The information is as follows:
(a) Since 22 January 2010 there have been six instances of disruption to the FRAIMS system. The periods of disruption were:
26 and 27 January—one hour each time
2 and 3 February—one hour each time
16 February—20 minutes
24 February—one hour
2 and 3 March—one hour each time
15 and 16 March—one hour each time.
(b) There has been no disruption to ERM since 22 January 2010.
(c) There has been no disruption to the Customer Information System since 22 January 2010.
The computer system that pays state pension is updated annually to reflect the new rates payable from the following tax year. This year the rates were entered in December 2009 ahead of notifications being issued to customers from the beginning of this year. The rates are checked by the Pension, Disability and Carers Service and DWP Corporate IT before being uploaded on the system and a sample of the notifications were checked prior to distribution to customers. The new rates will be payable from 12 April 2010.
The Department for Work and Pensions and the Pension Disability and Carers Service write to vast numbers of our pensioner customers each day and we do our best to ensure that each and every letter is accurate. However, it is inevitable that from time to time errors do occur; when they do, we do our best to provide the correct information as soon as possible after the error is identified.
Child benefit is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.