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The Labour Force Survey is unable to differentiate between people with a learning difficulty and people with a learning disability, and groups them together within the above category. Officials are currently examining the feasibility of future releases having separate categories.
15 Feb 2006 : Column 2186W
It should also be noted that the above employment rate has been calculated using 'main health condition', and thus will not include people who's learning difficulty may be their second or subsequent health condition. The figure should be used as a guide rather than as fact.
Ministers use public transport wherever possible and practical to complete their journey and all ministerial travel on official business is undertaken in accordance with the rules set out in travel by Ministers.
3. Pension credit (PC) replaced minimum income guarantee (MIG) on 6 October 2003. Existing MIG recipients were automatically converted onto pension credit on that date (assuming they still met the eligibility criteria).
4. Household recipients are those people who claim PC either on behalf of themselves only or on behalf of a household. This number is equal to the number of households in receipt of PC. The number of individual beneficiaries is the claimants plus their partners.
6. These figures are early estimates. Operational processing times mean that a number of claim commencements and terminations are not reflected in the figures. The final figures incorporated within the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) will take account of such cases.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether it is his policy to stop an individual's pension payments if he or she refuses to receive pension payments by the direct payment method. 
Direct payment into an account is the safest, most reliable way to receive payment and in most cases provides the greatest range of access to cash and other financial services. Customers who do not provide account details are paid by cheque. However, we do not believe that cheques are appropriate for the vast majority of our customers.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's estimate is of the average cost of undertaking a medical examination for the personal capability assessment. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what percentage of statutory sick pay claimants (a) received personal capability assessments (PCAs) in each year since 1997 and (b) he expects to receive PCAs in each year to 2008. 
Mrs. McGuire: The personal capability assessment does not apply to statutory sick pay because, in that instance, incapacity for work is judged in relation to the job that the person has been doing under their contract of employment.
We are starting some small scale pilots shortly 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. Our emphasis will be on those bank accounts which can be used at post office branches. The pilots will help us see how customers react, including how many people continue to use the Post Office.
The pilots will run for about three weeks. We will then evaluate the results and discuss the findings with the Post Office. We will aim to develop a joint strategy with the Post Office to move customers from the Post Office card account. Our priority will be to ensure that this is a straightforward process for the customers themselves. Our timetable and strategy will be informed by the results of the pilots. There is no reason why the viability of post offices should be threatened if customers continue to draw cash at the Post Office after moving on from the Post Office card account.
Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the three pilot schemes his Department plans to operate during February to test the approaches for moving recipients of pensions and benefits away from Post Office card accounts. 
Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 6 February 2006]: Government funding for the Post Office card account will end in March 2010 as always planned. All existing Post Office card account customers will still be able to use the Post Office to collect their benefit or pension if they wish by using a bank account there25 different bank accounts can be accessed at Post Office branches now, and we hope there could be more in the future.
We are starting some small-scale pilots shortly 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. Our emphasis will be on those bank accounts which can be used at Post Office branches, to help the Post Office retain as much business as possible. The pilots will help us see how customers react, including how many people continue to use the Post Office.
The pilots will run for about three weeks. We will then evaluate the results and discuss the findings with the Post Office. We will aim to develop a joint strategy with the Post Office to move customers from the Post Office card account. Our priorities will be to ensure that this is a straightforward process for the customers themselves and to help the Post Office retain as much business as possible. The pilots will be important in identifying the best way to do this.
I understand the Post Office is developing new banking and savings products which will be suitable for some existing Post Office card account customers. Our pilots will also help the Post Office design these products to ensure they meet customers' needs. We would like every DWP customer who currently has a Post Office card account to do their banking at the Post Office if that is what they want.
As the National President of the National Federation of SubPostmasters has recognised, although the Post Office card account itself has a limited life, there are opportunities to convert customers to other Post Office services.
That is why it is important that the Government and Post Office should work closely together to ensure customers are fully aware of developments and continue to have a range of choices in how they access their money. Our pilots will ensure that our future payments strategy between now and 2010 reflects the needs of our customers and helps the Post Office develop its proposed new banking and savings products.
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