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Written parliamentary Questions: 5th December 2005

Habitual Residence Test
Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will revise the habitual residence test to take into account the length of time claimants paid tax in the UK before moving abroad. (John Hemming)

A:The habitual residence test is working well preventing access to income-related benefits, such as income-based jobseeker's allowance and income support, ensuring that they are only paid to people with reasonable ties to the United Kingdom and who intend to settle here. Someone, with a right to reside in the UK, will be more likely to pass the habitual residence test if they have previously lived and worked in the UK and have returned to resume their residence here.

Someone who has paid sufficient national insurance contributions to satisfy the qualifying conditions for contributory benefits will not be subject to the habitual residence test. (James Plaskitt, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions)

Data Protection
Q: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what guidance she has given the courts on the size of awards for compensation for breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998.(John Hemming)

A:The size of any award for compensation payable for damage arising from any failure to comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 is a matter for assessment by the courts, taking into account all the relevant circumstances in individual cases. (Harriet Harman, Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs)

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