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13 Feb 2006 : Column 1678W—continued


Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidelines his Department has produced to assist employers in developing good practice concerning the employment of people with HIV. [48588]

Mrs. McGuire: My Department undertakes a wide range of publicity activity to raise awareness of employers' responsibilities under the Disability
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Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005. A series of recent campaigns has focused on the duties of employers and service providers. In particular, a major campaign aimed at small and medium-sized businesses was undertaken during 2004, involving direct mailings to over one million businesses. In the last financial year alone, around £3 million was spent on raising awareness of the Act.

A new campaign, also aimed at small and medium-sized businesses, started in December 2005 and will run to May 2006. In this campaign, we are working closely with business, trade organisations and third parties such as accountants, as our research shows that small businesses are turning more and more to these sources of advice for information about legislation that affects their business.

We are also working closely with key stakeholders, including organisations like the National Aids Trust and Ensuring Positive Futures", to communicate messages about changes made by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. Our aim is to help ensure that employers, and employees, are aware that, for the purposes of the DDA, a person with HIV infection is treated as a disabled person from the point at which they have the infection, effectively from the point of diagnosis. Therefore, they have a legal right to be treated fairly, and to have reasonable adjustments made to accommodate them, in the workplace.

The Department's awareness raising activity complements that of the Disability Rights Commission, which is sponsored by my Department. The Commission has a statutory duty to provide advice and guidance on rights and responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act. It publishes codes of practice and a range of guidance on the employment duties under the Act. These include examples relating to people who are infected with HIV.

Incapacity Benefit

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants left incapacity benefit at the (a) four month and (b) 12 month stage of their claim in each quarter since January 2003 in (i) pathways to work pilot areas and (ii) non-pathways areas. [43347]

Margaret Hodge: Pathways to work pilots were introduced in October 2003. The available figures are in the tables.
Incapacity benefit (IB) and severe disablement allowance (SDA) terminations in Pathways areas, by duration of claim

All durationsUp to 4 monthsOver 4
up to 12 months
Over 12 months
February 200316,0005,2004,2006,700
May 200314,6005,0004,0005,500
August 200316,4004,9004,6006,800
November 200316,1005,1004,3006,700
February 200416,3005,5004,1006,800
May 200417,9006,1004,3007,500
August 200417,9005,7004,5007,700
November 200416,4005,3003,9007,200
February 200516,6005,2003,6007,800
May 200515,9005,4003,7006,800
August 200511,4003,9002,4005,100

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Incapacity benefit (IB) and severe disablement allowance (SDA) terminations in non-Pathways areas, by duration of claim

All durationsUp to 4 monthsOver 4
up to 12 months
Over 12 months
February 2003154,20048,90040,00065,400
May 2003151,30050,00043,40057,900
August 2003166,60050,60042,70073,300
November 2003170,70052,80043,70074,300
February 2004156,40045,50042,40068,500
May 2004156,60044,50042,10070,100
August 2004159,30042,60044,50072,100
November 2004159,30045,60044,50069,200
February 2005160,40042,30043,70074,300
May 2005164,00043,70043,90076,500
August 2005111,10032,40030,70048,000

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
2. Figures for the latest quarter do not include any late notifications and are subject to major changes in future quarters.
3. Earlier quarters have been updated to include late notified terminations, including terminations for State Pension.
4. Pathways to work pilot areas were introduced in October 2003 and expanded in April 2004.
DWP Information Directorate, 5 per cent. Samples.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions under what circumstances a person may receive incapacity benefit without having passed the personal capability assessment; how many such people there were in each of the last three years; and what the procedure is for the withdrawal of benefits from people deemed fit for work. [44203]

Mrs. McGuire: Claims to incapacity benefit are initially paid on the basis of supporting medical evidence until such time as the Own Occupation Test or the Personal Capacity Assessment is carried out. People with certain severe medical conditions and those in receipt of the highest rate care component of disability living allowance are exempt from the Personal Capability Assessment.

The Personal Capability Assessment is usually carried out after a person has been incapable of work for 28 weeks. If they do not meet the threshold of incapacity, their benefit stops, form IB65 is issued which gives details of the decision, and entitlement to incapacity benefit ceases from the next available payment date. No one can continue to receive incapacity benefit if they fail to satisfy the Personal Capability Assessment.

Form IB65 gives details of the disallowance and the scoring applied, and is accompanied by a notes section on what to do next and leaflet IB203 Incapacity Benefit Getting Back to Work".

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions who will decide under the proposed legislation which claimants will have their incapacity benefits withdrawn; and if he will make a statement. [44417]

Margaret Hodge: Our proposals are about extending opportunity, not cutting benefits. Where a sanction on an individual's benefit is considered necessary, we have yet to determine the exact process and indeed will only do so following extensive consultation. However, the
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checks and balances we have in place in our successful Pathways to Work pilots have proven to be reliable and provide a good starting point.

Our experience in the Pathways to Work pilots is that, because many claimants wish to return to work, the number of occasions when it was necessary to apply a sanction were small.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with employers on his proposals to reform incapacity benefit, with particular reference to extending employment opportunities. [46373]

Margaret Hodge: The Government acknowledge that working with employers to expand employment opportunity is crucial for getting incapacity benefit claimants into work, and have recognised this in both Health, Work and Well-Being" and the recent Green Paper A new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work".

Each of the Pathways to Work Pilots has developed an Employer Engagement Strategy to establish a closer business relationship with employers to both influence their recruitment practice and to ensure that the support services understand employers' recruitment needs.

We now look forward to the participation of employers in the formal consultation on the Green Paper, which will be run until 21 April 2006.

Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what use is made of occupational psychology in reducing the number of people claiming incapacity benefit. [47978]

Margaret Hodge: Occupational psychology and consultation with occupational psychologists have been used in the design, staff training and delivery of services that help people claiming incapacity benefit return to employment.

For example, occupational psychologists were part of the team that designed the training for Jobcentre Plus staff involved in our successful Pathways to Work programme (the recently published green paper, A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering people to work Cm 6730, gives more detail about Pathways to Work). Also in Jobcentre Plus, incapacity benefit personal advisers and disability employment advisers are able to refer people to occupational psychologists where there is a need for the types of specialist assistance that those psychologists can provide.

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average payment of incapacity benefit was in each year since 1995. [48428]

Mrs. McGuire: The information is in the table.
Average weekly amount of incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance in payment; Great Britain

August 199576.79
August 199676.44
August 199775.62
August 199876.49
August 199977.04
August 200076.32
August 200177.42
August 200278.12
August 200378.56
August 200479.79
August 200581.59

1. Amount in payment is average of all incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance beneficiaries, and excludes incapacity benefit credits-only cases.
2. All amounts are in nominal terms.
DWP Information Directorate, 5 per cent. samples.

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Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants of incapacity benefit there were in each social services authority (a) in 2001 and (b) in the most recent year for which figures are available. [51318]

Mrs. McGuire: The information is not available in the format requested. The information for local authorities in Great Britain has been placed in the Library.

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