Previous Section Index Home Page

Bereavement Allowance

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to extend the period of payment of bereavement allowance to widows and widowers following the death of a spouse. [19328]

Malcolm Wicks: Bereavement benefits were introduced on 9 April 2001 and are available to both men and women for the first time. They concentrate the help available where and when it is needed most, on immediate needs and on families with children.

We recognise that people need breathing space to come to terms with the emotional and practical upheaval caused by the loss of their spouse. Bereavement allowance is therefore payable for 12 months. As with all benefits this will be kept under review.

Benefit Fraud

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what are the (a) local authorities who have been subject to an inspection by the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate and (b) authorities who have implemented all the recommendations made by the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate's report. [11817]

Malcolm Wicks: A list of those local authorities which have been subject to an inspection by the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate (BFI) has been placed in the Library. Copies of those inspection reports which have been published can also be found in the Library.

BFI recommendations are not binding on local authorities, who may put forward alternative proposals for improving performance. Where there are continuing concerns, authorities are asked to submit progress reports to ensure that their planned improvements are being implemented and achieved. If it is thought necessary to gain additional assurance that improvements have been implemented, the BFI may be asked to undertake a further inspection. Where following a further inspection it is considered that the authority has failed to improve its performance to a satisfactory standard, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, will seriously consider using his powers to direct the authority to attain specified standards within a set timescale.

Therefore information is not available in the format requested.

New Deal

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what independent expert studies he has commissioned into each of the New Deal programmes since January 2000; [11592]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: New Deal independent research projects commissioned by the Department since January 2000 (with dates where reports have been published) are:

5 Dec 2001 : Column: 433W

5 Dec 2001 : Column: 434W


Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action his Department has taken to tackle discrimination against older people. [14956]

Mr. McCartney: Since 1997, this Government have consistently shown their commitment to tackling age discrimination against older people through a wide- ranging programme of research, consultation and development initiatives.

We have overseen a range of co-ordinated strategies through consultation with older people and representative groups, that identify and address their needs including overcoming age discrimination. These include the Better Government for Older People Programme, the 10-year Transport Plan, Quality and Choice for Older People's Housing: A Strategic Framework, the National Service Framework for Older People and the Performance and Innovation Unit report "Winning the Generation Game".

Our jobcentre network, including the new employer direct call centres, are working to eliminate age discrimination through a range of options. They have a policy of not accepting job vacancies with an upper age limit unless the employer can show genuine reason for the restriction. They deliver a wide range of programmes which are available to older people including new deal 25+, new deal for disabled people, work based learning for adults, work trials and programme centres.

In April 2000, the new deal 50 plus was launched and up to September this year had helped over 51,000 over 50s back to work. The programme is currently developing third age apprenticeships, which are new work based training opportunities designed to help older people retrain, particularly in sectors which have been reluctant to recruit older people.

The Government are committed to implementing age legislation in employment by 2006 and in the lead up to legislation, our AgePositive campaign will be intensified; vigorously promoting the business benefits of employing young and older people in the workplace.

The campaign includes three national and regional annual awards for employers who demonstrate their commitment to employing an age diverse work force, promotion of the Code of Practice on Age Diversity in Employment, a wide ranging research programme and a range of media advertising.

On 3 December the campaign launched a new AgePositive website and new research studies including the Evaluation of the Impact of the Code of Practice and Good Practice in the Recruitment and Retention of Older Workers.

Winter Fuel Allowance (Residential Care)

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the cost of payment of winter fuel allowances to fully funded residents of residential and nursing homes. [18087]

5 Dec 2001 : Column: 435W

Mr. McCartney [holding answer 27 November 2001]: Winter fuel payments are not made to people who are permanently resident in a residential care or nursing home, and receiving higher rates of income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance. This is because they already receive public assistance with their living costs. Details of how many of these people receive full funding is not available.


Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in Amber Valley will be affected by the measures contained in the pre-Budget announcement. [19093]

Mr. McCartney: There are 16.9 thousand people in receipt of Retirement Pension in Amber Valley. They will all gain from the measures which increase pensioners' income.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency are (a) benefiting from the minimum income guarantee and (b) entitled to claim that benefit. [19978]

Mr. McCartney: As at May 2001, there were 3,500 minimum income guarantee (MIG) recipients in the Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency.

Estimates of the numbers of people who may be eligible for, but who have not claimed the MIG, are not available below national level.

Next Section Index Home Page