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5 Mar 2009 : Column 1798W—continued


New claims-average actual clearance times
Days
Pension credit Disability living allowance Attendance allowance Carer’s allowance

January 2007

15.2

36.9

17.1

10.5

February 2007

15.8

36.9

16.9

10.5

March 2007

16.4

36.8

16.6

10.6

April 2007

15.7

35.8

14.8

10.5

May 2007

15.0

36.9

15.4

10.3

June 2007

15.0

36.9

15.5

10.4

July 2007

16.8

37.2

15.7

10.8

August 2007

16.5

37.4

16.0

11.0

September 2007

16.7

37.7

16.1

11.2

October 2007

15.4

37.7

15.9

11.6

November 2007

15.8

37.5

15.8

11.7

December 2007

16.3

37.5

15.8

12.1

January 2008

16.3

37.3

15.8

12.1

February 2008

14.8

36.6

15.5

12.2

March 2008

13.2

36.0

15.2

12.4

April 2008

14.2

29.4

13.2

13.8

May 2008

14.1

29.5

12.8

13.9

June 2008

14.5

29.5

12.8

13.7

July 2008

15.6

29.4

12.8

13.3

August 2008

14.9

29.5

12.7

13.1

September 2008

14.1

29.8

12.8

13.0

October 2008

13.8

29.9

12.7

12.7

November 2008

14.8

29.9

12.6

12.6

December 2008

14.9

30.1

12.6

12.6


State pensions new claims-clearance target
State pension (percentage within 60 days or less)

January 2007

95.7

February 2007

94.9

March 2007

94.8

April 2007

91.1

May 2007

88.3

June 2007

89.2

July 2007

89.6

August 2007

91.4

September 2007

93.1

October 2007

94.8

November 2007

96.4

December 2007

95.8

January 2008

96.4

February 2008

96.0

March 2008

96.7

April 2008

95.8

May 2008

94.4

June 2008

92.4

July 2008

91.6

August 2008

92.0

September 2008

92.2

October 2008

96.8

November 2008

97.7

December 2008

97.0

Source:
Management Information.

Social Security Benefits: Interest Rates

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what factors are taken into account in determining the interest rate assumption for calculating entitlement to benefits. [253642]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The first £6,000 of capital (£10,000 for those in care homes) is fully disregarded in the income related benefits: income support, jobseekers allowance (income based), employment support allowance (income based) pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

The formula for calculating the amount of notional income assumed from capital in the income related benefits is not intended to represent any rate of return that could be obtained from investing capital. It provides a simple method of calculating the weekly contribution that people with capital in excess of the level of the disregard are expected to make from their resources to help meet their normal living costs. As there is no link with actual market rates, the tariff income rates within the income related benefits remained unaltered throughout the period of rising interest rates, just as they have done more recently, when interest rates have been lower.

On the introduction of income support in 1988, there was a capital disregard of £3,000 and an upper capital limit of £6,000. Notional income was assumed on capital between these amounts at a rate of £1 for each £250 or part of £250. The rate of tariff income applied to capital in pension credit, which was introduced in 2003, is half the rate of tariff income applied to capital in income support, at £1 for each £500 or part of £500.
5 Mar 2009 : Column 1799W
Upon the introduction of pension credit the rate of tariff income applied to capital housing benefit and council tax benefit for those people who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit was also changed to come into line with that which is applied to pension credit.

Unemployed: New Businesses

Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department has taken to assist unemployed people to start their own businesses. [260188]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 2 March 2009]: The Department offers a self-employment programme to long-term jobseekers through the new deal. This programme offers business advice and, for those who need it, up to six months of ‘test trading’. During test trading the jobseeker receives support from an expert provider and may remain on benefits.

From October, the flexible new deal will start to replace the current suite of new deal programmes, from which point flexible new deal providers will be responsible for deciding how best to help those jobseekers who wish to become self-employed.

The Government want to do as much as they can to help people through this economic downturn. From April, further help will be available to all those who have been out of work and claiming jobseeker’s allowance for six months or more. Working with Business Link in England and through the devolved Administrations, the Government will provide access to short, focused courses on self employment for a wide range of customers. For those who are successful in moving into self-employment, financial support will be offered during the first few months of trading while customers get their businesses going.

Vocational Guidance: Autism

Angela Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the contribution of 27 January 2009, Official Report, column 188, on the Welfare Reform Bill to the hon. Member for Erewash (Liz Blackman), if he will place in the Library a copy of the procedures to be followed by job advisers in helping people with autistic spectrum disorder into work. [258027]

Mr. McNulty: 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.

Letter from Mel Groves:


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