5 Dec 2012 : Column 807W

Debt Collection

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the recent focus report by the Local Government Ombudsman entitled “Taking possession: Councils' use of bailiffs for local debt collection”; and if he will consider incorporating the recommendations made in the report into the Government's review of bailiff reforms. [131349]

Mrs Grant: The Local Government Ombudsman's recent focus report, “Taking Possession: Councils' use of bailiffs for local debt collection”, is a very helpful report which highlights the need for reform to bailiff law.

Its recommendations will be taken into consideration during the finalisation of the Government response.

Driving Offences: A14

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many arrests for speeding offences on the A14 in Suffolk have resulted in a (a) successful conviction, (b) caution and (c) fixed penalty notice in each of the last three years; and what the aggregate value was of the resulting fines in each such year. [130319]

Jeremy Wright: Information held centrally by the Ministry of Justice on the Court Proceedings Database does not contain information about the circumstances behind each case, beyond the description provided in the statute under which proceedings are brought. It is not possible to identify from this centrally held information the specific location of each speeding offence.

Immigration: Children

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the potential effect of planned changes to legal aid from April 2013 on local authorities' ability to meet their statutory obligations to look after children and care leavers with immigration claims. [131138]

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Jeremy Wright: We do not anticipate that the changes to legal aid from 2013 will impact significantly on local authorities' ability to look after children and care leavers with immigration claims. Unaccompanied migrant children become part of the care system and as such are entitled to the full range of support and services as all looked after children. Post-age 18, subject to their immigration status, many will be treated as care leavers and will continue to be entitled to a range of support from local authorities.

Legal aid will remain available for asylum cases, which will account for the vast majority of cases brought by unaccompanied children. Victims of trafficking, including children, will also be able to get funding for legal advice in relation to immigration or damages claims.

Legal Aid

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will estimate the number of men who claimed falsely that they were fathers of children using legal aid to do so in the last year for which figures are available. [131264]

Jeremy Wright: The Legal Services Commission does not collect figures on the number of cases it funds involving paternity. As such, this information is not readily available.

Magistrates Courts: Nottinghamshire

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many proceedings for criminal offences there were in each magistrates court in Northamptonshire in each year since 1997. [131704]

Jeremy Wright: The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates court, for selected local justice areas within Northamptonshire, for the years 1997 to 2011 (the latest available), are provided in the following tables.

Figures are provided at local justice area level as data collated centrally by the Ministry of Justice do not allow the separate identification of defendants proceeded against at individual magistrates courts.

Defendants proceeded against at magistrates court, for selected local justice areas within Northamptonshire, 1997 to 2011(1,2)
Local justice area19971998199920002001200220032004

Corby

1,822

2,042

2,181

2,177

1,640

1,673

2,411

3,153

Daventry

1,866

1,795

1,759

1,276

1,222

801

2,116

1,913

Kettering

3,059

3,086

3,052

2,685

2,545

2,086

3,312

3,397

Northampton

8,707

9,484

10,443

9,409

7,365

6,765

10,994

11,473

Towcester

1,546

1,373

1,389

987

812

736

2,314

2,104

Wellingborough

3,122

4,316

4,174

3,893

3,085

2,465

3,968

4,640

Local justice area2005200620072008200920102011(3)

Corby

2,351

2,063

1,288

1,681

1,974

2,026

2,339

Daventry

1,655

2,068

1,388

1,268

1,601

1,264

280

Kettering

2,944

2,763

2,443

2,380

2,684

2,944

2,292

Northampton

10,364

9,204

7,029

7,588

7,554

8,440

8,152

Towcester

1,682

1,073

1,043

787

1,114

958

234

Wellingborough

3,471

2,673

2,118

2,156

2,764

3,057

2,442

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(1) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (3) Daventry and Towcester LJAs merged with Northampton LJA in 1 April 2011. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice

Young Offender Institutions

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the capacity was of (a) secure children's homes, (b) secure training centres and (c) young offender institutions in England and Wales in (i) 2011 and (ii) 2012 to date; [131324]

(2) how many people under the age of 18 were held in custody in (a) secure children's homes, (b) secure training centres and (c) young offender institutions in England and Wales in (i) 2011 and (ii) 2012 to date. [131325]

Jeremy Wright: Table 1 shows the average capacity in England and Wales for (a) secure children's homes (SCHs) (b) secure training centres (STCs) and (c) predominant function young offender institutions (YOIs) in (i) 2011 and (ii) 2012 to date. There are two types of YOIs (under-18 YOIs and young adult YOIs which accommodate 18 to 21-year-olds). A combined figure for all YOIs as well as a separate figure for under-18 YOIs is included in Table 1 for comparison purposes.

Table 1: Average capacity in SCHs, STCs and YOIs
 SCHSTCUnder 18s YOIAll YOIs

2011

185

301

2,151

8,242

2012 (to date)

172

301

2,024

8,092

Notes: 1. The average capacity for 2012 has been calculated using the most recent data available. For SCHs, STCs and Under 18 YOIs this is from January until September; for all YOIs this is from January to October. 2. The figures are not comparable across the years as full data for 2012 are not yet available. 3. Only those establishments with a predominant function of young offender institution are shown in the above table (All YOIs). Dual-use establishments with other predominant functions are not included. 4. The operational capacity of a secure establishment is the total number of offenders that an establishment can hold taking into account control, security and the proper operation of the planned regime. It is determined by Directors of Offender Management on the basis of operational judgement and experience.

Table 2 shows the average number of young people under the age of 18 held in custody at any one time in England and Wales in (a) secure children's homes (SCHs) (b) secure training centres (STCs) and (c) under 18-year-old young offender institutions (YOIs) in (i) 2011 and (ii) 2012 to date.

Table 2: Average population in the under 18 secure estate by sector
 SCHSTCUnder 18s YOI

2011

162

274

1,565

2012 (to date)

155

274

1,335

Notes: 1. The average population for 2012 has been calculated using the most recent data available (from January to September). 2. The figures are not comparable across the years as full data for 2012 are not yet available. 3. The figures from April 2011 onwards are provisional. The figures for 2011 will be finalised in the 2011-12 Youth Justice Statistics publication on 31 January 2013. Provisional data for subsequent months are published on a monthly basis: http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/youth-justice/custody-data 4. These figures have been drawn from operational sources and IT systems, which are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing and can be subject to change over time. Sources: 1. The data for SCHs, STCs and under 18 YOIs have been provided from the Youth Justice Board (YJB) 2. Data on All YOIs have been provided by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS)

Young Offenders: Literacy

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many children in (a) secure children's homes, (b) secure training centres and (c) youth offending institutions were unable to read and write at the appropriate level for their age at 1 November (i) 2008, (ii) 2009, (iii) 2010, (iv) 2011 and (v) 2012. [131698]

Jeremy Wright: Every young person's literacy level is assessed as they enter a secure children's home (SCH), secure training centre (STC) or under-18 youth offending institution (YOI), but the data are not collected centrally for the entire youth secure estate. For under-18 public YOIs, the Education Funding Agency collects information on the literacy levels of young people entering the establishments; however, these levels cannot be directly compared to a specific age equivalent.

Northern Ireland

Economy

11. Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions she has had with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive on rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy. [130914]

Mrs Villiers: I have regular discussions with Executive Ministers on economic matters. The Joint Ministerial Working Group on Rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy met for the last time on 18 October, and has now reported to the Prime Minister.

5 Dec 2012 : Column 811W

Security Situation

12. Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment she has made of the security situation in Northern Ireland. [130915]

14. Bob Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment she has made of the security situation in Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement. [130917]

15. Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment she has made of the security situation in Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement. [130918]

Mrs Villiers: I refer the hon. Gentlemen to the answer I gave earlier today to my hon. Friends the Members for Dartford (Gareth Johnson), for Macclesfield (David Rutley) and for Central Devon (Mel Stride).

Fuel Poverty

13. Guy Opperman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps she has taken to tackle fuel poverty in Northern Ireland in response to the findings of the recent Office of Fair Trading report on remote rural communities. [130916]

Mike Penning: Tackling fuel poverty in Northern Ireland is an entirely devolved matter for Executive Ministers and not a matter for which I or my ministerial colleagues have any responsibility.

Transport

Bus Partnership Forum

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when (a) he or (b) his Ministers have met the Bus Partnership Forum in 2012. [131301]

Norman Baker: The Bus Partnership Forum (BPF) meets twice yearly and is chaired by me. In 2012, meetings of the BPF were held on Wednesday 18 January and Tuesday 17 July.

Crossrail Line

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether support for UK jobs will be a factor in the assessment of bids for the Crossrail rolling stock contract. [131274]

Stephen Hammond: The Instructions for Tenderers that was issued as part of the Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) on 28 February 2012 requires bidders to set out how they will engage with the wider supply chain and provide opportunities for training, apprenticeships, and small and medium-sized businesses within their procurement strategy. Bidders are also required to establish an appropriate local presence to manage the delivery of the contract.

Bidders are also being asked, in the Invitation to Negotiate, to specify from where each element of the contract will be sourced. This is not an assessment criterion in the decision process, but the successful bidder will be required to report against their proposed estimates.

5 Dec 2012 : Column 812W

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport who will be responsible for deciding the successful bidder for the Crossrail rolling stock contracts. [131275]

Stephen Hammond: Crossrail Limited, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London and is responsible for the procurement process and deciding the successful bidder for the Crossrail Rolling Stock and Depot contract.

The sponsors of the project (Transport for London and Department for Transport) will only be asked to approve the final decision.

Cycleways

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health on the provision of cycle lanes following the publication of guidelines on cycling from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. [131434]

Norman Baker: I have regular discussions with the Minister for Public Health, the Hon Member for Broxtowe, (Anna Soubry) to consider how we can best support people who wish to travel actively, including by bike. On the day the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published its guidance, Anna Soubry and I addressed a conference of local transport and health professionals on the subject of active travel. I announced £20m of new investment in cycling, adding to the £45m for cycle safety and linking communities unveiled earlier this year and the broader £600m Local Sustainable Transport Fund. The NICE guidance will make an important contribution to getting best value from this investment and encouraging more people to cycle, more safely, more often.

Cycleways: Leicester

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will provide funding to introduce more cycle lanes in Leicester. [131433]

Norman Baker: The planning and provision of cycle lanes and other cycling infrastructure in Leicester is a matter for Leicester City Council. In addition to Integrated Block Funding available to all local authorities for local capital improvements, I awarded £4.4m to Leicester in July 2011 for their Local Sustainable Transport Fund bid "Leicester Fit for Business". This project includes a number of measures to improve cycling facilities and services in Leicester.

Go North East

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many route-change submissions Go North East has made to the Traffic Commissioner since 1 January 2012. [131302]

Stephen Hammond: There are two operator licences held by entities trading as Go North East.

Go North East Ltd holds licence number PB0003954. Since 1 January 2012 it has submitted 29 registrations for new local bus services, 138 applications to vary an existing local bus service registration and 29 applications to cancel a local bus service registration.

5 Dec 2012 : Column 813W

Go Northern Ltd t/a Go North East holds licence number PB0002400. Since 1 January 2012 it has submitted 13 registrations for new local bus services, 84 applications to vary an existing local bus service registration and 22 applications to cancel a local bus service registration.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what due diligence has been exercised by his Department to ensure that High Speed Rail 2 complies with the requirements of Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010; and if he will make a statement. [131210]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department understands the requirements of the Habitats Directive and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and has carefully considered them in connection with HS2.

Officials have regular discussions with colleagues from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Natural England on these matters and we will take all necessary steps to ensure compliance with these requirements.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the processes being followed on High Speed Rail 2 comply with the EU Water Framework Directive and the Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) Regulations 2003; and if he will make a statement. [131211]

Mr Simon Burns: My Department has carefully considered the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive and the Water Environment Regulations 2003 in connection with HS2.

My officials have regular discussions with colleagues from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency on these matters and we will take all necessary steps to ensure compliance with these requirements.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the likely level of additional funding for the proposed Western Connection to Heathrow; and what proportion of that funding will be (a) provided by the Government and (b) sought from a third party. [131940]

Mr Simon Burns: The July 2012 High Level Output Specification includes provision for £500 million of funding for a new western rail access to Heathrow airport, subject to business case and agreement of terms with the Heathrow aviation industry. The rail industry is currently developing plans for the delivery of the scheme within the allocated funding. The cost of the link and availability of private funding will be considered in detail as the rail industry develops the proposal.

Northern Rail

Mrs Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his timetable is for completion of investment in the Northern rail hub. [131884]

5 Dec 2012 : Column 814W

Mr Simon Burns: Network Rail estimates that, subject to achieving planning consents, the Ordsall Chord and some line speed and capacity improvements will be completed by December 2016 and the Castlefield corridor and other capacity improvements will be completed by December 2018.

Railways: Fares

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what comparative assessment he has made of the level of fare evasion on each of the train franchises. [131163]

Norman Baker: No comparative assessment has been made of the level of fare evasion on each of the train companies.

There are provisions in the Franchise Agreement requiring train operators to have policies in place designed to reduce ticketless travel and fare evasion in a cost-effective manner, taking account of the circumstances of the individual franchises.

Thameslink Railway Line

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Thameslink rolling stock contract, what the planned dates are for the cascade of the old Thameslink rolling stock from Thameslink to Great Western and Northern Rail services. [131272]

Mr Simon Burns: We are working with industry partners to ensure that sufficient rolling stock is in place to meet the requirements for North West electrification in December 2014 and Great Western electrification in 2016.

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if the cascade of the old Thameslink rolling stock to the Great Western and Northern Rail services is delayed what alternative provision he plans to make for passengers. [131273]

Mr Simon Burns: We are working with our industry partners to ensure that sufficient rolling stock is provided for the start of electric passenger services in the North West in 2014 and on the Great Western in 2016.

Tolls

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has plans to introduce tolling on enhanced roads; and if he will make a statement. [131182]

Stephen Hammond: The Government have made a clear commitment not to introduce new tolls on existing road capacity and there are no plans to change this position.

As we have previously stated, we will examine the case for tolling new routes or substantially enhanced routes where increased capacity will lead to a transformation in their performance.

Travel: Young People

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to respond to the recommendations of the British Youth Council Transport Select Committee report entitled ‘Transport and Young People’ published in September 2012. [131625]

5 Dec 2012 : Column 815W

Norman Baker: The Youth Select Committee published its report ‘Transport and Young People’ on 5 November 2012. The Government aims to respond to the recommendations in the report within two months of its publication date.

World War II: Anniversaries

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has had with (a) his ministerial colleagues in the Ministry of Defence and (b) the Mayor of London on the Government's plans to commemorate the Battle of the Atlantic in 2013 or 2014. [130857]

Stephen Hammond: I refer to my previous answer to the hon. Gentleman on 22 November 2012, Official Report, column 542W, in which I referred to the reply given by the Minister of State for Defence, Personnel, Welfare and Veterans on the Ministry of Defence's discussions to support civil society-led commemorations for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic. Officials will keep in touch on the progress of those requests.

I have no immediate plans to talk to the Mayor of London on this subject.

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 22 November 2012, Official Report, column 556W, on air passenger duty, whether he plans to submit HM Revenue and Custom's research on the effect that differential prices at UK airports could have on the overall demand for aviation and on passengers' choice of airport to the Independent Commission on Aviation chaired by Sir Howard Davies. [131362]

Sajid Javid: The HM Revenue and Customs' research is available publicly and the Commission can consider whether it is relevant to its work.

Child Benefit: Barnsley

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families in Barnsley Central constituency will be affected by his proposed reform of child benefit. [131682]

Mr Gauke: An estimate of the number of people affected by the high income child benefit charge in the Barnsley Central constituency is not available.

Olympic Games 2012: National Lottery

Kate Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on reimbursement to the Big Lottery Fund of sums contributed to the London 2012 Olympics. [131475]

Danny Alexander: Treasury Ministers and officials meet with, and receive representations from, a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the usual policymaking process. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.

5 Dec 2012 : Column 816W

PAYE

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many providers of payroll software have held meetings with officials in his Department in the last 12 months. [131096]

Mr Gauke: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings and discussions with a wide variety of stakeholders as part of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide details of all such meetings and discussions.

Regional Planning and Development

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any plans to further extend the powers conferred under the City Deal to smaller regional cities; and if he will make a statement. [131451]

Greg Clark [holding answer 4 December 2012]: I am responding as the Minister responsible for City Deals.

The first wave of City Deals with the eight core cities were completed on 5 July 2012. Building on their progress, the second wave of City Deals with an additional 20 cities was announced on 29 October. The Government are committed to continue to devolve power to cities to foster local economic growth and aims to have completed deals with the next wave by autumn 2013.

Revenue and Customs: Complaints

Alison McGovern: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to improve HM Revenue and Customs systems for handling complaints to prevent unacceptable delays in complaint resolution. [131208]

Mr Gauke: HMRC monitors all aspects of the complaints handling system. It works very closely with the independent adjudicator to reduce any delays and improve the service they provide to customers.

Tax Avoidance

Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with which offshore tax havens based in Crown dependencies and overseas territories the UK has an information-sharing agreement on owners of offshore trusts and companies; and with which the UK is in the process of negotiating such an agreement. [131317]

Mr Gauke: The UK has tax information exchange agreements with all the Crown dependencies—Guernsey, the Isle of Man, and Jersey— and the following overseas territories: Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Comprehensive double taxation agreements are in place with the Falkland Islands and Montserrat and a limited double taxation agreement is in place with the Cayman Islands. All these agreements allow the exchange of information (including information on companies and trusts) to the standard adopted by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information. The UK keeps all its treaties under review.

5 Dec 2012 : Column 817W

Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment HM Revenue and Customs has undertaken of the use by companies of nominee directors to evade payment of tax in the UK. [131318]

Mr Gauke: Information relating to evasion at this level of detail is available only at a disproportionate cost. On 18 October 2012 HMRC published ‘Measuring Tax Gaps 2012’ which sets out estimates of the tax gap, including that arising from tax evasion:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/tax-gaps/mtg-2012.pdf

The total tax gap is estimated to be around £32 billion in 2010-11. Of this total figure, the estimated tax lost to evasion by all taxpayers and across all taxes was around £4 billion.

The tax lost to all evasion is around 1 % of liabilities. This low percentage shows that the vast majority of taxpayers do not evade tax, and HMRC is determined to relentlessly pursue the few who bend or break the rules.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with his US counterpart on the role of that country's Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act in the development of information-sharing agreements with overseas territories and crown dependencies. [131366]

Mr Gauke: The UK is working very closely with the US on the implementation of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and will continue to do so.

Mr Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will take steps to end the practice whereby any British or foreign person can avoid up to 5% stamp duty being imposed on the next purchase by holding their house in an offshore company; [131716]

(2) if he will take steps to end the practice whereby offshore entities which are controlled and managed outside the UK do not pay any tax on the proceeds of property speculation. [131713]

Mr Gauke: To ensure that those buying expensive residential properties using companies pay their fair share, the Government have introduced a 15% rate of SDLT on residential properties over £2 million purchased by certain non-natural persons. The Government have also consulted on the introduction of an annual charge on residential properties valued over £2 million owned by certain non-natural persons. In addition the Government have consulted on an extension to capital gains tax for non-resident non-natural persons. Both are to be introduced in April 2013.

Work and Pensions

Universal Credit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 26 November 2012, Official Report, column 154W, on universal credit, whether the universal credit project has at the current date a Senior Responsible Officer who is active in post; and who that person is. [131690]

Mr Hoban: The answer to the right hon. Member's question has not changed since the replies I gave to his questions, number 126554 on 5 November 2012, Official Report, column 503W, and number 125963 on 31 October 2012, Official Report, column 312W.

5 Dec 2012 : Column 818W

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 20 November 2012, Official Report, columns 455-6W, on universal credit, how employees earning less than the lower earnings limit and outside PAYE will self- report their earnings; whether they will be required to do so weekly if they are paid weekly; and how they will be informed of this requirement. [131699]

Mr Hoban: The universal credit design will allow all claimants to provide earnings details, including those outside of the PAYE system. Claimants will be required to report their earnings monthly, initially by telephone and in due course on line.

Claimants will be informed of this requirement when they make their initial claim, but should they wish to report earnings more frequently than monthly they will be able to do so.

Work Programme

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on what date he was informed that contractual minimum performance standards would not be met by any prime provider in the first 12 months of the Work programme. [131686]

Mr Hoban: The Department, as per guidelines set by the UK Statistics Authority, was informed 24 hours before the release of the official job outcome statistics though we had early indications from unvalidated internal MI; on this basis, we issued letters to Work programme providers with the weakest performance to make clear that they must do better.

Performance has built up more slowly than our initial assumptions suggested; this is because participants are building towards job outcomes through multiple periods of shorter term employment. Providers are also taking longer than expected to track and claim outcomes. Our aspiration for the total levels of outcomes to be achieved by providers remains the same.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether any satisfaction data are being collected from Work programme participants. [131687]

Mr Hoban: The Department has commissioned an independent evaluation of the Work programme, which includes a national survey of participants to explore their views on the support they have received. Initial findings will be available from summer 2013; a final report will be published in 2014-15.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions at what stage in the course of the Work programme he expects to take contractual action in cases where providers fail to meet minimum performance levels; and in what circumstances contracts will be terminated. [131688]

Mr Hoban: We have issued letters to Work programme providers with the weakest performance to make clear that they must do better. If performance does not improve sufficiently next year, we have powers to terminate contracts.