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Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans the Government have to increase the pensioners' Christmas bonus. 
Mr. McCartney: We have no plans to increase the level of the Christmas bonus.
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Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans the Government have to review the eligibility criteria for pensioners' winter fuel payments. 
Mr. McCartney: There are no plans to change the existing regulations.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what response he has sent to the RNID report "Can't Hear, Can't Benefit" in relation to take-up of disability living allowance by people who are deaf or have hearing difficulties. 
Maria Eagle [holding answer 31 October 2001]: We have noted the issues and concerns raised by the RNID in this report. On 19 October, the president of the Appeals Service and a number of senior officials from the Department for Work and Pensions attended by invitation the RNID's "Breaking The Sound Barrier" Conference. They took part in a session on the "Can't Hear, Can't Benefit" report, and discussed many aspects of it with delegates, including the question of DLA take-up.
Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what his latest estimate is of expenditure during the financial year 200102 on working families tax credit; and what expenditure was on (a) family income supplement and (b) family credit during their final years of operation at (i) current prices and (ii) 2001 prices; 
Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.
The number of families in receipt of working families tax credit (WFTC) is published in the WFTC Quarterly Enquiries, copies of which are in the Library.
Estimating the take-up rate for working families tax credit requires, among other things, detailed household survey data for 200001. These are not yet available for analysis.
Estimates of take up rates for income-related benefits for Great Britain are published in the annual statistical series "Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up", which is available in the House of Commons Library. Family income supplement (FIS) was introduced in 1971. Estimates of its take-up rate for 1986 and 1987 are available in the 1987 publication, combined with selected earlier combined years back to 197475. FIS was replaced by family credit in 1988. Estimates of its take-up rate in 1988 and 1989 were published in the 1989 edition. Estimates for the final year of family credit were published in the 199899 edition.
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Table C14 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report contains projections of expenditure on the working families tax credit (WFTC) and disabled person's tax credit made at the time of the Budget, including for 200102. Approximately 94 per cent. relates to expenditure on WFTC in Great Britain.
I understand from the Department for Work and Pensions that expenditure on family income supplement in 198788 and expenditure on family credit in 199899, both in Great Britain, can be found on their website, www.dss.gov.uk/asd/asd4/Expenditure.htm, tables 8 and 9. There are various ways of converting these amounts to constant prices, including adjusting for movements in the gross domestic product deflator, which is published by the Office for National Statistics.
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Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average starting pay for higher education lecturers was in each year of the last 10 years. 
Margaret Hodge: The information is not held centrally. Available figures from the Universities and Colleges Association for the minimum pay of lecturers, senior lecturers and principal lecturers in the pre-1992 universities and in the post-1992 universities and colleges are shown in the following table. However, starting salaries do not necessarily equate with minimum pay, and not all appointments are made to the Lecturer and Lecturer A scales.
|£ per annum|
|Lecturer A||Lecturer B||Senior Lecturer||Lecturer||Senior Lecturer||Principal Lecturer|
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent assessment she has made of the impact of the local cost of living on teacher recruitment and retention. 
Mr. Timms: These factors are under constant review as part of our on-going interest in teacher recruitment and retention. They are also kept under review by the School Teacher's Review Body, which makes recommendations to the Government on school teachers' pay and conditions. London area allowances increased by 30 per cent. in April this year, and schools have wide discretion to pay recruitment and retention allowances.
We are aware of the effect that high accommodation costs, especially in the south-east of England, has on the recruitment and retention of teachers. To help develop a solution, last year, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister, in what was then the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, set out policies on home ownership, including proposals for a new initiative to help certain key public sector workers, including teachers, into low cost home ownership. The Government recently announced details of the starter home initiative, funded by £250 million over the years 200102 to 200304. This scheme will benefit over 10,000 key public sector workers, including 3,500 teachers, helping them to buy homes in urban and rural areas where high prices would otherwise prevent them from living in or near to the communities they serve. Registered landlords, local authorities and other interested parties were invited to bid for a share of this funding.
Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many qualified teachers left the profession, having completed between three and seven years of service in (a) 19992000 and (b) 200001. 
Mr. Timms [holding answer 8 November 2001]: About 6,200 qualified full and part-time regular teachers (headcount), who had completed at least three but less than seven years service, left the maintained schools sector in England in 19992000, the most recent year for which data are available. The figures exclude 10 per cent. to 20 per cent. of part-time teachers not included on the Teacher Pension Scheme records. Some teachers who left service will return after a career break.
Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance is given to education authorities on the rights (a) parents and (b) step-parents have to send their children to the same school as older siblings. 
Mr. Timms: None. Local education authorities are responsible for setting and publishing the admission arrangements for community and voluntary controlled schools, following local consultation each year. These
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arrangements must include the criteria for allocating places if a school is oversubscribed. There is no requirement for local authorities to use sibling links as an admission criterion, although many choose to do so, deciding their own definition of 'sibling'.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what work the social exclusion unit has carried out in relation to child homelessness. 
Mrs. Roche: The Prime Minister has asked the social exclusion unit to make recommendations to reduce the number of young people running away and ensure that runaways' short and long term needs are met. Approximately 129,000 young people run away each year and one quarter sleep rough. Running away is also a strong predictor of later homelessness. The project will report its recommendations to the Ministerial Committee on Children and Young People at the end of the year.
The social exclusion unit report on rough sleeping published in 1998 found that there were very few rough sleepers aged under 18. None the less, it identified a range of measures specifically aimed at young people. Many of these have now been taken forward by the rough sleepers unit, set up in April 1999 as a result of the SEU report. Examples of this have been work on the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 and the setting up, in partnership with the Department of Health and funded by the National Children's Bureau, of a 'Care Leaving Support Service'.
In addition, part of the SEU report on the national strategy for neighbourhood renewalthe Policy Action Team 12 on Young Peoplelooked at how Government could improve co-ordination of policies affecting children and young people and improve services, developing them to help prevent social exclusion. This led to the establishment of the children and young peoples unit in July 2000, based in the Department for Education and Skills. This unit supports cross-Government work on child poverty and youth disadvantage, looking across the full 0 to 19 age range, and is also responsible for implementing and managing the children's fund.
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