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8 Feb 2007 : Column 1226W—continued


Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what housing benefit expenditure was on households in temporary accommodation in each year since 1997. [102126]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is in the table.

Housing benefit expenditure on households in temporary accommodation
£ million
Nominal Real terms (2006-07 prices)

1997-98

99

123

1998-99

131

158

1999-2000

157

185

2000-01

179

209

2001-02

239

272

2002-03

306

338

2003-04

372

399

2004-05

499

521

2005-06

597

612

Notes:
1. Expenditure data are taken from local authorities’ subsidy returns.
2. All figures are final audited data with the exception of 2005-06 which is provisional (pre-audited) data.
3. GDP deflator is the latest available as at 5 pm on 2 November 2006, last updated 27 September 2006, and is taken from:
http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/economic_data_and_tools/gdp_deflators/data_gdp/fig.cfm
4. Due to historical differences in the treatment of Scottish rent rebate expenditure, it is not possible from local authority subsidy returns to identify all expenditure on temporary accommodation in Scotland. These figures may therefore slightly understate temporary accommodation expenditure. From an assessment of the England and Wales data, we estimated that this understatement would be of the order of £1-2 million.

8 Feb 2007 : Column 1227W

Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what changes were made to the mobility needs assessment required for the (a) lower, (b) middle and (c) higher rate of care component of incapacity benefit to be paid in each of the last three years. [119463]

Mrs. McGuire: Incapacity benefit does not have a care component. No changes have been made to the assessment criteria for entitlement to the care component of disability living allowance in the last three years.

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for how many weeks linking rules apply to housing benefit for those claimants who might be eligible under the Government’s 104 week linking rules applying to incapacity benefit when returning to work. [119692]

Mr. Plaskitt: The 104 week linking rules which may apply to incapacity benefit claimants when returning to work can also be applied to recipients of the disability premium in claims for housing benefit.

Job-retention Services

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the performance of job-retention services pilot schemes for employees with mental health problems. [117744]

Mr. Jim Murphy: Final results from the job retention and rehabilitation pilot are published in DWP research report 339: “Experiences of the Job Retention and Rehabilitation Pilot” and DWP report 342: “Impacts of the Job Retention and Rehabilitation Pilot”, which are available in the Library.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claimed jobseeker’s allowance in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK in each year since 1997. [118222]

Mr. Plaskitt: The available information is in the following table.


8 Feb 2007 : Column 1228W
Jobseeker’s allowance claimants in the Jarrow parliamentary constituency, South Tyneside Metropolitan borough council, Government Office for the North East region and the UK; at December each year, 1997-2006
Date Jarrow South Tyneside North East UK

1997

2,829

6,460

87,155

1,391,380

1998

2,904

6,635

81,933

1,293,559

1999

2,582

6,035

73,934

1,140,584

2000

2,401

5,531

67,425

1,011,430

2001

2,408

5,659

61,684

948,460

2002

2,138

5,049

54,577

919,089

2003

1,801

4,243

49,969

889,717

2004

1,778

4,055

44,269

810,193

2005

1,752

3,953

46,883

892,711

2006

1,990

4,484

51,285

923,460

Notes:
1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest five,
2. Figures include clerically held cases.
Source:
100 per cent. count of claimants of unemployment-related benefits, Jobcentre Plus computer systems.

Jobseeker's Allowance and Incapacity Benefit

Mr. O'Hara: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of people ending a claim for jobseeker’s allowance of duration of (a) three to six, (b) six to 12 and (c) 12 months or more in the most recent year for which figures are available moved back into work; and how many there were (i) in total, (ii) aged 25 to 49 and (iii) aged over 50 years. [114627]

Mr. Plaskitt: Information is not available in the format requested. The available information is in the table.

Proportion of jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) claimants within each duration range who entered into a job within six weeks of their claim ending
Duration of JSA claim Percentage

3 to 6 months

52

6 to 12 months

43

Over 12 months

34

Notes:
1. The information is for JSA claims which end between April 2005 and March 2006.
2. Job entries that start within six weeks of the end of the JSA claim are included.
3. The job entries in the table are derived from two sources of information (i) the reason given by the claimant for ending their claim and (ii) job entries notified to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. There may be additional job entries that we do not know about.

Jobseeker's Allowance: Take-up

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people (a) of working age and (b) aged under 25 years claimed jobseeker’s allowance in each month since 1996; and how many re-applied for the allowance within six months of having previously ceased drawing the benefit. [119999]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the format requested; the available information has been placed in the Library.

Loans and Grants

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department paid out in (a) loans and (b) grants to people to pay for (i) furniture and (ii) white goods in 2005-06; and what systems his Department has in place to ensure that payment for these items is spent as intended. [113049]

Mr. Plaskitt: The available information is in the table.


8 Feb 2007 : Column 1229W
Estimate gross expenditure in Great Britain in 2005-06
(£ million)
Category Crisis loans Community care grants

Beds

7

25

Cookers

10

22

Washing machines

2

13

Miscellaneous household items excluding bedding and floor coverings

5

31

Source:
DWP Social fund policy, budget and management information system.

There are no systems in place to check how applicants spend the award of a repayable loan or community care grant. In 2005-06 there with over 2.5 million such awards in total. The administrative cost of policing these awards is prohibitive, and in any case loans are fully repayable. It is the responsibility of the customer to use the loan or grant appropriately. Exceptionally, the decision maker may decide to make payment to a third party who can provide, or arrange for the provision of, the items covered by the award.

Each of the three discretionary social fund payments—community care grants, budgeting loans, crisis loans—has its own application form. The form is designed to obtain from the applicant the type of information needed to make an initial decision for that particular payment type.

The focus of each form is therefore different—for example the crisis loan process elicits information about the emergency or disaster, whilst the community care grant process focuses on where a grant will help to cope with special difficulties and promote community care.

Each application contains a declaration that the information given is correct and complete as far as the applicant knows and believes. And a declaration of understanding that if incorrect or incomplete information is given, there is a liability to prosecution or other action.

Maladministration: Payments

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his letter of 1 February 2007 reference POS(5)10535/102 regarding Miss Hinkley of Totnes, if he will list the documents which were incorrectly filed; what effect the misfiling of the documents had on the refund due to Miss Hinkley; if he will take steps to ensure that such filing errors are avoided in future; and if he will repay the interest forgone by Miss Hinkley and compensate her for her loss and inconvenience. [120228]

Mr. Plaskitt: I will write to the hon. Member regarding the specific circumstances of the case he raises.

National Insurance Numbers

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the number of (a) bogus and (b) surplus national insurance numbers. [116608]


8 Feb 2007 : Column 1230W

Mr. Plaskitt: None of the national insurance numbers (NINOs) held on the DWP Customer Information System database can be categorised as bogus or surplus. All NINOs have to conform to a standard format and are tested against validation criteria held within the NINO database.

Overpaid Benefits

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department’s procedure is for claiming back overpaid state pensions and benefits from the estate of claimants who have died; and if he will make a statement. [105817]

Mr. Plaskitt: Recovery of overpayments of benefit are sought from the Representative dealing with the deceased’s estate. If there is no estate, or insufficient in the estate to make full repayment, the balance will be written off.

Where benefit has continued to be paid after death directly into the deceased’s account, recovery is normally sought, in the first instance, from the account provider.

Due to the sensitivities in dealing with a personal representative of the deceased, an approach to them would not normally be made within three weeks of a death.

Parliamentary Questions

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will answer question number 104865, tabled on 7 December 2006. [110401]

Mr. Plaskitt: I replied to the hon. Member on 10 January 2007, Official Report, columns 643-44W.


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