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28 Apr 2008 : Column 43Wcontinued
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether those claiming employment and support allowance will be included in incapacity benefit figures when assessing performance against the target to reduce the number on incapacity benefit by 2015. 
Mrs. McGuire: Our goal is to reduce the combined employment and support allowance and incapacity benefits caseload by 1 million over a decade, starting from 2.74 million incapacity benefits claimants in May 2005.
As such the combined total of those claiming employment and support allowance and those claiming incapacity benefits will be used to measure our progress towards this aim.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that employment and support allowance assessments take account of the characteristics of different health conditions, with particular reference to the fluctuations inherent in the symptomatic severity of myalgic encephalopathy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: The new Work Capability Assessment for Employment and Support Allowance will be a fair, robust and accurate assessment of limited capability for work which takes account of all conditions, including those that are long term and that fluctuate such as myalgic encephalopathy.
The Work Capability Assessment is not a snapshot of a persons condition on the day of the assessment. In assessing whether a person can carry out any given activity, health care professionals must take into account the persons condition over a reasonable period of time. They must take into account the effects of symptoms such as pain and fatigue. In this way the Work Capability Assessment takes account of the effects of fluctuating conditions.
If there is a change in a persons disabling condition, there will be a provision to refer the person to an approved healthcare professional so that we can determine afresh whether or not the person has limited capability for work, or limited capability for work-related activity.
Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many work-related (a) deaths and (b) injuries occurred in the construction industry in (i) 2005-06, (ii) 2006-07 and (iii) 2007-08. 
Mrs. McGuire: Information currently available on work-related deaths and injuries in the construction industry in 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 is shown in the following table:
|Injuries in construction (SIC 45) 2005-06 to 2006-07( 1) by severity of injury and employment status, as reported under RIDDOR 95( 2) regulations|
|Severity||Employment Status||2005/06||2006/07( 1)||2007/08( 3, 4)|
|(1 )Provisional. (2) RIDDORReporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995. (3) 1 April to 31 December 2007. (4) 2007-08 figures based on the first nine months. These figures are unvalidated at this stage, so final details may change. (5) Unvalidated non-fatal injury figures for 1 April to 31 December 2007 are available on HSE's website. The figures do not include data from all enforcing authorities, so are not comparable with previously-published figures.|
Very preliminary indications for 2007-08 are that the number of fatal accidents to workers in the construction industry dropped by around 10 per cent. from the level of 2006-07.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what Jobcentre Plus offices there are in each region; 
(2) how many Jobcentre and Jobcentre Plus offices there were in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Timms: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 28 April 2008:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions asking what Jobcentre Plus offices there are in each Region and how many Jobcentre and Jobcentre Plus offices there were in each year since 1997. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as chief executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The Jobcentre Plus estate comprises not only Jobcentres, but also Benefit Delivery Centres, Contact Centres, Regional Offices and a number of Medical Examination Centres. The table below shows the total number of Jobcentre Plus offices in each Jobcentre Plus region in England and the countries of Scotland and Wales as at 1 April 2008.
I am only able to provide information on the number of Jobcentre and Jobcentre Plus offices in our network from April 2002, when Jobcentre Plus was created by the merger of the former Employment Service and Benefits Agency.
The transformation of the inherited estate of around 1,500 offices is illustrated in the following table. The creation of the modern network of Jobcentre Plus offices involved the closure and disposal of a number of less suitable offices. The transformed Jobcentre Plus offices are the high street network of modern, open plan integrated offices and the non transformed Jobcentres are the original Jobcentres, which did not provide the integrated jobseeker and benefit administration service.
|Date||Total number of transformed Jobcentre Plus offices||Remaining number of non transformed Jobcentres|
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the contribution of efforts to tackle disability poverty to meeting child poverty reduction targets. 
Mrs. McGuire: It is not possible to isolate the effect of policies specifically designed to address poverty amongst disabled people (such as support to help disabled people into work and the disability elements of the child tax credit and working tax credit), as they are closely linked with other policies affecting the working age population (such as the tax credit system as a whole and the national minimum wage).
However, the Department's analysis has demonstrated that around half of the reduction in child poverty as measured by relative low income (300,000 children) has occurred among children living in families with a disabled adult and/or a disabled child.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made towards meeting his Department's Public Service Agreement on reducing fraud and error in income support, jobseekers allowance and housing benefit. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The Department's estimates of our progress against Public Service Agreement 10 on reducing fraud and error in the benefits system are published in a series of reports called "Fraud and Error in the Benefit System". The most recent report, "Fraud and Error in the Benefit System October 2005 to September 2006" was published in December 2007; a copy has been placed in the Library.
The report can also be viewed on the Department's website at:
11. Mr. Borrow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mechanisms his Department has in place to use lessons learned from operational theatres in the development of military medical policy. 
Derek Twigg: Military medical policy is continually developing in the light of evidence emerging from the front-line experiences of our deployed medical personnel and coalition allies, and we work closely with the NHS to feed these into clinical practice. For example the Major Trauma Audit for Clinical Effectiveness is a process of continuous clinical audit to enable quality improvement; and our weekly Joint Theatre Clinical Case Conferences share experience and expertise between clinicians deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and experts in the UK.
21. Chris Mole: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to maintain the level of medical care provided to armed forces personnel in theatres of operation. 
Derek Twigg: The Defence Medical Services have met all their operational commitments and will continue to do so. We have initiatives in hand to recruit into shortfall specialties and, with Department of Health support, encourage volunteering for the medical Reserves. The high standard of life-saving treatment provided in the field is matched by the clinical care provided for those casualties evacuated back to the UK, both at Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham and in MOD's own facilities such as the rehabilitation centre at Headley Court.
12. Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on levels of compensation payments to injured service personnel. 
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what compensation payments may be made to injured service personnel; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Bexleyheath and Crayford (Mr. Evennett).
13. David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to assist the families of service personnel killed on active service to be represented at inquests. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We place the highest priority on supporting the families of those who have given their lives in the service of their country. We try to help bereaved families through the difficult experience of a coroner's inquest. Due to the nature of inquest proceedings, assistance under the legal aid scheme, overseen by the Ministry of Justice, is available only in exceptional circumstances.
17. Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Justice on reducing the number of pending military inquests. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Falkirk (Mr. Joyce).
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