The new work capability assessment is a fairer and more accurate test of capability for work than the current personal capability assessment.
Those customers who move to jobseekers allowance following a work capability assessment will have voluntary early entry to the supported job-search stage of the new jobseekers allowance and flexible new deal programme, at the discretion of their personal adviser. All longer-term job seekers will have the enhanced personal, specialised support of the flexible new deal.
Angela Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the financial effects of the introduction of employment and support allowance on couples in the support group during the course of their claim, compared to the rates of payment of incapacity benefit; and whether these effects will apply to couples where one or both are claiming on the grounds of a terminal illness. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 21 July 2008]: The following answer was provided to the hon. Member on 17 September 2008, however, due to a procedural error it was not published in the Official Report. The answer is as follows:
Employment and support allowance will replace incapacity benefit and income support paid on grounds of incapacity from 27 October 2008. Compared to the existing system, couples in the support group who would have had no entitlement to the enhanced disability premium will receive £10.30 a week more under employment support allowance than income support paid on grounds of incapacity. Those who would have been entitled to the couple rate of income support and also already entitled to the enhanced disability premium would receive £7.85 a week less. There are no actual cash losers as existing customers will have the cash level of their existing benefits protected.
Employment and support allowance rates are paid after 14 weeks of the claim whereas the higher income support rates are generally paid after 52 weeks of incapacity or 28 weeks for those who are terminally ill or receive the higher rate care component of disability living allowance. In employment and support allowance the higher rates of benefit are paid immediately to people who are terminally ill.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of lone parents affected by the changes to the eligibility rules for income support coming into effect in November 2008 who have children (a) living in (i) relative poverty and (ii) absolute poverty before the changes came into effect and (b) who will be living in each such state immediately after the changes came into effect; and if he will make a statement. 
Kitty Ussher: The most common and internationally recognised threshold to measure relative low income poverty is income below 60 per cent. of the contemporary median. A threshold of 60 per cent. of the 1998-99 median has been used to measure absolute poverty. Specific information regarding low income for the UK is available in Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2006-07.
Ready for work: full employment in our generation, Cm 7290, (published in December 2007) announced increased obligations for lone parents to be introduced from November 2008. Lone parents who are claiming income support solely based on being a lone parent move onto a more appropriate benefit when their youngest child is: 12 and over from November 2008; 10 and over from October 2009; seven and over from October 2010.
The Department's current estimates suggest that the changes to the eligibility rules for income support for lone parents will, by helping more lone parents into employment, help lift around an extra 70,000 children out of relative low income after five years.
|Numbers of children aged seven or over in lone parent families where their parent is in receipt of income support and the youngest child in the family is aged seven or over in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of contemporary and 1998-99 median income, before and after housing costs, United Kingdom, 2006-07
|Number in low income households
|Low income threshold
|Before housing costs
|After housing costs
1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data.
2. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.
3. The reference period for HBAI figures is single financial years.
4. The income measures used to derive the estimates shown employ the same methodology as the Department for Work and Pensions publication HBAI series, which uses disposable household income, adjusted (or equivalised) for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.
5. The figures are based on OECD equivalisation factors.
6. Numbers of children have been rounded to the nearest 100,000.
7. Figures have been presented on both a Before Housing Cost (BHC) and After Housing Cost (AHC) basis. For BHC, housing costs (such as rent, water rates, mortgage interest payments, structural insurance payments and ground rent and service charges) are not deducted from income, while for AHC they are.
Households Below Average Income 2006-07, DWP
Some lone parents are exempt from these changes and will still be able to receive income support. These include lone parents: who are in receipt of carer's allowance; have a child for whom they are receiving the middle or higher rate care component of disability living allowance; who are fostering.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the Answer of 6 November 2008, Official Report, column 704W, on income support: mortgage costs, if he will review the qualification criteria to take account of family circumstances where two incomes have been necessary to meet mortgage repayments. 
|Number of staff in post
Dr. Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what contribution the Independent Living Fund makes to the delivery of his policy on personalised care and support for adults. 
The fund works in partnership with local authorities by making direct cash payments to enable severely disabled people to live independently. Over the last 20 years the fund has assisted more than 45,000 people to live independently in the community and we know it is much appreciated by its users.
The Independent Living Fund was one of six funding streams that have taken part in the Department of Health led individual budget pilots. The Government are currently considering the findings from the evaluation of the individual budget pilots and will look carefully at issues identified during the pilot phase.
The recommendations specifically on the future of the fund largely relate to the outcome of the Individual Budgets pilots. The Government are currently considering the findings from the Individual Budget pilots evaluation report which was published on 21 October 2008 and will look carefully at issues identified during the pilot phase.
|Fatal injuries to workers in the construction industry( 1)
|(1) Section F 'Construction', determined according to Standard Industrial Classification (SIC). This system is used in UK official statistics for classifying businesses by the main type of economic activity they are engaged in, and is the responsibility of the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The latest version is 'SIC 2003'.
(2) The annual basis is the planning year 1 April to 31 March. Statistics for 2007-08 are provisional, denoted by '*'.
(3) The term 'workers' includes employees and the self-employed combined.
RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995)
Work to improve safety arising from the use of tower cranes in construction is already being taken forward in a number of ways by both the construction industry and the Health and Safety Executive. Bodies such as the Strategic Forum for Construction and the Construction Plant-Hire Association are working to improve industry guidance on matters such as crane maintenance, crane operator competence and working conditions and better sharing of good practice. As well as giving substantial support to the work of industry, the Health and Safety Executive is taking action to improve safety through a mix of enforcement initiatives and the provision of guidance. Future work will also take account of the findings from the inquiries into recent accidents involving tower cranes that the Health and Safety Executive are currently undertaking.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) records the amount of time spent on frontline activitywhich includes inspection, investigation, assessment of safety cases and other workrather than the number of inspections carried out.
For the three years 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08 the estimated amount of frontline activity spent on construction was:
|Health and Safety Executive Inspections
|Frontline activity( 1)
|Number of days
|(1 )These figures exclude time spent travelling to and from workplaces which have been visited.
These figures are based on a proportion of HSE's overall frontline activity in each of these years, reflecting the size of HSE's Construction Division compared to the Field Operations Directorate as a whole.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Crosby constituency experienced a rise in income as a result of the introduction of the national minimum wage; and what estimate he has made of the number of such people whose income is affected by the national minimum wage in 2008. 
Evidence from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) shows that a growing number of people are affected by the National Minimum Wage (NMW). BERR estimates using ASHE data that in 1999 around 1 million people in the UK were covered by the introduction of the NMW. This rises to around 1.1 million people covered by the October 2008 uprating of the NMW. This reflects an increasing importance of the NMW when determining the hourly wage of the low paid. The adult NMW has risen by around 59 per cent during this period from £3.60 to £5.73 per hour. The rise in the NMW has been greater than average earnings over this period.
Information for individual parliamentary constituencies is not readily available in the ASHE dataset. However, information is available on a government office region basis. In 1999 around 120,000 employees in North West and Mersey were covered by the introduction of the National Minimum Wage. This estimate is based on Spring 1998 ASHE data. Using Spring 2008 ASHE data we estimate that around 130,000 employees were covered by the latest October 2008 NMW upratings.
It is difficult to isolate the effect of the NMW on income as income is affected by hours worked and other sources of income such as tax credits. However, evidence suggests that since its introduction the NMW is affecting more people and the hourly wage is rising faster than average earnings benefiting the lowest paid in the economy.
Motability is a charitable company incorporated by Royal Charter. It is responsible for the administration of the Motability scheme.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many national insurance registration numbers have been issued to (a) non-UK nationals of each nationality and (b) UK citizens in (i) each year and (ii) each quarter since 1st January 2004. 
Mr. McNulty: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave on 10 November 2008, Official Report, column 917W, on the number of national insurance registrations issued to adult non-UK nationals in each year since 1 January 2004.