|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many crisis loans awarded in each of the last five years were made to applicants who had previously received more than three crisis loans in the same year. 
|Crisis l oan awards for Great Britain|
|Number of awards made to applicants who had previously received four or more awards in the year|
1. If, for example, an applicant received seven awards in a financial year, three awards would be counted in the table.
2. The numbers of applications and repayable loans which could be held on the Social Fund Computer System for an individual customer were increased in October 2006. This means that the figures for 2003-04 to 2005-06 are not strictly comparable with that for 2006-07 or for 2007-08, but the impact is small.
3. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.
Analysis of scans of Crisis Loan final decisions taken in each financial year and held on the Social Fund Computer System on 30 September following the financial year. A final decision is either an initial decision or a review decision. One award is counted for each application which is successful initially and/or on review. For each financial year: awards for which initial decisions were made before the financial year but which were reviewed in the financial year are included on the scan; awards on which initial decisions were made in the financial year but which were reviewed after the year ended are not included on the scan.
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much (a) electricity, (b) gas and (c) other fuel has been used by (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies since its inception. 
Jonathan Shaw: The following table gives a breakdown of the energy used by the Department, including its agencies since 2001. As this is consumption data only, it has not been subject to weather correction, and will therefore vary from information published in previous Sustainable Development in Government reports:
|Electricity MWh||Gas MWh||Oil MWh||Total MWh|
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the percentage of people diagnosed with autism who were in employment in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department for Work and Pensions does not have a separate or identifiable account code in departmental finance records to distinguish expenditure on flowers. To try and identify any such expenditure would incur a disproportionate amount of time and cost.
Spending public money on flowers as gifts for staff is not allowed under any circumstances, in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety which is based on the principles set out in Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.
Kitty Ussher: Entitlement to housing benefit is assessed by comparing a customers net income with an amount intended to cover day to day living expenses called an applicable amount. If the customers income is below or equal to the applicable amount, they will normally receive the maximum available help with their rent.
If the net income is above the applicable amount, a fixed taper of 65p for each pound that the income exceeds that level is applied. This means the amount of housing benefit is reduced by 65p for each pound of income above the applicable amount.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) job searches Jobcentre Plus handled through its website and (b) employers posted vacancies through Jobcentre Plus Employer Direct Online service in each (i) region and (ii) Jobcentre Plus district in each (A) year from 2002 to 2009 and (B) of the last 24 months. 
Mr. McNulty: People across the country can search for jobs anywhere in the country via the Jobcentre Plus website. It is therefore not possible to determine which region or Jobcentre Plus district a user lives in.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what level of assistance his Department provided for vulnerable households under the support for mortgage interest scheme in the period immediately prior to 5 January 2009; and what level has been provided under the scheme since that date; 
Kitty Ussher: Help is provided towards the interest on mortgages (known as support for mortgage interest (SMI)) as part of income support (IS), income-based jobseekers allowance (JSA(IB)), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA(IR)) and state pension credit (SPC).
Prior to 5 January, home owners claiming IS, JSA(IB), ESA(IR) generally had to serve a waiting period of 39 weeks before assistance was provided towards their eligible housing costs. Customers in receipt of state pension credit (SPC) receive help immediately with their housing costs as they do not serve a waiting period.
Some home owners, who were considered to be vulnerable, received help towards their housing costs earlier than 39 weeks. Help for these groups was provided at 50 per cent. of eligible mortgage interest after eight weeks then full eligible assistance after 26 weeks. The groups were: carers; widow(er)s or people who have been abandoned by their partner and who had responsibility for the care of a child; prisoners detained in custody pending trial or sentence upon conviction; and those who had been refused payments under an insurance policy due to either a pre-existing medical condition or because they were infected by HIV or AIDs.
From 5 January 2009, all working age customers (those claiming IS, JSA(IB) or ESA(IR)) making new claims will receive help with 100 per cent. of their eligible housing costs after a waiting period of 13 weeks.
This compares favourably with the previous position because although some customers received 50 per cent. of eligible housing costs after eight weeks under the old rules, they had to wait 26 weeks before receiving 100 per cent. We believe that this more generous help, taken together with the increased capital limit for working age customers from £100,000 to £200,000, will reduce the risk of repossessions.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) maximum amount which could be claimed and (b) time limit for claims under the support for mortgage interest scheme was in the period up to 5 January 2009; and what the limit has been since that date. 
Kitty Ussher: Where a home owner is getting income support (IS), income-based jobseekers Allowance (JSA(IB)), income-related employment and support allowance (ESA(IR)) or state pension credit (SPC) and they have a mortgage, those benefits may include an additional element called support for mortgage interest (SMI). SMI is meant to assist the home owner with the interest on their mortgage, and an additional amount is included in the applicable amount. It is not a separate benefit, rather an integral part of IS, JSA(IB), ESA(IR) and SPC.
The amount of SMI is calculated by applying a standard interest rate (SIR) to the capital outstanding on the mortgage, subject to upper limits on the amount of that capital. From 5 January, for new claims to IS, JSA and ESA, the capital limit was increased from £100,000 to £200,000. The existing £100,000 capital
limit has been retained in SPC, but we will allow those getting help via SMI on loans over £100,000 to keep the higher capital limit when they move on to SPC within 12 weeks of a claim for a working age benefit ending, for as long as they remain entitled to SPC.
Previously, the SIR had been set at the Bank of England base rate plus an additional 1.58 per cent. However, the Government are concerned that recent cuts in the base rate will disadvantage significant number of customers on benefit if they are reflected in SMI calculations. For this reason, the Chancellor announced in the pre-Budget report on 24 November 2008 that the SIR will remain at 6.08 per cent. for six months.
In addition, the waiting period before help through SMI starts was shortened from 39 or 26 weeks to 13 weeks for new, some repeat and some existing working age claims. There is no waiting period for home owners claiming SPC.
A two-year time limit on SMI for new, some repeat and some existing JSA claims only was introduced from 5 January 2009. Prior to this, help through SMI was available so long as there was a liability for the mortgage and so long as there was entitlement to JSA.
The SMI changes are a temporary short-term measure intended to help people over the potentially difficult labour market problems they face and help limit repossessions, rather than changing existing qualifying conditions, and will be reviewed once housing market conditions are more favourable.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the service fee element of the Flexible New Deal contracts will be (a) for the first 18 months and (b) over the full term of the contract. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 11 March 2009]: DWP will retain a performance and payment regime based largely on outcomes, providing shortlisted bidders with the opportunity to develop innovative, individually tailored solutions. DWPs expectation is to have a funding model based on 80 per cent. (outcome) and 20 per cent. (fee based) as originally announced. However, in the initial phase of the contract (first 18 months), DWP will consider alternative models based on a higher service fee element. After the initial phase of the contract we anticipate returning to the funding model as originally announced.
To be eligible for a budgeting loan a person has to be in receipt of a qualifying income related benefit. The qualifying benefits are: income support; income-based jobseekers allowance; income-related employment and support allowance or pension credit.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been disqualified from benefits for 13 weeks under the two strikes policy in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
|Number of cases where sanction applies||Number of cases where sanction applied to subsequent benefit entitlement||Number of cases where sanction in abeyancebenefit not in payment|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|