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3 Feb 2005 : Column 1096W—continued

Sustainable Communities

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the estimated expenditure on the National Centre for Sustainable Communities Skills is in the next financial year. [211159]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's budget in 2005–06 for the National Centre is £3.5 million.

Urban Task Force Report

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which recommendations from Lord Rogers's Urban Task Force report the Government have not yet implemented. [211162]

Keith Hill: The Government endorsed the principles behind all of the 105 recommendations in Lord Roger's report, the majority of which were accepted in full or in part and incorporated in the Urban White Paper Our Towns and Cities: the future—Delivering an Urban Renaissance" published in November 2000. Our response to each recommendation is set out in an Annex to the White Paper. Significant progress has been made in implementing all of the measures in the White Paper. An Implementation Plan reporting on progress is available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website. These achievements are being built on by the Government's Sustainable Communities Plan, launched in February 2003, which sets out a clear action plan for the long-term development of towns, cities and communities.



Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of his Department's budget has been spent on public promotional and advertising campaigns on financial support available to carers in each year since 1997. [211990]

Maria Eagle: The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in June 2001 from the former Department of Social Security, and parts of the former Department for Education and Employment including the Employment Service.
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The Department provides information on financial support available for carers through benefits information leaflets, websites and face to face and telephone contact with customers, their families, friends and carers, advisers and others. As these products and services cover many other areas it is not possible specifically to identify the cost of providing information for carers.

Christmas Cards

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many hours of staff time were taken up in preparation of Christmas cards in 2004; [205156]

(2) how many departmental staff have responsibility for preparing Christmas cards; [205157]

(3) what percentage of official departmental Christmas cards included a contribution to charity in their cost; and which charities benefited from such a contribution; [205158]

(4) what the cost of postage was for official departmental Christmas cards in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004; [205159]

(5) what the cost was of purchasing official departmental Christmas cards in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004; [205160]

(6) how many official Christmas cards were sent out by his Department in (a) 2003 and (b) 2004. [205161]

Maria Eagle: The Department does not co-ordinate the purchase and distribution of Christmas cards centrally. However, Christmas cards for Ministers and the Permanent Secretary are co-ordinated within the Department's Private Office and the following table details the number of cards purchased, together with the cost of these, for both 2003 and 2004.
MinistersPermanent Secretary
Cost (£)1,502229
Cost (£)1,649210

All of the official Christmas cards sent out by Ministers and the Permanent Secretary included a contribution to charity. This contribution will be split equally, by the company from which they were purchased, between 70 different charities. Two staff were responsible for the ordering of these cards; however, the amount of time taken up on preparation is not available—the work is carried out alongside normal duties.

It is our policy to send mail by second class post wherever possible. The cost of postage for these cards is not recorded separately. All expenditure incurred in the purchase of official Christmas cards is made in accordance with the departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in Government Accounting.

Christmas cards are also sent out by the Department's Executive Agencies, and I have asked the respective chief executives of these agencies to write to the right hon. Member separately. A copy of the letters will be placed in the Library.
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Departmental Policies (Edinburgh, North and Leith)

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to Edinburgh, North and Leith constituency, the effects on Edinburgh, North and Leith of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [211572]

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 2001, the Government have significantly extended and improved civil rights for disabled people in areas such as employment, education, access to goodsand services and transport. Disabled people in Edinburgh, North and Leith will have benefited from these improvements in disability rights. Similarly, families with severely disabled three and four-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) 1995.

The figures can be broken down to national level which shows that 23 per cent. of adults and 6 per cent. of children in Scotland are likely to be covered by the provisions of the DDA.

Information on the numbers of customers in Edinburgh, North and Leith who are in receipt of disability living allowance (DLA) and attendance allowance (AA) is in the table.
Edinburgh, North and Leith

Operational yearDLA/AA recipients

Figures are rounded to the nearest 100 and are from a 5 per cent. sample at 31 August each year.
DWP Information Centre

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 Edinburgh, North and Leith, the proportion in employment has risen to 76.6 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 1,700 in Edinburgh, North and Leith alone.
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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 1,400 families in Edinburgh, North and Leith.

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. As of October 2004, around 3,265 pensioners in Edinburgh, North and Leith are receiving pension credit, with an average award of £42.90 per week.

We know that older people are disproportionately affected by fuel poverty. This winter (2004–05) 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 and the additional 80+ annual payment is available in the Library.

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 11,000 pensioners in Edinburgh, North have benefited from this increase.

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