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Benefit Payments

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 3 June 2003, Official Report, column 50W, on benefit order books, what the budget is for the exceptions service being developed by his Department as an alternative to the direct payment of benefits; and if he will make a statement on the resources being allocated to the exceptions service in each of the next three financial years. [118891]

The cost of the exceptions service will depend on (a) the details of the service which we are currently developing and (b) the number of customers paid by this method.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if the term "bank account" in his Department's Spending Review 2002 PSA target to pay 89 per cent. of benefit customers by direct transfer to their bank account by 2005 includes both bank accounts and Post Office card accounts. [118899]

The Department has a published Public Service Agreement that by 2005, 85 per cent. of customers will have their benefits paid by Direct Payment. Direct Payment includes both bank and building society current and basic accounts and the Post Office card account.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of women teaching assistants employed as term-time workers; and what plans he has to enable term-time workers who average less than 16 hours a week to claim jobseeker's allowance. [117923]

Information on the number of women teaching assistants employed as term-time workers is not held centrally.Term-time workers who work on average less than 16 hours a week can already claim jobseeker's allowance, provided they meet the other conditions of entitlement.