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26 Mar 2002 : Column 982W
many press releases his Department's press office has released in support of its self-funding safety camera project, since it was launched in April 2000. 
Dr. Whitehead: There have been two press notices concerning the netting off scheme for safety cameras since that date. On 13 August 2001, my Department announced new rules on visibility and the results from the first year of the pilot scheme. On 3 December 2001 new rules on the colour of cameras was announced. The notes to editors contained the previously published figures.
Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many press releases were issued by his Department's press office in 2001 (a) on road safety topics and (b) on other topics. 
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the retirement ages that apply to the employees of his Department and its agencies, including how many and which categories of employees are affected by each; and if he will make a statement on his Department's policy on flexible retirement. 
Malcolm Wicks: All staff in the Department other than the Senior Civil Service, a total of 129,342 (99 per cent.) can elect to remain in employment until age 65. At present the retirement age for staff in the Senior Civil Service is set by the Cabinet Office at 60, although there is the option to retain members beyond the age of 60 if it is judged to be in the public interest and the Department is satisfied about the fitness and efficiency of the individual to carry out his or her duties.
We are committed to ending age discriminatory practices and Government ministers, through the Cabinet Office, are actively working towards removing the current barriers for members of the Senior Civil Service.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many retirement pensioners are receiving (a) housing benefit and (b) council tax benefit in (i) Great Britain and (ii) each region of Great Britain. 
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|Region||Retirement pensioners receiving housing benefit||Retirement pensioners receiving council tax benefit|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||147,000||209,000|
1. The figures are based on a 1 per cent. sample and are subject to sampling error.
2. The data refer to people claiming housing benefit, who may be single people, or one of a couple or a family. More than one person claiming can live in one property, for example two or more adults in a flat or house share arrangement.
3. The figures have been rounded to the nearest thousand.
4. The totals may not sum due to rounding.
5. Retirement pensioners are defined as people where either they and/or their partner are receiving state retirement pension.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System, annual 1 per cent. sample, taken in May 2000.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will provide the basis for ministers' calculations concerning the number of children who have been lifted out of poverty by the measures introduced by his Government; and what assessment he has made of how many children would be lifted out of poverty by such measures if the take-up rate of social security benefits was 100 per cent. 
As a result of personal tax and benefit measures announced in the last Parliament there are an estimated 1.2 million fewer children living in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of the median (after housing costs) than there otherwise would have been. Families with children have very high take-up rates for social security benefits. It would make very little difference whether estimated or 100 per cent. take-up rates were used to calculate the impact of tax and benefit measures on child poverty.
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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, (1) pursuant to his answer of 25 February 2002, ref. 32742, Official Report, column 771W, how many complaints he has received on this subject; 
Malcolm Wicks: Bereavement Benefits were introduced on 9 April 2001 and are available to both men and women for the first time. They concentrate the help available where and when it is needed most, on immediate needs and on families with children.
Form BD8, registration of notification of death, which is issued by registrars to bereaved people for social security purposes, was amended to incorporate the new bereavement benefits introduced from April 2001.
David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what performance targets he has set for the (a) Appeals Service, (b) Disability and Carers Service and (c) Child Benefit Centre for 200203. 
|Normal rules claims||Special rules claims||Renewal claims||Reconsiderations||Supersessions||Appeals||Accuracy (%)|
|Disability Living Allowance (DLA)||43 days||8 days||32 days||39 days||49 days||40 days||96|
|Attendance Allowance (AA)||27 days||8 days||23 days||38 days||38 days||40 days||96|
|Invalid Care Allowance (ICA)||32 days||n/a||n/a||95% in 70 days||n/a||40 days||95|
Normal rules claims: Claims on which a qualifying period must be served before benefit can be awarded.
Special rules claims: Claims on which no qualifying period has to be served before benefit can be awarded because the claimant is terminally ill and has a life expectancy of less than six months.
Renewal claims: Claims to renew an existing award of benefit that was made for a finite period. This can be made up to six months before the expiry of the existing award.
Supersessions: Applications for review of an initial decision where the application is made more than one month after the initial decision.
Appeals: Any case where an independent Tribunal looks afresh at a decision.
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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons Ms Y. Allen of Salcombe, Devon was not informed when undertaking a two-year therapeutic counselling course under the new deal scheme that funding would be awarded for the first year only and that only outline sources of alternative funding would be available for the second year; and if he will make a statement as to the impact on (a) employers and (b) new deal participants of funding courses for less than 12 months. 
As the Employment Service is an Executive Agency, the Minister of State has asked me to reply direct to your letter of 12 December 2001, enclosing one from Ms Yvonne Allen of 23 Round Berry Drive, Salcombe, Devon, concerning the funding of her course. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Operating Officer of the Agency.
I was naturally concerned to learn of the difficulties Ms Allen is facing. To enable me to respond fully to the issues raised, I contacted Diana Ross, the Regional Director for the South West, and asked her to look into this matter for me.
It may be helpful if I first provide some background information. As you may be aware, Ms Allen undertook the Education and Training Opportunity option which is available to clients taking part in the New Deal for 25plus initiative. To be eligible for the provision clients must be over the age of 25, unemployed and at the time Ms Allen commenced New Deal 25plus, claiming Jobseeker's Allowance for two years or more.
Ms Ross tells me that prior to starting her training Ms Allen agreed an Individual Training Plan with her New Deal Personal Adviser. This states that her objective was to complete the Advanced Certificate in Therapeutic Counselling and gives the dates of the funding, which are from September 2000 to June 2001.
I understand that after completing this funded opportunity, Ms Allen was then invited to discuss her next steps towards finding work with her New Deal Personal Adviser, Fiona Cardrick. At this point, Ms Allen expressed a wish to pursue further training to gain the Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. Fiona explained that as Ms Allen had already received a year's funding under the Education and Training Opportunity option, she was not eligible for further funding through New Deal. I should add that since New Deal began, it has always been the clearly stated policy to offer funding under the Education and Training Opportunity option for a maximum of one year. I can confirm that Ms Allen has received the maximum amount of funding allowed for participants on this option and that she was made aware of the limitations on funding at the outset.
I understand that Ms Allen is currently considering other sources of funding and has had further discussions with Fiona Cardrick, her Personal Adviser about her next steps.
I am sorry to send what I know will be a disappointing reply, but I hope it is helpful in clarifying the situation.
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