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8 Jan 2007 : Column 178W—continued

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in receipt of incapacity related benefits had caring responsibilities in the latest year for which information is available. [103992]

Mrs. McGuire: As at May 2006 there were 11,320 people who were awarded both incapacity benefit and carer's allowance. Some or all of these people may be included in the 71,680 people in receipt of incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance and income support (disability premium) (excluding minimum income guarantee) who had carer premiums in their benefit award.

Leak Inquiries

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on how many occasions his Department and its predecessor Department conducted a leak inquiry since May 1997; what the subject of each leak inquiry was; and who authorised each inquiry. [106485]

Mrs. McGuire: Since May 1997 the Department for Work and Pensions, and one of its predecessors, the Department of Social Security, has conducted 26 leak inquiries. Information in respect of its other predecessor, the Department for Education and Employment, is not available. This figure does not include any inquiries instigated by other Government Departments to which this Department has contributed.

It has been the practice of successive Governments not to comment on the subject or outcome of leak inquiries as there is a continued necessity to safeguard security and investigative arrangements.

Local Government

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what targets his Department sets for local authorities. [104909]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Department for Work and Pensions publishes performance standards for local authorities who administer housing benefit and council tax benefit. The performance standards contain 19 performance measures for a range of activities such as average times for processing new benefit claims and levels of accuracy in the calculation of benefit entitlement.

The Department does not set specific targets for the performance measures but sets boundaries for levels of performance as follows:

Performance against the measures is reported to the Department on a quarterly basis. A risk assessment of the data forms the basis for decisions on monitoring, addressing poor performance and inspection activity by the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate. In England, performance against the measures feeds into the comprehensive performance assessment.


Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total cost to the Government is of the Motability scheme. [108219]

Mrs. McGuire: The Motability scheme provides a facility for recipients of the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance or war pensioners’ mobility supplement to lease or purchase a
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car, powered wheelchair or scooter using their allowance. The scheme has some 450,000 customers at present.

The transfer of disability living allowance for those customers who choose to use the Motability scheme is executed by a unit within the Disability and Carers Service at a cost of £3.7 million per year. Administration funding of £2.8 million is also provided to cover Motability’s oversight role in respect of the scheme’s operations which are undertaken by service providers under contract to Motability, the provision of technical advice on adaptations and converted vehicles, and the administration of safety advice and equipment testing.

Motability also administers the Specialised Vehicles Fund on behalf of the Department, providing grants for heavily adapted vehicles for disabled people. Government funding for the Specialised Vehicles Fund for the current financial year is £9.1 million (Annually Managed Expenditure).

In addition, the lease of cars under the Motability Scheme, and the end of lease sale of Motability vehicles are value added tax (VAT) zero-rated. Motability vehicles are also exempt from insurance premium tax. These reliefs are worth around £240 million and £8 million respectively per year. VAT zero-rating also applies to the supply of certain adapted motor vehicles for the use of disabled wheelchair users.

Mrs. Joanna Stephenson

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will instruct the Child Support Agency to pay the interest outstanding on the lump sum paid to Mrs. Joanna Stephenson (ref 321001948335) in May; [109808]

(2) if he will instruct the Child Support Agency to apply for a deduction from earnings order in relation to Mr. Derek Sinclair, former spouse of Mrs. Joanna Stephenson (ref 321001948335). [109809]

Mr. Plaskitt [holding answers 19 December 2006]: The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the chief executive. He will write to the right hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

Occupational Pensions

Ms Gisela Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with HM Treasury on estimating the net cost of compliance
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with the recommendations of the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report on occupational pensions. [109861]

James Purnell: None.

Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department last met the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement. [102004]

Mrs. McGuire: The Secretary of State last met with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman on 30 October and the Ombudsman met with my Department’s Executive Team on 6 November.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many unanswered parliamentary questions from the 2005-06 parliamentary session were categorised as (a) red, (b) amber and (c) green according to the recently introduced traffic light system used in his Department for processing questions; and if he will make a statement. [102941]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department does not keep formal records either of whether individual questions are colour-coded, or of what colour they are given if they are colour-coded. As there is no formal departmental monitoring system in place in relation to the trialling of the new system of colour coding; the information is not available.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department operates an internal traffic light or colour-coded system to determine when replies are given to written parliamentary questions. [103061]

Mrs. McGuire: No.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has a traffic light system in place for processing parliamentary questions, where questions are categorised using a colour code. [103154]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department began trialing in October of this year an informal colour-coding system to identify questions of which press office should be made aware, and for which Ministers wish separate media briefing to be developed.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which Parliamentary Questions to his Department remained unanswered at the end of the last parliamentary session, broken down by subject. [103375]

Mrs. McGuire: The parliamentary questions that remained unanswered at the end of the last parliamentary Session are listed by subject in the following table:

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8 Jan 2007 : Column 182W
Subject Questions for which no reply was given by prorogation Questions for which a prorogation reply was given

Asylum Seekers


Benefit Forecasting




87319; 90187; 90447; 90452; 92106; 96316

Bereavement Benefits


Carers Benefit

100197; 100199; 100202; 100203

Child Poverty

97245; 99726

Child Support

90200; 93027; 95083; 96302; 96953; 96966; 97031; 97192; 97193; 97194; 97200; 97201; 97287; 97306; 98099; 98101; 98247; 98326; 98327; 98328; 98329; 98758; 98929; 98930; 98931; 98932; 100236

99329; 99330

City Strategy



91702; 95159









96117; 96121; 96225; 97273


90545; 92840; 95996

Green Issues


Health And Safety

99457; 100370; 100372

Housing Benefit



Incapacity Benefit

90186; 90464; 96115; 97459; 97461; 97462; 97463; 97464; 97465; 97466; 97467; 97468; 97469; 97470; 98854




Industrial Injuries Benefits

99841; 99842; 99843

Information Technology

88969; 97548; 97553

95860; 97550; 97551; 97554



Job Centre Plus

95056; 97135; 97136

Jobseekers Allowance



Local Authorities


Local Housing Allowance


Lone Parents


National Insurance Numbers

81749; 91212; 93435; 95685; 97296; 97445; 99577

New Deal

90193; 90195; 95503; 96114; 96208

Pathways Pilots


Pension Credit

90419; 90433; 90434; 90460

Pension Service



90202; 94084; 97658

Personal Accounts



90203; 91542




Rent Service

100381; 100422; 100447

State Pensions

90394; 90412; 90416; 90417; 90424; 90425; 90427; 90458; 90461; 95882; 96321; 96322; 96539; 96540; 96541; 97214

100457; 100460

Welfare Reform



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