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Chris Grayling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what advice his Department has received from potential bidders for Railtrack about the amount of time likely to be required to end the administration. [49956]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer given to him on 22 April 2002, Official Report, column 52W.

24 Apr 2002 : Column 339W


Compensation Recovery Unit

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will list for each financial year since April 1998 the amount of money recouped by the Compensation Recovery Unit; [44989]

Maria Eagle [holding answer 21 March 2002]: The available information is in the tables.

Money recovered and claims notified to the compensation recovery unit

Financial yearAmount recovered (£)Claims notified to the compensation recovery unit


1. The amounts include national health service charges recovered on behalf of the Department of Health.

2. Recoveries made in a given financial year may not relate directly to claims notified during the same period because of time lapses in settling claims.


Figures are taken from the Compensation Recovery Unit's Management Information Statistics.

Forecast compensation recoveries

YearEstimate of benefit recovered (£ millions)


1. The figures are consistent with the expenditure totals for social security published in the pre-Budget report, September 2001 which published figures up to 2003–04. Expenditure figures for years up to 2005–06 will be available at the conclusion of the spending review in the summer of 2002.

2. Figures are rounded to the nearest £5 million.

3. The forecast amounts refer only to recoveries of social security benefits and do not include recoveries of national health service charges.


DWP Analytical Directorate.

24 Apr 2002 : Column 340W

Single Room Rent

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what information he collates on shortfalls for claimants whose rent is higher than local reference rent or single room rent; [41485]

Malcolm Wicks: The Department plans to commission a project to examine the effect of the changes to the single room rent regulations later this year. This will be a joint study with the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions. We expect to begin work on the specification for the study in the early summer.

In addition, we are gathering information on the single room rent as part of a wider project examining the options for simplification of housing benefit in the private rent sector. The results of this project are expected to be available during the summer.

Information on the extent to which rent officers have increased the level of the single room rent by district is not available. However, recent research by the Rent Service shows that the average single room rent for England increased from £52.87 per week to £54.18 per week between July 2001 and March 2002. Equivalent figures for Wales show an increase from £35.66 to £37.98 and for Scotland, from £40.94 to £42.18.

Information on shortfalls where a person's rent is higher than the local reference rent or single room rent is not available.

Localities are influenced by residential property markets which are fluid and can change rapidly in different parts of the country at different times. Information is not, therefore, collected centrally on the number of localities.

Child Support

Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when his Department will introduce the new child support system for (a) new and (b) existing cases. [51289]

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Malcolm Wicks: I refer my hon. Friend to the Statement made to this House by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, on 20 March 2002, Official Report, columns 315–16.

Minimum Income

Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will require his Department to amend its standard answer to letters inquiring about the Government's attitude to the introduction of minimum income standards in the UK. [20608]

Mr. McCartney: We treat each letter individually and answer as we feel is most appropriate.

Delegated Legislation

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the cost-effectiveness of the New Deal (Lone Parents) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Order 2001; and if he will make a statement; [50755]

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24 Apr 2002 : Column 343W

Mr. Nicholas Brown: We keep these matters under review, but we are satisfied that they are cost-effective.

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