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Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on GP compliance with the appeals system for benefit reduction. [34424]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: General Practitioners (GPs) play an important role in providing factual information to this Department about patients who have claimed a state incapacity or disability benefit. Where necessary, information is obtained by the Department to ensure that initial decisions on benefit entitlement are based on appropriate medical evidence. In relation to state incapacity benefits NHS GPs are required to provide information to a DWP medical officer where they have issued a medical statement to the patient. GPs are not required as part of the NHS terms of service to provide their patients with medical evidence to support an appeal against benefit disallowance.

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Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many recipients of benefits there were by region as (a) a percentage of population and (b) a total number, in descending order according to percentage figures in 2000. [30606]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 30 January 2002]: The available information is in the table.

Recipients of key benefits(41) by Government office region— May 2000

Benefit recipients(42)Percentage of the population
England (North East)82032
England (North West)2,03029
England (Yorks and Humber)1,40028
England (South West)1,37028
England (West Midlands)1,45027
England (East Midlands)1,10026
England (Eastern)1,34024
England (London)1,76024
England (South East)1,91024


1. Key benefits are jobseeker's allowance, retirement pension, incapacity benefit, housing benefit, council tax benefit, severe disablement allowance, disability living allowance (DLA), minimum income guarantee and income support.

2. Figures are expressed as thousands and rounded to the nearest ten thousand.

3. Although a person can receive one or more of these benefits, double counting is eradicated. However, it is possible that some under-16's receiving DLA may live in the same family as an adult receiving a key benefit.

4. Figures exclude cases where people receive national insurance credits only.


Client Group Analysis of DWP Information Centre 5 per cent. statistical samples—May 2000, Extract of Disability Living Allowance Computer System, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Annual 1 per cent. sample taken in May 2000. Population figures are provided by Office of National Statistics.

Lost/Stolen Property

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list those items valued at less than £50 each which have been stolen or lost from his Department in each of the last four years. [34214]

Mr. McCartney: Under Government Accounting, Management of Assets, Departments are required to record assets above the capitalisation threshold limit (currently set at £2,000) for the purpose of their accounts. In addition, they are required to maintain records of "attractive" items (eg those vulnerable to theft) whose value falls below the agreed capitalisation threshold. Guidance within the Department for Work and Pensions outlines the requirement for offices to list and control such items. However, items of nugatory value, for example stationery, are numerous and time consuming to record. Therefore, the Department does not have records for all the items that may be lost/stolen within this category.

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Recorded thefts under £50 in DWP and the former DSS in last four years: 1998–2001

Computer mouse5
Computer memory1
Memory chip1
Floppy disks99
Disk drive1
Computer mouse7
Pair of speakers1
Computer mouse2
Computer keyboard1
Cat B1
Wallet and business cash card1
Computer mouse3
Floppy disks2

Tomorrow Project

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what is the (a) remit and (b) estimated cost of the report his Department has commissioned from the Tomorrow Project; and what plans he has to publish it. [35280]

Mr. McCartney: The Department has not commissioned a report from the Tomorrow Project. The project is an independent organisation proposing to examine the future of retirement in the UK. In recognition of our interest in this wide ranging review we will make a small financial contribution to the Tomorrow Project, subject to funds from other sources becoming available. Findings from the review will be published by the project, not by the Department.

Minimum Income Guarantee

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners qualify for the minimum income guarantee; and how many are in receipt of it. [35622]

Mr. McCartney: As at August 2001 there were 1,736,200 pensioners claiming the minimum income guarantee (MIG). Figures for the number of pensioners who may be entitled to but who have not claimed the MIG are contained in the publication "Take Up of Income Related Benefits: Statistics for 1999/00".

Mr. Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners claim the minimum income guarantee in each parliamentary constituency in Stoke-on-Trent. [37268]

25 Feb 2002 : Column 779W

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

Income support MIG claimants by parliamentary constituencies in Stoke-on-Trent, as at August 2001

Parliamentary constituencyNumber of claimants
Stoke-on-Trent, Central2.8
Stoke-on-Trent, North3.1
Stoke-on-Trent, South3.4

Benefit Take-up

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what benefit take-up campaigns have been launched since 1997; and what the cost was of each. [15153]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The MIG take-up campaign was launched in spring 2000. It has resulted in 127,000 extra MIG claims in addition to the 1.7 million pensioner households already receiving MIG. These newly eligible pensioners are on average an extra £20 per week better off. The advertising and media costs of the campaign have amounted to £4.015 million.


Mr. Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the pension situation of people with periods of residence in Australia started during the currency of the social security agreement between Australia and the UK who retire permanently in the UK; and when he expects to introduce primary legislation in relation to this group. [31583]

Mr. McCartney: Arrangements are in place to protect the pension position of those people with periods of residence in Australia who retire permanently in the United Kingdom. Such periods of residence before 6 April 2001 can be converted, if necessary, to qualifying years to enhance the basic retirement pension of these people. We shall be looking to legislate at an early opportunity.

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the (a) number and (b) proportion of widows in each region and nation who are in receipt of occupational pension payments. [37041]

Mr. McCartney: The information is in the table.

Government office region(a) Number of widows and widowers(b) Percentage in receipt of occupational pension payment
North East217,00050
North West and Merseyside413,00053
York and Humberside309,00055
East Midlands259,00049
West Midlands302,00049
South East379,00059
South West263,00051
Great Britain3,383,00053


Family Resources Survey 2000–01

25 Feb 2002 : Column 780W

Child Poverty

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made towards achieving the Government's objective of halving child poverty by 2010. [35619]

Malcolm Wicks: Details of the progress being made can be found in our third annual report on poverty and social exclusion, Opportunity for all—making progress (CM 5260), which was published on 19 September 2001.

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