Jobseeker’s Allowance

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the north-east and (d) the UK have applied online for jobseeker's allowance in each of the last five years. [122393]

Mr Hoban: This information is not available in the format requested. The information which is available to us is detailed in the following tables:

Jobseeker allowance claims made online August 2009 to March 2010
 Number

Great Britain

114,096

Source: HPES Jobseekers Allowance Online Portal
Jobseeker allowance claims made online:Number

August 2010 to March 2011

 

Jarrow

232

South Tyneside

597

North East (Durham and Tees Valley and Northumbria Tyne and Wear Districts

8,967

Great Britain

207,993

  

24 Oct 2012 : Column 950W

April 2011 to March 2012

 

Jarrow

623

South Tyneside

1,615

North East (Durham and Tees Valley and Northumbria Tyne and Wear Districts

23,438

Great Britain

543,12

  

April 2012 to 7 October 2012

 

Jarrow

670

South Tyneside

1,634

North East (Durham and Tees Valley and Northumbria Tyne and Wear Districts

25,234

Great Britain

527,343

Source: Management Information System Programme

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Capita staff are employed in the delivery of jobseeker's allowance online; and which of his Department's computer systems they have access to. [122698]

Mr Hoban: There are currently 170 people deployed by Capita on the delivery of this service. They have access to the following computer systems:

Customer Information Service—allows limited access to claimant records;

Call Booking System—used to schedule an outbound call to a claimant and will also allocate outbound calls to staff;

Labour Market System—allows Capita to input notes regarding the claimant's new claim that Jobcentre staff may find useful;

Rapide—text messaging system;

Customer Management System—used to gather information for a customer's initial claim to jobseeker’s allowance;

Factual Information Network Database—internet based system which enables staff to find a claimant's local Jobcentre;

DWP intranet—is required to use the Factual Information Network Database; and

Call Logger—is used by agents to measure the length of the call.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what security and monitoring systems he has put in place to track jobseeker's allowance data accessed by employees of Capita. [122699]

Mr Hoban: Capita have a secure unit dedicated to delivering work on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and they use DWP equipment. The Capita agents have undergone exactly the same training and security learning as DWP staff and they also complete annual security e-learning.

The DWP Operational Security Team undertakes standard ‘health check’ visits and the latest visit confirmed that Capita were fully complying with DWP security standards. All data are handled under the same guidelines and controls as they would be in DWP.

Long-Term Unemployed People

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the reasons for the increase in long-term unemployment

24 Oct 2012 : Column 951W

reported in the Labour Market Statistics published by the Office for National Statistics on 17 October 2012; and if he will make a statement. [124580]

Mr Hoban: Long-term unemployment has been rising since 2008, driven by the recession. Between 2008 and 2010 the number of people ILO unemployed for 12 months or more doubled from 380,000 to 780,000. Since then the rate of increase has slowed significantly, rising a further 15% to 897,000. These trends are consistent with previous experience following recessions: even as overall unemployment levels out, long-term unemployment can rise for a time as earlier periods of higher inflows into unemployment are still affecting numbers reaching durations of one year or more. The Government's Youth Contract and Work programme have been put in place to ensure that those becoming long-term unemployed continue to get the help and support they need to look for and find employment.

In addition to the trends above, long-term unemployment has been affected by recent changes in the way duration is recorded. Under previous policies people were required to move off jobseeker's allowance after a certain point, either to a training allowance or temporary job. Those who later came back to JSA were counted as newly unemployed and this had the effect of holding the number of long duration claims at a much lower level than would have been the case given natural off-flow rates. Now individuals taking up work experience opportunities or entering the Work programme remain on JSA until they find a regular job. As their claim is not broken artificially, more people are staying on JSA and moving into longer durations and the number claiming for 12 months or more is rising. Although this relates directly to long-term claimant unemployment, it would also be expected to have some effect on the broader ILO measure of unemployment.

Olympic Games 2012

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the London Olympics on the Labour Market Statistics by the Office for National Statistics on 17 October 2012. [124582]

Mr Hoban: The Department has not made a formal assessment of the impact of the London Olympics on the labour market statistics. This is consistent with the ONS approach, where it does not normally seek to identify the impact of one-off events from movements in a time series because of the difficulty of distinguishing its significance from other factors.

Recent Labour Force Survey figures however show that:

the number of people in work was rising before the period covered by the Games: in April-June 2012 employment rose 200,000 on the previous quarter, of which 99,000 was in London.

the Games may have contributed to a rise in temporary jobs in June-August 2012, up 58,000 compared to March-May 2012. However the increase in temporary employees accounts for only a minority of the overall quarterly rise in employment of 212,000.

over the last year as a whole, employment has risen by over half a million, nearly 70% of which came outside London.

24 Oct 2012 : Column 952W

Pensioners: British Nationals Abroad

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans to bring forward proposals to allow the uprating of expatriates' frozen pensions; and what recent steps he has taken in this regard. [123059]

Steve Webb: There are no plans or proposals to change the long standing arrangements for payment of UK state pension paid overseas.

Pensioners: Personal Income

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average weekly income was of people receiving state pension entitlements in Denton and Reddish constituency in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many people received such entitlements. [122983]

Steve Webb: Statistics on average state pension entitlement and numbers of people in receipt of state pension in Denton and Reddish parliamentary constituency are available from 100% data and published on the Department's website at:

http://83.244.183.180/100pc/sp/tabtool_sp.html

Notes:

1. To access the data, select ‘Average weekly amount of benefit’—‘Parliamentary Constituency of Claimant (Westminster)’—‘Gender of claimant’—‘NONE’—select the date you require. Repeat using ‘Caseload (Thousands)’.

2. Data is currently available between May 2002 and February 2012.

Pensioners: Poverty

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of pensioners in poverty in (a) Glasgow North West constituency, (b) Glasgow, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK in each year since 2007. [122963]

Steve Webb: Estimates of pensioner poverty are published in the Households Below Average Income series. The most commonly used measure of pensioner poverty relates to those people with income below 60% of contemporary median income, after housing costs. This is often referred to as relative poverty.

The smallest geographical breakdown available for the overall numbers in poverty is at Government office region level. Therefore, information is not available for (a) Glasgow North West constituency or (b) Glasgow, but is available for (c) Scotland and (d) the UK.

Three-year averages are used to report regional statistics as single-year estimates are subject to volatility.

The information is already published and can be found in Table 6.11ts (on page 238) of the Households Below Average Income series published at

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/hbai/hbai2011/index.php?page=contents

(ISBN 978-1-78153-046-7). Single year figures for the United Kingdom can be found in Table 6.3tr (on page 208).

24 Oct 2012 : Column 953W

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to reduce poverty among pensioners in Glasgow North West constituency. [122964]

Steve Webb: The Government want all pensioners to have a decent and secure income in retirement. We have restored the earnings link for the basic state pension and given a triple guarantee that the basic state pension will increase by the highest of the growth in average earnings, price increases (as measured by the consumer prices index) or 2.5%. This measure will mean that the average person retiring on a full state pension in 2012 can expect to receive around an additional £15,000 in basic state pension over their retirement than under the old system.

We are protecting support for older people such as: winter fuel payments; free bus passes; free television licences for those aged 75 and over; free eye tests and free NHS prescription charges as well as making permanent the increase to cold weather payments from £8.50 to £25.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget, on 21 March 2012, that the Government will reform the state pensions system to introduce a single tier pension for future pensioners. These reforms will usher in a simpler and fairer system that reduces the need for means testing and rewards saving. The Government will publish further information about the proposed reforms in a White Paper later this autumn.

Personal Independence Payment

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect on people who act as carers and will no longer be eligible for carer's allowance due to the move to the personal independence payment; and if he will make a statement. [122822]

Esther McVey: The available information is published in the personal independence payment (PIP) impact assessment (May 2012). The impact on carer's is covered in paragraphs 23-26. This can be found on the Department's website at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dla-reform-wr2011-ia.pdf

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people there are in Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency who act as carers but will no longer be eligible for carer's allowance due to the move to personal independence payments. [123763]

Esther McVey: The available information is published in the personal independence payment (PIP) impact assessment (May 2012). The impact on carer's is covered in paragraphs 23-26. This can be found on the Department's website at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/dla-reform-wr2011-ia.pdf

Information on current carer's allowance caseloads at a parliamentary constituency level can be found on the Department's website at:

http://83.244.183.180/100pc/tabtool.html

24 Oct 2012 : Column 954W

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the potential changes in the number of claimants for personal independence payment compared with those for disability living allowance. [124025]

Esther McVey: The latest draft of the Personal Independence Payment Assessment criteria and thresholds was published for consultation in January 2012. It included estimates of the likely PIP benefit caseload in 2015-16, compared to the projected working age DLA caseload had PIP not been introduced. These estimates, which were based on the second draft of the assessment criteria have been broken down by each of the benefit rate combinations.

A Government response to the consultation and the PIP assessment criteria regulations will be published later this year.

Scotland

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many inquiries his Department has received from Members of the Scottish Parliament on reserved constituency issues in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [122967]

Esther McVey: DWP Chief Operating Officer Correspondence Unit received 281 constituent inquiries from Members of the Scottish Parliament in the last 12 months. Figures are not available for inquiries received in the Department outside this Unit.

Social Fund

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications were made for Social Fund (a) community care grants and (b) crisis loans in each month since April 2010. [123689]

Mr Hoban: Table 1 provides the total number of applications made to the Social Fund for crisis loans and community care grants in each month since April 2010.

Table 1: Total number of applications for Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants made in each month since April 2010
 Crisis loansCommunity care grants

April 2010

296,100

54,000

May 2010

269,200

55,000

June 2010

300,600

51,600

July 2010

292,600

51,100

August 2010

283,900

47,800

September 2010

299,500

53,200

October 2010

268,000

53,300

November 2010

278,700

58,200

December 2010

240,800

36,900

January 2011

302,500

41,200

February 2011

288,400

49,300

March 2011

301,100

61,300

April 2011

208,000

41,800

May 2011

240,700

51,800

June 2011

230,800

50,500

July 2011

220,800

52,400

August 2011

221,300

47,000

September 2011

221,700

50,200

24 Oct 2012 : Column 955W

October 2011

197,400

49,400

November 2011

196,400

56,100

December 2011

170,600

40,500

January 2012

233,000

45,900

February 2012

222,300

51,200

March 2012

222,800

51,400

April 2012

189,000

46,200

May 2012

210,700

49,500

June 2012

192,600

42,100

July 2012

213,500

47,300

August 2012

205,600

43,500

September 2012

190,900

42,200

Notes: 1. The information provided is Management Information. Our preference is to answer all parliamentary questions using Official/National Statistics but in this case we only have Management Information available. It is not quality assured to the same extent as Official/National statistics and there are some issues with the data, for example, it does not include applications which were processed clerically and have not yet been entered on to the Social Fund Computer System. 2. The figures relate to applications, not people. Individuals can apply for and receive more than one Social Fund Loan in any given year. 3. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100. Source: Department for Work and Pensions Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System

Social Security Benefits

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will publish an updated version of nationality at point of National Insurance number registration of DWP benefit claimants (February 2011 working age benefits). [122581]

Mr Hoban: We have no current plans to update the ad hoc statistical release on the nationality of benefit claimants that was published in January this year.

Social Security Benefits: Disqualification

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents claiming jobseeker's allowance have been subject to a benefit sanction in each year since 2008. [123781]

Mr Hoban: Statistics on how many lone parents claiming jobseeker's allowance who have been subject to a benefit sanction since 2008 are shown in the following table.

Number of JSA lone parent claimants who have had a sanction applied January 2008 - April 2012
 Number of JSA lone parent claimants

January 2008 - December 2008

1,340

January 2009 - December 2009

4,970

January 2010 - December 2010

14,070

January 2011 - December 2011

20,580

January 2012 - April 2012

8,940

Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest ten. Source: JSA Sanctions and Disallowance Decisions Statistics Database; JSA Lone Parent Spells database

24 Oct 2012 : Column 956W

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the reasons for which lone parents claiming jobseeker's allowance have been referred for a benefit sanction. [123782]

Mr Hoban: Jobseeker's allowance lone parent claimants are referred for a benefit sanction for the same reasons as any other jobseeker's allowance claimant, for example failing to attend an advisory interview. For a complete list see the DWP tabulation tool:

http://83.244.183.180/sanction/sanction/LIVE/tabtool.html

Social Security Benefits: EU Nationals

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right of citizens of the EU and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of EU member states; (1) what his policy is on the provision of social assistance to nationals of EU member States when such nationals have resided in the UK for less than three months; [124298]

(2) what his policy is on the provision of social assistance to nationals of EU member states; and when such nationals are resident in the UK on the basis of Article 14(4)(b) of the Directive. [124259]

Mr Hoban: All European economic area [EEA] nationals have, under Directive 2004/38/EC, a right to reside in another member state for an initial period of three months, without the requirement to be self sufficient. Individuals with this right to reside would not meet the first requirement of the habitual residence test and would not usually have access to social assistance such as income related jobseeker's allowance, income-based employment and support allowance, income support, state pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

If during or after this period an EEA national can demonstrate that they are a ‘qualified person’ they would continue to have a right to reside.

The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 transpose this into UK law and define a qualified person as someone who is a self-sufficient person or a student; a worker or a self-employed person; or a job seeker.

EEA nationals (and their family members) who are economically inactive, such as students and persons who are not in work or seeking employment, are required to be self-sufficient and have comprehensive medical insurance. They therefore cannot access social assistance such as income related jobseeker's allowance, income-based employment and support allowance, income support, state pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

EEA nationals (and their family members) who demonstrate that they have and retain worker status or who are self-employed have a right to reside which allows them access to social assistance such as income related jobseeker's allowances income-based employment and support allowance, income support, state pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

24 Oct 2012 : Column 957W

EEA nationals (and their family members) who are work seekers have a right to reside (under Article 14(4) (b) of the Directive) which allows access to some social assistance but is limited to income related jobseeker's allowance and in some circumstances housing benefit and council tax benefit, but would not be eligible for other social assistance such as income-based employment and support allowance, income support and state pension credit.

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received from the European Commission on compliance with obligations to provide benefits to nationals of other EU countries in the UK under Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the coordination of social security systems. [124319]

Mr Hoban: On 29 September 2011 the Government received a communication from the European Commission in the form of a Reasoned Opinion in which the Commission states that the application of the ‘Right to Reside Test’ to claims for certain residence-based non-contributory benefits constitutes an unjustified discrimination prohibited by the EU regulations on social security co-ordination.

The Government responded in November 2011 and we have not had any further representation from the Commission on this issue since then.

We have a legal duty to provide support to people who come to this country, in line with our national and international obligations. It is also necessary to protect the taxpayer and the benefit system from possible abuse. It is unacceptable that we should be asked to open our welfare system to people who have never worked or contributed in the United Kingdom and have no intention of doing so.

We need to make sure that the rules which apply when people from outside the UK come here do not allow people to take inappropriate advantage of our benefit system and the Government are committed to ensuring that the rules governing the payment of benefits to people from abroad are kept under review.

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what entitlement nationals of other EU countries have to benefits in the UK when they have resided in the UK for less than three months on the basis of Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right of citizens of the EU and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of EU member states; and which provision of EU law creates such an entitlement; [124629]

(2) what advice he has received on which forms of state support in the UK are covered by the term social assistance in Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the right of citizens of the EU and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of EU member states; [124628]

(3) whether his Department is making any preparation in respect of the European Commission taking the Government to the European Court of Justice in respect of the UK's compliance with its obligations to provide benefits to nationals of other EU countries under Regulation (EC) No 883/2004. [124631]

24 Oct 2012 : Column 958W

Mr Hoban: Directive 2004/38/EC, which amends and repeals various other regulations and directives, gives effect to the right of citizens of the European Union (EU) and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of EU member states. This direction was transposed into UK law by the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006.

Access to the UK benefit system, including social assistance, for European economic area (EEA) nationals, depends on the situation of the individual and whether they meet the UK Habitual Residence Test conditions. This test has two elements; a legal right to reside and an objective assessment of factual evidence of habitual residence. An EEA national can satisfy the right to reside element, if they can demonstrate they are a qualified person for the purpose of benefit receipt.

All EEA nationals have, under Directive 2004/38/EC, a right to reside in another member state for an initial period of three months. They do not have a requirement to be self sufficient but they should not be an unreasonable burden on the social assistance system of the host member state in that period. Individuals with this right to reside would also be subject to the Habitual Residence Test and so would not usually have access to social assistance.

After the first three months, EEA nationals and their family members who are economically inactive, such as students and persons who are not in work or seeking employment, are required to be self-sufficient and have comprehensive medical insurance. They therefore cannot access social assistance.

At any time, EEA nationals and their family members who demonstrate that they have and retain worker status or who are self-employed have a right to reside which allows them access to social assistance.

At any time, EEA nationals and their family members who are work seekers have a right to reside which allows access to some social assistance but this is limited to income related jobseeker's allowance and in some circumstance housing benefit and council tax benefit. They would not be eligible for other social assistance.

The regulations and directives do not provide a clear definition of what constitutes social assistance. Our legal advice indicates that social assistance would include the Department's means tested benefits which are income related jobseeker's allowance, income-based employment and support allowance, income support, state pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit.

On 29 September 2011, the Government received a Reasoned Opinion from the European Commission in which they state that the application of the 'Right to Reside Test' to claims for certain residence-based non-contributory benefits is unjustified discrimination prohibited by the EU regulations on social security coordination. The Government responded in November 2011, setting out our arguments as to why the Habitual Residence Test does not unlawfully discriminate against EU citizens. We have not had any further formal representation from the Commission on this issue since then.

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people on disability benefits have had their benefits taken away due to fraud on their part in each of the last five years. [124000]

24 Oct 2012 : Column 959W

Esther McVey: Information on the numbers of disability benefit claims that have been ended due to claimant fraud, in each of the last five years, is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Data on DLA claims disallowed are available however it is not possible to identify whether these disallowances are due to claimant fraud.

Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants who have been asked to attend Atos assessments have died (a) before the assessment was undertaken and (b) within a two month period of the assessment taking place. [122330]

Mr Hoban: In July 2012, the Department published information on deaths of recipients of incapacity benefits. This can be found at:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2012/incap_decd_recips_0712.pdf

Table 3 of this publication shows the numbers leaving ESA between January and November 2011 with a recorded date of death. In this period, 2,200 people died before the assessment was completed.

The following table shows the number of claimants that left ESA between January and November 2011 with a recorded date of death within two months of completion of their most recent assessment.

24 Oct 2012 : Column 960W

Claimants leaving ESA between January and November 2011 with a recorded date of death within two months of completion of their most recent assessment
WCA Outcome at most recent assessmentNumber of claimants leaving ESA with a recorded date of death within two months of completion of the assessment

Work Related Activity Group

300

Support Group

2,100

Total

2,400

Notes: 1. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100. 2. The date of completion of the assessment is defined as the date of the decision maker's decision if it has been made otherwise it is classed as the date of the Atos assessment. These figures include those cases where the claimant died after the Atos assessment but received a decision after they had died.

Social Security Benefits: Young People

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people aged (a) 19, (b) 20 and (c) 21 years were in receipt of (i) jobseeker's allowance, (ii) housing benefit and (iii) both jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit in (A) Ashfield constituency, (B) Nottinghamshire, (C) the East Midlands and (D) England and Wales in the most recent period for which figures are available. [123546]

Mr Hoban: The information requested is provided in the following table:

Jobseekers allowance claimants in Ashfield parliamentary constituency, Nottinghamshire, the east midlands, England and Wales by age: February 2012
JSA claimants
 EnglandWalesThe east midlandsNottinghamshireAshfield parliamentary constituency

Total of all claimants

1,356,640

83,210

114,390

17,980

2,910

Age

     

19

67,660

4,990

6,400

1,100

210

20

68,480

4,720

6,150

1,070

180

21

62,360

4,420

5,530

930

150

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Figures include “credit” only cases. Source: DWP Information, Governance and Security, Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study

The number of recipients who claim housing benefit (HB) and jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and housing benefit (HB) together is not available.

State Retirement Pensions

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency receive state pension entitlements; and what the average weekly income was of such people in the latest period for which figures are available. [123769]

Steve Webb: Statistics on the number of people in receipt of state pension and the average state pension entitlement in Kilmarnock and Loudoun parliamentary constituency are available from 100% data and published on the Department's website at:

http://83.244.183.180/100pc/sp/tabtool_sp.html

Notes:

1. To access the data, select ‘Caseload (Thousands)’—‘Parliamentary Constituency of Claimant (Westminster)’—‘Gender of claimant’—‘NONE’—select the date you require. Repeat using ‘Average weekly amount of benefit’.

2. Data is currently available between May 2002 and February 2012.

Training

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 15 October 2012, Official Report, column 12W, on training, what the cost was of the training; and which company provided the training. [124315]

Mr Hoban: The name of the company which provided the training was Sara Jones Associates Ltd. The fee charged is commercially sensitive.

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Universal Credit

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans that callers to the universal credit helpline number will be charged. [122238]

Mr Hoban: From October 2013 it is anticipated that one freephone number for ‘How to claim’ and ‘online help’ taking claimants to an agent will be available for universal credit. One local chargeable number for all other contacts will be introduced.

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to introduce local offices to assist universal credit claimants in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside and (c) the North East; and if he will make a statement. [122829]

Mr Hoban: There are no plans to open additional offices to assist universal credit claimants. Claimants will be able to make their universal credit claims on line and will be able to access assistance by telephone. Local arrangements may be put in place with other organisations, such as local authorities, to provide universal credit claimants with advice and assistance. A face-to-face service will be available in jobcentres, as now, to support people in their jobsearch and for vulnerable claimants.

Unsecured Pensions

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will consider reinstating the option of higher income drawdown capacity for people whose income is likely to reduce by 40% under the drawdown limits introduced in April 2011. [124068]

Mr Gauke: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Treasury.

The Government continually keep all aspects of their policies under review and are committed to maintaining flexibility for those with drawdown arrangements.

Vacancies

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to promote vacancies in the care sector to those on jobseeker's allowance. [122565]

Mr Hoban: As a condition of entitlement to jobseeker's allowance (JSA) claimants enter into a jobseeker's agreement in which they agree the steps they will take to improve their chances of finding work.

As part of this discussion advisers discuss and promote suitable occupations, relevant vacancies and apprenticeships, including those in the care sector, to those claimants who have the necessary skills, experience and qualifications to work in this sector.

The Department takes vacancies from employers within the care sector which are displayed on its vacancy site, Jobs and Skills, which is accessed through gov.co.uk. These vacancies are accessible to all jobseekers, including those claiming JSA.

24 Oct 2012 : Column 962W

Where the local labour market supports this and the local care employers are receptive to using this approach for filling their vacancies, Jobcentre Plus districts have also utilised the sector-based work academy initiative to develop a tailored package of support for JSA claimants to move into jobs within the care sector. Sector-based work academies consist of a short period of pre-employment training, a work experience placement and a guaranteed job interview.

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many vacancies in the care sector are currently being advertised in job centres in (a) East Lancashire, (b) the North West and (c) England. [123248]

Mr Hoban: The information is as follows:

(a) There are 321 vacancies in the health and social work sector currently being advertised for job centres in East Lancashire;

(b) There are 5,292 vacancies in the health and social work sector currently being advertised for job centres in the North West; and

(c) There are 28,431 vacancies in the health and social work sector currently being advertised for job centres in England.

Source:

Vacancies—Notified by industry from the National Online Manpower Information service (NOMIS) part of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on 16 October 2012.

Welfare Reform Act 2012

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people who will receive reduced benefit payments as a result of implementation of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland. [123064]

Mr Hoban: The Welfare Reform Act introduces a wide range of reforms to make the benefits and tax credits system fairer and simpler by:

creating the right incentives to get more people into work

protecting the most vulnerable in our society

delivering fairness to those claiming benefit and to the tax payer.

Estimated impacts of these reforms are published in the detailed impact assessments and equality impact assessments.

Work Capability Assessment

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 27 June 2012, Official Report, column 1098W, on work capability assessment: appeals, how many people found fit for work under the work capability assessment have subsequently died within (a) three, (b) six and (c) 12 months of the assessment decision in (i) Scotland and (ii) the UK. [122403]

Mr Hoban: The information requested is not available.

Data on the number of ESA claimants who have died following a Fit for Work decision are not available, as the Department does not hold information on a death if the person has already left benefit.

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Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 21 March 2012, Official Report, column 706W, on Atos Healthcare, on how many occasions a Decision Maker from his Department did not follow the recommendation of Atos Healthcare when making a decision on the eligibility of a claimant for employment and support allowance in each month since May 2010. [122404]

Mr Hoban: The following table shows the number of occasions where the DWP decision maker made a different decision to the Atos recommendation for assessments in each month between May 2010 and February 2012 (the latest data available).

Number of occasions where the DWP decision was different to the Atos recommendation each month between May 2010 and February 2012
Month of assessmentDWP decision differs from Atos recommendation

May 2010

900

June 2010

900

July 2010

1,100

August 2010

1,200

September 2010

1,200

October 2010

1,900

November 2010

2,600

December 2010

2,300

January 2011

2,700

February 2011

3,100

March 2011

3,600

April 2011

2,800

May 2011

3,100

June 2011

2,800

July 2011

2,100

August 2011

1,900

September 2011

1,600

October 2011

1,400

November 2011

1,500

December 2011

1,200

January 2012

1,800

February 2012

2,300

Notes: 1. These figures do not include WCAs completed on incapacity benefit reassessment (IBR) claims. The Department has published initial findings on the outcomes of IBR, which can be found on the Departmental website here: http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page=esa_ibr 2. The table includes initial assessments only and the numbers have been rounded to the nearest 100.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the average length of a call, including the time spent on hold, to his Department's 0800 2888 777 number for contacting Atos Healthcare in relation to the work capability assessment in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012 to date. [122517]

Mr Hoban: The average call length, including time spent on hold, to the Atos Healthcare Contact Centre 0800 2888 777 helpline number is as follows:

 Minutes

2010

12

2011

1

24 Oct 2012 : Column 964W

2012 (to date)

2

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of the average number of calls per (a) day, (b) week and (c) month to his Department's 0800 2888 777 number for contacting Atos Healthcare in relation to the work capability assessment. [122823]

Mr Hoban: The average number of calls received by the Atos Healthcare Contact Centre (on 0800 2888 777) during 2012 (to date) is:

 Number of calls

Daily average

3,353

Weekly average

20,115

Monthly average

88,525

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many work capability assessments by Atos Healthcare have been carried out in the homes of claimants in Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency. [123770]

Mr Hoban: The information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the number of people in Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency who have died within (a) three, (b) six and (c) 12 months of being found fit for work under the work capability assessment. [123771]

Mr Hoban: The information requested is not available.

Data on the number of ESA claimants that have died following a fit for work decision are not available, as the Department does not hold information on a death if the person has already left benefit.

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance his Department provides to contractors undertaking work capability assessment as to the length of time each assessment should take; and if he will make a statement. [124418]

Mr Hoban: The length of time a work capability assessment takes can vary. This can be between 20 minutes and 90 minutes and depends on an individual's medical condition. The length of time for an assessment is not included in the contract between DWP and Atos Healthcare or the Medical Services Appointment Allocation Guide.

Work Programme

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of those leaving custody who have participated in the Work programme on release have (a) gained employment and (b) enrolled in education or training since its inception. [122293]

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Mr Hoban: The data requested are not available. Official statistics on job outcomes are expected to be available from autumn 2012.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of the financial health of Work programme providers. [124581]

Mr Hoban: DWP has an ongoing process of monitoring the financial viability and risk of suppliers post contract award. This is undertaken on a basis of materiality and criticality and involves the review of a number of sources of financial and commercial intelligence. Suppliers are assessed and rated according to perceived risk which determines the nature of follow up action required. As a minimum, each supplier is reviewed on an annual basis.

24 Oct 2012 : Column 966W

All Work programme suppliers are included in this monitoring process and are prioritised due to their critical status.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the Work programme on (a) long-term unemployment amongst women, (b) long-term unemployment amongst lone parents and (c) in-work progression. [124621]

Mr Hoban: An independent evaluation has been commissioned to explore the employment outcomes and experience of in-work progression for all key claimant groups including women and lone parents. The evaluation will begin reporting in November 2012, with a final report due in 2014-15.