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Graham Stringer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the overall annual level of public expenditure on transport per head of population was in (a) each of the English regions, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) Scotland, (d) Wales and (e) London in each of the last five years. 
Andy Burnham: Information on total identifiable expenditure per capita on transport for each region and country of the UK is set out in Table 9.11 of HM Treasury's publication, Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 2007 (Cm7091), published in May 2007. This provides outturn data from 2001-02 to 2005-06 and planned expenditure for 2006-07.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on local authorities seeking unitary status which appeared on the shortlist published by the Department for Communities and Local Government on 27 March 2006. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Government fully recognise the vital role which all carers undertake. Through our National Carers Strategy, we have made substantial improvements in the support we give to carers, both financial and practical, and we are continually looking at ways to further improve the support available.
Mr. Plaskitt: The numbers of people on out of work benefits in London has fallen by over 125,000 since 1997, and continues to fall. However, London poses one of our biggest challenges in achieving our long-term aim of an 80 per cent. employment rate.
Initiatives like the City Strategy, the Deprived Areas Fund and higher levels of financial support in London now available through the lone parent In-Work Credit, will help us in supporting more Londoners back to work.
Since 1997, the number of lone parents claiming benefits has fallen by 238,000 and new claims for incapacity benefits are down by a third. The number of people on incapacity benefits is at the lowest level in over seven years.
17. Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to enforce the automatic enrolment of employers and making appropriate contributions by employers in respect of personal accounts; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government propose a three-stage compliance strategy. We will educate employers and employees about their new rights and responsibilities. We will engage with employers, enabling them to comply. Where necessary, we will take proportionate enforcement action, through a graduated approach with increasing penalties.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what target will be set for the time taken to secure an assessment under the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what restrictions there will be on (a) deduction orders and (b) lump sum deduction orders under the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Deduction orders will only be used if a person has failed to pay their statutory maintenance liabilities. They will not be applied to joint accounts or business accounts and may not directly cause a person's account to become overdrawn.
With current account deduction orders the Commission will require the deposit taker to deduct a regular amount from a non-resident parent's account to recover ongoing statutory maintenance liabilities and/or arrears. The amount will be based on the non-resident parent's gross earnings and a proportion of those earnings, to be specified in regulations, will be protected. These orders will not normally be used in a case where a deduction from earnings order can be imposed and non-resident parents will be encouraged to convert the deduction into a direct debit or other means of payment which they find more convenient.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will publish the Departments latest forecast of the (a) winners and (b) losers under the new maintenance formula which will be used by the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, compared with the existing formula, broken down by (i) family size and (ii) income; and if he will make a statement. 
With the increased focus on voluntary arrangements and the ending of the requirement that parents with care on benefit be treated as applying for child maintenance, not all of the current Child Support Agency case load will choose to use the statutory
maintenance service. Since we do not know the precise composition of the resulting case load, it is not possible to estimate the average level of maintenance liabilities that will arise.
Figures on the amounts paid under the second child support scheme and statutory maintenance arrangements under different income levels and for different family sizes can be found in table 2, page 19 of the regulatory impact assessment which accompanied the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make use of the key objectives of the new Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission on the recovery of existing maintenance arrears; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission would have to have regard to its objectives in the exercise of its functions. In line with this, the Commission will, when appropriate, seek to secure compliance with existing statutory maintenance arrangements, including recovery of existing maintenance arrears. The Commission will have at its disposal the new debt and enforcement powers contained in the Bill.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will provide an estimate of the expected reduction in annual administration costs as a consequence of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill, broken down by main budget heading; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The overall impact over the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill can be found in the Regulatory Impact Assessment. The estimated effect on annual administration costs of the statutory maintenance service can be found on page 34, paragraph 116.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much Child Support Agency maintenance arrears are expected to be collected in each quarter between June 2007 to June 2012; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the costs of setting a Child Support Agency maintenance disregard for those on benefits of up to (a) £10, (b) £20, (c) £30, (d) £40, (e) £50 and (f) £100 per week; and what estimate he has made of the effects on child poverty in each case. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The number of children lifted out of poverty and cost of increasing the levels of the child maintenance disregard in income support, jobseekers allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit are shown in the following table.
|Level of disregard||Number of children lifted out of poverty||Cost in extra benefit expenditure (£ million)|
|n/a = Not available.|
1. Number of children lifted out of poverty is defined here as the number of children in households lifted above 60 per cent. of equivalised median household income before housing costs by increasing the level of the disregard.
2. Estimates provided are indicative and should only be used to give some idea of scale, since there is uncertainty over future distributions of earnings and maintenance receipts, and figures are sensitive to the assumptions used and drawn from a sample of data.
3. Figures for the number of children lifted out of poverty by a £20 disregard are not available due to a small sample size.
4. Poverty figures are based on analysis of 2004-05 Family Resources Survey and are rounded to the nearest 10,000.
5. Costs are calculated to the nearest £10 million and are based upon a combination of DWP administrative and survey data.
6. Figures are for the extra number of children lifted out of poverty and extra costs compared to a position where there is a £10 disregard in income support and a £25 disregard in housing benefit and council tax benefit.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact on child maintenance payments of new powers in respect of (a) curfews and (b) passport withdrawal; and if he will make a statement. 
In the case of travel authorisation, giving the power to impose these measures directly to the Commission greatly strengthens their hand in dealing with the non-resident parent. There is more immediacy than a threat of court action. It is envisaged that this threat of imminent action will be significantly more effective in securing compliance.
Curfew orders will serve as an effective alternative to committal; it is expected to create a strong incentive to pay without impeding the non-resident parents ability to do so by causing him or her to lose his or her job.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact on poverty levels of non-resident parents on benefits of setting a £7 minimum child maintenance deduction from benefits; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt: It is not possible to accurately model the effect of increasing the £5 flat rate payment to £7 on the number of non-resident parents in poverty. This is because we cannot identify with certainty which non- resident parents are currently paying flat rate maintenance from the survey we use to measure poverty, the family resources survey.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the evidential basis is for the Department's view that, for child maintenance collection, historic tax income information is close enough to the current financial position of most non-resident parents at the time to be an acceptable and robust basis for assessment. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Our analysis showed that two thirds of non-resident parents subject to the 2003 CSA scheme would have a liability within £10 of that assessment if it were based on HMRC gross income data.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to introduce a general anti-avoidance rule in respect of payments of child maintenance by a non-resident parent. 
Mr. Plaskitt: We are continuing to look at ways to ensure non-resident parents meet their financial responsibilities to their children. Under the proposed scheme, we will use income information held by Her Majestys Revenue and Customs to ensure non-resident parents cannot delay in providing income information, and deploy the full range of enforcement powers available to the Commission to prevent the non-resident parents avoiding paying the maintenance they owe.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of Child Support Agency cases involve use of a deduction of earnings order; and what change he expects in this proportion under the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. 
The intention is for the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to run a pilot in order to establish whether using deduction from earnings orders as a basic method of collecting child maintenance will increase compliance. It will then decide on whether to proceed with a full roll out. I am therefore unable to provide an estimate of the expected change in this proportion under the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission.
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