|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he made an estimate of the number of people with cancer who received the cold weather payment in (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009. 
Cold weather payments are paid automatically to people receiving pension credit and to those receiving certain income related benefits who are disabled, have a disabled child or a child under age five.
Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of quality management statements in assisting with contract decisions by his Department; and what assessment he has made of the effects of such statements on the prospects for small businesses winning contracts. 
Chris Grayling: DWP, as part of its selection criteria, will assess a bidder's technical or professional ability, including quality management. As part of the tender evaluation process, procurement staff must include, within the published evaluation criteria, details of any weighting system used and how the tender will be scored with reference to quality management.
Bidders are required to describe what quality management measures they operate relevant to the bid specification. Where specific quality standards are required to meet technical contract requirements, bidders are permitted to provide evidence of equivalent or comparable processes or systems.
Evaluation criteria will clearly state the scoring attached to quality management and the minimum acceptable standard required to deliver the contract. Provided a bidder can demonstrate their capability to deliver a contract, there are no barriers that impact on the likely success of small businesses winning contracts.
Commercial activities in DWP are determined by EU procurement rules. One of the primary objectives of the European Union is the prevention of discrimination and restriction on the movement of goods or services. Any specification, even those not subject to the EU rules, must ensure that they comply with this objective. A member state or contracting authority, such as DWP, cannot adopt measures that are, even potentially, restrictive.
Sustainable procurement considerations ensure that opportunities for small businesses to bid for DWP contracts are maximised. Use of electronic procurement, division of requirements into local/regional lots and supplier briefings all help to improve access.
Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what grants have been awarded by his Department in 2010-11 to date; what grants he plans to award in each of the next two years; what the monetary value is of each such grant fund; and to which organisations such grants have been made; 
|Description of grant||Paid to||2009-10||2010-11( 1)||2010-11( 2)|
|(1) To 31 October|
(2) Full year forecast
1. Factory Support Grant was a small scale aspect of Workstep intended to help improve specialist disability employment services by providing funding for supported businesses to, for example, buy new machinery or modernise the services they offer.
2. Current year figures are based on actual spend, as shown in the departmental general ledger, and forecasts which are subject to change.
3. For the purposes of this answer, grants are interpreted to be one-off payments to individuals or other entities to support the objectives of the Department. Payments which are on-going in nature, for example subsidies to local authorities for housing benefit administration, or grants in aid to non-departmental public bodies have not been included.
4. Funding for the Factory Support Grant, the Future Jobs Fund, and the Deprived Areas Fund have either already ended or will end this financial year.
5. The Department is now working through the financial implications of its spending review settlement and details are not available on future funding amounts for particular grants at present.
Chris Grayling: The Employment and Support Allowance (Transitional Provisions, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit) (Existing Awards) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010/ 875) were revoked by the Employment and Support Allowance (Transitional Provisions, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit) (Existing Awards) (Revocation) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010/1906)
The Disability Discrimination (Meaning of Disability) Regulations 1996 (S.I. 1996/1455)
The Disability Discrimination (Providers of Services) (Adjustment of Premises) Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/3253)
The Disability Discrimination (Blind and Partially Sighted Persons) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/712)
The Disability Discrimination (Employment Field) (Leasehold Premises) Regulations 2004 (S.I. 2004/153)
The Disability Discrimination (Educational Institutions) (Alteration of Leasehold Premises) Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/1070)
The Disability Discrimination (Service Providers and Public Authorities Carrying Out Functions) Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/2901)
The Disability Discrimination (Private Clubs etc) Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/3258)
The Disability Discrimination (Premises) Regulations 2006 (S.I. 2006/887).
The Transfer of State Pensions and Benefits Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 (SR (NI) 2007/286) were revoked by the Transfer of State Pensions and Benefits (Amendment) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010/1825).
Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of children likely to be affected by the implementation of the proposed withdrawal of the mobility component of disability living allowance from claimants living in residential care. 
Chris Grayling: 102 organisations, SPV or consortia submitted bids in respect of the DWP Framework for the Provision of Employment Related Support Services. A list of organisations that submitted bids can be found on the Supplying DWP website
Those organisations that were accepted onto the framework were notified on 25 November and a list has also been published on the Supplying DWP website. Only those organisations that have been successful in being admitted to the framework as prime contractors will be invited to tender for Work Programme contracts. Organisations will only be able to bid in lots where they have been successful in the framework competition.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) assumptions and (b) calculations his Department made when formulating its estimate of the market value of Work Programme contracts contained in the framework agreement for the provision of employment-related support services. 
Chris Grayling: Assumptions and calculations on the estimated value of Work Programme contracts and indeed other contracts which will be let from the framework, were developed from information on the value of existing welfare to work programmes. These took into account the intention to radically simplify the array of existing employment programmes and deliver coherent, integrated support more capable of dealing with complex and overlapping barriers to work. Estimates were broad in order to provide transparency to the market and to ensure that the framework would be able to meet requirements to be the principal vehicle for sourcing all employment related support services for the full life of the framework, not just for DWP, but also for other eligible contracting authorities. Calculations also took into account the need to deliver greater value for money on future welfare to work contracts.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to place any restrictions on sub-contracting within the procurement processes for the Work Programme. 
Chris Grayling: There are no plans to place any restrictions on sub-contracting within the procurement processes for the Work Programme. Evaluation of bids will, at least in part, depend on the quality of their supply chain.
Mr Douglas Alexander:
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the geographical areas are for contracting for each type of back-to-work
provision; and what geographical areas there will be for contracts under the Work Programme. 
Chris Grayling: The DWP Framework for the Provision of Employment Related Support Services will be divided into 11 geographical lots. The lots are: South East, South West, London, East of England, East Midlands, West Midlands, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, North East, Scotland, Wales. Contracts let under the framework may be across all lots, cover a specific lot or a smaller geographical area(s) within a lot.
Chris Grayling: Universal credit will make work pay. It will enable workers to retain more of their earnings when they enter work, providing stronger financial incentives to take job opportunities than under the current system.
Establishing a single withdrawal rate and eliminating the hours rules currently present in working tax credit has the potential to create a much more flexible labour market, where workers will be able to work the number of hours that most suits their needs and those of their employer.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the contribution by the Minister of State for Work and Pensions, the hon. Member for Thornbury and Yate (Steve Webb) of 9 November 2010, Official Report, column 154, on housing benefit, what the evidential basis was for his assessment of the change in private rents since November 2008. 
Steve Webb: The source of the private rental data was the Find A Property index. This has been used by the DWP and wider Government since 2008, when CLG stopped producing their own private rental index. The Office for National Statistics does not publish up-to-date private rental data.
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the likely effects on levels of housing benefit payments of the implementation of his Department's decision to merge high rental and low rental areas; and if he will make a statement. 
We will be considering the areas in which local housing allowance rates are set in the context of our proposal to uprate local housing allowance rates
according to the consumer price index from April 2013. We have not as yet made any decisions on the constitution of these areas.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the proposed changes to local housing allowance will apply to people who are part way through a tenancy which was signed prior to the changes coming into effect. 
Steve Webb: Changes to local housing allowance rates apply to customers at the anniversary of their claim. The anniversary may coincide with the date they are due to renew a tenancy or it could fall part way through the tenancy. For existing customers who will be affected by changes to local housing allowance rates from April 2011, we are allowing an additional period of up to nine months from the anniversary of their claim during which they will be protected from a reduction in their local housing allowance rate. This will allow them extra time to renegotiate their rental commitment or, if necessary, look for alternative accommodation.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to make exceptions to the proposed limits on payments of local housing allowance to claimants under 35 years to a shared room rate in respect of those with (a) learning difficulties and (b) mental health disorders. 
Steve Webb: The shared room rate already has exemptions which will continue to apply for people in vulnerable situations. The exemptions include local authority and housing association tenants and those in certain supported accommodation.
Customers who receive the middle or higher rate care component of disability living allowance, and where no one gets a carer's allowance for them, are also exempt. We are currently considering the detailed design of this proposal, which is not due to be implemented until April 2012.
|Housing benefit recipients by family type and employment status in Newham, August 2010|
|HB non passported||Of which: In employment|
1. The figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
2. Housing benefit figures exclude any extended payment cases. An extended payment is a payment that may be received for a further four weeks when they start working full-time, work more hours or earn more money.
3. Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE) is a monthly electronic scan of claimant level data direct from local authority computer systems. It replaces quarterly aggregate clerical returns. The data are available monthly from November 2008 and August 2010 is the latest available.
4. People claiming housing benefit not in receipt of a passported benefit are recorded as being in employment if their local authority has recorded employment income from either the main claimant, or partner of claimant (if applicable), in calculating the housing benefit award.
5. Passported status does not include recipients with unknown passported status.
August 2010 Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE)
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the likely effect on (a) the economy of the North East and (b) housing provision of planned reductions in the level of housing benefit and council tax benefit payments. 
Mr Robin Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Worcestershire and (b) Worcester were in receipt of housing benefit of more than £400 per week in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Single Housing Benefit Extract for July 2010.
Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans the Government have to implement the recommendations of the Rita Donaghy report entitled One Death is too Many: inquiry into the Underlying Causes of Construction Fatal Accidents. 
Chris Grayling: The Government are committed to addressing the heavy toll of deaths in the construction industry which was highlighted in Baroness Donaghy's report. We will therefore progress those of the Donaghy recommendations accepted by the previous Administration which we consider are supported by the available evidence. For example, consistent with recommendation eight of the Donaghy report, the Government have actively supported the new specification for "pre-qualification" criteria in the construction industry, introduced by the British Standards Institution in October and which has the potential to radically simplify the pre-qualification process for small firms tendering for construction work. Where, however, we lack firm evidence for particular recommendations-for example, that directors' health and safety duties need to be further strengthened-we do not propose to take further action at this time.
Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent representations he has received on the work of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE); and how many sites were formally inspected by a HSE inspector after a serious accident in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Chris Grayling: The Secretary of State has the principal responsibility to Parliament for the Health and Safety Executive and routinely receives representations on their work. Recent representations are concerned with a range of matters relating to the formulation and development of Government policy.
These serious accidents are categorised as fatalities and major injuries, such as amputations and fractures, that were reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR 95).
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assistance his Department plans to give to those living in remote rural areas to (a) access jobcentres to see what vacancies are available and (b) access the labour market in areas with poor local transport. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about what assistance his Department plans to give to those living in remote rural areas to (a) access jobcentres to see what vacancies are available and (b) access the labour market in areas with poor local transport. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus is committed to providing all customers, including those in rural areas, with the help they need to find work as quickly as possible. We do this through a combination of the largest network of offices within Government, which is used
primarily to provide face-to-face advice and guidance at the outset of the claim and at key stages thereafter; and alternative means of service delivery such as telephony and the Internet.
In terms of plans to help those in remote areas access vacancies, everyone receives information, advice and guidance at the new claims interview about how to make best use of appropriate vacancy sources. As part of this, people receive information about the Directgov Internet Job Bank and Jobseeker Direct (the Jobcentre Plus telephony-based vacancy matching service), both of which provide remote, fast and easy access to thousands of jobs. As a further development, we have also launched a new application for the iPhone and Google Android systems, which offers people an innovative way to search for a job through their telephone handset.
Looking ahead and in transforming our labour market services still further, we aim to provide a much improved, more efficient automated service to help employers post and fill vacancies and jobseekers access available jobs. As part of this, the intention is to extend the current job search facility to include vacancies from employer websites and other job boards; and to create secure customer profiles, which will be used to automatically notify employers of suitable applicants and individuals of suitable jobs.
In terms of helping people access the labour market in areas with poor local transport, Jobcentre Plus advisers will offer information, advice and guidance to claimants and provide access to measures such as the Travel to Interview Scheme to help with the cost of attending interviews. We also administer the Adviser Discretion Fund, which is used to help customers overcome small challenges preventing them from taking-up the offer of employment. In appropriate circumstances, the Fund can help with travel to work costs until receipt of first wages. All awards are at adviser discretion, taking into account individual customer circumstances and all awards must represent good value for taxpayer's money.
Following the coalition Government's announcement of a new, integrated work programme coupled with a more flexible Jobcentre Plus delivery model, we aim to build upon the discretionary funding currently available to give local managers the ability to tailor services to local and individual need. This could include the provision of more help to overcome travel costs and difficulties in appropriate locations.
Over and above the schemes administered directly by Jobcentre Plus, there are a number of agreements in place (nationally and locally) to provide people with discounted travel, for example, in England and Wales, we have an agreement with the Association of Train Operating Companies, which offers a 50% discount on rail travel for longer-term unemployed people. A similar scheme is in place with Scot Rail and while there is no UK wide discount scheme for bus travel, many local operators do offer discounted services to unemployed people.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were prosecuted for offences relating to fraudulent claims for jobseeker's allowance in Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency in each of the last three years. 
|Number prosecuted for benefit fraud in Scotland|
Information extracted from the Fraud Referral and Intelligence Management Information System.
Mary Macleod: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what provisions are in place at Jobcentre Plus centres to assist jobseekers with hearing impairments; and whether interpreters are provided at each such location. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what provisions are in place at Jobcentre Plus centres to assist jobseekers with hearing impairments and whether interpreters are provided at each such location. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
In Jobcentre Plus we recognise the diverse range of customers we serve and we are fully committed to providing equal accessibility and availability of services to all customers. Customers arriving in a Jobcentre are met by a Customer Services Manager who identifies the reason for their visit and who is able to direct them appropriately.
When a deaf or hard of hearing customer arrives at an office the Customer Services Manager takes the customer to the Customer Service Support Leader who will communicate with them at a desk set up with a hearing loop facility, if this is appropriate.
If the customer is profoundly deaf or cannot use a hearing aid, a member of staff who is British Sign Language (BSL) qualified will act as interpreter. If no qualified member of staff is available, we will arrange for a communicator, for example a BSL interpreter, lip speaker or deaf/blind interpreter as appropriate, to attend the office and book an appointment for the customer to return then.
If customers wish, they may bring their own interpreters. If a customer provides their own professional qualified interpreter, they can be reimbursed with reasonable travel costs. Customers often choose to bring friends and relatives to interpret.
If the customer attends the Jobcentre to look for work, touch screen Jobpoints are available in our offices to search for and access vacancies. Staff will support the customer in progressing any applications for work, for example, by making contact with the employer.
For customers with an appointment requiring an interpreter we currently have three contracted providers that provide BSL interpreters nationally.
Jobcentre Plus is committed to providing a first class service and ensuring we fully support our most vulnerable customers.
I hope this information is helpful.
Stephen Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether the removal of mobility allowance for disabled children after 84 days in residential care will also apply to children in residential education settings; 
Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department plans to provide support to households with disabled residents who can no longer afford their mortgage payments as a result of changes to the rate of support for mortgage interest to fund alternative accommodation. 
It was necessary for the Government to put support for mortgage interest on a more sustainable footing, and to better reflect mortgage costs, which is why we set the standard interest rate at a level equal to the Bank of England's published monthly average mortgage rate from 1 October. The rate is currently 3.63%. The previous rate of 6.08% was too generous and resulted in the vast majority of people getting more than their eligible mortgage interest liability, which was unfair to taxpayers. The plans of the previous Government would have meant that the standard interest rate would have reverted to a formula-the Bank of England base rate plus 1.58%-which, at present, would produce a rate of 2.08% from January 2011.
Disabled Facilities Grants are provided by local authorities to help meet the cost of adapting a property for the needs of a disabled person. The Mortgage Rescue Scheme was introduced in 2009 to help people in priority need, including those who are vulnerable because of old age or a physical/mental impairment. The scheme involves a Housing Association taking on full or part ownership of the property being repossessed.
Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many children in (a) England, (b) the East of England and (c) Bedford constituency were living in families with no parents in employment in October each year from 2000 to 2010. 
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your question asking how many children in a) England b) East of England and c) Bedford Constituency were living in families with no parents in employment in October each year from 2000 to 2010. (26539)
The figures requested come from the Annual Population Survey (APS) household datasets. These are currently available for 2004 to 2009. The attached table shows estimates for England and East of England for these years.
It is not possible to provide reliable estimates for Bedford constituency because of small sample sizes.
As with any sample survey, estimates from the APS are subject to a margin of uncertainty. This is captured in a confidence interval, defined by lower and upper bounds, such that the interval formed between the bounds would contain the true value of 95% of all possible samples.
|Table: Children( 1) living in families with no parent in employment in England and East of England|
|January to December||Estimate||Lower bound( 2)||Upper bound( 2)|
|(1 )Children refers to children under 16.|
(2) 95% confidence interval which means that from all samples possible there would be 95% certainty that the true estimate would lie within the lower and upper bounds.
APS household dataset
Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has had discussions with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the implications for the social rented housing market of his Department's welfare reforms. 
Steve Webb: A number of discussions have been held between the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Communities and Local Government at both ministerial and official level. These discussions will continue as we develop our plans.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the level of civil service staffing resources which were allocated to the preparation of the White Paper on universal credit. 
Chris Grayling: A number of civil servants in DWP and other Departments were involved in preparing the White Paper over a three-month period. The main work was done by members of the universal credit policy team in DWP which has a total of 20 staff.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) assumptions and (b) calculations his Department made when modelling the likely effects of the implementation of the universal credit; and if he will place in the Library a copy of each briefing document on these calculations provided to (i) Ministers and (ii) external bodies. 
Chris Grayling: Chapter 7 of the recent White Paper, 'Universal Credit: Welfare That Works', and the accompanying impact assessment set out the assumptions and calculations used to model the effects of universal credit. The briefing documents provided to Ministers that covered these calculations are restricted policy development documents. The Department's Ministers and officials have had numerous discussions over recent months with external bodies on the Government's proposals for benefit reform.
Chris Grayling: The Treasury has allocated £2 billion investment funding to the Department of Work and Pensions for universal credit over the spending review period. Plans on the allocation of funding are in development.
Chris Grayling: Introducing universal credit will be a very substantial exercise with around 19 million individual existing awards of benefits and tax credits becoming part of the new benefit. The provisional timetable is as follows, subject to detailed design work done in partnership with HMRC and local authorities. The current intention is to manage transition to universal credit in three stages:
October 2013 to April 2014: all new claims for out of work support will be treated as claims to universal credit. No new jobseekers allowance, employment and support allowance, income support and housing benefit claims will be accepted. Customers transitioning from out of work benefits into work will move onto universal credit if they are eligible.
April 2014: no new claims will be made to tax credits.
April 2014 to October 2017: we would begin to work through transferring existing case to the new benefit.
Maria Miller: Statutory adoption pay enables adopters to take a period of leave from work when a new child joins the family. It is paid by employers to employees who satisfy qualifying conditions based on length of employment and a minimum level of earnings. Casual employees may receive statutory adoption pay if they can satisfy the qualifying conditions.
Income support is available in certain circumstances. Single people who have a child placed with them prior to an adoption have access to income support. Once the adoption has taken place an adoptive parent can continue to receive income support if they fall within another prescribed group, for example if they are a lone parent or a carer. A parent may also be entitled to income support if they are taking leave from their employment under the parental leave provisions.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 10 November 2010, Official Report, column 350W, on social security benefits: fraud, what the (a) monetary value was of the suspected fraud in the 550 warrant cases, (b) average monetary value per case was of suspected fraud and (c) monetary value was of the suspected fraud in each of the 10 cases where that value is highest; and what the dates of issue were of the 10 longest standing arrest warrants. 
Chris Grayling: Of the 550 warrants held by the Department on 14 October 2010, information was held centrally on 188 cases. This number has now been reduced to 156 following the execution of 32 warrants. Information on the remaining 362 warrants not held centrally can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
(a) The total monetary value of fraud in the 156 cases is £1,273,314.26.
(b) The average monetary value of fraud in the 156 cases is £8,162.27
(c) The monetary value in each of the 10 cases where that value is highest is shown in the following table.
|10 highest value warrant cases|
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 10 November 2010, Official Report, column 350W, on social security benefits: fraud, what benefits were involved in the
suspected frauds; how many cases involved each type of benefit; and how many cases involved suspected acts of fraud relating to more than one type of benefit. 
(a) what benefits were involved in the suspected frauds,
(b) how many cases involved each type of benefit, and
(c) how many cases involved suspected acts of fraud relating to more than one type of benefit..
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 10 November 2010, Official Report, column 350W, on social security benefits: fraud, how many of the defendants have convictions or police cautions for other offences. 
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 10 November 2010, Official Report, column 350W, on social security benefits: fraud, what were the (a) names of the persons issued with arrest warrants, (b) their last known addresses or whereabouts and (c) the monetary value of the suspected fraud in each case. 
(a) names of the persons issued with arrest warrants
(b) their last known addresses or whereabouts.
Of the 550 warrants held by the Department on 14 October 2010, information is held centrally on 188 cases. Information on the remaining 362 cases is not held centrally, warrants having been issued prior to roll out of an IT case management system in November 2009.
|Number and monetary value of 156 warrant cases|
|Number||Amount of overpaid benefit (£)|
The Department will instigate criminal proceedings irrespective of the amount of overpayment where it is in the public interest to do so. For example, an attempt by a fraudster to falsely obtain a national insurance number to gain access to the benefit system may have criminal proceedings instigated against them whether or not there was an overpayment.
Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 10 November 2010, Official Report, column 350W, on social security benefits: fraud, what steps are being taken to recover the suspected fraud identified in the cases; what steps he plans to take to recover from them the legal and other costs of pursuing those cases; what estimate he made of the cost to the public purse of taking legal and other action to pursue those cases; and what steps are being taken to arrest the persons concerned in the 550 cases. 
Chris Grayling: Once a decision has been made that an overpayment is recoverable the steps taken to effect recovery include deductions from ongoing benefits, instalments, a lump sum or through the courts. Overpayments are not written off if the debtor cannot be immediately located. Comprehensive efforts are made to trace debtors and debts may be pursued over a considerable period of time.
The Department seeks prosecution costs awards in all cases: it is not limited to those dealt with by warrant. Standard costs are £100.00 in guilty plea and £250.00 in not guilty plea cases heard in the magistrates courts. In the Crown court, applications for prosecution costs start at £350.00 and rise substantially depending on the seriousness, complexity and plea entered. Decisions to award prosecution costs are made by presiding magistrates or judges on a case by case basis.
The Department has nominated staff whose duties include checking all outstanding warrants every month against departmental records and informing the warrant holder, who is normally either based at the local police or court, of changes and requesting immediate execution of warrants. The responsibility to arrest rests with the police.
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the evidential basis is for the estimate in his Department's White Paper on welfare reform that his proposed benefit reforms will take 300,000 people out of poverty; and over what period he expects this to be achieved. 
Chris Grayling: We expect that by the time it is fully implemented, universal credit will have moved 350,000 children and 500,000 working-age adults out of poverty, due to increased benefit entitlement and improved take-up rates. This is estimated using the Department's policy simulation model. These poverty impacts do not take any account of any positive impacts of more people moving into work.
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people who will no longer be in poverty in (a) Haslingden and (b) Hyndburn as a result of implementation of his proposed reforms to the welfare system. 
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people likely to have their (a) housing benefit, (b) incapacity benefit and (c) jobseeker's allowance withdrawn as a result of implementation of the proposals in his Department's White Paper on welfare reform. 
Chris Grayling: No one will experience a reduction in the benefit they are receiving as a result of the introduction of universal credit. At the point of transition onto the new system, those households whose circumstances remain unchanged and who would otherwise experience a reduction in income will receive cash protection to make up the difference.
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to paragraph 14 of his White Paper entitled Universal Credit: welfare that works, when he plans to set out proposals for a new system of financial sanctions to provide greater incentives for people to meet their responsibilities. 
We also believe that it is fair to ask some claimants to do more to find work in return for receiving current benefits and ahead of the introduction of universal credit we intend to increase the level of labour market conditionality applied to some claimants; introduce a claimant commitment to ensure claimants fully understand what is expected of them; improve the sanctions regime so that it more effectively encourages claimants to meet their responsibilities; and introduce full-time mandatory work activity.
Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of vacancies for (a) full-time and (b) part-time employment in Peterborough city council area on (i) 1 April 2008, (ii) 1 April 2009, (iii) 1 April 2010 and (iv) 1 September 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
The figures provided relate just to vacancies notified to Jobcentre Plus and, as such, represent a market share of vacancies throughout the whole economy. Comprehensive estimates of all job vacancies and not just those notified to Jobcentre Plus, are available from the ONS Vacancy Survey. However, the ONS survey is currently designed to provide national estimates only.
|N umber of notified vacancies for the months of April 2008, April 2009, April 2010 and August 2010: Peterborough local authority|
|Date||Full-time vacancies||Part-time vacancies|
|N umber of live unfilled vacancies for the months of April 2008, April 2009, April 2010 and August 2010: Peterborough local authority|
|Date||Full-time vacancies||Part-time vacancies|
Jobcentre Plus Labour Market System.
Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will bring forward proposals to ensure that those with asbestos-related illnesses are eligible to claim on employers' insurance if the exposure to asbestos occurred while at work. 
Chris Grayling: The Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 requires employers carrying on business in Great Britain to insure their liability to their employees for bodily injury or disease sustained in the course of their employment. This Act ensures that those with asbestos-related diseases can claim compensation against their employers' liability insurance, where the employer has been negligent in exposing them to asbestos while at work.
However, a recent Court of Appeal case has considered how the wording of these employers' liability insurance policies affects civil compensation for mesothelioma
sufferers and we had hoped that the judgment would have provided a general principle on how these policies should deal with their mesothelioma claims. The court decided that the policies should be interpreted based on the actual policy wording, which means that some sufferers may not be able to claim compensation if the insurance policy was worded in such a way that prevents a claim from being made. We expect this judgment to be appealed to the Supreme Court.
In February 2010 the previous Government published their consultation document, 'Accessing Compensation-Supporting people who need to trace employers' liability insurance', which set out proposals for people who need to find their employers' liability insurance policies in order to claim compensation. The consultation closed on 5 May 2010. There were two proposals; firstly an Employers' Liability Tracing Office, that would manage a database of EL policies. Secondly, an Employers' Liability Insurance Bureau which would be a compensation fund of last resort for those individuals who are unable to trace EL insurance records, ensuring they are able to receive compensation for injuries or diseases sustained during the course of their employment. We are in active discussions with all stakeholders on how this situation can be addressed and we will publish our response to the consultation in due course.
Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply to the hon. Member. A copy of their response will be placed in the Library.
Mr Hurd: The Government aim to have some functions of the Big Society Bank in place by April, then building towards a fully operational Bank. It will be ready to make initial investments by early summer, which is when we expect the first dormant accounts money will become available.
The Charity Commission, like some Government Departments, is facing tough decisions about its future priorities following the spending review. It is undertaking a strategic review to focus on the key
priorities for its future work, including seeking the views of the public and other stakeholders. In addition, the statutory review of the Charities Act 2006 which is due to take place in 2011 will consider potential changes to the legislative framework for charities and the Charity Commission.
The Charity Commission's strategic review is currently under way and it would be premature to speculate on the outcome, but I am confident that the Charity Commission can be an effective regulator of charities in England and Wales within the resources allocated in its spending review settlement.
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what roles and responsibilities the proposed community organisers will have; and what mechanisms he plans to put in place to monitor and assess their effectiveness. 
Mr Hurd: Community organisers will act as a catalyst for more social action, supporting all parts of the community (including under-represented and disadvantaged groups and individuals), to express their needs and issues, as well as identify opportunities and resources. Through supporting communities to take action, they will:
(a) Build capacity of the community they serve by helping the community take action on the issues that matter most to them;
(b) Help the community challenge vested interests and drive change in public and private sector organisations and in the community;
(c) Build self-reliance, individual and collective responsibility;
(d) Encourage diverse people to work with others to improve the quality of life locally;
(e) Identify local leaders who can carry forward actions;
(f) Support and link new and existing neighbourhood groups (thereby supporting the activity of the Community First programme, a targeted grants programme, currently under development).
The Office for Civil Society is currently procuring a national partner to further develop, manage and implement the community organisers programme at arms length from Government. This ensures that community organisers will be accountable to the national partner, while remaining free from political influence.
The effectiveness of the community organisers will also be measured by the success they have in enabling the communities to take successful actions for change, on the priorities that the communities have identified. Community organisers will be accountable to the community they are supporting as well as any institutions which support them.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what assessment he has made of the likely effects of the outcomes of the comprehensive spending review on his Department's civil contingencies programmes. 
Mr Maude: The Government's plans for changes in the United Kingdom's civil contingencies programmes, within the resources available through the 2010 spending review, are set out in chapter 4 of the strategic defence and security review published on 19 October.
The need for resilience to all kinds of emergency is identified in the National Security Strategy as a priority task. The role of the Cabinet Office is to co-ordinate Government-wide resilience planning and programmes, and will continue therefore to be an important task for the Department.
Mr Llwyd: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what skills and experience were identified as being required for the role of Secretary to the Iraq Inquiry; how many candidates were identified as having such skills and experience; and on what basis the successful candidate was selected; 
(2) what steps were taken in the process of appointment of the Secretary to the Iraq Inquiry (a) to identify potential conflicts of interest and (b) to ensure that any such conflicts did not affect the independence of the inquiry. 
Mr Hurd: The Cabinet Secretary decided to nominate the Secretary to the Iraq Inquiry and agreed the appointment with the Chairman of the Inquiry. Both the Cabinet Secretary and the Chairman of the Inquiry agreed that the Secretary to the Inquiry should be a senior individual in the civil service ideally with previous involvement in Iraq issues.
The Chairman of the Inquiry has told the Cabinet Secretary that, in agreeing to the appointment, he was aware of the candidate's role in the Foreign and Defence Policy (formerly the Defence and Overseas Policy) Secretariat in the Cabinet Office from November 2004, and, given the professional standards of the senior civil service, saw no potential conflict of interest with her appointment as Secretary to the Inquiry that would, in his view, affect the independence of the Inquiry.
Mr Llwyd: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which of his Department's human resources procedures were followed in the selection of the (a) secretary and (b) press secretary to the Iraq Inquiry. 
Mr Hurd: Ministers in the Cabinet Office meet with Lord Wei frequently to discuss many subjects in his capacity as Government adviser on Big Society, including National Citizen Service (NCS). Information relating to internal discussions and advice is not normally disclosed.
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans he has for the role of the National Citizen Service in providing public services; and what plans he has to monitor and assess the service's performance in that role. 
Mr Hurd: National Citizen Service (NCS) is a scheme to help young people to serve their communities and to develop personally. It is not envisaged that NCS will be used to provide public services, although as part of their summer NCS experience there may be opportunities for young people to volunteer with, and learn more about, public service providers in their area.
Mr Hurd: Cabinet Office conducted a fully open and competitive process to select the providers of 2011 National Citizen Service (NCS) pilots. This involved a public invitation of expressions of interest from any organisation or group of organisations interested in running NCS pilots in 2011, followed by the invitation of full proposals from organisations and consortiums shortlisted at the expression of interest stage.
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what steps his Department plans to take to monitor the effectiveness of the transition fund for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises. 
The transition fund is a significant fund that will provide much needed and immediate support for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises to help them take on an even bigger role in this country in the medium to long term. Our key aim is to make this support available quickly, so that organisations can make the necessary changes to make the transition to a tighter funding environment and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Big Society. The Office for Civil Society has worked with the fund manager,
BIG Fund, to develop arrangements for monitoring the outcomes achieved by successful applicants.
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what assessment he has made of the potential contribution to the Big Society initiative of proposed changes in his Department's funding of community groups and charities. 
Mr Hurd: Civil Society cannot be immune from the need to reduce the deficit, but the allocation of around £470 million to the Office for Civil Society within the Cabinet Office budget shows our support in very tight circumstances.
Charities, communities and social enterprises have a tremendous role to play in building the Big Society, through their ability to galvanise community action, provide better public services and represent and empower communities. We will use our settlement to support them in this work, making it easier to set up and run a charity or social enterprise, and easier for such organisations to access finance and work with the state.
While Big Society opens up many opportunities for the sector, we recognise however that the sector is exposed during the transitional period leading up to them, and so the spending review settlement therefore includes a £100 million transition fund for the sector in England. Funding for Charities and community Groups outside England is largely a matter for devolved administrations.
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what assessment he has made of the likely effects on (a) community groups and (b) charities of changes to their funding as a result of the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review. 
Mr Hurd: It is currently too early to evaluate the impact of the comprehensive spending review on (a) community groups and (b) charities. However the Cabinet Office has worked with partners in the sector, across Government and the Third Sector Research Centre to examine the exposure of the sector to public spending reductions and to mitigate potential impacts.
The Big Society presents a great opportunity for voluntary and community groups, as we open up public services and devolve power; and the Government are therefore committed to supporting the sector through this transitional period. This includes: a £100 million transition fund to help organisations with shortfalls in the short-term; publishing evidence and best practice to support government at all levels to make cuts wisely and in partnership with the sector; and, setting out policy measures to open up new sources of funding and help the sector maximise new opportunities in the strategy document 'Building a Stronger Civil Society'.
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) if he will make it his policy that guidance on answering round robin questions produced by his
Department in respect of questions tabled in (a) the House of Lords and (b) House of Commons is circulated to departments within three days of the question being tabled; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what recent estimate he has made of the number of questions to Government tabled in the House of Lords that remain unanswered after 10 working days as a result of the timing of circulation of guidance on answering round robins; what recent representations he has received from Cabinet colleagues about the issue; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Maude: All Ministers are responsible and accountable for the answers given to parliamentary questions within specified deadlines. In the case of questions that are deemed to be "round robin", The Guide to Parliamentary Work, published by the Leader of the House of Commons
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many women aged (a) 18 to 24 years and (b) 25 to 30 years in each strategic health authority area who had had (i) one, (ii) two, (iii) three, (iv) four, (v) five, (vi) six, (vii) seven, (viii) eight, (ix) nine and (x) 10 or more previous abortions had an abortion in 2009. 
Anne Milton: Information on previous abortions by age group and strategic health authority in 2009 is shown in the following table. The data have been provided for age groups 25 to 29 years for consistency with data published in the Department's statistical bulletin. Information on previous abortions is extracted from the HSA4 abortion notification forms submitted to the chief medical officer (CMO). These data show the total number of abortions notified to CMO and not data for individual women as more than one form may be received for a woman in a calendar year.
|Abortions by age group, strategic health authority and number of previous abortions, residents of England and Wales, 2009|
|Strategic health authority||Number of previous abortions||18-24||25-29|
|'-' = Suppressed value less than 10 (between 0 and 9) or where a presented total would reveal a suppressed value when used with previously published tables. This is in line with Office for National Statistics guidance for the release of abortion statistics 2005.|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|