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6 Oct 2008 : Column 52W—continued


6 Oct 2008 : Column 53W

Television

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department spent on (a) commissioning and (b) funding the production of television programmes (i) in each of the last three years and (ii) in 2008-09 to date; what programmes these were; and which companies made them. [213498]

Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 24 June 2008]: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not commissioned or funded the production of any television programmes in the last three years, or in 2008-09 to date.

Tourism: Ethnic Groups

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make it his policy to encourage people from ethnic minorities to visit the countryside. [218166]

Mr. Sutcliffe: DCMS provides grant in aid to VisitBritain to promote England to the British and Britain to the rest of the world, their Rural Escapes campaign has run for two years and is aimed at attracting all sections of society to rural locations in England and has involved print, website and broadcast advertising.

VisitBritain's international inbound tourism strategy involved a campaign around Bollywood film locations aimed specifically at the Indian market. The imagery used by Britain on View, VisitBritain and enjoyEngland, is designed to reflect the fact that visitors from all ethnic backgrounds are to be encouraged to visit rural and urban destinations within the UK.

World Heritage Sites

Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the selection process for UNESCO World Heritage Sites; and if he will make a statement. [219053]

Margaret Hodge: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave her on 7 July 2008, Official Report, column 1211W.

Work and Pensions

Armed Forces

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what specific provisions are provided by his Department for (a) the families of service personnel and (b) the families of service personnel on operations. [222071]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Service Personnel Command Paper The Nation’s Commitment: Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans (Cm 7424), published on 17 July, sets out the first ever cross-Government strategy for support to our service personnel, their families and veterans. The strategy will ensure that service personnel and their families are not
6 Oct 2008 : Column 54W
disadvantaged when seeking access to state benefits and gives improved access to employment programmes, such as new deal.

The families of service personnel already have access to the full range of benefits and services in the same way as those of non-service personnel. There are also provisions targeted specifically at family members who are accompanying service personnel overseas on operations.

For example, family members who are temporarily absent from Great Britain because they live with a serving member of the forces as part of a family are not disqualified from receiving incapacity benefit, disability living allowance, attendance allowance or carer’s allowance. This will also apply to the employment and support allowance from October 2008. Partners of current or former armed forces personnel can also have fast-track access to the Gateway stage of the new deal for young people and new deal 25+ and, from April 2009, to Stage 3 of the revised jobseeker’s allowance programme.

Some spouses and civil partners who accompany their family overseas occasionally find it hard to get paid employment while there. This may adversely affect their national insurance contribution record for entitlement to a State Pension as well as access to contribution based working age benefits. A Ministerial commitment was included in the Command Paper to consider the award of National Insurance credits in these circumstances.

Child Support

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in how many cases of child support administration the computer system has been incapable of producing a result and the case transferred to manual management in each of the last three years. [222024]

Mr. Plaskitt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the chief executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

Bill Etherington: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment has been made of the financial effects on parents without care facing debt recovery action for outstanding child maintenance payments by the Child Support Agency of the sanction of (a) 40 per cent. deductions on net income and (b) use of debt recovery agents. [223863]

Mr. Plaskitt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the chief executive. He will write to my hon. Friend with the information requested.


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Letter from Stephen Geraghty:

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Child Support Agency new scheme cases have been uncleared within six months in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK in each year since 1997. [223906]

Mr. Plaskitt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the chief executive. He will write to my hon. Friend with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty:


6 Oct 2008 : Column 56W
Current scheme uncleared applications over six months old
Uncleared applications over six months old
Month Great Britain North East South Tyneside Jarrow

June 2003

2,800

100

June 2004

79,500

3,900

300

100

June 2005

142,100

7,600

600

300

June 2006

135,000

7,600

500

200

June 2007

88,900

6,100

400

200

June 2008

62,700

4,800

300

100

‘—’ Indicates a figure less than 50.
Notes:
1. Figures include all uncleared applications over six months old.
2. As the current scheme came into existence in 2003, figures only go back to this date.
3. Cases have been allocated to the North East region, Jarrow Parliamentary Constituency and South Tyneside Local Authority by matching the postcode of the parent with care against the Office for National Statistics postcode directory.
4. Many uncleared applications will not have reached the point where the address details of the non-resident parent or parent with care have been recorded on the CS2 or CSCS computer systems and so can not be allocated to a geographical area. Such applications have been included under the Great Britain figure but are excluded from the regional breakdowns. Approximately 5,600 applications (9 per cent. of all uncleared applications) over six months old fall into this category.
5. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases relating to residents of (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK the Child Support Agency has dealt with in each year since 1997. [223962]

Mr. Plaskitt: I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 10 September 2008, Official Report, column 1945W.

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Child Support Agency case closures there were in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK in each year since 1997. [223986]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information requested is not available.

Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many new scheme cases were cleared by the Child Support Agency within six months in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK in each year since 1997. [223988]


6 Oct 2008 : Column 57W

Mr. Plaskitt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the chief executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty :

Child Support Agency—Current scheme case clearances under six months old
Clearances under six months old
Month Great Britain North East South Tyneside Jarrow

2003-04

113,100

4,200

300

200

2004-05

137,200

4,400

300

200

2005-06

190,900

5,900

400

200

2006-07

219,000

6,100

400

200

2007-08

260,000

9,100

600

300

Notes: 1. Figures include all current scheme application clearances under six months old. 2. As the current scheme came into existence in 2003, figures only go back to this date. 3. Cases have been allocated to the North East region, Jarrow parliamentary constituency and South Tyneside local authority by matching the postcode of the parent with care against the Office for National Statistics postcode directory. 4. Applications may be classed as cleared when the application is rejected or withdrawn. These applications can be rejected or withdrawn without the full address details of the non-resident parent or parent with care being recorded on the CS2 or CSCS computer systems and so can not be allocated to a geographical area. Such clearances are included in the Great Britain total but excluded from the regional breakdowns. Over 35 per cent. of clearances of applications under six months old fall into this category. 5. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 100. 6. '-' indicates a figure less than 50.

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