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21 Mar 2005 : Column 605W—continued

Public Expenditure

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 10 February 2005, Official Report, column 1171W, on expenditure, (1) what the reasons are for the differences between the figures for benefit and tax credit expenditure in the years 1998–99 to 2004–05 and those in table 1.1 of the April 2004 Public Expenditure: Statistical Analyses; [221208]

(2) what the reasons are for the differences between the figures for benefit expenditure in 1996–97 and 1997–98 and those in table 1.3 of the April 2000 Public Expenditure: Statistical Analyses; [221209]
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(3) what the reasons are for the differences between the figures for benefit and tax credit expenditure in 2003–04 and 2004–05 and those in table B16 of the pre-Budget report. [221210]

Mr. Pond: Figures in the answer of 10 February 2005, Official Report, column 1771W, are consistent with DWP benefit expenditure tables published following the pre-Budget report 2004 at, and with tax credit expenditure figures supplied to DWP by HM Treasury following this and previous Budget and pre-Budget report forecasts.

The pre-Budget report assigned child elements of income support and income-based jobseeker's allowance to the tax credits line; since this is benefit expenditure it is included in the benefits column of the answer of 10 February, and the tax credits column is reduced accordingly.

Some housing benefit and council tax benefit expenditure is funded from within local authority budgets and is therefore not included in the social security benefits lines in the pre-Budget report and Public Expenditure: Statistical Analyses (PESA).

For completeness, the answer of 10 February includes these amounts. For 2003–04 only, the pre-Budget report includes spending on the Supporting People initiative in the social security line. This is excluded from the previous answer as it is neither benefit nor tax credit expenditure.

DWP's pre-Budget report benefit expenditure tables reflect the latest 2003–04 outturn figures available at the time the forecast was being prepared. More recent figures were available by the time the pre-Budget report was published. Similarly, outturn figures published in PESA 2000 and 2004 were those available at the time of publication. Outturn figures can change as further accounting information becomes available.

Other differences in expenditure figures included in pre-Budget report and PESA in the areas below are the responsibility of the Departments and agencies listed.


Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to Tamworth constituency, the effects on the constituency of changes to his Department's policies since 1997. [221931]

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 goods and services and transport. Disabled people in Tamworth will have benefited from these improvements
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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, whilst 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 21 per cent. of adults and 6 per cent. of children in the West Midlands region are likely to be covered by the provisions of the DDA.

Information on the numbers of customers in Tamworth who are in receipt of disability living allowance (DLA) and attendance allowance (AA) is in the table.
Disability living allowance/attendance allowance recipients—Tamworth

Operational yearNumber

DWP Information Centre. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100 and 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 Tamworth the proportion in employment has increased by 1 point since 1997 to 72.8 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 1.25 million people have been helped into work by the New Deals, with 1,890 in Tamworth 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 1,300 families in Tamworth.

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.
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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 aged 65 and over may be rewarded for savings and income. As of December 2004 around 3,855 pensioners in Tamworth were receiving pension credit, with an average award of £38.29 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 14,400 pensioners in Tamworth have benefited from this increase.

Winter Fuel Allowance

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many senior citizens in Edinburgh, North and Leith have benefited from the winter fuel allowance since 1997. [222908]

Malcolm Wicks: Information on the number of seniorcitizens in Edinburgh, North and Leith who have benefited from the winter fuel payment in each year for which figures are available is in the Library.

Women in Poverty

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women were living in poverty on the latest date for which figures are available, broken down by women of (a) Asian, (b) black, (c) white and (d) other ethnic groups. [221602]

Mr. Pond: Poverty is about more than low income; it also impacts on the way people live—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.

Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom is available in 'Households Below Average Income 1994–95 to 2002–03'. It should be noted that the reporting of year on year changes of low-income rates for small ethnic groups are not reliable. Both publications are in the Library.

According to the latest data, in 2002–03, 3.7 million women in Great Britain were living in households with income below 60 per cent. of median income on the Before Housing Costs measure, and 4.7 million women
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were living in low income using a similar threshold on the After Housing Costs measure. Robust estimates of the number of individuals by ethnic group are not available. The estimated proportion of women by ethnic group and the proportion of individuals for each ethnic group that were in low income in 2002–03 are in the following tables.
Proportion of all women living in low income households—broken down by ethnic group

Ethnic statusBefore housing costsAfter housing costs

Proportion of women in each ethnic group living in low income households(17)

Ethnic statusBefore
housing costs
housing costs
Of which:

(17)This table gives an estimate of the 'risk' of low income.
1.A breakdown for Bangladeshi/Pakistani and Indian is provided for information as there were a greater proportion of Bangladeshi/Pakistani individuals in low income than there was for other ethnic groups.
2.Low income households" is defined as households below 60 per cent. median income.

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