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Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much incapacity benefit was overpaid due to (a) fraud, (b) official error and (c) customer error in each of the last 10 years; and what proportion of the total expenditure on incapacity benefit this represented in each of these years. 
Jonathan Shaw: DWP estimates of fraud and error in incapacity benefit up to and including 2005-06 were provided in the answer to PQ/07/117960 (Mr. Laws). DWP estimates for 2006-07 and 2007-08 are contained in the DWP publications Fraud and Error in the Benefit System: April 2006 to March 2007 and Fraud and Error in the Benefit System: April 2007 to March 2008, copies of which are available in the Library.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what employment support through Jobcentre Plus has been available to lone parents with children under the age of 12 since the changes to the eligibility rules for income support came into effect in November 2008; what such support will be available to lone parents with (a) children under the age of 10 when the changes to the eligibility rules for income support come into effect in October 2009 and (b) children under the age of seven when the changes to the eligibility rules for income support come into effect in November 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Kitty Ussher: In addition to the support that every jobseeker on JSA gets from 24 November 2008 when these changes started, lone parents also continue to have voluntary access to additional comprehensive support and advice under the new deal for lone parents from the start of their jobseekers allowance claim, as well as other support from Jobcentre Plus to help them prepare for, enter and remain in work. This includes pre-employment support via training opportunities and in-work support via in-work credit, Jobcentre Plus personal adviser support and the in-work emergency discretion fund.
If a lone parent is still claiming jobseekers allowance after six months, they will enter supported job-search, where the full range of new deal for lone parents help will still be available. However, if a lone parent reaches 12 months on jobseekers allowance they will switch to flexible new deal provision which will provide job-search support tailored to the specific needs of lone parents and address-related barriers to employment. At this point, voluntary access to new deal for lone parents will not be necessary.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has plans to accept osteoarthritis of the knee as a qualifying condition for industrial injuries disablement benefit; and if he will make a statement. 
Kitty Ussher: The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is considering the recommendations contained in the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council report Osteoarthritis of the Knee in Coal Miners, CM7440, published on 21 August 2008.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has asked me to respond to the question you asked regarding how many external vacancies for positions within the Jobcentre Plus network have been advertised in each of the last 12 months. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The available information is in the following table.
|External vacancies advertised by Jobcentre Plus in 2008|
The information provided does not include temporary vacancies. Responsibility for temporary recruitment lies with individual vacancy holders within Jobcentre Plus and this is not collated centrally.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether the recent announcement to recruit 6,000 new Jobcentre Plus frontline staff positions includes the retention of those employed to support the introduction of the employment support allowance; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) with reference to the answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 263-64W, on Jobcentre Plus: manpower, what Jobcentre Plus's latest estimate is of the number of (a) staff and (b) personal advisers there will be in each of the next 12 quarters, broken down into the smallest geographical area for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply your questions asking whether the recent announcement to recruit 6,000 new Jobcentre Plus frontline staff positions includes the retention of those employed to support the introduction of the employment support allowance; and with reference to the Answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 263-4W, on Jobcentre Plus manpowerwhat is Jobcentre Plus latest estimate of the number of (a) staff and (b) personal advisers will be in each of the next 12 quarters, broken down into the smallest geographical unit for which figures are available. These are issues which fall within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The table below shows the original numbers of full time equivalent posts in Jobcentre Plus projected in each of the years covered by the Departments Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) 2007, together with the revised figures reflecting the pre-budget Report settlement. Plans for 2010/11 are under review and a firm figure is not yet available.
|March each year||Original projected number||Revised estimated number (December 2008)|
While Jobcentre Plus will have an additional 6,000 staff in the next operational year we do not yet have the detailed plans on their deployment as these are still being worked on. We are therefore unable to say at this point which of these staff will be Personal Advisers. I am also unable at this stage to provide details for the next 12 quarters as this goes beyond the end of the departments CSR 2007 and information about the next CSR settlement.
It is not possible to say how many of the extra 6,000 staff will come from those employed to support the introduction of the Employment Support Allowance. Significant recruitment is underway to achieve these revised numbers, and we hope that those employed to support the introduction of the Employment and Support Allowance will apply successfully for those recruitment exercises. Civil Service recruitment rules constrain our ability simply to extend the contracts of all these people for the whole period of the Spending Review.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of (1) the value of unclaimed pension credit to which pensioners in (a) Castle Point and (b) Essex are entitled at the latest date for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement; 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The latest estimates of the take-up rates, value of unclaimed benefit and the number of those entitled to but not receiving means-tested benefits in Great Britain, covering income support, pension credit, housing benefit, council tax benefit and jobseeker's allowance (income based) are published in the report Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 2006-07.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people resident in Ashford constituency (a) were entitled to and (b) claimed pension credit in each year since 2005. 
|As at May each year||Household Recipients||Individual Beneficiaries|
1. The number of households in receipt 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. Individual beneficiaries includes both claimants and their partners.
DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) pays compensation to members of defined benefit and hybrid pension schemes which are underfunded at the point their sponsoring employer experiences an insolvency event. Pension schemes do not specifically apply for protection under the PPF but they are required to notify the PPF in the case of an insolvency event. Notifications are required for all occupational pension schemes although only defined benefit and hybrid schemes are eligible for PPF compensation.
|Notifications received from all schemes||Schemes entering the PPF assessment period|
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) was established by the Pensions Act 2004 and opened its doors for business on 6 April 2005. The deficits recorded in the annual accounts have been as follows:
|Deficit (£ million)|
Ms Rosie Winterton: This Government made robust provisions for the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) through the Pensions Act 2004. The PPF is managed by an independent Board and is designed to work in a benign environment and in a downturn.
The PPF paid out compensation of around £3.7 million between 2 December 2008 and 1 January 2009 and has around £3 billion in assets. There are no liquidity problems for the PPF, and compensation continues to be paid. The PPF is like a pension scheme and that it only pays out compensation when it falls due.
The Government, the PPF, the Pensions Regulator are monitoring the economic and financial situation carefully to asses how to respond to different scenarios. We continue to keep all these issues under review, to ensure that we have a flexible, proportionate and effective pension protection regime.
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