§ Mr. Streeter
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what agreements his Department and the Benefits Agency have with the utility industries regarding deductions from income support. 
§ Mr. Roger Evans
The Department of Social Security and the Benefits Agency have negotiated a joint statement of intent with the fuel and water industries, a copy of which has been placed in the Library. Its purpose is to ensure the continuity of an essential supply to claimants and to prevent disconnection of that supply. It outlines procedures for direct payment for fuel and water bills from income support by reflecting regulations and providing guidance on how the direct payment system should operate in practice. The JSI is not a contract between the parties but works as a "best practice" guide.