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Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) national and (b) local targets have been set for call centre performance in pension centres; and what has been the performance against such targets over the last two years. 
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of the carers' benefit regulations on young carers aged 1621 years who want to continue in education or begin training. 
Carer's allowance is an income maintenance benefit for people aged 16 or over who regularly provide at least 35 hours of care per week for a severely disabled person who receives an attendance allowance, or the equivalent rates of the disability living allowance care component or a constant attendance allowance paid under the industrial injuries disablement benefits scheme or the war disablement pension scheme. The allowance is not income-related and entitlement does not depend on the payment of national insurance contributions, but it is not available to people in work who have earnings of more than £82 per week net of a range of allowable expenses. To avoid duplicate provision from public funds, it is not payable when a carer is receiving another non-income-related benefit or a training grant to maintain their income which is paid at the same or higher weekly rate.
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Subject to these entitlement and payment rules, carer's allowance is available to young carers aged 16 to 21 years who undertake training or part-time education. However, it is not available to those in full-time education involving 21 hours or more of supervised study a week. This is because young people aged 16 or over who remain in full-time non-advanced education are regarded as financially dependent on their parents who can receive child benefit and child tax credits, whilst support for those who choose to undertake full-time advanced education is provided by the student support system rather than by social security benefits.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many job advertisements were placed by his Department (a) in total, (b) in print newspapers and magazines and (c) on a recruitment website in each year since 1997; and at what (i) total and (ii) average cost in each case. 
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of his staff are employed on time limited contracts in each (a) region and (b) country; and what percentage of total staff in each (i) region and (ii) country this represented in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 25 January 2006]: The number of staff employed by the Department who are employed on time limited (fixed term) contracts in each region and country together with the percentage of total staffing is in the following table.
|Region/country||Fixed term contract staff||Percentage of total staff in region/country|
|East of England||98||1.7|
|Yorkshire and the Humber189||1.5|
Estimates based on data from the Family Resources Survey show there are 10.1 million disabled people in Great Britain, including people with
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limiting longstanding illnesses, of whom 4.6 million people are over State Pension Age and 700,000 are children. Everyone included in these estimates would meet the definition of disability in the Disability Discrimination Act.
In addition, each local authority is required by law to maintain a register of disabled people living within its area, for the purposes of planning and providing appropriate social services; however, registration is entirely voluntary therefore the information held does not accurately represent the prevalence of disability.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether it is his policy to send letters to those on disability living allowance to inform them that, as they have it paid directly to a bank, their pension will now be paid in a similar manner; and what measures have been put in place for those with a visual impairment who are receiving their pension in this way. 
Mrs. McGuire: The administration of disability living allowance is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Disability and Carers Service, Mr. Terry Moran. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether it is his policy to send letters to those on disability living allowance to say that as they have it paid directly to a bank their pension will now be paid in a similar manner rather than by giro; and what measures have been put in place for those with a visual impairment who are receiving their pension in this way.
As a result of the drive to reduce the number of disability living allowance and attendance allowance customers paid by cheque, an exercise was undertaken to pay disability living allowance and attendance allowance into a bank or building society account already being used for payment of other benefits.
Following this change a letter is sent to the customer or their representative advising that the way we pay benefits is changing and that we would now pay into the account into which their benefits were already being paid. For customers identified as having a visual impairment this letter would be provided in either large print or Braille.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people in the UK aged under 25 years claiming housing benefit which is insufficient to cover the housing rent they are paying. 
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 2 February 2006, Official Report, column 664W, on housing benefits, how many claimants he estimates would benefit from raising the standard rate of housing benefit and council tax benefit earned income disregards from £5 per week to £10 per week. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The number of claimants who would benefit from raising the standard rate of housing benefit and council tax benefit earned income disregards from £5 to £10 per week is estimated to be 90,000.
2. This impact is estimated using the Department's Policy Simulation Model, which is based on data from the 200304 Family Resources Survey, uprated to 200506 prices, benefit rates and earnings levels, and is calibrated to latest published forecasts on HB recipients with earnings.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 1 February 2006, Official Report, column 590W, on benefits, how many households were (a) made subject to a delayed non-dependant deduction and (b) exempt from the non-dependant deduction regime as a result of the changes introduced in October 2003 following the introduction of the pension credit. 
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