|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will alter the rules relating to income support so as to allow recipients of grants from the Thalidomide Trust to spend such grants on ongoing household expenses without losing their income support entitlement; 
(2) if he will alter the rules relating to (a) income support, (b) care funding and (c) the Independent Living Fund to allow recipients of grants from the Thalidomide Trust to take their full entitlement to such grants at the beginning of the year without losing their entitlement to those benefits. 
Mr. Pond: Payments to beneficiaries of the Thalidomide Trust are treated in the same way as other personal injury payments for income-related benefits, including income support. Capital that is placed in trust for an individual can be disregarded. Income from an individual's trust can also be disregarded as long as the income is used for items other than food, ordinary clothing or footwear, household fuel, rent or rates, certain housing costs or water charges other than day-to-day living expenses. These items are provided for by income-related benefits.
The Independent Living Funds broadly follow income support policy on this issue. Independent Living Fund payments are intended to provide for personal care and domestic assistance. Therefore, income from an individual's trust can be disregarded as long as no part of the income is used for personal care or domestic assistance.
The financial assessment for residential accommodation is assessed by local authority social services, taking into account the Charging for Residential Accommodation Guide issued by the Department of Health. Payments from the Thalidomide Trust are taken into account in the same way as they are for assessing income-related benefits.
For home care charges, social services have a minimum requirement to follow the Fairer Charging for Home Care and other non-residential social services guidance, issued to local authorities by the Department of Health in 2001, but can be more generous if they wish.
We recently received representations regarding the treatment of payments to the Thalidomide Trust's beneficiaries, and to ensure the matters raised receive the appropriate consideration, a meeting has been arranged with the Director of the Thalidomide Trust.
9 Feb 2005 : Column 1570W
Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people in each electoral ward in Stockton, South constituency claimed winter fuel allowance in 200304; and how many have claimed the allowance in 200405; 
Malcolm Wicks: The number of people in each electoral ward in Stockton, South who received a winter fuel payment in winter 200304 is in the following table. Figures are not yet available for winter 200405 but we expect the numbers to be similar.
|Ward||Winter fuel payment recipients|
Maria Eagle: Up to the 27 January 2005, 76 Workstep providers have been inspected by the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI). Of those, 41 providers failed their ALI inspection, 15 have been re-inspected and of those re-inspections, 12 passed, one failed and two are waiting to be informed of the outcome. A further 19 re-inspections are scheduled to be completed in the coming year.
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent changes have been made in the provision of funds for training for the Workstep programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: There has been one recent change to Workstep funding arrangements. From 1 April 2004, the payment to providers for each participant in a Workstep placement was increased to £400 per calendar month for all participants working 21 hours or more per week. This change ensured that providers received the same monthly amount for those people new to Workstep as they did for those carried forward from the old Supported Employment programme.
Keith Hill: Since 1997, investment in existing council homes has been significantly increased. By 2004 councils were spending 13 per cent. more in real terms than 1997. In addition £6 billion has so far been made available to set up Arms Length Management Organisations and Private Finance Initiatives. £5.3 billion has been levered in from the private sector through stock transfer.
Keith Hill: Sustainable Communities: Homes for All" sets out the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's plans to deliver more affordable housing over the next five years. Measures include assisting over 80,000 first time buyers and keyworkers to achieve their home ownership aspirations, and through investment and efficiency savings to deliver 75,000 social rented homes by 2008.
There is a statutory planning process for reviewing the housing figures. At this stage the South East England Regional Assembly is responsible for examining alternative spatial options for the future development of the south-east. It would not be right for us to pre-empt the outcome of their consultation and the Examination in Public that will follow. Therefore Government will not make a statement about revised housing figures at this stage.
9 Feb 2005 : Column 1572W
Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has set a target to ensure all homes in the social sector meet the decent homes standard by 2010, and to increase the proportion of vulnerable households living in decent homes in the private sector. We are implementing policies to achieve this target.
Keith Hill: The total number of affordable homes provided in 200304 through the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme (ADP), the transitional Local Authority Social Housing Grant and Starter Home Initiative for Plymouth and Devon (including Plymouth and Torbay) are tabled:
|Of which: Plymouth||81|
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the affordable housing schemes funded in Milton Keynes in each of the last three years indicating (a) the numbers of units in each location and (b) how many units in each scheme are for key workers. 
Keith Hill: During the three-year period between 200102 to 200304 there were a total of 1,152 affordable dwellings funded in Milton Keynes at a cost of £23,090,000 of which 516 were for key workers. In addition, funding of £14,959,000 has been allocated for the 200406 period, which is expected to fund 881 affordable dwellings of which 330 should be for key worker provision.
The information requested is submitted to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister according to housing authority areas rather than districts within an area. Crosby is a district of Sefton. In 2004 Sefton reported to have 7936 non-decent council homes. Figures are not available for 1997, as the Decent Homes Standard was not introduced until 2001.
9 Feb 2005 : Column 1573W
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|