative costs on business and reporting on measurable targets for reducing these burdens by the end of 2006; and to bring forward proposals to benefit small and medium sized
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enterprises such as longer transition periods for implementation of legislation, reduced fees, simplified reporting requirements and exemptions.

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