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7 Nov 2002 : Column 660W—continued

Unemployment and Sickness Benefit (Wales)

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people are claiming (a) unemployment related and (b) sickness-related benefits in each local authority in Wales. [80240]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is in the tables.

Numbers of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in Wales by local authority at September 2002

Local authorityNumbers
Blaenau Gwent1,740
Anglesey, Isle of1,554
Merthyr Tydfil1,139
Neath Port Talbot2,280
Rhondda, Cynon, Taff3,390
The Vale of Glamorgan1,906


The figures include those receiving either contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) or income-based JSA or both and those receiving National Insurance credits only.


Jobcentre Plus Computer Systems, 100 per cent. count of all unemployed people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance.

Numbers of working age people claiming sickness-related benefits in Wales by local authority at May 2002

Local authorityNumbers
Blaenau Gwent8,100
Anglesey, Isle of4,400
Merthyr Tydfil7,700
Neath Port Talbot14,200
Rhondda, Cynon, Taff24,700
The Vale of Glamorgan6,100


1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

2. XSickness-related" benefits are defined for the purposes of this table as Incapacity Benefit (IB), Severe Disablement Allowance and Income Support with disability premium and National Insurance credits only (1B).


DWP Client Group Analysis, 5 per cent. statistical samples relating to May 2002.

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Incapacity Benefit

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in what circumstances incapacity benefit is means tested; and whether the incapacity benefit is reduced if a man aged 61 has an occupational pension. [76924]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Incapacity Benefit exists to provide a measure of earnings replacement for people of working age who are incapable of work. Where a person is duplicating this provision the law provides for this to be taken into account.

If a person claiming Incapacity Benefit receives an occupational pension, personal pension or payments through a permanent health insurance scheme of #85 a week or more, their Incapacity Benefit is reduced by half the amount which exceeds #85. Only people making new claims from 6 April 2001 are affected by the new rules.

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Occupational Deafness

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he will publish the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council report on occupational deafness. [79764]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council expects to publish its report on occupational deafness shortly.

Focus Group Research

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what use he and his Department have made of focus group research since June 2001; if he will identify for each research project the topics covered, the person or organisation carrying out the research, and the total cost; and if he will publish the research on his Department's website. [74986]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The information is available in the table.

Focus Group Research since 1 June 2001

Project TitleTopics coveredOrganisation undertaking the researchTotal CostResearch published on Department's website?
Employment ServiceImplementation Training and guidanceBMRB and Insite#19,830No
Review of the Job Entry TargetThe Jobcentre Plus Job Entry Target—focus groups with staffPolicy Research Institute#24,105No
Good Practice in Work PreparationPurpose and function of Work preparation:Social Policy Research Unit#72,288Yes
Evaluation of the permitted work rules for Incapacity Benefit claimantsThe use of the new arrangements by staff who apply them or refer to them in their work.Institute for Employment Studies#199,000Research commissioned in Summer 2002, findings to be published in 2004
Incapacity Benefits & Work IncentivesClient experiences of a series of work incentive measures.Social Policy Research Unit#47,025Yes
The Role of GPs in Sickness CertificationThe knowledge, attitudes and experiences of GPs acting as certifying medical practitioners.National Centre for Social Research#73,333Yes
Diversity in DisabilityTo provide a greater understanding of the life experiences of disabled men and women from different minority ethnic groups.National Centre for Social Research#136,798Research to be published early 2003.
Social Fund use amongst older people in BritainTo provide an understanding of the reasons for take-up and non-take-up among eligible older people.Personal Finance Research Centre (PFRC), University of Bristol#55,230Yes
Attitudes to Electronic Service DeliveryUse of the internet and computersAndrew Irving Associates#46,000The project is ongoing and will be published on the website when complete
Investigating Low Labour Market Participation among Lone Parents in London.Six workshops conducted with lone parent ''experts'' such as NDLP advisers in London, Merseyside and Strathclyde.The National Centre for Social Research.#22,938Forthcoming research to be published 2002–2003.
Partners of non JSA benefit recipientsAttitudes and barriers to workECOTEC Research and Consulting Ltd.#52,385Yes
Reforming Services for Pensioners: Perceptions of The Pension Service Proposed Business Model for 2006 Among Today's PensionersCustomers' views of what they would like to see from The Pension Service in the future.Forum Qualitative#34,400No, customer testing for internal use.
Evaluation of NDLP Innovation FundClient perceptions project delivery.York Consulting#80,051Research will be published in early 2003 and will be available on department website in due course
Child Support ReformsTesting of leaflets and letters.Andrew Irvine Associates#80,403No

7 Nov 2002 : Column 663W

Pay Offer Pack

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the cost was of the Pay 2002 information pack circulation; and if he will make a statement in respect of targeting information to recipients [78337]

Mr. McCartney: The cost for design, print and distribution of the Department 2002 Pay Offer information pack was #1.34 per pack. Around 146,500 copies were issued to staff.

Distribution of the package was based on payroll information for staff from the former Department for Social Security, and the most recent ''census'' information for staff from the former Employment Service.

This year's pay offer to staff was particularly significant because it was the first since the Department was formed in 2001, where staff were brought together from the former DSS, Employment Services and Department for Education and Employment. For the past year different terms and conditions have applied within the Department.

The offer package provided staff with comprehensive details on a raft of harmonised changes to their terms and conditions, pay structure and conditions of employment for staff in the Department for Work and Pensions. The proposed changes to terms and conditions contained in the 2002 pay offer were complex and contractual. It was therefore, essential that all staff had the opportunity to read, understand and ask questions about the changes. The only way to ensure that this was achieved was to distribute personal copies of the information package to all staff in the Department.

Jobcentres (Wiltshire)

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many employees there are broken down by function at (a) Avon House Jobcentre, Salisbury, (b)

7 Nov 2002 : Column 664W

Amesbury Jobcentre and (c) Summerlock House, Salisbury; and what plans he has to change the number of jobs, broken down by function, at each location. [80301]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The number of staff and the functions they perform in the two jobcentres are as follows:

Salisbury JobcentreAmesbury Jobcentre
Employer Services11
Personal Advisers71
Customer Services92
Jobseeker's Allowance claims processing60
Programme Centre20
Management and Office services11

In the Summerlock House Social Security Office the staff deployment is as follows:

Customer Services7
Income Support claims processing8
Incapacity Benefit claims processing10
Home visiting2
Management and Office services5
Counter Fraud Investigation Service4
Minimum Income Guarantee claims processing2
Retirement Pension claims processing19

There are no plans to make significant changes to job functions in the short term. In the longer term the migration of existing Jobcentres and Social Security Offices into fully integrated Jobcentre Plus offices and the development of The Pensions Service may lead to changes in job functions in order to deliver improved services to customers.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of his staff at (a) Avon House Jobcentre, Salisbury, (b) Amesbury Jobcentre and (c) Summerlock House, Salisbury were (i) threatened, (ii) verbally abused and (iii) physically assaulted in 2001; on how many occasions the police were called; and how many prosecutions followed. [80300]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The number of incidents recorded during 2001 was as follows:

Office NameVerbally AbusedThreatenedActual Physical AssaultsNumber of times the Police were asked to attendNumber of prosecutions
Avon House Salisbury117330
Amesbury Jobcentre01000
Summerlock House Salisbury31100

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Whilst clearly unacceptable, the physical assaults that occurred were minor incidents in which no member of staff sustained serious injuries.

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