Written Questions

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many parliamentary questions for (a) ordinary written answer and (b) written answer on a named day by her Department have remained unanswered for a period of two months since May 2010. [79557]

Norman Baker: The number of questions remaining unanswered two months after their date of publication was (a) 48 for ordinary written answer, and (b) eight for named day answer.

The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with information relating to written parliamentary question performance on a sessional basis and will provide full information to the committee at the end of the session. Statistics relating to Government Departments’ performance for the 2009-10 parliamentary session were previously provided to the committee and are available on the Parliament website.

Electric Vehicles: Finance

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Government has paid out under the Plug-in Car Grant since its inception. [80007]

Norman Baker: At the end of September, claims for 786 vehicles had been received for the Plug-in Car Grant of £5,000, totalling £3,445,000. Motorists benefit from the grant at the point of purchase and it is later reclaimed by manufacturers from Government.

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many grants the Government has made under the Plug-in Car Grant since its introduction. [80008]

Norman Baker: The Government have made 786 grants under the Plug-In Car Grant since its introduction in January 2011 up to the end of September. This figure is published on the DFT website and updated quarterly at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/topics/sustainable/olev/plug-in-car-grant/

21 Nov 2011 : Column 107W

Exhaust Emissions: EU Law

Mr Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of fuel treatment solutions as a means of meeting the new Euro 4 and Euro 5 emission standards. [79727]

Norman Baker: Although some fuel additives are capable of reducing the deterioration of an engine with respect to its emissions of air quality pollutants we are aware of none which would actually improve the performance of a vehicle meeting an earlier emissions stage sufficiently that it would meet a later one. There are, in addition, potential problems with respect to some additives, such as fuel-borne catalysts, since these can result in the production of emissions which, although not currently regulated as vehicle exhaust pollutants, may themselves be hazardous to health.

Motorways: Speed Limits

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with Ministers in the devolved Administrations on proposals to increase the national speed limit to 80 mph for motorways. [81226]

Mike Penning: Officials in the Department for Transport have been in contact with officials in the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly and the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland).

Public Sector: Co-operatives

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 25 October 2011, Official Report, columns 134-35W, on the public sector, when she expects to have completed the framework for assessing applications for employee co-operatives; and if she will make a statement. [77509]

Norman Baker: Over the coming weeks we will be working closely with the Cabinet Office to test our current thinking and policy development, which will determine and finalise our next steps and timeframe.

Railways: Franchises

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much her Department has spent on (a) solicitors and (b) consultants in connection with work on the (A)Great Western, (B) Essex Thameside, (c) Southeastern and (D) Transpennine Express rail franchises in the last 12 months. [81061]

Mrs Villiers [holding answer 14 November 2011]:The information is as follows.

(a) In the last 12 months the Department has spent the following amounts on solicitors (external) in connection with the franchises in the following table:


Amount

(A) Great Western

£25,000 to £30,000

(B) Essex Thameside

0

(C) Southeastern

£40,000 to £45,000

(D) Transpennine Express

£78,500

21 Nov 2011 : Column 108W

(b) In the last 12 months the Department has spent the following amounts on consultants in connection with the franchises in the following table:


Amount

(A) Great Western

£58,000 to £63,000

(B) Essex Thameside

0

(C) Southeastern

£220,000 to £225,000

(D) Transpennine Express

£27,525

These amounts exclude those that have been incurred for stand-alone projects that will have an impact on these franchises in future (eg the IEP and Crossrail programmes which will affect Great Western).

Rescue Services: Location

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will adopt the criterion of value for money as the basis for her decision on the location of the Maritime Operations Centre. [81306]

Mike Penning [holding answer 15 November 2011]: The then Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), announced on 14 July 2011, Official Report, columns 606-08, that the Maritime Operations Centre (MOC) will be located in the Southampton/Portsmouth area. I can confirm the Government have no intention of revisiting this decision.

No specific location within this area has yet been announced. The decision on the specific location of the MOC will be based on both HM Coastguard operational and technical requirements as well as value for money for the UK taxpayer.

The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), will make an announcement on the location shortly.

Roads: Snow and Ice

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what level of de-icing salt stockholding is held by (a) local authorities, (b) the Highways Agency and (c) the national strategic reserve; and what estimate she has made of the level of each such stockholding on 1 December 2011; [76668]

(2) what information her Department holds on how many occasions and on what dates the Salt Cell has met in 2011 to date. [76669]

Norman Baker [holding answer 25 October 2011]: A recent survey carried out by the Department for Transport estimated that total salt stocks of over 2.5 million tonnes were held by local and national highway authorities in Great Britain at the end of September 2011. This includes strategic stocks. The breakdown is as follows:


Tonnes (1) (Thousand)

English local highway authorities

1,047

Transport for London stockpile

27

English local sub-total

1,074

   

Highways Agency operational stock

282

21 Nov 2011 : Column 109W

Highways Agency strategic stockpile

120

Highways Agency sub-total

402

   

English national strategic stockpile

305

   

Total England

1,781

Total Wales

217

Total Scotland

518

Total Great Britain

2,516

(1 )Rounded.

Comparable data for the same time last year are available only for England and Scotland. They show an increase in stocks of over 1 million tonnes since that time.

No estimates have been made of salt stock levels as of 1 December 2011 as these will depend on factors including future weather, salt utilisation and further orders from highway authorities. The Department for Transport has arrangements in place to periodically monitor salt stocks, so that we can identify risks early on and co-ordinate any further action as necessary.

“Salt Cell” was not initiated in winter 2010-11 as there was no need to advise salt suppliers on the prioritisation of their own deliveries. Instead, a Winter Road Salt Network Group, chaired by officials from the Department for Transport and involving the Highways Agency, Met Office, Cabinet Office, local government representatives, Welsh Assembly Government and Transport Scotland, met regularly during the 2010-11 winter season to monitor stocks and, where appropriate, advise on allocations from the national strategic stockpile to bolster resilience in parts of the country. Since the end of the last winter season, the group has met three times to discuss resilience preparations in advance of winter 2011-12.

Rolling Stock: Procurement

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for which rolling stock contracts her Department has not yet awarded preferred bidder status; how many carriages each such contract requires; and what the value is of each such contract. [77677]

Mrs Villiers [holding answer 31 October 2011]: There are no current rolling stock contracts for which my Department has not yet awarded preferred bidder status.

However, my Department is working closely with Transport for London (TfL), as co-sponsors of the Crossrail project, to support Crossrail Ltd in delivering Rail for London’s procurement of rolling stock and depot for the future Crossrail service.

Around 600 new carriages will be provided as part of the contract. Notice of this procurement was published by Crossrail Ltd in the Official Journal of the European Union on 1 December 2010, and the Invitation to Negotiate documentation, which will set out in more detail the scope of services to be provided by bidders, is currently being developed by Crossrail Ltd.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 110W

The delivery profile and costs of the rolling stock are commercially confidential and subject to negotiation with bidders.

Traffic Management Act 2004

Mr Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans she has to bring into force the provisions of part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004. [79636]

Norman Baker: In December 2010, I wrote to 20 of the largest local authorities to gauge enthusiasm for implementation of part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004. The replies received suggested that there was not a widespread appetite for the change—indeed, several authorities did not reply at all—and there remains insufficient evidence of the traffic management benefits it would deliver. We therefore have no current plans to implement the powers.

The Department’s current focus is on supporting further take-up of existing civil enforcement powers relating to parking and bus lane contraventions.

Transport Sector Panel

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress her Department has made on its plans to establish a Transport Sector Panel. [81478]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has established a Transport Sector Transparency Board that includes members from DFT, No. 10, Cabinet Office and the Open Data Community. It also invites relevant data owners depending on the area of transport that is being discussed. The Board met first in September and again in November.

Transport: Infrastructure

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues on bringing forward spending on infrastructure for which her Department is responsible. [79692]

Justine Greening [holding answer 10 November 2011]: I have regular discussions with my ministerial colleagues on departmental spending. There will be announcements in the next stage of the Growth Review on any specific plans for infrastructure.

Transport: Rural Areas

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what steps her Department is taking to ensure provision of a reliable rural public transport service; and if she will make a statement; [81032]

(2) what steps her Department is taking to maintain public transport provision for elderly people in rural areas who are affected by planned changes to the funding of local bus services. [81034]

Norman Baker: Outside London, the provision of bus and community transport services in rural areas, as in urban areas, is a matter for commercial operators and for local authorities.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 111W

However, the Government understand that buses are a lifeline for many people in rural areas. I recently provided £10 million of extra funding to local councils to help develop community transport in their areas. We are also providing £560 million over four years through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to help local authorities to support economic growth and reduce carbon emissions.

Moreover, we have committed to protect the statutory entitlement for concessionary bus travel, ensuring that older people can maintain greater freedom and independence.

Work and Pensions

Bell Pottinger Group

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether (a) Ministers, (b) officials and (c) political advisers in his Department have met representatives of (i) Bell Pottinger Group or (ii) each of its subsidiaries in the last five years; on what dates any such meetings took place; and what was discussed. [80043]

Chris Grayling: Conducting a full and exhaustive search for information concerning meetings between all Ministers, officials and political advisers of this Department and representatives of the Bell Pottinger Group and its subsidiaries over the last five years, could not be carried out other than at disproportionate costs.

However, since May 2010 none of the Ministers from this current administration had one to one meetings with representatives of the Bell Pottinger Group.

Information relating to meetings between external organisations and this Department's Ministers is published on a quarterly basis on the DWP website. The relevant web page address is as follows:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/corporate-publications/ministers-meetings-overseas.shtml

Information for other officials' meetings is not held centrally.

Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will publish the latest verified delivery plan agreed by the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission Board with regard to the implementation of the Commission's major change programme to deliver a new statutory maintenance scheme by 2015. [80229]

Maria Miller: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.

Letter from Noel Shanahan,

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 112W

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will publish the latest verified delivery plan agreed by the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission Board with regard to the implementation of the Commission's major change programme to deliver a new statutory maintenance scheme by 2015. [80229]

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission's Delivery Plan 2011/12, published on the Commission's website on 11 July 2011, states the Government's commitment to introduce a new statutory child maintenance scheme in 2012 for those who cannot make a family-based arrangement. The full delivery plan is available at:

http://www.childmaintenance.org/en/pdf/Delivery-plan-11-12.pdf

I hope you find this answer helpful.

Child Support Agency

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent representations he has received on the effectiveness of the Child Support Agency in pursuing court action for non-payment of child maintenance. [80311]

Maria Miller: The Child Support Agency (CSA) has a range of administrative enforcement options available. Where these options cannot be used the CSA will use its court based options to best effect in order to try and achieve a successful outcome. I have received representations from both stakeholder organisations and parents in relation to the effectiveness of pursuing this court action for non-payment of arrears of child support maintenance.

Although there are no data available on the numbers and types of representations in this area, anecdotally, representations received from parents with care are to the effect that the CSA should pursue the collection of child support arrears by every means available. Some parents with care express dissatisfaction that the CSA's actions through the courts have not achieved the level or speed of payment they desired and are requesting increased enforcement powers. However, it should be noted that the CSA receives a number of thank you letters from parents with care who have now received the sums of child support arrears due to them as a result of a proactive approach to debt enforcement.

Representations received from non-resident parents support the view that the CSA should not pursue the collection of their child support arrears through court action. Both parties make representations in respect of any outcomes resulting from court proceedings they have attended. Generally speaking an outcome in the non-resident parent's favour will not be to the satisfaction of the parent with care and vice-versa.

Organisations representing parents or the legal profession occasionally make representations relating to the CSA's actions in individual court cases and/or to issues of policy or practice that they believe these cases highlight. These representations can argue that the CSA has acted inappropriately in pursuing a case or should be more active in using the courts to pursue child maintenance arrears.

We will continue to review the Commission's success in the exercise of these enforcement powers, and the Government may opt to introduce further measures contained in the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 (subject to a public consultation where appropriate) if it is deemed in the public interest to do so.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 113W

Consultants

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what reports his Department has commissioned from (a) audit and (b) management consulting firms in (i) 2010 and (ii) 2011. [79170]

Chris Grayling: Reports are a key deliverable for all consultancy and audit projects commissioned by the Department.

In 2008-09 the Department spent £72.8 million on Business Consultancy Services. This figure reduced to £40.13 million in 2009-10 and further reduced to £18.2 million in 2010-11. This represents a total reduction of 76% compared to 2008-09 spending levels which continue to fall. In the first six months of the current financial year the Department spent £3.13 million on Business Consultancy.

Crisis Loans

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications for social fund crisis loans were received (a) by telephone, (b) in writing and (c) in person in the last 12 months. [80345]

Steve Webb: Information as to the way in which each application is made is not gathered. However, the majority of applications are made via the telephone.

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many appeals against social fund crisis loan decisions were (a) upheld and (b) rejected in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [80349]

Steve Webb: Crisis loans are part of the discretionary social fund and there is no right of appeal.

A discretionary social fund applicant who is dissatisfied with a decision may apply to have the initial decision reviewed. First reviews are carried out by a reviewing officer in Jobcentre Plus. If the applicant is not happy

21 Nov 2011 : Column 114W

with the outcome of the first review they can apply to the Independent Review Service for a review by a social fund inspector.

Figures for reviews are contained in annex 13 to the annual report by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the social fund 2010-11. There were 107,230 applications for first review and 40,910 decisions were revised. The Independent Review Service reviewed 17,465 reviewing officer decisions, 8,983 of these decisions were confirmed and 8,482 were substituted.

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment has been made of the merits of extending eligibility for social fund crisis loans. [80356]

Steve Webb: Eligibility for crisis loans does not depend on receipt of benefits. Anyone who cannot meet their immediate short-term needs in an emergency or as a consequence of a disaster is eligible to apply. We do not see any reason to change these criteria.

From April 2013 new support to replace community care grants and general living expenses crisis loans will be introduced. It will be the responsibility of local authorities in England and devolved to the Scottish and Welsh Governments. Eligibility criteria for the new support will be a matter for the devolved Administrations and English local authorities.

Consultants

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on consultants in each month since June 2010. [79161]

Chris Grayling: The following table shows consultancy services spend information since June 2010.

Consultancy services are provided when objective advice relating to strategy, structure, management or operations outside the business-as-usual environment is required and in-house skills are not available. DWP (core Department and its agencies) pays for consultancy on a project basis usually on a fixed fee based on defined outcomes or deliverables. The consultancy supplier is responsible for providing appropriate resource. DWP does not employ consultants on a full-time staff equivalent basis.

Consultancy services monthly spend since 1 April 2009

2009-10 (£) 2010-11 (£) 2011-12 (£) Percentage decrease since 1 April 2009

April

5,116,522

3,009,995

1,022,519

May

2,764,609

1,074,052

549,839

June

3,588,520

3,933,487

926,465

July

5,138,426

2,285,015

319,617

August

2,786,329

2,168,864

54,462

September

2,963,172

1,174,591

259,593

Total

22,357,578

13,646,004

3,132,495

86% on current like for like basis

October

2,213,113

1,004,930

November

2,026,370

739,767

December

3,723,701

725,014

January

3,145,394

1,000,717

February

3,238,921

493,681

March

3,424,725

596,931

21 Nov 2011 : Column 115W

Design Services

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what contracts his Department has awarded for design services since May 2010; and what information his Department holds on the location of such companies. [80186]

Chris Grayling: No new contracts have been awarded by DWP since May 2010.

Judicial Review

Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what applications for judicial review have been made against his Department (a) in the last Parliament and (b) since May 2010; whether each such application (i) succeeded, (ii) failed or (iii) remains pending; what legal costs were incurred by his Department for each such application; in each failed application whether he applied for costs against the applicant and whether they were (A) awarded and (B) paid; whether his Department (1) paid for and (2) offered to pay for the legal costs incurred by each such applicant; and what the total cost to the public purse was of payment of the legal costs for each such applicant. [80720]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions dealt with 1,169 potential or actual judicial review cases in the last Parliament and has dealt with 351 such cases since May 2010. The Department does not keep a central record of the additional information requested. In order to be able to provide an answer to the questions it would be necessary to retrieve the majority of these files from our central storage facility which is located outside of London. Each individual file would then have to be interrogated to establish what information is held, and some of these cases will be of a considerable size. I would estimate that this would take at least several weeks to do and would therefore be at a disproportionate cost.

Public Expenditure

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has of the monetary value of his Department's planned efficiency savings in each (a) month and (b) business unit in the next two years. [79165]

Chris Grayling: The Department plans to realise substantial efficiency savings over the period of the spending review through measures that will deliver both savings and improved customer service, as well as focusing its resources on key reforms of the welfare system. These plans include a reduction in the size of the corporate centre by up to 40%, and measures to reduce the costs of benefits processing by 25% through streamlining and modernising frontline activities.

In March 2011, the Department initiated a Transformation Programme to deliver against these savings, including a redesign of the organisation and reductions in the number of staff against the SR baseline. The Department is on track to meet the budget allocation of £7.8 billion for 2011-12, a saving of £1.45 billion against the SR baseline and recession funding.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 116W

DWP is in the process of reviewing efficiency plans in the light of the organisational redesign. Annual updates on progress against planned efficiency savings will be published in the Delivery Plan at the start of each financial year.

Written Questions

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many parliamentary questions for (a) ordinary written answer and (b) written answer on a named day by his Department have remained unanswered for a period of two months since May 2010. [79551]

Chris Grayling: In common with other Government Departments, DWP measures performance on parliamentary questions in ‘sitting days' to reflect the fact that it is not possible to answer questions when Parliament is in recess. Up to 31 October 2011, the number of ordinary written questions that remained unanswered after 40 sitting days, the approximate equivalent of two months, was 43 which represents 1.1% of the total number of ordinary written questions answered by the Department. No questions for written answer on a named day remained unanswered after 40 sitting days.

The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with information relating to written parliamentary question performance on a sessional basis and will provide full information to the Committee at the end of the Session. Statistics relating to Government Departments' performance for the 2009-10 parliamentary Session were previously provided to the Committee and are available on the Parliament website.

Disability

Mr McCann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has had discussions with his Israeli counterpart on the development of policies to support disabled people in the workplace. [80556]

Chris Grayling: The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), has not met with his Israeli counterpart to discuss the development of policies to support disabled people in the workplace, nor are there any plans to do so in the near future.

Employment and Support Allowance

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) minimum, (b) average and (c) maximum length of time was between (i) receipt of an appeal in respect of a decision on a claim for employment and support allowance and (ii) a final decision being given. [79181]

Chris Grayling: The average actual clearance time for Employment and Support Allowance Appeals from date of receipt in DWP to date of referral to Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) is 35.16 days.

We are unable to provide a minimum or maximum length of time between DWP receiving an appeal and referring it to HMCTS. This is because the Management Information System Programme (MISP)(1) calculates the

21 Nov 2011 : Column 117W

average from all appeals received and referred in any given calendar month, and then produces the average figure only.

The average actual clearance time for employment and support allowance Appeals from date of receipt at HMCTS(2) to a final decision being made is 24.05 weeks.

Of these appeals 7% were cleared within a minimum of four weeks and 0.1% were more than two years old when cleared.

Source s :

(1) MISP 3 November 2011.

MISP is the departmental performance management, data capture and reporting tool. This type of internal management information does not form part of the official statistics outputs that are released by the Department in accordance with the UK Statistics Authority's Code of Practice.

(2 )Statistics Team HMCTS 4 November 2011.

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many new employment and support allowance claims have been made in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK since the introduction of that allowance. [80388]

Chris Grayling: The information requested is as follows:

Employment and support allowance (ESA) on-flows—Each quarter November 2008 to February 2011

Great Britain North East region South Tyneside local authority Jarrow parliamentary constituency

2008

       

November

54,150

3,280

240

110

         

2009

       

February

141,320

9,130

620

290

May

160,740

10,210

730

360

August

164,910

10,440

790

370

November

159,600

10,490

760

360

         

2010

       

February

154,960

10,380

750

360

May

165,370

10,510

720

340

August

166,520

10,140

680

310

November

163,980

10,080

670

290

         

2011

       

February

158,610

9,840

690

320

Notes: 1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest ten. 2. Figures will exclude some short-term flows not captured by the relevant scans. 3. Figures show the total number of spells on this benefit that commence within the quarter. A person may flow on and off the same benefit more than once during a quarter. Does not include flows where people move out of one area and into another while remaining on the benefit. 4. Employment and support allowance replaced incapacity benefit and income support paid on the grounds of incapacity for new claims from 27 October 2008. 5. Figures are published on the Department's website at: http://83.244.183.180/flows/flows_on/esa/tabtool_esa.html 6. Northern Ireland data are the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the data are published at: http://www.dsdni.gov.uk/index/stats_and_research.htm Source: DWP Information, Governance and Security Directorate: 100% Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 118W

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employment and support allowance claimants in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK have completed a work capability assessment in the last 12 months. [80389]

Chris Grayling: The following table shows completed employment and support allowance (ESA) work capability assessments taking place between June 2010 and May 2011 (this is the latest 12-month period for which these figures are available). Information is unavailable for the Jarrow constituency and data for Great Britain are given in place of data for the United Kingdom as data for Northern Ireland are not available. The numbers provided have been rounded to the nearest hundred—as a result, figures may not sum to the totals shown.

Table 1: Completed assessments

Initial assessment Repeat assessment Total

South Tyneside

1,900

500

2,400

North East

28,400

8,400

36,800

Great Britain

447,500

158,100

605,700

Notes: 1. The Department regularly publishes official statistics on the employment and support allowance (ESA) work capability assessment at the national level. The latest report, published in October 2011, and can be found here: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page=esa_wca 2. The data presented above come from benefit claims data held by the Department for Work and Pensions and functional assessment data from Atos Healthcare. 3. These figures do not include IB reassessment claims. 4. A small number of clerical assessments, where the result cannot be determined from DWP benefits data, are excluded from these figures.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people who will fall into poverty as a result of the time-limiting of contributory employment and support allowance. [80475]

Chris Grayling: The Department has not conducted a full assessment of the impacts on poverty of the proposal to time limit those receiving contributory employment and support allowance (ESA) in the work related activity group. However, indicative analysis suggests it will have no significant impact on relative child or pensioner poverty and an increase in relative working age poverty of up to a maximum of 100,000 people by 2015-16. This is based on the change in equivalised household incomes relative to 60% of the contemporary median equivalised household income.

The Department published an impact assessment for this proposal, available at the following link:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/esa-time-limit-wr2011-ia-revised-apr2011.pdf

This includes analysis which shows that although many of the people affected by time limiting are in the lowest income deciles, these will tend to be either fully, or partially compensated by income-related ESA; and those who will not be eligible for income-related benefits are typically in the middle or higher deciles.

Notes:

1. There is unavoidable uncertainty whenever estimating the effect of policy changes on poverty. Uncertainty arises because HBAI poverty statistics are based on survey data which only capture a sample of households from the population—this sampling introduces variability from year to year in statistics as the survey sample is redrawn and new people are interviewed.

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2. Uncertainty also arises because estimated policy effects are dependent on modelling assumptions which may be imperfect.

3. Poverty statistics are based on analysis from the Department's Policy Simulation Model. They are routinely rounded to the nearest 100,000. This is a reflection of the degree of confidence we should have when examining and comparing these statistics across groups and over time.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of the number of people who will lose their contributory employment and support allowance (ESA) in (a) April 2012 and (b) within the first year of the introduction of time-limiting of contributory ESA; and what plans the Government has to ensure that those who lose their ESA can obtain alternative means of support. [80476]

Chris Grayling: It is estimated that approximately 100,000 claimants will have their contributory employment and support allowance (ESA) benefit time limited in April 2012 as a result of the Government's proposals to limit receipt of contributory ESA to one year for those in the Work Related Activity Group. In total, the average number of people affected in 2012-13 is around 200,000.

However, for those who leave contributory ESA as a result of the time limit, an anticipated 60% are expected to be fully or partially compensated by income-related ESA, so will retain entitlement to ESA.

The Department recognises the need to move people automatically from contributory ESA to income-related ESA if they have entitlement to this benefit and we are currently working on the process to implement this. This process will allow us to make an assessment for income-related ESA, and register this entitlement before the change is implemented. This will allow claimants to move automatically to income-related benefit when their contribution-based benefit ends. The Department also has plans to advise those claimants who will become entitled to income-related ESA as a result of their contributory ESA ending to make a new claim. Safeguards will be in place to support the most vulnerable through this process.

Craig Whittaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the adequacy of provision of benefits for those in the work related activity group of the contribution based employment and support allowance who will (a) have experienced a gap in provision of support prior to the introduction of the new Work programme, (b) have had the 12 month rule applied retrospectively and (c) have been in receipt of this benefit for the 12 months prior to April 2012. [81319]

Chris Grayling: No direct assessment is made of the adequacy of benefits. However, the information that is available on the impact of time limiting is contained in the impact assessment, which can be found at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/esa-time-limit-wr2011-ia-revised-apr2011.pdf

The Work programme is now in place. Most employment and support allowance (ESA) recipients will have the option of accessing the Work programme at any point after their initial work capability assessment. Credits only claimants—those who do not get any benefit, but get national insurance credits to protect their pension once their benefit has expired—will be able to access the Work programme on a voluntary basis.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 120W

The time limit is not being applied retrospectively. The amendments proposed in the Welfare Reform Bill are changing the conditions of entitlement for the future. Entitlement will not end until after the relevant provisions in the Bill are commenced. This will not affect any entitlement which has already arisen. The provisions do not seek to recover past ESA payments, rather they are defining future entitlement on the basis of whether, at the time the clause is commenced, they have been in receipt of contributory ESA in the work related activity group, and if so, for how long.

Employment and Support Allowance: HIV Infection

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people with HIV have been assessed for employment and support allowance (a) following a new claim and (b) as part of the migration from incapacity benefit. [79880]

Chris Grayling: The information is as follows:

(a)Since the introduction of employment and support allowance (ESA) in October 2008 to May 2011 (the latest data available) there have been 1,100 initial assessments completed where the primary condition was recorded as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

(b) Statistics on the number of assessments for ESA as part of the incapacity benefit reassessment process are currently unavailable. Therefore we are unable to provide the information requested.

Due to the overall length of the incapacity benefits reassessment process, information on the entire process including the final outcomes and subsequent destinations of claimants being reassessed is not yet available. Individual level data are being collected, but it will take time to complete because of the overall length of the reassessment process. The Department plans to publish data on the outcomes of the reassessment process but only once they have been quality assured and are considered robust.

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people with HIV are in receipt of (a) incapacity benefit and (b) employment and support allowance. [80030]

Chris Grayling: The information requested is as follows:

Incapacity benefit (IB)/severe disablement allowance (SDA) and employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants with a diagnosis of HIV—February 2011

IB/SDA ESA

Unspecified HIV

3,900

860

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. To qualify for incapacity benefit, claimants have to undertake a medical assessment of incapacity for work called a personal capability assessment. Under the employment and support allowance (ESA) regime, new claimants have to undergo the work capability assessment. From April 2011 incapacity benefit (IB) recipients will begin also to undertake this assessment. The medical condition recorded on the claim form does not itself confer entitlement to IB or ESA. So, for example, a decision on entitlement for a customer claiming IB or ESA on the basis of mental and behavioural disorders would be based on their ability to carry out the range of activities assessed by the personal/work capability assessment. 3. The figures represent those cases where the main disabling condition of the person claiming is ‘Unspecified HIV’. 4. ‘Unspecified HIV’ includes the diagnoses of Aids, HIV Infection and HIV Positive. 5. Incapacity benefit was replaced by employment and support allowance from October 2008. 6. Data include people in receipt of benefit and also those who fail the contributions conditions but receive a national insurance credit, i.e. ‘credits only cases’. 7. Great Britain total includes a small number of cases resident abroad. Source: DWP Information, Governance and Security Directorate 100% Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 121W

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what training on HIV awareness is provided to (a) DWP staff deciding on claims for employment and support allowance, (b) Atos healthcare professionals conducting work capability assessments and (c) Jobcentre Plus staff. [80031]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) trains its staff in the skills required to support a range of customers and claimants and to respect their individual needs. This approach ensures that our employees are equipped to deal with a diverse set of circumstances while treating everyone as an individual.

The learning programme for Jobcentre Plus focuses on raising awareness of the claimants' personal circumstances and also recognises that disabilities and health conditions can affect individuals in different ways and will change over time.

(a) Employment and support allowance (ESA) staff have intranet access to the Customer Case Management System which provides an overview of medical conditions including HIV and AIDS. Learning for ESA decision makers, also attended by ATOS Health Care Professionals, refers these decision makers to this site to raise their awareness of a number of health conditions. Staff deciding on claims for ESA are also trained to seek help from an ATOS Health Care Professional if they require specific information regarding the effects of a health condition on the individual.

(b) ATOS Healthcare's new entrant training includes a module on HIV and AIDS and there is a learning set on the subject available to all health care professionals as part of ATOS' Continuing Medical Education programme.

(c) All Jobcentre Plus staff receive foundation learning which covers excellent customer service, diversity and customer needs. These deal with the wide range of circumstances that our claimants may have, some less obvious than others, and stress how important it is to look for signs where the claimant does not give us this information directly and to offer appropriate support.

All our front-facing staff are equipped to help the claimant focus on what they can do in the world of work and where necessary, to signpost them to where they can get specialist help to reflect particular conditions. Part of this specialist help can come from our Disability Employment Advisers who have extensive and specialist learning in addition to the detail provided above.

In addition an event called ‘Raising the Game', aimed at elevated awareness of disability and perceptions of disabled people, includes information on HIV and AIDS. This is a national event designed for front-facing staff including their managers. All Jobcentre Plus staff have access to information about HIV through guidance on our Intranet.

Employment Schemes

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his contribution of 24 October 2011, Official Report, column 4, how many people have been placed in work through (a) work clubs, (b) work experience, (c) apprenticeship offers, (d) sector-based work academies, ( e ) the innovation fund, ( f ) European social fund support, ( g ) the skills offer, ( h ) the access to apprenticeships programme, ( i ) Work Together, ( j ) the work programme, (k ) work choice and ( l ) mandatory work activity. [79178]

Chris Grayling: The information requested is as follows:

(a) Work clubs

21 Nov 2011 : Column 122W

Work clubs are designed and delivered locally with some support from Jobcentre Plus. We do not set specific expectations or targets for the number of work clubs, allowing them instead to grow organically in communities, making the best use of local energy, expertise and resources. The data requested are therefore not available.

(b) Work experience

From January 2011 to August 2011, 16,360 claimants have started a Get Britain Working Work Experience placement.

The latest quarterly official statistics relating to Get Britain Working Work Experience, including demographic breakdowns, can be found at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/pwp/index.php?page=pwp

(c/h) Apprenticeship offers /the access to apprenticeships programme

There were 279,700 apprenticeship starts(1) in England in the 2009-10 academic year; the latest year for which final data are available. Final data on apprenticeship starts in England for the academic year 2010-11 will be available from January 2012. The latest provisional data show 442,700(2) apprenticeship starts in 2010-11. Information on the number of people placed in work through apprenticeship offers and the Access to Apprenticeship programme is not available.

Information on the number of apprenticeship starts is published in a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 27 October 2011:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_current

(d) Sector-based work academies

Information on the number of people placed in work through sector-based work academies is not available. Jobcentre Plus districts will be tracking benefit claimants who participate in sector-based work academies but there is no national requirement for districts to record and report job outcomes achieved.

(e) The Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund was announced on 12 May 2011 and will support disadvantaged young people and those at risk of disadvantage, aged 14 years and over. This project is in the commissioning stages and will begin delivery in early 2012; therefore no young people have been placed into work at this point.

(f) European Social Fund support

European Social Fund support has achieved 75,671 job outcomes from July 2008 to October 2011(3).

(g) The skills offer

Information on the number of people placed in work following the new skills offer, introduced from 1 August, is not available. The Department for Work and Pensions is working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to see how data collected by both Departments can be used to produce meaningful statistics on the effectiveness of work-related training.

(i) Work Together

Work Together is available on a voluntary basis to all unemployed claimants. We do not set specific expectations or targets; therefore the data requested are not available.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 123W

(j) Work programme

The Work programme was launched in June 2011, to deliver sustained employment that can change people's lives; providers have longer than ever before to make a difference.

The Department is working to guidelines set by the UK Statistics Authority to ensure we are able to publish statistics that meet high quality standards at the earliest opportunity and we are aiming to publish referrals and attachments from spring 2012 and job outcomes from autumn 2012.

(k) Work Choice

DWP will be publishing information on Work Choice from spring 2012 and as a minimum we will be seeking to publish referrals, starts and job outcome data to contract level.

(l) Mandatory work activity

The first official statistics on mandatory work activity will be published in February 2012 to guidelines set by the UK Statistics Authority to ensure we publish statistics that meet high quality standards at the earliest opportunity.

(1) Apprenticeships include those who are currently employed who are starting an apprenticeship as well as new apprenticeship vacancies, i.e. a potential job outcome. Information on the split between the two is not currently available.

(2) It is not possible to directly compare provisional 2010-11 estimates with figures for previous years as not all providers will have made their performance returns yet. Therefore it is assumed that estimates may change significantly.

(3) These figures only relate to the DWP Co-Financing Organisation.

Fuel Poverty

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Government's welfare reforms on the number of households in fuel poverty. [80015]

Chris Grayling: My Department has not made an assessment specifically of the effects of the welfare reforms on fuel poverty. However, full impact assessments have been conducted in line with Cabinet Office guidelines and kept up to date. These are available at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/welfare-reform/legislation-and-key-documents/welfare-reform-bill-2011/impact-assessments-and-equality/

As set out in the relevant impact assessment, universal credit will reduce the number of individuals in poverty.

Greater simplicity will lead to a substantial increase in the take-up of currently unclaimed benefits, with most of the impact being at the lower end of the income distribution. The changes to entitlement are estimated to increase average weekly net income in the bottom two income deciles by £3 and £4 per week respectively. After accounting for imperfect take-up in the current system and improved take-up under universal credit, the gain for the bottom two deciles increases to £11 and £10 per week respectively. On reasonable assumptions, the combined impact of take-up and entitlements will lift around 900,000 individuals out of poverty, including more than 350,000 children and around 550,000 working-age adults. These poverty impacts exclude the positive impacts of more people moving into work.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 124W

Funeral Payments

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent pursuing the recovery of funeral payments on which the deceased's estate defaulted over the last five years. [80352]

Steve Webb: We do not separately record the administrative cost of pursuing the recovery of funeral payments.

Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment has been made of the case for extending eligibility for funeral payments. [80360]

Steve Webb: Future eligibility of the funeral payment scheme will be reviewed in light of the Social Security Advisory Committee's review of passported benefits which is currently under way and prior to the implementation of universal credit.

Housing Benefit

Mr Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people resident in St Helens South and Whiston constituency were in receipt of (a) housing benefit and (b) local housing allowance in each of the last five years. [80957]

Steve Webb: Although housing benefit statistics are not routinely reported at parliamentary constituency level, the Department has published such breakdowns for January 2011. The publication, which did not present local housing allowance caseloads separately, showed an overall housing benefit caseload of 10,270 for St Helens and Whiston parliamentary constituency.

Housing benefit statistics at local authority level are available online:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/hb_ctb/index.php?page=hbctb_arc

Mr Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many young people resident in St Helens South and Whiston constituency claimed the shared accommodation rate of housing benefit in 2010-11; and how many such people he estimates will be affected by the extension of the age threshold to 35. [80958]

Steve Webb: The information requested is not available at constituency level.

Estimates of the number of people in each local authority who (i) claimed the shared accommodation rate of housing benefit in March 2010 and (ii) will be affected by the increase in the shared accommodation rate age threshold, can be found in the equality impact assessment available on the DWP website at

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/eia-hb-shared-accommodation-age-threshold.pdf

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what additional provision he will make for parents with part-custody rights who will be affected by the extension of shared accommodation rate of local housing allowance to those aged 25 to 34 years to fund accommodation suitable for looking after children; and if he will make a statement. [81153]

21 Nov 2011 : Column 125W

Steve Webb: Having considered this situation carefully we have no plans to introduce any further exemptions from the shared accommodation rate beyond those already announced for certain claimants moving on from specialist homeless hostels and a small group of ex-offenders most likely to present a risk of causing serious harm to the public. However, further financial assistance is available from local authorities through discretionary housing payments when they consider that additional help with housing costs is needed.

Housing Benefit: Universal Credit

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress he has made on his plans for the administration of local housing allowance payments within the universal credit; what his policy is on the ability of landlords to reclaim arrears if direct payments are not made to them by tenants; and if he will make a statement. [81188]

Steve Webb: An appropriate amount will be added to the UC award to help meet the costs of rent for tenants in the private sector. This ‘housing element’ for private tenants will be based on the local housing allowance approach.

The Government are working closely with the housing sector, tenant representative groups, and local government to inform the design of universal credit.

Incapacity Benefit

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the north-east economy of his planned changes to incapacity benefit in each of the next five years. [81021]

Chris Grayling: No such assessment has been made.

Industrial Health and Safety: Farms

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to promote health and safety on farms. [80906]

Chris Grayling: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) actively promotes health and safety on farms through a programme of farming Safety and Health Awareness Days (SHADs) in England, Scotland and Wales. SHADs are half day training events based on practical demonstrations of everyday hazards faced by farmers, farming families and workers. The events target family farmers, the self employed and those employing up to four people.

Formally, HSE promotes health and safety in the industry through the work of its Agriculture Industry Advisory Committee. This committee provides a mechanism for bringing together and consulting with the industry and for helping to set priorities to promote the attitudinal and cultural changes required if there is to be sustainable improvement in the industry's health and safety performance.

Additionally over the past 12 to 15 months, HSE has been working in partnership with the key industry stakeholders and, among other things, is supporting the Farm Industry Safety Partnerships led by the National

21 Nov 2011 : Column 126W

Farmers Union (NFU) and the similar group in Wales led by NFU Cymru. These partnerships are actively developing a range of activities and initiatives to promote health and safety through their respective memberships.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what methodology his Department used to determine the level of jobseeker's allowance. [80866]

Chris Grayling: There is no actual formula used to calculate benefit rates, instead benefits such as jobseeker's allowance are made up of main components, the rates of which are fixed by Parliament each April, and are generally uprated annually in line with inflation.

Alison McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 22 June 2011, Official Report, column 316W, on jobseeker's allowance, whether his Department has revised its projection of the (a) jobseeker's allowance claimant count, (b) jobseeker's allowance claimant count aged 16 to 24 and (c) average weekly jobseeker's allowance payment in (i) 2011-12, (ii) 2012-13, (iii) 2013-14 and (iv) 2014-15. [81180]

Chris Grayling: There have been no revisions to jobseeker's allowance projections since Budget 2011. The Department's projections are aligned to the independent Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts which are publicly available.

Pensions: Females

Mr Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women in St Helens South and Whiston constituency he estimates will be affected by planned changes to the state pension age. [80960]

Steve Webb: The requested information is available in the document “Women affected by State Pension age changes in Pensions Act 2011 by Parliamentary Constituency”. This is available in the House of Commons Library.

Social Security Benefits

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will publish the Social Security Advisory Committee's report of its review of passported benefits when it is presented in January 2012; and if he will make a statement. [81075]

Chris Grayling: The Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) has been commissioned to carry out an independent review of passported benefits on behalf of the Government. This review is still taking place and the Committee has been asked to report by the end of January 2012. The Department will publish the final report alongside our response by the end of April.

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to modify the right to reside test in light of the European Commission's Reasoned Opinion relating to benefit claimants. [81686]

21 Nov 2011 : Column 127W

Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions is considering all the details of the European Commission's Reasoned Opinion against the right to reside test and is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure the UK retains control of its welfare policies.

The Government accept their responsibility in supporting EU citizens who work here and pay their taxes, but it is clearly completely unacceptable that we should be asked to open our welfare system to people who have never worked or contributed in the United Kingdom and have no intention of doing so.

Social Security Benefits: EU Nationals

Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury of 8 March 2011, Official Report, column 1035W, on social security benefits: EU nationals, for what reason benefit payment systems do not record the nationality of people receiving benefits. [80626]

Chris Grayling: For contributory benefits, the Department’s benefit payment systems do not record nationality because it is not a qualifying factor for receiving the benefit. This is because eligibility is solely determined by the national insurance contributions that the claimant has made.

For all other benefits administered by the Department, residency conditions apply, hence nationality does need to be checked to ensure that the claimant is lawfully resident in the country. Therefore, for these benefits, nationality is established as part of the claims process, but since it is not required for further processing the claim, it is not recorded on our benefit payment systems.

I have commissioned work to release information regarding the nationality of benefits claimants at the point of registration for a national insurance number. I hope to make these preliminary statistics available shortly. In addition, I have asked my officials to look into ways of capturing nationality information at source.

Social Services: Dementia

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what provision his Department makes for people with dementia who are unable to meet dementia service charges in cases where a local authority does not meet the full cost of care. [81458]

Paul Burstow: I have been asked to reply.

People with less than £23,250 can apply for financial help from social services with the cost of care in a care home. Local authorities assess a person's ability to contribute towards the cost of residential care using the National Assistance (Assessment of Resources) Regulations 1992. “The Charging for Residential Accommodation Guide” provides guidance on how to interpret the regulations.

For non-residential social care services, such as home care, it is for individual local authorities to decide whether to charge. The legal basis—as set out in Section 17 of the Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983—is that no one should be asked to pay more than they reasonably can.

21 Nov 2011 : Column 128W

The Department issued statutory guidance to local authorities—the “Fairer Charging Policies for Home Care and other non-residential Social Services”. This is intended to ensure that, where local authorities charge, this will be based on fair and well designed policies. The guidance is intended to protect service users on low incomes, ensure that any charges levied on disability benefits are subject to an assessment of disability costs, and to ensure charges are reasonable. As a minimum, service users' net incomes should not be reduced below basic levels of income support or the guarantee credit of pension credit, plus a buffer of 25%, as a result of charging. Local authorities are free to be more generous if they wish.

SSAC

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received on the resignation of the Chair of the SSAC; if he will make a statement. [79171]

Chris Grayling: Deep Sagar resigned as Chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee on 11 October 2011. Paul Gray CB has been appointed as interim Chair (with the agreement of the Commissioner for Public Appointments) pending an open recruitment exercise for a new Chair. The role of Chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee is subject to pre-appointment scrutiny by the Work and Pensions Select Committee who have written to the Department in connection with this.

The Department has not received any other representations on this matter.

Stationery

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on (a) postage, (b) stationery and (c) telephones in each month since June 2010. [79164]

Chris Grayling: Between the period June 2010 to September 2011, my Department has spent £67.4 million on postage and £9.18 million on stationery.

The monthly breakdown for postage and stationery spend is as follows:

£ million

(a) Postal (b) Stationery

2010

   

June

4.6

0.96

July

4.2

0.95

August

3.4

0.73

September

4.7

0.68

October

3.7

0.53

November

3.5

0.51

December

5.6

0.48

     

2011

   

January

6.0

0.43

February

3.6

0.05

March

5.2

1.51

April

4.8

0.45

May

3.6

0.44

21 Nov 2011 : Column 129W

June

3.9

0.38

July

3.5

0.34

August

3.4

0.33

September

3.5

0.41

Total

67.2

9.18

For comparison, the expenditure between June 2009 and September 2010 on postage was £75.4 million and on stationery was £21.5 million. The differences in monthly expenditure are because postage and stationery are both demand-led services and products. Theses are used to support business needs and costs fluctuate due to increases/decreases in operational activity, for example, postage increases attributable to winter fuel and cold weather payment notifications during December 2010 and January 2011.

DWP communicates with our customers via a range of postal services—actual volumes in 2010-11 were approximately 220 million items. Postage services to customers’ home addresses include payment via girocheques, notifications and supporting correspondence for individual entitlements/decisions.

My Department does not have expenditure on telephones. This equipment is provided under a network services arrangement and the number of discreet telephones is not directly charged for.

Unemployment: Norfolk

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Norfolk were registered unemployed for two years or longer in (a) 2006, (b) 2007, (c) 2008, (d) 2009, (e) 2010 and (f) 2011. [81549]

Mr Hurd: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated November 2011:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many people in Norfolk were registered unemployed for two years or longer (a) 2006, (b) 2007, (c) 2008, (d) 2009, (e) 2010 and (f) 2011. (81549)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) compiles unemployment statistics for local areas from the Annual Population Survey (APS) following International Labour Organisation (ILO) definitions. However, estimates of people resident in Norfolk who were unemployed for two years or longer are not available.

As an alternative in Table 1, we have provided the number of people who have been claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) for over 104 weeks resident in Norfolk in September of each year from 2006 to 2011.

National and local area estimates for many labour market statistics, including employment, unemployment and JSA count are available on the Nomis website at:

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk

Table 1: Number of people (1) resident in Norfolk who were claiming jobseeker's allowance for over 104 weeks
September Level

2006

710

2007

570

21 Nov 2011 : Column 130W

2008

280

2009

210

2010

860

2011

1,020

(1) Computerised claims only. These account for approximately 99.7% of all claims. Note: Data rounded to nearest 5 Source: Jobcentre Plus administrative system

Universal Credit

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what reports he has commissioned from external advisers on the introduction of Universal Credit in (a) 2010 and (b) 2011. [79182]

Chris Grayling: The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), has not commissioned any reports from external advisers specifically on the introduction of universal credit in either 2010 or 2011.

However the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has asked the Social Security Advisory Committee to undertake an independent review of passported benefits and how they link with universal credit. The Committee will produce an advisory report at the end of January 2011.

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) adults and (b) children under the age of 18 he estimates will live in households that will receive the new universal credit benefit following the national roll-out. [81076]

Chris Grayling: The Department for Work and Pensions estimates that following the implementation of universal credit:

(a) Approximately 9.3 million adults will live in benefit units which are entitled to universal credit.

(b) Approximately 6.7 million dependent children will live in benefit units which are entitled to universal credit.

These estimates have been made using the Department's Policy Simulation Model, which is based on the Family Resources Survey (FRS), and is consistent with the updated Impact Assessment for Universal Credit which was published in October 2011.

Work Capability Assessment

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK received zero points in a work capability assessment and were passed on appeal in the latest period for which figures are available; [80221]

(2) how many people in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK received between zero and six points in a work capability assessment and were passed on appeal in the latest period for which figures are available. [80222]

21 Nov 2011 : Column 131W

Chris Grayling: Decisions on entitlement to employment and support allowance (ESA) using the Work Capability Assessment rest solely with the Department's decision makers taking into account the medical assessment reports from Atos and any other relevant information.

If someone is assessed to be Fit for Work by DWP they are no longer entitled to claim ESA. However, they may ask for a revision and/or they may appeal against the DWP decision.

Tables 1 to 3 as follows show appeals heard on Fit for Work decisions, where between zero and six points were

21 Nov 2011 : Column 132W

recorded at the face-to-face assessment. The tables cover ESA claims starting between October 2008 and August 2010 (this is the latest period for which these figures are available).

Information is unavailable for the Jarrow constituency and data for Great Britain are given in place of data for the United Kingdom as data for Northern Ireland are not available. The figures provided are for initial assessments only and numbers have been rounded to the nearest hundred—as a result, figures may not sum to the totals shown.

Table 1 : Fit for Work appeals in South Tyneside unitary authority

All fit for w ork Appeals heard (to date) Percentage fit for work with an appeal heard (to date) (%) Decision in favour of appellant DWP decision upheld Percentage decision in favour of appellant (%) Percentage DWP decision upheld (%)

0 points

2,000

800

43

300

500

38

62

1 to 6 points

300

200

54

100

100

44

56

0 to 6 points

2,200

1,000

44

400

600

39

61

Table 2: Fit for Work appeals in the north-east

All fit for w ork Appeals heard (to date) Percentage fit for work with an appeal heard (to date) (%) Decision in favour of appellant DWP decision upheld Percentage decision in favour of appellant (%) Percentage DWP decision upheld (%)

0 points

28,300

13,000

46

4,300

8,700

33

67

1 to 6 points

4,000

2,300

57

1,100

1,200

48

52

0 to 6 points

32,300

15,300

47

5,400

9,900

35

65

Table 3: Appeals heard on Fit for Work decisions in Great Britain

All fit for w ork Appeals heard (to date) Percentage fit for work with an appeal heard (to date) (%) Decision in favour of appellant DWP decision upheld Percentage decision in favour of appellant (%) Percentage DWP decision upheld (%)

0 points

342,900

128,400

37

43,100

85,400

34

66

1 to 6 points

77,700

34,800

45

16,100

18,700

46

54

0 to 6 points

420,500

163,200

39

59,200

104,000

36

64

Notes: 1. The Department regularly publishes official statistics on the employment and support allowance (ESA) Work Capability Assessment at the national level. The latest report, published in October 2011, can be found here: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page=esa_wca 2. The data presented above come from benefit claims data held by the Department for Work and Pensions, functional assessment data from Atos Healthcare and appeals data from the Tribunals Service. 3. Data on appeals include ESA claims up to the end of August 2010 (the latest month where we have sufficient volumes of appeals heard to include in the publication) where the person claiming has been assessed to be Fit for Work, they subsequently appeal the Department's decision and the appeal has been heard by Tribunals Service. 4. Due to the time it takes for appeals to be submitted to the Tribunals Service and heard, it is likely that there are more appeals that have not yet been heard. Therefore these figures should be treated as emerging findings rather than final at this stage.

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the north-east and (d) the UK who have failed a work capability assessment in the last 12 months have subsequently had the decision overturned on appeal. [80390]

Chris Grayling: Decisions on entitlement to employment and support allowance (ESA) using the work capability assessment rest solely with the Department’s decision makers taking into account the medical assessment reports from Atos and any other relevant information.

If someone is assessed to be fit for work by DWP, they are no longer entitled to claim ESA. However, they may ask for a revision and/or they may appeal against the DWP decision.

The following table shows appeals heard on fit for work decisions, for ESA claims starting between September 2009 and August 2010 (this is the latest 12-month period for which these figures are available).

Information is unavailable for the Jarrow constituency and data for Great Britain are given in place of data for the United Kingdom as data for Northern Ireland are not available. The figures provided are for initial assessments only and numbers have been rounded to the nearest hundred—as a result, figures may not sum to the totals shown.

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Appeals heard on fit for work decisions

All fit for work Appeals heard (to date) Percentage of fit for work with an appeal heard (to date) Decision in favour of appellant DWP decision upheld Percentage of decision in favour of appellant Percentage of DWP decision upheld

South Tyneside

1,300

500

42

200

300

40

60

North-east

18,400

8,500

46

3,100

5,500

36

64

Great Britain

251,700

91,200

36

32,900

58,300

36

64

Notes: 1. The Department regularly publishes official statistics on the employment and support allowance (ESA) work capability assessment at the national level. The latest report, published in October 2011, can be found at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page=esa_wca 2. The data presented above comes from benefit claims data held by the Department for Work and Pensions, functional assessment data from Atos Healthcare and appeals data from the Tribunals Service. 3. Data on appeals include ESA claims started from September 2009 up to the end of August 2010 (the latest month where we have sufficient volumes of appeals heard to include in the publication) where the person claiming has been assessed to be fit for work, they subsequently appeal the Department’s decision and the appeal has been heard by Tribunals Service. 4. Due to the time it takes for appeals to be submitted to the Tribunals Service and heard, it is likely that there are more appeals that have not yet been heard. Therefore these figures should be treated as emerging findings rather than final at this stage.

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to receive the next report from Professor Malcolm Harrington on the work capability assessment. [80737]

Chris Grayling: Professor Harrington’s second independent review of the work capability assessment will be published before the end of 2011.

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the north-east and (d) the UK received over six points in a work capability assessment and were successful at appeal in the latest period for which figures are available. [80738]

Chris Grayling: Decisions on entitlement to employment and support allowance (ESA) using the work capability assessment rest solely with the Department's decision makers taking into account the medical assessment reports from Atos and any other relevant information.

If someone is assessed to be fit for work by DWP they are no longer entitled to claim ESA. However, they may ask for a revision and/or they may appeal against the DWP decision.

The following table shows appeals heard on fit for work decisions, where between seven and 14 points were recorded at the face-to-face assessment. People scoring 15 points or more at assessment are typically assessed to be eligible for ESA in the Work Related Activity Group or Support Group. The table covers ESA claims starting between October 2008 and August 2010 (this is the latest period for which these figures are available).

Information is unavailable for the Jarrow constituency and data for Great Britain are given in place of data for the United Kingdom as data for Northern Ireland are not available. The figures provided are for initial assessments only and numbers have been rounded to the nearest hundred—as a result, figures may not sum to the totals shown.

Fit for work appeals where seven to 14 points was scored at assessment

All fit for work Appeals heard (to date) Percentage of fit for work with an appeal heard (to date) Decision in favour of appellant DWP decision upheld Percentage decision in favour of appellant Percentage DWP decision upheld

South Tyneside

100

100

63

0

0

64

36

North East

1,800

1,100

62

700

400

63

37

Great Britain

32,600

15,900

49

10,100

5,800

63

37

Notes: 1. The Department regularly publishes official statistics on the employment and support allowance (ESA) work capability assessment at the national level. The latest report, published in October 2011, can be found at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page=esa_wca 2. The data presented above come from benefit claims data held by the Department for Work and Pensions, functional assessment data from Atos Healthcare and appeals data from the Tribunals Service. 3. Data on appeals include ESA claims started from October 2008 up to the end of August 2010 (the latest month where we have sufficient volumes of appeals heard to include in the publication) where the person claiming has been assessed to be fit for work, they subsequently appeal the Department's decision and the appeal has been heard by Tribunals Service. 4. Due to the time it takes for appeals to be submitted to the Tribunals Service and heard, it is likely that there are more appeals that have not yet been heard. Therefore these figures should be treated as emerging findings rather than final at this stage.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Administration: Allowances

Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent representations his Department has received on the merits of defining administration expenses; and if he will make a statement. [81200]

Mr Davey: The Department has not received any recent representations on the merits of defining administration expenses

Apprentices

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the (a) findings and (b) recommendations of the British Chambers of Commerce report, entitled Skills for Business: More to Learn. [78801]

21 Nov 2011 : Column 135W

Mr Hayes: The Government welcome the British Chambers of Commerce's (BCC) report “Skills for Business: More to Learn?”. Officials in the Department will be meeting with the BCC later this month when they will discuss the key findings and recommendations.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) if he will bring forward proposals to amend apprenticeship frameworks to make them more adaptable to business needs, as recommended in the British Chambers of Commerce October 2011 report on skills for business; [78803]

(2) if he will respond to the findings on apprentices contained in the British Chambers of Commerce report Skills for business: more to learn. [79062]

Mr Hayes: A package of measures to reduce bureaucracy and make it as easy as possible for employers to recruit and employ an apprentice was announced at last week's apprenticeship summit as well as incentive payments of up to £1,500 for small firms taking on their first young apprentice aged 16 to 24. The measures include speeding up the process of advertising vacancies and streamlining health and safety requirements to remove additional demands on employers that already meet national standards. Many of the recommendations from the BCC report are reflected in these measures.

Employers can already develop their own frameworks or run apprenticeships in-house as long as they can meet the high standards we expect from apprenticeships. We will be working with partners to explore ways to further reduce bureaucracy within the system and improve employer ownership.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to promote (a) high end apprenticeship schemes at NVQ level 4 and above and (b) apprenticeships in the technology, engineering and science sector. [79061]

Mr Hayes: On 22 July the Prime Minister announced a £25 million fund to support the creation of up to 10,000 advanced and higher apprenticeships over the next four years, giving firms in a wide range of sectors including advanced manufacturing, information technology and engineering the hi-tech skills they need to grow. We expect to announce the successful bidders shortly.

Recognising the importance of the technology, engineering and science sector in stimulating growth in our economy, and building on the existing work by the National Apprenticeship Service to encourage new apprenticeships in these sectors, we are working very closely with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, the National Apprenticeship Service, and the relevant Sector Skills Councils on a project to develop a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Apprenticeship Growth Plan. This will be published by the end of the year.

Beechwood Equipment Ltd

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has had discussions concerning the removal of Beechwood Equipment Ltd from the DSEi 2011 fair for marketing leg cuffs and gang chains; and if he will make a statement. [81342]

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Mr Prisk: Officials in the Export Control Organisation, together with representatives of Her Majesty's (HM) Revenue and Customs and the UK Border Agency, worked closely with the organisers of Defence and Security Equipment International Exhibition (DSEi) 2011 before, during and after the conference. The organisers became aware during the conference of two alleged breaches of UK trade controls and took action accordingly. The incidents were reported to HM Revenue and Customs and they took appropriate action.

Billing: EU Action

Toby Perkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he expects the EU Late Payment Directive to be transposed into UK law. [81010]

Mr Prisk: The deadline for transposition of Directive 2011/7/EU on combating late payment in commercial transactions (recast) is 16 March 2013. We expect to complete the transposition of the directive in England and Wales on 16 March 2013.