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6 Jun 2005 : Column 376W—continued

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's latest spending plans are for each year from 2005–06 to 2008–09; and if he will make a statement. [919]

Mrs. McGuire: The Departmental Report for 2004 (Cm 6221), which is available in the Library, contains the latest available information on spending plans for 2005–06. The Departmental Report for 2005 to be published in June 2005 will contain details of the
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spending plans for the years 2005–06 to 2007–08. The plans for 2008–09 will be published following the conclusion of the 2006 Spending Review.

Disability Living Allowance (Blind Claimants)

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many blind people are claiming the lower rate mobility component of the disability living allowance. [1547]

Mrs. McGuire: As at 30 November 2004, some 52,800 people whose main disabling condition is recorded as blindness were receiving the lower rate mobility component of disability living allowance.

DWP Information Directorate, 5 per cent. samples

Early Retirement

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the proportion of the working age population that has taken early retirement in the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [966]

Margaret Hodge: In 2004 there were an estimated 581,000 people, on average, aged below the State Pension Age who were out of work and described themselves as currently retired. This represented 1.6 per cent. of the population aged 16 to State Pension Age.

Labour Force Survey, 2004 Spring to Winter quarters average, for Great Britain.

Financial Assistance Scheme

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what payments (a) have been made and (b) are proposed to be made out of the Financial Assistance Scheme for members of the FII Group pension fund. [1016]

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Mr. Timms: No payments have yet been made. We set up the body to administer the Financial Assistance Scheme in April and having completed the formal consultation on the draft regulations we will lay these before Parliament within the next few months. Payments will start to be made as soon as practicable thereafter, once the regulations are in place.

Estimates cannot be made on the proposed payment levels for members of individual schemes until we have received more detailed information, including information on what the scheme pension age is for individual members, their distance from scheme pension age as at 14 May 2004, and their individual losses in the schemes.

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress his Department has made in attracting contributions to the Financial Assistance Scheme from external sources. [1017]

Mr. Timms: We have made clear to the pensions industry that we are keen for them to support the Financial Assistance Scheme either by voluntary financial contributions or assistance in kind.

We are grateful for the assistance in kind offered by the industry to date, and hope that it will further support the Government's leadership in assisting those facing the most serious losses. We believe that it has a strong interest in doing so. No direct financial contributions have yet been volunteered.

Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the medical reasons were for claims for incapacity benefit in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [817]

Mrs. McGuire: The information requested is in the table.
Incapacity benefit and severe disability allowance claimants by diagnosis group at the date as shown

29 February 200431 May
31 August 200430 November 2004
Claimants without any diagnosis code on the system4,0004,7004,6004,800
Certain infectious and parasitic diseases20,50020,10020,20020,000
Diseases of the blood and blood forming organs and certain diseases involving the immune mechanism4,4004,3004,2004,300
Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases38,50038,30038,50038,300
Mental and behavioural disorders1,020,0001,028,3001,035,0001,038,700
Diseases of the nervous system164,800165,500165,500164,900
Diseases of the eye and adnexa19,70019,50019,30019,400
Diseases of the ear and mastoid process12,30012,40012,10012,300
Diseases of the circulatory system174,200171,100168,300164,900
Diseases of the respiratory system68,40067,40066,40065,500
Diseases of the digestive system41,60041,60041,80041,000
Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous system16,00015,80015,50015,600
Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue529,500523,200517,800513,500
Diseases of the genitourinary system18,40018,30018,60018,500
Pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium4,1004,2004,5004,300
Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period
Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities24,90024,90024,80024,900
Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified326,100323,600322,800322,900
Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes153,200152,600151,800150,500
Factors influencing Health status and contact with health services35,00035,20035,00034,800

1.Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
2.Figures include all incapacity benefit (IB), severe disability allowance and IB Contributions-only cases
3.—" denotes nil or negligible
Information Directorate 5 per cent. sample.

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Jobcentre Plus

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of Jobcentres has been converted to the Jobcentre Plus format in each year since the inception of the programme. [404]

Margaret Hodge: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Lesley Strathie to Mr. Tim Boswell, dated 6 June 2005:

2001–02(42)56representing 7 per cent. of completed network
2002–03157representing 19 per cent. of completed network
2003–04223representing 27 per cent. of completed network
2004–05115representing 14 per cent. of completed network

(42)Pathfinder offices

Local Housing Allowance

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what evidence his Department has collated of housing benefit recipients moving to different accommodation within the local housing allowance pilot areas. [923]

Mr. Plaskitt: The pathfinders are subject to a comprehensive, independent evaluation. Tenants' responses to the local housing allowance are one of the main streams of the evaluation.

The final evaluation report is due to be published by the end of 2006 and a series of interim evaluation reports and summaries are being published before then. The first publication that relates to the tenants' experience Claiming Housing Benefit in the Private Rented Sector: the baseline experience of claimants in the nine Local Housing Allowance Pathfinder areas" was published in September 2004. A copy is available in the Library. The result of the next phase of the claimant stream is expected to be published in July 2005.
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