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3 Apr 2008 : Column 1151W—continued

The information in the tables relates to media buying expenditure only, which forms the bulk of departmental publicity expenditure, but excludes direct mail, public relations, production and other costs. All figures are exclusive of VAT.

Departmental Manpower

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff his Department recruited in each of the last 10 years; what proportion
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of these did not have their employment continued at the end of their probationary period in each year, broken down by reason for discontinuance. [194666]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department does not collect data in the format requested.

On 26 June 2006 DWP introduced a new probationary policy which applies to all staff. However while we do record the numbers of staff who leave, we do not record the reasons why they leave. Obtaining the data requested would be at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Postal Services

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the effect on his Department’s expenditure of using (a) UK Mail and (b) Royal Mail for its correspondence. [195685]

Mrs. McGuire: In 2007-08, it is expected that DWP will spend approximately £15 million with UK Mail to handle 60+ million items of second-class mail from our regional delivery centres. This arrangement saves the Department approximately £2 million per annum against previous provision with Royal Mail.

DWP continues to be a major user of Royal Mail’s postal services, spending £37.5 million with them in 2007-08 to deliver 100+ million items.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether consideration has been given to applying gender responsive budgeting to his Department's budget. [192110]

Mrs. McGuire: The UK Government are supportive of efforts to achieve gender equality and continue to work very closely with both the Women's National Commission and the Women's Budget Group on promoting gender equality within the UK.

In 2004, HM Treasury undertook a pilot project on gender analysis of expenditure with the Women's Budget Group. The project demonstrated the value of gender analysis in some areas and identified what tools and expertise were necessary within government to carry out gender analysis, but that further work was needed before gender responsive budgeting could be implemented.

In 2008, HM Treasury will be conducting further work that will determine whether it is prudent and feasible to disaggregate departmental expenditure statistics by gender.

All policy needs to have been gender impact assessed if it affects the Department's customers or staff. Gender equality issues have been central to developing the Pensions Act 2007, and to the current Pension Reform Bill going through Parliament. DWP has produced and published two extensive gender impact assessments alongside this legislation which demonstrate how these pension reforms will contribute to achieving equality of outcome in state pension provision, and equality of opportunity in building up private pension rights.

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Departmental Publications

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions where the “Risking It All—Targeting Benefit Thieves” newsletter has been distributed to; how it was decided where to deliver them; and what the cost was. [196931]

Mr. Plaskitt: The “Risking It All” door drop forms part of the wider Targeting Benefit Thieves campaign to reduce benefit fraud amongst DWP customers. Tackling benefit fraud is an ongoing priority for the Department—in all benefits, we currently estimate that benefit fraud costs the country a total of £0.8 billion each year.

The campaign is targeted at 50 local authority areas across England, Scotland and Wales with the highest numbers of working age benefit claimants. The newsletter was distributed in 27 of those local authority areas:

The newsletter activity is part of the benefit fraud campaign and is still ongoing. Final spend figures for 2007-08 are not yet available—estimated costs for the newsletter are £235,000.

Employment: Learning Disability

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to support people with acute learning disabilities into sustainable work. [196854]

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Mrs. McGuire: The specialist disability employment and advisory services help people with a range of disabilities, including those with a learning disability. Around one third of all those helped on the WORKSTEP programme of supported employment are people with a learning disability.

We work extensively with other Government Departments and agencies to secure better work outcomes for people with a learning disability. The “Getting A Life” demonstration project, which is jointly funded by this Department, the Department of Health, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and the Department for Children, Schools and Families, will be implemented in seven areas from April. The project will address the issues faced by young people with learning disabilities as they move from compulsory education to adult life. The aim is to help join up employment, education and local authority day services for people with a learning disability and smooth their transition from school, through college or training into employment or, where appropriate, other activities.

Housing Benefits

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households received housing benefit in each quarter since 1990, broken down by parliamentary constituency. [196686]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available.

Income Support: Mortgages

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of extending the eligibility criteria to cover mortgage repayments in addition to eligible rents. [196687]

Mrs. McGuire: The information is not available.

Ministers: Pay

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what salary each of his Department's Ministers drew (a) in 2006-07 and (b) since July 2007. [178955]

Mrs. McGuire: The information regarding the salary drawn by the Department's Ministers in 2006-07 is available in the DWP Resource Accounts published in September 2007.

Annual salaries since July 2007 are as shown in the following table.

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Post and name Annual salary (£)

Secretary of State


Minister of State for Pension Reform


Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform


Minister for Disabled People and Parliamentary Under Secretary (Commons)


Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for the East of England(1)


Parliamentary Under Secretary (Commons)


Parliamentary Under Secretary (Lords)


(1) The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for the East of England has since moved to the Government Equalities Office.

Occupational Pensions

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) public and (b) private sector open defined benefit occupational pension schemes there were in each year since 1997. [191149]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government are committed to enhancing and protecting existing occupational pension provision, including good quality defined benefit schemes in both the public and private sector. The Pensions Bill includes a number of deregulation changes including the reduction in the revaluation cap on deferred pensions to 2.5 per cent. from 5 per cent. leading to average savings of £250 million a year.

The movement away from defined benefit to defined contribution schemes is well documented; the Government will continue to work with stakeholders as part of the rolling deregulatory review to encourage employers to keep existing schemes open, while balancing the needs of the employee.

Estimates of the number of public and private sector open defined benefit occupational pension schemes have only been available since 2000. This information is set out in the following table.

Public Private












1. Figure for average annual savings (£250 million) is in 2007-08 prices.
2. All figures are estimates and are taken from the Occupational Pension Schemes Survey, years 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2000. Data for years 2000 to 2005 inclusive were produced by the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD). Data from 2006 were produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 2006 is the latest year published. The coverage of the survey is the UK.
3. Unlike other years, the 2005 survey, only covered private sector schemes.
4. Private sector estimates are for occupational pension schemes with one section only. These exclude schemes offering benefits on different bases to different groups of members.
Occupational Pension Schemes Survey.

Poverty: Disabled

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has to tackle disability poverty. [196700]

Mrs. McGuire: The Government are committed to tackling all aspects of disability poverty and has made considerable progress. In terms of financial poverty the number of disabled individuals in households with an
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income below 60 per cent. of median on an after housing cost basis fell by 500,000 in Great Britain between 1998-99 and 2005-06.

The 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review announced measures that would support the alleviation of disability poverty, including commitments to tackle the issues of aspirational poverty and poverty of opportunities. These include measures to narrow gaps in educational achievement, employment outcomes and to promote equality.

The Office for Disability Issues’ annual report, in December 2007, published a set of measures of income poverty and material deprivation which will be used to track Government progress towards equality. These measures are based on consultation with disabled people.


Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the value was of each contract awarded to Rackspace by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last nine years. [197499]

Mr. Timms: Since the Department for Work and Pensions was created in June 2001, no contracts have been awarded to Rackspace by the Department or its agencies.

Social Security Benefits: Spain

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 18 February 2008, Official Report, column 16, what information his Department holds on the benefits available to UK citizens living in Spain. [197717]

Mr. Plaskitt: UK citizens who move to live in Spain may be able to claim UK and Spanish benefits. The exact nature of the benefits they can receive depends on where they have worked, whether they meet the relevant entitlement conditions and how the benefits are covered under the European social security coordination rules.

People who move from the UK to live in Spain may continue to be covered by the UK for social security purposes, because for example they receive a UK contributory benefit. These rules cover old age, survivors, invalidity, unemployment, sickness, maternity, and family benefits. The UK is responsible for the healthcare costs of certain UK citizens, mostly pensioners, who are resident in Spain and who receive Spanish healthcare on the same basis as Spanish citizens.

There are a number of factors that determine which Spanish benefits a UK national resident in Spain can receive; including whether the benefit is covered by the coordination rules, and the entitlement conditions for
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the benefits. The UK does not hold detailed information on the benefits systems of other states. However, if UK citizens had worked in Spain they could be entitled to Spanish contributory benefits.

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