§ Mr. Cousins
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle) of 22 December 1997,Official Report, column 458, when she expects (a) the range of options for those with long-term health problems or disability to move into work to be (i) fully tested and (ii) the comprehensive spending review of such benefits to be complete; and if her departmental spending plans for 1998–99 and succeeding years require her to make savings in such benefits before the range of options financed by the windfall tax have been fully tested. 
§ Mr. Denham
The Government believe that work is the best form of welfare for people of working age, and have set aside £195 million to fund a programme improving opportunities for people with disabilities or long-term illness who want to work. This money has been set aside over the lifetime of the current Parliament, during which the programme will be developed, implemented and evaluated. One key element will involve funding a number of innovative schemes to test ways of helping people to move into or stay in work, and a tendering exercise was launched on 9 December. The first schemes will start later this year, and will run for 12 months initially. Plans for introducing personal advisers will also be announced later this year.
My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary announced the Comprehensive Spending Review, expected to take about a year to complete, on 11 June last year. This Department's spending plans for 1998–99 and subsequent years make no assumptions about possible changes in expenditure on benefits arising from either the Comprehensive Spending Review or the welfare to work programme.
§ Mr. Denham
One of our key aims is to rebuild integrity in, and public support for, the Social Security system and the way in which public money is spent. Benefits should go to those who are properly entitled to benefit. This is why we have continued with the Benefits Integrity Project.
The administration of this programme is a matter for Peter Mathison, Chief Rxecutive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with further details.
Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. Anthony Steen, dated 22 January 1998:The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking when a decision will be made to Mrs. E. Otter's claim for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and the reasons for the delay.The Benefit Integrity Project (BIP) was set up in response to the recent Benefit Review of DLA. Over the next two years, specially trained staff will make enquiries by postal questionnaire or home visit in over 400,000 cases to establish whether DLA is being paid correctly. Mrs. Otter was contacted through the enquiry work of BIP.Mrs E. Otter's DLA was reviewed on 31 October 1997. The Adjudication Officer (AO) decided that there had been a relevant change in her circumstances which meant that Mrs Otter was no longer entitled to either the higher rate of mobility or middle rate of care from 28 August 1997. Mrs Otter requested a review of this decision on 7 November 1997. In the light of additional information submitted by Mrs Otter, the AO requested a report from an Examining Medical Practitioner, which was completed and returned to the Disability Benefits Directorate on 13 January, 1998. On 15 January, an AO reviewed the decision made on 31 October and Mrs Otter was sent a notification of this decision on 20 January 1997.The Disability Benefits Directorate aims to complete 60% of review decisions within 55 working days, and 80% within 75 working days. These targets have been set to take account of the fact that reviews can take time to complete, because the review process involves the gathering of further information. It is expected that Mrs Otter's case will meet this target and be completed within 55 working days.I hope you find this reply helpful.