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Jobcentre Plus: Dorset

Volume 477: debated on Friday 13 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) crisis loans, (b) interim payments of pension and (c) interim payments of benefits were paid to Jobcentre Plus customers in Dorset and Somerset through the out-of-hours service in the last six months for which information is available. (206552)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Mel Groves dated 13 June 2008:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the number of crisis loans, interim payments of pension and interim payments of benefits which were paid to Jobcentre Plus customers in Dorset and Somerset in the last six months for which information is available. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to Ms Strathie as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus. I am replying in her absence as Acting Chief Executive.

There is no national requirement to collate data relating to the number of crisis loans received on an area by area basis.

However since 1 November 2007 a total of 56,595 Crisis Loan applications were received by the Social Fund Benefit Delivery Centre at Bristol which has responsibility for the South West area, including Dorset and Somerset.

A total of 29,164 crisis loan applications were successful and received payment for the period 1 December 2007 to 31 March 2008 (data for November 2007 and April 2008 is unavailable). It is not possible to advise what proportion of these figures relates to Dorset and Somerset.

Similarly, there is no national requirement to collate data relating to the number of interim payments made.

However both the benefit delivery centres responsible for Dorset and Somerset do retain some data for their own analytical purposes. The benefit delivery centre at Exeter made 24 interim payments in the last six months comprising income support, jobseeker's allowance and incapacity benefit. The benefit delivery centre at Chippenham made a total of six, comprising income support and jobseeker's allowance.

Jobcentre Plus offices in Dorset and Somerset do make counter payments on behalf of The Pension Service but these are made due to late payments and are not interim payments of pension.