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Industrial Action (Jobcentre Plus)

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many members of staff at the Benefits Agency and the Employment Service took part in the recent industrial action; and what steps he is taking to resolve the dispute. [32871]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: [holding answer 5 February 2002]: On average 23,635 members of staff, out of a total of 100,000 across the Benefits Agency and Employment Service, took part in industrial action on 28 and 29 January 2002. This represents approximately one quarter of the combined total of staff in the two agencies. The figures on strike were down from the December action when an average of 27,538 members of staff took part.

To date, more than 60 hours of negotiations (spanning 17 meetings) have taken place with the PCS union in an attempt to settle the current safety dispute. A set of proposals aimed at resolving the dispute was put to the union on 17 October. Despite the recommendation of the union's negotiators, these proposals were rejected by the PCS National Executive Committee by a small margin.

The PCS tabled its own proposals on which the dispute might be settled in December. The PCS proposals were considered carefully and two meetings were held with the union. However, the proposals ran contrary to the Government's policy that Jobcentre Plus should be delivered in a predominantly unscreened environment. The delivery of a personalised, customer-focused service in a predominantly unscreened environment, supported by enhanced security measures, is central to the new Jobcentre Plus service.

The proposals on offer last October, save for those that have been overtaken by time, remain on the table. These include details of which services are appropriate for dealing from screened areas, revised risk assessments, enhanced job specifications for security guards, and a review, involving the PCS, of the operation of the Pathfinders. The proposals continue to offer a basis for a negotiated settlement to the dispute.

12 Feb 2002 : Column 253W

Code of Practice (Disability Rights)

Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the Disability Rights Commission's revised Code of Practice on rights of access to goods, services, facilities and premises will come into force. [36267]

Maria Eagle: The revised Code of Practice on rights of access to goods, services, facilities and premises will come into force on 27 May 2002 following the making of an Order. It will be an invaluable guide for service providers in helping them understand the new duties and will enable them to plan now to ensure that physical barriers for disabled people can be overcome from 2004.

Minimum Incomes

Andy King: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidelines on the minimum incomes for healthy living for (a) pregnant women, (b) families, (c) single adults and (d) pensioners (i) before and (ii) after rent and council tax his Department (A) takes into account and (B) provides to other Government departments when decisions are being made about the levels of (1) council tax, (2) income tax, (3) housing and council tax benefits, (4) income support and jobseeker's allowance, (5) working families tax credit and (6) the minimum wage. [34881]

Malcolm Wicks: The levels of social security benefits are reviewed each year and approved by Parliament. A range of factors is considered when reviewing benefit levels. The Department does not produce guidelines on minimum incomes.

Income Support

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the value of (a) expenditure (i) in cash terms and (ii) in current prices and

12 Feb 2002 : Column 254W

(b) expenditure as a share of GDP on income support for the over-60s for 1992–93 and each succeeding year to the end of the public expenditure planning period. [35289]

Mr. McCartney: The information is in the table.

Expenditure income support for the elderly/minimum income guarantee
£ million

Cash termsReal termsPercentage of GDP
1992–933,7284,6490.6
1993–943,9394,7940.6
1994–953,9694,7670.6
1995–963,8884,5400.5
1996–973,8154,3180.5
1997–983,7734,1430.5
1998–993,6193,8660.4
1999–20003,7813,9430.4
2000–014,0674,1690.4
2001–024,5324,5320.5
2002–034,3294,2230.4
2003–045,1764,9270.5

Notes:

1. Figures are consistent with those published in the pre-Budget report 2000

2. Figures for 2003–04 include expenditure on Pension Credit


Pensioners Benefits

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the value of expenditure (a) in cash terms, (b) in current prices and (c) as a share of GDP on (i) retirement pensions, (ii) winter fuel payments, (iii) means-tested benefits for pensioners, (iv) all other benefits for pensioners and (v) free TV licences for 1992–93 and each succeeding year to the end of the public expenditure planning period. [35290]

Mr. McCartney: The information is in the tables:

Cash terms
£ million

1992–931993–941994–951995–961996–971997–98
Retirement pensions26,74028,22028,78030,00032,02533,585
Winter fuel payments00000190
Means-tested benefits for pensioners(31)7,3158,1008,3708,5508,6358,650
All other benefits for pensioners(32)4,7705,4555,6806,0306,3256,370
Concessionary TV licences000000
Total38,83041,77042,83044,58046,98548,795

£ million

1998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–032003–04
Retirement pensions35,60537,80038,82542,03544,35546,450
Winter fuel payments1959101,6801,7001,7001,720
Means-tested benefits for pensioners(31)8,6058,9809,52010,41010,43011,630
All other benefits for pensioners(32)6,4256,4306,7607,0057,1607,435
Concessionary TV licences00320345365380
Total50,82554,12557,10561,49564,01567,610

Real terms
£ million 2001–02 prices

1992–931993–941994–951995–961996–971997–98
Retirement pensions33,34534,34034,56535,03036,25036,880
Winter fuel payments00000210
Means-tested benefits for pensioners(31)9,0759,80510,0159,9259,7309,475
All other benefits for pensioners(32)6,0006,6856,8607,1007,2057,015
Concessionary TV licences000000
Total48,42050,83551,44052,05553,18553,585

12 Feb 2002 : Column 255W

£ million 2001–02 prices

1998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–032003–04
Retirement pensions38,03539,43039,79542,03543,27044,210
Winter fuel payments2109501,7251,7001,6601,635
Means-tested benefits for pensioners(31)9,1659,3459,73010,37510,14011,035
All other benefits for pensioners(32)6,8856,7306,9607,0357,0257,110
Concessionary TV licences00330345355360
Total54,29556,45558,53561,49562,45564,355

(31) Figures for mean-tested benefits for the pensioner group include payments made to those aged 60 to 65.

(32) 'All other benefits for pensioners' includes payments of disability and bereavement benefits and Christmas bonus to those of pension age.

Notes:

1. Amounts are rounded to the nearest £5 million.

2. Totals may not appear to sum due to rounding.


Percentage of GDP

1992–931993–941994–951995–961996–971997–98
Retirement pensions4.34.34.24.14.14.1
Winter fuel payments0.00.00.00.00.00.0
Means-tested benefits for pensioners1.21.21.21.21.11.0
All other benefits for pensioners0.80.80.80.80.80.8
Concessionary TV licences(33)(33)(33)(33)(33)(33)
Total6.36.46.26.16.15.9

Percentage of GDP

1998–991999–20002000–012001–022002–032003–04
Retirement pensions4.14.14.14.24.24.2
Winter fuel payments0.00.10.20.20.20.2
Means-tested benefits for pensioners1.01.01.01.01.01.1
All other benefits for pensioners0.70.70.70.70.70.7
Concessionary TV licences(33)(33)(33)(33)(33)(33)
Total5.95.96.06.26.16.2

(33) Less than 0.1 per cent.



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