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2 Nov 2006 : Column 632Wcontinued
|Table 2: Number of pensioners living in low income households 1996-97 to 2004-05|
1. Numbers, for the regions, are presented using a three-year moving average, as single-year estimates do not provide a robust guide to year-on-year changes. Hence, figures are not consistent with any previously published single-year estimates and there may be differences in changes over time. In circumstances such as a change in trend, moving averages will show less variation than single-year estimates.
2. The table shows number of children in millionsrounded to the nearest 10 thousand.
3. In this answer low income is determined for children as living in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of the GB median.
4. The North comprises the North East, North West and Merseyside and Yorkshire and the Number Government Office Regions.
5. North East is the single Government Office Region.
6. Numbers, for the regions, are presented using a three-year moving average, as single-year estimates do not provide a robust guide to year-on-year changes. Hence, figures are not consistent with any previously published single-year estimates and there may be differences in changes over time. In circumstances such as a change in trend, moving averages will show less variation than single-year estimates.
7. The table shows number of pensioners in millionsrounded to the nearest 10,000.
8. In this answer low income is determined for pensioners as living in households with incomes below 60 per cent of the GB median.
9. The North comprises the North East, North West and Merseyside and Yorkshire and the Number Government Office Regions.
10. North East is the single Government Office Region.
Family Resources Survey
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) in what circumstances Jobcentre Plus visiting officers are dispatched to the home of a benefit claimant; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) how many requests for a clerical claim in a Jobcentre Plus there have been in the East Riding of Yorkshire in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) how many and what proportion of requests for a clerical claim in a Jobcentre Plus in the East Riding of Yorkshire have been refused in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) in what circumstances requests for a clerical claim in a Jobcentre Plus are accepted; and if he will make a statement; 
(5) how many and what proportion of requests for a visit by a Jobcentre Plus visiting officer by a benefit claimant in the East Riding of Yorkshire have been refused in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement; 
(6) how many requests have been made by benefit claimants for a visit by Jobcentre Plus visiting officers in the East Riding of Yorkshire in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement; 
(7) how many visits there have been by Jobcentre Plus visiting officers to benefit claimants in the East Riding of Yorkshire in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement; 
(8) how many Jobcentre Plus visiting officers there are in the East Riding of Yorkshire; 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.
Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 2 November 2006:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your eight questions asking about clerical claims and home visits. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Any person requesting to make a clerical claim for a working age benefit can do so by filling in a clerical claim form. When handling such requests Jobcentre Plus staff will advise that other ways of initiating a claim are available and that these might be more convenient. Alternatives include claiming by telephone, which is our preferred channel, and claiming face to face.
Our Management Information does not record the number of requests made by our customers to complete clerical claim forms or whether or not a request for a clerical claim has been refused.
If a customer is unable to visit a Jobcentre Plus office because of a health condition or a disability, and they are unable to use the telephone or ask a third party to act on their behalf, home visits can be made to help conduct Jobcentre Plus business. Home visits can also be made where there is a suspicion of fraud.
There are currently six officers deployed on visiting duties covering the Hull and East Riding area including Beverley and Holderness. All requests for visits are carefully considered and where the customer is unable to access other channels for claiming benefit, such as using the telephone or attending a Jobcentre Plus office in person, then a home visit would be arranged. I should stress however that home visits are undertaken by exception, most customers prefer to use the other options available to progress their benefit claim.
We do not record the number of requests for visits and numbers refused. However, I can assure the hon. Member that all requests for visits are carefully considered. The North East Yorkshire and Hull Jobcentre Plus District that includes the East Riding of Yorkshire has, in the six months up to September 2006, undertaken 4,771 home visits. This includes 790 visits instigated after receipt of a claim form where it was apparent that a visit was required to help progress the claim. Statistics on the number of visits carried out were not kept before April 2006.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many abortions were performed on service women in Ministry of Defence hospitals in each of the last three years, broken down by (a) the age of the woman, (b) the grounds of the abortion, (c) the gestation of the pregnancy, (d) the procedure used and (e) whether the operation required an overnight stay in hospital. 
Derek Twigg: The Department does not collate statistics on the number of pregnancy terminations performed on Service women. This information is only held on individual patient medical records which can only be viewed for non-clinical reasons with the express consent of the individual concerned.
Mr. Hogg: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements were made with NATO allies prior to the deployment of UK forces into the Helmand province of Afghanistan to ensure their proper reinforcement in the event of need. 
Mr. Ingram: The Government's decision to deploy to Helmand was based on rigorous UK military planning and assessments. Identification of additional and reserve forces and capabilities for deployment to Afghanistan is a matter for the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) using the NATO force generation process. We work closely with NATO Allies and non-NATO troop contributors to ensure that Commanders on the ground have access to the resources they need to carry out the ISAF mission.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many members of (a) illegally armed groups and (b) the Taliban have been captured by the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in each of the last five years; 
(2) how many individuals detained by International Security Assistance Force forces have been handed over to the (a) Afghanistan authorities and (b) US forces. 
Mr. Ingram: As of 25 October 2006, 87 detainees had been captured by ISAF. In total 67 had subsequently been handed over to the Government of Afghanistan and 17 had been released. Three detainees, who had been held for less than 96 hours, were yet to be handed over to the Government of Afghanistan, or released. No detainees had been handed over to the US.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the military contacts between UK forces and Taliban in Helmand province since June 2006, broken down by area. 
Mr. Ingram: As of 17 October there had been 292 military contacts between UK forces and Taliban in Helmand province since June 2006.
I am not breaking this information down by area as the release of this information could endanger operational security.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 17 July 2006, Official Report, column 207W, on armed forces pensions, when he expects to make a decision on whether any additional recompense should be paid; and under what circumstances interest would not be paid. 
Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to my written statement of earlier today. This provides a full explanation of the arrangements for compensating individuals whose pension is affected by the error set out in my predecessor's written statement of 11 July 2006, Official Report, columns 60- 61WS.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on the armed forces pension scheme in each year since 1980-81; what forecasts he has made of how much will be spent in each year between 2007-08 and 2050-51; and how many members of the scheme there are. 
Derek Twigg: The first set of resource accounts produced for the armed forces pension scheme (AFPS) was for financial year 1998-99. None were produced prior to this. The actual net resource costs (in accordance with accounting standards) and estimated costs (based on statistical and actuarial evaluation) are detailed in the following table. Figures for future years could only be provided at disproportionate cost. The published accounts for the AFPS show the overall provision for future scheme liability.
|Financial year||Net resource costs (£)|
|(1) The accounts for financial year 1998-99 were un-audited as this was regarded as the dry run for resource accounting within the Ministry of Defence. The current membership of the AFPS as at 31 March 2006 (taken from published AFPS resource accounts 2005-06) is £840,364. This is made up of the following: a. Active members (serving personnel)£193,310 b. Deferred members (former personnel entitled to future AFPS benefits)£296,633 c. Pensions in payment (former personnel, widow(er)s etc receiving AFPS benefits)£350,421|
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has held with the Pentagon on a UK-based ballistic missile defence shield. 
Des Browne: It is not the practice of the Government to make public details of all discussions with foreign Governments as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice international relations.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received from service (a) men and (b) women on the withdrawal of reverse concessionary families travel; and what assessment he has made of the effect of its withdrawal on Army morale. 
Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence received a number of representations on the withdrawal of reverse concessionary travel for families (CTF).
Following a review it was decided not to withdraw reverse CTF.
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