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Income Support

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many unemployed people are receiving Income Support amounting to (i) £1 to £50, (ii) £50 to £100, (iii) £100 to £150, (iv) £150 to £200, (v) £200 to £300, (vi) £300 to £400, (vii) £400 to £500 and (viii) £500 and over per week. [137087]

Angela Eagle: Claimants who are unemployed do not receive Income Support. Job Seekers Allowance is paid to those who are actively seeking employment.

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people over the age of (a) 60 and (b) 70 years claim Income Support in (i) the constituency of Glasgow, Pollok, (ii) Glasgow and (iii) Scotland; and if he will express these figures as a percentage of the total number of people over (1) 60 and (2) 70 years in each category. [137765]

Mr. Rooker: The information requested is included in the table.

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

Number of claimants (thousand)Percentage of relevant population
All aged 60 and over164.415.7
70 and over108.519.7
City of Glasgow Unitary Authority
All aged 60 and over32.427.3
70 and over19.230.0
Glasgow, Pollok parliamentary constituency
All aged 60 and over3.5n/a
70 and over2.2n/a


1. Pensioners are defined as where the claimant, and/or partner are aged 60 or over. The 60-69 age group may therefore include some claimants aged under 60.

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

3. Case loads have been rounded to the nearest hundred and are expressed in thousands, percentages are given to one decimal place.

4. "Percentage of the population" is based on ONS population estimates for mid-term 1999, and represents Income Support claimants as a proportion of the population in Scotland/Glasgow Unitary Authority who are in the relevant age group.

5. Case load as a percentage of the population is not available for Pollok constituency, as population estimates are not available at this level.

6. Cases are allocated to each unitary authority/parliamentary constituency by matching the postcode against the 2000 version 1 ONS postcode directory.

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


Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiry, May 2000.

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

Mr. Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the percentage fall in the value of the capital limits in Income Support after taking account of inflation from 1988 to May 1997. [138206]

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Mr. Darling: Using the published Rossi price index for September 1988 and May 1997, the capital limits had fallen by 30.6 per cent. in real terms.

Pensions (Married Women)

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what recent representations he has received on the provision of independent pensions for married women who have made full pension contributions; and what response he has made to them. [137271]

Mr. Rooker: I am not entirely clear as to what precise information my hon. Friend is seeking. Married women who have made full pension contributions receive a pension in their own right. If they have insufficient qualifying years for a full pension, the pension is reduced proportionally. If it falls below the married woman's pension rate, it can be topped up when their husband retires to a maximum of £40.40, based on their husband's contributions.

Sickness Benefit

Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people have been assessed as eligible for sickness benefit on grounds of incapacity caused by (a) mental health problems and (b) drug/alcohol dependency in each of the last five years. [137373]

Mr. Bayley: Incapacity Benefit replaced sickness benefit and invalidity benefit on 13 April 1995. Where benefit is awarded, the first primary diagnosis from the medical certificate is recorded according to the international classification of diseases. The most recent information available for awards of incapacity benefit made where the main condition is recorded as being a mental or behavioural disorder or alcohol or drug abuse is given in the table.

Annual periodsMental and behavioural disordersAlcohol and drug abuse
1 June 1995 to 31 May 199677,9003,200
1 June 1996 to 31 May 199779,1004,300
1 June 1997 to 31 May 199886,1004,800
1 June 1998 to 31 May 199979,6004,200
1 June 1999 to 31 May 200081,0004,700


1. All causes of incapacity are coded using the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition. Primary diagnoses of alcohol or drug abuse are normally shown as part of the group under the heading Mental and Behavioural disorders but are shown separately in the above table.

2. Disorders appearing as secondary conditions are not recorded.

3. Figures relate to spells of incapacity benefit commencing in the stated period. More than one spell may relate to the same claimant.

4. 31 May 2000 is the latest date for which information is available.


These figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample of the benefit computer system and will exclude a small number of clerically held cases. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

Winter Fuel Payments

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the annual cost of extending

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Winter Fuel Payments to those under the age of 60 who are in receipt of (a) the middle or higher rate of Disability Living Allowance care component or (b) higher rate of mobility component and who are presently resident within Scotland. [137679]

Mr. Rooker: It is estimated that the extension of Winter Fuel Payments to people in Scotland who are under age 60 and getting Disability Living Allowance higher or middle rate care component or higher rate mobility component would cost around £20 million in the winter of 2000-01. My hon. Friend will be aware that Winter Fuel Payments to people aged 60 and over are not related to receipt of benefits.

Expenditure (Wales)

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the overall social security bill is for Wales in the last 12 months; and if he will give a breakdown of how the money is spent by constituency. [137715]

Mr. Rooker: The information is not available in the exact form requested. The estimated expenditure on social security benefits for Wales for 1999-2000 (the latest period for which figures are available) is around £5.8 billion. Data showing expenditure by individual constituencies are not available.

Benefit Entitlement

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will amend the benefit regulations to ensure that people who suffer from long-term illness or disability do not suffer a lower benefit entitlement by virtue of discovering after a trial period in work that they are unable to sustain that work because of the effects of their illness or disability. [137812]

Mr. Bayley: We have already taken action to help such people. In October 1998, we introduced a provision whereby people who had been incapacitated for at least 28 weeks, began work or training within seven days of leaving benefit and notified the Benefits Agency within one month that they had done so, may return to benefit without having to requalify for the higher rates if they leave work or training within a year. The period is extended to two years where the person had been getting disabled persons tax credit or a training allowance while they were in work or training.


Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate for pensioners who are in receipt of income-related benefits but not the Minimum Income Guarantee, how much of the pension increase in April 2001 will be clawed back in loss of benefit; and if he will pass on the full effect of the pensions increase to pensioners receiving Council Tax benefit. [138288]

Mr. Rooker: None.

Duplicate Payments of Benefit

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the mainframe problems were in the period before the duplicated payments of Income Support started. [138336]

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Mr. Bayley: In the week before the duplicated Income Support payments, there was only one mainframe problem directly impacting Income Support customers. Standard recovery action procedures were invoked.

Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if the Affinity contract ensures that any taxpayers' money lost due to errors by the private sector suppliers is recovered by those suppliers. [138334]

Angela Eagle: Under the Department's contracts with EDS (who lead the Affinity Consortium), EDS is accountable for losses accrued to the Department, subject to the limits of liability set out in that contract.

All of the Department's major PFI contracts undergo a rigorous independent test to ensure an appropriate balance of risk between the Department and its suppliers.

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