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School Run

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she has taken to discourage the use of private cars to transport pupils to and from school; and if she will make a statement. [31492]

30 Jan 2002 : Column 408W

Mr. Timms: The Department for Education and Skills continues to work closely with the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions, the Department of Health and other members of the School Travel Advisory Group to promote alternatives to the car for the journey to school. We have also produced practical guides and software to assist local authorities and schools in introducing school travel plans and encouraging more sustainable school travel.

Special Grant Allocation

Ann Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will (a) set out the criteria for allocation of special grant to authorities most affected by the transfer of funding for sixth form provision to the Learning and Skills Council and (b) list the amount of special grant to be made available to each local education authority. [32088]

Mr. Timms: The special grant will be paid to local education authorities: (a) whose post-16 SSA (after their Learning and Skills Council allocation for sixth form provision has been deducted) is less than 7.5 per cent. of their original post-16 SSA, and the grant will be such as would make up the post 16-SSA to 7.5 per cent. of the original post-16 SSA; or (b) who have less than 85 per cent. of their increase in education SSA (before the LSC transfer) available for purposes other than the increase in sixth form funding compared with the total of 2002–03 real terms guarantees for the authority, and the grant will be such as would make 85 per cent. of that increase available. The table sets out the allocations of special grant by LEA.

£ million

LEA name Allocation
Kensington and Chelsea0.075
Barnet0.800
Bromley0.522
Ealing0.369
Kingston upon Thames0.137
Merton0.107
Coventry0.398
Wolverhampton0.236
Sefton0.561
Wirral0.203
Doncaster0.111
Calderdale0.454
Gateshead0.106
North Tyneside0.223
Sunderland0.024
Bath and North East Somerset0.426
South Gloucestershire1.433
East Riding of Yorkshire0.575
North Yorkshire1.093
York0.316
Dorset1.222
Poole0.301
Leicestershire1.836
West Berkshire0.294
Peterborough0.428
Cheshire0.387
Devon0.625
Worcestershire0.771
Medway0.179
Cumbria0.478
Gloucestershire0.413
Northumberland0.883
Suffolk0.466
Warwickshire0.696
Total17.149

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WORK AND PENSIONS

Housing Benefit

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which local authorities had (a) the best and (b) the worst record in paying housing benefit in 2000–01. [30478]

Malcolm Wicks: There are many factors involved in the effective administration of housing benefit. There is therefore no single objective measure by which to judge local authorities' achievements as best or worst overall.

Income Support and Family Credit

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many incorrect income support and family credit awards there were in each of the past 10 years, as a percentage of the total; and what the total cost to the Department was. [30568]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is not available in the format requested. Family credit was replaced by working families tax credit in October 1999, and is the responsibility of the Inland Revenue.

Widowers' Pensions

Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to introduce widowers' pensions. [30577]

Malcolm Wicks: Our reforms to bereavement benefits introduced in April 2001 concentrate the help available where and when it is needed most—on immediate needs and on families with children. For the first time these benefits are available equally to both men and women.

Immediate help with costs arising on bereavement is provided by a lump sum bereavement payment of £2,000—double the old widow's payment of £1,000. There is a weekly benefit for widowed parents who satisfy the qualifying conditions. A bereavement allowance is also available for 12 months, to give widows and widowers aged 45 or over without dependants time to adjust to their new circumstances.

We keep all our policies under review but we have no plans to introduce a bereavement pension for either widows or widowers.

Pensioners (Incomes)

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners had no private income by region, expressed as (a) a percentage and (b) the total number, ranked in descending order according to percentage figures for the latest year for which figures are available. [30588]

Mr. McCartney: The information requested is in the table:

Pensioners with no private income

Government office regionPercentageNumber
North-east2480,000
London22170,000
Scotland19100,000
North-west and Merseyside18150,000
Yorks and Humber1690,000
Wales1660,000
West-midlands1590,000
Eastern1390,000
East-midlands1260,000
South-west1170,000
South-east870,000
GB average151,040,000

Notes:

1. Private income has been assumed to mean any income other than that provided by state benefits. The estimates have been given for all pensioner units and are from the Family Resources Survey 1999–2000.

2. Pensioner units are defined as single (non-cohabiting) people over state pension age (65 and over for men, 60 and over for women) and couples (married or cohabiting) where the man is over state pension age.

3. Proportions have been rounded to the nearest 1 per cent. and numbers to the nearest 10,000. Due to small sample sizes some figures are uncertain.

4. The FRS relies on self-reporting of private income and hence estimates are subject to error.


30 Jan 2002 : Column 410W

Both pensioners with no private income and those with some private income will benefit from the Pension Credit.

Incomes

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many children were living in households below 60 per cent. of median income by region, expressed as (a) percentage of population and (b) total number, in descending order according to percentage figure in 2000; [30605]

Malcolm Wicks: Such information as is available can be found in the publication "Households Below Average Income 1994/5–1999/00", a copy of which is held in the Library. Results for 2000–01 will be published in April.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people spent at least two out of three years on a low income, broken down by region, expressed as (a) a percentage of population and (b) a total number, in descending order according to percentage figures in 2000. [30607]

Malcolm Wicks: The information requested is not available.

Bank Accounts

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households were without a bank or building society account, broken down by region, expressed as (a) a percentage and (b) the total number, ranked in descending order according to percentage figures for the latest year in which figures are available. [30613]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is in the table.

30 Jan 2002 : Column 411W

Households without a bank or building society account

RegionNumber without account (thousand)Percentage without account
Scotland32014
North East17014
Wales16012
Yorks and Humberside23010
West Midlands20010
London2909
North West2709
East Midlands1508
Eastern1105
South West905
South East1404
All2,1409

Notes:

1. Post office accounts, TESSAs and ISAs are included as bank or building society accounts.

2. The estimates are based on sample counts that have been adjusted for non-response using multi-purpose grossing factors that control for tenure, council tax band and a number of demographic variables. Estimates are subject to sampling error and to variability in non-response.

3. Estimates of numbers in each region are subject to greater uncertainty, as FRS-based results are not reconciled to regional-level population estimates, except for London.

4. The numbers are rounded to the nearest 10,000.

Source:

Family Resources Survey 2000–01



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