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22 May 2007 : Column 1279W—continued



22 May 2007 : Column 1280W
Departmental resource allocations 2007-08
£ million
Business Total resource 2007-08

Jobcentre Plus

2,807

The Pension Service

515

Child Support Agency

443

Disability Carers Service

208

Shared Services

1

The Rent Service

35

Work Welfare and Equality Group

1,872

Pensions Client Directorate

117

Group Finance

600

Human Resources

81

Programme and Systems Delivery

702

Other corporate units

713

Total DWP

8,094

Notes:
1. Figures do not include EYF from 2006-07 as carry forward to 2007-08 not yet agreed.
2. Figures include EYF from 2005-06, but the draw down has not been agreed with HMT, therefore may feature in the final allocation.
3. Figures do not include additional funding as agreed by the 2007 Budget.
4. The figure is for total resource and includes Admin, DEL programme and capital.
Source:
Period 12 2006-07 Budget Book

Departments: Training

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2007, Official Report, columns 1828-29W, on departments: training, how many staff in his Department attended (a) self development and (b) self awareness training courses in 2006. [138000]

Mrs. McGuire: Considerable effort and resources would need to be used on interrogating the Staff Information System in order to obtain information that could be used to identify the level of detail required for 2006. Obtaining this level of information could be done only at disproportionate cost.

Jobcentre Plus: Closures

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Job Centre Plus offices have closed in each region in England since 2005. [138300]

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 22 May 2007:


22 May 2007 : Column 1281W
Office closures by English regions since 2005 (as at 16 May 2007)
Number

East of England

30

East Midlands

25

London

52

North East

18

North West

45

South East

33

South West

26

West Midlands

41

Yorkshire and Humberside

31


Jobseeker’s Allowance: Copeland

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people in Copeland were registered for jobseeker's allowance in the financial year ending (a) March 1997 and (b) March 2007; [138633]

(2) how many people in Copeland were registered as unemployed in the financial year ending (a) March 1997 and (b) March 2007. [138636]

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

As at March 1997, there were 2,940 people in Copeland claiming jobseeker’s allowance. As at March 2007, there were 1,110 people in Copeland claiming jobseeker’s allowance. These figures include those receiving national insurance credits only.

LinkAge Plus Centres

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many LinkAge Plus centres have been established in the last 12 months; where they were established; and what budget has been allocated to Link Age Plus. [138301]

James Purnell: Eight LinkAge Plus pilots have been established to expand the principles of joined up working by providing access to a wide range of services for older people, beyond the traditional benefits and care agendas.

The pilots are located in Devon, Gateshead, Gloucestershire, Lancaster, Leeds, Nottinghamshire, Salford and Tower Hamlets.

The LinkAge Plus programme has up to £10 million available over two years—for 2006-07 and 2007-08.

New Deal Schemes: Employment

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of New Deal participants were placed in (a) sustained and (b) unsustained employment in each year since the scheme began, broken down by New Deal provider. [137753]

Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 18 May 2007]: Information on the proportion of New Deal participants placed into sustained and unsustained employment in each year since the programme began, broken down by New Deal provider, could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Pensions

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps the Government have taken to protect and regulate pensions in each year since 1997. [134038]


22 May 2007 : Column 1282W

James Purnell [holding answer 30 April 2007]: Since 1997, the Government have introduced or strengthened a number of safeguards to protect and regulate defined benefit occupational pension schemes.

The Pensions Act 2004 introduced:

Pensions Schemes

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the (a) expertise and (b) training requirements of trustees of pension fund schemes; [138269]

(2) what steps he plans to take to improve the governance arrangements of pension fund scheme trusts. [138270]

James Purnell: The Government recognise the importance of pension scheme governance and the vital role of pension scheme trustees. While they have no current plans to introduce further legislation in this area, nor to assess the expertise or training requirements of trustees directly, the strategic priorities of the pensions regulator include improving the governance of work-based pension schemes and the training of trustees.

The regulator has already provided trustees and their advisers with extensive guidance on a range of governance issues such as internal controls and risk management through codes of practice and other guidance. The regulator has also established a free e-learning programme for trustees, the ‘Trustee toolkit’, providing easily accessible information which has been well received.


22 May 2007 : Column 1283W

The regulator will build upon this work by implementing the initiatives outlined in its discussion paper on scheme governance published in April 2007. These relate to managing conflicts, the employer covenant, relations with advisers, issues around administration, investment choices and winding-up of schemes.

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent measures he has taken to reduce fraudulent claims for benefits. [137898]

Mr. Plaskitt: Since 1997, the Department has developed and implemented a comprehensive strategy for reducing fraud. Our strategy is working—the latest National Statistics report published on 1 February 2007 estimated that, across all benefits, around £0.7 billion (0.6 per cent. of benefit expenditure) was overpaid in 2005-06 due to benefit fraud. This is down from an estimated £2 billion (2.0 per cent. of benefit expenditure) in 2001. We are determined to continue building on this success in the future by, for example, trying new data matching initiatives with credit reference agencies.

Social Security Benefits: Telephone Services

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many benefits offices provide 0845 numbers for the use of people seeking to contact them; and if he will make a statement; [132520]

(2) what the average cost was of telephone calls made to benefits offices on 0845 numbers in the last 12 months; what the total cost was of such calls; and if he will make a statement; [132528]


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(3) what the (a) average number of calls before connection and (b) average time taken to get connected, not including connections to automated responses, was for people telephoning benefits offices using 0845 numbers in the last 12 months; [132529]

(4) what his policy is on charging members of the public who telephone Jobcentre Plus or benefits offices who are connected to an automated answering device but not subsequently connected to a member of staff; and if he will make a statement. [132540]

Mrs. McGuire: 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 22 May 2007:


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