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19 July 2007 : Column 489Wcontinued
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the cost effectiveness of advertising commissioned by his Department in the last 12 months. 
Mrs. McGuire: Government policies and programmes affect the lives of millions of people and in order for them to work they must be communicated effectively. The Department runs promotional campaigns aimed at increasing awareness of rights and responsibilities where necessary and advertising is used where appropriate.
Advertising is rigorously assessed according to the individual criteria and objectives set out for each initiative, and results are used to measure effectiveness and to inform future strategy. Methods include quantitative surveys carried out before, during and after advertising campaigns, qualitative assessment of creative work, and in-depth work with samples of those targeted by advertising.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what research his Department has undertaken into the reasons for recent trends in the number of incapacity claimants claiming benefit due to mental and behavioural disorders. 
Mrs. McGuire: Routes onto incapacity benefits study (DWP, Research Report 350 (Roy Sainsbury and Jacqueline Davidson) was published in 2006 and is available in the Library. A further quantitative survey is currently being finalised and will be published in the autumn.
A review of the policies needed to improve mental health and employment outcomes was also announced in Budget 2006. The Review will report as part of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review.
Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Warrington received pension credit in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: As at February 2007 there were 7,940 households receiving pension credit, comprising 9,700 individual beneficiaries, in Warrington.
Notes: 1.The figures provided are early estimates. The preferred data source for figures supplied by DWP is the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS). However, the figure provided is the latest available figure, which is taken from the GMS scan at 2 March 2007. These are adjusted using the historical relationship between WPLS and GMS data to give an estimate of the final WPLS figure.
2. Case loads are rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Figures provided are for Warrington local authority. Local authorities are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant postcode directory.
4. Households are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves only or on behalf of a household.
5. The number of individual beneficiaries includes both claimants and their partners.
DWP 100 per cent. data from the Generalised Matching Service (GMS) pension credit scan taken as at 2 March 2007.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will introduce a measure of severe poverty; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: Poverty is a complex and multidimensional issue and there are many measures of poverty. Experts agree that it is very difficult to measure severe poverty. The measurement of low income we have adopted looks at a household living on less than 60 per cent. of median income, which is an internationally recognised method and the most commonly used globally. The Department also publishes the Households Below Average Income report, which presents information on potential living standards as determined by disposable income, measured at 50, 60 and 70 per cent. of median income.
However poverty is about more than just low income which is why we publish Opportunity for All which sets out a number of indicators to demonstrate our progress in tackling poverty and social exclusion.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people aged 16 to 21 were asked to repay benefits paid while they were staying in hospital in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 17 July 2007]: The information in relation to how many people aged 16 to 21 were asked to repay benefits paid while in hospital is not available.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people received the winter fuel payment in each year since its introduction; and how much they received in each year. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Information on winter fuel payments for the winters of 1997-98 and 1998-99 is not available. The information from winter 1999-2000 is in the following table.
1. Figures rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Figures for 2006-07 refer only to the main payment run so they do not include the late payment run figures. We estimate that there are approximately 100,000 people in Great Britain paid in late payment runs (0.8 per cent. of all payments). Since most of the payment runs are to people who are not receiving another benefit from DWP and whose claims had not been received by the qualifying week, most are men aged 60 to 64.
3. Where couples are in receipt of pension credit or income-based jobseekers allowance they receive one full rate winter fuel payment which is paid to the person claiming the benefit.
Information directorate 100 per cent. data.
The amount of winter fuel payment a person receives depends on their household circumstances. People who live with other eligible people receive a shared rate which is half of the full payment. People who live alone, live with someone who does not qualify for a payment or who receive pension credit or income-based jobseekers allowance receive the full rate.
The current rate of the winter fuel payment is £200 for people aged 60 to 79 and £300 for people aged 80 or over. When the winter fuel payment was introduced in the winter of 1997-98 it was paid at the rate of £20 or £50 for people receiving income support or income-based jobseekers allowance. The payment was increased in winter 1999-2000 to £100 and further increased in winter 2000-01 to £200. In winter 2003-04 the payment was increased to £300 for people aged 80 or over.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities have retained direct ownership and management responsibilities for their housing stock; and what proportion of the overall national stock of social housing their stock represents. 
Mr. Iain Wright: During the Stock Options Appraisal exercise conducted between 2003 and 2005, 103 local authorities in England chose retained ownership and direct management for their housing stock, a further five are retaining part ownership and direct management for part of their stock, and have used ALMO transfer or PFI for parts of their housing stock.
Between them these local authorities own and directly manage 891,000 units, which accounts for 22 per cent. of all social housing in England.
Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what measures she is proposing to help those whose flood damaged houses are uninsured. 
John Healey: The £14 million package of immediate support for flood hit areas announced by the Prime Minister on 7 July included a fund of £10 million to local authorities to support the work being done to help recovery. On 13 July I announced a series of initial Flood Recovery Grant payments totalling £8 million to support work in 34 flood-hit local authorities to help those in greatest and most immediate need get back on their feet. We have retained around £2 million for further distribution and we intend to make additional grants to local authorities based upon the best available data as soon as possible.
The Department for Work and Pensions is helping people on income related benefits or the lowest of incomes affected by the flooding with essential costs through Community Care Grants and repayable interest-free crisis loans, administered by Jobcentre Plus. A contingency reserve of £1 million can be drawn on by Jobcentre Plus as needed to meet the extra call on Community Care Grants.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make a statement on Government policy on the building of houses on flood plains. 
Mr. Iain Wright: In December 2006 we published Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 25 Development and flood risk, which aims to avoid inappropriate development in flood risk areas and direct development away from high risk areas by ensuring that sites at little or no risk of flooding are developed in preference to areas at higher risk. In the 10 per cent. of England at high risk of flooding, PPS25 ensures that essential homes and services can be provided where it can be demonstrated that the need for the development outweighs the flood risk and the development will be safe and not increase risk.
PPS25 strengthens and clarifies the policy established by Planning Policy Guidance Note (PPG) 25, which was published in 2001. PPS25 is available at:
Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much central funding has been given to local authorities in the last 10 years to assist them to meet the cost of equal pay. 
Local authorities are responsible for decisions on local pay issues, including equal pay, and they are expected to manage them in an affordable manner. Most central funding is provided through general grant and there has been no specific grant
earmarked for equal pay. Central Government funding for local government has increased by 39 per cent. in real terms since 1997.
Approvals for capitalisation directions for equal pay, which permit authorities to borrow or use capital receipts to fund back-pay, are set out as follows:
|Fund s (£)|
Following representations made by the Local Government Association and others, we have introduced
a quicker process for equal pay capitalisation this year, and are considering requests in the current financial year.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much Government funding was allocated to each of the regional assemblies in each year since their creation. 
John Healey: Total Government grant to regional assemblies between 2001 and 2008 is tabled as follows. The figures for 2007-08 indicate the maximum grant available subject to satisfactory performance.
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