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8 July 2008 : Column 1543W—continued


8 July 2008 : Column 1544W

Zimbabwe: British Nationality

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to safeguard British nationals resident in Zimbabwe. [215842]

Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) takes its role of providing consular support to British nationals overseas seriously, and their safety is our top priority. As with many of our diplomatic missions across the world, our Embassy in Harare holds a Civil Contingency Plan. The Zimbabwe contingency plan focuses on assisting the departure of British nationals from Zimbabwe by non-military means and is reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

The FCO Travel Advice for Zimbabwe is under constant review. We are currently advising against all travel to Zimbabwe at this time of high tension. We are advising those currently resident in Zimbabwe to continue to review their security arrangements, to keep themselves up to date with local developments and they are strongly advised to have their own contingency plan in place for how they would leave at short notice. A full copy of the Travel Advice can be found at:

If the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorates further, we will reflect this in our Travel Advice and provide appropriate guidance.

Zimbabwe: Deportation

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary over deportations to Zimbabwe. [215929]

Meg Munn: There are no current plans to enforce returns to Zimbabwe. We are keeping the matter under review and will discuss this with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary when the situation changes.

Zimbabwe: Elections

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Chinese counterpart on bringing pressure to bear on the Zimbabwe Government to conduct free and fair elections. [213842]

Meg Munn [holding answer 25 June 2008]: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, frequently discuss Zimbabwe with their Chinese counterparts. There were further discussions with senior diplomats in late June.

Zimbabwe: Travel Information

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice his Department gives on the safety of travel to Zimbabwe for (a) Zimbabwean citizens and (b) citizens of other countries who have close links with the Movement for Democratic Change; and if he will make a statement. [215928]


8 July 2008 : Column 1545W

Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides travel advice for all British nationals who intend to travel to, or live in, Zimbabwe. This advice is kept under constant review to ensure that it accurately reflects the risks of travel at any time. The latest advice for Zimbabwe and elsewhere can be found on the FCO's website at:

This advice would be freely available for people of any nationality to view.

Work and Pensions

Children: Maintenance

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures are in place to prevent absent parents from investing their income with a pension fund as a means of avoiding Child Support Agency payments. [216795]

Mr. Plaskitt: Very little evidence exists to suggest that non-resident parents are exploiting the current rules on pension contributions in a way which unreasonably reduces their child support liability.

When such cases arise, the Child Support Agency can adjust liabilities in specified exceptional circumstances where the usual rules may not operate fairly. For example, in either child support scheme, it is possible to adjust the child support liability where the net income of the non-resident parent used in the calculation is inconsistent with their lifestyle or unreasonably diverted. In such cases, this action will be considered by the Agency following an application by the parent with care.

Departmental Standards

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 20 May 2008, Official Report, columns 218-20W, on departmental standards, what the scope was of the Gateway Review undertaken in 2006-07 on his Department’s project ID Cards. [215518]

Mrs. McGuire: Gateway Reviews deliver a ‘peer review’ in which independent practitioners from outside the programme/project use their experience and expertise to examine the progress and likelihood of successful delivery of the programme or project. They are used to provide a valuable additional perspective on the issues facing the internal team, and an external challenge to the robustness of plans and processes.

In 2006-07, the DWP ID Cards project was subject to a Gateway Review 1.

The OGC Gateway Review 1 is the first project review, which investigates the strategic business case and proposed way forward to confirm that the project is achievable and likely to deliver what is required.

The full scope of each Gateway Review is set out in the OGC Gateway‚"Ę Process documents which can be found on the OGC website at:

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 20 May 2008, Official Report, columns 218-20W, on departmental standards, what the scope was of the Gateway Review undertaken in 2007-08 on his Department’s project (a) DWP Change Programme,
8 July 2008 : Column 1546W
(b) Customer Information System r4, (c) Method of Payment Reform Programme and (d) Child Maintenance Redesign. [215519]

Mrs. McGuire: Gateway Reviews deliver a ‘peer review’ in which independent practitioners from outside the programme/project use their experience and expertise to examine the progress and likelihood of successful delivery of the programme or project. They are used to provide a valuable additional perspective on the issues facing the internal team, and an external challenge to the robustness of plans and processes.

In 2007-08, the following projects, listed in the question, were subject to Gateway Reviews.

Project Gateway

DWP Change Programme

Gateway Review 0—Strategic Assessment

Method of Payment Reform

Gateway Review 0—Strategic Assessment

Child Maintenance Redesign

Gateway Review 0—Strategic Assessment

Customer Information System r4

Gateway Review 1—Business Justification


The OGC Gateway Review 0 is a programme-only review that sets the programme in the wider policy or corporate context. This review investigates the direction and planned outcomes of the programme, together with the progress of its constituent projects.

The OGC Gateway Review 1 is the first project review, which investigates the strategic business case and proposed way forward to confirm that the project is achievable and likely to deliver what is required.

The full scope of each Gateway Review is set out in the OGC Gateway‚"Ę Process documents which can be found on the OGC website at:

Employment

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of working age adults with fewer than five GCSEs at grade A* to C were in employment in each local authority area in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [215926]

Mr. Watson: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 8 July 2008:

Housing Benefit

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will publish the terms of reference for the housing benefit review his Department is undertaking; and if he will make a statement. [215924]

Mr. Plaskitt: The housing benefit (HB) review is an internal review that is being taken forward by Her Majesty's Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions. As it is an internal review we do not have plans to publish the terms of reference. That said, the objectives of the review are centred on work incentives, efficiency, fairness, and value for money to the tax payer. The Budget 2008 statement highlights this remit in a little more detail at paragraph 4.14

Budget 2008 [HC388] is available in the Library and online at:

There are no plans to make a further statement on the review at this stage.

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance issued to Jobcentre Plus districts on payment of discretionary housing benefit; and if he will make a statement. [216068]

Mr. Plaskitt: Discretionary housing payments are administered by local authorities. The guidance for local authorities on the operation of these payments, “Discretionary Housing Payments: Best Practice Guide March 2008”, has been placed in the Library.

This guidance is also available online at:

Housing Benefit: Greater London

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of housing benefit claims were from households where the claimant was (a) 65 years old or more and (b) in work in each London local authority area in the last 12 months; and what the median processing time of the claims was in each case. [217102]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available.


8 July 2008 : Column 1548W

Incapacity Benefit: Children

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children aged (a) under five, (b) five to 11 and (c) 12 to 16 years are estimated to be living in households in receipt of incapacity benefit in each London local authority area. [210113]

Mr. Timms: The information is not available for households in the format requested. The available information, which is for the numbers of children who have a parent or guardian in receipt of a relevant benefit, is in the following table.

Number of children dependent on a parent or guardian claiming incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance. London local authorities: April 2007

Aged 0 to 4 Aged 5 to 11 Aged 12 to 16

City of London

10

15

10

Barking and Dagenham

680

1,160

995

Barnet

755

1,180

955

Bexley

350

580

585

Brent

1,055

1,580

1,325

Bromley

470

745

650

Camden

835

1,075

825

Croydon

735

1,225

1,195

Ealing

890

1,530

1,435

Enfield

1,165

1,770

1,520

Greenwich

705

1,140

1,070

Hackney

945

1,445

1,250

Hammersmith and Fulham

480

780

685

Haringey

975

1,500

1,235

Harrow

545

930

815

Havering

380

695

770

Hillingdon

655

1,010

900

Hounslow

645

1,080

970

Islington

720

1,035

915

Kensington and Chelsea

355

500

440

Kingston upon Thames

180

295

260

Lambeth

750

1,010

950

Lewisham

740

1,135

1,045

Merton

280

505

450

Newham

1,150

1,940

1,840

Red bridge

685

1,185

1,095

Richmond upon Thames

185

275

290

Southwark

775

1,125

1,070

Sutton

295

480

425

Tower Hamlets

1,280

2,115

1,805

Waltham Forest

835

1,245

1,185

Wandsworth

510

765

745

Westminster

980

1,370

925

Notes:
1. All figures supplied have been rounded to protect the confidentiality of claimants.
2 All data represent a snapshot in time of claimants on the computer system, and will therefore exclude a very small number of cases that are held clerically.
3. The parent or guardian may be in receipt of other benefits.
4. Information on child dependents is not reliably completed on the benefit computer system, therefore children have been merged onto incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance claims from child benefit records with permission from HMRC.
Source:
DWP Information Directorate

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