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Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many overseas visits by officials in his Department took place in each of the last 10 years; which countries were visited; and how much was spent on such visits in each such year. 
£18,238 for one visit to China.
£8,697.51 for one visit to the United States of America.
£450.00 for one visit to Brussels.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the cost was of engaging Veredus Recruitment Consultants to recruit the Chair, Commissioner and non-executives for the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission; 
Mr. Plaskitt: I refer the hon. Member to my statement of 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 87WS. The precise costs incurred to engage Veredus to recruit the Chair, Commissioner and non-executives for the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission are commercially confidential.
The selection of Veredus Recruitment Consultants to recruit the Chair Commissioner and non-executives for the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission was made through the Cabinet Office framework for services of this type and was based on the principles of fair and open competition and value for money.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the rationale is for taking a parent's new partner's income into account in setting contributions under the old Child Support Agency rules; and if he will give consideration to amending the old rules to reflect the situation under the new rules. 
Responsibility does not extend to a parent's new partner. In the old child support scheme, the non-resident parent's partner's income may be taken into account in order to assess the extent to which the partner may be expected to contribute financially to the upkeep of any children of their relationship, and to ensure that that family has sufficient disposable income to meet their day-to-day needs. This could affect the amount of maintenance that the non-resident parent must pay.
Under the new child support scheme, introduced in March 2003, the method of calculating child support maintenance was simplified in a number of ways, which included removing the need to take into account the non-resident parent's partner's income.
Currently there are no plans to change the old rules to reflect the new rules. However, once the future scheme, currently being debated by Parliament in the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill, is fully implemented, all cases will operate on a single set of rules and, as with the new scheme, no account will be taken of a parent's new partner's income.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions his Department has had with the Royal National Institute for the Blind on whether severe sight loss should be included as criteria for qualifying for the higher-rate mobility component of the disability living allowance. 
Mrs. McGuire: I have met with representatives of RNIB on 11 September 2006 and again on 4 December 2007. Officials from the Department met and corresponded with representatives of RNIB on a number of occasions in 2007, most recently on 13 December 2007.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents have taken part in pathways broken down by (a) ethnicity, (b) age of youngest child and (c) number of children. 
|Number of lone parents who have taken part in new deal for lone parents by ethnicity, cumulative until August 2007|
|Ethnic group||Number of lone parents|
|Number of lone parents who have taken part in new deal for lone parents by age of youngest child, cumulative until August 2007|
|Age group of youngest child||Number of lone parents|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 and displayed in thousands and therefore may not sum.
2. Ethnic group is self-assessed and recorded on the Labour Market System.
3. Information relates to lone parents who have taken part in the New deal for lone parents only.
Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of people were living in relative poverty, below 40 per cent. of median income, in the UK in each year between 1979 and 2007; and if he will make a statement. 
Caroline Flint: The most common and internationally recognised threshold to measure poverty is income below 60 per cent. of median. We do not present information covering 40 per cent. of median income in our Households Below Average Income series as it is not a good measure of poverty. This is because households stating the lowest incomes to the family resources survey (FRS) may not actually have the lowest living standards. Many people who report very low incomes appear to have high spending. Hence any statistics on numbers in this group may be misleading.
Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom is available in "Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2005-06". This annual report, which is a National Statistics publication, includes the numbers and proportions of individuals, children, working age adults and pensioners with incomes below 50 per cent., 60 per cent. and 70 per cent. of median income, and the proportions in persistent poverty.
|Number and percentage of individuals living below 40 per cent. of median income in each year between 1979 and 2005-06 where data are available|
|Before Housing Costs||After Housing Costs|
|Number (million)||Percentage||Number (million)||Per cent|
| Sources: 1. 1979 to 1997: Family Expenditure Survey (UK) 2. 1994 to 1998: Family Resources Survey (GB) 3. 1998 to 2006: Family Resources Survey (UK)|
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