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Departmental Policies (Lincoln)

Gillian Merron: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Lincoln constituency, the effects on Lincoln of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [152975]

Mr. Rooker: The Department's policies and initiatives have made a significant contribution to the Government's overall objectives of:




These goals are being pursued nationwide and our achievements are set out in our annual "Opportunity for all" reports. Our second report, "Opportunity for all--One year on: making a difference" (CM4865, September 2000) sets out what progress has been made in the past year, as well as highlighting what more needs to be done. Nationwide statistical information is necessarily more complete than constituency level data, but the following provides a comparative guide to the effect of the Department's policies and actions in Lincoln since May 1997.

Measures in our five Budgets so far will lift over 1.2 million children out of poverty. These include record increases to Child Benefit, the introduction of the Working Families Tax Credit, increases in the income- related benefits, the minimum wage and tax changes.

Child Benefit will be worth £15.50 a week for the eldest child and £10.35 a week for other children from April 2001: nationally about 7 million families receive Child Benefit, and in Lincoln 10,634 families benefit.

We now have the lowest unemployment rate in 25 years. The New Deals have helped lone parents, the young unemployed, the long-term unemployed, the over 50s and partners of the unemployed to move from benefit into work. In the period since May 1997 the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance nationally has reduced from 1,562,400 to 1,044,900; in Lincoln the number has reduced from 3,500 to 1,800. Since May 1997

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the number of lone parents who claim Income Support has decreased from 1,013,500 to 894,100 nationally, and in Lincoln from 2,500 to 1,700.

Older people are disproportionately affected by fuel poverty. So we have introduced Winter Fuel Payments to help with their heaviest fuel bill. This winter, the payment is £200 for households who qualify. Around 16,500 older people in Lincoln have received a Winter Fuel Payment for this winter.

To demonstrate our commitment to combating pensioner poverty, this year we will spend £4.5 billion extra in real terms on pensioners. Some 15,500 pensioners in Lincoln will benefit from the substantial increases in the basic State pension this April and next; this year's increase is £5 a week for single pensioners and £8 for couples. In addition we have introduced free TV licences for the over 75s of whom we estimate there are about 6,600 in Lincoln. 2,800 pensioner families in Lincoln are receiving the Minimum Income Guarantee, which we introduced in April 1999 to help our poorest pensioners. From April they will be at least £15 a week, or £800 a year, better off in real terms as a result of Government measures since 1997.

Other reforms in the pipeline include: the new Pension Credit in 2003 designed to ensure that pensioners benefit from their savings; the launch of Stakeholder Pensions in April this year; and the introduction of the State Second Pension in April 2002 both of which will help provide greater security for tomorrow's pensioners.

Departmental Policies (Newbury)

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Newbury constituency, the effects on Newbury and west Berkshire of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [154575]

Mr. Rooker: The Department's policies and initiatives have made a significant contribution to the Government's overall objectives of:




These goals are being pursued nationwide and our achievements are set out in our annual "Opportunity for all" reports. Our second report, "Opportunity for all--One year on: making a difference" (CM4865, September 2000) sets out what progress has been made in the past year, as well as highlighting what more needs to be done. Nationwide statistical information is necessarily more complete than constituency level data, but the following provides a comparative guide to the effect of the Department's policies and actions in Newbury since May 1997.

Measures in our five Budgets so far will lift over 1.2 million children out of poverty. These include record increases to Child Benefit, the introduction of the Working Families Tax Credit, increases in the income- related benefits, the minimum wage and tax changes.

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Child Benefit will be worth £15.50 a week for the eldest child and £10.35 a week for other children from April 2001: nationally about seven million families receive Child Benefit, and in Newbury 12,034 families benefit.

We now have the lowest unemployment rate in 25 years. The New Deals have helped lone parents, the young unemployed, the long-term unemployed, the over 50s and partners of the unemployed to move from benefit into work. In the period since May 1997 the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance nationally has reduced from 1,562,400 to 960,600; in Newbury the number has reduced from 900 to 600. Since May 1997 the number of lone parents who claim Income Support has decreased from 1,013,500 to 894,100; in Newbury the number has remained at around 800.

Older people are disproportionately affected by fuel poverty. So we have introduced Winter Fuel Payments to help with their heaviest fuel bill. This winter, the payment is £200 for households who qualify. Around 16,400 older people in Newbury have received a Winter Fuel Payment for this winter.

To demonstrate our commitment to combating pensioner poverty, this year we will spend £4.5 billion extra in real terms on pensioners. Some 14,000 pensioners in Newbury will benefit from the substantial increases in the basic State pension this April and next; this year's increase is £5 a week for single pensioners and £8 for couples. In addition we have introduced free TV licences for the over 75s of whom we estimate there are about 5,700 in Newbury. 1,200 pensioner families in Newbury are receiving the Minimum Income Guarantee, which we introduced in April 1999 to help our poorest pensioners. From April they will be at least £15 a week, or £800 a year, better off in real terms as a result of Government measures since 1997.

Other reforms in the pipeline include: the new Pension Credit in 2003 designed to ensure that pensioners benefit from their savings; the launch of Stakeholder Pensions in April this year; and the introduction of the State Second Pension in April 2002 both of which will help provide greater security for tomorrow's pensioners.

Pension Contributions

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the cost of pension contributions incurred by his Department was in (a) 1997-98, (b) 1998-99, (c) 1999-2000 and (d) 2000-01 in (i) Scotland and (ii) the UK. [154444]

Mr. Rooker: The information is in the table.

Cost of pension contributions incurred by this Department in the UK

YearCost £ million
1997-98141
1998-99149.6
1999-2000157.6
2000-01(35)--

(35) Not yet available


The cost of pension contributions relating to staff in Scotland is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

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Logos and Branding

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much has been spent by his Department on departmental and agency logos and associated branding since 1 May 1997. [152652]

Mr. Rooker: Since May 1997 spending by the Department on departmental or agency logos or associated branding is as follows:
















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