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Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether rates of local housing allowance paid by local housing authorities are adjusted at the time of the outcome of a 12-month review of the rate of local housing allowance calculated by the Rent Service. 
Kitty Ussher: Rent officers review and notify local housing allowance rates for a range of property sizes to local authorities each month. When a person living in the deregulated private rented sector claims housing benefit the local authority will use the appropriate local housing allowance rate, based on the area where the person lives and the size of their household, to determine the maximum amount to be included in the benefit calculation. That maximum amount will not be reviewed until the anniversary of the claim unless the person changes address or a change in the composition of the household affects the number of bedrooms it requires. At the point the maximum amount is reviewed, the local authority will apply the latest local housing allowance rate appropriate to the claim. This can lead to an adjustment, upwards or downwards, in the amount payable.
Kitty Ussher: Guidance on the use of vulnerability criteria was issued to local authorities prior to the national rollout of local housing allowance on 7 April 2008 and is kept under regular review. We are satisfied that the criteria are being applied in line with the policy intention and currently have no plans to revise them.
Kitty Ussher [holding answer 23 March 2009]: As promised by my predecessor, on 7 March 2008, Official Report, column 2862W, this information is placed in the House of Commons Library and updated on a quarterly basis.
Through the Growth Fund the Department is increasing access to affordable credit for those at risk of financial exclusion. A further £38 million allocated from the Financial Inclusion Fund for the period 2008 to 2011 will be used to maintain and increase coverage in existing Growth Fund areas, and extend coverage to the highest priority, under-served areas identified by the Financial Inclusion Taskforces recent mapping research.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many responses were received to his Departments consultation on the draft Child Poverty Bill; and when he plans to publish the Bill. 
The Child Poverty Unit also held a key stakeholders consultation event on 3 March to discuss the questions raised in the consultation document. Save the Children organised a number of events to get the views of children and young people, attended by 129 children.
In addition to consultation responses, Government Offices have held a series of consultation events with local authorities and other delivery partners to discuss the proposals set out in Ending Child Poverty: Making it Happen.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications for crisis loans from residents of each constituency were (a) made and (b) approved in each year since 1997; and what the average value of loan made was in each constituency in each of those years. 
Data on crisis loans are not held by constituency, but by Jobcentre Plus Social Fund budget area. Before that they were held by Jobcentre Plus district and prior to that by Social Fund district. Since May 2002, there have been several changes to the boundaries of administrative areas. As a result, data which can be compared across time are available for all Jobcentre Plus Social Fund budget areas from September 2006 only.
|Crisis loans for 2007-08 for Great Britain|
|Jobcentre Plus Social Fund budget area (ordered by region)||Applications received||Initial awards||Average initial award (£)|
1. Figures are for initial awards only. Awards made after review are not included.
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
DWP Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what consideration he has given to authorising the provision of good quality second-hand furniture from the Social Fund when it makes grants in kind; and if he will make a statement. 
|Date||Number of AccessNI s taff|
Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) basic, (b) standard and (c) enhanced applications have been processed by AccessNI in each month since April 2008; and what percentage of each category was completed within the performance target time. 
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