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Mental Health

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to increase the level of in- patient care for those spending over a year in mental health hospitals above the present weekly allowance. [40651]

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions at what level the personal allowance for mental health patients requiring in-patient care is set; and if he plans to review it. [41469]

Maria Eagle: There are no plans to change the amount by which benefits are reduced for hospital in-patients who have been in hospital for more than 52 weeks.

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The hospital downrating rules prevent double provision from public funds as the publicly funded NHS maintains people while they stay in hospital as well as providing free treatment. Social security maintenance benefits are also paid from state funds. They are therefore not paid in full indefinitely where a person is in a NHS hospital and having their day to day living expenses met through the NHS.

The double provision principle is a key cornerstone of the system of national insurance introduced over 50 years ago.

However, we also recognise that people have on-going financial commitments while in hospital, and although we consider the six week rule strikes a fair balance between what the state should provide financially and the provision individuals should make for themselves, we have none the less decided to extend the period before benefits are downrated by a further seven weeks to the 13 week stage. This will mean that people previously affected by the six week rule will be able to keep their benefits untouched if their period of stay in hospital is under 13 weeks. Benefit is generally then not downrated again until after 52 weeks.

Benefit is adjusted in this way because, generally speaking, the national health service will have assumed the responsibility of providing for patients who have spent more than 52 weeks in hospital. The personal requirements allowance is regarded as a reasonable amount to cover small personal items not already provided by the hospital.


Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the (a) mean and (b) median income of (i) single men aged 65 to 74 years, (ii) single men aged 75 years and over, (iii) single women aged 65 to 74 years and (iv) single women aged 75 years and over, (v) pensioner couples aged 65 to 74 years and (vi) pensioner couples aged 75 years and over for the latest year for which figures are available. [39545]

Mr. McCartney: The information requested is given in the table.

Net weekly income before housing costs 1999–2000

Single men aged 65 to 74 years183134
Single men aged 75 years and over162131
Single women aged 65 to 74 years144123
Single women aged 75 years and over134121
Couples aged 65 to 74 years299234
Couples aged 75 years and over245201


1. Income is defined here as net income before housing costs.

2. Amounts are in £ per week at July 1999 prices and are rounded to the nearest £1.

3. A pensioner couple is defined as a married or cohabiting couple.

4. Pensioner couples are allocated to age categories according to the age of the head. The head of a couple is defined as the man.


Family Resources Survey 1999–2000

Departmental Advertising

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what advertising campaigns his Department is (a) running and (b) planning for the future; what the

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committed spend on marketing is for the 2001–02 financial year; and what estimate has been made of the final cost of all his Department's marketing in the 2001–02 financial year. [7898]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: We are currently (February/ March) running the following advertising campaigns: Pensions education, Inherited SERPS, New Deal 25 Plus, and DDA awareness.

Between October 2001 and February 2002 the following campaigns ran: New Deal 25 Plus, Targeting Benefit Fraud, New Deal for Disabled People, Winter Fuel Payment awareness, Pensions education.

Major campaigns costing over £250,000 for the financial year 2001–02 are as follows:

Other activity is being considered but nothing has been finalised.

Allocations, and therefore spend, are not set in stone at the beginning of the financial year, but remain flexible throughout the year responding to need as and when required.

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Mr. Tom Mann

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will issue advice to decision-makers for (a) attendance allowance and (b) disability living allowance to give full weight to the definition of virtually unable to walk as given in Cassinelli v. Secretary of State for Social Services, Times Law report 6.12.91, following the Chairman's ruling on 11 February at the reconstituted tribunal set up by the Sutton Benefits Agency office concerning Mr. Tom Mann. [39412]

Maria Eagle: The 1991 judgment of the Court of Appeal in Cassinelli v. Secretary of State for Social Services was concerned only with the meaning of the test of "severe discomfort" in relation to whether the manner in which a person could make progress on foot out of doors was so limited that he could be taken to be virtually unable to walk for the purpose of entitlement to mobility allowance. The court held that the test is one of severe discomfort rather than of severe pain or distress. This is not relevant to (a) attendance allowance, for which entitlement depends upon a severely disabled person's need for personal attention, supervision or watching over from another person; but (b) it continues to be relevant to the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance, which replaced mobility allowance in 1992, and the guidance to decision makers about that component in the Decision Makers Guide cites the meaning of "severe discomfort" given in the Cassinelli judgment as the one to be followed when considering whether a person is virtually unable to walk.

Legal Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what legal costs have been incurred by his Department in each of the last four years. [34285]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in June 2001 from the former Department for Social Security and parts of the Department for Education and Employment.

Legal costs for the new Department are not yet available for the current financial year (2001–02).

New Deal

Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make additional funding available to New Deal providers to help trainees with (a) basic skills and (b) English speaking. [36403]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Long-term unemployed people who need help with basic skills or the English language are identified by personal advisers during the Gateway period of the New Deal. Those with a need can then be referred to help within the Gateway, including short basic skills courses. People who need more intensive, longer- term assistance are offered help through the Education and Training New Deal option which can provide courses lasting up to 26 weeks.

Basic skills or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) training is provided in response to an individual's needs. The Employment Service contracts locally with New Deal providers to meet the needs of their particular client group and provides sufficient funding for this to be achieved.

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The help provided through the New Deal is an important part of the Government's strategy to improve literacy and numeracy skills. A new curriculum in ESOL was launched in February and will further improve the quality of language provision available to those who need it. We will be working to embed the new curriculum into our employment programmes.

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