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22 Oct 2009 : Column 1603W—continued

Employment and Support Allowance: Birmingham

Mr. Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many residents of the Birmingham, Sparkbrook and Small Heath constituency have (a) applied for and (b) been refused Employment and Support Allowance since October 2008. [291586]

Jim Knight: National level statistics on the Work Capability Assessment covering Great Britain were published on 13 October 2009 and are available via the ONS Publication Hub. A copy of the publication has been placed in the Library and can be accessed directly on the website at:

Equivalent information for the Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath constituency is not held centrally. However, equivalent data for Birmingham local authority are in the table.


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Employment and support allowance on-flows October 2008 to February 2009 by result of medical assessment-Birmingham local authority
Work capability result Volumes Percentage

Support Group

200

6

Work Related Activity Group

400

10

Fit for Work

1,300

34

Claim closed before assessment complete

1,400

37

Assessment still in progress

500

13

Note:
This data are based on recorded advice from ATOS, rather than the Decision Maker's final determination. The final outcomes of cases may change. This will be further compounded by reconsiderations following additional medical evidence and the outcomes of appeals. Full guidance on the national figures is included in the published statistics referred to above.

Equality 2025

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been spent on the operation of Equality 2025 to date; and how many people Equality 2025 has employed in each year since its inception. [295027]

Jonathan Shaw: Equality 2025 is an advisory non-departmental public body established in response to a recommendation in the 2005 report by the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit 'Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People'. It is sponsored by (but is not part of) the Office for Disability Issues, part of the Department for Work and Pensions. The advisory group is made up of 19 disabled people appointed to collect and feed the views of disabled people across the United Kingdom into Government policymaking and service design.

Equality 2025 was established in December 2006 and is funded by the Office for Disability Issues. Its total expenditure for the periods 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 has been £1,391,059.

Equality 2025 has not employed any permanent or temporary staff since its establishment, but it does receive secretariat support from the Office for Disability Issues.

Housing Benefit: Travelling People

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the policy of her Department is on the payment of housing benefit to Travellers renting an unauthorised pitch in respect of which planning permission has not been granted; and whether her Department has issued guidance to local authorities on this matter. [294967]

Helen Goodman: We have not issued any specific guidance on this subject; any claim for housing benefit in these circumstances would be dealt with in the usual way, which would include looking at whether there was a liability for rent.

Jobseeker's Allowance: Fife

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in the North East Fife constituency had been claiming jobseeker's
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allowance for (a) less than six months, (b) between six and 12 months, (c) between 12 months and two years and (d) more than two years on the latest date for which information is available. [293975]

Angela E. Smith: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Jil Matheson, dated October 2009:


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Table 1: Number of claimants of jobseeker's allowance resident in North East Fife constituency by duration of claim (10 September 2009)
Duration Number

Up to 26 weeks

740

Over 26 weeks up to 52 weeks

210

Over 52 weeks up to 104 weeks

80

Over 104 weeks

5

Note:
Data rounded to nearest 5.
Source:
Jobcentre plus administrative system

Office for Disability Issues: Manpower

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff are employed by the Office for Disability Issues; and how much has been spent on its operation in each year since its inception. [295026]

Jonathan Shaw: The Office for Disability Issues employs 78 staff. Taking account of part-time workers this figure equates to a staff in post figure of 75.18.

The Office for Disability Issues is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. This funding is made up of an allocation for administration and programme. The total amount spent each year by the Office for Disability Issues since its inception is shown in the following table:

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 Total spend 2005-09

Total spend on Administration

1,811,762

2,887,502

5,761,253

5,362,035

15,822,552

Total spend on Office for Disability Issues Programme

4,245,283

1,815,043

2,600,995

2,791,698

11,453,019

Total spend on Equality 2025 Programme

0

353,974

531,085

506,000

1,391,059

Total yearly spend by the Office for Disability Issues

6,057,045

5,056,519

8,893,333

8,659,733

28,666,630

Source:
Office for Disability Issues end of year management accounts 2005-2009.

Poverty: Children

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps her Department is introducing to meet the Government's target of eradicating child poverty by 2020; what her latest estimate is of the likelihood of the target being achieved; and if she will make a statement. [294302]

Helen Goodman: The Government believe that, for most families, work is the best route out of poverty. The Department for Work and Pensions is increasing support for lone parents and disabled parents, and testing out new support for second earners, to help them find, remain and progress in work. This support takes the form of both pre-employment support and in-work support.

The latest statistics for 2007-08 show that 500,000 children have been lifted out of poverty since 1997; measures announced in and since Budget 2007 are estimated to lift a further 500,000 children out of poverty. The Child Poverty Bill is currently progressing through Parliament which will enshrine in law the commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020.

Unemployment: Young People

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps she plans to take to assist under-25 year olds who have been unemployed for over 12 months. [290986]

Jim Knight [holding answer 14 September 2009]: As part of the Department's commitment to support people into work, substantial investment has been made since November 2008 to offer extra support to jobseekers to help them find work at all stages of their claim.

An enhanced offer to all jobseekers at day one of their claim includes targeted group sessions in jobsearch techniques, access to Local Employment Partnership vacancies and help with the costs of getting back to work through the Adviser Discretionary Fund.

At the six-month point of their claim, all jobseekers now receive a substantial package of extra support including access to recruitment subsidies, work-focused training places, volunteering opportunities and support to become self-employed.

We have also targeted significant resource on people under age 25 in recognition of the particular challenges young people face during a recession. These measures
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are designed to prevent, wherever possible, young people experiencing prolonged spells of unemployment early in their working lives.

On 29 July, the Government launched a campaign called Backing Young Britain, calling on businesses, charities and Government bodies to create more opportunities for young people, such as internships, mentoring support and coaching. As part of this campaign, all young people will receive additional adviser support and can be put forward for a work trial from day one of unemployment. We are also working with businesses to increase graduate internships and to develop work experience and mentoring support for young jobseekers.

In early 2010, young people will be able to benefit from the Young Person's Guarantee which guarantees a job, work-focused training, or meaningful activity to all 18 to 24-year-olds before they have reached the 12-month stage of their claim to jobseeker's allowance. This offer will become mandatory from April 2010.

The Future Jobs Fund, one key element of the Young Person's Guarantee, will create at least 100,000 jobs for young people aged between 18 and 24. The first jobs will be available from October 2009 for customers approaching the 10-month point in their claim.

If young people remain on benefits at the 12-month stage, they will be referred to the provider-led Flexible New Deal programme (in phase 1 areas) and will benefit from work-focused support, tailored to the individual's needs and local labour market requirements.

In phase 2 areas at the 12-month stage, jobseekers will be participating in one of the New Deal Options. If they remain unemployed following this programme, jobseekers will move into the Follow-Through Stage of the New Deal and receive more frequent, targeted adviser support.

Help is also available for 16 and 17-year-olds. The September Guarantee was introduced in 2007 to ensure that every young person leaving compulsory education at 16 receives a suitable offer of a place in learning. It was extended to 17-year-olds in 2008. By the end of 2008, this guarantee helped to support an increase in the proportion of 16 and 17-year-olds participating in learning to 88 per cent., the highest ever rate. The proportion of 16 and 17-year-olds not in employment, education or training (NEET) fell for the third consecutive year, and only 5.2 per cent. of 16-year-olds were NEET, the lowest rate for more than a decade.

Furthermore, the Government are delivering record numbers of apprenticeships in England and we expect 250,000 people to start apprenticeships this year.

Wales

Departmental Procurement

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of procurement contracts his Department awarded to small businesses in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08, (c) 2008-09 and (d) 2009-10; and if he will make a statement. [293232]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office uses the Ministry of Justice procurement systems and the Office of Government Commerce on-line procurement services.


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Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Politics and Government

Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the date on which the Electoral Complaints Commission in Afghanistan is expected to report its findings in respect of the recent presidential election. [293679]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Electoral Complaints Commission reported the findings of its investigation to the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on 19 October 2009. The IEC announced the final result of the presidential elections on 20 October 2009.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his (a) EU, (b) UN and (c) NATO counterparts on the conduct of the Afghanistan elections. [293820]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had recent discussions with a range of partners, including US and EU counterparts and the Secretary General of NATO, about the process and conduct of the Afghan elections. The international community continues to support the Independent Election Commission and Electoral Complaints Commission's investigation.

British Overseas Territories: Arms Control

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings he has held to discuss tackling arms trafficking in UK Overseas Territories in the last 12 months. [293454]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: In the last 12 months my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not held any specific discussions on combating arms trafficking in the British Overseas Territories.


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