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Incapacity Benefit

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent on the administration of incapacity benefit in each of the last 10 years. (249152)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Mel Groves:

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has asked me to respond to your question asking how much was spent on the administration of Incapacity Benefit in each of the last 10 years. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Jobcentre Plus started recording the costs of activities such as Incapacity Benefit processing in 2003/04. The available information is in the following table.

Incapacity benefit administration costs

£ million











Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest million. 2. Figures are from the Jobcentre Plus Activity Based Information system for 2003-04 and 2004-05. The figures for 2005-06 onwards are from the Jobcentre Plus Activity Based Management System. 3. Figures represent salary costs only for Jobcentre Plus staff undertaking the task of incapacity benefit processing. 4. Various changes to incapacity benefit policy and the centralisation of benefit processing have had an effect on the costs of incapacity benefit processing and administration costs. However, the Activity Based Management system cannot quantify these changes separately. Source: Jobcentre Plus Activity Based Information and Activity Based Management systems.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of existing incapacity benefit claimants will take part in (a) a single work-focused interview, (b) three work-focused interviews and (c) mandatory work preparation activities in (i) 2009, (ii) 2010, (iii) 2011 and (iv) 2012. (255182)

[holding answer 9 February 2009]: From April 2008, all incapacity benefits claimants have been able to access Pathways to Work on a voluntary basis, including work-focused interviews and a range of back-to-work support.

From late 2009 we plan to start providing three work-focused interviews to existing incapacity benefit claimants under the age of 25 in Jobcentre Plus-led Pathways to Work areas.

For the majority of existing incapacity benefits customers, the mandatory engagement announced in the White Paper ‘Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future’ (Cm 7506) will occur once those claimants have been transferred to employment and support allowance between 2010 and 2013. Customers placed in the support group will not be required to undertake any mandatory activities, although they will be able to volunteer for back-to-work support.

As the exact timing and profile of the transfer of these customers is still being developed, it is not possible to fully answer the question at this point in time.