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Project Sponsorship

Mr. Beith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which of his Department's projects have received sponsorship since 1997, including (a) details of the sponsor, (b) the nature of the project, (c) the date of the project, (d) the total cost of the project and (e) the amount of money involved in the sponsorship deal. [48405]

Mr. Leslie: In line with the Government's commitment in its response to the Sixth Report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life, details of individual amounts of sponsorship valued at more than £5,000 will be disclosed in departmental Annual Reports.


Mr. Woodward: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many serving magistrates live in (a) St. Helens, South constituency and (b) St. Helens Metropolitan Borough. [46987]

Mr. Leslie: I have been asked to reply. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who is responsible for the appointment of magistrates in Merseyside, has provided the following information.

There are 50 magistrates serving on the St. Helens Bench who live in the St. Helens South constituency.

There are 93 magistrates serving on the St. Helens Bench who live in the Metropolitan Borough of St. Helens which covers the constituencies of St. Helens North and St. Helens South.



Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to compel pension trustee boards to appoint independent chairmen. [43953]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: We have no plans to compel pension trustee boards to appoint independent chairmen.

We believe that requiring independent chairmen for trustee boards would discourage employers from continuing to provide occupational pension schemes, would be difficult to implement in practice, and would make little difference to the way schemes are run.

11 Apr 2002 : Column 553W

New Deal

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much money has been spent to date on the New Deal for Young People. [44898]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Up to March 2001 £1,063 billion was spent on the New Deal for Young People, of which £860 million was funded from the Windfall Tax and £203 million from the Department's own resources. Forecast expenditure for 2001–02 will be published in the Departmental Report in May this year.

IT Projects

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the IT Projects being undertaken by his Department; and which companies have been awarded the contracts. [46317]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding reply 26 March 2002]: Our main IT suppliers are:


Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects the latest figures on households below average incomes to be published.[49445]

Mr. Darling: Today I have published Households Below Average Income for 1994–95 to 2000–01. This is a report published under National Statistics arrangements with results that cover Great Britain. Copies have been placed in the Library.

The report shows the position during the financial year 2000–01. Consequently, it does not reflect the full impact of policies introduced part way through that year, or the changes introduced since—for instance the Children's Tax Credit or enhancements to tax credits and benefits made in 2001.

Nonetheless the report shows that this Government's policies are working. The new economic stability has delivered strong income growth since 1996–97 that is consistent across the whole income distribution. Furthermore our priority to target help to those most in need has delivered real improvements for those on the lowest incomes. There have been significant falls in the numbers of people below "absolute" low-income lines (1996–97 low-income thresholds in real terms). There are now 1.4 million fewer children and 1.1 million fewer pensioners below 60 per cent of 1996–97 median income in real terms (after housing costs).

Against this backdrop of rising prosperity across the income distribution, we are still reversing the long-term trend of rising relative income poverty for children that we inherited. There are now around half a million fewer children living in households below 60 per cent of contemporary median income.

11 Apr 2002 : Column 554W

Jobcentre-Plus Offices

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment has been made of the impact of the decision to remove screens from the pilot Pathfinder offices; and if he will make a statement.[45507]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding reply 25 March 2002]: The Pathfinder offices are delivering the new Jobcentre Plus service in a predominantly unscreened environment. In every Jobcentre Plus area there remains screened provision for dealing with those customers and transactions known to give rise to particular risk.

Fifty-six Jobcentre Plus Pathfinder offices are open and operating effectively—with positive feedback from staff and customers. For each of these offices a risk assessment has been conducted and its recommendations implemented in full. These assessments will be regularly reviewed in light of experience.

Pensioner Poverty

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to tackle pensioner poverty. [45912]

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures he is taking to ensure that pensioners share in the nation's prosperity. [44516]

Mr. McCartney: We are committed to tackling pensioner poverty. In 2001–02 around £5 billion extra has been spent on pensioners as a result of our policies since 1997. In 2002–03 this will rise to £6 billion a year. This includes £2.5 billion more on the poorest third of pensioners.

This government introduced the Minimum Income Guarantee and is committed to raising this in line with earnings throughout this Parliament, ensuring that pensioners share in rising prosperity. From April, around 1.8 million of the poorest pensioner households will be over £1,000 a year better off in real terms as a result of the Government's tax benefit reforms.

From 2003 the Pension Credit will ensure that it pays to have saved, with those entitled standing to gain an average of around £400 a year.

Advertising/Public Relations

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list each (a) public relations and (b) advertising firm that has been employed by his Department since 1997, indicating the (i) subject area and (ii) campaign they worked on in each case. [33628]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Department of Work and Pensions is a new department formed in June 2001. Since that time the following PR and advertising agencies have been employed in the subject areas and on the campaigns indicated:

PR companySubject area and campaign
GeronimoNew Deal/Age Positive
Media Moguls (ethnic specialists)New Deal

11 Apr 2002 : Column 555W

Advertising agencySubject area and campaign
PublicisNew Deal for Disabled People
A national campaign to launch NDDP, covering press advertising in national and regional titles, supported by a help line, website and publicity material.
St LukesNew Deal 50 Plus
A regional campaign to encourage more of the over-50s into work and to increase their awareness of the local help available.
St LukesNew Deal 25 Plus
A national campaign to inform the public about changes to the programme through radio advertising, a video and printed materials, supported by research.
Ogilvy & MatherWork Incentives
Advertising campaign on local radio to raise awareness of the range of financial initiatives available to those moving from benefits into employment if they meet the qualifying criteria.
Delaney Lund Knox Warren &
Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel   Pension Education
A publicity campaign to encourage people to save for their retirement and understand the pension options available to them.
Ogilvy & MatherWinter Fuel Payments
Information for people aged 60 plus and advisers about winter fuel payments and activity reminding them to claim and telling them how to claim for winter 2002 and relevant previous winters.
D'ArcyTargeting Fraud
A national advertising campaign on television, radio, press and posters to deter dishonest behaviour, reinforced by regional press advertising showing that benefit fraudsters are regularly caught and punished.
D'Arcy   Disability Discrimination Act Awareness
A national, regional and trade press advertising campaign to raise the public's awareness of the DDA and specifically to encourage service providers to ensure that disabled people have access to their services.

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