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Industrial Injuries

Helen Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects the further research recommended by the Industrial Injuries Council into risk of upper limb disorders in specific occupations to be completed. [142599]

Mr. Browne: The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (MAC) has monitored the scientific literature in relation to Work Related Upper Limb Disorders since its last report in 1992, and has decided that there is now sufficient new evidence that it should conduct a further review of the subject.

The review is still in its early stages. 11 AC plans to continue its research and consultation with experts during the spring and summer of 2004 and to complete its review in the first half of 2005.

Occupational Deafness

Mr. Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases lodged before the Medical Appeals Tribunal in 2002–03 concerned occupational deafness; and how many were successful. [143458]

Maria Eagle: This is a matter for Christina Townsend Chief Executive of the Appeals Service. She will reply to the hon. Member.

Letter from Christina Townsend to Mr. Mahmood, dated 16 December 2003:

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Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) appeals due to Occupational Deafness in the period 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003

LodgedCleared at hearingFound in favour of the appellant
All Appeals242,510178,35080,815
All IIDB appeals18,35515,8606,140
IIDB occupational deafness appeals39535570


All figures are subject to change as more up to date data becomes available. Figures are rounded to the nearest five.


IAD Information Centre, 100 per cent. sample.

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Parents with Care

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the (a) monetary value and (b) percentage of maintenance that was paid to Child Support Agency parents with care in receipt of (i) income based jobseeker's allowance and income support and (ii) working families tax credit in each of the last six years. [141529]

Mr. Pond: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the table.

Child Maintenance paid to parents with care who are in receipt of Income Support/Jobseeker's Allowance (IB) and Working Families Tax Credit: 1 March 2000 to 28 February 2003

Total maintenance paidMaintenance paid to IS/JSA(IB)PWCsMaintenance paid to WFTC PWCs
£ million£ millionPercentage£ millionPercentage
1 Mar 2000 to 28 February 2001480.1142.029.6154.032.1
1 Mar 2001 to 28 February 2002514.2137.826.8180.335.1
1 March 2002 to 28 February 2003554.9137.724.8205.337.0


1. Figures are for full maintenance assessments only.

2. Figures produced using 5 per cent. scan of Child Support Computer System (CSCS).

3. Figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample and therefore may be subject to sampling variation.

4. Maintenance paid is in millions and is rounded to the nearest hundred thousand.

Pension Credit

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners receiving housing and council tax benefit became entitled to pension credit in October; and of that number how many received an increase in their housing and council tax benefit entitlement to reflect the increased thresholds for these benefits. [144652]

Mr. Pond: The information is not available. However, we estimate that some 1.9 million pensioner households stand to get more help, or help for the first time, through housing benefit and council tax benefit as a result of the introduction of pension credit.

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether pension credit counts as income when assessing housing and council tax benefit. [144653]

Mr. Pond: Whether pension credit is taken into account when assessing housing benefit and council tax benefit depends on which elements of pension credit are in payment.

A person in receipt of the guarantee element of pension credit, or both the guarantee and the savings credit elements of pension credit, has all of their income and capital disregarded for the purposes of housing benefit and council tax benefit. If a person is in receipt of the savings credit element only, then the amount of the savings credit is taken into account as income in the housing benefit or council tax benefit assessment.

However, in October 2003, the applicable amounts in housing benefit and council tax benefit, for people aged 65 and over (or who have partners aged 65 and over) were increased to reflect the maximum savings credit people could get. This ensures that, although the savings credit is taken into account as income, the resulting reduction in their housing benefit or council tax is less than their gains due to receipt of the savings credit.

Pension Payments

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners have decided not to change over to payment of their pensions into bank accounts or Post Office card accounts. [144288]

Mr. Pond: As at 14 November 2003, over 1.3 million Pension Service customers have been invited to convert to direct payment. Of these, only 2.98 per cent. (39,016) have actively indicated that, at this stage, payment into a bank, building society or Post Office card account is not their preferred option.

Key figures on the progress of conversion to direct payment are available in the Library updated every four weeks.

State Pension

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how his Department intends to help lower earners build up their entitlement to the state pension. [143927]

Malcolm Wicks: There are already a number of measures in place to help lower earners build up their entitlement to state pension.

Employees who earn above the lower earnings limit (LEL) but less than the lower earnings threshold (LET) are treated as having earnings at the LET. Certain carers and people who are disabled or long-term ill who earn less than the LET, including those with no earnings at all, are also treated as having earnings at the LET. Because the LET is set at a higher amount than the LEL, some employees do not have to pay national insurance

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contributions (NICs) but are treated as if they have paid them. This means that they continue to build up entitlement to contributory benefits such as state pension and incapacity benefit even though they are not paying NICs.

In addition, people with earnings below the level at which they are treated as paying NICs or no earnings can have their state pension entitlement protected by home responsibilities protection (HRP). HRP helps to protect the basic state pension position of people whose opportunities to work are limited because of caring responsibilities at home. It is available to eligible people for complete tax years and reduces the number of qualifying years they would otherwise need for a basic state pension.

Also, recipients of working tax credit whose earnings are below the level at which they are treated as paying NICs can be credited with contributions for state pension purposes.

Further, the state second pension focuses help on those with low to moderate earnings and on qualifying carers and long term-disabled people who have broken work records. 20 million people have started to benefit from the reform of state earnings-related pension scheme (SERPS) through the state second pension, introduced in April 2002. Low earners will get at least double what they would have got from SERPS, while carers and disabled people with broken work records will be entitled to an additional state pension for the first time.



Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many deaths were related to smoking in (a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) 2002. [143842]

Miss Melanie Johnson: Information is not available in the form requested. The Health Education Authority 1998 report, "The UK Smoking Epidemic: Deaths in 1995", estimated that in the United Kingdom in 1995, smoking caused more than 120,000 deaths of people aged 35 years or more. A copy of this report is available in the Library.

"Valuing People"

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he will fund the service improvements for adults with learning disabilities set out in the White Paper, Valuing People. [143503]

Dr. Ladyman: "Valuing People: A New Strategy for Learning Disability for the 21st Century" (Cm 5086), announced the creation of two new funds to support its priorities, the Implementation Support Fund from April 2001 and the Learning Disability Development Fund from April 2002. Our annual report on learning disability, Making Change Happen (HC 514), published in April 2003, announced that the Support Fund would continue until March 2006; the Development Fund will also continue until March 2006.

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In addition, over £3 billion a year is spent on health and social care provision for people with learning disabilities. People with learning disabilities also use mainstream health and social care services and benefit from increased expenditure on those services.

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