Employment and Support Allowance

Mr Frank Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time taken was to process appeals against refusal of employment and support allowance in (a) Lanarkshire, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK in the latest period for which figures are available. [127423]

Mr Hoban: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West (Tom Greatrex), on 29 October 2012, Official Report, column 54W.

Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many and what proportion of incapacity benefit claimants have been moved to the work related activity group for employment and support allowance without attending a work capability assessment in each of the last 12 months; [128065]

(2) how many and what proportion of incapacity benefit claimants have been moved to the support group of employment and support allowance without attending a work capability assessment in each of the last 12 months. [128067]

Mr Hoban: The information is not readily available and has not previously been published as official statistics. We will consider whether it is feasible to produce the statistics requested within the disproportionate cost limit, and if so, will issue them in an official statistics release in accordance with the code of practice for official statistics.

Note that when someone claiming incapacity benefits is reassessed for ESA, they will only have to undergo a face-to-face work capability assessment (WCA) if there is insufficient evidence for a paper-based WCA to be carried out.

Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in which geographic areas incapacity benefit claimants are being migrated to the work related activity group for employment and support allowance without undergoing a work capability assessment. [128066]

Mr Hoban: When someone claiming incapacity benefits is reassessed for ESA, they will only have to undergo a face-to-face work capability assessment (WCA) if there is insufficient evidence for a paper-based WCA to be carried out.

Claimants in all geographic areas across the country may be migrated to employment and support allowance without undergoing a face-to-face assessment.

Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many letters have been sent to incapacity benefit claimants asking them to complete an ESA50 in each of the last 12 months. [128068]

Mr Hoban: The number of letters sent to incapacity benefit claimants requesting completion of an ESA50 in each month in the period November 2011 to October 2012 is as follows:

26 Nov 2012 : Column 139W

 Number of letters sent

2011

 

November

49,300

December

44,700

  

2012

 

January

50,400

February

45,800

March

48,400

April

49,700

May

50,300

June

43,500

July

50,700

August

46,600

September

48,700

October

53,700

Note: All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100.

Employment Schemes: Young People

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Youth Contract placements have been started in (a) the UK, (b) each local authority and (c) each ward in each of the last three years; and what proportion of such placements were with smaller employers. [128008]

Mr Hoban: The Youth Contract was launched in April 2012. Up to and including May 2012 there were 9,870 work experience and 2,550 sector-based work academy starts. We will be placing a copy of the number of starts per local authority area in the House of Commons Library. Starts are not available at ward level, and we do not keep data about employer destinations.

Mr McCann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many wage subsidies have been transferred to businesses under the Youth Contract scheme since its launch; [129565]

(2) how much has been spent on Youth Contract wage subsidies since the launch of the scheme. [129566]

Mr Hoban: The Youth Contract, including wage incentives, went live in April 2012. From this point any young person attached to the Work programme could be placed into work with a wage incentive being offered to the employer.

From late July 2012, in selected ‘youth unemployment hotspots’, wage incentives became available via Jobcentre Plus to employ eligible 18 to 24-year-olds.

In most cases the wage incentives element of the Youth Contract are paid after a young person has been in work continuously for 26 weeks. Following the collection and quality assurance of these data, the first set of Official Statistics on the wage incentive should be available from early 2013.

Epilepsy

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people with epilepsy have received support from (a) access to work, (b) the Work programme and (c) work choice in (i) Vauxhall constituency and (ii) England and Wales since May 2010. [130076]

26 Nov 2012 : Column 140W

Esther McVey: The Department's most recent records show that between 1 May 2010 and 30 June 2012, no one with epilepsy as their reported primary medical condition was helped by Access to Work in the Vauxhall parliamentary constituency. In England and Wales combined 1,360 individuals with epilepsy received help.

Figures are not available for Work Choice or the Work programme.

Source:

Access to Work database. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Due to missing or erroneous postcodes, there are a small proportion of cases where we have been unable to generate a parliamentary constituency.

Housing Benefit

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the number of households in receipt of housing benefit in each parliamentary constituency; and what the cost to the public purse was of housing benefit payments in each parliamentary constituency in the last year for which figures are available. [129460]

Steve Webb: The information requested on the number of households in receipt of housing benefit in each parliamentary constituency is available and has been placed in the Library.

Information on the cost of housing benefit payments in each parliamentary constituency is not available. Expenditure by local authority is available up to 2011-12 and is published here:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/h_tables_budget_2012_300812.xls

Paul Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals who were fleeing domestic violence and entered a refuge claimed housing benefit for both the refuge service and their former home in each of the last five years; what the (a) average and (b) highest payment made was for such dual housing costs; and what the (i) average and (ii) longest period was during which such payments were made. [129978]

Steve Webb: The information is not available.

Paul Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals who were fleeing domestic violence and entered a refuge received housing benefit for their refuge rent in each of the last five years; what the average payment was in each period; and what the overall cost of the payment was in each period. [129979]

Steve Webb: The information is not available.

Housing Benefit: Brent

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of households in the London borough of Brent who will lose all apart from 50 pence of their current housing benefit award as a result of the household benefit cap; and if he will make a statement. [129764]

26 Nov 2012 : Column 141W

Steve Webb: Of the 2,500 households estimated to be affected by the benefit cap in Brent local authority around 100 will have their housing benefit reduced to 50p at the point of implementation of the cap.

The figures presented above are consistent with the recent Impact Assessment published on 16 July 2012. In making these estimates we assume that the situation of these households will go unchanged, and that they will not take any steps to either work enough hours to qualify for working tax credit, renegotiate their rent in situ, or find alternative accommodation. In all cases the Department is working to support households through this transition, using existing provision through Jobcentre Plus and the Work programme to move as many into work as possible. Therefore, these figures are subject to change prior to the policy being implemented in April 2013.

Incapacity Benefit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in receipt of incapacity benefit have (a) been found fit for work in the current reassessment exercise and (b) been referred to the Work programme in the latest period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [129854]

Mr Hoban: Information on incapacity benefit reassessment is already published and can be found in table 1 here:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/esa_ibr/esa_ibr_nov12.xls

Information on Work programme referrals up to the end of July 2012 is already published and can be found here:

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

Incapacity Benefit: Kilmarnock

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many and what proportion of incapacity benefit claimants in Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency have been moved to the work-related activity group for employment and support allowance without having attended a work capability assessment in each of the last 12 months; [130154]

(2) how many and what proportion of incapacity benefit claimants in Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency have been moved to the support group of employment and support allowance without having attended a work capability assessment in each of the last 12 months. [130156]

Mr Hoban: This information is not available.

When an incapacity benefit claimant is reassessed for employment and support allowance, they will only have to undergo a face-to-face work capability assessment (WCA) if there is insufficient evidence for a paper-based WCA to be carried out.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many letters have been sent to incapacity benefit claimants in Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency asking them to complete an ESA50 questionnaire in each of the last 12 months. [130155]

26 Nov 2012 : Column 142W

Mr Hoban: With regard to the number of letters sent to incapacity benefit claimants, neither the Department for Work and Pensions or Atos Healthcare holds those data by constituency area.

Industrial Health and Safety

Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many unpaid court fines in cases brought by the Health and Safety Executive were recorded in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. [128074]

Mrs Grant: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service systems do not identify how many fines remain outstanding for cases brought by specific prosecutors and therefore this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost as it would require a manual search of all fine accounts.

Jobcentre Plus

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criteria his Department uses to assess the effectiveness of each Jobcentre Plus office. [128009]

Mr Hoban: DWP monitors the effectiveness of Jobcentre Plus via a range of performance mechanisms, including performance against the Cabinet Office Structural Reform Plan and its own internal Performance Environment. The main measure of Jobcentre Plus performance is the rate at which people leave jobseeker's allowance, income support and employment and support allowance and move into employment. The measure supports the Department for Work and Pensions 2011-15 business plan and the coalition Government's structural reform priorities. The Department provides regular monthly progress and performance reports to the Department and Ministers, and makes performance data available to the public through the DWP website. The Department has also published research on the effectiveness of our offices, which also appears on the DWP website.

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people are employed in Jobcentre Plus offices. [128010]

Mr Hoban: Jobcentre Plus was re-structured and absorbed into a revised DWP Operations structure over a year ago and no longer exists as a separate organisation. Under the new DWP Operations structure, the areas that most closely align with Jobcentre Plus in its previous form are the national Jobcentre network delivering a range of face-to-face services, benefits processing offices, contact centres providing telephony services, and operational support offices.

As at September 2012, the latest date for which published information is available, the number of people in post in the revised structure was 79,958.

Jobseeker's Allowance

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of jobseeker's allowance

26 Nov 2012 : Column 143W

claimants per job vacancy in

(a)

Glasgow North West constituency,

(b)

Glasgow,

(c)

Scotland and (d) the UK. [127347]

Mr Hoban: The Department is aware of the challenges facing jobseekers in the labour market and has put in place a substantial package of support to help them move into work.

Jobcentre Plus offers claimants a comprehensive menu of support including help with job search and referral to local skills provision. This is bolstered by a number of Get Britain Working measures including work experience and pre-employment training, volunteering, Work Clubs and support for those looking to start their own businesses.

The Work programme provides tailored help for those claimants furthest from the labour market. Claimants with more challenging barriers to work can be referred early. Providers are paid on the results they achieve, and are paid more for supporting the hardest to help into sustained work.

The Youth Contract provides new opportunities for unemployed young people, including additional support from Jobcentre Plus; wage incentives for employers recruiting eligible young people; and extra work experience places.

Additional funding has also being made available to support the most vulnerable 16 and 17-year-olds not in education, employment or training, into learning, an apprenticeship or a job with training.

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy that

26 Nov 2012 : Column 144W

people leaving disability benefits for jobseeker's allowance (JSA) who are long-term unemployed are offered similar facilities to get into work as those who have been on JSA for 26 weeks or more. [127359]

Mr Hoban: All claimants on jobseeker's allowance (JSA) have access to tailored employment support from day one of their claim. Through Jobcentre Plus advisers, claimants can access the menu of support including work experience, skills and job search support. Advisers have the flexibility to judge which interventions will help claimants move into employment, at the most appropriate point in a claim, tailoring this to individual need.

In line with other JSA claimants, those individuals leaving disability benefits for JSA will access the Work programme at an appropriate time in their claim. The Work programme's “black box” approach gives providers greater freedom and flexibility to deliver personalized support to individuals.

Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will provide details of the pilot areas used to encourage jobseeker's allowance claimants to use online services since May 2012. [128538]

Mr Hoban: Earlier this year, trailblazer pilots 1, 2 and 3 were implemented to test different approaches to encourage claimants to use JSA Online (JSAOL), as detailed in the following table. These approaches have now been implemented nationally as of 31 October 2012.

TrailblazerDate startedApproach testedArea

Trailblazer 1

25 May 2012

Providing greater direction/encouragement to claimants to go online

Durham and Teesside District supported by Middlesbrough Contact Centre

Trailblazer 2

25 May 2012

Look at the effect that increased telephony wait times has on the claimants' take-up of the JSA online option

Essex District supported by Lowestoft Contact Centre

Trailblazer 3

25 May 2012

Advising JSA online claimants that they will get their benefit entitlement decisions more quickly than those who claim on the phone

Thames Valley District supported by Canterbury and Cosham Benefit Centre and Lowestoft Contact Centre

To test additional business processes that direct claimants to DWP's online service, three further, interventions have been implemented in selected areas as detailed in the following table.

TrailblazerDate startedApproach testedArea

Trailblazer 4

24 August 2012

Target Rapid Reclaim claimants to promote the efficiency and effectiveness of making a claim via JSA online

Gloucestershire and West of England District, supported by Torquay Contact Centre

Trailblazer 5

12 October 2012

Target claimants who refuse to go online and insist on remaining in the telephony channel and the effect of being offered a call-back appointment rather than making a claim over the phone at first contact

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, supported by Bangor Contact Centre

Trailblazer 6

31 August 2012

Direct all those claimants who can, and are eligible, to use JSA online. Where they do not have internet access, claimants will be given details of internet access sites

East Wales District (Eastern Valleys) supported by Bangor Contact Centre

Trailblazer 6 extensions(1)

9 November 2012

Direct all those claimants who can, and are eligible, to use JSA online. Where they do not have internet access, claimants will be given details of internet access sites

Merseyside and Birmingham and Solihull Districts

(1 )To include districts with a higher density population and different social challenges.

Trailblazer 6 will be extended further on 7 December 2012 to include all sites within the South East Wales District.

In all cases, contact by phone remains available for the most vulnerable claimants or those with significant barriers.

26 Nov 2012 : Column 145W

Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has considered using post offices for those unable to access the internet at home to make jobseeker's allowance claims. [128551]

Mr Hoban: DWP already signposts claimants to a number of providers of internet access, such as local libraries, and welcomes the provision of public internet access by third parties including the Post Office. As we move to more services that are digital by default, we recognise that some of our customers will need assistance. We will ensure that we will give support to those customers either by telephone, online or, in some cases, through face-to-face contact.

When customers tell us that they do not have access to the internet we inform them of local provision where they can access it for free or at low cost. This includes external partners such as UK Online, but will also cover local organisations such as libraries and community centres. Digital champions in jobcentres, contact centres and benefit centres keep staff informed of the latest provision so that any customer who contacts us can be signposted appropriately.

Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what additional resources he plans to make available to jobcentres to provide internet access for people who are unable to access the internet at home to access jobseeker's allowance claims. [128552]

Mr Hoban: By the end of December 2012, the Internet Access Devices Project will have installed 2,178 internet access devices into 705 jobcentres. There will also be the facility for further sites to apply for them to be installed and for existing sites to increase the number of devices they have.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many jobseeker's allowance claimants who found employment with the assistance of Jobcentre Plus resumed claiming jobseeker's allowance within three months of commencing employment in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) January to October 2012. [129856]

Mr Hoban: The information requested is not collated centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

Metal Theft

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent representations he has received on the potential safety risk due to theft of copper gas pipes fitted externally to residential properties. [128553]

Mr Hoban: The potential safety issue from theft of gas copper pipes has been brought to the attention of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) through a number of routes:

(a) Through a small number of individual cases being reported to HSE.

(b) Through discussions with the Energy Networks Association, as part of their campaign on the wider issue of metal theft.

(c) Via standards committees, including the Meter Asset Managers Code of Practice and British Standards Committee 6891 (Installation of low pressure gas pipework).

26 Nov 2012 : Column 146W

This issue is being addressed as part of a wider Government response on metal theft including from electricity substations and overhead lines. The Government are currently supporting a private Member’s Bill to introduce stronger powers for the licensing and inspection of scrap metal dealers. British Standard 6891 has also been updated to include guidance regarding this risk.

Motability

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the number of people in the north-west of England likely to lose access to motability cars as a result of the replacement of disability living allowance by personal independence payments. [129912]

Esther McVey: Personal Independence Payment: Assessment Thresholds and Consultation was published in January 2012. It included early estimates on the likely PIP benefit caseload in 2015-16, compared with the likely working age DLA caseload if the new benefit is not introduced. These estimates, which were based on the second draft of the assessment criteria, have been broken down by each of the rate combinations in the benefits. The assessment criteria for PIP are still being finalised. A Government response to the consultation and a final draft of the criteria will be published later this year.

We are continuing to work closely with Motability to understand what impact the personal independence payment might have on its customer numbers and to ensure it is well placed to manage the introduction of the new benefit.

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that people in receipt of the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance and personal independence payments who have that entitlement removed do not have motability cars removed before any reconsideration of their case has taken place. [129913]

Esther McVey: Motability is an independent charity wholly responsible for the administration of the Motability Scheme. While the Department works closely with Motability and facilitates the transfer of benefit to the scheme it is not directly involved in establishing scheme policy or operational issues. This responsibility falls to the Governors and Director of Motability.

Once payment of the mobility component has stopped, it is Motability's policy to discuss with the customer, on a case-by-case basis, when the vehicle is to be recovered.

Occupational Pensions

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what comparative assessment he has made of the likely effect of (a) transaction costs and (b) lost investment opportunity during periods of transfer under (i) pot follows member pension schemes and (ii) the aggregator model; and if he will estimate the likely financial effect of transaction costs and lost investment opportunity on an employee who changed employer 11 times under a pot follows member scheme. [129733]

26 Nov 2012 : Column 147W

Steve Webb: Under either a pot follows member system or aggregator scheme, there may be transaction costs and a small risk associated with lost investment opportunities from automatic transfers—though lost investment opportunities during the period of transfer could have either a positive or negative effect—depending on whether the relevant funds move up or down during the period in question.

To the extent that a pot follows member system will transfer the same fund more than once, transaction costs expressed as a proportion of the fund could have a marginally greater effect, although in general we expect it to be small and it will depend on the particular process. The effect of these possible costs needs to be considered against the benefits to individuals from consolidation, including possible lower overall charges—as providers pass on the administrative savings that will be created in the longer term and with fewer people being subject to deferred member penalties.

It is not possible to estimate what the effect will be on an employee who changes employer 11 times under a pot follows member system, as it will vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on a range of factors, including how many schemes they enrol into, whether these are eligible for automatic transfer, the value of their pots and the pot size limit, the particular schemes they are transferred between, as well as when and how pots are transferred.

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the costs of investment in information technology required for pot follows member and an aggregator scheme. [129814]

Steve Webb: We are currently considering how the process for automatic transfers might work, both in terms of the mechanism for matching members to pots, and the end-to-end process, and are working with the pensions industry to understand the role and costs of IT in any solution.

Personal Independence Payment

Andrew Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether a sufferer of myopic retinal degeneration who is a recipient of disability living allowance at mid-rate care and lower rate mobility will continue to receive the same financial support under the personal independence payment scheme. [127890]

Esther McVey: It is not possible to generalise on whether or not an individual with a particular health condition or impairment will be entitled to personal independence payment, and at which rate, as entitlement is based on the impact of their health condition or impairment, not on what type it is.

The personal independence payment assessment will look at disabled people as individuals, rather than labelling them by their health condition or impairment. The assessment is being designed to consider an individual's ability to carry out key everyday activities, and will take account of physical, sensory, mental, intellectual and cognitive impairments.

26 Nov 2012 : Column 148W

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the final criteria for the personal independence payment assessments will be published. [129542]

Esther McVey: We intend to publish our response to the consultation on the PIP assessment criteria, with the final set of criteria before the end of this year.

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many healthcare professionals are expected to be recruited by (a) Atos and (b) Capita to carry out personal independence payment assessments. [129589]

Esther McVey: Based on the information DWP provided for the PIP competition, Atos expects to use 750 health professionals in Lot 1 and 650 in Lot 3. Capita expects to use 559 health professionals in Lot 2.

The majority of the health professionals used by Atos will not be recruited directly but by Atos' sub-contract partners across the health sector.

The DWP is now working very closely with each provider to agree final numbers. By the end of January 2013, Atos is required to provide confirmation that qualified health professionals are in place for Lot 1. By the end of March 2013, Atos and Capita are required to provide the same confirmation in respect of Lots 3 and 2.

Mrs McGuire: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what training will be undertaken by (a) Capita and (b) Atos of healthcare professionals recruited to carry out personal independence payment assessments. [129591]

Esther McVey: We have set clear requirements on the competencies that health professionals must demonstrate before they can carry out assessments for personal independence payment, and the areas that assessment providers must cover in their training. Any professional not meeting our requirements will not be given approval to carry out assessments.

Providers are responsible for developing their own training products. We will work with them to support them and ensure that all elements of our training requirements are covered to the required quality, before signing off their training plans. This work is currently under way.

Remploy

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what help the Government have given to people formerly employed by Remploy to find alternative work; and how many people have already found alternative work. [128509]

Esther McVey: We have put in place a People Help and Support Package (PHSP) for delivering tailored support to those disabled people becoming redundant as a result of the announcements from the Remploy Board. The package offers support to help each affected disabled individual to adjust to life outside segregated employment and obtain alternative mainstream employment.

26 Nov 2012 : Column 149W

The PHSP is delivered through key partners and stakeholders including Remploy and external providers such as Disabled People's User Led Organisations (DPULO's), employment programme providers, employers and training establishments.

I can confirm that 1188 employees have now left Remploy and 1068 have agreed to participate in the PHSP package. The number of people engaging with PHSP support is increasing, leading to more positive outcomes as 63 people have already found alternative employment and I expect this figure to improve considerably over time.

Nick Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what information his Department holds on how many of the former workers of Remploy Abertillery made redundant in August 2012 have subsequently secured full-time employment. [128016]

Esther McVey: The Abertillery factory closed in mid August. I have checked the latest figures up to and including 26 October and can confirm that no one has yet found employment. To put this in context, there are 20 disabled individuals affected by the Abertillery factory closure. None has indicated they wish to retire and 14 have met with their personal case worker and therefore opted to take up the People Help and Support Package (PHSP).

The PHSP offers support to help each affected disabled individual to obtain alternative mainstream employment and adjust to life outside Government-funded segregated sheltered employment. It is available to all 20 disabled individuals at the Abertillery site and is accessed through their personal case worker.

Mr Alan Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on which dates Remploy learnt of a product defect affecting its Panther chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear protection suit; and when it issued a product alert. [129846]

Esther McVey: Remploy received notification of a concern surrounding an alleged defect in its Panther CBRN suit on 22 January 2010. This prompted an investigation, the outcome of which was the suggestion in February 2010 that the suit be sent for testing before any alert regarding an alleged defect was issued. Various modifications were made to the suit (which became the Panther 10) and the suit was sent for re-testing. The test results were deemed satisfactory.

Concerns were again raised on 3 November 2011 and following further internal discussion the company issued a precautionary product alert letter to relevant customers notifying them of the concerns raised. The product alert letters were issued at the end of December 2011. Remploy has to date received no claims or complaints from its customers surrounding the protection levels of the Panther suits.

Remploy: Scotland

Mr Frank Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many former Remploy employees in Motherwell and Wishaw constituency have found employment since being made redundant in summer 2012. [127426]

26 Nov 2012 : Column 150W

Esther McVey: The Motherwell factory closed in mid August. I have checked the latest figures up to and including 26 October and can confirm that no one has yet found employment. Twenty disabled individuals are affected by the Motherwell factory closure. Three have indicated that they wish to retire and all have met with their personal care worker and therefore have opted to take up the People Help and Support Package (PHSP).

PHSP offers support to help each affected disabled individual to obtain alternative mainstream employment and adjust to life outside of Government-funded segregated sheltered employment. It is available to all 20 disabled individuals at the Motherwell site and is accessed through their personal case worker.

Mr Frank Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received in respect of the re-opening of the Remploy factory in Motherwell and Wishaw constituency. [127427]

Esther McVey: I have been advised that Remploy has received two propositions for the Motherwell site from third parties who wish to acquire the site and assets, and both may involve potential for the generation of new jobs.

The specific details of both bids are confidential.

Social Security Benefits

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment his Department has made of the number of households in (a) Scotland, (b) each parliamentary constituency and (c) each local authority in Scotland that will be affected by the benefit cap in April 2013. [128264]

Mr Hoban: It is estimated that around 2,500 households in Scotland will be affected by the cap in the first year of its implementation (financial year 2013-14).

A table showing a breakdown by parliamentary constituency has been placed in the Library and can be found at:

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2012-1587/LibraryDocument125527.pdf

A table showing a breakdown of the number of households who will be affected, by local authority, was placed in the Library and can be found at:

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2012-1447/LocalAuthoritybreakdownaffectedbybenefitcap.doc

Please note that in both of the tables household numbers are rounded to the nearest 100. Areas with fewer than 100 households affected are denoted by “..”, as additional disclosure control has been applied to these areas. For this reason, figures will not sum to the total number of households affected in the July 2012 impact assessment for the household benefit cap.

These estimates assume that the situation of these households will go unchanged, and that they will not take any steps to either work enough hours to qualify for working tax credit, renegotiate their rent in situ, or find alternative accommodation. In all cases the Department is working to support households through this transition, using existing provision through Jobcentre Plus and the Work programme to move as many into work as possible.

26 Nov 2012 : Column 151W

Therefore, please note that these figures are subject to change prior to the policy being implemented from April 2013.

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Margot James: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many benefit fraud investigators were employed by (a) his Department and (b) local authorities in each year since 2005-06; [128549]

(2) how much was spent on employing benefit fraud investigators by (a) his Department and (b) local authorities in each year since 2005-06. [128550]

Mr Hoban: The following table shows the total number of staff and the total cost of staff carrying out fraud- type activities in DWP since 2006-07. This is the earliest time data are available from.

Fraud type activities totals
 Costs (£)FTE

2006-07

121,847,995

4,173

2007-08

117,597,358

3,890

2008-09

110,601,616

3,673

2009-10

111,348,187

3,621

2010-11

111,182,553

3,659

2011-12

120,719,864

3,845

Note: We do not collect data for local authorities. Source: The data are extracted from: The JCP ABM Models 06/07, 07/08, 08/09, 09/10, 10/11 and the DWP ABM Operations Model 11/12.

Social Security Benefits: Liverpool

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of how many people in Liverpool, Walton constituency will be affected by the Government's proposed reforms to (a) disability living allowance, (b) social sector under-occupancy, (c) council tax benefit and (d) social fund, and by the proposed budget cap. [129747]

Steve Webb: The information is as follows:

(a) The available information is published in the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Impact Assessment (May 2012). This can be found on the Department's website at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dla-reform-wr2011-ia.pdf

Information on current disability living allowance caseloads at a parliamentary constituency level can also be found on the Department's website at:

http://83.244.183.180/100pc/tabtool.html

(b) No estimates are available for the social sector under-occupancy measure at parliamentary constituency level. Regional estimates of impacts are provided in the impact assessment at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/social-sector-housing-under-occupation-wr2011-ia.pdf

(c) Estimates of how many people will be affected by the change from council tax benefit to localised support are not available at parliamentary constituency level. The number of people affected will depend on decisions by local authorities about the design of their schemes.

26 Nov 2012 : Column 152W

(d) We do not have any estimates on how many people will be affected by the social fund reforms that are due to take effect from April 2013 at parliamentary constituency level. As part of the reforms some social fund discretionary payments will be abolished. Funding is being provided for new and better targeted local provision through local authorities in England, and through arrangements made by the Scottish and Welsh Governments. The local provision will be tailored to local circumstance and integrated with other local support services. Local authorities in England are currently finalising the design of their own local schemes, including eligibility criteria. This means we are unable to provide any estimates on how many people will be eligible under each local authority scheme.

In addition universal credit will provide a better service of payments on account, supporting many people in need of short and longer term credit facilities. These necessary reforms simplify the current complex, poorly targeted and remote system, and ensure that support is focused on those who really need it.

The benefit cap: a table showing a breakdown by parliamentary constituency has been placed in the Library and can be found at:

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2012-1587/LibraryDocument125527.pdf

The figures presented above are consistent with the recent Impact Assessment published on 16 July 2012. In making these estimates we assume that the situation of these households will go unchanged, and that they will not take any steps to either work enough hours to qualify for working tax credit, renegotiate their rent in situ, or find alternative accommodation. In all cases the Department is working to support households through this transition, using existing provision through Jobcentre Plus and the Work programme to move as many into work as possible. Therefore, please note that these figures are subject to change prior to the policy being implemented in April 2013.

Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how his Department plans to respond to the recommendation in the National Audit Office report on contract management of medical services (HC 627) that his Department should tighten performance requirements for medical contractors linked to the quality of medical assessments. [128606]

Mr Hoban: The Department welcomes the NAO review and intends to implement the recommendations that will support the continuous improvement of the contract and performance. The NAO recognised that quality targets have, with only minor exceptions, been consistently achieved, and in many cases out performed targets. The Department welcomes this view but will nevertheless review targets with our contractor to ensure they too reflect our appetite for continuous improvement.

State Retirement Pensions

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners are entitled to a state pension in excess of £140 per week; and if he will make a statement. [130223]

26 Nov 2012 : Column 153W

Steve Webb: Based on the Department's forecasting models:

Around 11.5 million individuals were projected to be receiving a state pension in Great Britain in September 2012. Around 5.2 million (around 45%) of these individuals were projected to have a gross state pension amount in excess of £140 a week (in 2012-13 earnings terms).

The estimates above are for gross state pension amounts which include additional pension rights accrued in private pension schemes during periods of contracting out. They do not include income from means-tested benefits.

Sources:

The Department's PENSIM2 simulation model November 2012 and DWP Forecasting Division: Budget 2012 medium term caseload forecast. Figures relate to Great Britain only.

Telephone Services

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 17 October 2012, Official Report, column 350-5W, on telephone services, (1) if he will set out for each of the telephone numbers listed (a) the amount and (b) the proportion of the termination rate (service charge or wholesale charge) that has (i) been retained by the Department's telephone provider for that line and (ii) been received by the Department; [130283]

(2) for each of the telephone numbers listed, what the termination rate (wholesale charge or service charge) element is of each call, expressed in pence per minute. [130284]

Mr Hoban: The Department for Work and Pensions does not receive any revenue from calls to its 0800 and 0845 services. The associated termination rates are set by telecommunications providers and are not a matter for DWP.

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 17 October 2012, Official Report, column 350-5W, on telephone services, for each telephone number provided, who the telephone service provider is. [130285]

Mr Hoban: All of the telephone numbers listed in the answer of 17 October 2012, Official Report, columns 350-5W, are provided by British Telecom.

Universal Credit

Mr McCann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how the qualifying conditions for each passported benefit for which he is responsible will change under universal credit. [128333]

Mr Hoban: Three elements of the regulated social fund are currently passported via means-tested benefits and tax credits, each with their own additional eligibility rules relating to household or family circumstances. These elements are:

Cold Weather Payments,

Funeral Payments, and

Sure Start Maternity Grants.

The administration of passported benefits is the responsibility of a number of Government Departments and the devolved Administrations. We are currently

26 Nov 2012 : Column 154W

working across Government to ensure that we introduce universal credit in a way that works smoothly with all passported benefits while ensuring that these benefits continue to be available to the families that need them most.

We will announce our eligibility criteria in due course.

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households in receipt of universal credit will have at least one individual whose main employment is self-employment in (a) the UK and (b) Wales. [129071]

Mr Hoban: It is estimated that there will be approximately (a) 700,000 households in Great Britain with at least one individual whose main employment is self-employment entitled to universal credit once it is fully implemented.

The information requested in (b) is not available at this level of detail.

Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the effect of levels of broadband access in rural areas on his Department's plans to (a) introduce universal credit and develop online services to jobseekers. [129077]

Mr Hoban: The Department has undertaken some general insight to ascertain the levels of internet access and capability among claimants. We are also undertaking some pilots, including some in rural areas, using the current jobseeker's allowance online claim facility. These will provide further information on claimants' needs in terms of both access and skills. The trials involve working closely with third-party providers of internet access and signposting the internet provision available within jobcentres. The findings of these trials will help shape the provision of online services for both universal credit and job search activities.

The Department remains committed to providing an excellent customer service to all and will support those with difficulties of access and/or skills and will continue to provide alternative channels where appropriate.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions who the Senior Responsible Officer is for the universal credit project. [129853]

Mr Hoban: I refer the right hon. Member to the replies I gave to his recent question 125963 on 31 October 2012, Official Report, column 312W, and PQ126554 on 5 November 2012, Official Report, column 503W.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been paid to each firm awarded an information technology contract as part of the universal credit programme since the start of the programme. [129855]

Mr Hoban: The overall spend with our suppliers for design and development of IT since the start of the universal credit programme is £225 million.

26 Nov 2012 : Column 155W

Universal Credit: Scotland

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the number of people in (a) Scotland and (b) Kilmarnock and Loudon constituency who will be in receipt of universal credit on 1 January (i) 2013, (ii) 2014 and (iii) 2015. [128259]

Mr Hoban: There will be no people in receipt of universal credit on 1 January 2013. In subsequent years the number of people in receipt of universal credit will depend on the detailed rules for managing the build-up of the caseload. These rules are currently under development.

Welfare State: Scotland

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he next expects to meet (a) the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and (b) Ministers in the Scottish Government to discuss (i) welfare reform and (ii) the introduction of universal credit. [130145]

Mr Hoban: The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Department's Ministers meet regularly with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and Ministers in the Scottish Government to discuss a range of topics.

Winter Fuel Payments: North East

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners received the winter fuel allowance in (a) Sunderland, (b) Houghton and Sunderland South constituency and (c) the north-east in the last five years. [129254]

Steve Webb: The information requested is as follows:

Winter fuel payment recipients
 Houghton and Sunderland South parliamentary constituencySunderland local authorityNorth-east region

2011-12

19,940

57,840

554,160

2010-11

20,030

58,340

559,430

2009-10

n/a

57,950

555,830

2008-09

n/a

56,830

545,600

2007-08

n/a

55,770

534,460

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. “n/a” means figures are not available due to boundary changes. These figures recognise the May 2010 structural changes to the parliamentary constituencies of England and Wales and the April 2009 structural changes to the local authorities of England. 3. These figures are for the total number of payments made and will therefore include some claimants who are not yet pension age. 4. The reduction in the latest year’s figures is due to the rise in female state pension age. The general increase in the pensioner population has been offset (for a time) by the gradual increase of the female state pension age and therefore the age of entitlement for WFP. 5. The latest figures for winter fuel payments are published at: http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=wfp

Work Capability Assessment

Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many work capability assessments have been carried out in each of the last 12 months for which figures are available. [128069]

26 Nov 2012 : Column 156W

Mr Hoban: The latest publication on the number of work capability assessments for new employment and support allowance claims was released in October 2012 and is available on the Departmental website at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page=esa_wca

Tables 2a and 2b in the spreadsheet at the link above provide the outcomes of all initial and repeat WCAs completed on new ESA claims between October 2008 and May 2012.

The latest publication on the number of work capability assessments for incapacity benefits claimants reassessed for employment and support allowance was released in November 2012 and is available on the Departmental website at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page=esa_ibr

Table 1 in the spreadsheet at the link above provide the outcomes of all incapacity benefits reassessment cases.

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many work capability assessments carried out by Atos were awarded (a) 0, (b) 1 to 14 and (c) 15 points or above in the latest period for which figures are available. [128610]

Mr Hoban: The following table shows the number of claimants awarded (a) 0, (b) 1 to 14 and (c) 15 points or more following the initial work capability assessment between October 2008 and February 2012.

It should be noted that a claimant may be awarded the benefit while recording less than 15 points (or no points data at all) if exceptional circumstances apply (e.g. life threatening diseases or some specific disease of bodily or mental disablement that would be a serious risk to any person's mental or physical health if they were found not to have a limited capability for work).

Points awarded at initial work capability assessment
 0 points1 to 14 points15 or more points

Total (October 2008 to May 2012)

654,700

192,300

253,600

Notes: 1. Table 1 only includes outcomes of initial assessment for new ESA claims. It does not include outcomes of repeat assessments or incapacity benefit reassessment. 2. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 100.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make an assessment of implications for his Department's policies of the report entitled “The People's Review of the Work Capability Assessment” published on 12 November 2012 by the We are Spartacus network. [128654]

Mr Hoban: DWP is currently looking at the report and considering if there will be any implications for departmental policy.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many appeals against his Department's decisions on eligibility for employment and support allowance have been upheld where the work capability assessment awarded the claimant zero points in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012 to date. [129751]

26 Nov 2012 : Column 157W

Mr Hoban: The information is not readily available and has not previously been published as official statistics. We will consider whether it is feasible to produce the statistics requested within the disproportionate cost limit, and if so, will issue them in an official statistics release in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of work capability assessments were audited by (a) Atos and (b) his Department in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011 and (iii) 2012 to date. [129752]

Mr Hoban: The model used to determine the number of national audits was developed by DWP analysts and produces a statistically valid sample size. The model uses a number of criteria to determine the sample size, and although volumes are taken into account the number of audits is not necessarily directly proportional to the overall number of cases.

26 Nov 2012 : Column 158W

(a) Number and percentage of WCA face to face assessments audited by Atos
 Number of WCA auditsNumber of WCAsAudits as a percentage of WCAs

2010

3,657

470,893

0.78

2011

3,675

579,997

0.63

2012 (to date)

3,293

812,300

0.41

The number of WCA audits refers to the number of national random audits conducted.

(b) Number and percentage of WCA face to face assessments jointly audited by Atos and DWP
 Number of WCA auditsNumber of WCAsAudits as a percentage of WCAs

2010

184

470,893

0.04

2011

220

579,997

0.04

2012 (to date)

229

812,300

0.03

The number of joint audits refers to the number of assessments jointly audited as part of the routine joint audit programme.

All figures quoted in this response have been derived from Atos internal data.