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23 Feb 2009 : Column 98W—continued


23 Feb 2009 : Column 99W

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioner households will receive the extra £60 winter fuel allowance payment in (a) January, (b) February and (c) March 2009; and whether these households will be informed when they can expect to receive the payment. [253625]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There is no extra £60 winter fuel allowance payment. However, there is an additional £60 payment to the Christmas bonus.

Around 12.5 million Christmas bonus recipients are pensioners. It is not possible to determine from the system generated payments the precise number of pensioners who have been paid the additional Christmas bonus as eligibility for the payment is not based on age. However out of the 12.2 million payments issued by 9 February we estimate that over 90 per cent. were to people of pension age.

The remaining pensioners, paid by a different computer system, are due to receive their payments by the end of February with exceptionally some clerical payments after 15 March 2009.

The table sets out the payment schedule for the additional £60 for all entitled customers including pensioners.

Actual and forecasted volumes for additional £60 payment

Volume payments to be made Percentage of forecasted total

1 January 2009 to 15 January 2009

12,175,120

81.94

16 January 2009 to 31 January 2009

41,630

0.28

1 February 2009 to 15 February 2009

49,390

0.33

16 February 2009 to 28 February 2009

1,302,100

8.76

1 March 2009 to 15 March 2009

1,289,700

8.69

16 March 2009 to 31 March 2009

(1)0

0

(1) Exceptionally some payments may be issued clerically after 15 March 2009
Notes:
1. All payment figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. As of 9 February 2009 DWP have issued 12,231,904 payments.
3. The total volume of payments forecast to be made is 14,857,929.
Source:
Special Payment Programme weekly review document 11 February 2009.

A series of newspaper advertisements were published in the week of 5 January to alert all recipients of the Christmas bonus to the additional £60 payments and to explain that payments would be made between January and March 2009.

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioner households in each constituency are entitled to receive the extra £60 winter fuel allowance payment. [253626]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The extra £60 is an increase in the Christmas bonus payment not the winter fuel payment. It is not possible to provide the number of pensioner households in receipt of the Christmas bonus as the Christmas bonus is paid according to an individual’s eligibility.


23 Feb 2009 : Column 100W

However, I have placed in the Library information on the approximate number of individual pensioners in each constituency eligible to receive the extra £60 Christmas bonus payment.

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints his Department has received regarding incorrect winter fuel payments in each of the last five years. [255976]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In winter 2008-09 we made over 12 million winter fuel payments to over 8.5 million households. The answer is in the following table.

Complaints regarding incorrect winter fuel payments for the past five years

Number

2004

330

2005

613

2006

527

2007

415

2008

464

Total

2,349

Source:
CDC Respond

Winter Fuel Payments: Greater London

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people entitled to a winter fuel payment in Greater London are yet to receive their payment from the last round of applications. [254805]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The information requested is not available.

Of the 12 million winter fuel payments, the vast majority, over 95 per cent. are made automatically before Christmas based on information already held in DWP records. In these cases individuals do not need to make an application.

However there are a small group of people who may qualify for winter fuel payments who need to make an application. This is usually because they are not in receipt of a state pension or other benefit administered by the DWP. Applications for this year must be received by March 2009. Payments are made in stages between November 2008 and May 2009 depending on when the application and supporting information is received.

In winter 2006-07, the last year for which figures are available, 1,082,070 people in the London Government Office region received a winter fuel payment.

Communities and Local Government

Anti-Semitism

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps the Government is taking to protect the Jewish community from anti-Semitic attacks; and if she will make a statement. [256730]

Mr. Khan: Following the dramatic rise in anti-Semitic attacks recorded since the onset of the conflict in Gaza, the Secretary of State and I met with representatives
23 Feb 2009 : Column 101W
from Jewish organisations to provide reassurance that we are taking the action necessary to tackle the recent upsurge in anti-Semitism. The Government will continue to engage with relevant agencies including the Community Security Trust to ensure that the Jewish community is fully protected from the scourge of anti-Semitism.

The ‘All-Party Inquiry into Antisemitism: Government Response One year on Progress Report’ published in May 2008 set out the Government's current programme of work to combat anti-Semitism. On 11 February, I attended a ministerial seminar hosted by my hon. Friend the Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism to discuss the Government's strategy towards tackling anti-Semitism on the internet. This was one of the key commitments set out in the progress report.

The UK is also taking an international lead in tackling anti-Semitism and hosted a landmark conference in February which brought together MPs and experts from across the globe to tackle anti-Semitism.

Bellwin Scheme

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was claimed under the Bellwin scheme following the summer floods of 2007; and how much has been paid out to local authorities. [257331]

John Healey: Local authorities claimed a total of £24,074,196 under the Bellwin scheme for the 2007 summer floods. £5,278,917 was excluded as it was not eligible expenditure under the scheme. A total of £18,795,279 was therefore paid out under the Bellwin scheme by the Department.

Community Relations

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps the Government has taken to improve community relations between diverse populations. [257705]

Mr. Khan: In 2007 we announced a renewed commitment to community cohesion with a £50 million investment over three years and a new public service agreement to build cohesive, active and empowered communities. We continue to support local authorities in delivering improvements in cohesion by providing a framework of guidance and targeted local support.

In addition in July 2008 we published the Inter Faith framework which aims to facilitate inter faith dialogue, thus building understanding and celebrating the values held in common by the different faith communities, such as integrity in public life, care, compassion and respect. The framework, which is supported by a funding commitment of over £7.5 million, is also intended to increase the level of collaborative social action involving different faith communities and wider civil society, so that people work together to bring about positive and concrete change within their local communities. Finally, it aims to maintain and further develop good relations between faith communities and wider civil society.

This work will also make a positive contribution to work we are undertaking to deliver the Meaningful Interaction strand of PSA21 (Cohesive Engaged
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Empowered Communities) which aim to encourage meaningful interaction between people from different backgrounds.

Council Housing: Hampshire

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people are on local authority housing waiting lists in (a) Winchester and (b) Hampshire; and what the equivalent figures were (i) five and (ii) 10 years ago. [257788]

Mr. Khan: Information is available on numbers of households rather than people. The number of households registered on local authority housing waiting lists in each local authority, as at 1 April each year, is published on the Communities and Local Government website in Table 600. The latest available data are at April 2008. The link for this table is given below:

Local authorities in England report the numbers of households on their housing waiting list as at 1 April in their annual Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix returns. The number of households on local authorities’ waiting lists in Hampshire is provided in the following table. This includes numbers for each local authority in Hampshire, including Winchester.

Number of households on the waiting list (excludes households looking for transfers)

April 1998 April 2003 April 2008

Basingstoke and Deane

3,584

4,497

5,633

East Hampshire

2,109

2,238

2,153

Eastleigh

1,169

3,424

5,604

Fareham

669

1,625

1,717

Gosport

1,047

1,412

3,076

Hart

739

970

1,882

Havant

2,220

2,349

4,232

New Forest

1,455

2,428

5,228

Rushmoor

1,290

2,189

3,102

Test Valley

1,768

2,189

3,048

Winchester

1,094

1,237

2,230

Hampshire (administrative)

17,144

24,558

37,905

Portsmouth UA

4,264

5,525

4,562

Southampton UA

3,902

6,697

11,662

Note:
The cities of Southampton and Portsmouth are not included in the administrative Hampshire total.
Source:
Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA).

Further information on the number of households on the local authority housing waiting lists for England, can be found in the statistical release “Local Authority Housing Statistics England: 2007-08: Housing Strategy Statistical Appendix (HSSA) and Business Plan Statistical Appendix (BPSA)”. This was published on 22 January 2009 on the Communities and Local Government website at:

Copies of the statistical release and live table have been deposited in the Library.


23 Feb 2009 : Column 103W

Departmental Contracts

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne of 29 October 2008, Official Report, columns 1137-40W, on departmental contracts, what the (a) purpose and (b) project topic is of each consultancy contract in the table provided in the answer. [252798]

Mr. Khan: A revised table showing (a) purpose and (b) project topic, has been deposited in the Library of the House.


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