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Back Pain

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what studies he is collating in conjunction with the Department of Health into (a) the incidence of

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low back pain among those of working age and (b) its implications for loss of working time and costs to the benefit system. [48823]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 17 April 2002]: The Department has played an important role in raising awareness of back pain disability as an issue; in promoting best clinical practice to health professionals; in supporting the development of guidelines for managers and employees; and in devising more objective and rigorous assessment methods.

A Chief Medical Adviser bulletin has recently been issued to all General Practitioners which specifically mentions the management of low back pain and the need for doctors to follow the Royal College of General Practitioners management guidelines when treating this condition. The Department continues to work very closely with external experts in the field of back pain in developing policies, guidance and procedures.

An innovative approach to work preparation—the "From Back Pain to Work" project—has recently been piloted in at the main hospitals in Salford and Bristol. This involved Jobcentre staff working in partnership with medical practitioners to reintegrate people with back pain into employment. The project used a programme of psychological, physical and occupational elements to help people back into work.

Results from the initial trials have been encouraging and there are now plans for further expansion and evaluation of the pilots in additional locations starting in late summer 2002.

Medical Assessment

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the Department has agreed the extended contract for medical assessment services with SchlumbergerSema; and if modifications take into account the recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee's twenty seventh report (HC683). [48822]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 17 April 2002]: The extension of Contracts with SchlumbergerSema, announced on 30 November 2001 has not yet been confirmed. The decision to confirm or revoke the extension will be made by 31 May 2002.

Since the Public Accounts Committee hearing in March 2001 significant progress has been made towards addressing the Committee's concerns and improving the standard of services delivered by SchlumbergerSema.

Savings Credit

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will estimate the proportion of expenditure on the savings credit element of the pension credit that will be attributable to (a) single male pensioners, (b) single female pensioners and (c) married pensioners; [47582]

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Mr. McCartney [holding answer 10 April 2002]: The information requested is in the tables.

Table 1: Proportion of total savings credit expenditure for which it is estimated that single men, single women and pensioner couples will be eligible
Per cent.(12)

Proportion of savings credit expenditure
Single men16
Single women50

(12) Percentages are given to the nearest per cent.

Table 2: number of single men, single women and pensioner couples estimated to be entitled to the pension credit in 2003–04(13)

Guarantee credit onlyGuarantee and savings creditsSavings credit onlyTotal pension credit
Single men0.
Single women0.401.150.552.10

(13) Numbers rounded to the nearest 0.05 million.

Table 3: Proportion of total pension credit case load entitled to council tax benefit, housing benefit or both
Per cent.(14)

Pension credit case load
No housing benefit/council tax benefit8
Council tax benefit only46
Housing benefit only(15)
Both housing benefit and council tax benefit45

(14) Percentages are given to the nearest one per cent.

(15) Denotes a figure less than 0.5 per cent.


1. Pension credit figures have been calculated using the Policy Simulation Model for Income Related Benefit. This models the benefits system and is based on data from the Family Resources Survey (FRS) for 1999–2000. The model has been uprated to model benefits in 2003–04.

2. The figures are based on entitlement to pension credit.

3. The figures do not include pensioners in residential care or nursing homes (RCNH). This is because the FRS does not contain information on RCNH cases. It is estimated that 200,000 pensioners in RCNH will be eligible for pension credit, and the majority of these will be in single pensioner benefit units. Therefore the total case load estimated to be entitled to pension credit in 2003–04 is around 4.1 million households.

Industrial Injuries

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for each of the last 10 years, how many new claims have been made for industrial injury benefit; how many claims have been paid; and what was the total cost of benefits paid (i) in cash terms and (ii) at December 2001 prices. [51039]

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Mr. Nicholas Brown: The available information is in the tables.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB), Reduced Earnings Allowance (REA) and Retirement Allowance (RA) claims and awards

New claims received (IIDB, REA and RA)Awards (IIDB)Awards (REA and RA)

(16) Information on the number of new claims made prior to 1995–96 is not available because data are unreliable and inconsistent with the current method of data collection.


1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

2. Figures may be subject to a degree of sampling variation.

3. A customer may be in receipt of either IIDB or REA/RA or both.

4. Awards may be in respect of a claim made in an earlier period.


10 per cent. sample of annual statistical returns from disablement benefit offices.

Benefit expenditure on IIDB, REA and RA
£ million

Cash termsReal terms at 2001–02 prices


Figures are rounded to the nearest £ million.


Figures are consistent with Social Security departmental reports

Crisis Loans

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what was the crisis loan expenditure on living expenses (alignment) in each year since 1996; and what such expenditure was expressed as a proportion of crisis loan expenditure. [51043]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is in the table.

Social Fund crisis loan expenditure—alignment payments

YearTotal crisis loan expenditure (£ million)Alignment payment expenditure (£ million)Alignment payments as a percentage of crisis loan expenditure


1. Figures are rounded to the nearest £ million.

2. Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number.


Annual Reports by the Secretary of State on the Social Fund 1996–97 to 2000–01

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