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30 Oct 2008 : Column 1194W—continued

Tax Credit

Mr. Gale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many tax credit referrals were taken up by the Independent Adjudicator in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available; [230643]

(2) what consideration he has given to the allocation of additional staff to deal with the number of tax credit cases referred to the Independent Adjudicator; [230644]

(3) what the average time taken by the Independent Adjudicator to process tax credit referrals was in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [230645]

Mr. Timms: Information on the Adjudicator’s Office is published in her annual reports which are available at:

Her office took up 1,541 tax credits referrals in the year to 30 September 2008.

The Adjudicator’s Annual Report for 2008 explained her office was in the process of setting up a new team of Adjudication Officers in Derby. That office is now up and running and fully operational.

Mr. Gale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average length of time taken by HM Revenue and Customs to provide substantive responses to requests for information made by the Independent Adjudicator was in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [230646]

Mr. Timms: In the 12 months to 30 September 2008, the average time taken for HMRC to deal with the request for an initial report for all cases was 15 weeks.

Taxation: Sports

John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many sports clubs had community amateur sports club status removed in each of the last six months, broken down by (a) sport and (b) region; [225824]

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(2) which local amateur sports clubs in Bassetlaw have been (a) granted and (b) refused community amateur sports club status since 2002; [225825]

(3) how many local amateur sports clubs (a) applied for community amateur sports club (CASC) status and (b) were granted CASC status in each year since 2002, broken down by (i) sport and (ii) parliamentary constituency. [225826]

Mr. Timms: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have removed one club from the Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) register in the last six months following the club's dissolution.

HMRC do not separately identify CASCs by constituency. As of 30 October 2008, according to HMRC records, there are 78 registered CASCs with a Nottinghamshire postcode.

At the end of August 2008 there were 4,965 sports clubs registered with HMRC as CASCs. A list of registered clubs is published on the HMRC website at

HMRC does not hold figures on numbers of CASC registrations broken down by sport.


Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assumptions he has made about levels of unemployment over the next three years for the purposes of calculating the public finances. [231636]

Angela Eagle: The assumption for UK claimant count unemployment used for the public finance projections is based on an average of independent external forecasts and audited by the National Audit Office. This is an assumption for the purposes of the public finance forecast and is not the Treasury's economic forecast.

For Budget 2008, details of the assumption can be found in box C1, in Chapter C on the public finances, in the Budget 2008 document.

Work and Pensions

Departmental NDPBs

Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what funding has been agreed with each of his Department's non-departmental bodies for the period 2008 to 2011. [228667]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 21 October 2008]: The Department currently sponsors seven executive non-departmental public bodies, as follows:

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Non-departmental public body Website

Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

Health and Safety Executive (Ref 88)

Independent Living Funds (GB and NI)

Personal Accounts Delivery Authority

The Pensions Advisory Service

The Pensions Regulator

Working Ventures UK Limited

I refer the hon. Member to non-departmental public bodies via the links in the table. Available information on funding may be found in documents such as the bodies’ reports, press release, corporate or business plans.

The above links will take the hon. Member to the sections of the NDPB websites containing the latest published figures; these do not all provide in year profiles of funding for 2008-09 to 2010-11 as individual allocations have not been made beyond 2008-09 in all cases. Where negotiations are ongoing and figures have not been finalised a link has been provided to the location we expect the information to be published.

It is worth noting that 2008-09 Grant-in-aid figures are available in DWP’s main supply estimate available at:

Departmental Pay

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many non-pensionable bonuses were awarded to members of staff in his Department in the last 12 months; and at what cost to his Department. [226643]

Jonathan Shaw: The information is as follows.

End of year performance bonuses

DWP employees in pay bands below the senior civil service are eligible for an annual individual performance bonus if they attain a “Top”, “Higher” or “Majority” rating under the annual performance and development system. The amount of bonus awarded is differentiated on the basis of employee’s pay band and the performance level achieved.

For the senior civil service end of year bonuses are determined on an individual basis by the relevant DWP SCS Pay Committee.

Performance awards from the year 2007-08 were payable in July of the financial year 2008-09. A total of £23.32 million has been paid. This is broken down as follows:

Table 1—Department total
Financial year Total paid (£ million) Total number of recipients




Table 2 Total below SCS
Financial year Total paid (£ million) Total number of recipients




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Table 3 Total SCS
Financial year Total paid (£ million) Total number of recipients




1. The information in tables 1 and 2 is based on the numbers of employees recorded on the DWP payroll systems as having received a qualifying performance mark. These are headcount.
2. Some individuals may have received more than one type of bonus payment in the year, which is why the information has been presented separately and not as an aggregated total.
3. The performance bonus is paid in the financial year following the performance year of 1 April to 31 March.
4. The total amount paid includes Employers National Insurance Contribution (ERNIC).
5. These figures are the best available.

Special bonus and voucher payments

Individuals may also be entitled to special bonus payments either as cash or vouchers. These are one-off recognition awards, payable at any time during the performance year and are not linked to the annual pay award.

The cost in a typical year for cash bonuses is around £2.7 million with payments made to approximately 11,250 individuals (based on 2007-08 payments).

The cost for voucher payments was £1.77 million in 2007-08. 31,237 vouchers were issued, however some individuals might have received more than one voucher.

Departmental Responsibilities

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department’s policy is on allowing its staff to attend meetings that they are not required to attend as part of their departmental duties, during the working day and outside his Department’s premises; and whether attempts are made to minimise the number of staff attending such meetings. [230467]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 27 October 2008]: The Department has a responsibility to provide an effective service for its customers and ensure business continuity. Consequently, employees wishing to attend meetings not connected with their duties during the working day would be expected to apply for time off and to attend any such meetings in their own time. Time off may be restricted or refused if necessary.

On occasion, there are specific scheduled meetings arranged by departmentally recognised trade unions such as branch Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and these meetings may take place either on or off the Department’s premises. Managers may grant union members reasonable time away from their desks to attend. However, they would use their discretion in restricting the number of attendees so that the delivery of the services provided by the Department would not be compromised.

In addition, the Department makes provision for employees to take special leave. This enables employees to serve on certain public or community bodies, i.e. as members of a local authority, magistrates, mayors, school or college governors, jury members or members of the Territorial Army, reserve forces or cadet forces. Special leave can be either paid or unpaid depending on the role and individual circumstances. Again, time off may be restricted or refused so that the delivery of the services provided by the Department would not be compromised.

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Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the Answer of 6 October 2008, Official Report, column 65W, on incapacity benefit: applications, how many new claims for incapacity benefit were made by those aged (a) under 25, (b) under 35, (c) between 25 and 44 and (d) between 45 and 65 years in each year since 1997. [226137]

Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 13 October 2008]: Over this period the number of people starting a claim for incapacity benefits has generally been falling. Since 2003 the number of people leaving has exceeded the number of people joining incapacity benefits resulting in an overall reduction in the number of people on incapacity benefits. This may be driven in part by Pathways to Work which has now helped more than 94,000 people into employment.

The available information on incapacity benefits commencements is in the following table.

Incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance commencements by age: Great Britain

Under 25 Under 35 Between 25 and 44 Between 45 and 65



















































1. The best statistics on benefits are now derived from 100 per cent. data sources. However, the 5 per cent. sample data still provide some detail not yet available from the 100 per cent. data sources. Figures are subject to a high degree of sampling error and should only be used as a guide.
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.
3. Figures contain overlaps of commencements where a claimant is aged between 16 and 35.
4. The yearly figures are compiled from quarterly data starting from 1 December in the previous year.
5. Figures include those on IB credits only, who may also claim income support on grounds of sickness or disability.
Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate, 5 per cent. sample

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