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David Simpson: To ask the Leader of the House how many staff in his Department did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report in each of the last three years; and what percentage this represented of the total number of staff in each case. 
Mr. Straw: The Privy Council Office provides administrative support to the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons. No staff in the Office of the Leader have failed to achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report over the last three years.
The performance management policy of the Department is set up to help units deliver their objectives and the means of rating overall performance is designed to clearly identify performance which is unsatisfactory or unacceptable.
Mr. Straw: The Privy Council Office provides administrative support to the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons. They offer interest-free loans for season tickets for public transport and also bicycle loans to staff.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent in (a) cash and (b) real terms on each type of benefit paid to asylum seekers in (i) the Peterborough city council area and (ii) the Eastern region in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
From 3 April 2000 all new asylum seekers are excluded from social security benefits. Those asylum seekers who do require assistance are supported by the national asylum support service administered by the Home Office.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average amount claimed by an individual in (a) incapacity benefit, (b) housing benefit and (c) income support (i) weekly and (ii) annually was in the last period for which figures are available. 
|Average weekly amounts of incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance, housing benefit and income support in Great Britain|
|November 2005 (£)|
| Notes: 1. Average weekly amounts are rounded to the nearest penny. 2. A smaller number of former MIG cases did not convert to pension credit on 6 October 2003. These cases have been excluded from the IS figures and are mainly cases where the claimant is aged under 60 and the partner over 60. 3. Incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance figures exclude credits-only cases. 4. Housing benefit figures exclude any extended payment cases. Source: DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) and Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Quarterly 100 per cent. caseload stock-count taken in November 2005.|
Mr. Plaskitt: The Department for Work and Pensions was formed on 8 June 2001 from parts of the former Department of Social Security, the former Department for Education and Employment, and the Employment Service. Information prior to 2001 is not held centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
The Department runs public information campaigns designed to positively reinforce honest behaviour, to create a climate of intolerance to benefit fraud and to undermine its social acceptability. The advertising expenditure for these campaigns is in the following table.
|Advertising spend (£000)|
| Notes: 1. Figures are for the advertising spend on the targeting fraud (2001 to 2002) and targeting benefit fraud (2003 to 2006) campaigns. 3. All figures are exclusive of VAT. 4. The figures in these tables refer to media spend only, excluding production and other costs. 5. All figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand.|
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) disability living allowance, (b) attendance allowance, (c) carers' allowance and (d) incapacity benefit claim forms his Department processes on average each day; and if he will make a statement. 
|Average number of claims cleared each working day, 2005-06; Great Britain|
| Note: There were 250.5 working days in 2005-06. Source: DWP management information.|
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Government are committed to introducing legislation in this session for the reform of incapacity benefits; establishing a benefits regime supporting a return to employment, while offering long-term support to those unable to work.
Mr. Plaskitt: For income support and income-based jobseeker's allowance the upper capital limit is £16,000; this applies to both single claimants and couples. Capital up to £6,000 is disregarded in full. A tariff income is applied to capital between £6,000.01 and £16,000, at the rate of £1.00 for each £250 or part thereof.
The same rules apply to council tax benefit and housing benefit, with two exceptions. If a claimant or their partner is aged 60 or over and they are in residential care, capital up to £10,000 is disregarded in full; tariff income applies from £10,000.01 and £16,000. The upper capital limit does not apply to anyone in receipt of the guarantee-credit element of the pension credit.
For pension credit there is no set limit to the amount of capital a person may have. Capital of £6,000 or less is disregarded in full; for those in care homes the full disregard applies to capital up to £10,000. For capital over these limits, a tariff income is applied at the rate of £1.00 for each £500 or part thereof.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of carers who would be entitled to claim carers' allowance but are discouraged from doing so because they are caring for someone in receipt of the extra amount for severe disability paid with the pension credit. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Specific information regarding low income for the North East and other regions of Great Britain is available in the latest publication of the Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2004-05.
The data source does not allow us to provide robust estimates below regional level, therefore estimates for numbers of children living in poverty in parliamentary constituencies in each year since 1997 are not available.
The following table shows the number of children living in households with income below the threshold 60 per cent. of relative median in the North East since 1996-97. The threshold of 60 per cent. of median household income is the most commonly used in reporting trends in low income.
|Number of children living in households with less than 60 per cent. of relative median household income, for the North East region, years 1994-95 to 2004-05 in Great Britain|
|Number of children (in millions)( 1) as three-year moving averages|
|Before housing costs||After housing costs|
|(1) Figures are provided using a three-year moving averages, as single-year estimates do not provide a robust guide to year on year changes. Hence, figures are not consistent with previously published single-year estimates and there may be differences in changes over time. Notes: 1. Table show numbers in millions and rounded to the nearest 10,000. 2. In this answer relative low income is determined for individuals as living in a household with income below 60 per cent. of the GB median. Source: Family Resources Survey.|
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list occasions on which a decision has been made under section 29 of the Child Support Act 1991 to opt not to collect maintenance; why the decision was taken in each case; and whether the decision was made in respect of all maintenance collection options allowed under the Act in each case. 
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the child support agency the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply for the chief executive.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will list occasions on which a decision has been made under section 29 of the Child Support Act 1991 to opt not to collect maintenance; why the decision was taken in each case; and whether the decision was made in respect of all maintenance collection options allowed under the Act in each case.
Section 29 of the Child Support Act 1991 empowers the Secretary of State to collect child support maintenance. However, the wording of Section 29 enables the Secretary of State to decide, in a very limited range of circumstances, not to collect maintenance. Each case will be treated individually after careful investigation on its own merits and examples include:
Death of a non-resident parent;
Where a parent with care felt that to continue to collect would put her or her children at risk; and
Where an interim maintenance assessment cannot be converted to a full maintenance assessment the Agency will not pursue the punitive element of the debt.
As each case is individually considered it would require disproportionate effort to detail every decision.
Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 25 May 2006]: Sir David Henshaw is currently undertaking his work on the redesign of child support policy and delivery and has been asked to report to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions before the summer recess.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to reply to the letter of 27 April from the hon. Member for Vale of York on information requested under the Freedom of Information Act regarding how much (a) companies, (b) contracting bodies and (c) local authorities received in each of the last five years from the European Social Fund. 
Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether (a) his Department and (b) its (i) executive agencies and (ii) non-departmental bodies use the services of private debt collectors. 
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