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Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether young homeless people will be allowed to take part in the pilot scheme allowing low-skills benefits claimants in England to take up free, full-time training towards a first level 2 qualification, without losing benefits. 
Margaret Hodge: Yes. The New Deal for Skills Adult Learning Option trial, due to start in autumn 2006, will test the effectiveness of providing financial support for adult Jobcentre Plus customers to allow them to take up a first full Level 2 qualification through Learning and Skills Council funded provision.
The option is for benefit recipients for whom a lack of skills is the barrier to employment and young homeless people who meet this criterion will be eligible for consideration on the same basis as other Jobcentre Plus customers.
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of the Pathways programme since its introduction in (a) helping people on incapacity benefit to obtain employment and (b) providing help to disabled people to manage their condition. 
Margaret Hodge: We have early signs that the Pathways to Work approach is having a positive impact, providing a framework of high-quality active support for people on incapacity benefits. To the end of March 2005 there have been around 13,400 Pathways job entries and there is increasingly clear evidence of a significant increase in the proportions of new claimants leaving benefit.
In our Pathways pilot areas we have achieved an increase of about 8 per cent. in the number of people who move off incapacity benefit within six months when compared to non pilot areas. The increase exceeds our initial expectations.
The element of Pathways designed to provide help to disabled people to manage their condition is the NHS Condition Management Programme which has been particularly welcomed by both customers and personal advisers. There have been 4,900 starts to Condition Management Programmes since their introduction in October 2003. Some of those whose health condition improved cited the Condition Management Programme as a contributing factor.
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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he plans to roll out Pathways to Work across the UK; and what the planned expenditure on Pathways to Work is in (a) 200506, (b) 200607, (c) 200708 and (d) 200809. 
Between October 2005 and October 2006 we will be further extending Pathways in three phases to around one-third of claimants. We will look to continue this phased roll-out on the way to providing national coverage.
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Mr. Plaskitt: Latest estimates of the number of pensioners entitled to but not receiving the main income-related benefits relate to the financial year 200203. These cover minimum income guarantee, housing benefit and council tax benefit and are published in the Department for Work and Pensions report Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 200203. A copy of the report is in the Library.
There are now over 2.7 million households in Great Britain receiving pension credit. Estimates based on the Family Resources Survey suggest that there are 3.85 million households entitled to pension credit in Great Britain in 200506. These two figures come from different sources, are calculated differently and are not directly comparable.
Mr. Plaskitt: The benefits disregarded in assessing income for the purposes of calculating pension credit are listed at regulation 15 of the State Pension Credit Regulations 2002. A copy of which is available in the Library.
Mr. Plaskitt: At 31 March 2005, 280,795 pensioner households in Scotland were in receipt of pension credit. This figure represents approximately 37 percent., of the total number of households in Scotland with at least one member aged 60 or over, based on data from the 2001 Census.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners there were in the Stroud constituency in the last year for which figures are available; and how many were in receipt of pension credit. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The most recent estimates of pensioner population by parliamentary constituency are contained in Census 2001Census Area Statistics for Parliamentary Constituencies in England and Wales", which is available in the Library. Information on numbers of households and individuals in receipt of pension credit in each constituency at 31 March 2005 is contained in the most recent quarterly pension credit progress report, which was published on 20 June. A copy of the report is in the Library.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the number of occupational pension scheme members who are facing losses to their pension savings due to their schemes being wound up by their employers. 
Mr. Plaskitt: We have not made any estimate of the total number of occupational pension scheme members who are facing losses to their pension savings due to their schemes being wound up by their employers. Based on our most recent data collection for the financial assistance scheme (FAS), we know of around 70,000 nonpensioner members in schemes that are potentially eligible for assistance from the FAS as a result of their schemes being wound up in circumstances of insolvency or where the employer no longer exists.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average response time is to queries submitted to the Pension Service Retirement Pension Forecasting Team; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The Pension Service does not employ any helpline staff, although it provides a number of telephone services including a generic telephone number for members of the public to contact the appropriate pension centre. The generic number enables customers to be connected to the staff best placed to assist them.
The Pension Service also provides the pension credit application line (PCAL) and pensions direct for state pension and widows benefit customers and their representatives. These services will all provide help or advice where but are not regarded as helplines. The primary purpose of PCAL, in particular, is to take applications for pension credit and its staff are not employed directly by the Pension Service.
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