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24 Apr 2006 : Column 913W—continued

Council Tax Rebate

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was provided in rebate to properties entitled to 50 per cent. council tax discount in (a) Guildford, (b) Waverley and (c) Surrey in 2005–06. [64353]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available.

Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) when the council tax rebate savings limit was last (a) assessed and (b) increased; [64354]

(2) what representations he has received on increasingthe council tax rebate savings limit; and what plans he has to increase the council tax rebate savings limit. [64355]

Mr. Plaskitt: I have received numerous representations about the savings limit in council tax benefit. The lower savings limit for people aged under 60 was increased on 1 April of this year from £3,000 to £6,000, in line with the lower savings limit for people aged 60 or over.

There have been no changes to the upper savings limit of £16,000 since the introduction of council tax benefit in April 1993.

Although the savings limits are kept under review, there are no plans to amend the limits further.
 
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Departmental Policies

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will set out with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to west Lancashire constituency the effects in west Lancashire of changes to his Department's policies since 1997. [64240]

Margaret Hodge: We have undertaken a fundamental overhaul of the welfare system, transforming it to an active system that fights poverty, creates opportunity and helps people become self-sufficient and independent.

Since 1997 the Government have significantly extended and improved civil rights for disabled people in areas such as employment, education, access to goods and services and transport, most recently through the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 which met our commitment to put in place a comprehensive and enforceable set of rights for disabled people. Disabled people in west Lancashire will have benefited from these significant improvements in disability rights.

In 2004–05 we estimate there were around 10 million disabled people in Great Britain, including people with limiting longstanding illnesses. All of these people would meet the definition of disability in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

Information on the numbers of customers in west Lancashire who are in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Attendance Allowance (AA) is in the table.
Operational Year
West Lancashire2002200320042005
DLA recipients5.45.55.75.8
AA recipients2.32.42.72.6




Source:
DWP Information Directorate.
Figures are rounded to the nearest 100 and are displayed in thousands.
DLA is from DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) at 31 August each year.
AA is from a five per cent sample at 31 August each year.



Through Jobcentre Plus, we are promoting work as the best form of welfare for people of working age. Since 1997 the number of long-term unemployed in west Lancashire has fallen by 72 per cent. and the number of young people that are unemployed by 38 per cent.

Our new deals have helped lone parents, the young unemployed, the long-term unemployed, disabled people, the over 50s and partners of unemployed people to move from benefit into work. Nationally over 15 million people have been helped into work by the new deals, with over 3,000 in west Lancashire alone.

Significant progress has been made in tackling child poverty. Since 1998–99 the number of children in relative low-income households fell by 700,000 from 3.1 million to 2.4 million on a before housing costs (BHC) basis and 700,000 from 4.1 million to 3.4 million on an after housing costs (AHC) basis.

Since 2001–02 incomes for lone parents in receipt of benefit have risen by more than prices or the cost of living. Child rates in income support and jobseeker's allowance have been increased by 40 per cent. since
 
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2001–02, increasing above inflation in April 2005 in line with child tax credit upratings. All of this has benefited 1,900 families in west Lancashire.

We want all pensioners to have a decent and secure income in retirement and to share fairly in the rising prosperity of the country and our first priority has been to help the least well off pensioners. The Government will be spending over £10 billion extra in 2006–07 on pensioners as a result of measures introduced since 1997. Almost half of this spending going to the least well off third of pensioners.

Our reforms include the state second pension, which helps more future pensioners build up better pensions, especially carers. Pension credit, introduced from October 2003, provides a contribution to a guaranteed minimum income for those aged 60 and over and, for the first time, rewards people aged 65 and over who have made modest provision for their retirement. As of August 2005, around 4,800 pensioners in west Lancashire are receiving pension credit, with an average award of £41.71 per week.

We know that older people, who are often on fixed incomes, value timely help with fuel costs. This winter (2005–06) we have again made available a winter fuel payment of £200 for each eligible household with someone aged 60 or over and £300 if the household includes someone aged 80 or over to help with their fuel bills. In 2004–05, around 19,500 people in west Lancashire received a winter fuel payment.

Since 1997 pensioners have seen a real terms increase in their basic state pension of 9 per cent. As at August 2005, around 18,200 pensioners in west Lancashire

have benefited from this increase.

1.Pension Credit and State Pension data are as at August 2005. 2.Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred and are expressed in thousands. 3.Pension Credit replaced MIG on the 6 October 2003. 4.Average amounts are shown to the nearest penny.

Disability Living Allowance

Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications for disability living allowance were received in the latest year for which figures are available; how many of these were (a) granted and (b) rejected; how many of those rejected were appealed; and how many of those appeals were (i) granted and (ii) rejected. [64720]

Mrs. McGuire: Information is not available in the precise form requested. The available information is that in the year to 31 December 2005, some 426,700 claims to disability living allowance were received by the Disability and Carers Service and 423,300 claims were decided. Of these, 198,000 resulted in an award of the allowance and 225,300 were disallowed 1 .

In the same period, the Appeals Service received 82,200 appeals against decisions on disability living allowance claims and appeal tribunals decided 71,400 such appeals. Some 35,900 of the appeal tribunal decisions were in favour of the appellant, whilst 34,400 were either against the appellant or upheld the decision
 
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made by the Disability and Carers Service. In the remaining 1,200 decisions, appeal tribunals disposed of the appeals in other ways, such as by striking out the appeal or by changing the period for which disability living allowance had been awarded 2 .

DWP MIS Computer System, 100 per cent. data. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.

IAD Information Centre, 100 per cent. sample of the Generic Appeals Service Systems. Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.

Full-time/Part-time Workers

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time workers there were in the UK in each of the last 30 years. [64224]

Mrs. McGuire: The information is not available to cover the whole of the time period requested. Such information as is available is in the table:
The number of full-time and part-time employees in the UKsince 1984
Thousands

In employment:
full-time, UK
In employment: part-time, UK
198419,0194,985
198519,2435,116
198619,2865,204
198719,4505,392
198820,1465,603
198920,7805,785
199020,9305,854
199120,3405,872
199219,6316,001
199319,2126,069
199419,2196,233
199519,4496,282
199619,4856,516
199719,7886,660
199820,0016,712
199920,2496,803
200020,5156,918
200120,7086,983
200220,8027,064
200320,8787,288
200421,0237,385
200521,3577,319




Notes:
1.The data is taken from the latest Labour Force Survey data.
2.The Labour Force Survey is a survey of the population of private households, student halls of residence and NHS accommodation.
Source:
Labour Force Survey.




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