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Truancy

Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many unauthorised absences there were in (a) England, (b) the south-west and (c) Gloucester in each of the last five years; and how many of those absences were by pupils from the show people community. [157459]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department is unable to identify pupils who are from the show people community. Information on unauthorised absence rates in Gloucester constituency, the south-west and England is shown in the following table:

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1020W

State-funded primary, state-funded secondary and special schools1,2,3,4: unauthorised absence rates5—Academic years 2007/08 to 2011/12, England, the south-west region and Gloucester parliamentary constituency
 Unauthorised absence rate(5)
 EnglandSouth-westGloucester parliamentary constituency

2007/08

1.0

0.8

1.0

2008/09

1.1

0.8

1.1

2009/10

1.0

0.8

1.0

2010/11

1.1

0.8

1.2

2011/12

1.0

0.8

1.2

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes primary academies. (3) Includes city technology colleges and secondary academies. (4 )Includes maintained special schools, non-maintained special schools and special academies. Excludes general hospital schools, independent special schools and independent schools approved for SEN pupils. (5) The number of sessions missed due to unauthorised absence expressed as a percentage of the total number of possible sessions. Source: School Census

UK Membership of EU

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his Department’s top priorities are for changing the UK’s relationship with the EU. [157263]

Elizabeth Truss: As the Prime Minister’s speech on Europe in January this year made clear, the EU needs to change both to deliver prosperity and to retain the support of its peoples. The Government are committed to help shape the future of a more competitive, flexible and democratically accountable European Union, with Britain playing a leading role at the heart of the Single Market.

The Government are currently carrying out the Balance of Competence Review which is an evidence-based and objective analysis of what EU membership means for the UK and our national interest. Reports will not produce recommendations but will look at the impact of the EU in the areas of EU policy. The Department for Education will launch a consultation on EU education competence issues and report in 2014.

Universal Credit

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how the qualifying conditions for each passported benefit for which he is responsible will change under universal credit. [157424]

Mr Laws: We are currently considering proposals for new entitlement criteria for free school meals under universal credit. In doing so, we are working very closely with other Departments, including the Cabinet Office and the Department for Work and Pensions, to simplify free school meals criteria, while ensuring that free lunches continue to be available to the families who need them most.

Eligibility for pupil premium, early learning for two-year-olds and extended rights to school transport is either based on a child being entitled to, or, claiming free school meals. Under universal credit, we will continue to use free school meal eligibility and entitlement in the same way to target support on the most disadvantaged children.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1021W

Vetting

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) how many special advisers that he has appointed since he took up his present office have disclosed a criminal record in line with section 11 of the Cabinet Office guidance, HMG personnel Security Controls; [157345]

(2) with reference to section 9 of the Cabinet Office guidance on HMG personnel security controls, if he will list the references taken up in respect of (a) Mr Dominic Cummings and (b) Mr Henry de Zoete. [157506]

Elizabeth Truss: Special advisers are appointed in accordance with the provisions of the ‘Model contract for Special Advisers’. As with all Government Departments, personal information about recruitment checks and security clearances are confidential between the Department and its employees.

Vocational Training

Mr Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2013, Official Report, column 255W, on traineeships, what the total funding available for 16-19 Study Programmes in 2013-14 is; and how much of that funding has been earmarked to cover the cost of funding traineeships in 2013-14. [156705]

Matthew Hancock: Schools, colleges and other 16 to 19 education providers were notified of their allocations for the academic year 2013/14 at the end of March 2013. The total amount of funding allocated to schools, colleges, other further education providers and 16 to 19 apprenticeship providers for the financial year 2013-14 is £7,430 million.

The allocations for the academic year 2013/14 are the first to be based on the new 16 to 19 funding formula, which funds per student rather than per qualification taken. The key driver for these allocations is the number of students recruited in the previous academic year. The number of traineeships or any other type of study programme to be delivered by a provider is not specified within the provider's funding allocation. It is for each individual provider to decide what mix of provision to offer based on the students' prior attainment and career aspirations and the total amount of funding available.

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he is taking to encourage schools to work with local employers in developing vocational skills needed for the local economy. [156797]

Matthew Hancock: The government's focus has been to reform post-16 vocational education in line with Alison Wolf’s recommendations. The introduction of 16-19 Study programmes will lead to a significant expansion in the provision of work experience and work-related learning for all students undertaking vocational education. The Government are working with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and other employer organisations to secure employer commitment to increasing the supply of high quality work experience places and to greater employer involvement in post-16 education.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1022W

The Government take the development of young people's skills for employment very seriously and recognise that it is important to allow headteachers the freedom to respond to the needs of their pupils and the local economy.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what the average number of sitting days taken by his Department was to respond substantively to named day written questions tabled by hon. Members of each political party in the (a) 2010-12 Session and (b) 2012-13 Session; [157627]

(2) what the average number of sitting days taken by his Department was to respond substantively to ordinary written questions tabled by hon. Members of each political party in the (a) 2010-12 Session and (b) 2012-13 Session. [157628]

Elizabeth Truss: Due to the failure of the Department for Education PQ tracker IT system last summer, we are unable to provide accurate data on the 2012-13 parliamentary Session. We do not hold data for the 2010-12 parliamentary Session.

Work and Pensions

Atos Healthcare

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has to improve collaboration and communication with Atos. [156839]

Mr Hoban: Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Atos Healthcare continue to work closely on the delivery of all aspects of health and disability assessments. Both are committed to continuously collaborating and communicating so that improvements and necessary change can be instigated and properly managed.

DWP and Atos Healthcare meet formally on a monthly basis to discuss performance and agree improvement activities. In addition, to support the formal process, detailed monitoring of Atos performance is undertaken weekly by DWP and weekly discussions about performance issues are held with Atos.

Child Maintenance

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what child support arrears are owed by non-resident parents to parents with care in Scotland in each (a) parliamentary constituency and (b) local authority in the latest period for which figures are available in 2013. [156298]

Steve Webb: The following tables show, as of March 2013, the amounts of child maintenance arrears owed by non-resident parents, and of these amounts how much is owed to parents with care, by Scottish parliamentary constituency and local authority of the parent with care.

Figures are sourced from the agency's internal debt book so breakdowns will not exactly match the general ledger figures published in the March 2013 Quarterly Summary of Statistics.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1023W

Amount of outstanding child maintenance arrears by local authority of the parent with care—March 2013
£
Local authorityTotal arrears March 2013Of which: Arrears owed to PWC

Aberdeen

11,560,000

7,559,000

Aberdeenshire

16,128,000

11,627,000

Angus

7,741,000

5,354,000

Argyll & Bute

5,683,000

3,882,000

Scottish Borders

7,102,000

4,800,000

Clackmannanshire

3,868,000

2,520,000

West Dunbartonshire

7,207,000

3,984,000

Dumfries and Galloway

10,011,000

6,750,000

Dundee

12,932,000

8,073,000

East Ayrshire

8,876,000

5,730,000

East Dunbartonshire

4,467,000

3,031,000

East Lothian

5,606,000

3,848,000

East Renfrewshire

3,076,000

2,135,000

Edinburgh

17,070,000

10,836,000

Falkirk

10,348,000

6,942,000

Fife

26,965,000

17,683,000

Glasgow

37,382,000

19,168,000

Highland

15,786,000

10,326,000

Inverclyde

6,499,000

3,533,000

Midlothian

5,445,000

3,568,000

Moray

6,450,000

4,644,000

North Ayrshire

11,477,000

7,070,000

North Lanarkshire

25,015,000

15,160,000

Orkney Islands

1,203,000

923,000

Perth and Kinross

9,010,000

6,368,000

Renfrewshire

10,339,000

6,360,000

Shetland

1,459,000

1,035,000

South Ayrshire

7,224,000

4,858,000

South Lanarkshire

19,162,000

12,499,000

Stirling

4,868,000

3,115,000

West Lothian

12,298,000

8,594,000

Western Isles

1,598,000

920,000

Amount of outstanding child maintenance arrears by parliamentary constituency of the parent with care—March 2013
£
Parliamentary constituencyTotal arrears March 2013Of which: Arrears owed to PWC

Aberdeen North

6,476,000

4,228,000

Aberdeen South

3,873,000

2,541,000

Airdrie and Shotts

7,272,000

4,077,000

Angus

6,344,000

4,448,000

Argyll and Bute

5,678,000

3,875,000

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock

6,670,000

4,305,000

Banff and Buchan

8,653,000

5,760,000

Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

6,186,000

4,231,000

Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross

5,106,000

3,199,000

Central Ayrshire

7,105,000

4,779,000

Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill

7,209,000

4,378,000

Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East

6,132,000

3,953,000

Dumfries and Galloway

6,411,000

4,423,000

Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

5,046,000

3,258,000

Dundee East

7,208,000

4,521,000

Dundee West

7,198,000

4,527,000

Dunfermline and West Fife

7,823,000

5,135,000

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East Dunbartonshire

2,775,000

2,030,000

East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

7,095,000

4,565,000

East Lothian

5,563,000

3,820,000

East Renfrewshire

3,079,000

2,122,000

Edinburgh East

3,124,000

1,774,000

Edinburgh North and Leith

3,666,000

2,304,000

Edinburgh South

2,909,000

1,825,000

Edinburgh South West

3,586,000

2,300,000

Edinburgh West

3,766,000

2,641,000

Falkirk

7,451,000

5,033,000

Glasgow Central

3,687,000

1,671,000

Glasgow East

7,181,000

3,497,000

Glasgow North

2,911,000

1,596,000

Glasgow North East

6,425,000

3,308,000

Glasgow North West

5,702,000

2,829,000

Glasgow South

4,741,000

2,638,000

Glasgow South West

6,461,000

3,471,000

Glenrothes

8,299,000

5,164,000

Gordon

4,270,000

3,273,000

Inverclyde

6,458,000

3,484,000

Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey

6,513,000

4,339,000

Kilmarnock and Loudoun

6,697,000

4,444,000

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath

7,279,000

4,690,000

Lanark and Hamilton East

4,998,000

3,486,000

Linlithgow and East Falkirk

6,766,000

4,539,000

Livingston

8,454,000

5,989,000

Midlothian

5,417,000

3,580,000

Moray

6,449,000

4,651,000

Motherwell and Wishaw

6,186,000

3,714,000

Na h-Eileanan an Iar

1,598,000

920,000

North Ayrshire and Arran

7,045,000

4,140,000

North East Fife

3,579,000

2,712,000

Ochil and South Perthshire

6,224,000

4,232,000

Orkney and Shetland

2,661,000

1,957,000

Paisley and Renfrewshire North

4,947,000

3,171,000

Paisley and Renfrewshire South

5,309,000

3,137,000

Perth and North Perthshire

6,754,000

4,715,000

Ross, Skye and Lochaber

4,152,000

2,778,000

Rutherglen and Hamilton West

6,411,000

4,025,000

Stirling

4,878,000

3,155,000

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine

4,333,000

3,352,000

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1025W

West Dunbartonshire

7,144,000

3,936,000

Notes: 1. Figures sourced from agency's internal debt book, The agency debt book over reports debt by approximately 4%. 2. Outstanding debt value allocated to a parliamentary constituency or local authority by matching the parent with care's residential postcode to the Office for National Statistics Postcode Directory. 3. Figures rounded to nearest £1,000. 4. Local authorities and parliamentary constituencies are determined by the region/country specified on the National Statistics Postcode Directory. Due to slight differences between the areas specified for local authorities and parliamentary constituencies on CSA's management information, overall totals may differ. The sum of the total arrears by parliamentary constituency differs from the sum of total arrears by local authority by approximately 0.2%.

Pauline Latham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will introduce legislative proposals to make allowances for human error in the administration of child maintenance payments. [156727]

Steve Webb: There are already a wide range of ways for preventing, detecting, and providing redress in the event of errors in the administration of the statutory child maintenance system, including the Child Support Agency's internal accuracy checks and a process for dealing with complaints. Clients are also able to challenge the Child Support's Agency's decision making through the independent appeals system, and, in the event of more complex issues of maladministration, through the Independent Case Examiner, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, and—ultimately—the courts. Where errors do take place and a client has lost out financially, redress is provided as set out in the Financial Redress for Maladministration Guide, a copy of which is available at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/financial-redress-for-maladministration.pdf

Chronic Illnesses: Employment

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department takes to encourage employers to hire and retain staff who have (a) myalgic encephalomyelitis, (b) multiple sclerosis, (c) Parkinson's disease and (d) other long-term conditions. [156838]

Esther McVey: Jobcentre Plus is committed to helping people to find a suitable job in their local area through its network of advisers.

Where customers with long-term conditions need extra support to find or retain work the local Jobcentre Plus office can refer them to a Disability Employment Adviser, who can provide support and advice in finding or staying in employment, including sourcing suitable job opportunities, advocating on their behalf with employers, and using the professional expertise of occupational psychologists specialising in working with disabled people. They will also be able to advise them about specialised support available for disabled people.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1026W

In addition they can refer individuals to appropriate employment provision including:

Work programme

The Government recognise that many customers have complex disability-related barriers to work and may require specialist support. We know a proportion of people with long-term conditions will also have marginal or no specialist support needs. Therefore, in practice many people with long-term conditions will be served through our mainstream employment provision.

Work Choice

Provides tailored support to help disabled people who face the most complex barriers to employment, find and stay in work and ultimately help them progress into unsupported employment, where it is appropriate for the individual. Work Choice is voluntary and available regardless of any benefits being claimed. Work Choice can provide an indefinite period of support once the customer is in work, unlike mainstream employment provision. This is in recognition of the fact that some Work Choice participants may need ongoing support to overcome barriers in work that cannot be met through normal workplace adjustments.

Access to Work

Provides additional support for individuals whose health or disability affects the way they do their job. It provides individuals and their employers with advice and support with extra costs which may arise because of an individual's needs. The type of support Access to Work provides can include support workers, awareness training for colleagues and counselling.

Employer engagement

A key element in reducing the disability employment gap is through working with employers to identify and support them in removing barriers to recruiting and retaining disabled people in their work force. In addition to existing employer engagement activities the Department is currently developing a new disability employment strategy to progress further in this area.

Community Care Grants: Scotland

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was awarded to (a) Scottish UK parliamentary constituencies, (b) Scottish local authority areas and (c) Scotland under each category of the community care grant in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12 and (iii) up to the most recent records available. [156277]

Steve Webb: Table 1 provides the amount awarded under each Community Care Grant direction in Scotland in 2010-11,2011-12 and 2012-13.

Tables 2 and 3 provides the amount awarded under each Community Care Grant direction by local authority in Scotland in 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively. This information is not yet available for 2012-13.

Community Care Grant expenditure figures are not available by parliamentary constituency.

Table 1: Community Care Grant expenditure in Scotland in 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 by direction
£
Direction 4 condition satisfied2010-112011-122012-13

Direction 4(a)(i) People moving out of institutional or residential care

1,420,900

1,448,000

1,305,400

Direction 4(a)(ii) Helping people stay in the community

7,473,900

6,586,100

6,074,900

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1027W

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1028W

Direction 4(a)(iii) Families under exceptional pressure

10,599,100

11,152,900

9,895,600

Direction 4(a)(iv) Prisoner or young offender on release on temporary licence

39,200

33,100

24,400

Direction 4(a)(v) People setting up home as a planned programme of resettlement

1,028,400

973,100

654,700

Direction 4(b) Travelling expenses

252,100

183,600

135,900

Total

20,813,600

20,376,800

18,090,900

Table 2: Community Care Grants expenditure in Scotland in 2010-11 by local authority and direction
£
 Direction 4 condition
 4a(i)4a(ii)4a(iii)4a(iv)4a(v)4bTotal

Aberdeen City

58,200

121,500

207,300

800

40,100

2,900

430,800

Aberdeenshire

23,200

66,100

169,000

(1)

10,100

7,300

275,700

Angus

21,200

73,800

141,500

900

13,100

6,600

257,100

Argyll and Bute

18,300

89,500

143,600

(1)

24,900

8,700

285,000

Clackmannanshire

11,200

45,200

134,300

600

6,600

4,200

201,900

Dumfries and Galloway

36,200

114,800

252,300

(1)

37,100

6,600

447,200

Dundee City

69,900

244,500

386,500

1,400

57,300

4,600

764,100

East Ayrshire

54,100

189,400

281,700

500

9,800

7,800

543,300

East Dunbartonshire

5,500

65,000

91,600

(1)

6,300

200

168,600

East Lothian

10,900

84,400

112,300

800

12,100

2,700

223,100

East Renfrewshire

15,200

44,400

76,000

100

8,100

1,600

145,500

Edinburgh, City of

93,400

584,000

517,300

1,900

92,700

13,000

1,302,400

Eilean Siar

2,400

14,700

13,300

100

1—

£,000

31,400

Falkirk

39,000

193,900

319,900

900

27,100

3,500

584,400

Fife

65,600

315,300

602,200

1,900

46,600

18,900

1,050,400

Glasgow City

287,500

2,170,400

2,510,200

9,500

306,900

36,900

5,321,300

Highland

35,600

150,800

262,500

(1)

26,600

10,500

486,000

Inverclyde

27,600

179,000

199,300

1,000

24,300

3,400

434,600

Midlothian

6,800

73,900

161,300

1,200.

7,500

3,200

253,900

Moray

11,300

45,600

118,900

200

24,200

6,600

£206,700

North Ayrshire

57,300

202,700

357,700

1,300

47,600

7,200

673,700

North Lanarkshire

104,900

716,100

1,052,500

3,000

50,300

14,500

1,941,400

Orkney Islands

1,300

8,900

12,800

(1)

1,300

1,000

25,300

Perth and Kinross

26,800

94,300

183,000

1,500

38,400

2,400

346,500

Renfrewshire

41,500

202,100

290,700

700

31,500

7,000

573,600

Scottish Borders

20,000

103,000

134,500

(1)

24,700

7,600

289,800

Shetland Islands

1,000

9,900

21,400

(1)

3,300

3,500

39,100

South Ayrshire

34,900

120,400

244,100

1,200

22,800

4,800

428,200

South Lanarkshire

89,100

518,700

659,000

1,300

21,100

10,400

1,299,600

Stirling

15,200

86,500

136,800

1,400

6,900

2,000

248,700

West Dunbartonshire

25,200

184,300

308,600

1,200

11,100

3,100

533,500

West Lothian

22,600

210,700

355,800

700

37,600

13,500

641,000

Total

1,332,800

7,323,700

10,457,600

34,400

1,078,400

227,200

20,454,000

Table 3: Community Care Grants expenditure in Scotland in 2011-12 by local authority and direction
£
 Direction 4 condition
 4a(i)4a(ii)4a(iii)4a(iv)4a(v)4bTotal

Aberdeen City

58,800

111,400

236,700

2,100

58,000

4,200

471,100

Aberdeenshire

25,500

64,000

153,600

(1)

17,500

2,300

262,800

Angus

19,600

77,200

118,500

400

19,200

3,100

238,000

Argyll and Bute

14,000

73,900

118,200

0

17,600

6,200

229,900

Clackmannanshire

14,000

45,500

134,700

(1)

6,200

800

£201,100

Dumfries and Galloway

25,500

84,600

223,700

(1)

38,600

2,200

374,600

Dundee City

93,800

231,600

459,300

600

72,400

1,400

859,100

East Ayrshire

61,100

178,500

302,900

1,400

15,800

7,000

£66,700

East Dunbartonshire

8,100

51,200

137,100

400

12,800

1,300

210,900

East Lothian

6,200

58,000

148,400

200

16,900

600

230,400

East Renfrewshire.

10,100

51,100

90,600

500

5,500

£1,100

£158,800

Edinburgh, City of

90,500

503,200

525,900

3,100

115,100

7,700

1,245,500

Eilean Siar

1,200

10,900

17,000

0

2,100

400

31,500

Falkirk

28,700

156,100

328,800

(1)

33,600

5,400

552,600

Fife

77,500

269,400

650,500

900

50,200

13,800

1,062,400

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1029W

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1030W

Glasgow City

273,800

1,897,800

2,453,100

5,300

355,800

28,800

5,014,600

Highland

43,800

144,700

271,000

200

15,500

8,300

483,600

Inverclyde

30,600

140,900

197,400

400

23,600

2,400

395,300

Midlothian

8,200

53,500

153,800

800

4,100

300

220,800

Moray

15,600

48,700

149,200

100

31,800

3,100

248,500

North Ayrshire

55,500

163,900

337,500

2,700

48,100

7,300

615,000

North Lanarkshire

108,100

629,800

1,050,200

1,900

49,000

12,400

1,851,400

Orkney Islands

600

15,900

24,200

(1)

0

900

41,700

Perth and Kinross

23,900

81,700

232,400

0

23,700

4,900

366,600

Renfrewshire

51,200

197,700

302,000

1,700

47,700

4,100

604,500

Scottish Borders

9,900

73,900

148,500

(1)

11,700

3,400

247,400

Shetland Islands

2,300

13,800

17,300

800

900

2,100

37,100

South Ayrshire

28,800

152,600

262,000

900

16,500

4,200

464,900

South Lanarkshire

84,400

541,900

670,900

2,600

31,200

10,100

1,341,100

Stirling

29,200

82,800

196,900

200

21,100

500

330,800

West Dunbartonshire

33,100

146,800

298,900

200

7,000

4,000

490,000

West Lothian

23,100

183,600

331,000

200

41,200

8,500

587,500

Total

1,356,700

6,536,600

10,742,300

27,600

1,210,500

162,800

20,036,400

(1) Denotes figures less than £50. Notes: 1. The information provided is management information. Our preference is to answer all parliamentary questions using Official/National Statistics but in this case we have only management information available. It is not quality assured to the same extent as Official/National statistics and there are some issues with the data, for example, these amounts do not include expenditure on applications which were processed clerically and have not yet been entered on to the social fund computer system. 2. If more than one Community Care Grant condition is satisfied by an application, it will be recorded under the first condition, in the order set out in the table. 3. Table 1 includes awards on review. These figures are estimated as the management information system used for this table does not split expenditure made after a review by the part of direction 4 satisfied. 4. There are differences in the totals in the national and local authority tables as they have been derived from different data sources. In particular, the local authority figures have been produced by linking social fund computer system data with the national benefits database to obtain the local authority the person lived in at the time of application. There are up to 7% of cases where we cannot link the records in this way. 5. All expenditure figures are rounded to the nearest £100. 6. Figures may not sum due to rounding.

Credit Unions

Guy Opperman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps the Government are taking to support credit unions. [156529]

Steve Webb: DWP is providing funds of up to £38 million to support credit unions. A contract has been awarded to the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd.

This will support participating credit unions to become financially sustainable while offering an increased range of financial services to a million more consumers.

HMT has published a consultation document to seek views from the sector on an increase in the interest rate cap that credit unions can currently charge from 2 to 3%. The consultation period is now complete and HMT are considering the responses received, and plan to publish a Government response in the summer.

Housing Benefit

Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how the potential for evictions was taken into account in the formulation of the housing benefit under-occupancy penalty. [154307]

Steve Webb: The Government do not accept that evictions and homelessness will increase as a result of this measure. In addition, the changes do not necessarily mean that people will need to move, but claimants who live in homes that are larger than they require must make the same choices about affordability as those not on benefit.

When formulating this policy, the Department for Work and Pensions held discussions with both the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Chartered Institute of Housing. DCLG continues to work with the National Homelessness Advice Service to ensure front-line advice workers have the support they need to tackle homelessness effectively. Protections for people at risk of homelessness continue to remain in place through the statutory homelessness duties on local authorities.

Reforming the welfare system in an effective manner is necessary to not only improve the wider fiscal position but also to help get people off benefits and into work, although it is recognised that the transition for some may be difficult.

At this current time, how claimants will react is not known. Some may decide to move into work, some may move to smaller accommodation, increase working hours or take in a lodger. It is for individual claimants to determine what the best approach is for them. The measure will, however, be evaluated and monitored over the next two years with an initial report due in 2014 and the final report due in 2015.

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households are in receipt of housing benefit in (a) Great Britain, (b) England, (c) Wales, (d) Scotland and (e) each parliamentary constituency in Great Britain which contain (i) one non-dependent adult, (ii) two non-dependent adults,

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1031W

(iii) three non-dependent adults or (iv) four or more non-dependent adults, excluding those in receipt of carer's allowance or the daily living component of disability living allowance or personal independence payment. [156540]

Steve Webb: The information requested is not currently available, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the average length of claim for housing benefit claimants subject to the 13 week protection rules on the grounds that they could previously afford their rent was in 2012; [156578]

(2) how many claimants were assessed as a member of a protected group and exempt from housing benefit restrictions for 13 weeks on the grounds that they could previously afford their rent in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [156581]

Steve Webb: The information requested is not readily available, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average difference was between housing benefit awards made to people eligible for 13 weeks' protection on the grounds that they could previously afford their rent, and the local housing allowance rate to which they would otherwise have been entitled in 2012. [156903]

Steve Webb: The information requested is not readily available, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications for discretionary housing payments were (a) made and (b) refused in each month since March 2012. [156911]

Steve Webb: The information requested is not available.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in which local authority areas over 100 applications were made for discretionary housing payments in April (a) 2012 and (b) 2013. [156914]

Steve Webb: The information requested is not available.

The Department currently only receives annualised summary data on discretionary housing payments. We will place a document in the Library that shows the total number of discretionary housing payment awards that each local authority made during both 2011-12 and 2012-13, where we are holding this information.

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of deductions in respect of a non-dependant in relation to housing benefit on each income decile in each of the last four financial years. [156943]

Steve Webb: Such an assessment has not been made.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1032W

Housing Benefit: Disability

Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he or officials of his Department held with groups representing the interests of disabled people when formulating policy on the under-occupancy penalty. [154309]

Steve Webb: Ministers and departmental officials have met, and continue to meet on a regular basis, with representatives from a range of charitable and voluntary organisations to discuss various aspects of the Government’s plans for welfare reform, including details of the removal of the spare room subsidy for social tenants.

During the development of the measure to remove the spare room subsidy, officials from the Department for Work and Pensions met with charitable and voluntary organisations to discuss the emerging policy.

Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the under-occupancy penalty is not wrongly applied to tenants of social housing. [156913]

Steve Webb: Local authorities have a legal obligation to ensure legislation is correctly applied.

To help local authorities discharge their statutory duty the Department for Work and Pensions provided guidance as to how local authority staff should apply the size criteria rules, including model letters and leaflets, to aid local authorities in publicising the removal of the spare room subsidy. Advice as to how claimants should be contacted has also been issued and general information is available on the DWP website.

In addition local authorities gather information as to the number of bedrooms a property has from social landlords, prior to comparing this to household size. Where a claimant is potentially under occupying, the local authority will write to them to confirm that the information held for their household is correct.

Mr Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy to collect information centrally on how many families have moved to smaller accommodation as a result of the under-occupancy penalty by (a) parliamentary constituency, (b) local authority and (c) region. [157278]

Steve Webb: A consortium has been commissioned to monitor over two years the effects of the policy in a selection of local authorities, and the research will include claimants' responses to the policy measure. This evaluation will take place from April this year, with initial findings available in 2014 and a final report in late 2015.

Mr Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy to collect information centrally on how many households have been affected by the under-occupancy penalty by (a) parliamentary constituency, (b) local authority and (c) region. [157279]

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1033W

Steve Webb: Estimated numbers of claimants affected by the under-occupancy measure in Great Britain by region are given in the equality impact assessment at:

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

From April 2013, the Department is collecting detailed data on the numbers of claimants whose housing benefit is reduced by the removal of the spare room subsidy as part of the single housing benefit extract data provided to DWP by local authorities.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has updated his estimate of the (a) number of people whose income is being reduced as a result of the application of the under-occupancy penalty and (b) proportion of the households affected by the under-occupancy penalty who are living with a disability; and if he will make a statement. [157503]

Steve Webb: Updated estimates are not available as to the number of claimants affected by this measure and the proportion of which are living with a disability.

When the measure was introduced on 1 April 2013, the Department estimated that there could be around 420,000 households affected by the removal of the spare room subsidy where either the claimant or the partner reported a Disability Discrimination Act recognised disability. However, this figure is reduced to 180,000 where either the claimant or the partner are in receipt of disability living allowance.

These groups are not mutually exclusive, so there is likely to be a substantial overlap between these two groups.

ICT

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) computers, (b) mobile telephones, (c) BlackBerrys and (d) other pieces of IT equipment were lost or stolen from his Department in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12 and (iii) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. [156438]

Mr Hoban: The information that is available is provided in the following table in respect of the calendar years from 2010 to 2012:

 (a) Computers(b)Mobile telephones(c)Blackberry devices(d) Other items

2010

46

30

20

20

2011

56

25

6

10

2012

19

31.

8

6

The Department takes its statutory responsibilities to protect data and assets extremely seriously; however the above figures need to be viewed in the context of the number of computer users given that as at 31 March 2012, the Department employed around 100,000 staff.

The Department requires all portable devices to be encrypted, so as to protect the data contained on that media.

Where items have been stolen, necessary investigations are conducted, involving the police as appropriate.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1034W

Immigration

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions his Department has had on the likely number of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals who might migrate to the UK over the next three years; and what assessment he has made of the potential effects on his Department. [156767]

Mr Hoban: The advice of the Home Office who monitor and analyse overall migration data to help inform policy decisions is that it is not credible to accurately forecast likely inflows from Romania and Bulgaria once restrictions are lifted. This is because they are dependent on too many uncertainties to draw robust conclusions.

DWP analysts are therefore unable to produce models which would provide information on the potential impact on social security expenditure in the absence of any such information.

Inflation

Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the purposes for which his Department uses (a) the retail price index measure of inflation, (b) the consumer price index measure of inflation and (c) any alternative measure of inflation. [154966]

Steve Webb: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) uses the consumer prices index (CPI) as the measure of prices in the up-rating of various social security benefits and pensions. This information is published alongside the Budget each year in Annex A of the Policy Costings document. For Budget 2013, this is available online via the following link:

http://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/188367/budget2013_policy_costings.pdf.pdf

Not all social security benefits and pensions are up-rated by reference to prices inflation. For example, this Government have legislated to restore the up-rating of basic state pension by at least the growth in average earnings. We have also gone further, in our 'triple lock' commitment to up-rate the basic state pension by the highest of prices (measured by CPI), earnings or 2.5%.

The CPI is also used for the statutory minimum increases in certain occupational pensions and for increases in Pension Protection Fund compensation and assistance from the Financial Assistance Scheme.

The CPI is used in the context of the employer duties under the workplace pension reforms. It is used as part of the minimum quality requirement for qualifying schemes providing average salary benefits. It is also one of the specified factors that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions may take into account when considering whether any of the earnings trigger or the qualifying earnings band for automatic enrolment should be increased or decreased.

The CPI is used in most benefits and pensions expenditure forecasting by the DWP, produced on behalf of the Office for Budget Responsibility. The exceptions are (i) where benefits are up-rated using average earnings; and (ii) also the forecasting of some aspects of housing benefit expenditure using the retail prices index (RPI),

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1035W

to reflect how social rents are up-rated. The GDP deflator is used to convert expenditure to constant price terms, in line with general Government practice.

DWP statistical publications “Households Below Average Income” (HBAI), “Family Resources Survey” (FRS) and “Pensioners' Incomes Series” (PI), use variants of the RPI. DWP officials plan to engage with users of the HBAI, FRS and PI data and publications during summer 2013, to explore whether the adoption of an alternative index would be appropriate, taking into account user needs, data availability and methodological issues.

The model for DWP commercial contracts has a standard ‘Term and Condition’ which requires that any increase in the contract price shall not exceed the percentage change in the ONS' CPI. A very small number of commercial contracts—that were let prior to this specification of CPI—continue with alternative indexation arrangements (using RPI) and these will be removed when these are re-let in the future.

Jobcentre Plus

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 22 April 2013, Official Report, column 703W, on jobcentre plus: digital exclusion, how many jobcentres identify or define vulnerable customers. [156734]

Mr Hoban: All Jobcentre Plus staff who deal directly with our claimants have received guidance and training on how to identify those who may be vulnerable or in a vulnerable situation.

Guidance also explains the support that is available to help those claimants who may have additional needs and require help to access our services.

Jobcentre Plus: Harrow

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many full-time equivalent staff were employed by Harrow Jobcentre in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. [156988]

Mr Hoban: Harrow Jobcentre was previously based in two buildings—Harrow Station Road and Harrow Kings House, until their merger in October 2012. The following table details the number of staff deployed purely as part of the Jobcentre function in both offices until and after the site merger. These numbers exclude other employees located in the building but not directly associated with the Harrow Jobcentre function.

BuildingFTE

March 2010

 

CSD LN Harrow Station Road Jobcentre Plus

61

CSD LN Harrow Kings House Jobcentre Plus

60.97

Total

121.97

  

March 2011

 

CSD LN Harrow Station Road Jobcentre Plus

58.27

CSD LN Harrow Kings House Jobcentre Plus

55.64

Total

113.91

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1036W

March 2012

 

CSD LN Harrow Station Road Jobcentre Plus

55.09

CSD LN Harrow Kings House Jobcentre Plus

50.64

Total

105.73

  

March 2013

 

OPS WDC WSD LN Harrow Kings House Jobcentre Plus

96.63

Total

96.63

Jobseeker's Allowance

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the reasons are for the time taken to publish statistics on jobseeker's allowance sanctions. [156761]

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans to publish the number of jobseeker's allowance claimants who received a sanction in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) the UK between October 2012 and May 2013. [156935]

Mr Hoban: Jobseeker's allowance (JSA) sanctions statistics were due to be released on 15 May 2013, in line with the usual publication cycle for this series. In the last few weeks prior to publication, while preparing the final statistics to the end of January and extending some of the tables to show new measures, some significant doubts were raised around the quality of the statistics relating to the new regime. Consequently, to avoid a potentially misleading statistical release, DWP statisticians decided to postpone the release of JSA sanction statistics.

DWP statisticians will perform further quality assurance activities on this new series and will publish as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it is not possible to commit to a definite date at the moment, but a proposed publication date will be announced in advance on the DWP website at:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page=esa_sanc

This action is fully consistent with the UK Statistics Authority Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Jobseeker's Allowance: Scotland

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of claimants of jobseeker's allowance in each parliamentary constituency in Scotland have received a sanction in the last five years. [155681]

Mr Hoban: This information requested will be placed in the Library.

Mesothelioma: Compensation

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how much the Government have spent on compensation for mesothelioma sufferers and their dependents in each year since 2008; [156758]

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1037W

(2) how much he estimates his Department will spend in each of the next five years on compensating mesothelioma sufferers. [156757]

Mr Hoban: The Government provide compensation payments in relation to certain dust-related diseases through both the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979 and the 2008 mesothelioma scheme (set up under the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008).

Payments under the Pneumoconiosis etc. (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979 can be made for a number of dust-related diseases—including mesothelioma—where the disease has been contracted through work.

Payments under the 2008 mesothelioma scheme are made in respect of mesothelioma only—however, a person does not have to contract the disease through work to obtain a payment under this scheme.

Recoveries of payments are made to the Department from any compensation received as a result of a successful civil damages claim.

The amounts spent, and recovered, in respect of mesothelioma are in Table 1 as follows.

Table 1
£ millions
 ExpenditureRecoveriesNet

1979 Scheme (mesothelioma)

   

2008-09

23

-4

19

2009-10

26

-12

14

2010-11

27

-13

14

2011-12

28

-15

13

2012-13

32

n/a

n/a

    

2008 Scheme

   

2008-09

6

0

5

2009-10

7

-1

6

2010-11

9

-3

6

2011-12

9

-4

6

2012-13

10

-4

6

Notes: 1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest £ million. 2. n/a = the figure for recoveries in 2012-13 are currently not available.

The estimated amounts to be spent under both schemes in respect of mesothelioma are in Table 2 as follows.

Table 2
£ millions
 ExpenditureRecoveriesNet

1979 Scheme (mesothelioma)

   

2013-14

31

n/a

n/a

2014-15

32

n/a

n/a

2015-16

33

n/a

n/a

2016/17

34

n/a

n/a

2017-18

34

n/a

n/a

    

2008 Scheme

   

2013-14

10

-4

6

2014-15

10

-4

6

2015-16

10

-4

6

2016-17

10

-4

6

2017-18

10

-4

6

Notes: 1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest million 2. n/a = recovery expenditure forecasts for the 79 Act scheme are only available for the full scheme and not broken down into different components—such as mesothelioma.

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1038W


The Government are planning to do even more for those who suffer from mesothelioma through the introduction of the Mesothelioma Support Scheme Bill which is currently going through Parliament. The Impact Assessment that was published alongside this Bill details the forecast expenditure of the planned Mesothelioma Support Scheme.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/185025/elci-compensation-meso-ia.pdf


National Insurance

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many national insurance numbers have been issued to overseas nationals living in each region of the UK in each year since 2000. [156487]

Mr Hoban: The information requested is only available from 2002. The available information on the number of national insurance numbers issued to overseas nationals in each region of the UK since 2002 can be found at:

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

Guidance for users is available at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/tabtools/guidance.pdf

National Insurance Credits

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether those women who will be required to work longer for their national insurance pension, but who will be ineligible for the new higher value state pension, will remain eligible for pension credit. [156545]

Steve Webb: Women who reach state pension age before the implementation of the single-tier pension will receive their state pension in line with the existing rules. Pension credit will remain as a safety net benefit for all, although the savings credit element will be removed for those reaching state pension age after the implementation of the single-tier pension.

New Enterprise Allowance

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he plans to make of the sustainability of businesses started with the help of the new enterprise allowance. [157505]

Mr Hoban: The department will be publishing statistics in the coming months which track the benefit outcomes for a cohort of new enterprise allowance participants. This paper will provide data on proportion of new enterprise allowance participants who have remained off, or returned to, benefit in the year following new enterprise allowance start. This provides a proxy measure of the sustainability of businesses started under the scheme.

Pensioners: Social Security Benefits

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's estimate is of the number of pensioners who have not taken-up income-related benefits in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. [157572]

3 Jun 2013 : Column 1039W

Steve Webb: The most recent estimates of take-up cover the period 2009-10. Figures for the number of pensioners entitled to but not receiving income-related benefits in Great Britain in 2009-10 are presented in the following tables. Estimates of take-up are not available for 2010-11 or 2011-12.

Caseload take-up for pension credit, Great Britain, 2009-10
 2009-10

Range of entitled non recipients (Thousands)

1,210 - 1,580

Take up ranges (Percentages)

62 - 68

Caseload take-up for housing benefit, pensioners, Great Britain, 2009-10
 2009-10

Range of entitled non recipients (Thousands)

240 - 390

Take up ranges (Percentages)

79 - 86

Caseload take-up for council tax benefit, pensioners, Great Britain, 2009-10
 2009-10

Range of entitled non-recipients (Thousands)

1,690 - 2,230

Take-up ranges (Percentages)

54 - 61

The income-related benefits: Estimates of take-up report covers Great Britain for the financial year 2009-10. It provides caseload and expenditure estimates of take-up for income support and employment and support allowance (income-related), pension credit, housing benefit (including local housing allowance), council tax benefit and jobseeker's allowance (income-based). The latest release updates the statistics previously released on 10 June 2010. The figures are available online and can be found here:

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