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Job Creation

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the number of jobs that have been created (a) under the Government's New Deal and (b) through local authority partnerships in the London boroughs of (i) Lambeth, (ii) Southwark and (iii) Lewisham; and if he will make a statement. [44718]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 21 March 2002]: The New Deals are not job creation programmes. They work closely with employers to ensure that New Deal participants are provided with the tailored help and support they need to be able to fill existing vacancies and meet the skills shortages faced by employers. The New Deals have already helped over 600,000 people move into work.

We have a good working relationship with Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham councils, all of whom have signed up as New Deal employers. In April we will also be introducing a StepUP pilot in the Lambeth area, which will provide a stepping stone for long-term unemployed people moving from benefits into work.

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Widowed Parent's Allowance

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many widowers whose spouse died prior to 9 April 2001, were eligible for the widowed parent's allowance at the time of its introduction; and how many of them have received the benefit; [40455]

Malcolm Wicks: The information requested is not available but such information as we do have is shown in the table.

Men with dependent children widowed prior to the commencement of bereavement benefits on 9 April 2001 became eligible for widowed parents allowance from that date, subject to the normal conditions of entitlement. Such men whose awards were in payment at the date of the scan will be included in these figures.

Widows parent's allowance recipients, 30 September 2001

Thousands
All recipients8.6
Male recipients6.3

Notes:

1. The figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

2. All data from 5 per cent. samples are subject to sampling error.

Source:

5 per cent. sample from the Pension Strategy Computer System as at 30 September 2001.


Benefit Fraud

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many extra (a) internal and (b) claimant fraud investigators have been taken on by his Department in the last year. [47384]

Malcolm Wicks: Although the Department has replaced internal investigators as they have left, no extra internal investigators have been recruited. Information on the number of staff employed by the Department in claimant fraud investigation is in the table.

Quarter endingTotal number of fraud staff
March 20014,531
June 20015,047
September 20015,210
December 20015,294

Note:

Figures include investigators and administrative support staff.

Source:

Professional Standards Unit.


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were successfully prosecuted for (a) housing benefit and (b) council tax benefit fraud in each local authority in 2000–01. [33624]

Malcolm Wicks: We are working in partnership with local authorities to tackle fraud and error. From April 2001 we introduced a comprehensive new incentive scheme that encourages authorities to focus more effectively on the full range of anti-fraud measures of

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which prosecution is only one. 63 local authorities are already on the new scheme and the rest will join in April 2002.

Local authorities' investigations in 2000–01 rooted out 100,000 cases of fraud and claimed a weekly saving. It is not possible to give separate figures for prosecutions for housing benefit and council tax benefit fraud. Information on the total numbers of successful prosecutions for benefit fraud reported by each local authority in 2000–01 has been placed in the Library.

Correspondence

David Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will reply to the letter of 20 February from the hon. Member for Walsall, North regarding correspondence sent by a Member of the Irish Parliament. [46504]

Ms Rosie Winterton: I have been asked to reply.

The Lord Chancellor's Department, which has responsibility for reciprocal maintenance arrangements between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, the subject of the correspondence. The hon. Member for Walsall, North will receive a response to his letter by 19 April 2002.

Benefits

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of the population received means tested benefits (a) in 1997 and (b) according to the most recent figures available. [40295]

Malcolm Wicks: Overall, the proportion of people aged 16 and over receiving income-related benefits has fallen from 17.5 per cent. to 16 per cent. between May 1997 and May 2000.





Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list each way in which benefit recipients can have their benefit income reduced because of a sanction; and how many people have been subject to each of these sanctions during the last year for which figures are available. [24239]

Malcolm Wicks: Information on how people's benefit income may be reduced because of a sanction is contained in the Decision Makers Guide, a copy of which is available in the Library.

The available information on the number of people who have been subject to a sanction is in the table.

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Type of sanctionNumbers of people subject to sanctions
Community sentence37
Income support—lone parents who fail to participate in a meeting with a personal adviser765
Jobseeker's allowance24,100

Notes:

1. Community Sentence data are based on clerical returns received at the DWP Information Centre between 15 October 2001 and 26 March 2002. Figures are unrounded.

2. Percentage figure on community sentence is not available, as the number of offenders on community orders in receipt of income support, jobseeker's allowance or training allowance is unknown.

3. Income support data for lone parents are based on a 100 per cent. count taken from the Labour Market Computer System between 9 April 2001 and 22 February 2002.

4. Jobseeker's allowance data are taken from a 5 per cent. scan of the benefit computer system. The figures in the table represent a snapshot as at 8 November 2001 of the number of jobseekers where a sanction has been applied.


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total weekly benefit savings are for each local authority in (a) 1999–2000, (b) 2000–01 and (c) each quarter of 2001–02. [42515]

Malcolm Wicks: The information requested has been placed in the Library. From April all local authorities will be operating within our new anti-fraud incentive scheme that provides a broader range of financial incentives to prevent, detect, punish and prosecute fraud than did the old weekly benefit savings scheme.

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the (a) number and (b) total value of emergency benefit payments issued in each month since 1997. [42180]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 11 March 2002]: This is a matter for Alexis Cleveland, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Alexis Cleveland to Mr. Steve Webb, dated 13 March 2002:






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