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Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what statistics his Government have produced on the persistence of poverty at levels belowthe 50 per cent. and 40 per cent. median income lines. 
The seventh annual 'Opportunity for all' report (Cm6673) sets out the Government's strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion and reports progress against a range of indicators including the persistence of low income using low-income thresholds of 60 per cent. of median household income, and 70 per cent. of median household income.
Margaret Hodge: The Family Resources Survey, a national survey of households, collects information on levels and all sources of income and is recognised as the best source of information on income. The General Household Survey, and the Expenditure and Food Survey also collect information on the source and level of income but in less detail.
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of people had an income below 40 per cent. of median income in each year since 1997 (a) before and (b) after housing costs. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 13 March 2006]: We believe that the opportunity to work is a right and that it is as important as the right to equal treatment or access to services. For too long, people on incapacity benefit have been written off as incapable of work and consigned to a life on benefit. We know that a large proportion want to work and so we want to ensure that they are given the opportunity to do so. We do not believe in writing anyone off.
On the 24 of January 2006 we published our Green Paper: A new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work" which sets out our proposals for the reform of incapacity benefit. It is crucial that we get the details of these reforms right and the opinions of the public are very important. The publication of the welfare reform Green Paper began the official consultation phase, which will run until 21 April, and we invite feedback and suggestions from all interested parties as we look for the best way to move forward.
Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of new incapacity benefit claimants aged (a) over 50 years and (b) under 50 years ended their claim within six months (i) in the Pathways to Work pilot areas and (ii) in other areas in each year since the pilots began. 
| Aged under 50||Aged 50 and over|
|Quarter||Pathways to Work pilot areas||Other areas||Pathways to Work pilot areas||Other areas|
|October to December 2003(35)||49||35||40||31|
|January to March 2004||46||33||36||29|
|April to June 2004||44||34||33||28|
|July to September 2004||43||34||31||28|
|October to December 2004||45||36||35||31|
|January to March 2005||44||36||33||30|
|April to May 2005(36)||44||36||33||29|
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's targets are for reducing incapacity benefit claimants for (a) 2007, (b) 2008, (c) 2009, (d) 2010 and (e) 2011. 
Mrs. McGuire: In January we published our Green Paper: A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering people to work", which set out our proposal to significantly reduce the number of people claiming incapacity benefits. These include proposals to improve workplace health, reform of the gateway onto benefits, increased support for claimants and removing the perverse incentives in the system.
While it is difficult to model the precise impact of these measures, the Green Paper set out our aspiration to reduce the number of claimants of incapacity benefits by one million over the course of the decade through the combined efforts of the Government, employers, local authorities and health professionals.
Margaret Hodge: 14 per cent. of new deal job entrants between January 2004 and December 2004 and 13 per cent. of new deal job entrants between January 2005 and August 2005 had started a new benefit claim within 13 weeks of the job start.
Latest benefit data are to November 2005 and, therefore, to allow for a 13 week gap, only new deal job entrants between January 2004 and August 2005 have been included.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of new deal for young people leavers took up (a) unsubsidised and (b) subsidised employment in (i) the private sector, (ii)the public sector and (iii) the voluntary and social enterprise sector in each year since the programme began. 
Mr. Philip Hammond:
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what percentage of participants in the (a) new deal 25 plus and (b) new deal for young people programmes who started the programmes (i) once, (ii) twice, (iii) three times, (iv) four times and (v) more than four times were educated to (A)GCSE, (B) NVQ, (C) A level and (D) degree level in each year since the programmes began; 
20 Mar 2006 : Column 132W
(2) what percentage of (a) new deal 25 plus and (b) new deal for young people leavers who left the programme and commenced (i) employment, (ii) a combination of employment and benefits and (iii) claiming benefits had been educated to (A) GCSE, (B) NVQ, (C) A level and (D) degree level in each year since the scheme began. 
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) people and (b) over 25s in Beverley and Holderness who left the New Deal have found a sustained job in each year since its inception. 
Margaret Hodge: The measure of sustainability for jobs gained when leaving the New Deal programme differs across the New Deals. In the case of New Deal for Young People and New Deal 25 plus, employment is regarded as sustained if a person gaining a job through these New Deals does not claim Jobseeker's Allowance for at least 13 weeks after gaining employment and leaving the programme.
Employment sustainability for those participating on New Deal for Lone Parents is measured by employment records held by H.M Revenue and this measure has been used since October 2005. If a person leaves New Deal for Lone Parents to a job, and they are recorded through Revenue records as still being in that job 13 weeks later, their employment is recorded as sustained.
|People leaving New Deal to sustained employment(37)||of which, left New Deal 25 plus to sustained employment(38)|
|April to December 1998||60|||
|January to December 1999||220|||
|January to December 2000||170|||
|January to December 2001||210||20|
|January to December 2002||180||40|
|January to December 2003||200||50|
|January to December 2004||210||40|
|January to August 2005||100||20|
|Individuals starting New Deal for Young People(37)||950|
|Individuals into work through New Deal for Young People(38)||590|
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many work-focused interviews have been carried out by his Department under the new deal for lone parents (a) in each year since the inception of the programme and (b) in each of the last 12 calendar months, broken down by the respective qualifying period for interviews under the scheme. 
Margaret Hodge: New deal for lone parents started in October 1998. All lone parents claiming income support are invited to attend a voluntary meeting with a personal adviser. This meeting is known as a new deal for lone parents initial interview and so far 1,158,000 have been held.
In April 2001 mandatory meetings for lone parents were introduced, known as work focused interviews. Work focused interviews are conducted at the outset of the benefit claim and at set points during the claim, usually six months, 12 months and then annually. The frequency can also depend on the age of the youngest child, and the lone parent's duration on benefit. For example, quarterly work focused interviews are currently being introduced nationally for lone parents who have been claiming income support for more than 12 months, and who have a youngest child aged 14 or 15.
|Initial interviews||6 month review meetings||Annual review meetings|
|April 2001-March 2002||124,200|||||
|April 2002-March 2003||244,300||18,400||24,300|
|April 2003-March 2004||388,100||56,200||82,800|
|April 2004-March 2005||382,000||98,900||212,100|
|April 2005-December 2005||303,500||83,600||199,500|
|As at 2005:||Initial interviews||6 month review meetings||Annual review meetings|
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average waiting time was for a work-focused interview under the new deal for lone parents in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many benefit recipients who should have received such an interview have not received one. 
Margaret Hodge: Information on the average waiting time for a lone parent work focused interview is not available. As we do not collect details on cases where an appointment is rearranged. However, 50 per cent. of lone parents attend their interview within seven days.
A work focused interview is arranged for all new and repeat lone parent customers within days of making a new claim to benefit, as attendance at the interview forms part of their conditions for entitlement. Those lone parents who were already claiming benefit before the work focused interview regime was introduced (April 2001), and who are still claiming, are being brought into the regime over time with all lone parents being brought into the new regime by March 2006. At the end of February 2006, 22,500 lone parents in receipt of benefit in this category had not yet been brought into the new regime.
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