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Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the outcome was of the Employment and Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council on 7 December; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Pond: I represented the UK for the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council in Brussels on 7 December 2004, accompanied by my hon. friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, Consumers and Postal Services (Mr. Sutcliffe).
On working time, there was no agreement. Although there was majority support for the Dutch Presidency proposed solution to SIMAP/Jaeger, a blocking minority supported by the Commission opposed the Presidency compromise. However, the Council debate provided a useful way forward for further discussion.
The Council endorsed the EMCO and SPC opinion on the Kok report, and completed a table round on the Social Policy Agenda in the context of the Lisbon Strategy. The Commissioner emphasised that the EU must respond to the challenges of globalisation, ageing, increasing diversity and the shift to a knowledge-based society. All delegations agreed that Lisbon was the right strategy to tackle this, and did not need to be revisited. The SPA must in turn support Lisbon, increasing the quantity and quality of jobs, balancing flexibility and security, and building social inclusion. For the UK, I intervened to argue that employment was always the best social policy and, furthermore, that employment growth was the key to sustaining the European Social Model. I emphasised that economic and social policy were therefore mutually dependent rather than being in conflict with each other.
The Council agreed a general approach to extending funding for the two equality programmesthe Community framework strategy on gender equality and the Community Action Programmeto 2006, without discussion.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) male and (b) female recipients of income support, excluding minimum income guarantees and pension credit there have been in each year since 1979. 
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Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in Eltham are receiving (a) pension credit, (b) winter fuel payment, (c) free TV licences and (d) the additional £100 council tax contribution; and how much has been spent on each of these. 
At 31 October there were 3,040 households, comprising 3,670 individuals, receiving pension credit in Eltham, with an average award of
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£47.92. Between 1 October 2003 and 31 October 2004 an estimated £8.2 million, rounded to the nearest £100,000, was paid in pension credit in Eltham.
Information on the numbers of households in receipt of free television licences, or the amount spent, is not available by constituency. The number of households with at least one resident aged 75 or over in Eltham was 4,835 in winter 200304. Each of these households would be eligible for a free TV licence. Total expenditure on free TV licences in the United Kingdom in 200304 was around £408 million.
Of the 14,505 people who received a winter fuel payment in Eltham in 200304, 8,415 were aged over 70. We expect a similar number to receive the One-off 70+ Payment of £100 this winter. The cost of this payment is not yet available.
2. Pension credit figures are available for 31 October 2004 as the final output of processes that were put in place to deliver special monthly reporting during the first year of the roll-out of pension credit. As Parliament was told in the statement accompanying the last such report, data will in future be available on a quarterly basis, in line with standard departmental practice. The next report, covering data as at 31 December 2004, should be laid in the House in January 2005.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many pensioners in Scotland were eligible for the £100 winter fuel payment for the over eighties last winter; and how many received it; 
Malcolm Wicks: It is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of the number of people in Scotland eligible to receive the additional winter fuel payment for the over eighties. 184,760 pensioners in Scotland received the additional winter fuel payment for the over eighties last winter. We would expect the number to be similar for this winter.
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