|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the Answer of 21 February 2008, Official Report, column 1012W, on departmental computer software, the source code of which software (a) is and (b) is not held in escrow. 
Mr. Timms: The Department has 212 applications contracted for maintenance and support. Of these, source code for applications that are bespoke to DWP and considered mission critical, i.e. considered absolutely essential for the Departments business, are held in escrow. These are list (a). Source code for applications that are not bespoke or considered mission critical are not currently held in escrow. These are list (b).
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what policy co-ordination takes place between his Department and the Department for Communities and Local Government to ensure that the housing benefit system supports the Government's objectives on homelessness prevention. 
HB enables tenants to pay their rent when they are not working or are living on a low income. This helps to avoid households being evicted from their accommodation as a result of rent arrears and subsequently becoming homeless.
In November last year, the two departments signed a groundbreaking cross-departmental agreement to work together in partnership. The two departments agreed to focus on working together on a number of shared priority outcomesto ensure full employment and reduced welfare dependency; make Britain a more equal society, promoting equality (including employment equality); reduce levels of poverty and social exclusion, particularly child poverty and poverty among older people; build strong, empowered local communities; tackle worklessness amongst social sector tenants and homeless people, and promote greater independence and well being in later life.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment has been made of the likely effect of restricting the back-dating of (a) housing benefit and (b) pension credit on (i) homelessness, (ii) eviction levels and (iii) pensioner poverty. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Before any changes to pension credit, housing and council tax benefit are presented to Parliament we will complete a full equality impact assessment as we required to do by law in respect of disability, race and gender. This assessment will consider the likely impact on various client groups.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of UK households living below (i) 60 per cent., (ii) 50 per cent. and (iii) 40 per cent. of the median household income are eligible for, but not in receipt of, child maintenance payments; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of children who are living in households below (i) 60 per cent., (ii) 50 per cent. and
(iii) 40 per cent. of the median household income which are eligible for, but not in receipt of, child maintenance payments; 
(3) how many households (a) where child maintenance is due but has not been paid and (b) where child maintenance arrears are owed, have incomes below (i) 60 per cent., (ii) 50 per cent. and (iii) 40 per cent. of the median household income. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The Family Resources Survey is used to identify households below the different poverty thresholds. However, it is not possible to identify those households eligible for child maintenance payments from the Family Resources Survey. Only those households where child maintenance is paid can be identified, and consequently the information requested is not available.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy to collect statistics on the number of (a) three person and (b) four person polygamous unions where the members are in receipt of income support. 
Mr. Plaskitt: No; the cost of collecting and analyzing such statistics would far outweigh their usefulness. Collecting information would require significant changes to the information technology system, and the way our staff record information.
Additionally, as current immigration rules make it very unlikely that new polygamous households could be formed in the UK, and have done so since 1988, we know that the number of such households must be decreasing over time.
Mr. Plaskitt: In his Budget report of 2006 the Chancellor announced a strengthening and refocusing of jobsearch reviews to make sure jobseekers allowance is paid only to people who are able to demonstrate they have undertaken their responsibilities to look for work.
Following that announcement, guidance was issued to Jobcentre Plus staff, stressing the importance of
ensuring all contacts with people claiming jobseekers allowance include a discussion about what they have been doing to find work. Where this raises a doubt about the adequacy of their jobsearch, a Jobcentre Plus decision maker is obliged to consider whether jobseekers allowance is payable.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on the Pension Education Fund since the initial 26 contracts were awarded; what the duration of each of these contracts was; how much he estimates his Department will allocate to the Fund in each of the next 10 years; and how much was spent on the Fund in each year since its inception. 
The Fund was established as an exploratory time bound initiative to develop and test innovative approaches to ensuring individuals, particularly those who are at risk of under saving, have impartial and accurate information on pensions and retirement planning to make an informed choice about the retirement income they want and how they can achieve it. The Fund has been independently evaluated and a
report will be published in spring of this year. The lessons learnt and evaluation findings will form part of the evidence base underpinning the development of the information strategy for pensions reform and the introduction of automatic enrolment and personal accounts from 2012.
|Spend (£ million)|
|(1) Estimated end of year outturn.|
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many persons becoming entitled to state retirement pensions opted to defer their pension payments during the latest period for which figures are available; how many of them opted for (a) an increased weekly pension and (b) a lump sum; how many lump sum payments were delayed for over two weeks; and whether interest is payable in such cases. 
In the 12 months to March 2007, there were a total of 50,800 people who successfully claimed either a lump sum or extra pension due in respect of a deferred state pension. This figure can be broken down further: 42,300 opted for an increased weekly pension, 4,300 opted for a lump sum payment only, and 4,100 opted to combine both increments and a lump sum.
The Pension Service has a policy to make payments as quickly as possible and does not have details of any payments subject to delays of more than two weeks. However, it is our policy that compensation in the form of interest is considered for any period of unnecessary or unreasonable delay beyond that for normal processing of the claim.
1. Data are taken from 5 per cent. extract of PSCS , therefore figures are subject to a degree of sampling variation. They are also adjusted to be consistent with the overall case load from the WPLS.
2. Case load figures are rounded to the nearest hundred, totals may not sum due to rounding
3. Includes overseas cases.
4. Figures include inherited increments and lump sums.
5. The option to take a lump sum was introduced in April 2006 but only for those deferring for a minimum of 12 months.
The first Departmental Strategic Objective in our Three Year Business Plan, published on 28 February 2008, and available in the Library, is to reduce the number of children living in poverty. The
focus will be on children living in workless households and children benefiting from child maintenance, particularly those living in low income households.
The Government are supporting families to escape poverty by increasing employment and raising incomes for those who can work; improving parents access to training in and out of work, and helping lone parents with older children prepare for and actively seek work. The rising trend of child poverty has already been halted; there are 600,000 fewer children living in relative poverty than in 1998-99. A further 300,000 children will be lifted out of poverty as a result of last years Budget and comprehensive spending review.
In December 2007, we published Ready for Work: full employment in our generation, which sets out the next phase of welfare reform. Lone parents who can work will be required to actively seek work, helped by a flexible system of pre-work and in-work support. This will commence for lone parents whose youngest child is 12 or over from October 2008, 10 or over from 2009, and seven or over from 2010. The Government also published the Childrens Plan in December 2007 which sets out policies and measures to improve childrens life chances and help to alleviate child poverty.
As a result of changes to the personal tax and benefit system since 1997, by April 2009, families with children in the poorest fifth of the population will be, on average, £4,000 a year better off in real terms.
The child element of Child Tax Credit will rise by £25 a year above earnings indexation in April 2008, in addition to the Budget 2007 commitment to increase the child element by £150, and it will rise by a further £25 above indexation in April 2010. The child maintenance disregard in the main income-related benefits will be doubled from £10 to £20 by the end of 2008, and doubled again from £20 to £40 in April 2010.
Compared to 2007-08, by 2010-11 the Government will be investing an additional £2 billion a year in public services to alleviate child poverty and break cycles of deprivation, including spending on child care, schooling in deprived areas, educational attainment, health inequalities, emotional well being, disabled children and school transport.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|