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6 Feb 2008 : Column 1236W—continued


New Deal Schemes: Jobseeker’s Allowance

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether those returning to jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) immediately after a period on the new deal are counted as making two distinct claims for JSA; and how the duration of a claim for JSA is determined. [173898]

Mr. Timms: The monthly Labour Market Statistics published by the Office for National Statistics treat any claim to JSA after a period on one of the full-time new deal options as a new claim. This is in line with long standing practice.

We have been explicit, from the start of our welfare to work interventions in 1998, about how we would measure the duration of JSA claims. The duration of a current JSA claim is determined by comparing the start date of that claim with the count date for the latest month’s figures, which is the second Thursday of the month. Where duration is measured over more than one spell, the duration of previous spells is determined by using the start and end dates of each relevant claim.

Since the introduction of the new deal, the number of people experiencing long periods on JSA has improved substantially, regardless of whether this is measured using the duration of continuous spells or by adding up the total time individuals spend in unemployment in more than one spell.

Pension Service: Internet

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many times the e-forecasting service on the Pension Service website was used to calculate state pension forecasts in each month since May 2007. [175070]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information is in the following table.

Pensions forecasts utilising e-forecasting service, May to December 2007
Total

May

11,628

June

10,134

July

8,209

August

2,691

September

2,983

October

4,011

November

5,065

December

3,173

Total

47,894

Notes:
1. The Pensions Act 2007, introduced in July 2007, requires some significant changes to the pension forecasting IT systems. Due to this, the Pension Service is temporarily unable to provide people who reach state pension age on or after 6 April 2010 with a full state pension forecast. This is why the number of web-based forecast requests has reduced since August 2007.
2. People reaching state pension age after 2010 who contact the Pension Service retirement pension forecasting team will still be able to obtain personalised information. Information provided includes details on the number of qualifying years people have accrued, to help with considerations such as the payment of voluntary national insurance contributions, and how the changes to the state pension rules may affect their state pension position.
3. It is expected that the web-based forecasting service will be available in spring 2008.
Source:
MI Real Time Pension Forecasting system provided by EDS

Race Task Force

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what work has been undertaken by the Race Task Force. [177073]

Mrs. McGuire: The Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force, which is chaired the Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform in DWP, brings together Ministers from across Government and key stakeholders to tackle the cross-cutting challenges of narrowing the ethnic minority employment gap.

The task force is supported by an independent advisory group and by four focus groups which work day-to-day on its four current priorities: procurement, local area initiatives, employer engagement and the 2012 Olympics.

Achievements over the last year include: working with city strategy pathfinders to set targets on ethnic minority representation; establishing pilots on public sector procurement, as a means of encouraging contractors to improve their diversity practices; and bringing together employers and ethnic minority women to discuss the challenges faced by ethnic minority women in the labour market.


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Over the next 12 months, the work of the task force will include: helping to ensure that the new working neighbourhoods fund makes a difference to the ethnic minority employment gap; and contributing to the Government’s response to the report of the Business Commission on Race Equality in the Workplace.

Further information on the work carried out by the Task Force since its inception in 2003 can be accessed at the Task Force website: www.emetaskforce.gov.uk.

The ethnic minority employment gap is now 13.2 per cent.—down by 2.8 percentage points since the beginning of the spending review period.

Social Security Benefits: Overseas Residence

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of benefit payments made by his Department were to people living outside the UK in the last year for which figures are available. [181766]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the format requested. As at November 2007, the most recent available information, 7.6 per cent. of payments for those benefits which can be paid to people living abroad, were paid to people living abroad. The large majority of payments made abroad are for state retirement pension.

State Retirement Pensions: Essex

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average age of entitlement to a state pension was in (a) Romford, (b) Essex and (c) Greater London in the most recent period for which figures are available. [181675]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information is in the following table.

Area Average age pension of entitlement to a state

Romford

62

Essex

62

London

63

Notes:
1. The area of Romford is the parliamentary constituency.
2. The area of Essex is the county council—the figure has been calculated from totalling the relevant local authorities.
3. The area of Greater London is the London Government Office Region.
4. Geographical areas are derived using the relevant Office for National Statistics post code directory.
Source:
DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. on-flows experimental data as at May 2007

Unemployment Benefits: Children

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what percentage of children lived in families claiming out-of-work benefits in each year since 1997, broken down by parliamentary constituency. [180138]


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Mr. Timms: Information is not available prior to 2004. The available information has been placed in the Library.

Written Questions

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to answer Question 162683, tabled by the hon. Member for Hertsmere on 6 November, on ex-prisoners. [171144]

Mr. Timms: My predecessor replied to the hon. Member’s question on 10 December 2007, Official Report, column 200W.

Health

Blood Donors: Prisoners

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the Answer of 29 October 2007, Official Report, column 991W, on blood: prisoners, (1) what his Department’s policy was on blood donations from prisoners in each year from 1978 to 1986; and if he will make a statement; [182618]

(2) what records are kept of communications between his Department and regional transfusion centre directors over blood donations from prisoners in 1980; and if he will make a statement. [182619]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: We have established that Regional Transfusion Directors in England started to phase out blood collections from prisons from 1980.

The Department has now released, in line with the Freedom of Information Act, all the documents referred to in the reply given on 29 October 2007. These include documents relating to the use of blood from prisoners. These papers are available in the Library and on the Department’s website at:

Brent Teaching Primary Care Trust: Finance

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to support Brent teaching primary care trust following its financial difficulties; and when the Taylor report on the trust’s financial management will be published. [180756]

Mr. Bradshaw: The financial position of Brent Teaching Primary Care Trust (tPCT) is a matter for the local national health service. However, we are informed by NHS London that Brent tPCT entered voluntary turnaround in summer 2006, worked on a detailed plan with KPMG through October and began implementation in November 2006. The current programme is for the 2007-08 financial year and is looking to save £25 million. Plans are currently being worked through to determine the need for future savings in 2008-09.

Regarding the publication of the Taylor report, we are informed by NHS London that the report has not yet been finalised and is going through due process, including taking advice from NHS London’s solicitors.


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Cancer

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health further to the publication of the Cancer Reform Strategy, what the timetable is for (a) beginning and (b) concluding a consultation on (i) proposals for the next steps in tobacco control and (ii) the further regulation of tobacco products. [183969]

Dawn Primarolo: The consultation on proposals for the next steps in tobacco control and the further regulation of tobacco products will take place during spring 2008. A specific timetable for the consultation has not yet been published.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health further to the publication of the Cancer Reform Strategy, what the timetable is for launching a national communications campaign to improve the public’s understanding of units of alcohol; when he plans to evaluate the effectiveness of such a scheme; and by what means. [183971]

Dawn Primarolo: The forthcoming unit campaign to improve the public’s understanding of units of alcohol will launch in May 2008. For the duration of the campaign the Department will monitor its effectiveness by qualitative and quantitative tracking.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Health further to the publication of the Cancer Reform Strategy, what the timetable is for rolling out the Sunsmart campaign; when he plans to evaluate the effectiveness of the scheme; by what means; and what timetable he has for gathering more information about sunbed use. [183972]

Dawn Primarolo: Planning is under way for the 2008 SunSmart campaign, the national skin prevention and sun protection project, run by Cancer Research UK on behalf of the United Kingdom Health Departments. Evaluation is built into the planning of each year’s campaign. The Department is currently working with stakeholders to consider the best way to gather information about the number and distribution of sunbeds and the scale of their use.

Cancer: Drugs

Dr. Richard Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which primary care trusts in England provide funding for surafenib for patients with (a) advanced renal cell cancer and (b) liver cancer. [184247]

Dawn Primarolo: This information is not held centrally.

Care Quality Commission

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the Care Quality Commission will be responsible for ensuring that recommendations arising out of upheld service user and carer complaints are implemented. [184178]


6 Feb 2008 : Column 1240W

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Complaints are best dealt with locally. An independent view will be available through the ombudsman, but the emphasis should be on effective, local resolution and local implementation of lessons learned. With excellent local arrangements for dealing with complaints, there will be no need for further external consideration and the responses to our recent consultation ‘Making Experiences Count’ generally supported this approach.

While the Care Quality Commission will not have a direct role in handling or following up individual complaints (other than complaints that fall to be investigated under section 120 of the Mental Health Act 1983), the Commission will need to take account of concerns, complaints and allegations when determining whether services are being provided safely and are of appropriate quality.

This kind of intelligence will feed into the risk assessments the Commission will make when determining the level of scrutiny it should apply to a particular provider.

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the Care Quality Commission will be responsible for regulating assessment of mental health needs in forensic settings. [184180]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Care Quality Commission will take on the functions of the Mental Health Act Commission and will continue to review the use of the Mental Health Act 1983.

In addition, the Department will be consulting shortly on exactly which activities will be regulated by the Care Quality Commission. We would therefore not wish to pre-empt the outcome of that consultation. We would encourage all those with an interest in this area to engage with the Department on this consultation.

Chronically Sick

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect of creating long-term conditions networks on the management of patients with long-term conditions. [183555]

Ann Keen: A number of disease specific networks, for example for cancer, diabetes and vascular disease, have been established to improve care and services for people with these conditions. In addition to these, general long-term conditions networks have also been established. Assessment and monitoring of the networks is undertaken at local level.

Community Care: Medical Equipment

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to assist NHS organisations to encourage patients with long-term conditions to report medical information to health care professionals from their homes via (a) telephone and (b) computer. [183566]


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