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CSA and Benefits Agency Staff

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many employees in (a) the CSA and (b) the Benefits Agency in each of the past five years have received (i) sick pay at pension rate and (ii) early retirement on ill health grounds; and what proportion of staff these figures represent. [108862]

Angela Eagle: The information requested is not available. Such information as is available is in the tables.

Total number of staff in the Child Support Agency and Benefits Agency receiving sick pay at nil rate

Number of staff
YearChild Support AgencyBenefits Agency
19982777,670
19992369,083


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Total number of staff retiring from the Child Support Agency and Benefits Agency on medical grounds and the percentage of workforce

Child Support Agency Benefits Agency
YearNumber of staffPercentage of the workforceNumber of staffPercentage of the workforce
1996520.594500.55
1997310.333470.45
1998290.323110.41
1999220.232280.29

Notes:

1. The system is unable to specifically identify staff who are in receipt of sick pay at pension rate. It is, however, able to give the number of staff who are on sick leave at nil pay rate which includes those getting sick pay at pension rate.

2. All information about the components of salary from before 1996 has now been archived.

Source:

Financial and Management Information System (FAMIS)


Rents

Miss Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the 10 local authority areas with the lowest single room rent payable authorised by rent officers. [109186]

Angela Eagle: The information is not available. However, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions publication "Rent Officers Statistics" provides figures of the average weekly Single Room Rent for each London Borough, and for the counties of England and Wales. Summary statistics are also available at Government Office Region and national level. The publication of these statistics is quarterly, and a copy is placed in the Library. The latest publication covers the first quarter of 1999.

Benefits

Mr. Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what benefits are available to persons in full-time employment but on term-time only contracts for the periods between terms; [109180]

Angela Eagle: Both Jobseeker's Allowance and Income Support are available during school holiday periods to people whose employment contracts are formally terminated at the end of the school term.

Neither Jobseeker's Allowance nor Income Support are normally paid to those who have ongoing employment contracts which only require them to work during term-time if they work for 16 hours or more a week on average. The Court of Appeal has recently confirmed that school ancillary workers who are not entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance (or Income Support) during term-time because of the hours they work are also not entitled to those benefits during school holiday periods.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, which are intended to help people with their rent and council tax, can be paid to people on full-time, ongoing, term-time-only employment contracts during term-time as

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well as during the school holiday periods. Working Families Tax Credit, payable through the tax system for working people with children, is also available.

Pensioners Income

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he will complete his review of savings limits, and the savings tariff income schedule, that govern entitlement to the minimum pensioners income guarantee. [109014]

Mr. Rooker: We made a commitment in the pensions Green Paper, "Partnership in Pensions", to give "greater rewards" to those individuals who have made provision for their retirement. We will bring forward our proposals during this Parliament.

Family Credit

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the number of claims of family credit that were agreed to in the two months prior to the introduction of the Working Families Tax Credit. [109015]

Angela Eagle: In the two months prior to the introduction of Working Families Tax Credit in October 1999, there were 248,000 awards of Family Credit.


Departmental Secondees

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many staff were seconded from the private sector to his Department in (a) May 1997 to April 1998, (b) May 1998 to April 1999 and (c) May 1999 to the latest date for which figures are available, stating in each case the companies from which staff have been seconded. [109293]

Mr. Rooker: Secondments and attachments are part of the Interchange Initiative, which promotes the exchange of people and good practice between the Civil Service and other organisations. All sectors of the economy are involved: Voluntary, Education, Health, Public and Private. Interchange is a key component of the reform agenda. The Modernising Government White Paper committed us to increasing interchange, in particular by bringing in more people on secondment and sending more of our people out.

For the periods in question, three private sector staff are recorded as having been seconded to the Department. One was from the Guardian Media Group plc between September 1997 and December 1997, one from Sacker and Partners between October 1997 and February 1998, and the third from CSL Managed Services between August 1999 and February 2000. Other inward secondments of three months or more recorded centrally in the above periods were mainly from local government and other parts of the public sector outside the civil service.

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State Second Pension

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if the state second pension will allow for credits of qualifying contributions for periods of (a) contributory jobseeker's allowance, (b) income-related jobseeker's allowance and (c) low income, including non-state pension income, in the five years before the statutory retirement age. [109016]

Mr. Rooker: The State Second Pension is designed for those who are employed, particularly low earners, and those who are unable to work regularly due to caring responsibilities or long-term disability. Individuals will not be able to accrue entitlement to the State Second Pension by virtue of receiving contributory or income-related Jobseeker's Allowance. As with people in other age groups, those in the five years before the statutory retirement age will be able to build up entitlement to the State Second Pension if they have a low income from employed earnings at or above the Lower Earnings Limit, through qualifying caring responsibilities or long-term disability.

TREASURY

Working Families Tax Credit

Ms Kelly: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the additional cost to the Exchequer of providing the working families tax credit to couples with children if couples split their total earnings in half and the credit is calculated on each half. [104867]

Dawn Primarolo: The estimated expenditure on the Working Families Tax Credit for 2000-01, the first full year of the credit, is £4.7 billion. If each partner in a couple received the full amount of credits, and each had an award based on half the couple's earnings, the expenditure would increase to over three times this figure. Lone parents would be unaffected.

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the numbers of families who will be (a) eligible to receive, (b) in receipt of and (c) receiving working families tax credit via their pay packet by October 2000. [107260]

Dawn Primarolo: Estimates for 2000-01, the first full year of the Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC), consistent with the Pre-Budget Report, are given:


No estimate has been made of the total number of families eligible to receive WFTC through the wage packet.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the impact on the total payments of Working Families Tax Credit of a national minimum wage of (a) £3.80 and (b) £4.00. [108371]

Dawn Primarolo: The estimated reductions in expenditure on the Working Families Tax Credit in 2000-01, the first full year of the credit, are given in the table.

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National minimum wageReduction in expenditure (£ million)
£3.80 per hour15
£4 per hour30

These estimates do not take account of any consequential labour market behavioural effects and are on the basis of current national minimum wage rates.

Mr. Levitt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer under what circumstances working families tax credit is available to people on full-time but term-time only employment contracts for the periods between terms. [109178]

Dawn Primarolo: Working Families Tax Credit (WFTC) may be available to people during the periods between terms either if they apply during term time and the 26-week period of the award spans the period between terms, or if they apply for the tax credit during the holiday period and they have on-going, "term-time only" contracts. WFTC is not available to people who apply for the tax credit during the period between terms, but whose contracts formally terminated at the end of the previous term.

Mr. Burgon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government are taking to publicise the working families tax credit in Northern Ireland. [107690]

Dawn Primarolo: The WFTC TV and press publicity campaign was launched in early September throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and ran until the end of November. In Northern Ireland, television advertisements ran on Ulster TV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and a number of 'satellite' channels. Press advertisements ran in the Northern Irish press, the national newspapers and women's magazines.

In addition, I led a conference in Belfast for information providers to explain WFTC and DPTC, and provided a forum for questions and answers.

Local publicity included mailshots to relevant advisory bodies, followed up by presentations to voluntary and community groups.


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