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Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many applications for disability living allowance were received in (a) 2005 and (b) 2006; and what percentage of applications was approved; 
Mrs. McGuire: The information is not available in the form requested. The available information is that in the 12 months ending on 31 May 2005, 432,670(1) initial claims to disability living allowance were decided, of which 201,100(1) (46.5 per cent.) resulted in an award of the benefit. In 23.5 per cent.(2) of the claims which resulted in an award of the benefit, the main disabling condition was recorded as mental health. For the 12 months ending on 31 May 2006, the corresponding figures were 422,030(1) claims decided, of which 197,850(1) (46.9 per cent.) resulted in an award of the benefit. In 23.2 per cent.(2) of the claims which resulted in an award of the benefit, the main disabling condition was recorded as mental health.
(1) Source: DWP 100 per cent Management Information Data. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
(2) Figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation.
Figures do not include first awards made as a result of reviews or appeals, since decisions following reviews or appeals occur considerably later than the initial decision.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the Health and Safety Executives targets for tackling backlogs of fire and health and safety repairs were in each year since 2001-02; what the performance against those targets was in each year; what the target and performance are for 2006-07; what the target is for (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09; and how many (i) deaths and (ii) injuries there have been as a result of backlogs of fire and health and safety repairs in each year since 2001-02. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) does not have targets for tackling backlogs of fire and health and safety repairs. HSEs targets relate to reductions in the incidence of injury, the incidence of ill health, the incidence of working days lost and the numbers of recorded major hazard precursor incidents.
HSEs general fire safety remit is limited to certain nuclear and construction sites and ship repair and ship building premises. HSE does not collect statistics on deaths and injuries resulting from backlogs of fire and health and safety repairs.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total cost was of the Health and Safety Executive enforcement communications strategy referred to on page 103 of his 2006 departmental annual report. 
Mrs. McGuire: The cost associated with development and implementation of HSEs enforcement communications strategy to date is a full economic cost of ca. £50,000 for the communications manager undertaking the work. There is anticipated to be a further cost of ca. £50,000 until implementation is completed in December 2007.
1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Jobcentre Plus boundaries do not match directly to parliamentary constituency boundaries. Therefore, figures quoted are aggregate totals for vacancies notified in the West Chelmsford parliamentary constituency.
DWP Information Directorate Jobcentre Plus Labour Market System.
Mr. Jim Murphy: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what recent assessment he has made of levels of performance of Jobcentre Plus offices in (a) Wellingborough and (b) Rushden. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The latest year to date information, from 1 April 2007, for Wellingborough and Rushden Jobcentres is in the Annex. These Jobcentre Plus sites are part of the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire District. Performance against the Job Outcome Target and the Employer Outcome Target is recorded at district level, not for individual offices.
The Annex also shows performance information for the Benefit Delivery Centre (BDC) in Wellingborough where the benefit processing work for Wellingborough and Rushden is
carried out. This BDC is performing well, with clearance time for all benefits being achieved within the national targets.
I hope that this is helpful.
|Performance against national targets for Wellingborough and Rushden Jobcentres|
|JOTJob Outcome Target|
|Employer Outcome Target|
|Wellingborough Benefit Delivery Centre|
|Benefit Delivery (Accuracy)||Target||Performance|
|(1 )Interim result.|
|Actual Average Clearance Time|
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department plans to take to facilitate easier training updates for British workers in the offshore industry in respect of health and safety and job competency during periods when workers are unemployed. 
Mrs. McGuire: Employers are responsible for ensuring that workers are trained and competent in health and safety. The offshore industry works closely with the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation (OPITO) which has the role of identifying current and future skills needs and ensuring that education and training arrangements are in place to meet them. OPITO also, on behalf of the offshore oil and gas industry, ensures the quality and content of key safety and emergency training.
Cogent, the Sector Skills Council for Chemicals, Nuclear, Oil and Gas, Petroleum and Polymers has devolved its responsibility for delivery on oil and gas issues to OPITO. Cogent continues to liaise with Government and the appropriate stakeholders regarding UK policy and government education and skills provision.
the new Accelerate programme introduced by OPITO aims to tackle skills shortages in the Oil and Gas industry. One of its programmes is Accelerate Transfer, which aims to manage the entry of skilled technicians from different backgrounds into the industry and so address one of the major Skills shortages reported by the industry. It provides tailored training and development to close any gaps in technical competence while also sharing the industrys safety culture.
the Technician Training scheme (Modern Apprenticeship) programme is currently working to address the skills requirements for Engineering, in Electrical, Mechanical, Process and Instrumentation. 100 new entrants were recently taken on.
the Workforce Capacity and capability group, on behalf of the Industry Leadership Team, is currently undertaking some work to look at the longer term supply and demand workforce issues which will result in further work specifically aimed at addressing skills shortages.
the Oilandgas4u website run by OPITO opens up the oil and gas industry to people from different backgrounds, locations, aspirations and previous experience.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many written parliamentary questions to his Department in the 2005-06 session were answered with a reply that it had not been possible to reply before prorogation, or similar wording. 
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to strengthen support in workplaces for individuals who, despite being in employment, suffer poverty and social exclusion; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Work is, and continues to be, the most sustainable way out of poverty. Through the introduction of the national minimum wage and working tax credits, we have made sure that work pays. Those in employment face much lower poverty risks than those who are not. People who move from welfare to work benefit beyond the financial returns; they are less likely to experience social exclusion, and have the opportunity to develop social networks and to benefit from workplace-based training.
While those in work are at much lower risk of being poor than the workless, we recognise that because of a combination of low pay and households not able to work sufficient hours, work is not enough to lift all families out of poverty. Key to raising rates of pay is developing the skill base of the workforce, particularly those in low skilled work.
Train to Gain, the Governments new National Employer Training Programme, offers employers access to free flexibly delivered training for their low skilled employees to help them achieve their first full level 2 qualification; the equivalent of five GCSEs. This
provides individuals with the platform they need to progress to higher level skills where the rewards are greater.
The Government are considering their response to Lord Leitchs recommendation to expand Train to Gain as part of our efforts to address the UKs long-term skills needs, particularly for those at the greatest risk of poverty.
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