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18 Apr 2006 : Column 143W—continued

Post Office Accounts

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his oral answer of 13 March 2006, Official Report, column 1139, if he will list the 25 accounts from which those in receipt of pensions or benefits can access their cash at post offices. [59766]

Mr. Plaskitt: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for North Shropshire (Mr. Paterson) on 14 February 2006, Official Report, column 1955W.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received on his decision to discontinue the Post Office card account. [59007]

Mr. Plaskitt: I and my ministerial colleagues have received a number of letters on the future of the Post Office card account. We have also answered questions in the House and responded to points raised during debates. We have already set out our policy on the Post Office card account at some length, including in the reply to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 31 January 2006, Official Report, columns 443–44W.

Tin-Lead Alloy

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many organ pipe makers have
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reported suffering illness as a result of working with tin-lead alloy in each of the last 10 years; and what research has been conducted on the health and safety effects of using tin-lead alloy in pipe organs. [60988]

Mrs. McGuire: HSE currently receives statutory medical information about people working with lead, under the Control of Lead at Work Regulations (CLAW). The purpose of these Regulations is to remove workers from exposure to lead, before any toxic effects can occur. Up until 2001, no more than 10 cases of lead poisoning were reported to HSE each year under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.

The nature of these two different information sources means that it is not possible to break this down into specific occupational groupings—and organ pipe makers, in particular.

HSE's guidance advises that soldering and handling of clean solid metallic lead e.g. pipes, are not liable to result in significant exposure to lead. Therefore, HSE has not commissioned any research into the health and safety effects of using tin-lead alloy in pipe organs.

Tribunals System

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the success rate was of appeals taken before tribunals for each benefit in the last year for which figures are available. [59052]

Mrs. McGuire: This is a matter for Christina Townsend, Chief Executive of the Appeal Service, she will reply to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Christina Townsend:

Appeals cleared at hearing by benefit and outcome

BenefitCleared at hearingCleared in favourPercentage cleared in favour
Not known43511026
Pension Credits98031032
Working Tax Credit550306
Child Tax Credit4359020
Child Support Reforms1,19544537
Widows Benefit3455516
Social Fund—Maternity Payments5155510
Social Fund—Funeral Payments1,75530517
Severe Disablement Allowance1708047
Retirement Pension1,055858
Jobseekers Allowance6,1901,84530
Invalid Care Allowance/Carers Allowance96515016
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit9,4803,71039
Income Support9,4953,13533
All Personal Capability Assessment (not Incapacity Benefit)76029538
Incapacity Benefit (not Personal Capability Assessment)4,5651,73038
Incapacity Benefit (Personal Capability Assessment)44,18521,23548
Housing / Council Tax Benefit2,81588531
Housing Benefit2,97590030
Disability Living Allowance71,37035,90550
Council Tax Benefit83520524
Compensation Recovery Unit90563070
Child Support Departures Referral956569
Child Support Departures Appeal50022545
Child Support Assessments1,25560548
Child Benefit/One Parent Benefit7108011
Attendance Allowance5,6652,31041

1.Data are taken from the Management Information System (MIS) computer system.
2.Figures have rounded to the nearest 5.
3.Figures are for the calendar year (January to December) for 2005.
4.All figures are subject to change as more up to date data become available.
5.Figures for the latest months will rise significantly as information feeds through to the Appeals Service.
6.Other" refers to types of appeals which have low numbers, they have been summed to preserve the anonymity of the appellant.
DWP, Information Directorate

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Uncollected Debt

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much uncollected debt was referred out to private partners under the enforcement initiative during each quarter since the second quarter 2004. [52538]

Mr. Plaskitt: The following table shows the total debt referred to the private sector partners. This includes benefit debt and Social Fund Loans. Some of the debt will have been referred back to the department, for example when the debtor has returned to benefit.
£ million
Quarter 178
Quarter 238.4
Quarter 322.9
Quarter 433.4
Quarter 115.9
Quarter 20
Quarter 3 (to 31 January 2006)3.5


Additional Learning Support (West Midlands)

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much her Department has spent on additional learning support in (a) Coventry, South and (b) the west midlands region. [61756]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 29 September 2005]: The Coventry Excellence Cluster, which began in September 2001, has received a total of £7,708,174. For this financial year (2005–06) it has received £3,561,213. About half of this sum was allocated to fund Learning Mentors and Learning Support Units to tackle barriers to learning and provide extra support to pupils with learning difficulties. The Excellence Cluster initially
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covered seven schools in the Coventry, South constituency, but from September 2006, all secondary schools in Coventry, South have benefited from Excellence in Cities (EiC) funding.

Other local authorities in the west midlands region have also benefited from EiC funding. Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Stoke-on-Trent, have participated in the full EiC programme and others have received targeted EiC funding. As a result, authorities in the west midlands collectively received £159,131,969 over the lifetime of the EiC programme.

Adult Education

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assistance her Department is providing to adults in Hartlepool to improve and increase their level of skills. [60008]

Phil Hope: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom, the council's chief executive, has written to my hon. Friend with this information and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

The Government's Skills Strategy, outlined in the two White Papers, 21st Century Skills: Realising Our Potential" (July 2003) and Skills: Getting on in business, getting on at work" (March 2005), sets out our plans for ensuring that individuals have the skills needed to be both employable and personally fulfilled. Everyone studying literacy and numeracy skills or a first full level 2 qualification, and all those on jobseeker's allowance or income related benefits and their dependents will continue to receive free tuition in further education. All have access to in-depth advice about their careers and training through the Learndirect one-stop telephone and on-line advice service.

The Government's PSA target on adult attainment challenges us to reduce by at least 40 per cent. the number of adults in the work force who lack NVQ Level 2 (equivalent to five A-C GCSEs) by 2010. Previous progress has been good; the proportion of adults in the work place qualified to Level 2 and above rose from 65 per cent. in 1997 to 72 per cent. in 2004.

Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 5 April 2006:

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Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the level of Government funding for adult education for people on (a) benefits and (b) low incomes was in Shrewsbury in (i) 2001 and (ii) 2005. [50090]

Phil Hope: The Department allocates funds for post-16 education and training to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) working through 47 local offices. The LSC was established in 2001 bringing planning and funding of post-16 education under one body within a framework set by Government. Budgets are not allocated specifically for people on benefits or those on low incomes, although there are a number of arrangements in place to help ensure these learners can access education and training such as learner support funds, fee remission and free provision for Skills for Life.

The total overall spend on all adult programmes for 2001–02 was reported in the LSC's Annual Report and Accounts as £2,236 million. The funding allocated for the LSC's major education and training programmes only for adults for 2005–06 is £2,851 million. The Department does not hold figures for adult education at a local level. I am therefore copying this letter to Mark Haysom, the council's chief executive so that he can respond in more detail to your request. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

Letter from Mark Haysom, dated 5 April 2006:

2001–2 SCC LSC revenue allocation for County £365,8792005–6 SCC LSC revenue allocation for County £467,858 (excluding family learning funds of £150,172)
Shrewsbury -Gateway Centre and provision£163,000Shrewsbury—Gateway Centre and provision£285,180
Shrewsbury schools ACL£24,550Shrewsbury schools: New ACL centres at Grange and Sundorne schools£38,000 (includes some
extended schools funds)

Skills for Life provision is a high priority. The LSC has clearly stated in its annual statement of priorities that Adults without basic skills are entitled to free learning". As a result of this commitment, LSC resources both nationally, regionally and locally are increasingly focused on securing this priority activity.

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