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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what steps he is taking to implement the recommendations of the clinical guidelines of August 2007 by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on Chronic Fatigue/Syndrome Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in relation to benefits applicants; 
(2) if he will review the questionnaire and medical examination process established by his Department for benefits applicants with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in light of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's report of August 2007. 
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will review the Jobcentre Plus questionnaire Incapacity for Work (Form JB65) for those with Chronic Fatigue/Syndrome Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in light of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's report of August 2007. 
Mrs. McGuire: The report of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is about the way chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis is treated within the NHS. The Department recognises chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis as a real and potentially very disabling condition. Each person claiming benefit is assessed on the basis of the way the condition affects them as an individual.
Jobcentre Plus has a number of forms for customers who claim Incapacity Benefit irrespective of their illness and/or their disability. Although there are no plans to review these forms as result of the NICE report, all forms/letters are reviewed annually.
|Numbers of working-age claimants of out-of-work benefits, and the proportion of the working age population this represents, in the Eastbourne parliamentary constituency, as at May 2007|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.
3. Figures are not seasonally adjusted.
4. Unemployed category is taken from the JSA claimant count rates and proportions data published by ONS. Time series data are available from www.nomisweb.co.uk this 100 per cent. series is the most reliable and up-to-date source for claimant unemployment below regional level.
5. This table includes the main out-of-work client group categories, with the exception of carers who are not subject to activation policies in the same way as other groups.
Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate 100 per cent. WPL; Count of unemployment-related benefits, Jobcentre Plus computer systems (including clerically held cases); and ONS, Population Estimates Unit.
The Department has commissioned the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam university to undertake research into the links between social housing and worklessness. The research is expected to report towards the end of this year.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into worklessness among ex-prisoners; and what steps he has taken to promote the employment of ex-prisoners. 
A qualitative study following up on 40 prisoners for six months after leaving prison is due to be published in spring 2008. This will examine how support services can best be delivered to encourage employment outcomes and will explore the barriers faced by ex-prisoners as they make the transition from prison into the community.
A Joint Pilots Baseline Study was commissioned in July 2007 and is due to report in 2009. This is an evaluative study of a number of innovative pilots focusing on hard-to-help individuals, particularly ex-prisoners. These include Job Developer Pilots (EXit2Work) and the Green Paper on Reducing Re-offending Through Skills and Employment Test Bed regions.
Activities supporting the employment of ex-prisoners include Jobcentre Plus staff working in prisons to facilitate job retention and search, and the pre-booking of interviews with Jobcentre Plus on release. Additional support is available through the contracted-out programme progress2work and progress2work-LinkUP, whose clients are ex-prisoners, drug addicts and the homeless. Ex-prisoners are also supported by mainstream services, and have early access to the new deals.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his estimate is of (a) economic growth, (b) employment levels and (c) average wages in Afghanistan; what such figures were in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: The UK Government do not make their own formal assessment of economic growth, employment levels and average wages in Afghanistan, but use data from surveys and analysis carried out by the Government of Afghanistan and international agencies. Because data quality on Afghanistan is poor, it is not possible to provide a breakdown of each year since 2001.
The Afghan economy has grown by between 40 per cent. and 70 per cent. since 2002, driven primarily by high aid inflows and the opium economy. These high growth rates are a result of the economys low starting base and are expected to drop to around 7 per cent. over the next five years.
Annual labour market data quality in Afghanistan is very poor but improving. The average wage for an Afghan worker is currently around $375 a year, based on GDP and population figures in the UNDP Human Development Report 2007.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the number of children in (a) primary, (b) secondary and (c) tertiary education in Afghanistan in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: The UK Government use data on education from surveys and analysis carried out by the Government of Afghanistan and international agencies. Because data quality on Afghanistan is so poor, it is not possible to provide a breakdown of each year since 2001.
According to the latest analysis by the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, 5.4 million children are in primary and secondary education in 2007, a third of these girls. Attendance is lower in rural areas compared to urban areas. This compares with an estimated 1 million children in primary and secondary school in 2001, of whom very few were girls, as they were officially denied access to education under the Taliban.
There are currently 52,000 students in tertiary education in 2007. Current demand for higher education is four times the available supply of places and will only be met with large increases in the number of lecturers.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his assessment is of the availability of supply of (a) electricity and (b) water in Afghanistan; what assessment he has made of such availability in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: The UK Government have not made any formal assessments of their own of the availability of supply of electricity and water in Afghanistan. Because data quality on Afghanistan is so poor, it is not possible to provide a breakdown of each year since 2001.
Just 31 per cent. of Afghan households have access to safe drinking water. Kuchi (nomad) households have the lowest access to safe drinking water at 16 per cent., while rural households have 26 per cent. access and urban households have 64 per cent. access.
Just 23 per cent. of Afghan households have access to any type of electrical power at some time during the year. Kuchi households have just 4 per cent. access, while rural households have 13 per cent. access, and urban households have 74 per cent. access.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his assessment is of (a) food prices and (b) levels of food poverty in Afghanistan; what assessment he has made of such (i) prices and (ii) levels in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: The UK Government do not make their own assessment of food prices and levels of food poverty in Afghanistan, but use data from surveys and analysis carried out by the Government of Afghanistan and international agencies. Because data quality on Afghanistan is poor, it is not possible to provide a breakdown of each year since 2001.
Food price inflation has stayed stable at an average of 8 per cent. per year since 2003. However these prices are likely to increase in the future due to significant increases in international food prices.
Food poverty in 2005, as measured by the number of people consuming less than 2,100 calories a day, was 30 per cent. The figure for rural and urban Afghanistan is almost the same. There is no reliable time series, but according to the United Nations, during 2001-04 the proportion of people suffering food poverty in rural areas remained relatively constant. This suggests that the majority of Afghans manage to maintain a minimum level of calorie intake despite year-to-year rainfall fluctuations. However millions are still chronically or seasonally food insecure.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of levels of (a) infant mortality, (b) maternal mortality and (c) life expectancy in Afghanistan in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: The UK Government does not make its own assessment of mortality and life expectancy in Afghanistan, but uses data from surveys and analysis carried out by the Government of Afghanistan and international agencies. Because data quality on Afghanistan is poor, it is not possible to provide a breakdown of each year since 2001.
The Afghanistan human development report 2007, produced by the UNDP together with the University of Kabul, currently estimates the infant mortality rate in 2007 to be 135 deaths out of every 1,000 births. This compares to a health survey carried out in 2006 by the Government of Afghanistan with John Hopkins University which estimated the infant mortality rate to have been 165 deaths per 1,000 births in 2000.
The Afghanistan Human Development Report 2007 estimates life expectancy in Afghanistan to be 43 years in 2007, and according to estimates by the UN and the Government of Afghanistan it was 47 years in 2005 and 43 years in 2001.
Mr. Malik: The UK Government have announced a contribution of £2.5 million for immediate cyclone relief efforts, channelled through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to provide food, safe water, medical treatment and housing repairs. In addition, we will consider our response to additional needs identified once damage and needs assessments have been carried out by the Government of Bangladesh and the United Nations (UN).
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how many reports have been made to his Departments nominated officers under paragraph 16 of the revised Civil Service Code since its publication on 6 June 2006; 
Mr. Malik: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Cabinet Office Parliamentary Secretary and Minister for the East Midlands on 19 November 2007, Official Report, columns 596-97W.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in his Department (a) were disciplined and (b) had their employment terminated as a result of a poor sickness record in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Malik: DFID has been taking action over the past few years to actively manage out cases where staff had been on long term sick leave for over 12 months. Early intervention has allowed formal disciplinary action to be avoided and there have been no disciplinary cases related to a poor sick record during the period. Details are as follows:
|Reason for dismissal||Number of cases|
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