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|Disability benefits (disability living allowance, attendance allowance and industrial injuries disablement benefit): (i) estimated average annual amount of benefit paid per recipient( 1) ; and (ii) estimated average annual administrative cost per recipient( 2)|
|Benefit||Disability living allowance||Attendance allowance||Industrial injuries disablement benefit|
|(1) Figures are for 2005-06 and are rounded to the nearest 10. For disability living allowance they are based on payments data from statistical extracts for 100 per cent. of cases in payment in the quarter to November 2005; for attendance allowance they are based on payments data from statistical extracts for 5 per cent. of cases in payment in the quarter to November 2005; and for industrial injuries disability benefit they are based on payments data from statistical extracts for 100 per cent. of cases in payment in the quarter to September 2005.|
(2 )Figures are the estimated cost in 2004-05 of maintaining a case where benefit is in payment. They do not include the administrative costs of deciding claims to benefit.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment his Department has made of the appropriateness and accessibility of disability living allowance application forms for under 16-year-olds; 
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.
In reply to two of your recent Parliamentary Questions about the Disability Living Allowance claim pack for under 16 year olds, the Minister for Disabled People, Anne McGuire MP, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, promised you a substantive reply from the Chief Executive of the Disability and Carers Service.
You asked what assessment his Department has made of the appropriateness and accessibility of Disability Living Allowance application forms for under 16 year olds and also what progress was being made in simplifying the Disability Living Allowance claim form for under 16 year olds.
The Department is committed to improving citizens accessibility to all its services, including the application forms for Disability Living Allowance for children and adults. The recent launch of on-line electronic claim services for Disability Living Allowance has provided a new option of immediate access
through electronic channels for those who prefer that means of making a claim. This option can be used for claims in respect of children.
The Department, specifically the Disability and Carers Service, continues to work to monitor and improve the Disability Living Allowance claim forms and will continue to take account of the different needs of people with particular disabilities where this is practicable. Consultation about the claim forms is ongoing with the Disability and Carers Service Advisory Forum, which includes representatives of a range of disabled people, this consultation includes the appropriateness and accessibility of the forms.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what studies he has (a) commissioned, (b) evaluated and (c) collated on the impact of labour market trends on achieving his Department's employment targets. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Department's Public Service Agreement (PSA) employment target is to demonstrate progress on increasing the employment rate between spring 2005 and spring 2008. We are on course to achieve this.
Progress towards PSA targets is set out in the annual departmental report. The report for 2005-06 was published in May and is available in the Library. We have not commissioned, evaluated or collated any separate studies on the impact of labour market trends on achieving our PSA target.
Mr. Pelling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will instruct the Health and Safety Executive to seek to prosecute all unregistered gas-fitters where there is evidence of a breach of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has taken a number of prosecutions against unregistered gas fitters and will continue to do so where prosecution is appropriate. HSE prosecutions, including those against unregistered gas fitters, are based on the standards in the Health and Safety Commissions Enforcement Policy Statement and the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
The Enforcement Policy Statement includes a requirement that all action, including prosecution must be proportionate to the seriousness of the breach of the law, and any risks to health and safety arising from the particular breach. Consequently, it would not be appropriate for every breach of a given kind to result in prosecution.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what account he took of undertakings made in response to the Gershon review's conclusions on target headcount when making the staffing projections set out on page 154 of his Department's Annual Report for 2006. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: As set out in the Gershon review the Department is planning to reduce staff numbers by 30,000 full-time equivalents by the agreed date of 31 March 2008 from a baseline of 132,537 as at 1 March 2004.
The figures shown in Table 6 of Annex A on page 154 of the departmental report reflect these plans but are presented as average staff numbers over each financial year rather than as an end of year point in time. This is in line with agreed reporting conventions.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent guidance has been issued to the Health and Safety Executive on improving safety standards in the handling of hazardous cargoes at ports and terminals. 
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 22 May 2006]: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has not recently issued or received any new guidance on safety standards for handling of hazardous cargoes at ports and terminals.
The legal and guidance framework that HSE works to in relation to Liquid Natural Gas terminals is set out in the note LNG Terminalsplanning and consent issues, which is available on HSEs website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/supply/ingterminals.pdf.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking in conjunction with the Health and Safety Executive to improve (a) the accuracy of accident books kept by employers and (b) their compliance with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences directions. 
Mrs. McGuire: A new version of the accident book was produced in conjunction with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2003 to comply with the Data Protection Act and this was further amended in 2004. The book captures all the information required by the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979.
The Health and Safety Executive introduced in 2001 simplified notification methods such as telephone reporting directly to the HSE Incident Contact Centre. The Accident Book contains brief guidance to the employer on what they are required to do to comply with RIDDOR.
The Health and Safety Executive are currently conducting a fundamental review of RIDDOR aiming to simplify the current requirements, which should aid compliance. A formal consultation exercise should take place in early 2007.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether businesses which are open to the public have a responsibility to provide first aid facilities to customers who are hurt on their premises; what discussions he has had with businesses on this issue; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require employers to assess their first aid needs in their workplace for their employees, but not members of the public. However, many businesses that provide a service to members of the public will include them in their first aid needs assessment.
In August 2003, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) consulted industry about extending first aid provision to the public through a discussion document. In September 2004, the Health and Safety Commission concluded that there was already a good voluntary response to the provision of first aid to the public and that changes to the law were not necessary.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how many complaints have been made about the Jobcentre service in North and West Kent since October 2005. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
We have received 62 complaints about Jobcentre Plus services in North and West Kent from October 2005 to May 2006, the majority of which concerned delays in processing Working Age benefits at Canterbury Benefits Delivery Centre.
As part of our transformation programme, we are reducing the number of offices where benefit processing is undertaken, and creating larger Benefit Delivery Centres. Claims for Income Support, Incapacity Benefit and Jobseeker's Allowance for customers living in the Medway and West Kent areas are processed at Canterbury Benefit Delivery Centre. Unfortunately, backlogs of benefit claims have developed as these significant changes bed in.
A recovery plan is in operation to reduce the volume of outstanding work. This includes the temporary transfer of work to other sites where additional highly experienced staff are available such as Gillingham, Tunbridge Wells and Sittingbourne. As a safeguard, any customer experiencing financial hardship while awaiting benefit can request an interim payment.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals in (a) Peterborough constituency and (b) Cambridgeshire are participating in the Pathways to Work programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: Our successful Pathways to Work pilots have been acknowledged internationally as the best way of helping people on incapacity benefits back into work quickly. They have resulted in 21,400 Pathways job entries, including over 3,360 from voluntary customers.
Peterborough and Cambridgeshire are currently not covered by the programme, but our Welfare Reform Green Paper, A new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work, sets out our plans to roll out the programme across the whole country by 2008.
Mr. Jim Murphy: Our successful Pathways to Work pilots have been acknowledged internationally as the best way of helping people on incapacity benefits back into work quickly. They have resulted in 21,400 Pathways job entries, including over 3,360 from voluntary customers.
Pathways to Work was rolled out in Greater Manchester Central District on 24 April 2006 and is now operational in all sites. The first customers are scheduled for work focused interviews in the week commencing 12 June 2006. Manchester East and Manchester West Districts will form part of the national roll-out of Pathways to Work as set out in the Green PaperA new deal for welfare: Empowering people to work.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many telephone calls were made to the pension credit helpline in each month from September 2005 to February 2006; how many of these calls (a) were handled, (b) received an engaged tone and (c) were abandoned; and if he will make a statement. 
You asked the Secretary of State how many calls made to the Pension Credit Application Line in each month from September 2005 to February 2006 were (a) handled (b) engaged (c) abandoned; and if he will make a statement. I have been asked to respond as this matter falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as the Chief Executive of The Pension Service.
Firstly, please accept my apologies for the delay in response. The table below shows the information, as requested, with
additional information covering the period March and April. The number of calls received by the Pension Credit Application Line (PCAL) during November and December 2005 was exceptionally high due to the response to a marketing campaign The Pension Credit Application Line uses an automated filter, the Auto Attendant, when experiencing high volumes of calls. At times when this is required, customers who wish to make a claim for Pension Credit are advised by the Auto Attendant that they
will be put through to the call queue. The automated message advises all other callers of the high call volumes and they are given the option to call again (during opening hours) or to contact their local Pension Centre, for which the correct telephone number is provided. When the auto attendant is not operating, callers receive a standard greeting message, during which they may abandon their call (for instance if they have dialled a wrong number).
|Month||(i) Inbound calls||(ii) Receiving engaged tone||(iii) Calls filtered to the queue by the auto attendant (when in use)||(iv) Of (iii), Calls abandoned||(v) Of (iii) Calls answered|
There is a discrepancy in the calls answered total due to missing calls. This arises due to a small number of calls not registering on the IT system correctly.
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