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Mr. Lammy: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport provides grant in aid funding for the maintenance of the occupied royal palaces in England. The grant in aid employed 40 staff at Windsor Castle in 200506. There are other staff who are employed by other funding sources, for which the Department is not responsible, and on which it therefore has no information.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when a supplement to the basic pension for reaching the age of 80 years was first paid; and what its value would be if it had been increased in line with the retail price index. 
Mr. Timms: The 25p a week addition to the State pension for recipients aged 80 or over was introduced in September 1971. It would now be worth £2.23 a week had it been uprated in line with the retail price index.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how long a national from another EU member state needs to have been resident in the UK before being eligible to receive (a) housing benefit and (b) income support; and how long the residency periods will be after Directive 2004/38/EC comes into force; 
(3) pursuant to the answer of 18 January 2006, Official Report, column 1371W, on the Free Movement of Persons Directive, when the Government will issue regulations to ensure that Directive 2004/38/EC will not result in any significant additional costs for the UK social security system; and what these regulations will do. 
Current housing benefit and income support regulations require that a person must have a right to reside and be habitually resident in the United Kingdom, The Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland (generally known as the Common Travel Area). If a person does not have a right to reside then they are not habitually resident and are not entitled to those benefits. A person who has a right to reside must also show that they are habitually resident in the Common Travel Area unless they fall into an exemption
3 May 2006 : Column 1600W
category such as EU workers. There is no set time limit for being habitually resident and each case is considered on its own merits and the claimant's individual circumstances.
From 30 April 2006 persons who claim an income-related benefit including income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance, state pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit will still be required to have a right to reside as well as being habitually resident in the Common Travel Area.
The Social Security (Persons from Abroad) Regulations 2006 which come into force on that date will amend the 'right to reside' aspect of the test. This is to ensure economically inactive EU nationals who only have a right to reside under Directive 2004/38/EC for the first three months of their stay in the Common Travel Area, will not be entitled to those benefits. EU work seekers will have a right to reside and once they are habitually resident will be entitled to claim income-based jobseeker's allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit but they will not be able to claim income support or state pension credit. EU workers will have a right to reside and will continue to be exempt from the habitual residence test.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of council tax benefit was in (a) England and (b) Wales in each year since 199798; and what the estimated costs are for (i) 200506 and (ii) 200607. 
|200405 (estimated outturn)||3,037||160|
|200506 (estimated outturn)||3,247||172|
|200405 (estimated outturn)||3,100||163|
|200506 (estimated outturn)||3,247||172|
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the take-up rate of council tax benefit was amongst pensioners in (a) 199697 and (b) the latest year for which figures are available. 
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will amend housing benefit policy so as to make it possible for a non-dependent sibling of a landlord to claim housing benefit in circumstances where there is a genuine tenancy and rental income is required; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Plaskitt: There are no plans to amend the provisions for people who live with close relatives. Where a person lives with their landlord who is a close relative, such as a brother and sister, they are treated as not liable to make rental payments because there is usually no intention to create a legally enforceable liability in such circumstances. The tenant is typically making a contribution towards the general costs of the household of which they form a part without a genuine rental liability.
Mr. Plaskitt: In 2002, we put in place a comprehensive strategy for reform of housing benefit, with the first priority being to improve administration across the board. We have already made significant progress with the average time taken by local authorities to process new claims having improved by over two weeks.
We have introduced a number of simplification measures to reduce complexity in the housing benefit rules, and provided investment, to help authorities make improvements in the administration of housing benefit. We are also piloting the new local housing allowance in 18 local authorities and the green paper, A New Deal For Welfare: Empowering People to Work", sets out our intention to extend the scheme across the private rented sector.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what response his Department makes to an individual's claim that levels of household debt is a reason for lack of co-operation with the Child Support Agency. 
There are provisions which may allow the Agency to take account of debts which were incurred during a relationship when making a maintenance assessment. However, levels of household debt are not a reason for lack of co-operation with the Child Support Agency. The Government are of the view that parents' prime financial responsibility is to maintain their children.
3 May 2006 : Column 1602W
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