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3 May 2006 : Column 1606W—continued

Spending Review (Efficiency Targets)

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what baseline figures he is using for assessing progress on his Department's targets to (a) modernise transactional processes, (b) make savings in procurement processes and (c) modernise and streamline back office functions of finance and human resources shared service functions; what progress has been made towards these targets to date; and what the total efficiency savings achieved to date are for these targets. [52929]

Mr. Plaskitt: The target for financial savings from the Department in the Spending Review 2004 was not linked directly to particular functional groups but rather illustrated categories of activity that would be planned to contribute to the total from changes planned in the Department. Based on our current planning assumptions, we expect that just under one half of our financial savings will come from improvements in transactional processing, around one quarter will come from the direct payment of benefits to customers, over one quarter of savings will come from improvements in central services and around one tenth from improved value for money in procurement. These assumptions are subject to change as plans develop to ensure that we maintain and improve customer services and achieve our PSA and efficiency targets.

Total efficiency savings made by DWP in 2004–05 are estimated at some £300 million.

These early savings are an encouraging indication of DWPs ability to meet the efficiency target set for the department in the 2004 Spending Review (being £962 million of annual efficiency savings by 2007–08 against our spending in 2003–04).

Sure Start

Ed Balls: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women have received a Sure Start
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maternity grant in (a) England and (b) the Wakefield district in each of the last two years; and what plans he has to extend provision. [65884]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information requested is in the table.
Number of Sure Start maternity grant awards

Great BritainWakefield Jobcentre Plus District

1. Figures are for all awards, irrespective of whether the award was made to the mother or her partner.
2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System.

We have no plans to widen eligibility beyond the current qualifying benefits.

Following the Court of Appeal judgment in the Francis case" however, we are looking to change the legislation to allow payments to people who have been awarded residence orders in certain specified circumstances.

For any claims made prior to the legislative change, decision makers and appeal tribunals may consider whether the circumstances around any case are the same as in the Court of Appeal case.

Sure Start to Later Life

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects the pilots for A Sure Start to Later Life to be under way. [67955]

Mr. Timms: We announced in Opportunity Age" our intention to pilot a LinkAge Plus service, providing a fully integrated service for older people. The Social Exclusion Unit Report 'A Sure Start to Later Life' also proposed a new approach to delivering services to and for older people, building on the principles of the Sure Start model for children and families, LinkAge Plus will deliver this service.

This programme will test ways of delivering fully integrated services for older people—from employment, health and benefits to leisure and learning. This will involve working with older people to identify effective models that meet their needs and aspirations and involving them in the design.

The programme plans to run up to eight pilots in England and a number of local authorities are currently helping us to develop the 'LinkAge Plus' concept further and advise on how it can be delivered practically on the ground.
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Final announcements on the programme will be made shortly, including details of final pilot selection. We anticipate that the first pilot will start in July this year.

Turner Commission

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the Turner Commission recommendation for mandatory employer pension contributions. [67337]

Mr. Timms: We have been examining all the recommendations made by the Pensions Commission in detail, including this one. In looking at this option we are considering carefully the relationship between an employer's pension contributions and levels of scheme membership and of course are taking account of possible impacts on business and on the labour market. The Pensions White Paper is due to be published in the next couple of months, and it will set out our proposals for pension reform in full.

Workstep Programme

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many places are available through the Workstep programme; how many people were referred to the programme in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement on future plans for the programme. [63359]

Mrs. McGuire: The Workstep (including Remploy) programme provides around 30,000 places. In the year ending December 2005, 9,841 individuals were referred to the programme.

The Welfare Reform Green Paper A new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work" announced the review of specialist employment programmes for disabled people, including Workstep, and the intention to consult on our proposals later in the year.

Separately on 16 March, the Government announced a review of Remploy Ltd in the context of the Government's strategy for supporting greater numbers of disabled people into employment.


Company Law Reform Bill

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has had discussions with the Corporate Responsibility Coalition on the Company Law Reform Bill; and if he will make a statement. [67591]

Alun Michael [holding answer 2 May 2006]: I have met the Corporate Responsibility Coalition to discuss the Company Law Reform Bill on two occasions since the publication of the Company Law Reform White Paper in March 2005. DTI officials have also had a number of discussions with the Corporate Responsibility Coalition as part of the ongoing consultation with interested parties on the Company Law Reform Bill.
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Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made on replacing Part 31 of the Company Law Reform Bill. [67595]

Alun Michael [holding answer 2 May 2006]: My noble Friend the Minister for Science and Innovation set out the Government's intentions for replacing Part 31 of the Company Law Reform Bill in another place on 30 March 2006. He announced that, the Government will take specific powers in clearly defined areas, in particular capital maintenance, company charges, and reporting and accounting provisions.

Import Revenues

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what revenue was raised from imports into the UK in (a) 2004 and (b) 2005 of (i) rice—combined nomenclature code 1006, (ii) bananas—combined nomenclature code 0803, (iii) citrus fruit—combined nomenclature code 0805 and (iv) olive oil—combined nomenclature code 1509. [66408]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

The customs duty declared in respect of imports into the UK of these commodities was as follows:
Rice (1006)
Bananas (0803)
Citrus fruit (0805)
Olive oil (1509)

In addition VAT of £4,302.77 was paid on olive oil importations in 2004 and £24,958.84 in 2005.

This information does not take into account any adjustments to the data provided on declarations after importation.

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