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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the timetable is for pilot schemes in respect of the withdrawal of housing
benefit as a sanction against households evicted for antisocial behaviour and who refuse to engage in a rehabilitation programme. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons the Child Support Agency ceased its policy of charging a fee for use of its services in 1995; and if he will make a statement. 
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons the Child Support Agency ceased its policy of charging a fee for use of its services in 1995; and if he will make a statement.
The Child Support Agency ceased to charge fees for its services in 1995. The Child Support Fees Regulations 1992 (S.I. 1992/3094) which covered the amount and circumstances in which fees could be charged were subsequently revoked in 1996.
As the 1998 Green Paper Children First explained, the decision to firstly cease applying these regulations and to later revoke them was based on concerns about the unacceptable levels of service the Agency was providing. The regulation making power within the Act was retained to allow for the reintroduction of fees once the Agency could provide a level of service that would warrant it.
I hope you find this answer helpful.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what amount of Child Support Agency arrears has been collected directly from non-resident parents' assets in each year since 1996-97; and if he will make a statement. 
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what amount of Child Support Agency arrears has been collected directly from non-resident parents assets in each year since 1996-97; and if he will make a statement.
When enforcing the collection of child support arrears, all appropriate means of civil debt recovery proceedings will be considered to ensure effective, timely and efficient recovery of outstanding debt.
The attached table outlines what payments have been received directly by non-resident parents assets in England & Wales and Scotland.
I hope you find this answer helpful.
|Payments received directly by non-resident parents assets in England and Wales and Scotland|
|Payments received by process||2004-05||2005-06||2006-07|
| Notes: 1. Due to the implementation of a new management information system in 2003 the information requested is available only from 2004-05. The table details the amounts recovered by the various enforcement tools available to the agency. 2. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the capacity of the private and voluntary sectors to provide low cost and free advice to separating parents on child maintenance issues; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt: From October 2008 we will have established an Information and Support Service where both parents can easily access free information and guidance in relation to child maintenance. To inform the design of this service we are actively engaging with voluntary sector organisations that have expertise in this area. The Department is also in the process of undertaking an assessment of the market capacity to deliver an information service from 2008 onwards. This assessment is necessary to inform our decision making regarding how the services can be most effectively delivered. We will not begin our procurement processes until this assessment is complete which we envisage will be late autumn 2007.
Mr. Plaskitt: The Information and Support Service is a critical element of our reform programme. We will provide a national service available to all separate and separating parents who need help to think through their options or establish maintenance arrangements. A key aspect of this will be a national contact centre with web-based support and a face-to-face service where appropriate.
These services will provide high quality information products including a guide for parents and a standard maintenance agreement form and will signpost other
relevant parenting services. We will pro-actively direct low income families towards this service with the support of Jobcentre Plus and HMRC.
We also recognise that separating parents are not always clear about the issues they need to address and, likewise, the need to resolve wider separation issues first can act as a barrier to making maintenance arrangements. With this in mind, the Commission may also provide guides and links to key public and voluntary sector services and literature on non-maintenance related issues such as housing, benefits, debt and contact.
In order to fully understand what services separated or separating parents require we will carry out additional research that will help us develop further our understanding of what information and support services will be needed in the future.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many overseas visits were made by (a) officials and (b) Ministers within his responsibility, and at what cost, in each year since 1997. 
Mrs. McGuire: This information can be provided only at disproportionate cost. Since 1999, the Government have published on an annual basis a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500, as well as the total cost of all ministerial travel overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries of the House. Information for 2006-07 is currently being compiled and will be published before the summer recess. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the Civil Service Management Code and the Ministerial Code.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps have been taken to promote inter-departmental working to help disabled children and their families following the former Prime Minister's overview, Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People, with particular reference to measures to help unemployed parents of disabled children who are seeking work; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: In January 2005, the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit published their report, Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People. The report set out the Government's vision and made recommendations relating to disabled children, young people making the transition to adulthood, employment and independent living.
The Office for Disability Issues was established in December 2005 and is working across Government to improve outcomes for disabled people, including through a ministerial group and the board of management, both of which bring together a range of Departments to oversee delivery of the Government's strategy.
The chapter of the Life Chances report which considered employment did not make any specific recommendations relating to parents with disabled children. However, proposals set out in the July 2007 Green Paper, In Work, Better Off are intended to make better use of the new deal approach for people who claim benefit as unemployed and are actively seeking work but who face significant barriers to finding work, including caring responsibilities at home.
More recently, the joint HMT/DfES children and young people's review, Aiming High for Disabled Children: Better Support for Families, published in May 2007, looked at how services can provide greater support for families with disabled children. The report's findings are feeding into the comprehensive spending review and will be implemented through a cross-Government framework.
Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many job applicants have undertaken a 15 day work trial since the inception of the trial programme; and how many of these have resulted in the applicant taking the position. 
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has asked me to reply to your question about the number of job applicants undertaking a work trial and the number of these resulting in the applicant taking the position since the inception of the work trial programme. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Work trials were first introduced in 1989, since when they have formed part of an overall and constantly evolving package of measures to assist employers meet their recruitment needs. Until 2000 we did not routinely capture detailed management information on work trials. Since then, we have recorded information on the number of customers undertaking a work trial, but not the number of people confirmed permanently in the job. Our success in helping people into work is measured in terms of the number of people who leave benefit and move into work, but this is not broken down specifically to identify those securing a job through the help of a work trial.
The table below shows the number of work trial starts since April 2000.
|April to March each year:||Work trial starts|
Although we do not keep data on the number of people confirmed in post following a work trial, internal research suggests that up to 50% of those people who secured the job would not have done so without the help of a work trial.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many residents of Peterborough constituency have been in receipt of funds under the Financial Assistance Scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the introduction of the local housing allowance; and what assessment he has made of the impact of its introduction on residents in rural areas. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Local housing allowance (LHA) will be introduced nationally from 7 April 2008 and the preparation for its implementation is under way in all local authorities. It has been extensively evaluated in nine pathfinder areas and tested for operational readiness in a further nine. These local authorities were chosen to provide a range of different housing markets, geographical factors and labour markets.
One of the pathfinders, Teignbridge, is largely a rural area. As in the other eight evaluated LHA pathfinder areas, the implementation and delivery in Teignbridge was considered successful and the impact of the local housing allowance is covered in the local housing allowance evaluation publications.
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