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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what definition his Department uses of child poverty; when this was last amended; what recent discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues on the definition; what recent representations he has received on the definition; and if he will make a statement. 
Absolute low income measures whether the poorest families are seeing their income rise in real terms. The threshold is fixed as equal to the relative low income threshold for the baseline year of 1998-99 expressed in todays prices.
Relative low income measures whether the incomes of the poorest families are keeping pace with the growth of incomes in the economy as a whole. This indicator measures the number of children living in households below 60 per cent. of contemporary median equivalised income. This is the indicator which is used to measure performance against the public service agreement target to halve child poverty by 2010-11.
Material deprivation and low income combined provides a wider measure of peoples living standards. This indicator measures the number of children living in households that are both materially deprived and have an income below 70 per cent. of contemporary equivalised median
income. More details can be found in the consultation conclusion document, Measuring Child Poverty, available in the Library.
Since 1998 progress has been made against all of the indicators. 600,000 children have been lifted out of relative low income between 1998-99 and 2006-07, a shift from 3.4 million children to 2.9 million children. The number of children living in absolute low income has halved from 3.4 million to 1.7 million. Between 2004-05, the first year data was available, and 2006-07 the number of children in the UK defined as poor using the combined indicator of relative low income and material deprivation fell by 200,000 from 2.2 million to 2.0 million on the particular material deprivation threshold that was chosen.
Low income is not the only dimension to poverty and a childs quality of life, including access to health care, education and a safe environment, are critical. The three indicators are therefore underpinned by the broader Opportunity for all indicators. Opportunity for all is the Governments report on poverty and social exclusion which includes a wide range of poverty and social exclusion indicators for children and young people (as well as working age adults, older people and communities) including health, education and housing. Details can be found on the Opportunity for all website at:
While we have made substantial progress in tackling child poverty we are not complacent. Despite the scale of the challenge the Governments commitment is stronger than ever. The Prime Ministers recent announcement of our intention to legislate on child poverty gives us renewed impetus.
The Secretary of State meets regularly with Cabinet colleagues and others on the issue of child poverty. The Child Poverty Unit was established at the end of 2007 to put a sharper focus on cross-Government working to develop a truly integrated approach to tackling child poverty. The Government are committed to working with stakeholders to develop a strategy and move forward with legislation.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the average sum to be lent under the Lone Parent Transition Loans in the next 12 months; what assessment he has made of the effect on this figure of changes to the eligibility rules for income support; and if he will make a statement. 
Kitty Ussher: No such estimate has been made. However, we have now decided to amend social fund crisis loan directions to enable lone parents to receive payment of a transition loan of up to 100 per cent. of their personal allowance rather than 75 per cent. as is the case with existing crisis loans.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance has been issued to staff at Jobcentre Plus on whether claimants should be awarded employment and support allowance or jobseekers allowance; and if he will make a statement. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what guidance has been issued to staff at Jobcentre Plus on whether claimants should be awarded Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseekers Allowance. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus has provided its business delivery areas, i.e. Contact Centres, Jobcentres and Benefit Delivery Centres, with detailed guidance that clearly sets out the criteria and conditionality for claiming and awarding Employment and Support Allowance, and the administrative procedures for dealing with these claims.
Corresponding guidance on other benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance has been revised to reflect the introduction of Employment and Support Allowance to provide clarity and consistency across benefits, which enables staff to identify potential entitlement to the appropriate benefit, and advise customers accordingly.
The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) holds no comprehensive record covering all offences in which a knife was a factor. Relevant offences may be prosecuted under a range of legislation, and cannot be distinguished as a discrete body of information.
CPS records do provide a count of the number of offences of possession of an offensive weapon, including knives and other bladed articles, in respect of which a prosecution commenced. Figures for the last three calendar years are summarised on the table below. The figures also include offences of possession of weapons other than knives and bladed articles, but CPS records do not allow these proceedings to be identified separately. Figures are shown separately for CPS Northamptonshire, for England, and for England and Wales in total.
The level of prosecutions for these offences in total has risen somewhat over the last three years. In Northamptonshire the number of offences in which a prosecution commenced rose by 25, or 12.3 per cent. between 2006 and 2008, although there was no change between 2007 and 2008. In England, prosecutions rose over the three year same period by 1,648 (7.2 per cent.), and in England and Wales they increased by 1,656 (6.9 per cent.).
|Offences of possession of a knife or bladed weapon which reached a hearing in magistrates' courts|
|Table (a): CPS Northamptonshire|
|Table (b): England|
|Table (c): England and Wales|
Mr. Hutton: Operation Herrick (Afghanistan) costs are prepared and audited on an annual basis for the whole of the operation and do not identify separately information on the cost of ammunition used in Helmand Province, where UK operations began in 2006-07. The un-audited internal data on the consumption of ordnance-related stock for the whole operation in 2006-07 and 2007-08 is:
1. These costs include the use of ammunition expended during pre-deployment training.
2. Armament stores mainly relate to ammunition and shells but can also include such items as the issue of small arms.
|2001-02||2002-03||2003-04||2004-05||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09||Total to date|
MOD identifies the costs of operations in terms of the net additional costs it has incurred. The costs that would have been incurred regardless of the operation taking place, such as wages and salaries, are not included. Savings on activities that have not occurred because of the operationsuch as training exercisesare taken into account in arriving at the net figures.
Note: The figures for 2008-09 are unaudited estimates reflected in the Winter Supplementary Estimates published in November.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the most recent estimate is of the number of (a) single living accommodation and (b) service families accommodation units containing asbestos. 
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints were made to Modern Housing Solutions on the quality of repairs undertaken on service families accommodation in the last 12 months. 
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