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18 Mar 2005 : Column 503W—continued

Low-income Households (Weston-super-Mare)

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners he estimates are living below the poverty line within the Weston-super-Mare constituency. [221898]

Malcolm Wicks: Poverty is about more than low income; it is also about other important factors in people's lives: their health, housing and the quality of their environment. The sixth annual "Opportunity for All" report (Cm 6239), published in September 2004, sets out the Government's strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion and presents information on the indicators used to measure progress against this strategy.

Information on the number of pensioners on low incomes in individual local authorities is not available.

5,151 pensioner households in Weston-Super-Mare were benefiting from the pension credit as at end of December 2004.

Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households below average income there are in (a) the South West and (b) Weston-super-Mare constituency. [221900]

Mr. Pond: In 2002–03, an estimated 65 per cent. of households in the South West had incomes below the national mean on the Before Housing Costs income measure, and 64 per cent. on the After Housing Costs measure.

These estimates use the same definition of income used in the Households Below Average Income Series, which is sourced from the Family Resources Survey. It is not possible to provide robust estimates for (b) because of small sample sizes.

New Deal

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) which contracts for the delivery of the new deal self-employment programme will be terminated at the end of financial year 2004–05; [222641]
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(2) if he will make a statement on the future of the new deal programme for self-employment. [222642]

Jane Kennedy: There is no separate new deal self-employment programme although participants on new deal can receive advice and guidance on self employment, and can undertake test trading through new deal and work-based learning for adults.

We are in the process of informing new deal contractors whether their contracts are being renewed or not and, therefore, this information is currently commercial in confidence.

The paper 'Building on New Deal (BoND): local solutions meeting individual needs', published in June 2004, sets out our approach to the development of our welfare to work strategy. This is available in the Library. The BoND programme will deliver a single new deal which will be accessible to all eligible customers. Self-employment support will feature within the BoND menu.

Skills Training (Over-50s)

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason people over the age of 50 are not eligible to receive skills training for the first six months of their unemployment; and if he will make a statement. [222934]

Jane Kennedy: We focus our resources on those people who need the most help to find employment. Around three quarters of unemployed people aged 50 and over stop claiming jobseeker's allowance within six months. Where we know the destination of these people, about three quarters move into work.

New Deal 50 Plus eligibility, and access to skills training through Work Based Learning for Adults in England, is set at six months to specifically help those people who continue to claim benefits and are in need of extra support to move into work.

Our policies are designed to give people aged over 50 real choice to remain in, or rejoin, the workforce and to decide when and how they retire. In May we will be launching a national guidance campaign to raise employers' awareness of, and ability to adopt, flexible employment and retirement opportunities in order to increase the recruitment, retention and training of older workers.

People on jobseeker's allowance are eligible for further education provision which includes skills (vocational) learning, as long as they continue to meet the jobseeker's allowance conditions for being available for work. They, and their dependants, do not have to contribute towards their tuition fees. There is no minimum time on jobseeker's allowance for further education fee concessions.

Income Support (Tamworth)

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many families with children in Tamworth have been in receipt of income support for more than one year. [221932]

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Mr. Pond: 1,000 families with dependent children up to the age of 19 have been in receipt of income support for more than one year in Tamworth.


Businesses (Strangford)

Mr. Trimble: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many new business start-ups have been recorded by Invest NI in the Strangford constituency in each of the last five years. [222071]

Mr. Gardiner: The following table provides information relating to the number of business start-ups offered assistance in the Strangford constituency during the four years 2000–01 to 2003–04 and the 11 month period from 1 April 2004 to end February 2005.
Strangford parliamentary constituency

Offers to new business starts

(10) Figures provided for the 11 month period up to end of February 2005

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The total of 524 includes offers to new starts provided through the Start a Business Programme, for which information at a parliamentary constituency area level is available only from September 2001.

The total amount of assistance offered to these starts was £1.2 million, which contributes towards an overall estimated planned investment of £8.7 million within the constituency.

Cross-border Bodies

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the staffing costs of each cross-border body have been as a percentage of total expenditure in each year since their creation; and how many staff work for each body. [212330]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The information requested is provided in the following tables.
Staff costs of each cross-border body expressed as a percentage of total expenditure

Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission5754505345
Waterways Ireland3840344942
The Trade and Business Development Body2731222121
Special EU Programmes Body52325058No figures available(13)
The North/South Language Body(14)131191013
The Food Safety Promotion Board812171417
Tourism Ireland Ltd.n/a4181919

(11) This cover the period 2 December 1999 to 31 December 2000
(12) The figures for 2004 are provisional as accounts have yet to be finalised.
(13) The Special European Programmes Body draft accounts for 2004 are still in preparation.
4 The figures quoted for the North/South Language Body for the years 2001–04 are based on unaudited accounts.

Whole-time equivalent numbers of staff employed as at7 February 2005

BodyNumber employed
Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission42
Waterways Ireland340
The Trade and Business Development Body39.8
Special EU Programmes Body44
The North/South Language Body49.2
The Food Safety Promotion Board34
Tourism Ireland Ltd.148

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