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16 Jan 2008 : Column 1381W—continued

Social Fund

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many successful applications to the Social Fund have been made in each of the last
16 Jan 2008 : Column 1382W
five years; and what proportion of these applications were made (a) by telephone, (b) in writing and (c) by face-to-face interview. [173432]

Mr. Plaskitt: The available information is given in the following tables. The data cannot be broken down into applications made by (a) telephone, (b) in writing and (c) by face-to-face interview.

Social fund initial awards for Great Britain
thousand
Community care grants Crisis loans Budgeting loans

2002-03

245

1,064

1,251

2003-04

256

1,059

1,250

2004-05

261

1,000

1,200

2005-06

275

1,016

1,217

2006-07

271

1,072

1,298


Social fund initial awards for Great Britain
thousand
Sure start maternity grants Funeral payments Total (all five award types)

2002-03

225

42

2,827

2003-04

226

43

2,834

2004-05

225

40

2,727

2005-06

225

38

2,771

2006-07

224

37

2,902

Notes:
1. Figures do not include awards made after review, reconsideration or appeal.
2. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
Source:
DWP Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System

Social Security Benefits: Pensioners

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average value of benefits in kind provided by the state was to (a) single pensioners and (b) pensioner couples in Huddersfield in 1996-97 and in each year since then. [162540]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: A wide range of services and benefits in kind are available to older people and these are administered both centrally and locally. As a result, the information is not available in the format requested: some information is not collected and some could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The information which is available is given as follows.

(i) NHS services

People aged 60 and over are able to claim free prescriptions and eye tests on the grounds of age.

The NHS services information is not available broken down into single pensioner and pensioner couples.

Information on the value of medicines provided by the national health service (NHS) to pensioners is available only at primary care trust level.

The following table shows the estimated net ingredient cost (NIC) of medicines dispensed by the NHS in the community, to patients aged 60 and over, in the South Huddersfield and Huddersfield Central PCTs which existed from October 2000 to September 2006.


16 Jan 2008 : Column 1383W

16 Jan 2008 : Column 1384W
Total NIC spent on people over 60 claiming free prescriptions
£
Financial year PCT South Huddersfield - NIC( 1) PCT Huddersfield Central NIC( 1)

October 2000 - March 2001

1,556,247

4,578,673

April 2001 - March 2002

3,660,956

9,996,305

April 2002 - March 2003

4,274,282

11,269,579

April 2003 - March 2004

5,031,551

12,547,823

April 2004 - March 2005

5,363,708

13,115,300

|April 2005 - March 2006

4,986,221

11,766,929

(1) These figures have been taken from the prescription cost analysis database and are estimates based on a sample of prescriptions.
Notes:
Net Ingredient Cost (NIC) - NIC is the basic cost of a drug. It does not take account of discounts, dispensing costs, fees or prescription charges income.
Data for the period April 2006 to September 2006 are not available as they are part year.

Free NHS sight tests were made available to people aged 60 and over from 1 April 1999. Information on the value of NHS sight tests provided to people aged 60 and over within the area of the former Huddersfield Central primary care trust (PCT) and South Huddersfield PCT is only available on a consistent basis for the years set out in the following table:

Financial year Number of free NHS sight tests given to people aged 60 and over within Huddersfield Central PCT Estimated cost of NHS sight tests to people aged60 and over in Huddersfield Central PCT (£) Number of free NHS sight tests given to people aged60 and over within South Huddersfield PCT Estimated cost of NHS sight tests to people aged 60 and over in South Huddersfield PCT (£)

2003-04

16,598

286,000

2,863

49,000

2004-05

15,868

283,000

2,875

51,000

2005-06

16,632

306,000

3,483

64,000

Note:
2006-07 sight test data are not available at PCT level. Strategic health authority (SHA) and primary care trust (PCT) level data for the first half of 2007-08 will be available in the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care’s publication “General Ophthalmic Services: Activity Statistics for England and Wales: April 2007-September 2007” due to be published by March 2008.

Information on the age of adults who qualify on grounds other than their age for help with other NHS services, such as optical vouchers or relief from dental charges, is not collected centrally.

(ii) Social services

The table shows gross current expenditure for Kirklees metropolitan district council, which includes Huddersfield council, on older people aged 65 or over from 1996-97 to 2005-06. Social services information is not available broken down into single pensioner and pensioner couples. Information is not available separately for Huddersfield.

Gross current expenditure( 1 ) by Kirklees metropolitan council on older people (aged 65 or over)
£000
Year (1 April to 31 March) Gross current expenditure

1996-97

39,360

1997-98

40,113

1998-99

43,639

1999-2000

46,928

2000-01

48,970

2001-02

54,971

2002-03(2)

58,353

2003-04(3)

60,522

2004-05

70,552

2005-06

77,061

(1) Gross expenditure includes income from client contributions, but excludes capital charges and certain income items which count as expenditure elsewhere in the public sector, such as contributions from primary care trusts. This is to avoid double counting within the aggregate public sector accounts of the money involved.
(2) From 2002-03 onwards, the data include clients who transferred to council with social services responsibilities (CSSR) support on 8 April 2002, who were formally in receipt of higher rates of income support under the Department for Work and Pensions preserved rights scheme.
(3) From 2003-04, additional funding was made available to CSSRs via the Supporting People grant.
Source:
Revenue outturn (RO3) and personal social services expenditure (PSS EX1) returns

(iii) Television licences

Free television licences for people aged 75 or over were introduced in November 2000. TV Licensing, who administer free licences as agents for the BBC, are not able to provide geographical breakdowns of licences issued. However, figures, shown in the following table, are available for the number of households with at least one person aged 75 or over claiming Winter Fuel Payments in Huddersfield constituency. These people would be eligible for a free television licence.

Huddersfield constituency
Number of households with someone aged 75 or over

2004-05

5,085

2005-06

5,180

2006-07(1)

5,150

(1) Main payment run only
Note:
Data prior to 2004-05 are not available.

16 Jan 2008 : Column 1385W

Social Security Benefits: Telephone Services

Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the average cost of making a benefit claim by telephone. [170794]

Caroline Flint: The Department estimates the average cost of making a benefit claim by telephone using a BT landline telephone is in the following table.

Benefit Basis of calculation Cost (p)

Attendance allowance

0800 number

Nil

Carers allowance

0800 number

Nil

Disability living allowance

0800 number

Nil

Incapacity benefit

0800 number

Nil

Income support

0800 number

Nil

Jobseeker’s allowance

0800 number

Nil

Pension credit

0800 number

Nil

State pension

0845 number. Monday to Friday 6am to 6pm. Based on an average call of 20 minutes at 3.95p per minute including a 6p set up fee per call.

86

State pension

0845 number. Monday to Friday before 6am and after 6pm and on Saturday. Based on an average call of 20 minutes at a BT rate of 1p per minute including a 6p set up fee per call.

26

Social fund crisis loans

0800 number

Nil


The Pension Service will always offer to call state pension customers back if they express any concerns about the costs being incurred.

Customers calling an 0800 or 0845 number from their mobile phone, non BT phone network or from abroad will be charged at the specific operator’s call rate.

Social Security Benefits: Young People

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women aged (a) 19 years and under and (b) 15 years and under, with dependent children, are in receipt of income-related benefits in England; and what the average amount of benefit is they receive. [177203]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available.

There are currently five income-related benefits: income support; income-based jobseeker’s allowance; pension credit; housing benefit; and council tax benefit. All the benefits have different rules as regards to the minimum age of claimants. Income support and jobseeker’s allowance cannot be paid to anyone under 16 years of age. Pension credit is for those aged 60 and over. There is no lower age limit for housing benefit, but it is payable to those under 16 years of age only in very exceptional circumstances. Council tax benefit is not payable to anyone under 18 years of age; under that age an individual cannot be liable for council tax.


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