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Incapacity Benefit

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of adults of working age were claiming incapacity benefits in (a) each Welsh unitary authority, (b) each English region, (c) Wales, (d) Scotland and (e) Northern Ireland in (i) 1997, (ii) 2001, (iii) 2005 and (iv) at the latest date for which figures are available. (155634)

Information about Northern Ireland is a matter for my hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The available information is in the following tables.

Percentage of working age population claiming incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance by Welsh local authority

February each year

Local authority

1997

2001

2005

2007

Isle of Anglesey

10.5

11.1

10.4

9.7

Blaenau Gwent

21.3

19.6

19.0

17.4

Bridgend

14.9

15.0

13.8

13.2

Caerphilly

17.8

17.1

16.1

15.0

Cardiff

9.3

9.7

8.8

8.6

Carmarthenshire

14.9

15.2

13.7

12.8

Ceredigion

8.2

9.3

8.5

8.1

Conwy

9.7

11.0

10.5

10.1

Denbighshire

11.9

11.6

11.0

10.5

Flintshire

8.3

8.7

8.0

7.6

Gwynedd

8.8

9.4

8.7

8.4

Merthyr Tydfil

24.7

22.2

20.1

17.9

Monmouthshire

6.9

7.6

7.3

7.0

Neath Port Talbot

18.8

18.9

17.2

15.7

Newport

10.5

11.2

10.4

9.9

Pembrokeshire

11.1

11.4

10.6

10.0

Powys

8.3

8.3

7.8

7.5

Rhondda, Cynon, Taff

16.6

18.4

16.6

15.3

Swansea

14.4

13.7

12.5

11.6

The Vale of Glamorgan

8.7

8.8

8.4

8.0

Torfaen

14.6

13.9

12.7

12.0

Wrexham

11.6

10.8

10.0

9.6

Definitions and conventions:

Percentages are shown to 1 decimal place.

Notes:

1. 5 per cent. figures for 1997 have been uprated in line with 100 per cent. totals.

2. Claimants include credits only cases.

3. Figures refer to working age claimants of IB/SDA.

4. Working age populations (females aged 16 to 59, males aged 16 to 64) for each local authority at the relevant year have been used to calculate percentages.

Sources:

1. Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate, 5 per cent. sample, 1997.

2. DWP Information Directorate, Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data 2001, 2005 and 2007.

3. Office for National Statistics mid-year population estimates for 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2006.

Percentage of working age population claiming incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance by region

February each year

Government office region

1997

2001

2005

2007

North East

11.6

12.1

11.2

10.4

North West

11.0

10.9

10.2

9.6

Yorkshire and the Humber

7.9

8.2

8.0

7.4

East Midlands

6.4

7.1

6.9

6.6

West Midlands

7.2

7.7

7.6

7.3

East of England

4.8

5.1

5.3

5.1

London

6.1

6.2

6.3

6.2

South East

4.3

4.6

4.8

4.7

South West

5.6

6.2

6.3

6.3

Wales

12.7

12.8

11.8

11.1

Scotland

10.4

10.6

10.1

9.5

Definitions and conventions:

Percentages are shown to 1 decimal place.

Notes:

1. 5 per cent. figures for 1997 have been uprated in line with 100 per cent. totals.

2. Claimants include credits only cases.

3. Figures refer to working age claimants of IB/SDA.

4. Working age populations (females aged 16 to 59, males aged 16 to 64) for each region at the relevant year have been used to calculate percentages.

Sources:

1. Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate, 5 per cent. sample, 1997.

2. DWP Information Directorate, Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data 2001, 2005 and 2007.

3. Office for National Statistics mid-year population estimates for 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what plans he has to simplify the applications process for incapacity benefits; and if he will make a statement; (155956)

(2) what plans he has to reduce the length of time an applicant for incapacity benefits has to wait until they receive their benefits; and if he will make a statement.

The average time for clearing incapacity benefit claims nationally is 13.9 days against a Jobcentre Plus target of 18 days from receipt of a claim. The performance of Jobcentre Plus offices against this target is kept under review. Jobcentre Plus continues to look for improvements in the processing of claims and recent examples include the introduction of a rapid reclaim process for people who return to incapacity benefit and the implementation of a single 0800 number for customers to use when making a claim.

The Government's Welfare Reform Act 2007 makes provision for a new benefit, the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), to replace the current incapacity benefits system for new and repeat claimants from autumn 2008. ESA aims to provide a modernised and simpler benefit which is designed to help people with health conditions and disabilities to focus on their aspirations to return to work and to provide support where an immediate return to work is not possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of applications for incapacity benefits were successful in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. (155959)

The available information is in the following table.

Incapacity benefit claims volumes

Thousand

Awarded

Refused

Percentage of decisions that result in an award

2002-03

222

329

40.3

2003-04

271

414

39.6

2004-05

260

347

42.9

2005-06

241

305

44.1

2006-07

230

330

41.1

Notes:

1. Results have been provided by the Information Directorate (BIC).

2. Volume figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand.

3. The volume figures represent the number of new claims awarded and refused in each financial year.

4. The total awarded and refused does not constitute the figure for claims received.

5. It is not possible to deduce proportions of the total claims received that are successful or unsuccessful as claims received in a given year may not necessarily get a decision in that same year.

6. The percentage awarded figures represent the proportion of awarded decisions of all decisions i.e. of the total of awarded and refused combined. These percentages represent the best view of the award success rate, but only reflect decisions that are recorded in the counts that can be extracted from MISP.

7. There is limited information available about how the counts are derived, and so there may be some claims excluded from these results, and some claims included twice e.g. if a claim is initially refused, goes to appeal and is then awarded, it could be counted in both the awarded and refused volumes.

Source:

DWP MISP System

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of (a) the reasons for regional variations in incapacity payments and (b) the impact of regional variation on claimants, with particular reference to variations between the Midlands and the North. (156485)

No assessment has been made of the reasons for regional variations in levels of incapacity payments.