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Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the maximum amount of funding that businesses are eligible to receive when working with Jobcentre Plus in local employment partnerships is (a) per person placed in work and (b) in total; 
(3) how much has been paid by his Department to businesses in local employment partnerships in each year since such partnerships were established, broken down by (a) Jobcentre Plus district and (b) reason for payment. 
Mr. McNulty: Businesses do not receive funding through local employment partnerships. Local employment partnerships (LEPs) are an enhanced way of working between the Government and employers. Each agreement is different and arrangements for LEP measures will be responsive to local circumstances. Jobcentre Plus works in partnership with existing structures including, local authorities, Cities Strategy Pathfinders, The Learning and Skills Council, Train to Gain, training providers and further education colleges to provide opportunities for help and training to assist people make the transition from benefit into work.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to page 92 of the pre-Budget report (1) how much money his Department accrued in each of the last 10 years; and what proportion each year's contribution made to the stock of money not spent in earlier years; 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in June 2001 from the Department for Social Security and parts of the former Department for Education and Employment including the Employment Service. Therefore it is not possible to provide information for 2001-02 or previous years.
Subsequent to 2001-02 the Department's stock of money not spent in earlier years increased in 2006-07 by £202 million (25 per cent. of the total stock) and in 2007-08 by £5 million (0.6 per cent. of the total stock). The increases are calculated net of stock drawn down to fund in year spend. Between 2002-03 and 2005-06 the Department's stock of unspent money was reduced.
The stock of money not spent (commonly referred to as end of year flexibility) is determined at the end of each financial year in conjunction with HM Treasury and is published in the Public Expenditure Outturn White Paper.
Postal signing is made available to customers: who live more than one hour, door to door, by public transport, in either direction, from the nearest jobcentre; or who would be absent from home in excess of four hours if they had to attend in person; or who have a mental or physical disability, which restricts their mobility; and in other exceptional circumstances for example, the customer
would have to use a form of transport they would not ordinarily be expected to use on a regular basis, i.e. an inter-city train, ferry or plane.
If no public transport is available, postal signing is not granted to customers who can reasonably be expected to walk from home to the jobcentre within one hour, taking into account their age, health and the terrain over which they must walk. No customer is expected to walk more than three miles.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how many work-focused interviews for each category of benefit were conducted in each of the last five years. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
|Work focused interviews attended broken down by year and benefit|
|Benefit||2004-05( 1)||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09( 2)|
|(1) The figures for 2004-05 are for February and March 2005.|
(2) The figures for 2008-09 are for April to October 2008.
Jobcentre Plus Business Information System
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what steps he plans to take in (a) the UK, (b) the North East, (c) Tees Valley district and (d) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency to ensure that his policy on welfare reform policies will be effective; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the effect on families in (a) the North East and (b) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency who have benefited from the Governments policy on welfare reform. 
Mr. McNulty: Since 1997 our welfare reforms have contributed to a reduction of 26,600 people claiming out of work benefits in the North East and 864 in Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland constituency.
Active intervention is key, at no time is this more important than in an economic downturn. If it is becoming harder to find work, it is right that we do more to help, not less. We need to learn the lessons from previous downturns, and from overseas: first, increase support, do not relax conditionality; second, do not move people onto inactive benefits; and third, maintain efforts to reduce inactivity.
Our Welfare Reform White Paper Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future (CM: 7506) published on 10 December 2008 drives forward the transformation of the welfare state, turning it from being essentially passive to profoundly active. The Bill to enact these proposals is now before Parliament.
Previous experience has taught us that the worst thing we can do in a downturn is to write people off, consigning them to a lifetime on benefits. We are investing an additional £1.3 billion over the next two years to support Jobcentre Plus and our employment programmes; and a further £0.5 billion to guarantee more support to people unemployed for six months or more by providing incentives for firms to hire, access to help in setting up a business, extra funding for training and opportunities for work-focused volunteering.
Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the Treasury Minute entitled Progress in tackling benefit fraud, issued in response to the Committee of Public Accounts' Thirty-first Report of Session 2007-08, when his Department expects to set recovery targets for benefit overpayments as a result of fraud. 
Mr. McNulty: We welcomed the recommendation put forward by the Public Accounts Committee and as a result undertook research to establish the best means of implementation. This work is very near to completion and there will be a recovery target in place for benefit overpayments arising as a result of fraud at the start of the next financial year.
The good news is that we have reduced fraud from around 2 per cent. of benefit expenditure in 2000-01 to 0.6 per cent. in 2007-08 and is now at its lowest level ever. I hope the hon. Gentleman welcomes that.
The phased withdrawal of agricultural buildings allowance (ABAs) is part of a package of measures which also saw the reduction of the main rate of corporation tax and the introduction of a £50,000 annual investment allowance (AIA), allowing 95 per cent. of businesses to write off all their expenditure on plant and machinery in the year in which it is made.
The Government considered carefully the withdrawal of the ABA as part of this package of measures to modernise and simplify corporation tax. Taken as a whole these reforms to the business and personal tax systems are designed to deliver increases in investment and growth overall.
Bob Spink: To ask the Minister for the Olympics if she will consult residents of Hadleigh before any decisions are taken on the development of Hadleigh and the surrounding area to facilitate the Olympic mountain bike events; and if she will make a statement. 
Tessa Jowell: In developing the plans for the mountain biking venue the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) will work with the local authority and the venue owner to ensure that the proposals meet the sporting and operational requirements for staging the Olympic event. Further to the Town Planning process, LOCOG and Essex county council will be talking to the local community to determine how best the games-time and legacy proposals meet with the satisfaction and support of the local people. This is a genuine opportunity to showcase Hadleigh, the county of Essex and the sport of mountain biking to a global audience.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many civil servants working in the Government Equalities Office have pensions with a cash equivalent transfer value of over £1 million. 
Maria Eagle: The budget for the Government Equalities Office can be found in the Core Tables (Annex A) of the Annual Report and Resource Accounts 2007-08 which has been laid in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost of the dinner hosted by his Department at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool on 20 November 2008 was, broken down by category of cost. 
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost of the Digital Britain review has been to date; what estimate he has made of the (a) staff costs and (b) total costs of the review; and when he expects the review to make its final report. 
Andy Burnham [holding answer 19 January 2009]: The estimated cost of the Digital Britain review to date is £195,315, borne jointly by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what the cost of (a) venue hire, (b) travel expenses and (c) food and drink was for the tourism summit hosted by his Department in Liverpool on 8 January 2009; 
(2) what the cost to his Department was of the tourism summit in Liverpool on 8 January.  [Official Report, 2 July 2009, Vol. 495, c. 8MC.]
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