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The Minister for Disabled People, Anne McGuire MP, promised you a substantive reply from the Acting Chief Executive of the Disability and Carers Service.
I can confirm that the operating and investment budgets of the new Pension, Disability and Carers Service Agency will be the sum of the planned, pre-merger budgets of the current Disability and Carers Service and The Pension Service.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many pensioners access their pension through the Post Office; how many and what proportion received their pension (a) on or before 21 December 2007 and (b) on or by 24 December 2007; how many pensioners did not receive or were unable to access their pension on or before 24 December 2007; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Mike O'Brien:
The vast majority (around 8.6 million) of pensioners have their pension paid by direct payment into a bank account and those who were due a
payment at Christmas were able to access their money from cash machines at any time over the holiday period. It is possible to access money in other bank accounts at the Post Office, as well as the Post Office Card Account and cheque payments, but the Department does not hold data on how many pensioners choose to do so.
The arrangements put in place to make sure that everyone received their money before Christmas worked well and around 5.4 million (60 per cent.) pensioners due to be paid over Christmas were able to access their money on Friday 21 December. The remaining around 3.6 million (40 per cent.) were able to access their money on Monday 24 December.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of the cohort of women who did not fully benefit from home responsibilities protection, referred to in the May 2006 Pensions White Paper, will be over pension age on 6 April 2010; and what estimate he has made of the cost of extending the reduction from 39 to 30 in the number of qualifying years required to be eligible for a full basic state pension to these women. 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information requested is not available. The cohort of women described in the 2006 White Paper, who did not fully benefit from Home Responsibilities Protection (HRP), did not do so because HRP was not introduced until 1978. Prior to 1978 periods spent out of the labour market while caring for children did not count towards State Pension entitlement.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the number of people with learning disabilities employed in (a) the public sector and (b) the NHS. 
|Name||Date of appointment||Last day of service|
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to his Departments press release of 5 September 2007, on advice to patients on sick leave, how successful the online training tool for GPs has been. 
Mrs. McGuire: The online training tool is an educational programme developed in partnership with Cardiff university. It has been designed to help GPs develop their skills in handling issues around fitness for work during consultations with patients. 263 GPs completed the programme as part of an independent evaluation during the development process. The results from this evaluation showed that of the GPs that took part, there was a significant change in their attitudes towards dealing with their consultations around fitness for work.
The training tool has also been used as part of a national education programme for GPs which we have been piloting in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners. The evaluation of the pilot showed that GPs had an increased level of confidence on dealing with consultations on fitness for work.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of households in social housing he estimates were in poverty in (a) England, (b) each region and (c) each London local authority area in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2006-07. 
Mr. Timms: Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom is available in "Households Below Average Income 1994-95, 2005-06 (Revised)". The threshold of below 60 per cent. contemporary median income is the most commonly used in reporting trends in low income.
The available information is shown in the following tables. The data source does not allow us to provide robust numbers for estimates below the level of Government Office Region. Data for 2006-07 are not yet available so statistics for the most recent years are given instead.
|Proportion of households in social housing having an income below 60 per cent. of median in England and by r egion, three-year averages over 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99|
|Percentage of households|
|Before housing costs||After housing costs|
|Proportion of households in social housing having an income below 60 per cent. of median in England and by region, three-year averages over 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06|
|Percentage of households|
|Before housing costs||After housing costs|
| Notes: 1. Three survey year averages are given for each of the regions as robust single year estimates cannot be produced because of the sample sizes for individual regions. 2 The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication 'Households Below Average Income' series, which uses disposable household income, adjusted/equivalised for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. 3. The figures are based on OECD equivalisation factors. 4. Tables show figure in percentages rounded to the nearest percentage point.|
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the likely change in the number of postal claims for (a) jobseekers allowance, (b) incapacity benefit and (c) income support as a result of closures of jobcentres or Jobcentre Plus offices, in each region. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what estimate he has made of the increase in postal claims for (a) Jobseekers Allowance (b) Incapacity Benefit and (c) Income Support as a result of planned closures of Jobcentres or Jobcentre Plus Offices, broken down by region. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
We do not have a postal claim scheme for these three benefits. For the vast majority of claimants, the initial claim to these benefits will be made by a telephone call to a Contact Centre. For those vulnerable customers who are unable to make contact by telephone, the claim will be taken at a face-to-face interview.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claimed each type of benefit in (a) Cornwall, (b) the South West and (c) England in each year since 1979; and what percentage those people were of the population in each area in each year. 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households have made both continuous claims for housing benefit and council tax and repeated claims for jobseekers allowance since 1997. 
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has conducted research into the merits of reflecting varying living costs in different regions in benefit levels. 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the risk of fraud in claims for (a) incapacity benefit and (b) income support in cases where (i) the claimant attends the local jobcentre and (ii) the claim is maintained by post; 
(2) what estimate he has made of the risk of fraud in claims for jobseekers allowance (a) where the claimant attends the local jobcentre once a fortnight and (b) where the claim is maintained by post. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The Targeting Benefit Thieves campaign was launched in October 2006. The Department has carried out regular quantitative tracking research, supported by qualitative research, to monitor the effectiveness of the campaign.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place a copy of the findings of the research into benefit fraud commissioned by his Department and undertaken by GfK NOP in the Library. 
Research commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions to evaluate communications activity is available through the Department's publication
scheme. Further information about the publication scheme is available on our website at:
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