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The best statistics on benefits are now derived from 100 percent data sources. However, the 5 per cent. sample data still provide some detail not yet available from the 100 per cent. data sources. DWP recommends that, where the detail is only available on the 5 per cent. sample data, the proportions derived should be applied to the overall 100 percent total for the benefit. Users should refer to the Guidance for Users at
Sir Robert Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the proportion of disability living allowance likely to be spent on the recipient's fuel bills. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to extend the consultation period for Improving Protection From Disability Discrimination in line with criterion 2 of the Government's Code of Practice, as set out by the Cabinet Office; and if he will make a statement. 
I explained in my foreword to the consultation document that it was necessary to have a short consultation period to ensure that proper consideration could be given to how any legislative proposal would fit with the provisions in the forthcoming Equality Bill.
In order to obtain an appropriately broad range of input to the consultation, the written consultation was supplemented by a range of discussions with key stakeholders including representatives from the fields of disability, equality, business, advice and the voluntary sector.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the (a) longest, (b) shortest and (c) average length of contract offered to temporary staff employed specifically to support the introduction of employment support allowance was; 
(3) how many of the 2000 staff originally appointed to support the introduction of employment support allowance are (a) still working in their original role, (b) employed on temporary contracts elsewhere in Jobcentre Plus and (c) employed on permanent contracts elsewhere in Jobcentre Plus. 
Jonathan Shaw: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions in relation to the temporary staff recruited to support the introduction of Employment and Support Allowance. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus recruited 2125 people, including temporary staff, to support the introduction of Employment Support Allowance, as part of our workforce plans for the whole business requirement. They were deployed specifically to backfill other core delivery areas, to release our existing staff to deliver Employment Support Allowance. Temporary contracts are usually offered on the start of employment for a period of up to 26 weeks, although due to recent operational needs, some contracts have now been extended beyond this date. Our Resource Management reporting system does not allow us to identify the average contract length, contract status or by location for someone who has been recruited to work on Employment and Support Allowance backfill. This is because these staff resources are accounted for as part of our wider business resource.
From the recruits brought in over the summer 2008, there have been some conversions from temporary to permanent/fixed term contracts, although numbers are small. Unfortunately, we are not able to identify on a cost effective basis where these individuals are still working on the original role they were employed to undertake or if they are now undertaking a new role.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people expected to gain access to the scheme announced for people unemployed for six months or more in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: The £500 million package of further support that we announced on 12 January 2009 includes four options: a job with a recruitment subsidy; support to start a business; volunteering opportunities, and work-related training. We expect to help a total of about 500,000 people through these options over the next two years, starting from April.
The recruitment subsidies, support to start a business and volunteering opportunities will be available in England, Wales and Scotland and we would expect them to be spread proportionately between them. The work-related training option will apply just to England.
In Northern Ireland, the provision of employment and skills services is the responsibility of the devolved Administration, who will continue to determine their own priorities for supporting jobseekers.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what terms and conditions will be set for employers in relation to (a) applying for and (b) using an Employers Golden Hello; 
Mr. McNulty: On 12 January, the Government announced a package of additional support worth £500 million for people who are still unemployed after six months. This additional support will be available from April 2009 and includes making available an expanded range of work and training options that a Jobcentre Plus adviser would be able to offer customers.
The recruitment subsidy will be offered to employers who are committed to working with us to recruit jobless people, primarily through local employment partnerships. The subsidy will be targetedemployers will not be able to claim it by right and we will not make any payments if the employer has dismissed or made redundant any existing employees in order to recruit someone under this option.
Further details of how the subsidies will be delivered are still under discussion, and we will involve businesses and trade unions in those discussions. Subject to these discussions, and in line with current practice in the new deals, we do not intend to set a limit on the number of incentives available to each employer.
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with Scottish Executive Ministers on providing a rapid response service for employees in Scotland threatened with redundancy. 
I met with Fiona Hyslop MSP, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning on 27 November 2008 to discuss what action would be taken in Scotland to address issues arising from the current economic situation. One of the matters
for discussion at the meeting was an agreement that officials work closely together to respond to the economic downturn.
We agreed to address a conference in Glasgow on 9 February that will bring together all those involved in dealing with redundancies at a local level to consider how we can further improve the service. This will include discussion about Jobcentre Plus's Rapid Response Service.
Within Scotland, Jobcentre Plus is an active participant in a long-standing Scottish Government initiative called Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE), which provides a consistent and co-ordinated public sector response to redundancy.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the European Social Fund spending announced on 15 October 2008 and 4 November 2008 has been assigned to employment projects; what those projects are; and how much in total has been (a) assigned and (b) spent to date. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 18 December 2008]: The £50 million of European Social Fund money announced on 15 October 2008 will support retraining and skills for people who are currently facing redundancy and those looking for work, so that they can quickly move back into sustainable employment. Provision will be delivered through the Learning and Skills Council, which plans to invite tenders in January 2009, with a view to projects being in place in spring 2009.
The £27 million of European Social Fund money announced on 4 November 2008 will support innovative projects both to extend employment opportunities and to develop workforce skills. Of the £27 million, about £17 million will support projects to extend employment opportunities, although a precise figure cannot be provided until the application process is completed. The deadline for applications is 16 January 2009, and projects are expected to start in spring 2009. Information on successful projects will be available at that stage.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how much it cost to establish the telephone hotline for reporting suspected cases of housing benefit fraud; and what annual expenditure his Department incurs in operating the service; 
Mr. McNulty: The National Benefit Fraud Hotline was set up in August 1996. It was extended to include housing benefit fraud referrals in September 2003, information on the costs of extending the service for housing benefit fraud are not available.
|(1) The Preston contact centre is dedicated to handling National Benefit Fraud Hotline calls with additional support from Vertex. Vertex is the outsourced provider of the out of hours telephone contact centre service. Vertex costs are included in the figures.|
1. The operational costs of administering the National Benefit Fraud Hotline include the costs of administering the housing benefit fraud service. These costs cannot be separated.
2. The table contains directly attributable costs of the National Benefit Fraud Hotline; however there are further costs across DWP that cannot be separately identified, namely:
Actual telephone call costs that cannot be separated from overall DWP Corporate IT costs
Overflow work taken on by other sites at Grimsby Europarc and Telford Plaza
Follow on costs such as the cost of pursuing prosecutions.
3. The National Benefit Fraud Hotline started to do tax evasion work in November/December 2007 and tax evasion costs are included for four months of 2007-08.
Jobcentre Plus Finance Directorate using DWP financial systems
Information regarding referrals made to the National Benefit Fraud Hotline or online is not available by benefit type. Therefore, it is not possible to provide specific information on the outcomes of housing benefit fraud referrals received from either the hotline or online.
Local authority Housing Benefit administrative returns
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 10 November 2008, Official Report, column 914W, on Jobcentre Plus: breastfeeding, what the outcome was of the review of the policy on breastfeeding in Jobcentre Plus offices. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to respond to your question, pursuant to the Answer of 10 November 2008, Official Report, column 914W, on Jobcentre Plus: breastfeeding, what the outcome was of the review of the policy on breastfeeding in Jobcentre Plus offices. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
I can confirm that this review has now been completed and operational guidance was updated on 19 December 2008 to include a paragraph ensuring that all Jobcentre staff are made aware that, wherever possible, every effort must be made to provide a mother wishing to breastfeed her baby with a suitable area to do so.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many extra people will be employed by Jobcentre Plus in Oxfordshire on the Rapid Response Service, with reference to the Pre-Budget Report; 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how many extra people will be employed by Jobcentre Plus in Oxfordshire on the Rapid Response Service, with reference to the Pre-Budget Report and how many of the extra 2,000 staff at jobcentres proposed in the Pre-Budget Report will be employed in Oxfordshire. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
No additional staff have been specifically recruited to be employed on the Rapid Response Service in Oxfordshire. Each District has appointed a Rapid Response Manager and we have a pool of 10 Rapid Response volunteer staff from Oxfordshire District who can be deployed where additional help is required.
Whilst it is not possible at this stage to say how many of the extra staff proposed in the Pre-Budget Report will be employed in Oxfordshire, under our existing plans between December 2008 and January 2009 we are recruiting 99 permanent staff within the Jobcentre Plus District of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Of these 99 recruits, 21 will be based in offices in Oxfordshire. Further recruitment is planned into 2009 but it is too early to state which District or County they will be allocated.
I have asked Lynn Conolly, the District Manager for Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, to meet with you to discuss workforce plans for Oxfordshire and to explain how Jobcentre Plus is responding locally to the economic downturn.
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