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Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Pathways to Work pilots in getting existing incapacity benefit claimants back into work. 
Margaret Hodge: The early evidence from our Pathways pilots is extremely positive and indicates that this is the most effective labour market intervention that has been tested anywhere in the developed world.
All new claimants have to join the pilot, but they can voluntarily select to take advantage of the employment support programmes. 150,000 started on the programme between October 2003 and August 2005 of whom 11,200 were existing customers.
There have been nearly 80,000 mandatory work focussed interviews. 17,670 voluntarily agreed to take advantage of the Choices package, including 8,540 new deal for disabled people registrations and 7,490 condition management referrals.
There have been 19,500 job entries, 3,220 from existing customers. As a result there has been an 8 percentage point increase in people leaving incapacity benefits within six months in Pathways areas compared to the rest of the country.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to introduce legislation which requires (a) employers to contribute to their employees' pensions and (b) individuals to save for their retirement. 
The Government plans to publish a White paper in the spring in response to the Pensions Commission's report. The White Paper will set out what legislation will be needed and a planned timetable for reforms.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time taken was for the completion of a Personal Capability Assessment for (a) incapacity benefit claimants and (b) income support claimants in each year since 2000. 
|Average National PCA Exam Time|
Although an average examination time is provided, doctors spend as long as is required to carry out an appropriate assessment, depending on the nature of the individual's physical and /or mental disabilities.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations his Department has (a) made to and (b) received from private banks regarding those who have been diagnosed as having a terminal illness and face financial hardship. 
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were diagnosed as terminally ill in the latest year for which figures are available; and how many of those claimed attendance allowance. 
Information about the numbers of people diagnosed as terminally ill is not available. In the 12 months to 31 December 2005 there were 36,900 claims for Attendance Allowance under the
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Department's Special Rules" which apply to terminally ill people who have a progressive illness and who are not expected to live longer than six months 1 .
DCS Management Information Service.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what plans he has to close the Work and Pensions Insurance Office in Central Milton Keynes. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
I assume you are referring to the National Insurance number service provided from Bowback House in Milton Keynes. Bowback House is not closing. It is being developed to deliver Social Fund services for the whole of the South East region. However, it will no longer be a designated interview location for National Insurance number applications.
Under a new process being introduced to improve the National Insurance number allocation process, customers in the South East needing a National Insurance number will telephone a national contact centre where staff will book an interview at a convenient location.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the unit costs are of work-focused interviews for (a) jobseeker's allowance, (b) incapacity benefit and (c) income support applicants. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question concerning what the unit costs are for work-focussed interviews for (a) jobseeker's allowance applicants, (b) incapacity benefit applicants and (c) income support applicants. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The information relating to work-focussed interviews is not gathered separately from the cost of administering benefits. In response to PSA target requirements, we do publish the unit costs for Job Broking and Benefit Processing every year in our Annual Report and Accounts. The PSA unit costs for job broking activities and benefit processing for 2004/05 were as shown in the table below.
|Benefit||Unit cost (£)|