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20 July 2009 : Column 856W—continued


Pensions: Ex-servicemen

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons non-taxable war disablement pension is not disregarded in means-testing calculations for the provision of NHS and other services to armed services veterans. [286405]

Jonathan Shaw: Access to NHS services is a matter for my hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health.

Armed service veterans who are in receipt of pension credit, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or income related employment and support allowance have access to free prescriptions, dental treatment, eye tests and other NHS services.

For all means-tested benefits income is normally taken fully into account when calculating entitlement. However, a £10 disregard is applied to payments of War Disablement Pension, War Widow’s Pension and their replacement under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme when calculating a person’s entitlement to these benefits. This disregard, which gives war pensioners an advantage over other groups, is made in recognition of the special nature of these payments.

Certain elements paid with War Disablement Pension are disregarded in full. These are constant attendance
20 July 2009 : Column 857W
allowance, mobility supplement, severe disablement occupational allowance and dependency increases for anyone other than the applicant or his partner.

In addition to the statutory disregards mentioned, local authorities, who administer housing benefit and council tax benefit, have discretion to disregard all or part of a War Pension over and above the statutory £10 disregard. The cost of any further disregard is met by the local authority, not by central Government. It is, therefore, for each local authority to decide whether a higher disregard should apply.

Research Report

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals in each birth cohort, as shown in Figure 4.3 on page 55 of DWP Research Report number 558, would be modelled as having payback equivalent to having received at least the full value of the assumed rate of return used in the modelling; and what the equivalent figures are under alternative scenarios (a) 1 and (b) 2 as referred to on page 57 of DWP Research Report number 558. [287114]

Angela Eagle: The Department's population-level modelling calculates payback rather than internal rate of return, and there is no simple correspondence between the two measures—for each individual it depends on their patterns of saving and decumulation through time. As a result it would be a major exercise to calculate the distribution of internal rates of return for birth cohorts, and the cost of producing this analysis would be disproportionate.

Sick Leave: Stress

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many working days were lost due to stress-related illness in each of the last 30 years. [286290]

Jonathan Shaw: The information the HSE holds on the estimated working days lost due to stress is as follows:

Estimated days lost due to stress, anxiety and depression

Days lost—rounded to nearest 1,000

2007-08

13,547,000

2006-07

13,760,000

2005-06

10,537,000

2004-05

12,820,000

2003-04

12,803,000

2001-02

12,919,000

1995(1)

6,465,000

(1) The figure for 1995 was gathered using a different method from those for subsequent years, but is included for completeness; it should not be used for comparison purposes.

The Health and Safety Executive collects this information by commissioning a self-reported work-related ill-health (SWI) survey conducted on its behalf by the Office for National Statistics as part of its Labour Force Survey.

No data is available before 1995 and the SWI Survey has not always been conducted on an annual basis.


20 July 2009 : Column 858W

Social Security Benefits: Expenditure

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will place in the Library a copy of each quarterly update of her Department’s benefit expenditure tables produced in the last two years. [285844]

Jim Knight: The benefit expenditure tables are updated every half year following each Budget and pre-Budget report forecasting round.

The tables are not formatted for printing, and their number and size means that formatting could be done only at disproportionate cost. However, they are made available on the Department’s internet site for public access.

The 2009 Budget report benefit expenditure tables are currently on the Department’s website at

State Retirement Pensions

Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have opted to defer their state pension in each year since the deferred scheme was introduced. [286673]

Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer that was given to the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Waterson) on 19 November 2008, Official Report, column 570W.

State Retirement Pensions: Females

Christine Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the number of women who would become eligible to receive a full state pension if the reduction in the number of qualifying years required for those reaching the state pension age at or after 6 April 2010 were applied to all women in receipt of a state pension in 2010-11; and what estimate she has made of the cost to the Exchequer of such an extension. [284491]

Angela Eagle: It is estimated that an extra 850,000 women in Great Britain would become eligible to receive a full basic state pension based on their own contributions if the number of qualifying years necessary to receive a full basic state pension were lowered from 39 to 30, along with the implementation of other changes in the 2007 pension reforms, for women already in receipt of a basic state pension in April 2010.

Calculating basic state pension entitlement on the basis of 30 qualifying years, along with the implementation of other changes in the 2007 pension reforms, for women pensioners would cost around £1 billion (2009-10 price terms) in 2010 (net of income-related benefits).

Unemployed: Qualifications

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applicants for Jobcentre Plus registered qualifications at levels one to five in (a) London and (b) Enfield in (i) 2008 and (ii) 2009 to date. [286006]


20 July 2009 : Column 859W

Jim Knight: The information requested is not available.

Unemployment Benefits

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost to the Exchequer has been
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of unemployment benefits (a) in current prices and (b) as a percentage of gross domestic product in each year since 1997. [285697]

Jim Knight: The information requested is shown in the following table.

Benefit expenditure to unemployed, Great Britain
£ million (at 2009-10 prices)

Housing benefit Council tax benefit Jobseeker’s allowance Total benefit expenditure Percentage of GDP

1997-98

2,255

413

5,109

7,777

0.7

1998-99

1,820

348

4,571

6,739

0.6

1999-2000

1,581

315

4,102

5,998

0.5

2000-01

1,408

281

3,585

5,274

0.4

2001-02

1,266

247

3,170

4,684

0.4

2002-03

1,270

236

3,093

4,599

0.4

2003-04

1,098

248

2,933

4,279

0.3

2004-05

1,216

243

2,459

3,918

0.3

2005-06

1,271

264

2,527

4,061

0.3

2006-07

1,327

259

2,596

4,182

0.3

2007-08

1,329

251

2,323

3,903

0.3

2008-09 (estimated outturn)

1,645

299

2,909

4,854

0.3

Note:
GDP percentages calculated using HM Treasury Budget Report 2009.
Source (benefit expenditure):
DWP statistical and accounting data.

Unemployment: Hemsworth

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the level of (a) claimant unemployment, (b) youth unemployment and (c) long-term unemployment was in Hemsworth constituency (i) in 1997 and (ii) at the latest date for which information is available. [288692]

Angela E. Smith: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, July 2009:

Unemployment: Oxfordshire

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the Draft Legislative Programme 2009, Cm 7564, page 37, who in Oxfordshire will be responsible for delivering the proposed programme for access to jobs supported by recruitment subsidies, skills training or volunteering opportunities for adults who have been unemployed for six months or more. [284959]

Jim Knight: On 6 April 2009, the Department introduced an offer of extra support for customers who have been claiming jobseeker’s allowance for six months. This included access to recruitment subsidies, work-focused training and volunteering opportunities. Jobcentre Plus personal advisers discuss these options with customers at interview.

For the work-focused training element of the six-month offer, customers in Oxfordshire will be referred to Oxford and Cherwell Valley college or in some cases Newbury college if they reside in South Oxfordshire. These colleges have been contracted by the Learning and Skills Council for delivering this part of the six-month offer in Oxfordshire.

BTCV are the lead organisation responsible for delivering access to volunteering opportunities in England. In partnership with v, Volunteering England and Community Service Volunteers, they run a brokerage network offering work-focused volunteering opportunities to eligible jobseekers.

Jobcentre Plus is responsible for the delivery of the recruitment subsidy throughout England, Scotland and Wales. The recruitment subsidy is available through two delivery channels: it can either be issued as a voucher to individual jobseeker’s allowance customers by their Jobcentre Plus personal adviser, or multiple vouchers can be delivered to employers with higher volume or long-term recruitment plans who are working with Jobcentre Plus account managers.


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