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We will increase the support for lone parents to return to and stay in work by: increasing the work trials period from three to up to six weeks; group seminars; job interview guarantee; work focused pre-work
training; extension and expansion of New Deal Plus for Lone Parents pilots; quarterly work focused interviews; national extension and retention of in-work credit; in-work advisory support from Jobcentre Plus advisers; national rollout of the in-work emergency discretion fund; piloting the provision of up-front child care costs in London; and a new credit to help them be better off in work. Lone parents on JSA will also be supported by our integrated employment and skills service and the flexible New Deal.
We have also recently announced the formation of a Joint Child Poverty Unit bringing together the expertise of officials in both the DWP and the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The unit will also be working closely with HM Treasury and other Government departments to ensure that there is a coherent cross-Government approach to tackling child poverty.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in how many cases his Department has issued a debt recovery waiver with regard to the money owed to his Department where there are very special circumstances under medical grounds. 
Mr. Plaskitt: In 2006, 37 cases received a full or partial waiver of an outstanding benefit overpayment on medical grounds. Between January and November 2007, that figure was 63. Prior to 2006, the reason for the waiver was not recorded.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department and its agencies have spent on Christmas (a) cards, (b) parties and (c) decorations in each of the last five years. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department does not have any account codes or categories specifically identifying spend on Christmas cards, decorations or parties; to try to identify any such expenditure would incur a disproportionate amount of time and cost.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been (a) made available to and (b) taken up by his Departments agencies for the purchase of Christmas decorations. 
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 10 December 2007]: The Department does not have any account codes or categories specifically identifying spend on Christmas decorations and to try and identify any such expenditure would involve a disproportionate amount of time and cost.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on (a) administration and (b) legal fees for the financial assistance scheme in each month since March; and if he will make a statement. 
|Current financial year 2007-08||Expenditure||Legal fees||Total in month spend|
|(1) July costs include an element for IT (maintenance) annual costs circa £451,434.|
(2) September costs include an element for IT (licence and change requests) annual costs circa £159,000.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many telephone calls have been made to the St. Austell call centre by benefit recipients (a) through the Job Centre Plus office in Stroud and (b) using outside lines but registered through the Stroud office in each week since it opened; 
The Secretary of State has asked Lesley Strathie to reply to your questions asking how many telephone calls have been made to the St Austell call centre by benefit recipients through the Job Centre Plus office in Stroud. Specifically, how many are using outside lines but registered through the Stroud office in each week since it opened, and when he plans to make an evaluation of the effectiveness of the call centre at St Austell. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to Ms Strathie as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus. I am replying in her absence as Acting Chief Executive.
The centre in St Austell is not a call centre but a Benefit Delivery Centre (BDC), dealing with the assessment of customers' claims to benefit. Although BDCs do have records of call volumes by benefit, the telephony system in place does not record where the customer is calling from. I am therefore unable to answer your question about the number of calls made by our Stroud customers.
In line with every Benefit Delivery Centre, St Austell reviews its performance on a regular basis. St Austell is currently meeting Actual Average Clearance Time targets for Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support and Incapacity Benefit claims.
I hope this is helpful.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether it is his policy that parents of disabled children who are not claiming disability living allowance should be encouraged to claim jobseeker's allowance. 
Mrs. McGuire: Parents of disabled children can claim jobseeker's allowance. For jobseeker's allowance to be paid, customers must meet conditions of entitlement, which includes being available for and actively seeking work. However, customers with caring responsibilities, such as parents of disabled children, can limit their availability for work to a minimum of 16 hours per week and do not have to be immediately available for work, providing they are willing and able to start work if given one weeks notice and attend an interview if given 48 hours notice.
In the recently published Green Paper, In Work, Better Off: Next Steps to Full Employment, we have outlined proposals for lone parents who are able to work. Lone parents who also have other reasons for claiming income support, e.g. if they have children for whom the middle or highest rate care component of disability living allowance (DLA) is payable, or they claim carers allowance (CA), or are fostering will continue to be eligible to claim income support.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of
the resources which would be required to implement a more flexible jobseeker's allowance regime for lone parents whose youngest child has reached 12, including resources (a) for training for advisers and (b) for decision makers. 
Caroline Flint: Initial estimates around the resource requirements of our proposals for lone parents were presented in the Impact Assessment accompanying the Green Paper 'In work, Better Off: Next Steps to Full Employment'. They were based on a number of assumptions, pending completion of the consultation exercise.
Details of our proposals are currently being finalised following the consultation. We will publish our response, together with an updated Impact Assessment soon. More detailed costs and implementation plans will be worked up over the coming months.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many national insurance numbers have been issued to EU A8 nationals in (a) each year and (b) each quarter since 1 January 2004, broken down by nationality; and what the percentage change was in each period, broken down by nationality. 
|EU A8 nationals entering the UK registrations|
|Year of registration date||Republic of Estonia||Republic of Latvia||Republic of Lithuania||Hungary||Poland||Republic of Slovenia||Czech Republic||Slovak Republic|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest ten. Some additional disclosure control has been applied.
2. Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.
3. Years referred to are financial years. Reliable quarterly estimates from National Statistics are not currently available.
100 per cent. extract from National Insurance Recording System at 14 May 2007.
|New deal for musicians|
| Notes: 1. Spend excludes admin costs. 2. Spend for 2006-07 is confirmed spend. Source: Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus Finance Directorates|
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