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Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when the final outcome of the Parliamentary Boundary Commission will (a) be published and (b) become effective for the purpose of the election on which these boundaries would be used. 
The Parliamentary Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland is required to submit its final report to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by June 2007. The Secretary of State must then lay the Commissions final recommendations (with or without modifications) before Parliament for approval.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of the 2 million economically inactive people who would like to work are receiving benefits, broken down by benefit. 
Latest LFS data suggest that of the 2 million inactive people who want to work: around one quarter are claiming housing and/or council tax benefit; around 15 per cent. are claiming sickness or disability benefits (excluding disabled persons tax credit); around 17 per cent. are claiming child benefit; less than two per cent. were claiming jobseekers allowance; and around one third are not claiming benefits.(2)
Comparison between the data collected by the LFS and administrative data shows that the LFS consistently undercounts benefit claimants. However, the LFS data give an indication of the benefits received. It is important to note because of these caveats and the small sample sizes of the data used, the figures above are subject to a great degree of uncertainty.
Sir John Butterfill: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received on the closure of much of the Jobcentre Plus office in Cotlands Road, Bournemouth; what assessment he has made of (a) the capacity of the revised arrangements to deal with inquiries from claimants unable to get help or advice on the telephone and (b) the number of officers in management roles at the Chippenham office; what the average time taken to process an application for benefits has been in each of the last three months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what representations he has received since the closure of much of the Jobcentre Plus office in Cotlands Road Bournemouth; what assessment he has made of (a) the capacity of the revised arrangements to deal with inquiries from claimants unable to get help or advice on the telephone and (b) the number of officers in management roles at the Chippenham office; what the average time taken to process an application for benefits has been in each of the last three months. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
I fully accept that the services offered to our customers in Bournemouth and Poole over the last few months has not been as I would want. We are part of the way through the creation of a network of Benefit Delivery Centres to modernise the processing of claims for benefit. Chippenham, which serves customers in Bournemouth and Poole, is one of these sites and I regret to say that there have been a number of local issues which have had the effect of reducing the level of service below acceptable levels. Specifically, we have been short of experienced staff and some key management posts were unfilled which has inhibited our ability to respond to local problems. Experience levels are growing and we have recently filled all of the management posts. We now have four senior managers on site and 22 junior managers to support them.
We have developed a local improvement plan and a number of steps have already been taken with some early signs of improvement showing through in the data for April. These steps include the recruitment of 38 additional staff and the transfer of four experienced Incapacity Benefit staff from another site to bolster experience levels. We have also reviewed our internal process from first contact by the customer to payment, which will reduce the time it takes to assess claims. We are reviewing progress against this plan weekly and putting in place arrangements to clear the arrears of claims that have built up by lending Chippenham additional help from outside.
I have set out in the attached tables the latest data on claims clearance at Chippenham and representations received. Neil Couling, Director of Benefits and Fraud, would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss these.
Finally, you ask about the difficulties being experienced by customers getting through to Chippenham by phone. Some technical issues have exacerbated problems but I am pleased to say that these issues are being addressed. Our contractors hope the service will start to improve in July. Benefit Delivery Centres have a key role to play in supporting the improvements to our services, including improving processing times and reducing fraud and error in the benefit system. For customers who are unable to access our services through the telephone or electronically, we still have other options including office interviews and home visits.
I hope this is helpful.
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many individuals diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis who attended a medical tribunal were successful in (a) 2003, (b) 2004 and (c) 2005. 
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements are in place to ensure that medical tribunals for individuals diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis who are housebound are held in a location convenient for the claimant. 
Social security and child support appeals are heard at a network of around 130 venues throughout Great Britain. Where a party to the proceedings wishes to attend an oral hearing but is unable to travel due to a medical condition, a legally qualified panel member may agree that the hearing can be held at an alternative suitable location, including the persons home.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate (a) the number of people due to retire after 2010 who have paid voluntary national insurance contributions and who would otherwise have qualified for a full basic pension on the basis of 30 contribution years required for a full state pension and (b) the total amount of such overpayment. 
David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals applying for a national insurance number were referred to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate in (a) the last six months, (b) the last 12 months and (c) each of the last five years due to (i) suspicion about their eligibility to work in the UK, (ii) the use of false documents and (iii) other reasons. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Between 1 April 2005 and 31 March 2006, 3309 cases were referred to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. Of these, 772 were referred due to the use of false documents and 2537 were referred as potential immigration offenders. Figures are not available prior to the 1 April 2005 as the information was not formally recorded. No further breakdown is available.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's estimate is of the cost to date of personal adviser time per work-focused interview in Pathways to work pilot areas. 
In response to PSA target requirements, Jobcentre Plus do publish the unit costs for job broking and benefit processing every year in their annual report and accounts. The PSA unit costs for job broking activities and benefit processing for 2004-05 were as shown in the following table.
|Benefit||Unit cost (£)|
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the number of women in the UK who will retire between 1 May 2005 and 31 April 2010 with (a) 30 years or more of class 1 national insurance contributions and (b) more than 30 but less than 39 years of national insurance contributions. 
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) which organisations his Department has had meetings with on the proposed reform of the Personal Capability Assessment referred to in the Green Paper A new deal for welfare; 
(2) which individuals form the expert panels set up by the Department since the publication of the Green Paper A new deal for welfare to formulate policy on reforming the Personal Capability Assessment; and which bodies they represent. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: As part of the Welfare Reform Green Paper consultation we have met a large number of stakeholders to discuss the full range of our reform proposals. With many of these we discussed our proposals to transform the PCA. Because of the number of organisations involved we are not able to list all the individuals and groups involved. We continue to meet with organisation to discuss the proposals.
In addition, the Department has created a series of working groups, comprising medical, technical and stakeholder experts, to advise and assist in the work to transform the Personal Capability Assessment (PCA). The membership of each of the groups is in the tables.
|Overarching PCA Consultative Group|
|Mental Health Consultative Group|
|Mental Health Technical Working Group( 1)|
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