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In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive. As he is currently unavailable, I am responding on his behalf.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Child Support Agency cases have been migrated from the old rules system onto the new rules system and then back onto the old rules system.
The original system (CSCS) runs cases on the old scheme rules only. The new system (CS2) run cases on the new scheme rules; and also old scheme cases linked to a new scheme pulled through to the new system, although still operating on old scheme rules.
Currently, the only way for cases to be transferred from the old system to the new system is through reactive migration, which happens where an old scheme case has a link to a new scheme application and is therefore transferred from one system to the other. There were 322,000 old scheme cases operating on the new computer system in March 2006.
An old scheme case that has been transferred from the old system to the new system is only converted to the new scheme where there is a relevant link with a new scheme application. Relevant links are ones where the new application will have a financial impact on the linked case. At the end of March 2006, around 41,000 previously old scheme cases had been converted into the new scheme, and were thus also operating on the new computer system.
There is currently no policy for converting cases from the new rules and system back to the old scheme.
I hope you find this helpful.
In reply to your parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive. As he is currently on leave, I am responding on his behalf.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many children have non-resident parents with a Child Support Agency liability.
At the end of March 2006 there were 1,507,000 children that had a non-resident parent with a Child Support Agency liability. This includes nil liabilities.
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Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the software to handle the migration of old system cases onto the new system was delivered to the Child Support Agency. 
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive. As he is currently unavailable, I am responding on his behalf.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the software to handle the migration of old system cases onto the new system was delivered to the Child Support Agency.
There are two parts to the process of moving from the old computer system (CSCS) to the new system (CS2); firstly migration of the cases across the computer systems and secondly the conversion of those cases from the old scheme to the new scheme.
The software to enable bulk migration of cases from the old computer system to the new computer system was delivered in May 2005. The Initial Conversion software to enable the conversion of cases from the old scheme to the new scheme was delivered in March 2006. These are both necessary to support migration and conversion. However, before bulk migration and conversion could take place defects in the new computer system would need to be resolved. A number of software releases have been scheduled for between now and the end of 2007, designed to remove the large majority of existing defects. A large data cleansing exercise would need to be completed to support successful conversion.
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Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will answer the letter of 20 April from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. and Mrs. V. Brown, transferred to him by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average cost to his Department was of replying to a letter written (a) by an hon. Member and (b) by a member of the public in the latest period for which figures are available; and how much of that sum is accounted for by (i) officials time, (ii) cost of stationery and (iii) postage costs. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members peers correspondence. The report for 2005 was published on 30 March 2006, Official Report, columns 76-78WS.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many crisis loans have been (a) applied for and (b) granted in each local authority area in Scotland in each of the last five years. 
|Crisis loans in Scotland|
| Notes: 1. Data is not available by local authority, but only by Jobcentre Plus district (or, before Jobcentre Plus districts were used for the administration of the social fund, by social fund district). 2. Very substantial district boundary changes took place in Scotland over the period November 2002 to April 2003 and again from November 2004 to January 2005, with one further change in January 2006. It is therefore not possible to compare data over five years for any area smaller than Scotland, except for the area now covered by the Jobcentre Plus district of Edinburgh, Lothian and Borders. 3. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 1,000. Source: DWP Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System.|
Mrs. McGuire: The Government will bring forward in this Session the welfare reform legislation set out in the Queen's Speech on 17 May 2005 to reform support for housing costs and establish benefits, which will facilitate a return to employment while offering long-term support for those unable to work.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list those Government Bills sponsored by his Department that he has bid for in the next session of Parliament; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: Any DWP employee requiring equipment and adaptations receives the support they need to undertake their duties. Information on the amount spent by the Department on equipment and adaptations for disabled staff is not collected. Currently, costs are attributed to individual local budgets relevant to the individual employee and are included in the overall costs of furniture/equipment within that business unit.
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 15 June 2006]: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issue the guidance for flying flags on Government buildings, which includes the list of dates, to Government Departments every year, usually at the end of December. This includes flying the St. George's flag on St. George's day, 23 April, and the European flag on Europe day, 9 May. It also informs Government Departments as and when there are any additional flag flying days. The Department for Work and Pensions will adhere to this guidance.
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 15 June 2006]: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issue the guidance for flying flags on Government buildings, which includes the list of dates, to Government Departments every year, usually at the end of December. This includes flying the St. Georges flag on St. Georges day, the 23 April, and European flag on Europe day, 9 May. It also informs Government Departments as and when there are any additional flag flying days. The Department for Work and Pensions will adhere to this guidance.
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 15 June 2006]: The Department for Work and Pensions follows the rules and guidance on flag flying issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. These rules are approved by the Queen on advice from the Department. There are no plans at present to change the number of days flags can be flown from Government buildings.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on (a) improving protection for employees' pension schemes and (b) increasing the amount held in the Pension Protection Fund. 
James Purnell: Both the Secretary of State and I have regular meetings with ministerial colleagues in the Treasury to discuss a range of pension issues. Recent discussions led to our being able to announce a significant extension to the financial assistance scheme, increasing the total funding to £2.3 billion.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people had their 60th birthday after the qualifying week for winter fuel payments and therefore did not receive a winter fuel payment for that year in (a) England and (b) Wales in each year since 1997. 
James Purnell: Figures are not provided for the first three years of the winter fuel payment scheme as payment was linked to receipt of a qualifying benefit rather than to a qualifying age. The following table shows the number of people turning 60 after the end of the qualifying week but before the end of the calendar year for each winter from 2000-01.
| Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest 10,000. Source: Government Actuary Department population projections (principle-based).|
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what changes have been made to planning (a) guidance, (b) circulars and (c) regulations relating to (i) allotments and (ii) building on land classified as open space since 1997. 
Yvette Cooper: Current planning policy guidance on allotments and open space is set out in PPG17: Open Space, Sport and Recreation, published in 2002. This provides enhanced protection from development for all types of open space. In particular, PPG17 indicates that open space should not be built on unless an assessment has been undertaken that has clearly shown that the open space is surplus to requirements. It also includes specific policies to protect playing fields from development. These policies are supported by the Town and Country Planning (Playing Fields) (England) Direction 1998 which gives the Secretary of State for Communities and local government the power to call in planning applications affecting playing fields where local authorities have not resolved Sport England's objections.
Allotments are included in the typology of open spaces to which the policies in PPG17 to protect open space apply. In addition, statutory allotments are protected via section 8 of the Allotments Act 1925 which requires that local authorities seek the Secretary of State's consent for disposal or appropriation to another use. Consent cannot be given unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that certain criteria are met. Clarified criteria were issued to local authorities in February 2001.
The options for consolidating existing allotments legislation were considered following the DETR Select Committee Report, The Future of Allotments, in 1998, and it was decided that the best way to clarify the legislation was by promoting best practice. A good practice guide on the management of allotments and a guide for plot holders were published in 2001.
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