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13 Oct 2008 : Column 879Wcontinued
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to make a decision on the payment of disability living allowance to UK citizens currently living in EEA countries in the light of the recent court decision on the matter. 
James Purnell: People who are already receiving disability living allowance when they leave the UK to live in another European economic area state or in Switzerland can often continue to receive the allowance. The rules are set out on the Directgov website. The Pensions Disability and Carers Service has considered about 500 claims and confirmed that these customers will continue to receive disability living allowance. We are considering the implications of the European Courts decision for people who are UK citizens but who live in another European economic area state or in Switzerland and who wish to claim disability living allowance. We will publish the criteria for awarding the allowance on the Directgov website as soon as possible.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many persons claimed the mobility component of disability living allowance in each year since its introduction, broken down by type of disability; and how much was paid to claimants with each disability type in each year at the (a) higher and (b) lower rate. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The available information has been placed in the Library.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of awards of income support on grounds of incapacity for work had a duration of (a) less than 13 weeks, (b) between 13 weeks and 28 weeks, (c) between 28 weeks and one year, (d) between one and two years, (e) between two and three years and (f) more than three years in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
James Purnell: The available information is in the table:
|Proportion of incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance claims where recipient is also receiving income support by duration of income support award|
|Less than 13 weeks||Between 13 weeks and 28 weeks||Between 28 weeks and one year||Between one and two years||Between two and three years||Three years and over|
1. Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.
2. Durations refer to the latest income support award. Claimants may not have been getting incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance for the whole duration of their income support award as repeat claims are not linked.
3. Incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance is taken fully into account when working out how much of the applicable amount of income support can be paid.
DWP Information Directorate 100 per cent. WPLS
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many complaints he has received about the operation of the maternity allowance telephone line in the last 12 months; and what steps he is taking to improve its operation; 
(2) what plans he has to reduce the time taken to make a first maternity allowance payment from the time of an application being submitted; 
(3) what plans he has to reduce the backlog of maternity allowance applications and to speed up the process for future applications; 
(4) what measures are in place to assist expectant mothers with the processing of maternity allowance payments. 
Jonathan Shaw: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has asked me to reply to your questions on the processing of Maternity Allowance applications. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
We started to centralise the administration of Maternity Allowance claims in December 2007 and migration completed in August 2008 into four central units throughout the country at Yeovil, Wrexham, Hanley and Bury St Edmunds Benefit Delivery Centres.
Clearance times for Maternity Allowance had increased slightly over the summer months resulting in a backlog of 7000 cases awaiting action. This is as a result of an increase in births leading to an increase in Maternity Allowance applications by a fifth. This increase coincided with centralisation into the four units and a temporary dip in productivity associated with retraining existing members of staff.
We are responding to these difficulties by increasing the staffing in the centralised sites by a fifth, so they can cope with the increase in new applications. The 7000 backlog cases are being dealt with separately by sharing the cases across our wider network of Benefit Delivery Centres. We are making progress now on clearing these cases. Over the last 5 weeks record numbers of claims were cleared, by over 1,000 more than the weekly intake. The backlog has now reduced to 2000 cases. We expect to have fully cleared the backlog within the next two weeks.
Statistics relating to complaints about Maternity Allowance are not separately available.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the unfunded pension liability for (a) 2010, (b) 2020 and (c) 2030. 
Yvette Cooper: I have been asked to reply.
The Government do not produce figures for overall public service pension liabilities in future years. Page 38 of the Long Term Public Finance Report published on 12 March 2008 has further details of the total unfunded public service pension liabilities.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the annual cost to his Department of disregarding pensions payable to former miners for the purpose of benefit entitlement calculations. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Miners pensions are treated in the same way as other occupational pensions in the calculation of benefit entitlement. The information necessary to estimate the cost of changing current benefit rules to fully disregard miners pensions is not available.
David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the consequences of the decision of the House of Lords in R (on the application of Heffernan) v the Rent Service  UKHL 58 on the Rent Service's approach to the determination of broad market rental areas; what action he plans to take following that decision; and if he will make a statement; 
Tom Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects the Rent Service to complete its review of procedures resulting from the Heffernan judgment. 
James Purnell [holding answer 8 October 2008]: Following the judgment in the case of R (on the application of Heffernan) v. The Rent Service, The Rent Service have revised their guidance to rent officers on the setting of locality boundaries. The Department for Work and Pensions and the Rent Service are working closely together to consider the wider implications of the judgment. The Rent Service aims to be in a position to provide details of their plans to recommence their rolling programme of reviews at the end of October 2008.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what research his Department has (a) undertaken, (b) commissioned and (c) evaluated on the effects of (i) increases in energy and food prices and (ii) the timetable for benefits uprating on those in receipt of benefits; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: No specific research has been undertaken or commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions on the increases in energy and food prices or the timetable for benefit uprating. However, the Government continue to monitor the situation closely.
The Chancellor announced in his Budget 2008 speech that for winter 2008-09 an additional payment will be made alongside the winter fuel payment. Households with a member aged 60 to 79 will receive an additional £50 and households with a member aged 80 or over will receive an additional £100.
On 11 September 2008 the Government announced a new £1 billion package of measures to help people cut their energy bills. Measures on offer deliver significant energy savings including increased help with cavity wall
and loft insulation. 11 million lower income and pensioner households are eligible for these free of charge. And for winter 2008-09 cold weather payments will increase in value from £8.50 to £25.00. Cold weather payments are made to vulnerable people in receipt of qualifying benefits, including pension credit, if there is a period of very cold weather in their area.
In terms of benefit uprating, there is a statutory requirement to review all social security benefits each year and to increase certain benefits from April each year.
The increases are calculated for most benefits using the annual inflation figure for the preceding September. This ensures that benefits keep their real value in broad terms. In order to complete all of the action necessary to ensure that the new social security benefit rates are put into payment in April of any year up-rating activity must commence in the previous year, which is why the inflation figure for September is used.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will publish the details of the Labour Force Survey showing the number of economically inactive people who want to work and can work and who are not counted in the International Labour Organisation definition of unemployment. 
Kevin Brennan: 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 October 2008:
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking for the details of the Labour Force Survey showing the number of economically inactive people who want to work and can work and who are not counted in the ILO definition of unemployment. (226198)
Estimates of economic activity and inactivity derived from the Labour Force Survey (LPS) follow the international convention as defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO). This does not require the LFS to record specifically whether people can or cannot work and, consequently, estimates on this precise basis are not available.
According to the LFS, people who are economically inactive are neither in employment nor unemployed and can be further categorised as follows:
1. those who have been looking for work in the past four weeks but are unable to start work within the next two weeks;
2. those who have not been looking for work in the past four weeks but would like to have a regular paid job; and
3. those who have not been looking for work in the past four weeks and who would not like to have a regular paid job.
This applies to all people aged 16 to 69. Economically inactive people aged 70 and over who were not looking for work are not asked if they would like a regular paid job and are therefore included in the third category.
Estimates for all three categories are provided in the attached table and are for the three month period April to June 2008, the latest available. As with any sample survey, estimates from the LFS are subject to a margin of uncertainty.
|Number of people economically inactive aged 16 and over, by main category of economic inactivit yT hree month period April to June 2008, United Kingdom, not seasonally adjusted|
|Category of economic inactivity||( 1) Number (Thousand)|
Looking for work in past four weeks but unable to start work within next two weeks
Not looking for work in past four weeks but would like to have regular paid job
Not looking for work in past four weeks and would not like to have regular paid job
|(1 )Coefficients of variation have been calculated as an indication of the quality of the estimates. See following Guide to Quality.|
Guide to Quality:
The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of an estimate, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CVfor example, for an estimate of 200 with a CV of 5 per cent. we would expect the population total to be within the range 180-220.
Key Coefficient of Variation (CV) (%) Statistical robustness
* 0 < CV < 5 Estimates are considered precise.
** 5 < CV < 10 Estimates are considered reasonably precise.
*** 10 < CV<20 Estimates are considered acceptable.
**** CV ≥ 20 Estimates are considered too unreliable for practical purposes.
It should be noted that the estimates exclude people in most types of communal establishments (e.g. hotels, boarding houses, hostels, mobile home sites etc.).
Labour Force Survey.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents have occurred on the A12 between junction 30 (Dedham) and junction 31 (East Bergholt), including accidents on the said junctions, in each of the last five years. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The numbers of reported personal injury road accidents on the A12 between junctions 30 and 31 at Dedham and East Bergholt in 2003 to 2007 are shown in the table.
|Number of accidents|
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