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Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide a breakdown of the percentage real terms increase in disposable income for the lowest earning quintile in each year since 1992. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the amount by which budgets were over or under spent in each financial year since May 1997 in the (a) Department for Education and Employment, (b) Department of Health and (c) Ministry of Defence. 
Mr. Andrew Smith: The table sets out the cash underspends against final Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL) provision for the Departments requested. Provisional figures for 200001 were published in the July 2001 Public Expenditure Outturn White Paper (Cm 5243), and are subject to revision on production of the Appropriation Accounts. Since 199899 Departments have been allowed to carry forward any DEL budget provision which is not spent in one year into the following year. (More limited end year flexibility applied before this date). This means that underspends are available to Departments to spend in later years.
|Department for Education and Employment||359||659||828|
|Department of Health||169||285||177|
|Ministry of Defence||225||74||318|
Mr. Howard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide a breakdown of budget underspend so far in the current financial year in (a) the Department of Health, (b) the Department for Education and Skills and (c) the Ministry of Defence. [R] 
Mr. Andrew Smith: There is no in-year target for the profile of departmental spending. Outturn against six-month forecast for each Request for Resources will be published in Winter Supplementary Estimates as usual.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library a copy of the letter from his Department to those people who will be unaffected by the changes in inherited SERPS, but have reached state pension age since the first letter was issued, and to those who will reach state pension age by 5 October 2002; and when he expects to issue a further letter to those people who will be affected by the reduction in SERPS on the sliding scale. 
Mr. McCartney: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 20 July 2001, Official Report, column 685W. A copy of the letter from the Department to those people who will be unaffected by the changes in
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inherited SERPS but have reached state pension age since the first letter was issued, and those who will reach state pension age by 5 October 2002, has now been placed in the Library.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what powers exist to recover benefits paid to those ineligible to receive such benefits by reason of (a) fraud and (b) mistake. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 16 October 2001]: Where an overpayment has arisen as a result of a claimant's misrepresentation or failure to disclose a change of circumstances, section 71 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 allows recovery of that overpayment. This covers most of the overpayments we seek to recover. However, there are also other regulations permitting recovery of overpayments, for example, where means-tested benefits are overpaid due to the late payment of income or other benefits.
Where the person overpaid receives benefit, deductions can be made from future payments of that benefit. The Social Security (Payments on Account, Overpayments and Recovery) Regulations 1998 place restrictions on those deductions, including limits on the amount which can be deducted from certain benefits. The regulations allow higher rates of recovery to be made in cases of fraud.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures the Government will take to prevent an increase in the level of child poverty in areas not subject to Government targets. 
Malcolm Wicks: Details of the progress we are making in tackling child poverty can be found in our third annual report on poverty and social exclusion, "Opportunity for allMaking progress" (Cm. 5260), published on 19 September.
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enforce the Social Security (Jobcentre Plus Interviews) Regulations 2001; what discussions he had with SSAC prior to that decision; and if he will publish the minutes of such discussions. 
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what further assistance the Government plan to give to those who cannot work owing to disability, health problems, caring duties and difficulties with child care or transport. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Government believe that all those who are unable to work, for whatever reason, should have the opportunity to play as full a part in the community as possible. In "Towards Inclusion", our response to the Disability Rights Task Force, we set out proposals for improving disabled people's liveswhether or not they can workin areas including education, transport, health and social services. Taken together, these measures will create a much fairer and inclusive society for disabled people.
From April 2001, we introduced a package of changes, providing extra help for disabled people in greatest need. For severely disabled people who cannot work and are receiving Income Support, the Disability Income Guarantee ensures an income of at least £142 a week for a single person aged 25 or over and £186.80 for a couple. It also benefits families on low incomes who are caring for a severely disabled child. In addition, from last April, we increased the disabled child premium in income- related benefits to £30 a weeksubstantially more than the normal uprating.
Sick or disabled young people who have never been able to work and pay National Insurance contributions will in future be able to receive a higher level of support from access to Incapacity Benefit. Those aged under 20 on 6 April 2001 and receiving Severe Disablement Allowance will transfer to the long-term rate of Incapacity Benefit from April 2002, providing an increase of £27.60 a week at current rates.
We are also introducing changes to the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979, by means of a Regulatory Reform Order, to extend significantly the time limit for making a claim, and to reduce the level of disability necessary for a claim to succeed. Those severely disabled people whose claims were previously disallowed for being over the current time limit and under the disability threshold will be able to make a fresh claim.
On 28 February 2001 my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health announced that a National Service Framework would be developed for long-term conditions, and that this would have a particular focus on the needs of people disabled by neurological disease and brain and spinal injuries.
Last year, the Government announced a package of measures to enhance the current social security provision for carers, worth more than £500 million over a three-year period. From April 2001, we increased the carer premium in the income-related benefits by £10 a week above the normal uprating. We also helped those carers who can
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undertake some work, by increasing the earnings limit in Invalid Care Allowance from £50 to £72 a week: in future the carers' earnings limit will be increased in line with the lower earnings level for National Insurance contributions. We plan to amend the law, by means of a Regulatory Reform Order, to allow people aged 65 and over to claim Invalid Care Allowance, and to extend entitlement for up to eight weeks after the death of the person being cared for.
For those who may have difficulties with child care, the Government have already introduced a new child care tax credit in Working Families Tax Credit, and will continue to help working families meet the costs of child care.
The Government are committed to providing an accessible public transport system in which disabled people will have the same opportunities to travel as everyone else. Accessibility regulations for new trains, buses and coaches have been introduced under Part V of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Similar regulations for taxis are planned. The 10-Year Transport Plan introduced a new commitment to ensuring that access for disabled people is a condition of all new public investment in transport.
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