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Jonathan Shaw: Of the total pay bill, less than 1 per cent. has been used for non-consolidated performance payments to staff during 2008-9. These payments are funded from within the existing pay bill. The payments do not add to future pay bill costs.
DWP employees in pay bands below the Senior Civil Service are eligible for non-consolidated performance pay if they attain a Top, Higher or Majority rating under the annual performance and development system. The amount of non-consolidated performance pay is differentiated on the basis of an employee's pay band and the performance level achieved.
For the Senior Civil Service, non-consolidated performance pay is determined on an individual basis by the relevant DWP SCS Pay Committee. The size of the available pot is based on recommendations by the independent Senior Salaries Review Body.
Performance awards are payable in July and are attributable to performance in the previous financial year. In the 2008-09 financial year £23.32 million was paid in July 2008 for performance in the previous year. This is broken down as follows:
|Staff bonuses: 2008-09|
|Pay Band||Total p aid (£ million)||Total number of recipients|
Individuals may also be entitled to one-off special payments either as cash or retail vouchers. These are one-off recognition awards, payable at any time during the performance year and are not linked to the annual pay award.
Up to 0.25 per cent. of staff budget is allocated to fund special payments and in 2008-09 this equates to £6.33 million. In 2007-08 £2.7 million was paid in cash payments and £1.77 million in retail vouchers.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what information his Department holds on the number of persons appointed to executive positions in bodies for which his Department has responsibility in the last five years who previously had careers in the banking industry. 
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Social Fund funeral payments were awarded where the claim for other funeral expenses was under £700 in the latest year for which figures are available. 
The information requested is not available. A funeral payment claim is said to be 'capped' if the amount claimed for non-specified funeral expenses is more than £700. In 2007-08, in Great Britain, of those claims which satisfied the eligibility conditions, the number of claims which were not capped was 2,160. After the amounts payable for specified and non-specified funeral expenses have been determined, deductions are made for any money immediately available from the deceased's estate, payments from funeral plans and contributions
received (but the claimant's savings are not taken into account). As a result of deductions, some eligible claims are refused.
1. The figure is based on initial decisions. Re-considerations and appeals have not been taken into account.
2. The figure has been rounded to the nearest 10.
DWP Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Wales (a) applied for and (b) received assistance under the Support for Mortgage Interest Scheme in January and February 2009; and how much was granted in total. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what official engagements each of the Ministers in his Department undertook from 1 to 31 January 2009; and how much time was spent on each engagement. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 9 February 2009]: I am depositing a table of information in the Library. Accurate information on the length of time spent on each engagement could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Kitty Ussher: The Department for Work and Pensions has recently published three research reports related to the living standards of children in poverty. These are all published in the Department's research report series and are available online.
Work and well-being over time: lone mothers and their children follows, over four to five years, lone mothers who voluntarily moved into employment, following a period of unemployment in receipt of income support or jobseekers' allowance. This is available at :
Employment transitions and the changes in economic circumstances of families with children explores the impact of movements in and out of paid employment on the economic circumstances and living standards of families with children. This is available at:
The Child Poverty Unit, which the Department for Work and Pensions co-sponsors, has two research projects currently in progress which specifically look at the living standards of children living in poverty.
The first is a review of all existing research on the views and experiences of poverty of deprived children and families. The second is analysis of existing survey data, to provide information on the living standards of children below the poverty line. This project examines their standards of living using measures such as level of expenditure, material deprivation, ownership of consumer durables, condition of housing, and presence of financial difficulties.
Kitty Ussher: Child poverty is already reflected in the National Indicator Set (Indicator 116Numbers of children in households dependent on out of work benefits). Local authorities can therefore choose to select child poverty as a target in their local area agreement and 45 have already done so. The Government are already committed to refining this indicator to ensure that low income families are included in this measure. But we need to do more to ensure that all delivery partners prioritise child poverty and take action.
That is why the Government published the child poverty consultation document on 28 January. It set out options for driving forward action to tackle child poverty and asked how best to support local authorities and their partners. The consultation closed on 11 March. We are currently considering the responses to ensure we design support effectively and will respond in due course.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency qualified for cold weather payments between October 2008 and January2009. 
Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency is covered by postcodes TS3-5, 7-9,11-14 and 17. Postcode TS9 is linked to Linton on Ouse weather station which has triggered twice so far this winter. The remaining postcode sectors are linked to Loftus weather station which has triggered once so far this winter. All triggers are based on those notified up to 11 March 2009, though the last trigger was notified on 16 February 2009.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library a copy of the most recent version of Jobcentre Plus's Social Fund Work Status Report statistics. 
Kitty Ussher [holding answer 12 January 2009]: Jobcentre Plus's social fund work status reports are an internal management tool. They are produced weekly and are a snap shot of how much work is outstanding in order to help manage the business.
Work status reports are clerical statistics and are collated weekly at national level to provide management with information on the current levels of work in benefit delivery centres. This enables Jobcentre Plus to promptly move work around the network if needed rather than waiting for the monthly computer produced figures.
Outstanding cases in each benefit delivery centre are clerically counted, collated at regional level and regional returns are then turned into the national picture. These are not robust enough to use as official data. It is therefore not appropriate for a copy of the work status report to be placed in the Library.
Verified data are published in the annual report by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the Social Fund 2007-08, a copy of which is in the Library. It is also available on the Department's website at:
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much lent under the (a) budgeting loans and ( b) crisis loan scheme in each of the last three financial years has been written off. 
|Written off in :|
|Year of award||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||Total|
|Written off in :|
|Year of award||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||Total|
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy to remove people under the age of 25 years from the purview of the single room rent regulations; and if he will make a statement. 
Kitty Ussher: We have no plans to abolish the single room rent, which is designed to ensure that the level of housing benefit for single young people is based on the size and type of accommodation that they would typically occupy and, importantly, be able to afford.
Kitty Ussher: While the Department is responsible for housing benefit (HB) and council tax benefit (CTB) legislation, both benefits are administered by local authorities. There are no formulae, but the assessment processes are set out in the Housing Benefit Regulations and the Council Tax Benefit Regulations.
The maximum HB that can be paid is the full amount of the customer's "eligible rent". This is the amount of the rent which the legislation says can be covered by housing benefit, and may not be the same as the full rent charge.
From April 2008 local housing allowance (LHA) has been rolled out nationally in the private rented sector. LHA has changed the way HB is calculated, so it is not just based on the rent, but on a flat rate amount which is determined by factors such as the area someone lives in and the household size.
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