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Welfare Reform (Disabled People)

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the measures in his welfare reform programme which will assist disabled people to take up work. [154280]

Mr. Bayley: We have put a number of measures in place to remove barriers to work for disabled people. These include higher earnings disregards in the Independent Living Funds and improvements to the linking and therapeutic earnings rules in Incapacity Benefit. We are also piloting Capability Reports as part of the Personal Capability Assessment, which we introduced in April 2000.

We have introduced the Disabled Person's Tax Credit (DPTC) to help make work pay. In the Budget my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an increase in DPTC from June and this, combined with increases in the National Minimum Wage in October, will raise the guaranteed minimum income for a disabled person moving into work of 35 hours per week or more to £170 a week for a single person, and £257 a week for a couple with one child.

Furthermore, we are extending the New Deal for Disabled People across Great Britain. From July 2001 a national network of Job Brokers will be set up jointly by the Department of Social Security and the Department for Education and Employment to offer people receiving incapacity benefits the support, guidance and preparation they need to find paid work and move off benefit dependence, continuing to test and assess what works best.

Alongside the national extension, in early 2002 we will be starting New Deal for Disabled People Job Retention and Rehabilitation Pilots jointly with the Department for Education and Employment and the Department of Health. These pilots will test the relative effectiveness of different employment and health interventions in reducing the number of people forced to give up work through prolonged illness or disability.

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The national extension and Job Retention and Rehabilitation pilots draw on lessons learnt from the pilot phase of the New Deal for Disabled People which, by the end of January 2001, has helped over 6,500 people into work.

Departmental Policies (Sutton and Cheam)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Sutton and Cheam constituency, the effects on Sutton and Cheam of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [154414]

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 Sutton and Cheam 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 Sutton and Cheam 9,661 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 Jobseekers' Allowance nationally has reduced from 1,562,400 to 960,600; in Sutton and Cheam the number has reduced from 1,200 to 800. Since May 1997 the number of lone parents who claim Income Support has decreased from 1,013,500 to 894,100 nationally and in Sutton and Cheam from 700 to 500.

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 Sutton and Cheam have received a Winter Fuel Payment for this winter.

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To demonstrate our commitment to combating pensioner poverty, this year we will spend £4.5 billion extra in real terms on pensioners. Some 15,600 pensioners in Sutton and Cheam 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 7,200 in Sutton and Cheam. 1,700 pensioner families in Sutton and Cheam 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.

Better Government for Older People

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the response of the Government are to the recommendations of the "Better Government for Older People" report. [153305]

Mr. Rooker: We responded to the recommendations of the "Better Government for Older People" programme in "Building on Partnership", which was published on 30 January. A copy is in the Library.

Benefit Fraud (Shrewsbury and Atcham)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of tackling benefit fraud in (a) Shrewsbury and Atcham and (b) Shropshire since 1 May 1997. [154649]

Mr. Rooker: After years of neglect, we have implemented an effective strategy for dealing with Social Security fraud. Figures are not available for the areas requested but nationally we have already made a 6.7 per cent. reduction in the level of fraud and error in Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance. This is the first significant reduction.

We are on course to meet our first target, of a 10 per cent. reduction in fraud and error, well ahead of the scheduled date in 2002.


Barnett Formula

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions she has had with the Treasury about the operation of the Barnett Formula; and if she will make a statement. [145641]

Mrs. Liddell: The Barnett formula continues to provide a fair deal for Scotland within the United Kingdom and we have no plans to change it. I have had no recent discussions with the Treasury.

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UK Youth Parliament

Mr. Rowe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will meet Scottish members of the UK Youth Parliament to discuss issues raised in the Parliament's manifesto. [152961]

Mr. Foulkes: I would be willing to meet Scottish members of the UK Youth Parliament to discuss issues raised in the Youth Parliament's manifesto.

New Deal

Ms Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many young people in each constituency in Scotland have (a) participated in the New Deal and (b) found jobs as a result of the New Deal. [152464]

Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 12 March 2001]: The table shows for each parliamentary constituency in Scotland the number of young people who have participated in, and found jobs through, the New Deal since its introduction in 1998.

Parliamentary constituencyStartersJobs
Aberdeen, Central706326
Aberdeen, North459189
Aberdeen, South394193
Airdrie and Shotts1,311657
Argyll and Bute681361
Banff and Buchan424224
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross598291
Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley1,272617
Central Fife1,456696
Clydebank and Milngavie1,002469
Coatbridge and Chryston1,059528
Cumbernauld and Kilsyth845486
Cunninghame, North1,178606
Cunninghame, South1,394726
Dundee, East1,713823
Dundee, West1,620775
Dunfermline, East1,023506
Dunfermline, West771380
East Kilbride706381
East Lothian436258
Edinburgh, Central646272
Edinburgh, East and Musselburgh719311
Edinburgh, North and Leith813366
Edinburgh, Pentlands653310
Edinburgh, South578297
Edinburgh, West473246
Falkirk, East934489
Falkirk, West1,030545
Galloway and Upper Nithsdale766416
Glasgow, Anniesland1,216493
Glasgow, Baillieston1,450613
Glasgow, Cathcart938414
Glasgow, Govan1,179482
Glasgow, Kelvin979347
Glasgow, Maryhill1,511570
Glasgow, Pollok1,206536
Glasgow, Rutherglen914414
Glasgow, Shettleston1,497618
Glasgow, Springburn1,781749
Greenock and Inverclyde830425
Hamilton, North and Bellshill1,193634
Hamilton, South1,046502
Inverness, East, Nairn and Lochaber548287
Kilmarnock and Loudoun1,375636
Motherwell and Wishaw1,282618
North-East Fife489220
North Tayside663338
Orkney and Shetland204122
Paisley, North989505
Paisley, South941485
Ross, Skye and Inverness, West650359
Roxburgh and Berwickshire576303
Strathkelvin and Bearsden660370
Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale530291
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine281136
West Renfrewshire550291
Western Isles294165

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