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Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the performance of (a) all designated New Deal providers and (b) the Shaw Trust against the objectives set for delivery of the New Deal. 
The Department continuously reviews the performance of providers including new deal providers.
The Department has implemented a number of initiatives to improve the management of contracts and of providers to achieve better performance and quality of delivery in all contracted employment provision including new deal. Formal processes are in place to deal with performance issues.
For individual organisation performance, a revised Contract Management Framework has been implemented which sets out the processes for monitoring DWP contracts, enabling early identification of poor performance so remedial action can be put in place.
A supplier relationship management team was also established in April this year. Their remit is to develop strong, positive relationships with providers in order to improve delivery of services to customers. In addition, all providers in England and Wales are subject to inspection.
Shaw Trust has one new deal contract to deliver. The contract is managed using standard contract management procedures to ensure performance meets contractual expectations. Any issues arising are addressed in this context.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's most recent estimate is of the number of pensioners who (a) are not claiming and (b) have been refused pension credit because a gross rather than a post-tax net level of state retirement pension was used for the assessment. 
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people claimed (a) carers allowance and (b) pension credit for being a carer in each of the last five years; 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
Pension credit ensures a guaranteed minimum income for all people aged 60 and over. People who are entitled to carers allowancewhether or not carers allowance is in paymentmay benefit from the additional amount for carers in pension credit. The pension credit standard minimum guarantee of £124.05 for single pensioners (£189.35 for couples) is increased by £27.75 where the additional amount for
carers is payable. (If both members of a couple are entitled to carers allowance, the additional amount is doubled.)
The guarantee element of pension credit tops income up to the appropriate guarantee level, which means that people entitled to the additional amount for carers could receive either more or less than the additional amount for carers depending on their circumstances. It is not therefore possible to specify what element of pension credit expenditure relates specifically to the additional amount for carers.
Pension credit is part of the Departments annually managed expenditure (AME). Forecasts of the expenditure for each benefit which is part of AME are produced twice a year and published on the Departments website. The forecasts are used to assess the expected provision required for each benefit which is part of AME. However, none of the elements which comprise the forecast for a particular benefit is budgeted for separately. In addition, all eligible benefit claims are met and so AME benefits are not budgeted for in the same way as other departmental expenditure.
The latest estimates of take-up of means-tested benefits in Great Britain, covering income support, pension credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit and jobseekers allowance (income-based) are published in the report Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 2006-07. Estimates of the number of people eligible for the additional amount for carers in pension credit are not available.
The number of people in receipt of pension credit and carers allowance over the last five years is shown in table 1 and all pension credit expenditure on recipients entitled to the extra amount for carers is shown in table 2.
|Table 1: Pension credit and carers allowance|
|As at February each year||Carers allowance||Total pension credit recipients||Recipients with the additional amount for caring|
1. Carers allowance figures include those people who are entitled to carers allowance but who do not receive a payment as a result of the overlapping benefit rules.
2. Case load figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Pension credit recipients are people who claim pension credit either for themselves only or on behalf of a household.
4. From February 2005, estimates are derived from Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data. Prior to this, information on receipt of carers addition in pension credit is not available from the same source, so estimates are derived from 5 per cent. sample data.
DWP: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
|Table 2: Pension credit expenditure|
|Expenditure in cash terms||Expenditure in 2008-09 prices|
1. Pension credit was introduced October 2003, so expenditure figures for 2003-04 are part year figures.
2. Estimates represent the expenditure on total pension credit for those claimants who are entitled to the additional amount for carers. Depending on the claimants income, this may be either higher or lower than the nominal value of the additional amount for carers. It is not possible to specify what part of expenditure relates to the additional amount for carers.
3. From February 2005, estimates are derived from Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data. Prior to this, information on receipt of carers addition in pension credit is not available from the same source, so estimates are derived from 5 per cent. sample data.
4. Expenditure has been converted from cash terms to 2008-09 prices using GDP deflators which were published alongside the 2008 Budget report.
DWP: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data, 5 per cent. sample data and DWP Accounting Systems.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people (a) in the City of York local authority area and (b) City of York constituency receive (i) the basic state pension and (ii) pension credit; and what the average weekly value of the pension credit issued was in the last period for which figures are available. 
|Pension credit household recipients and average weekly amount of benefitMay 2008|
|Households in receipt||Average weekly amount of benefit (£)|
1. Caseloads are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves only or on behalf of a household.
3. Average amounts are shown as pounds per week and rounded to the nearest penny.
DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data
|Basic state pension recipientsSeptember 2007|
|Basic state pension recipients|
1. Data are taken from 5 per cent. extract of PSCS, therefore figures are subject to a degree of sampling variation. They are also adjusted to be consistent with the overall caseload from the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.
3. September 2007 are the latest data currently available.
DWP Information Directorate
The current Pension Bill builds on the Pensions Act 2007 through a set of reforms, primarily to the private pensions system, that will enable and encourage more people to build up a private pension income to supplement that received from the state. The reforms will simplify pension saving and enable individuals to take responsibility for their own retirement. All eligible workers will be automatically enrolled into a qualifying workplace pension- helping to overcome barriers to saving such as inertia.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the Oral Statement of 13 November 2008, Official Report, columns 965-82W, on the Post Office Card Account, what (a) legal and (b) economic factors were taken into account in taking the decision to cancel the tender. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 18 November 2008]: At all stages we have taken the proper course of action based on the Governments wider social and public policy, legal advice and economic factors pertaining at the time.
Income from the Post Office card account has come to form an increasingly important part of the Post Offices income, as well as providing vital footfall to sub-postmasters. The loss of this business would mean there would be a real risk of a significant number of unplanned closures which would impact most on those vulnerable customers who rely on the Post Office and do not have easily accessible alternatives.
Global economic events have made people, particularly the most vulnerable in our society, more concerned about financial transactions. The Post Office is a trusted brand, and is seen as a safe, secure and reliable provider of services in these turbulent times. Now is not the time for the Government to do anything to put the network at risk, particularly as Post Offices are often the only providers of financial services in remote areas.
Taking all of these factors into account, we believe that awarding Post Office Ltd another contract is the right thing to do in public policy terms, because it will help maintain the existing Post Office network which provides vital services to vulnerable customers in areas where there is often little or no alternative provision. We are also clear that it represent best value overall to the taxpayer.
We recognise the importance of competition in the awarding of public contracts, but we have concluded that, in these exceptional circumstances, protecting vulnerable groups by preserving a viable Post Office network justifies the award of a contract outside the competitive process. These are exceptional times and we believe that this is a proper and proportionate response.
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many customers in Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency had active Post Office card accounts in each year since their introduction. 
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints of racial abuse relating to staff for which his Department is responsible have been (a) investigated and (b) upheld in the last 12 months. 
The Department takes all forms of racial abuse very seriously and publishes its Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying policy on the Department's intranet, which is accessible by all its employees. In addition this policy complies with the Department's commitment to embrace diversity and promote equality of opportunity.
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