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Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State forWork and Pensions what mechanisms are in place toco-ordinate Welfare to Work policies with the Northern Way agenda of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. 
Mr. Plaskitt: This is an important area for partnership between DWP and the three Departmentsthe Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, HM Treasury and the Department of Trade and Industrywith responsibility for the regional economic performance PSA target. DWP has given its support to the objectives of the REP PSA and is represented on the steering group that co-ordinates government activity aimed at meeting the target.
Over 90 per cent. of local authorities in Great Britain have an employment rate above the EU average. Low employment is concentrated in a relatively small number of areas across the country, particularly in our major cities, some former industrial areas and some coastal towns, including Hartlepool.
DWP's PSA targets support the Government's wider agenda by aiming to raise employment rates, especially for groups and areas of the country that currently lag behind the national average. Central to achieving this is the work of Jobcentre Plus and programmes such as new deal, which concentrate resources on areas with concentrations of long-term unemployment and economic inactivity. In addition there are locally focused programmes such as action teams that provide additional support in particularly disadvantaged areas.
Initiatives such as the Northern Way complement this approach by providing further help and support on top of existing welfare to work policies. The Northern Way has recognised the importance of tackling the number of people on incapacity benefits. The last year has seen the numbers on these benefits nationally fall for the first time in several decades, partly through the success of Jobcentre Plus, the new deal and pathways to work. Although the improvement has been concentrated in the areas with the highest rates of benefit receipt, parts of the north-east and other regions continue to have disproportionate numbers claiming incapacity benefits.
12 Sept 2005 : Column 2528W
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to complete the review of the part-time study rules for jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit recipients. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The review of the part-time study rules is complete. As a result of that review we will be trialling an Adult Learning Option from autumn 2006 in two or three Jobcentre Plus districts in England. The pilot will test the effectiveness of providing financial support for adult Jobcentre Plus customers whose current qualification is below Level 2 to enable them to take up a first full Level 2 qualification through Learning and Skills Council funded provision. Study will be full-time for those taking up the option. At the same time, for those on Jobseekers Allowance who do not take up the learning option, the benefit rules will be strengthened to ensure that any learning is genuinely part-time and does not interfere with job search activity.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has been made of the effect on people of being subject to Pathways to Work related sanctions in the pilot area. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people on incapacity benefit in each of the Pathways to Work areas have had a work focussed interview (a) waived or (b) deferred. 
|District||WFI deferred||WFI waived|
|Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Argyll and Bute||291||771|
|Bridgend, Rhondda, Cynon and Taff||518||925|
|Gateshead and South Tyneside||270||358|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people on incapacity benefit who are (a) mandatory and (b) voluntary participants of the Pathways to Work pilots have taken up (i) condition management programmes, (ii) new deal for disabled people, (iii) Access to Work and (iv) return to work credit. 
Sir Malcolm Rifkind: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total expenditure per job obtained under (a) the new deal for disabled people and (b) the incapacity benefit Pathways to Work pilots has been. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The Department has commissioned a consortium of organisations led by the Policy Studies Institute to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Pathways to Work pilots. This involves research with incapacity benefit customers, jobcentre plus staff and service providers and includes qualitative and quantitative assessments of process and outcomes.
Mr. Timms: The information is not currently available. Information on numbers of households and individuals in receipt of pension credit and average awards 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. The next progress report, with information as at the end of June, will include the new constituencies which came into being at the general election. We expect to be in a position to publish these figures later this year.
Mr. Timms: At 31 March 2005 the average pension credit award in Scotland was £40.19. Information on numbers of households and individuals in receipt of pension credit in each Government Office region and constituency at 31 March 2005, with average awards, is contained in the most recent quarterly pension credit progress report published on 20 June 2005. A copy of the report is in the Library.
Mr. Timms: 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. We plan to publish definitive national statistics on take-up and entitlement for the first six months of pension credit by the end of 2005.
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