Previous Section Index Home Page

31 Jan 2005 : Column 603W—continued

Criminal Offences

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the criminal offences created in legislation sponsored by his Department in the (a) 2002–03 and (b) 2003–04 session, broken down by Act. [206875]

Maria Eagle: The Pensions Act 2004 (c.35) was the only DWP-sponsored primary legislation during the sessions 2002–03 and 2003–04 which created criminal offences. Those criminal offences are:

31 Jan 2005 : Column 604W

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much the Department spent on lawyers in each year since 1997; how many (a) actions, (b) settlements and (c) court cases there were in each year and what the costs were of each settlement. [206460]

Maria Eagle: DWP was formed in June 2001 from Department of Social Security (DSS) and parts of the former Department for Education and Employment, including the Employment Service.
31 Jan 2005 : Column 605W

The available information is in the table. Data concerning case numbers, court cases and settlements could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Amount (£)

1.Information for periods prior to June 2001 refers to the former DSS.
2.The information provided refers only to expenditure on litigation, not advisory work.

Departmental Policies (Clwyd, South)

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Clwyd, South constituency, the effects on Clwyd, South of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [210330]

Jane Kennedy: We have undertaken a fundamental overhaul of the welfare system, transforming it to an active system that fights poverty, creates opportunity and helps people become self-sufficient and independent.

Since 1997 the Government have significantly extended and improved civil rights for disabled people in areas such as employment, education, access to goods and services and transport. Disabled people in Clwyd South will have benefited from these improvements in disability rights. Similarly families with severely disabled 3 and 4-year-old children who are unable, or virtually unable, to walk will have benefited from the Government's decision to lower the minimum age entitlement to the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance from April 2001, while older and less well-off carers have gained extra help through the provisions within the National Carers Strategy.

In 2002–03 we estimate there were around 10 million adults (22 per cent.) and 0.7 million children (5 per cent.) in Great Britain likely to be covered by the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

The figures can be broken down to regional level which shows that 31 per cent. of adults and 7 per cent. of children in Wales are likely to be covered by the provisions of the DDA.

Information on the numbers of customers in Clwyd, South who are in receipt of disability living allowance (DLA) and attendance allowance (AA) is in the table.
31 Jan 2005 : Column 606W

Clwyd, South parliamentary constituency

Operational yearDLA/AA recipients

DWP Information Centre. Figures are from a 5 per cent. sample at 31 August each year.

Through Jobcentre Plus, we are promoting work as the best form of welfare for people of working age. The number of people in work is at historically high levels of over 28.5 million; in Clwyd, South, the proportion in employment has risen to 74 per cent.

Our new deals have helped lone parents, the young unemployed, the long-term unemployed, disabled people, the over 50s and partners of unemployed people to move from benefit into work. Nationally over 1.2 million people have been helped into work by the New Deals, with over 1,400 in Clwyd, South alone.

Significant progress has been made in eradicating child poverty and the latest figures for 2002–03 show that, in the UK, there were over half a million fewer children in relative low income than there were in 1996–97. Since 2001–02 incomes for lone parents in receipt of benefit have risen by more than prices or the cost of living. In April 2005 the child allowance rate in income support for a child up to 18 years old will have been increased by 40 per cent. since 2001–02. Child rates in income support and jobseeker's allowance are also being increased above inflation in April 2005 in line with child tax credit upratings. All of this has benefited 1,200 families in Clwyd, South.

We want all pensioners to have a decent and secure income in retirement and to share fairly in the rising prosperity of the country, and our first priority has been to help the poorest pensioners. The Government will be spending nearly £10 billion more in 2004–05 (in 2004–05 prices) on pensioners as a result of measures introduced since 1997, with around half going to the poorest third.

Our reforms include the State Second Pension, which helps more future pensioners build up better pensions, especially carers. Pension credit, introduced from October 2003, provides a contribution to a guaranteed minimum income for those aged 60 and over and, for the first time, those over aged 65 and over may be rewarded for savings and income. Around 3,860 pensioners in Clwyd, South are receiving pension credit, with an average award of £41.20 per week.

We know that older people are disproportionately affected by fuel poverty. This winter (2004–02) we have again made available a winter fuel payment of £200 for each eligible household with someone aged 60 or over and £300 to those with someone aged 80 or over, to help with their fuel bills. Additionally for this year eligible households with someone aged 70 or over will receive the One-off 70+ Payment of £100 to help with living expenses including council tax bills. It is paid with the winter fuel payment.

The constituency data on winter fuel payments are available in the Library.
31 Jan 2005 : Column 607W

Since 1997 single pensioners and pensioner couples have seen a real terms increase in their Basic State Pension of 7 per cent. and 8 per cent., respectively. Some 12,900 pensioners in Clwyd, South have benefited from this increase.

Next Section Index Home Page