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the amount of rent is reasonable for that particular property;
the property is a reasonable size for the customer and their family;
the amount of rent is reasonable for the area the property is in;
the rent includes any charges which cannot be covered by HB.
People receiving the guarantee credit element of pension credit, income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance or income-related employment and support allowance are deemed to have no income or capital and they receive maximum HB band/or CTB (subject to any standard deductions for any non-dependant household member).
People not receiving the income-related benefits listed above will have their HB and CTB assessed on the basis of an "applicable amount". The amount is made up of personal allowances and premiums. The personal allowances vary according to age and whether a person is single or one of a married or unmarried couple. The premiums are awarded to those groups identified as having extra needs, for example, long term sick or disabled people and elderly people. The applicable amounts are uprated every April and the current rates are in The Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2008 (S.I. 2008/632).
If net income is equal to or is less than the applicable amount, the customer will receive an amount equal to 100 per cent. of their eligible rent and/or council tax liability less any non-dependant deductions. If net income is more than the applicable amount, the customer will get less HB/CTB. For each pound of extra income over the applicable amount, an adjustment of 65 pence will be made in HB and 20 pence will be made in CTB (these are the HB and CTB tapers).
In addition, anyone with savings, investments and other capital valued at more than £16,000 will not normally qualify for HB or CTB. Capital of £6,000 or less is ignored. Capital of between £6,000 and £16,000 will be deemed to provide a weekly income of £1 for every £250 (or part thereof) if the person is aged less than 60, or £1 for every £500 (or part thereof) if they are 60 or over.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many ex-servicemen are claiming (a) jobseeker's allowance, (b) incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance, or employment and support allowance and (c) income support, broken down by duration of claim; 
(2) how many ex-servicemen have claimed (a) jobseeker's allowance, (b) incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance, or employment and support allowance and (c) income support in each month of the last two years for which information is available; 
(3) how many ex-servicemen have claimed (a) jobseeker's allowance, (b) incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance or employment and support allowance and (c) income support in each year since 1997 for which information is available. 
It is not possible to identify ex-servicemen who have made a claim to jobseeker's allowance, incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance, employment and support allowance or income support or who are currently in receipt of these benefits. This is because details of former occupations are not recorded on the DWP benefit computer systems.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the timeframe for UK ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 
Jonathan Shaw: It is my ambition to ratify the convention in the spring, subject to the satisfactory conclusion of the necessary parliamentary processes. We have made good progress and the explanatory memorandum and Command Paper for ratification were laid before Parliament on 3 March. An order to specify the convention as a European community treaty under Section 1(3) of the 1972 European Communities Act has been laid today.
Progressing to this stage, along with the signing of the optional protocol to the UN convention on 27 February, demonstrates the Government's firm commitment both
to the UN convention and to the principle that it enshrines that disabled people have, and should enjoy, the same human rights as other people.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what research his Department has undertaken into the reasons that lone parents do not take up voluntary progression to work support offered by Jobcentre Plus. 
In 2007, a study of the reasons for non-participation in the New Deal for Lone Parents, the voluntary programme of support for lone parents provided through Jobcentre Plus, was undertaken by independent research contractors BMRB. Specifically, the research aimed to explore: awareness and knowledge of the New Deal for Lone Parents programme; experience and views of the introduction of New Deal for Lone Parents via the Work Focused Interview; reactions to the programme, and; the decision making processes involved in non-participation.
Mr. Hanson: The Criminal Justice Act 2003 has provided sentencers with a flexible community order for adult offenders that can deliver a tough and effective alternative to custody. In addition, the Government have: (i) invested since March 2008 in seven intensive alternative to custody demonstrator projects to run for three years and provide courts with enhanced community sentencing options; and (ii) announced on 13 February 2009 investment of £15.6 million over two years to divert vulnerable women, who are not serious or dangerous offenders, from custody.
For young offenders, the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP) caters for serious and persistent young offenders who might otherwise be sent to prison, and the Intensive Fostering Programme is a specialised, highly intensive alternative to custody for serious and persistent young offenders whose offending behaviour is directly affected by their home surroundings.
Adult offenders sentenced to Community Payback have, since 1 December 2008, been required to wear distinctive high visibility clothing to ensure that members of the public are aware when Community Payback by offenders is taking place. Intensive Community Payback of a minimum of 18 hours per week over three days is now available in all probation areas for offenders convicted of knife crime offences.
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what percentage of sentences imposed in magistrates courts in (a) Cumbria and (b) Copeland constituency were appealed against to the Crown Court in each year since 1997. 
Bridget Prentice: Information is available on the number of offenders sentenced and the number of appeals against sentences from 1997 to 2007, which is set out in the following table. It is not possible to calculate a percentage between these two methods of counting, as one counts offenders and the other offences.
|Total sentenced||Total appealed against sentence( 1)|
|(1) Figures include appeals against both conviction and sentence.|
Mr. Wills: The Crown dependencies have their own directly elected legislative assemblies, administrative, fiscal and legal systems. The Ministry of Justice does not keep information on the monetary value of financial deposits in the Crown dependencies. However information on the value of financial deposits is collected by each Crown dependency and published on the websites of the Jersey and Guernsey Financial Services Commissions and the Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the number of people on community sentence placements who (a) will and (b) will not be required to wear high visibility vests in the next 12 months. 
The policy requiring offenders sentenced to Community Payback to wear distinctive high visibility vests was introduced on 1 December. The vests are worn when work is taking place in the potential view of members of the public. The purpose of the vests is to inform people where Community Payback is taking place. Where beneficiaries request in writing that offenders do not wear high visibility vests, exemptions may be
granted by the probation area only where convincing evidence is provided on the basis of health and safety concerns, business risk to the beneficiary or suitability of the placement.
Probation areas are actively, engaging with beneficiaries with a view to increasing the number of work projects in which distinctive clothing is used. Distinctive clothing is also not used if a risk assessment, endorsed by a senior manager, determines that distinctive clothing would potentially place the public, supervisory staff or offenders at risk. During January almost 70 per cent. of the hours worked by offenders on sites within the scope of the policy were undertaken using distinctive high visibility clothing.
The actual number of offenders who are required to wear high visibility clothing is not monitored and the cost of obtaining this information would be disproportionate. It is therefore not possible to provide an estimate of the total number of offenders who will be required to wear distinctive clothing during the next 12 months.
Mr. Straw: A mandatory process governing the use and procurement of consultants and specialist contractors is in place across the whole of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) allowing for the monitoring of expenditure on consultancy fees. The process requires strict adherence to policy and procedure and includes a clear and strict approvals and assurance process.
All requirements are vetted and the commercial route approved by a dedicated and qualified team within the procurement directorate in order to ensure compliance with internal policy and EU public procurement regulations. In the majority of cases (and all cases within NOMS (HMPS) that team go on to deliver all contractual requirements.
The process demands the assignment of a designated contract manager within the business unit. That individual holds responsibility for contractual performance including managing the performance of individual contractors, timely delivery, quality of service, skills transfer and for scrutinising and controlling all costs against the budget and in line with payment mechanism and charging arrangements specified within the contract.
Bridget Prentice: Prior to the formation of Her Majestys Courts Service (HMCS) on 1 April 2005, Crown courts were the responsibility of the Court Service. Consequently, HMCS has no records relating Crown courts prior to 1 April 2005.
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many of those convicted for offences in relation to incidents of domestic violence in (a) Cumbria and (b) Copeland constituency in each year since 1997 had previous convictions for such offences. 
Mr. Malik: The requested information is not available. The Ministry of Justices extract of data from the Police national computer can provide information on the previous convictions of offenders. However, the database does not enable us to identify offences involving domestic violence.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average fine imposed for (a) driving without insurance, (b) failure to stop or report a road accident, (c) failure to produce insurance certificate, (d) failure to produce test certificate and (e) driving otherwise than in accordance with licence was in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Straw: The average fine imposed for using a motor vehicle uninsured against third party risks, failing to stop after an accident, failing to report an accident within 24 hours, and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, in England and Wales for 2007 (latest available) is shown in the following table. Information held on the Court Proceedings Database does not separately identify offences of failure to produce insurance certificate or failure to produce test certificate.
|Average fine imposed at magistrates courts and the Crown court for offences of using a motor vehicle uninsured against third party risks, failing to stop after an accident, failing to report an accident within 24 hours, and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, England and Wales, 2007( 1,2,3)|
|Offence description||Magistrates courts||The Crown court|
|(1) Includes offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988 s. 143(2), s.170(4) and (7), the Road Traffic Act 1988 s.87 as amended by Road Traffic Act 1991 s.17 and Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1996 R.16.|
(2) It is known that for some police force areas the reporting of court proceedings, in particular those relating to summary motoring offences, may be less than complete.
(3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
Office for Criminal Justice ReformEvidence and Analysis unit.
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