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Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of the Listed Places of Worship scheme in each of the next three years. Margaret Hodge: The Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme makes grants equivalent to the VAT incurred in making repairs to listed buildings in use as places of worship, and to clocks, pews, bells and organs that are fixtures in such buildings. The scheme is demand-led and it is not possible, therefore, to estimate future costs with precision.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the affordability of seats for performances by the (a) Royal Ballet and (b) Royal Opera; and if he will make a statement. 
Arts Council England has also not assessed the affordability of seats for performances at either the Royal Ballet or the Royal Opera House. Arts Council England has recently produced guidance for arts organisations on how to maximise revenue while minimising the risk of price becoming a barrier that prevents people from attending or participating.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department provided for the Tourism Strategy Fund in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge [ holding answer 1 May 2008] : The Tourism Strategy Fund was a specific budget used to fund a number of tourism support initiatives arising from the policy document Tomorrows Tourism in 1999. The Department spent £30,000 in 2004-05, and no money has been spent through this fund since April 2005.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for how long an individual must claim unemployment benefits before becoming eligible to go on a training course offered by Jobcentre Plus. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how long an individual must claim unemployment benefits before they are eligible to go on a training course offered by Jobcentre Plus. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Most people who claim Jobseeker's Allowance find work very quickly and only need general information, advice and guidance on how best to look for work. However, for those who need additional help, training courses are available at different stages, depending upon the needs of the individual:
People with an obvious literacy, numeracy or language need are identified at the new claims stage and encouraged to take immediate steps to address those needs through the Learning and Skills Council's Employment Skills Programme or other provision available locally.
People who need additional help with jobsearch skills, confidence and motivation and soft skills associated with the world of work can access help through Programme Centres after 26 weeks unemployment, although earlier access is available where such help is clearly needed to have a realistic chance of finding work.
At 26 weeks, a fast-track assessment tool is used to screen people for any basic skills need not previously identified, and where appropriate, people are referred for help through the Employment and Skills Programme.
Full-time education and training is available through the New Deal, participation in which is mandatory for young people after six months unemployment; and for people aged 25 and over when they have been unemployed for 18 out of the previous 21 months. That said, immediate/early access is available where it is clear the customer is particularly disadvantaged in the labour market and the prospect of finding work is much less likely without additional help.
Pre-employment training may also be available through Local Employment Partnerships through which participating employers have committed to provide more job opportunities for people who are finding it particularly difficult to find work, such as longer-term unemployed people or people living in areas of high unemployment. In return, Jobcentre Plus and other partners, for example the Learning and Skills Council prepare people for work through a range of measures, which may include pre-employment training to prepare people for the sort of jobs available locally. Once in work, ongoing development of skills is encouraged through skills advice and support, e.g. through Train to Gain.
Building upon the success of New Deal and Local Employment Partnerships, there are plans to develop and implement an integrated employment and skills service as announced in Ready for work: full employment in our generation and Ready to Work, Skilled for Work: Unlocking Britain's Talent. A key part of this will be better and earlier screening to identify jobseekers with a skills need that is a major barrier to employment and referring them to a full skills heath-check and then appropriate remedial provision.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave on 17 January 2008, Official Report, column 1419W, which gives the number of pensioners in receipt of pension credit and the number of pensioners in receipt of the guarantee credit each year from 2003 to 2007.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of how much and what proportion of private rented accommodation in (a) Cambridge city council area,
(b) the South Cambridgeshire district council area, (c) Cambridge constituency, (d) South Cambridgeshire constituency and (e) South East Cambridgeshire constituency are available at or below the median rent established by the Rent Service for the relevant broad rental market area. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The local housing allowance (LHA) is a median value calculated from a list of rents, for the number of bedrooms, collected from the private rented sector in a broad rental market area (BRMA). As the LHA is a median value, the middle value from the list of rents held in ascending order, it will always ensure that half of the properties in the BRMA will be affordable for housing benefit customers.
The Rent Service determines the median rents for each BRMA. We do not hold data that would show the proportion of the properties available at or below the median rent that lie within each local authority or constituency.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what benefits administered by his Department are uprated in line with a measure of (a) prices and (b) earnings broken down by measure used; 
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The powers to review and alter the rate of benefits are contained in the Social Security Administration Act 1992 (Sections 150 to 154). Sections 150 and 150A of that Act prescribe the benefits that must be reviewed on an annual basis and how they are to be uprated. The annual change in the retail prices index is used to uprate the following benefits, which, by statute, must be reviewed and up-rated annually at least in line with prices;
State Pensions (with the exception of the age addition);
Additional Pensions paid with State Pension and Widows' Benefits;
Increments: for the deferment of State Pension and Guaranteed Minimum Pensions;
Severe Disablement Allowance;
Disability Living Allowance;
Industrial Injuries Benefits (including old cases);
Adult and Child Dependants Increases (The Child Dependants Increase is fixed in practice);
Widows Benefit and Bereavement Benefit rates (with the exception of Bereavement Payment), which are currently linked to the basic State Pension rate.
The standard minimum guarantee in pension credit must be reviewed and increased at least in line with earnings. The usual measure is the May to July headline figure for the whole economy, seasonally adjusted and including bonuses. However, for the April 2008 uprating, the increase was 4.2 per cent. in line with the Budget 2007 announcement which more than keeps pace with prices and earnings.
During the next Parliament we will re-link the uprating of the basic state pension to average earnings. Our objective, subject to affordability and the fiscal position, is to do this in 2012, but in any event by the end of the next Parliament at the latest.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to answer Question 162350, tabled by the hon. Member for Hertsmere on 6 November, on incapacity benefit claimants. 
|Number of live births in England and Wales|
Mr. Iain Wright: The Department for Communities and Local Government does not allocate funding to the Building Research Establishment (BRE). However the BRE is one of the Departments preferred contractors under its framework agreements and has undertaken work for the Department both as part of these frameworks and under contracts let outside of them. The total payments made for work undertaken by BRE for the Department in each of the last three years is:
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