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Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what the average claim period for Incapacity Benefit has been; and how many people have left the caseload, broken down by destination in each year since 1995; [134586]

Mr. Bayley: The information is not available in the format requested.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how long a claimant for Incapacity Benefit has to wait for a medical assessment of their capabilities. [137520]

Mr. Bayley: There is no set time within which the process has to be completed as this will vary according to the individual circumstances of each case. Until the process is complete, the claimant will continue to receive benefit on the basis of their own doctor's certificates.

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Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what action his Department is taking to devise a system to enable recipients of incapacity benefits to return to work. [138074]

Mr. Bayley: The New Deal for Disabled People, a joint initiative of the Department of Social Security and the Department for Education and Employment, has been testing a range of approaches to help recipients of incapacity benefits return to or take up work. These include a personal adviser service, innovative schemes and pilot benefit changes. By the end of September 2000, over 5,100 people have been helped into work by the New Deal for Disabled People pilots.

On 13 November the two Departments launched a prospectus for the extension of the New Deal for Disabled People. This will involve the establishment of a network of providers, known as job brokers, to offer long-term sick and disabled people on incapacity benefits the support, guidance, and preparation they need to find work; and to match the needs of employers with the skills and potential of long-term sick and disabled people.

Minimum Income Guarantee

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many applications resulted from his Department's most recent campaign to improve the take-up of the Minimum Income Guarantee for pensioners; and how many were successful. [136533]

Mr. Rooker: The campaign is still in progress and the final mailshots out of a total of 2.3 million were sent out on Friday 10 November. Given the scale of the campaign, the numbers of inquiries, applications and decisions change daily. It will be January before we can provide comprehensive figures on the results of the campaign. Approximately half of actual claims made are proving successful.

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list, by category, the reasons for which applications for the Minimum Income Guarantee have been rejected (a) in total and (b) in each Benefits Agency area. [137875]

Mr. Rooker: The information requested is not available. Separate figures as a result of the take up campaign will be available in due course on a national basis. However, preliminary indications are that of those applications that fail, they do so because of excess capital and income. Both of these issues are dealt with in the proposals for the new pension credit, details of which are published in Cm 4900.

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people have applied to date for information packs for the Minimum Income Guarantee; how many applications have been returned; how many are receiving the Minimum Income Guarantee in (a) Glasgow, Pollok (b) Glasgow and (c) Scotland; and what this figure is as a percentage of the eligible population. [137766]

Mr. Rooker: Not all the information requested is available.

The current Minimum Income Guarantee take-up campaign is still in progress, so as yet we do not have comprehensive details of the total number of successful

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claims. However, we have had over 600,000 responses and around half of those claims already processed have been successful.

The table gives numbers of pensioners receiving the Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland, Glasgow and Pollok.

Pensioners receiving the MIG in Scotland, Glasgow and Pollok, May 2000

Number of claimants
City of Glasgow Unitary Authority(6)32.4
Glasgow Pollok Parliamentary Constituency(6)3.5

(6) All aged 60 and over


1. Pensioners are defined as where the claimant and/or partner are aged 60 or over. The figures may therefore include some claimants aged under 60.

2. Based on 5 per cent. sample therefore subject to sampling error.

3. Caseloads have been rounded to the nearest hundred and are expressed in thousands; percentages are given to one decimal place.

4. Cases are allocated to each Unitary Authority/Parliamentary Constituency by matching the postcode against the 2000 version 1 ONS Postcode Directory.

5. Constituency information represents Constituency boundaries as at May 1997.


1. Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiry, May 2000.

2. Population estimates unit--ONS mid-term estimates for 1999.

Information on the eligible population in Scotland, Glasgow and Pollok is not available. The Department's statisticians do not judge it possible to produce reliable estimates, of the amount by which benefit is under-claimed, for different parts of Great Britain.

The next annual statistics on the take-up of income-related benefits in Great Britain will be published on 8 December 2000. These will cover the financial year 1998-99.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's oral statement of 8 November 2000, Official Report, columns 315-27, on the Pre-Budget Statement, if he will estimate the number of pensioners eligible for the Minimum Income Guarantee in (a) 1999-2000, (b) 2000-01 and (c) 2001-02; and if he will make a statement. [138281]

Mr. Rooker: As a result of the measures outlined in the pre-Budget report, an estimated 2 million pensioners and their families will benefit in 2000-01; this will increase to 2.2 million in 2001-02.

Note: Based on 1.6 million current claims to the Minimum Income Guarantee, 1.7 million in 2000-01 and 1.9 million in 2001-02.
Sources: Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiry, May 2000. DSS case load forecasts.

Housing Benefit

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what assessment he has made of the effect on tenants of his Department's proposal to restrict the backdating of housing benefit to three months; and if he will make a statement; [137049]

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Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) rent arrears and (b) homelessness of the Department of Social Security's proposal to restrict the backdating of Housing Benefit to three months from April 2001; and if he will make a statement. [137056]

Angela Eagle: It is not possible to provide reliable estimates of the effects of the proposal to align the Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit backdating rules with those of the other income-related benefits. In terms of benefit expenditure, we have estimated that these changes would be broadly cost-neutral because of the interplay between the proposed tighter prescription and the proposed increase in subsidy paid to local authorities.

These proposals have now been considered by the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC), and we have received their report to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. We have also received the Local Authority Associations (LAAs) responses to our consultation exercise on these proposals. We are considering the responses from the LAA consultation and points raised in SSAC's report very carefully and will make an announcement shortly.

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