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Mr. Paul Murphy: The Wales Office leases three vehicles from the Government Car and Dispatch Agency (GCDA). I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport on 26 January 2009, Official Report, column 10W, about cars provided by the Government Car and Despatch Agency.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent on mental health services for prisoners in each (a) prison and (b) health authority area in Wales in each of the last five financial years; and how many prisoners received such treatment in each such year. 
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress his Department has made in implementing the provisions of the National Carers Strategy, published in June 2008, which relates to (a) the provision of support for carers by Jobcentre Plus, (b) flexible provision of skills training for carers and (c) a review of the benefits for which carers may be eligible. 
Mr. McNulty: The National Carers Strategy committed Jobcentre Plus to improvements to the support it offers to carers by improving information about flexible job vacancies; introducing Care Partnership Managers in every district; introducing specialist training for Jobcentre Plus advisers who work with carers; funding replacement care for those who are participating in approved training; ensuring carers have access to appropriate employment programmes and investigating the feasibility of providing return to work support through third sector organisations. It is expected that recruitment for the Care Partnership Managers will begin in April 2009 and that the remaining support will be available by the end of the year.
The National Carers Strategy committed the Department to providing skills training in a flexible manner so it is accessible for carers. A training pilot in the west midlands is currently looking at the best way to deliver flexible training to Jobcentre Plus customers and we are currently developing plans for a Great Britain wide roll-out.
In the National Carers Strategy, the Department also committed to examining carers benefits in the context of our wider ambitions for the welfare state, and the future of the care and support system.
In December, we published the White Paper, Raising Expectations and Increasing Support: Reforming Welfare for the Future (Cm 7506), in which we outlined our views for the future of the benefit system, and gave a commitment that the needs of carers would be a central consideration in these changes.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent progress has been made on commissioning Jobcentre Plus training programmes for carers; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: Carers currently have access to Jobcentre Plus approved training through a range of New Deal programmes. As part of the National Carers Strategy, Jobcentre Plus is examining the most effective ways of supporting carers into training. Some carers may need more specialist support because of their caring responsibilities or the length of time they have spent caring. It is envisaged that Jobcentre Plus staff will identify gaps in the provision and work with experienced third sector providers to meet this demand.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made for the reasons for increases in expenditure on disability living allowance for children since 1992-93; and if he will make a statement; 
Jonathan Shaw: Disability living allowance provides a contribution towards the extra costs faced by severely disabled people as a result of a long-term disability. Broadly, entitlement depends on the extent to which the person needs help with personal care, needs supervision or, from the age of three years, has difficulties with walking. In the case of children under the age of 16, disability living allowance can only be paid if their needs are substantially in excess of the typical requirements of a child of the same age.
The increase in expenditure on disability living allowance paid to children broadly reflects the overall increase in disability living allowance expenditure. The reasons for that increase are complex but are mainly attributable to demographic changes, greater awareness of the benefit, improvements in diagnosis for childhood conditions and an extension of the higher rate mobility component to children aged three and four in 2001.
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to undertake an assessment of employment retention assessments as referred to in his Departments White Paper, Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future. 
Mr. McNulty: As outlined in the White Paper, Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future, we will work across Government and with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to consider including appropriate references to employment retention assessments in the guidance and code(s) of practice that will accompany the Equality Bill.
In addition, DWP and the Office for Disability Issues will examine options to deliver a cross-Government employment retention strategy for disabled people as part of the development of the Independent Living Strategy.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what allocation of funding the UK has received from the European Social Fund (ESF) for the next 12 months; and what allocations of funding from the ESF have been made. 
Mr. McNulty: The allocation of funding for the UK from the European Social Fund (ESF) for 2009 is €645.93 million. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has responsibility for ESF funding in England. The €449.555 million for England for 2009 has been allocated to the Department, the Learning and Skills Council and other funding bodies within their ESF plans for 2007-10. The devolved Administrations have responsibility for ESF funding in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department takes to (a) improve employers understanding of deafness and (b) ensure employers do not discriminate on grounds of health and safety against (i) deaf British Sign Language users and (ii) employees who become deafened during the course of their employment. 
The key aims of Employ ability include challenging negative assumptions about the skills and talent that disabled workers, and those with long-term health conditions, have to offer, building the confidence of employers in recruiting and retaining disabled workers. Employ ability activity is aimed at small to medium-sized employers and is being rolled out to Scotland, Wales and seven regions between 24 March 2008 and 27 February 2009.
To ensure that employers do not discriminate against deaf people, we support and uphold the principles of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The Act provides protection from discrimination for a person who has a hearing impairment, provided that the person meets the definition of a disabled person under the Act. The Act requires an employer not to discriminate against a disabled person by treating the person less favourably for a reason related to the persons disability, unless that treatment can be justified.
People who are deaf or who become deaf in the course of their employment, and their employers may also receive support from Access to Work. Support is tailored to the individual customers needs but can include funding for British Sign Language Interpreters, Lip Speakers or Palantypists; whether as support workers in the work place or for communication support at job interviews.
Access to Work could also provide indirect support to a deaf person by funding awareness training to help the persons work colleagues, including their employer, gain a better understanding of their condition.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the former Jobcentre Plus office at Wick lane, Christchurch, will be brought back into use; and what the liability of his Department is for empty property rates on the premises. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 19 January 2009]: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking when the former Jobcentre Plus office at Wick lane, Christchurch will be brought back into use and what the liability of his Department is for empty property rates on the premises. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Christchurch Jobcentre Plus was closed on 28 March 2008 as a result of the review of our service delivery plans in the South West region. As a part of the review the new Bournemouth Jobcentre Plus was future proofed to cope with any downturn in the economy and consequent increase in Jobcentre Plus business volumes. There is no intention to bring the Jobcentre Plus office at Wick lane, Christchurch into use.
I can confirm the property used in Christchurch by Jobcentre Plus was provided for the Department by Landsecurities Trillium under the PRIME contract, and upon completion of the formal vacation actions, the Department has no further liability (Landsecurities Trillium hold all the leases). The Asset manager for Trillium has confirmed the lease for part of the space has expired and it was returned to the landlord in the summer. The remaining part of the space is unoccupied and is currently being marketed. However, they have had no firm interest and the building remains vacant. Trillium is meeting the business rates payable on the property. The Department has had no liability for empty property rates since the property was formally disposed of on 1 July 2008.
I hope this information is helpful.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people (a) used the services of and (b) found work through the Nairn Jobcentre Plus office in each of the five years before it was closed. 
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the percentage change in the number of jobseeker's allowance claimants in each local authority area has been over the last 12 months. 
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what courses his Department offered to claimants of jobseeker's allowance in Chelmsford in the last 12 months; and what the cost was per person of each course completed. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 20 January 2009]: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what courses his Department offered to claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance in Chelmsford in the last 12 months; and what the cost was per person of each course completed. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Eligible customers in Chelmsford receiving Jobseeker's Allowance have had access to a range of training provision over the last twelve months through our training programmes including New Deals, Access to Work, Programme Centres, Workstep, Workprep and through our Rapid Response Fund. We have also purchased individually tailored training for eligible customers. Jobseeker's Allowance customers have also accessed training by other partners including The Learning and Skills Council, Local Authorities and Colleges.
Specific information is not available for all training courses completed by our Jobseeker's Allowance customers in Chelmsford, nor on what the cost was per person of each course completed.
My District Manager for Essex, Neil Brettell, will be delighted to brief you in more detail on the range of provision available in the Chelmsford area. Neil can be contacted on 01245 214242, by post at Government Buildings, Beeches Road, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 2RT or by email at:
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate, on the basis of household surveys supported by his Department, how many people over state pension age are engaged in caring for (a) at least 20 hours per week and (b) at least 35 hours per week for a person over pension age who is in receipt of either attendance allowance or the care component of disability living allowance; and if he will make a statement. 
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2009, Official Report, column 1685W, on poverty: children, how many children were living in poverty in Scotland in January (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009. 
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications for (a) grants and (b) loans from the Social Fund were (i) approved and (ii) refused in each of the last 10 years. 
|Community care grants for G reat B ritain|
|Initial awards||Initial refusal|
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