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Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the average duration of awards of incapacity benefit and income support made to those with myalgic encephalomyelitis in Lancaster and Wyre has been in the last three years; 
(2) how many people with myalgic encephalomyelitis have been awarded (a) incapacity benefit and (b) income support in Lancaster and Wyre on the basis of incapacity for work in the last 12 months; 
(3) how many awards of incapacity benefit and income support have been made to patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis in Lancaster and Wyre (a) on the basis of and (b) without a report from an examining medical practitioner. 
Mrs. McGuire: Due to the very small numbers of claimants involved it is not possible to accurately estimate the information requested in relation to incapacity benefit. No information is available in relation to income support.
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many medical appeals concerning individuals diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis were heard in (a) 2003, (b) 2004 and (c) 2005. 
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will be in a position to answer question numbers 50674, 50675, 50676, 50698 and 50699 tabled by the right hon. Member for Birkenhead on 7 February 2006. 
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the increase in the estimated levy required by the Pension Protection Fund is accounted for by (a) increased longevity and (b) lower interest rates; and what assumptions were used to calculate each in (i) 2003 and (ii) 2005. 
However, GAD have recently updated their original estimate to September 2005 to reflect (a) changes in the level of schemes' assets and (b) GAD's broad assessment of the cost of funding the difference between those assets and the cost to the PPF of paying the PPF level of compensation. No other changes were made to update the model. The updated estimate of the PPF levy was £560 million, an increase of £260 million over the RIA estimate, which is broadly comparable with the PPF's levy estimate of £575 million. It is estimated that:
Mr. Newmark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of pensioners who would be able to commute their pension benefits to a lump sum because of serious ill-health if provision 08100080 of the Registered Pension Scheme Manual took effect in the event of a diagnosis of terminal illness regardless of life expectancy. 
Information about the number of pension scheme members likely to be diagnosed as terminally ill, regardless of life expectancy, is not available. So it is not possible to estimate the number of pensioners who would be able, regardless of life expectancy, to commute their pension benefits to a lump sum using the serious ill-health provisions described in paragraph 08100080 of the Registered Pension Scheme Manual.
Mr. Newmark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners were able to commute their pension benefits to a lump sum in 200405 because of serious ill-health under provision 08100080 of the Registered Pension Scheme Manual. 
The serious ill-heath provisions explained in paragraph 08100080 of the Registered Pension Scheme Manual apply from 6 April onwards. So no pensioners commuted their pension benefits to lump sum under these provisions in the last year.
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions spent £600,000 on the Secretary of State's private office in the financial year 200405. This figure includes both staff and non-staff costs, and includes the costs for the Secretary of State's special advisers and their support team.
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Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the agreed efficiency target for his Department set out in the 2004 Spending Review is to be cashable; and under what budget headings these cashable efficiency savings will be re-spent. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The agreed financial target for DWP in the 2004 Spending Review was that the Department willrealise total annual efficiency gains of at least £960 million by 200708 of which at least half will be cashable. The financial settlement for the years 200506 to 200708 was made net of the planned financial efficiencies so that DWP will achieve its efficiency target by living within the financial allocation already made. As such there are no funds available to DWP to be re-spent.
Margaret Hodge: Within the Liverpool, Riverside constituency the Granby ward is a designated priority ward because of its high level of unemployment and high concentration of ethnic minorities. According to the 2001 census, ethnic minorities made up 30.7 per cent. of the population (aged 1674), and the overall rate of unemployment stood at 26.0 per cent. Across the constituency as a whole the overall rate of unemployment was 15.0 per cent. and 23.4 per cent. for ethnic minorities. The rate of inactivity was 51.7 per cent. overall and 57.2 per cent. for ethnic minorities. The latest benefit statistics (August 2005), show that there are 10,700 people receiving incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance and 10,400 income support claimants across the constituency.
The Department looks at local information on deprivation, need and diversity to help target the services we deliver. We use this data to help us with our resources allocation across Jobcentre Plus. We give higher priority to wards with high levels of unemployment (one and a half times the national average) and high concentrations of ethnic minorities (three times the national average). Granby is one such ward.
Tackling the problems of inner cities is central to meeting our aims of increasing prosperity and countering social exclusion. Our recently published Green Paper sets out our proposals.
21 Mar 2006 : Column 238W
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