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Social Security Benefits

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate her Department has made of the average unit cost of (a) job broking and (b) benefit processing for (i) incapacity benefit, (ii) employment and support allowance and (c) jobseeker's allowance in each year since 2004-05. (290724)

[holding answer 9 September 2009]: 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 what estimate her Department has made of the average unit cost of (a) job broking and (b) benefit processing for (i) incapacity benefit, (ii) employment and support allowance and (c) jobseeker's allowance in each year since 2004-05. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

It is not possible to provide an average unit cost for job broking as not all job broking costs have a measurable volume. The requested benefit processing unit costs for (i) incapacity benefit (IB) is in the table below. ESA started in October 2008 and therefore the data for ESA in 2008-9 is not included as the data is not available for the full year.

£

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

IB claims processing

42

41

38

32

30

For jobseeker's allowance, the benefit processing unit costs in each year were:

£

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Jobseekers allowance claims processing

22

21

20

17

13

Source:

DWP/Jobcentre Plus Finance.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people received (a) jobseeker's allowance, (b) income support and (c) incapacity benefit in (i) England and (ii) North East Cambridgeshire in each of the last 15 years; and if she will make a statement. (291001)

[holding answer 14 September 2009]: The available information is in the following tables.

Jobseeker's allowance claimants

England

North East Cambridgeshire parliamentary constituency

July

1997

1,276,655

2,077

1998

1,089,472

1,726

1999

1,007,767

1,636

2000

866,005

1,173

2001

762,269

1,002

2002

764,590

1,079

2003

760,488

1,032

2004

677,096

1,056

2005

711,788

1,314

2006

796,354

1,343

2007

713,363

1,270

2008

722,897

1,410

2009

1,311,098

2,575

Notes: 1. Data are un-rounded. 2. Data are published at:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk

3. Jobseeker’s allowance was introduced from October 1996. Source: 100 per cent. count of claimants of unemployment-related benefits, Jobcentre Plus Computer Systems.

Incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance claimants

England

North East Cambridgeshire parliamentary constituency

February

1996

2,226,700

3,600

1997

2,228,100

3,700

1998

2,214,600

3,600

1999

2,168,700

3,500

2000

2,156,060

3,850

2001

2,214,930

4,020

2002

2,217,260

4,080

2003

2,247,980

4,230

2004

2,256,210

4,340

2005

2,246,460

4,450

2006

2,209,710

4,600

2007

2,180,870

4,670

2008

2,151,910

4,700

2009

2,002,400

4,490

Notes: 1. Incapacity benefit replaced sickness benefit and invalidity benefit from April 1995. 2. Figures for February 1996 to February 1999 are based on 5 per cent. data and have been uprated in line with 100 per cent. WPLS totals. 3. Data for 1996 to 1999 have been rounded to the nearest 100. 4. February 2000 to February 2009 are based on 100 per cent. WPLS data. 5. Data for 2000 to 2009 have been rounded to the nearest 10. 6. These data do not include claimants of employment and support allowance introduced from October 2008.

7. Data from 2000 are published at:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk

8. Includes incapacity benefit credits only cases. Source: DWP Information Directorate 5 per cent. sample data.

DWP Information Directorate 100 per cent. WPLS.

Income support claimants

England

North East Cambridgeshire parliamentary constituency

February

1997

1,887,500

2,900

1998

1,868,500

2,800

1999

1,845,500

2,800

2000

1,877,790

3,010

2001

1,890,930

3,090

2002

1,876,410

3,140

2003

1,854,670

3,090

2004

1,848,290

3,080

2005

1,798,210

3,080

2006

1,775,950

3,140

2007

1,780,320

3,330

2008

1,760,260

3,340

2009

1,713,480

3,340

Notes: 1. From October 1996 jobseeker’s allowance replaced income support for unemployed people, therefore for consistency income support figures prior to this date have not been included. 2. Figures for February 1997 to February 1999 are based on 5 per cent. data and have been uprated in line with 100 per cent. WPLS totals. 3. Data for 1997 to 1999 have been rounded to the nearest 100. 4. February 2000 to February 2009 are based on 100 per cent. WPLS data.

5. Data for 2000 to 2009 have been rounded to the nearest 10. 6. Due to the introduction of pension credit in October 2003, it is standard practice to exclude minimum income guarantee claimants in all figures produced. 7. Data from 2000 are published at:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk

Source: DWP Information Directorate 5 per cent. sample data. DWP Information Directorate 100 per cent. WPLS.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will estimate the cost to her Department of changing its main benefit claim 0845 telephone numbers to 0300 numbers. (294045)

[holding answer 19 October 2009]: The Department uses 0800 numbers for its main benefit claims, and not 0845 numbers, and the Department's policy is that calls to 0800 numbers should be free. The Department has not therefore estimated the costs of changing its 0800 main benefits claims numbers to 0300 numbers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claiming (a) incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance, (b) jobseeker’s allowance and (c) income support have been in receipt of that benefit for (i) between five and nine, (ii) between 10 and 11 and (iii) 12 years or over. (297866)

The available information is given in the following table.

Numbers claiming incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance; jobseeker’s allowance; or income support, by duration of claim, as at February 2009: Great Britain

Five to nine years

10 to 11 years

12 years and over

All

655,710

117,600

738,330

Incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance

501,310

94,040

649,000

Jobseeker's allowance

3,250

490

390

Other income support

151,150

23,070

112,020

Notes:

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 and totals may not sum due to rounding.

2. For the purposes of presenting the statistics in this table, benefits are arranged hierarchically and claimants are assigned to the topmost benefit which they receive:

(i) Jobseeker’s Allowance—Claimant of Jobseeker’s Allowance.

(ii) Incapacity Benefits—Claimant of either Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance.

(iii) Other Income Support—Income support claimants who are not also in receipt of Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance.

Source:

DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what research her Department has undertaken on couples known as Living Apart Together and its effect on (a) numbers of benefit claims, (b) amount of benefits claimed and (c) incentives to work. (298644)

The Department regularly undertakes research on customer behaviour and demographic trends to inform its policy making. The Department has not carried out research as to how Living Apart Together would affect the number of benefit claims, amounts of benefits, or work incentives.