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13 Feb 2006 : Column 1690W—continued

Perceived Disability

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will extend existing Disability Discrimination Acts to protect groups and individuals from discrimination on the basis of perceived disability in addition to actual disability. [48589]

Mrs. McGuire: The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 significantly extended the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in a number of important areas. It fulfilled the Government's commitment to put in place a comprehensive and enforceable package of civil rights for disabled people. We have no current plans to make any additional amendments to this legislation.

Post Office Card Accounts

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which areas have been selected as pilots for the replacement of the Post Office card account. [50706]

Mr. Plaskitt: DWP is not undertaking any pilots of a replacement" for the Post Office card account. Rather we are undertaking some small-scale pilots to test various approaches to moving people from having their benefit or pension paid into a Post Office card account to payments into a bank account.

The three DWP pilot schemes will involve:

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people use the Post Office card account for the payment of benefits and pensions, broken down by parliamentary constituency. [50707]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the format requested.

Information showing the number of DWP benefit and pension payment accounts paid by direct payment into a Post Office card account for each parliamentary constituency has been placed in the Library.
 
13 Feb 2006 : Column 1691W
 

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what alternatives to the Post Office card account he plans; and what income streams will be received by the Post Office as a result. [51485]

Mr. Plaskitt: It will be for Post Office Ltd. to bring forward proposals for new products and services, and I understand they currently have some under development. There are already some 25 bank and building society accounts which can be used at post offices, with each transaction at the post office generating income for Post Office Ltd. We want to work with the post office to ensure customers are fully aware of developments and continue to have a range of choices in how they access their money.

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people are using the Post Office card account to withdraw their benefits and pensions; and how many people the Government estimate will be using the Post Office card account by the end of (a) 2006 and (b) 2007. [48941]

Mr. Plaskitt: There were 4.27 million Post Office card accounts in use at December 2005.

We would expect this number to decline over time as customers move on to other accounts which offer more features. However, we have made no estimates of the precise volumes at specific points in time.

Poverty

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the relationship between disability and poverty; and how many disabled people his Department defined as poor in (a) the UK and (b) Stroud constituency in each year since 1997. [39185]

Mrs. McGuire: Specific information regarding low income for Great Britain is available in Households Below Average Income 1994/95–2003/04", available in the Library. The threshold of below 60 per cent. contemporary median income is the most commonly used in reporting trends in low income.

The data source does not allow us to provide robust estimates below regional level.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the number of (a) pensioners, (b) disabled people, (c) couples, (d) single people and (e) children living in (i) absolute poverty and (ii) relative poverty in each year since 1996–97; and if he will make a statement. [44736]

Margaret Hodge: We are making sustained progress against poverty—41 of our 60 indicators now show an improving trend over time, compared with 35 last year. There are fewer children living in relative, absolute and persistent poverty (700,000 fewer children in relative low income than in 1997); there are fewer children in workless households (400,000 fewer than in 1997); there are fewer older people fewer living in relative, absolute and persistent poverty (700,000 fewer people of state pension age in relative low income and 2 million fewer in absolute low income compared with 1997) and for those living in deprived communities there have been improvements in employment, education and housing.

The information requested is in the tables.
 
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Absolute numbers of disabled adults and children with incomes below 60 per cent. median AHC
Million

ChildrenAdults
1996–970.32.4
1997-/980.32.5
1998-/990.32.5
1999–20000.22.2
2000–010.22.0
2001–020.11.7
2002–030.11.5
2003–040.11.4


Absolute numbers of disabled adults and children with incomes below 60 per cent. median BHC
Million

ChildrenAdults
1996–970.21.7
1997–980.21.8
1998–990.21.9
1999–20000.11.6
2000–010.11.6
2001–020.11.3
2002–030.11.2
2003–040.11.1


Relative numbers of disabled adults and children with incomes below 60 per cent. median AHC
Million

ChildrenAdults
1996–970.32.4
1997–980.32.6
1998–990.32.7
1999–20000.22.6
2000–010.32.7
2001–020.22.6
2002–030.22.5
2003–040.22.3


Relative numbers of disabled adults and children with incomes below 60 per cent. median BHC
Million

ChildrenAdults
1996–970.21.7
1997–980.21.9
1998–990.22.1
1999–20000.22.0
2000–010.22.1
2001–020.12.1
2002–030.22.1
2003–040.12.0


Absolute numbers of couples and singles with incomes below 60 per cent. median AHC
Million

SinglesCouples
1996–974.72.4
1997–984.32.3
1998–994.12.2
1999–20003.82.0
2000–013.21.8
2001–022.81.5
2002–032.61.4
2003–042.61.4








 
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Absolute numbers of couples and singles with incomes below 60 per cent. median BHC
Million

SinglesCouples
1996–973.02.0
1997–982.91.9
1998–992.71.9
1999–20002.51.7
2000–012.41.5
2001–022.11.3
2002–031.21.2
2003–041.91.2


Relative numbers of couples and singles with incomes below 60 per cent. median AHC
Million

SinglesCouples
1996–974.72.4
1997–984.42.4
1998–994.42.3
1999–20004.52.3
2000–014.22.3
2001–024.02.3
2002–034.02.3
2003–043.92.3


Relative numbers of couples and singles with incomes below 60 per cent. median BHC
Million

SinglesCouples
1996–973.02.0
1997–983.02.0
1998–993.02.1
1999–20003.12.0
2000–013.01.9
2001–023.02.0
2002–033.12.0
2003–043.02.0


Absolute numbers of pensioners with incomes below 60 per cent. median
Million

BHCAHC
1996–972.22.8
1997–982.22.6
1998–992.12.4
1999–20001.92.0
2000–011.61.6
2001–021.51.2
2002–031.21.0
2003–041.10.9


Relative numbers of pensioners with incomes below 60 per cent. median
Million

BHCAHC
1996–972.22.8
1997–982.32.7
1998–992.42.7
1999–20002.32.6
2000–012.22.5
2001–022.32.3
2002–032.32.3
2003–042.22.0







 
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Absolute numbers of children with incomes below 60 per cent. median
Million

BHCAHC
1996–973.24.2
1997–983.04.0
1998–992.83.9
1999–20002.43.6
2000–012.03.0
2001–021.62.5
2002–031.52.2
2003–041.42.2


Relative numbers of children with incomes below 60 per cent. median
Million

BHCAHC
1996–973.24.2
1997–983.14.1
1998–993.14.1
1999–20003.04.1
2000–012.73.8
2001–022.63.7
2002–032.63.6
2003–042.63.5



Source:
Family Resources Survey (FRS).



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