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Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Warrington are in receipt of council tax benefit, broken down by ward of resident; and what the average award made was in 2006-07. 
As at November 2006, the most recent available information, there were 13,770 households in receipt of council tax benefit in the Warrington borough council area; the average weekly amount of council tax benefit was £12.71.
In the longer term, we want to ensure that council tax benefit is delivered as accessibly, simply and securely as possible. We intend to carry out more research into the feasibility of using data held across Government Departments in order to build up profiles of people likely to be entitled. We also intend to develop the concept of a single point of contact for pensioners for access to their benefits, coupled with alignment of application processes. This would produce a better public service as well as greater efficiency.
We will consider, in our research, the impact on fraud and error and issues of practicality and affordability, alongside priorities for the tax and benefits system as a whole. We will also consider the relative merits of piloting any changes and rolling them out nationally.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which (a) advertising agencies and (b) other organisations supplied consultancy services for advertising campaigns for (i) his Department and (ii) its agencies in each of the last five years; and what the cost of these services was. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department buys advertising through the Central Office of Information (COI). Under the terms of COI framework agreements, advertising agencies are contracted to supply advertising services only. Advertising agencies on COIs roster do not supply broader consultancy services. On occasion wider ranging consultancy projects may inform campaign work, but the costs would not be attributed to the campaign.
Where consultancy is provided by other organisations it usually results in a range of communication activities which may or may not include advertising; it is not possible to distinguish the cost of providing consultancy for advertising from that for other forms of communication.
Mr. Heath: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much revenue his Department received from advertisements on his Department's (a) public information leaflets and (b) public websites in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of his Department's special advisers were on (a) paid and (b) unpaid leave in order to assist with party political matters under section 22 (iii) of the code of conduct for special advisers on 16 May 2007; and how many days' leave each adviser was granted. 
Special advisers' involvement in party political matters is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the code of conduct for special advisers, including section 22(iii), and the guidance
issued by the Cabinet Secretary in December 2006 and May 2007, copies of which are in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress his Department has made in extending the right to request flexible working arrangements to cover care of older children further to the consultation strategy published in February 2005. 
The responses to the Work and Families consultation in February 2005 showed that carers should be the priority group in any extension of the right to request flexible working. As a result we extended the right to 2.65 million carers of adults in April. We are currently keeping the law under review.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent on housing benefit in each year since 1997; and what percentage of the non-pension welfare budget was spent on housing benefit in each year. 
Mr. Plaskitt: For details of housing benefit expenditure, I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 21 May 2007, Official Report, column 1160W. Information on the proportion of the non-pension welfare budget spent on housing benefit is in the following table.
|Proportion of the non-pension welfare budget spent on housing benefit: Great Britain|
These figures are not comparable over time due to changes in the benefit system. For example, the transfer of child elements from benefits to tax credits.
DWP expenditure tables
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claims for housing benefit were dealt with by Warrington borough council in each of the last five years; and what the average award was in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
|Housing benefit (HB) claims in Warrington borough council|
|Number of HB claims|
|n/a = Not available|
1. Figures are for financial years.
2. For 2006-07 the data are from April to December 2006.
As at November 2006, the average weekly amount of housing benefit in Warrington borough council was £58.21.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time taken by Warrington borough council to process a claim for housing benefit was in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what the average time was in comparable local authorities. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The average time taken by Warrington Borough Council to process a claim for housing benefit up to 31 December 2006 is 25 days. For the same period the national average time for local authorities to process a housing benefit claim is 34 days.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents (a) claiming income support and (b) who had been claiming income support for longer than five years had children aged (i) under three years, (ii) under five years, (iii) between five and 11 years, (iv) between three and 11 years and (v) over 11 years in each month since January 1992. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 23 May 2007]: The information is not available in the format requested. Because of changes in methodology comparable figures are not available prior to 1999. The available information is in the following tables.
|Number of lone parents receiving income support, by youngest childs age, in Great Britain at quarters shown|
|Quarter ending||With a youngest child under three||With a youngest child under five||With a youngest child aged between three and 11||With a youngest child aged between five and 11||With a youngest child aged over 11|
Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
DWP Information Directorate 100 per cent. WPLS
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