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Pension Credit: Overpayments

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason her Department's estimate of the proportion of pension credit benefit expenditure overpayments rose in each year since 2007; and what steps she plans to take to (a) improve levels of accuracy in forecasting such over expenditure and (b) reduce the number of overpayments of pension credit. [311022]

Angela Eagle: The proportion of Pension Credit benefit expenditure overpayments has fallen since 2006-07 from 5.3 per cent to 5.1 per cent. The available information is provided in the following table.

Estimated Pension Credit overpayments since 2006-07
Fraud and Error (%)







Percentage figures refer to an estimate of the percentage of benefit overpaid during the time period.

The Department does not produce projections for the amount it expects to lose as a result of fraud and error. However, the Department does have a departmental strategic objective to reduce overpayments as a result of fraud, official error and customer error to 1.8 per cent. of total benefit expenditure by March 2011.

We have a comprehensive strategy to reduce fraud and error across the benefits system, including initiatives for pension credit. These include addressing the most common errors through staff training, strengthening the checks that are undertaken before claims are put into payment, and matching our pension credit data against data from other Government and external sources to identify potential overpayments.


Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will estimate the cost to the Exchequer in (a) public sector pensions, (b) uprating the guaranteed minimum pension of private sector pensions and (c ) other occupational pension costs of a 2.5 per cent. increase in 2010-11 in (i) additional pension, (ii) increments to basic pension, (iii) increments to additional pension, (iv) increments to graduated retirement benefit, (v) increments to the inheritable lump sum, (vi) contracted-out deduction from additional pension in respect of pre-April 1988 contracted-out earnings, (vii) contracted-out deduction from additional pension in respect of contracted-out
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earnings from April 1988 to 1997, (viii) graduated retirement benefit, (ix) increase of long term incapacity for age, (x) basic pension addition at age of 80 years, (xi) increase of long-term incapacity for age and (xii) invalidity allowance (transitional) for state pension recipients. [308334]

Angela Eagle: The total cost to the Exchequer in (a) public sector pensions, of uprating Additional Pension components by 2.5 per cent. is approximately £0.7 billion in 2010-11. More detailed information is not available.

Parts (b) and (c) of this question do not result in any costs to the Exchequer.

Social Security Benefits: Payments

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many benefit payments were delayed in each month of 2009; what the monetary value of such payments was in each such month; and for what reasons a benefit payment may be delayed. [313095]

Jim Knight: Information on the number and value of delayed benefit payments is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Delay in making a payment of benefit may be the result of any number of factors including, but not limited to, customers not providing necessary evidence, volumes of work, delays in the banking or postal system, and simple error or oversight. The Department and its Executive agencies, Jobcentre Plus and the Pension, Disability and Carers Service, are committed to providing the best possible customer service and do their utmost to ensure that any delays caused by factors within their control are kept to a minimum.

Unemployment: Leeds

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what steps she has taken to reduce unemployment in Leeds West constituency amongst young people since 2001; and if she will make a statement; [306947]

(2) what steps she has taken to reduce levels of long-term unemployment in Leeds West constituency since 2001; and if she will make a statement. [306953]

Jim Knight: As part of the Government's commitment to support people into work, £5 billion has been made available across the UK since November 2008 to offer extra support to jobseekers to help them find work at all stages of their claim.

The Department has quadrupled the available funding for the rapid response service, which provides advice and support to customers facing redundancy. Also, we launched an enhanced offer to all jobseekers at day one of their claim which includes targeted group sessions in jobsearch techniques, access to local employment partnership vacancies and access to help with the costs of getting back to work through the adviser discretionary fund.

At the six-month point in a claim, all jobseekers now have access to a substantial package of extra support
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including recruitment subsidies, work-focused training places, volunteering opportunities and support to become self-employed.

In addition, 18-24 year olds in Leeds West who have been claiming jobseeker's allowance for six months or more have access to the new deal for young people, and customers aged 25 and over who have been unemployed for 18 months continuously or for 18 out of the last 21 months or more have access to the New Deal 25 Plus programme.

The new flexible new deal and supporting interventions, which build on the success of the New Deal programmes, will be introduced in Leeds West from April 2010.

The Government have also targeted significant new resource on young people in recognition of the particular challenges young people face during a recession. These measures are designed to prevent, wherever possible, young people experiencing prolonged spells of unemployment early in their working lives.

On 29 July 2009, the Government launched a campaign called "Backing Young Britain", calling on businesses, charities and government bodies to create more opportunities for young people, such as internships, work experience placements, links to mentors and apprenticeships. Almost 18,000 graduate internships have already become available across the UK and thousands more opportunities will follow early in 2010. Over 470 organisations are supporting the campaign, with numbers growing all the time.

Furthermore, on 25 January 2010, the Government launched the "Young Person's Guarantee", meaning all 18-24 year olds who have been claiming jobseeker's allowance for six months are now guaranteed a job, work placement or work-related skills training.

Leeds is already benefiting from successful future jobs fund bids from Leeds City council and Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Forum Ltd, which will create up to 734 jobs in the Leeds area.

In addition, we are introducing access to a named personal adviser to all young people from day one of their claim. This will be available to all from April.

Unemployment: North Tyneside

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in North Tyneside whose occupation is registered as electrician or electrical fitter are receiving jobseeker's allowance. [314501]

Jim Knight [holding answer 1 February 2010]: As at December 2009, there were 40 people claiming jobseeker's allowance in the North Tyneside parliamentary constituency whose sought occupation was recorded as electrician or electrical fitter.

Unemployment: Young People

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what expenditure her Department has incurred on advertising the Backing Young Britain campaign in the last 12 months. [314275]

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Jonathan Shaw: Backing Young Britain is a cross-Government campaign targeted at business, public sector organisations and the voluntary sector. It aims to encourage organisations of all sizes to provide more opportunities for young people aged 16-24.

The advertising costs incurred to date in the last 12 months on Backing Young Britain are £98,000.

Work Capability Assessment: Complaints

Hazel Blears: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints have been made to her Department on a work capability assessment since the introduction of the employment and support allowance. [313320]

Jonathan Shaw: Information on the number of complaints received by the Department specifically about the Work Capability Assessment element of Employment and Support Allowance is not available.

In the Quarter September 2009 to November 2009 Atos Healthcare received a total of 702 complaints from Employment Support Allowance claimants who were referred for a medical assessment.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when she plans to answer question 300567, on departmental pay, tabled on 18 November 2009. [313140]

Jim Knight: I replied to the hon. Member's question on 20 January 2010, Official Report, column 353-54W.

Communities and Local Government

Energy Performance Certificates

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of commercial buildings (a) built, (b) rented and (c) sold without the required energy performance certificate in each local authority area since 1 October 2008; and how many penalties have been issued in respect of each such area in that period. [314783]

John Healey: No information is collected centrally about the number of commercial buildings that are sold, rented out or constructed or the number of fixed penalty notices that are issued for failure to provide an energy performance certificate (EPC) in such cases. It is not therefore possible to say how many such buildings were sold, rented out or constructed without an EPC during that period.

Home Information Packs

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will list the members of his Department's working group on condition information in the home buying and selling process; how many times the working group has met to date; and what the timetable is for it to report. [314982]

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Mr. Ian Austin: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) on 6 May 2009, Official Report, columns 240-41W, which dealt with the membership of the Working Group on Condition Information in the Home Buying and Selling Process. The Working Group met six times between March and October 2009. The group has now submitted its final report to the Department and we are looking carefully at the recommendations.


Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his Department's most recent estimate is of the number of people in each region who are homeless but who are not included in local authority homelessness statistics; and if he will make a statement. [313859]

Mr. Ian Austin: Beyond the information that CLG collects and publishes on local housing authorities' activities under homelessness legislation, the Department has figures on counts of people found sleeping rough. Rough sleeping street count figures, collected from local authorities, are published at a local, regional and national level. In 1998 there were estimated to be 1,850 rough sleepers in England. Since then good progress has been made in reducing the total number of rough sleepers to 464 in street counts in 2009. The 2009 total street count figures are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Total street counts, by region, 2009

North East


Yorkshire and the Humber


East Midlands


East of England




South East


South West


West Midlands


North West




The Department also has data on Supporting People (SP) clients whose predominant need for housing related support was associated with homelessness when they first accessed a SP service. There are three primary client group categories whose predominant need is associated with homelessness: 'Single homeless', 'Rough sleeper' and 'Homeless families with support needs'.

Data are collected on primary 'client group' categories every time a client accesses housing related support services funded by the Supporting People programme. Figures for the number of clients accessing a SP service at any point in time are not available, but information by region on the number of clients in these client groups who accessed housing related support services during the period 1st April 2008 to 31 March 2009 are available from the Centre for Housing Research at University of St Andrew's Supporting People client record website:

Data are collected on a client group every time they enter a housing related support service, so it could be that clients access different services over the course of a year and appear more than once in the Supporting
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People data. We are unable to say how many of these clients may potentially be included in the information on local housing authorities' activities under homelessness legislation.

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many complaints have been received by the local government ombudsman on the administration of services for those who are (a) intentionally homeless and (b) sleeping rough in each of the last three years. [314662]

Mr. Ian Austin: The number of complaints involving aspects of intentional homelessness received by the local government ombudsman for the last three years is as follows:








Data on the number of complaints received by the local government ombudsman on rough sleeping is not available.

Homes and Communities Agency and Tenant Services Authority: Loans

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much (a) the Homes and Communities Agency and (b) the Tenant Services Authority paid in loans to employees in each of the last three years; and how many such loans were made. [315195]

John Healey: From 1 December 2008, the Homes and Communities Agency paid out 93 loans totalling £180,429.03. The TSA paid out 68 loans the total of which was £160,927.

As neither agency existed prior to 1 December 2008 no figures are available for the period before that time.

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