|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Plaskitt: The standard rate of interest used to calculate support for mortgage interest payments in income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance and state pension credit is currently 6.83 per cent. which is determined by adding 1.58 per cent. to the current Bank of England base rate of 5.25 per cent.
From December 2004, the standard rate has been calculated using the Bank of England Base Rate plus an additional 1.58 per cent. Using the Bank of England base rate provides a more representative rate than the previous method, which was based upon an average of building society interest rates. The 1.58 per cent. was added to ensure that no-one lost out when the method of calculation changed.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of increasing the upper limit of capital supported by income support mortgage interest to (a) £110,000, (b) £120,000, (c) £130,000, (d) £140,000, (e) £150,000, (f) £160,000, (g) £170,000, (h) £180,000, (i) £190,000, (j) £200,000, (k) £210,000, (l) £220,000, (m) £230,000, (n) £240,000 and (o) £250,000. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how many Jobcentre Plus offices are accessible by appointment only. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as chief executive of Jobcentre Plus.
All our Jobcentres are accessible to our customers without an appointment.
To avoid sometimes unnecessary waiting, appointments are booked for customers who have an inquiry or wish to see an Adviser. In many instances however, an Adviser or other member of staff will be free to see a customer immediately.
Customers are able to use our Jobpoints or public phones without an appointment.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Jobcentre Plus offices employ security staff to guard the doors of the offices; and what guidance is offered to Jobcentre Plus offices regarding the employment of security staff. 
Security personnel (Security Guards and Customer Care Officers (CCO)) are employed at 688 Jobcentre
Plus offices. The security service requirement is detailed in the PRIME contract, and the role and job description of the CCOs has been agreed with Jobcentre Plus and is available to staff at each Jobcentre Plus office.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many customer access telephones are available in Jobcentre Plus offices in the UK; and how many offices do not have this facility; 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions asking how many customer access phones are available in Jobcentre Plus offices in the UK and how many offices do not have this facility; and how many calls were made using customer access phones in Jobcentre Plus offices in each of the last 24 months for which figures are available. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
We have 3,841 customer access warm phones available in Jobcentre Plus. All Jobcentres have this warm phone facility.
Information on the number of calls made from warm phones is not available.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have claimed jobseekers allowance for more than 24 months in the last (a) 36 months, (b) 48 months and (c) 60 months. 
90 per cent. of jobseekers allowance claimants return to work within 12 months. However, 37,375 jobseekers allowance claimants in Great Britain had a claim of two years or more duration as at November 2007.
1. Figure is rounded to the nearest 5.
2. Figure is based on computer held cases only.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in how many cases jobseeker's allowance payments to single adults of £59.15 per week are being paid directly to banks to cover the bank charges of the individuals concerned; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department does not hold the information requested. December 2007 figures show that (1)77 per cent. of Jobseekers allowance payments
are paid direct into a bank or building society. Once a benefit payment is credited into an account it merges with the existing account balance, whether this is overdrawn or in credit.
(1) This figure shows the total number of customers who receive a payment through the Jobseekers Allowance payment scheme.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the Written Ministerial Statement of 3 April 2008, Official Report, column 84WS on lone parents, if he will place in the Library a copy of the early advice from the Social Security Advisory Committee. 
Mr. Timms: The early advice from the Social Security Advisory Committee referred to in the written statement of 3 April 2008 was given verbally on 5 March in the course of one of the Committee's regular business meetings. The minutes of that meeting will be placed in the Library when they have been cleared by the Committee and will be published on the Social Security Advisory Committee website.
The Government's aim is for the UK to derive maximum benefit from nanotechnologies and their products in a way that safeguards health, safety and the environment and addresses the aspirations and concerns of the public. The statement by the UK Government about nanotechnologies, announced in the written ministerial statement of 28 February 2008, Official Report, columns 86-87W, explains what the Government are doing to deliver these objectives.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 14 March 2008, Official Report, columns 30-31WS, on the flexible new deal, (1) if he will place in the Library copies of the advertisements for organisations interested in bidding for phase one contracts; 
Mr. Timms: The commercial strategy for the flexible new deal reflects the principles set out in the Department for Work and Pensions Commissioning Strategy published in February 2008. We will be seeking bids which reflect proposals for both five and seven year contracts and will decide which of these terms to offer following the tender evaluation process, which will assess the option that provides the best overall value.
The funding model has a number of elements. Fifty per cent. of the contract price will be attributable to the achievement of intermediate employment outcomes and thirty per cent. to sustained employment outcomes of twenty-six weeks. Both of these will be paid on a unit price basis. There will also be a service fee, which will equate to twenty per cent. of the overall contract price, which will be paid in monthly instalments.
A written statement was laid before Parliament on 1 April. This announced that there are now to be two Wales-only flexible new deal contract areas: North Wales, Mid Wales and South East Wales; and South West Wales and South Wales Valleys.
CPF contain an estimate of state pension entitlement alongside information provided about occupational or personal pension schemes. These forecasts are available where an employer or pension provider agrees to provide them.
Due to a need to update IT systems to reflect state pension rule changes contained within the Pension Act 2007, The Pension Service is temporarily unable to provide pension forecasts to people who reach state pension age after 5 April 2010. However, they are providing personalised information to this group, including details on the number of qualifying years people have, to help with considerations such as the payment of voluntary national insurance contributions, and how the changes to the state pension rules may affect their
state pension position. These services help people to continue to plan for their retirement.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of women in receipt of basic state pension whose husbands are in receipt of basic state pension and who are receiving an amount of basic state pension at a rate of less than 60 per cent. of the amount that their husband is receiving. 
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that the Pension Service advises all those pensioners who are newly widowed of the range of entitlement to which they may be eligible. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 31 March 2008]: When the Department is notified that a pensioner is bereaved a review of their state pension is completed automatically. The highest rate of state pension benefit is calculated and paid dependant upon the individual or deceased spouse's contribution record. All bereavement benefits are also considered at that time. The Department will check whether pension credit is in payment, and if it is not, the customer is invited to make an application. Customers are also invited to claim housing benefit and council tax benefit at the same time as applying for pension credit.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many outlets are specified in the tendering documents for use by customers of the replacement Post Office Card account; what criteria have been specified for the distribution of these outlets; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 19 March 2008]: The notice that appeared in the Official Journal of the European Union for the replacement to the Post Office
card account specified that customer access to cash is requested at ATMs and personal teller outlets located throughout the UK. The contractors are asked to detail their intended number and the location of outlets, but the size of the network is expected to be in the region of 10,000 outlets.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of the press offices of (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies was in each year from 1996-97; what the cost was in each quarter since 1 April 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many press office staff were employed by (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies (i) in each year since 1996-97 and (ii) at the latest date for which information is available. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions was formed on 8 June 2001 from parts of the former Department of Social Security, the former Department for Education and Employment and the Employment Service. All media inquiries relating to the Department including its agencies are dealt with through the national and regional press office.
|National press officers||Regional press officers||Non-departmental public bodies|
|(1) Two part-time in a job share role|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|