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Housing Benefit

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his plans are to reform housing benefit. [8970]

Malcolm Wicks: Our first priority has been to work with local authorities to drive up administrative standards, tackle fraud and error and improve work incentives.

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The Department's response to consultation on the Housing Green Paper, "Quality and Choice: A decent home for all—The way forward for housing" (December 2000), set out a wide-ranging package of measures to help improve service delivery and streamline the system making Housing Benefit easier for councils to administer and those in need to claim.

For the longer term we intend to ensure that, for people of working age, Housing Benefit strengthens work incentives further. We will work with wider housing reforms to make Housing Benefit part of a system that encourages choice, responsibility and fairness.

IT Projects

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer of 20 July 2001, Official Report, columns 689–90W, on IT projects, (1) if he will list individual Department of Work and Pensions information technology projects grouped under (a) working age, (b) pensions, (c) children and (d) corporate; and for each of those projects, what is (i) the expected completion date and (ii) the estimated cost; [10466]

Mr. McCartney: I refer to my answer of 20 July 2001, Official Report, columns 689–90W. The information technology elements of the Department's modernisation programme are not shown separately from the overall programme costs because contracts have not yet been let for many of the IT projects.

Early estimates have been revised as a result of the 2000 Spending Review settlement which provided additional funding for modernising the Department which enabled it to undertake necessary and more extensive improvements. Additional improvements have therefore come on stream since initial calculations were made and estimates have been revised for Child Support reforms as implementation has progressed.

Computer Crime

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases of computer (a) hacking, (b) fraud and (c) theft his Department has recorded in 2000 and 2001; and on how many occasions in 2000 and 2001 computer systems in his Department have been illegally accessed by computer hackers (i) within and (ii) outside his Department. [11001]

Mr. McCartney: The information is as follows:

Calendar YearHackingFraudTheft

Benefits (Northampton)

Mr. Tony Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in the Northampton, South constituency have been in receipt of (a) income

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support, (b) disability living allowance, (c) incapacity benefit, (d) unemployment benefit and (e) housing benefit in each of the last 10 years. [11288]

Malcolm Wicks: Information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the tables.

Benefit recipients in the Northampton South constituency

Year(a) Income support(b) Disability living allowance (c) Incapacity benefit(d) Jobseeker's allowance


1. Data prior to 1997 are not available at constituency level.

2. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

3. With the exception of disability living allowance, figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample and are subject to a degree of sampling error.

4. Figures for income support include pensioners, including those in receipt of the minimum income guarantee since its introduction in April 1999.

5. Figures for incapacity benefit exclude a small number of clerically held cases.

6. Figures for incapacity benefit and jobseeker's allowance are for benefit recipients and exclude those receiving national insurance credits only.

7. Unemployment benefit was replaced by jobseeker's allowance from October 1996.


(a) Income support Quarterly Statistical Inquires May 1997 to May 2001.

(b) Disability living allowance annual 100 per cent. count in May of each year.

(c) Incapacity benefit Quarterly Statistical Inquires May 1997 to May 2001.

(d) Jobseeker's allowance Quarterly Statistical Inquires May 1997 to May 2001.

Housing benefit recipients in Northampton borough council area

YearHousing benefit recipients


1. The data refer to households, which may be a family, a single person or a couple.

2. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

3. Housing benefit information is not collected by parliamentary constituency.


Housing Benefit Management Information System Quarterly 100 per cent. count in May of each year.

Departmental Publications

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many publications were issued by his Department between 8 June and 26 October. [11825]

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Mr. Nicholas Brown: The number of publications, defined as new or amended titles which includes booklets, leaflets, flyers and forms issued to the public or made available on request to the public is 356. This figure includes items published under the Department's agencies and Jobcentre Plus brands.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what his Department's estimates are of the number of people who will (a) find work and (b) be moved from incapacity benefit to jobseeker's allowance as a result of the Jobcentre Plus interviews regulations; [11263]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Jobcentre Plus interviews are to discuss people's work aspirations either now or in the future and to ensure that all people of working age are aware of the help and support available if they choose to move into work.

Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices will initially be working to existing Employment Service and Benefits Agency targets. Jobcentre Plus will have its own Annual Performance Agreement (APA) targets from April 2002, which will be agreed with the Secretary of State. In addition to these high level targets, lower level operational targets will be set by the Jobcentre Plus Chief Executive. The number of people helped into work overall will be a key outcome.

Public-private Partnerships

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the projects in his Department which have been considered as potential public-private partnerships since 1997 which have not been undertaken because the public sector comparator had a lower net present value than the public private partnership proposed; and if he will make a statement. [13430]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, on 13 November 2001, Official Report, column 607W, which sets out the position of public sector comparators in the investment appraisal process.

The Department has had no public-private partnership projects since 1997 that were not taken forward because the public sector comparator had a lower net present value.

Pension Rates

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what would have been the value of the basic pension for a single person and a married couple in each year from 1998–99 to 2002–03 if it had been increased each year in line with the average earnings index for (a) the previous September and (b) May to July; and what would have been the additional costs in each year compared with the actual pension rates. [13724]

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Mr. McCartney: In 2001–02 alone, the Government will spend around £4½ billion more in real terms on help for pensioners than was spent in 1996–97. That is almost £3 billion more than would have been spent through earnings uprating of the basic state pension. Of this extra spending, £2 billion is going to the poorest third of pensioners—five times more than an earnings link would have given them.

The information requested is shown in the tables.

6(a) September (b) May-July


1. Figures are in cash terms, £ per week.

2. Part a uses the September whole economy, seasonally adjusted annual percentage change in the average earnings index.

3. Part b uses the May to July whole economy, seasonally adjusted headline rate from the average earnings index.

The extra cost of uprating the basic state pension by the average earnings index in (a) the previous September and (b) May-July would have been:

£ billion

(a) September(b) May-July


Figures are in constant 2001–02 price terms, rounded to the nearest £100 million.

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