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19 Feb 2007 : Column 333W—continued

19 Feb 2007 : Column 334W

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what total amount has been paid out by the Financial Assistance Scheme; and what the average payment per beneficiary has been. [105768]

James Purnell: The Financial Assistance Scheme has paid a total of £3,125,142 gross (£2,424,671 net of income tax) to 896 qualifying members (as of 2 February 2007).

The average monthly payment, including payments of arrears, is £1,384 gross (£1,077 net).

FAS payments are paid on top of any pension payments made by the qualifying member’s scheme to the appropriate proportion of their expected core pension or to £12,000 per year, whichever is the lower figure. The proportion of expected core pension depends on whether the payments are interim (‘initial’) payments or final (‘annual’) payments and on the member's proximity to their normal retirement age on 14 May 2004.

Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations of the Operational Review of the Financial Assistance Scheme; and what meetings have taken place between ministers and representatives of the scheme to assess progress. [105769]

James Purnell: Good progress has been made towards implementing the recommendations from the Review of the Administration of the Financial Assistance Scheme published in July 2006.

Pension industry experts from Mercer Human Resource Consulting have been appointed and started to provide technical advice and develop further and more advanced training for staff in the operational unit. Working with Mercers we have revised the processes for gathering member data, they have provided expert analytical input to assist in the interpretation of scheme level data, and designed and delivered a training course for approximately 20 FAS staff to improve knowledge and understanding of the winding up process and promote a greater understanding of pensions language and terminology.

Furthermore, the key issues affecting a transfer of the operational unit to the Pension Service have been identified and work is on-going to agree an implementation plan.

Ministers regularly meet officials to discuss progress on all aspects of the Financial Assistance Scheme.

Gap Year Students

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether gap year students are included in the calculation for those not in employment, education or training. [118199]

Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 2 February 2007]: Gap year students are included in both the official Department for Education and Skills estimates and the Labour Force Survey figures, provided that they are resident in the country and not in employment, or some other form of training.

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Housing Benefit

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many households were subject to non-dependent deductions from housing benefit in each London borough in the last year for which figures are available; and in what percentage of these households there were also dependent children; [117566]

(2) what the average deduction made was per household from which a non-dependent deduction was applied to their housing benefit entitlement in (a) London and (b) each London borough. [117576]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the format requested. Non-dependent deduction information is not available below regional level. The most recent available information about non-dependent deductions is for May 2003.

As at May 2003 there were 28,000 housing benefit recipients in London subject to non-dependent deductions. Of these, 9,000 had dependent children; this equates to 32 per cent. The average non-dependent deduction in London was £26.17.

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Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claimed incapacity benefit in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK in each year since 1997. [118224]

Mrs. McGuire: The available information is in the following table.

Incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance claimants in the Jarrow parliamentary constituency, South Tyneside metropolitan borough council, Government Office for the North East Region and Great Britain; at May each year, 1997-2006
Jarrow South Tyneside North East Great Britain



















































1. Figures for the years 1997 to 1999 have been produced using 5 per cent. data and have been rated up in accordance with the Great Britain WPLS 100 per cent. IB/SDA totals.
2. Uprated figures are rounded to the nearest 100, 100 per cent. figures to the nearest 10. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
3. ‘Claimant’ figures include all incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance and incapacity benefit credits-only cases.
DWP Information Directorate, 5 per cent. Samples from 1997 to 1999 and Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data thereafter.

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Yeovil on 29 January 2007, Official Report, column 90-92W, on benefit claimants, what the reasons were for the decline in expenditure on incapacity benefit since 2001-02. [119184]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 6 February 2007]: The key reason for the decline in expenditure on incapacity benefit over the period specified is the continued reduction, since April 1995, in the number of claimants who receive protected and higher amounts of invalidity benefit; invalidity benefit was the predecessor to incapacity benefit. This is an ongoing and gradual process, occurring as people have flowed off the benefit over time.

In 1995-96, 85 per cent. of expenditure on incapacity benefits was on the protected ex-invalidity benefit. This proportion had fallen to around 50 per cent. in 2001-02 and was around a third in 2005-06.

In 1995-96, over 80 per cent. of incapacity benefit recipients received invalidity benefit payment. By 2001-02, this proportion had halved, and by 2005-06 the figure was 28 per cent.

Income-related Benefit

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what percentage of children lived in workless households in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in (a) 1997 and (b) 2006; and what percentage of children lived in workless households with (i) a lone parent, (ii) at least one parent claiming incapacity benefit and (iii) at least one parent claiming an income-related social security benefit in that period. [116687]

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Mr. Jim Murphy: The available information is in the table.

To measure progress relating to children in workless households (CIWH), the Department uses the Household Labour Force Survey. However it is not possible to disaggregate this data below Government office region.

The information in the table uses administrative data to provide the number and proportions of children dependent on workless benefits in Newcastle-upon-Tyne local authority. Data is not held for 1997 so 2004 has been added for comparison.

The official definition of a CIWH is a child aged under 16 in a working age household where no adult
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works. The administrative data is an inexact proxy for this as it charts all children under 16 in a working age household who have at least one parent claiming workless benefits.

The administrative data fails to incorporate in its definition workless adults who do not claim benefits. It also differs from the standard CIWH definition in that it includes children in households with both working and non-working adults, as opposed to a household with no working adults.

The information on those claiming an income-related social security benefit is not available.

Children aged 0 to 15 dependent on workless benefits (income support, jobseeker’s allowance, pension credit, incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance) in Newcastle-upon-Tyne local authority
2004 2006
Number Percentage Number Percentage

Total (claiming at least one workless benefit)





With lone parent on workless benefits





With at least one parent on incapacity benefit





1. All figures supplied have been rounded to protect the confidentiality of claimants.
2. All data represent a snapshot in time of claimants on the computer system, and will therefore exclude a very small number of cases that are held clerically.
3. Data represents children dependent on a parent or guardian claiming one or more of the following benefits: incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance, jobseeker’s allowance, income support or pension credit.
4. Due to the introduction of child tax credits in April 2003, information on child dependents are not reliably completed on the benefit computer system. Therefore children have been merged onto IS/JSA/IB/SDA/PC claims from child benefit with permission of HMRC.
5. The total numbers of children on child benefit has been used as the denominator for the percentages given.
Source :
DWP Information Directorate

Industrial Diseases Disablement Benefit

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will assess the merits of including laryngeal dystonia in the list of conditions qualifying for industrial injuries disablement benefit. [118117]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (MAC) is the scientific body with the statutory role of advising the Secretary of State on the list of prescribed diseases under the Industrial Injures Disablement Benefit scheme.

Last year, the council conducted a review of the scientific evidence in relation to the whole subject of occupational voice loss, which includes conditions such as laryngeal dystonia, and found it was not possible to identify any condition specifically associated with an occupational group or groups that met the statutory terms of prescription.

Information Technology

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will publish his Department's strategy for information technology to 2015. [118809]

James Purnell: The Department's strategy for information technology to 2015 will be published in the summer.

IT Projects

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what percentage of information technology projects undertaken by or for his Department since 2001 have been delivered (a) over budget, (b) after their original deadline, (c) on budget, (d) under budget, (e) on their original deadline and (f) ahead of their original deadline. [102137]

James Purnell: The Department for Work and Pensions undertakes a large number of projects which deliver business change and policy initiatives. IT changes are an enabling component of many projects. The number of projects in train at any one time will vary and the duration of the project lifecycle is often more than one calendar year.

The following table includes only those projects where the IT element is such that non-delivery of the IT would significantly damage the projects ability to deliver its intended results. It provides information of the number and percentage of IT projects under each heading. Additionally the records for one project that has been completed since 2001 have been archived and to obtain this information for this project would be of disproportionate cost.

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Number Percentage

(a) Over budget



(b) After their original deadline



(c) On budget



(d) Under budget



(e) On their original deadline



(f) Ahead of their original deadline



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