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17 Dec 2002 : Column 776Wcontinued
Mr.Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate how many eligible people have not received backdated winter fuel payments for the first three years of the scheme, and what the value was of such payments. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer 16 December 2002]: According to our estimate around 1.9 million people could have been eligible for backdated payments for the first three years of the scheme and about 1.2 million people have now been paid. There is no cut off dates for these retrospective payments.
It is not possible to provide a reliable estimate of the numbers who have not claimed because the estimate of those newly eligible was based on sample data. It is up to the individual, where a claim is necessary, to decide whether or not to make that claim.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total cost of the winter fuel payments has been in each year since they were established, including (a) payments made on time, (b) backdated payments and (c) administration costs; and what the full value is of potential future payments to eligible recipients who have not yet applied for the benefit, but who are still free to do so. 
The Department now accounts for its administration and benefit expenditure by Strategic Objective, as set out in its Public Service Agreements (PSA), and by individual Requests for Resources (RfRs) as set out in the Departmental Estimates and Accounts.
|Expenditure on WFPs (# million)||191||194||759||(20)1,749||1,692||1,710|
|Number of WFP recipients||9,759,000||9,953,000||10,084,000||11,123,000||11,202,000||11,322,000|
(20) Includes #94 million retrospective payments
All figures are for Great Britain.
Costs are in cash terms.
Expenditure figures prior to 200102 are from the published Social Fund Account and from 200102 are DWP's latest published forecast.
Caseload figures prior to 200102 are based on estimates from administrative data and from 200102 are DWP's latest published forecast.
17 Dec 2002 : Column 777W
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate how many people became newly entitled for the (a) 200001 and (b) 200102 winter fuel payment; who needed to make a claim, but failed to do so before the cut-off dates; and what the value was of such payments. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer 16 December 2002]: We estimate that around 1.5 million people became entitled to winter fuel payments in 200001 for the first time, as a result of a change in the rules in 2000. So far, about one million have been paid. Additionally, for the winter of 200001, we estimated that a further 500,000 people could have been newly entitled as a result attaining age 60 and satisfying the other entitlement conditions.
Similarly for the winter of 200102, we estimated that some 500,000 people could have been newly entitled as a result of attaining age 60 and satisfying the other entitlement conditions. Around half of these were paid automatically. Some 245,000 claim forms were received by end of March 2002, although some of these would have been from people entitled to automatic payments. It is up to the individual to decide whether or not to claim.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with other Ministers to develop a rehabilitation strategy to tackle work-related ill health in order to reduce the number on invalidity benefit. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: Improved vocational rehabilitation services are a key element of our strategy for enabling people with health problems and disabilities to move into employment, and so become and remain independent.
Ministers and officials from this Department, the Department of Health, the Department for Education and Skills, the Scotland Office and the Wales Office have held discussions concerning the impact of ill health and disability on both individuals and employers, and specifically the role of vocational rehabilitation.
Our Green Paper XPathways to WorkHelping people into employment", published on 18 November, proposes more intensive support for people who move onto incapacity benefits. One element of this involves the establishment by Jobcentre Plus in conjunction with the NHS of new rehabilitation programmes, combining support to find work with management of an individual's health condition. These will be piloted in six areas across the country starting from late 2003.
17 Dec 2002 : Column 778W
In addition, the Job Retention and Rehabilitation Pilot, a joint initiative with the Department of Health which also starts next year, will explore ways in which we can support people faced with losing their employment through prolonged sickness or disability.
Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the number of new employees needed in the housing sector over the next five years to meet Government targets on new house building in London and the South East; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: The Government has made no specific assessment for new house building in London and the South East. However, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has estimated that 76,000 new employees will be required each year in the construction industry between 2002 and 2006 and the Strategic Forum for Construction estimates that 300,000 qualified staff will need to be recruited to the construction industry by the end of 2006. CITB predicts that over 40,000 new recruits will be needed between now and 2006 in the Greater London area and that over 77,000 will be required in the South East.
However, these figures are based on moderate growth levels in the construction industry. They do not take into account the step change in housing and regeneration activity that the Deputy Prime Minister will outline early in the New Year. In 2003 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister aims to produce an analysis of the impact on the industry of the level of construction work generated by the planned step change in housing investment.
We will continue to work with the Department of Trade and Industry and Department for Education and Skills to ensure that there is sufficient capacity and the right skills in the construction industry to meet the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's ambitious targets.
Mr. Leslie: Tabled below are the meetings that the Ministers of Office of the Deputy Prime Minister had with local authorities or local authority representative groups, which were requested within the time scale of the Consultation on the Local Government Finance Formula Grant Distribution.
17 Dec 2002 : Column 779W
|Local Authority / Representative Group||Date|
|York City Council||29/07/02|
|Worcestershire County Council||10/09/02|
|County Councils Network||24/09/02|
|Association of North East Councils||24/09/02|
|Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities||26/09/02|
|AC A Cliff Edge Group||26/09/02|
|Northern Alliance Group of County Councils||26/09/02|
|London Borough of Sutton||26/09/02|
|Town and Country Finance Issues Group||09/10/02|
|Shire Districts Liaison Group||09/10/02|
|Local Government Association||09/10/02|
Simon Hughes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what reports he has received on the compliance of (a) mobile phone companies in general and (b) T-mobile in particular with 'The Code of Best Practice in Mobile Phone Development' (i) in the London Borough of Southwark and (ii) across London; if he will call for up-to-date reports on the issue; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 20 November 2002, Official Report, column 627, in what way he proposes to take forward the statement in the Labour Manifesto in connection with the repeal of Section 28. 
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