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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his assessment is of the principal causes of the trend in the real value of total public spending on incapacity benefits since 1995-96; and if he will make a statement. 
A key reason for the decline in expenditure over this period is the continued reduction (since April 1995) in the number of claimants who receive protected and higher amounts of contributory invalidity benefit, the predecessor to incapacity benefit. This is an ongoing and gradual process, occurring as people have flowed off the benefit, for example through retirement.
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.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on (a) information technology projects generally and (b) web-facing projects in each year since 2001, broken down by (i) expenditure on consultants and (ii) other costs. 
Mrs. McGuire: 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 provides information by financial year of expenditure on IT projects and web-facing projects since 2001 and 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.
The information required is not readily available for some projects that were implemented a number of years ago or is not available in the format required. This may be the total spend and/or the spending on consultants. The cost of obtaining such information would not be reasonable.
|IT projects||Web-facing projects|
|Spending||Consultants spending||Spending||Consultants spending|
The spending represents the investment costs of the project, the consultants spending represents the amount of investment spending on consultants.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what average time Jobcentre Plus took to process applications for (a) community care grants and (b) budgeting loans in the last 12 months. 
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 about the average time that Jobcentre Plus took to process applications for Community Care Grants and Budgeting Loans, in the last 12 months. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The time it takes to process both Community Care Grant and Budgeting Loan applications, is measured by counting the average length of time taken to clear all claims processed within a set period (usually monthly). The measure is referred to as the Average Actual Clearance Time.
The clearance time for an individual application is measured in whole working days from the date the application is received to the date the decision is taken (on whether to make a Community Care Grant award or a Budgeting Loan offer), plus, if a Budgeting Loan offer is made, the number of whole working days between receiving the applicants reply to the offer and the recording of that reply. The minimum clearance time recorded for an individual Community Care Grant or Budgeting Loan application is one day, even if the application is cleared immediately.
The expected service level for Community Care Grants is nine days and for Budgeting Loans it is six days.
The information requested is in the tables.
|National monthly community care grant average actual clearance times in days|
|National monthly budgeting loan average actual clearance times in days|
The Average Actual Clearance Time is obtained by dividing the total number of working days from all applications by the number of applications
The Jobcentre Plus MI Portal
I hope this is helpful.
Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost would be of implementing the jobseekers allowance regime for all lone parents whose youngest child is aged 12 and over. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The total estimated cost of implementing a jobseekers allowance (JSA) regime for lone parents with children aged 12 and over is between £6 million and £10 million. The final figure would be dependent on whether lone parents leave JSA at the same speed as current female JSA claimants, current income support lone parent claimants, or somewhere in between.
|New Deal 25 plus|
|Number of leavers to employment|
| Notes: 1. Data on leavers are only available from April 2001. 2. Latest information is to August 2006. 3. Figures are rounded to nearest 10. Source: Information Directorate, Department for Work and Pensions.|
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