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7 Dec 2009 : Column 165W—continued

The top-level costs and benefits are in the impact assessment published with the Green Paper and available on the Big Care Debate website at:

PSSRU continue to model the costs and benefits of a new National Care Service based on revised assumptions.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to paragraph 4.5 of the Impact Assessment for the Personal Care at Home Bill, for what reasons re-ablement will not be made available to those receiving palliative care. [304813]

Phil Hope: It would be for local councils to assess whether or not an individual would benefit from re-ablement.

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In the vast majority of cases, where people are receiving palliative care at the end of their lives, it is likely that such an intervention would be both entirely inappropriate and of no benefit to them.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will estimate, on the basis of the assumptions in the impact assessment for the Personal Care at Home Bill, the cost to the Exchequer of the free personal care proposed to be provided in each year to 2030. [304941]

Phil Hope: The impact assessment estimates the first full year costs of extending free personal care at home to those with the highest needs at £537 million. It also estimates the costs of providing re-ablement services over the same period at £130 million, bringing the total costs of the proposals to approximately £670 million.

The impact assessment only covers the period from October 2010 to the end of 2012-13. Estimating beyond this point is problematic because of the uncertainties involved. The proposals here are intended as a step towards a fully integrated National Care Service, at which point a different set of assumptions may need to be applied.

Strokes: Health Education

Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the future of his Department's FAST campaign to raise stroke awareness. [303447]

Ann Keen: The FAST campaign was re-launched on television in November and will run until the end of December this year. Further adverts accompanied by a national print media campaign are planned to run from February to March next year.

The Department's FAST website has been updated and now includes a simple online exercise enabling people to test their knowledge of FAST. Further work which aims to embed the FAST message in first aid manuals and training programmes, ensuring sustained delivery of the campaign message, is ongoing.

In the coming months we will continue to monitor the impact of the campaign and plans for future activity in 2010-11 will build on the outcome of this work.

Swine Flu: Vaccination

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of the adequacy of supplies of the H1N1 vaccine to GP practices in order to meet the initial prioritisation of at-risk groups. [304151]

Gillian Merron: The Department has been monitoring the supply of swine flu vaccines to the national health service very closely and is in regular contact with the vaccine manufacturers and distributor.

As of 2 December 2009, 14.9 million doses of Pandemrix had been received in the United Kingdom, which was sufficient for all of the initial high-risk priority groups. An initial distribution of 500 doses of Pandemrix to every general practitioner (GP) practice in England was completed by 13 November 2009. From 12 November
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2009 primary care trusts (PCTs) have been able to order additional supplies of vaccine for their GPs by using the Department's online ordering system.

While the timing of our overall delivery schedule has been reliant on predicted supplies from the manufacturer, we have taken action to ensure that supplies are pushed out to the national health service as fast as possible.

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to reach agreement with the British Medical Association on procedures and policy for vaccinating children between the ages of six months and five years against swine influenza. [304230]

Gillian Merron: As of 3 December 2009, negotiations between the British Medical Association General Practitioners Committee and NHS Employers were continuing. The Department is seeking a prompt conclusion to the negotiations to enable the NHS to begin protecting children over six months and under five years from the H1N1 swine flu virus as soon as possible.

Work and Pensions

Youth Unemployment

15. Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment she has made of the causes of changes in the level of youth unemployment in the last 12 months. [304076]

Jim Knight: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell).

23. Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment she has made of the reasons for changes in the level of youth unemployment in the last 12 months. [304084]

Jim Knight: Rising youth unemployment is one consequence of the global recession.

Unemployment is rising because more people are becoming unemployed in the recession and not because fewer people are leaving unemployment.

Long-term youth unemployment remains significantly below levels seen in previous recessions.

New Deal for Lone Parents

19. Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made on the new deal for lone parents. [304080]

Yvette Cooper: Since new deal for lone parents was introduced in October 1998, it has helped over 635,000 lone parents into work.

Maintenance Payments: Absentee Fathers

20. Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will bring forward proposals to require absentee fathers of the children of teenage mothers to make maintenance payments when they are in work; and if she will make a statement. [304081]

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Helen Goodman: Under the current rules absentee fathers are obliged to pay £5 a week when they are on benefit and, as they enter work, their child maintenance calculation increases correspondingly as a proportion of their income.

Economically Inactive Population

21. James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of the working age population in (a) the UK and (b) Rochford and Southend East constituency was economically inactive on the latest date for which figures are available. [304082]

Jim Knight: Data from the Annual Population Survey show that from April 2008 to March 2009, the percentage of the working age population in Rochford and Southend, East that is inactive was 24.3 per cent. and in the UK it was 21.3 per cent.

The inactivity rate in the UK is lower today than it was in 1997 and, excluding full-time students, is 2.3 percentage points lower.

Long-term Unemployment

24. Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps she is taking to reduce levels of long-term unemployment. [304085]

Jim Knight: Since 2008, the Government have made available £5 billion to provide substantial new support to get all unemployed jobseekers back to work.

This Government will not write off any individual and leave them languishing on benefits. That is why, through the new deal and the flexible new deal, people claiming benefits for 12 months or more will get the help they need to return to work.


Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Christmas parties his Department plans to host in 2009; what has been budgeted for each such reception; what estimate she has made of the proportion of (a) lamb, (b) beef, (c) chicken, (d) pork, (e) turkey, (f) other meats, (g) vegetables, (h) fruit and (i) alcohol to be served at each such function which is produced in the UK; and if she will make a statement. [300863]

Jonathan Shaw: Departmental funds are not normally used to fund internal staff parties or recreational events. The cost of staff parties, including Christmas parties, are normally met by those staff attending. In an organisation of the size of DWP, such events are numerous and are not systematically recorded by the Department or its agencies. No information is held centrally on the food served at these events nor could the plans for such events in 2009 be made available without incurring disproportionate cost.

Departmental Domestic Visits

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on how many occasions she visited (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland in an official capacity in the last 12 months. [303496]

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Jim Knight: The Secretary of State has visited both Scotland and Wales once in her official capacity in the last 12 months. She has not visited Northern Ireland.

Departmental Taxis

Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what contracts her Department has with private hire taxi companies; and what expenditure her Department has incurred against each such contract in each of the last three years. [300841]

Jim Knight: The Department of Work and Pensions currently has no contracts with private hire taxi companies and has not had any such contracts during the last three years.

Departmental Telephone Services

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will assess the merits of introducing an automatic call-back request feature for callers to her Department's telephone helplines to minimise the cost to callers. [301086]

Jim Knight [holding answer 24 November 2009]: Where a customer calling the Department for Work and Pensions' 0800 or 0845 services asks us to, or raises concerns over the cost of the call, we will offer to call them back. In addition to this, Jobcentre Plus has recently introduced a further improvement in customer service for customers calling their 0800 and 0845 benefit enquiry numbers from mobile phones. From October 2009, all customers calling these numbers from a mobile phone are now automatically offered a call-back.

The Department has also asked our telephony provider to investigate how we might employ automated interventions that allow customers to leave call-back numbers without waiting for connection to an agent. Potential solutions may involve either saving a customer's place in line or scheduling a call back time convenient to each customer.

Departmental Travel

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on what date she last travelled by (a) bus and (b) taxi in the course of her official duties. [302720]

Jim Knight: The Secretary of State has not travelled by bus or taxi in the course of her official duties.

Employment Services: Autism

Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent steps her Department has taken to assist young people with autism find long-term employment. [304205]

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Jonathan Shaw: We are fully committed to supporting young disabled people, including those diagnosed with autism, to find suitable and sustainable work. The Department will, following the recent consultation exercise on the Autism Bill, work closely with the Department of Health and others across government on the planned Autism Strategy.

The Department offers a number of programmes and services which help people with autism to find, and stay in employment.

Disability employment advisers in Jobcentre Plus, for example, can advise a customer about suitable job opportunities and specialised support available to disabled people. If necessary they can also advocate on a customer's behalf (by negotiating with employers), refer customers for an occupational health assessment, and use the professional expertise of work psychologists, who specialise in working with disabled people.

The Department has a number of specialist programmes that help disabled people move into paid work, some of which are only accessible through disability employment advisers. These programmes include work preparation, residential training and Workstep (a programme of supported employment).

Disabled people going into paid work may also be able to benefit from Access to Work, which provides practical advice and support to disabled people and their employers to help overcome work related obstacles resulting from disability. Access to Work provides a system of grants which contribute towards the cost of providing support, such as a job coach for a short period to help settle an autistic customer into work. Support can also be given to the customer in the form of awareness training on autism which can be delivered to the customer's colleagues.

Jobcentre Plus staff are also provided with training in the skills required to manage a range of behaviours demonstrated by customers, covering a variety of health conditions. This approach ensures that they are equipped to deal with diverse circumstances whilst treating customers as individuals. Advisers look at the interaction between the person, the job and an individual's ability and ensure that job goals relate to the customer's abilities and that work solutions are sought to overcome any challenges a customer might face in a particular job.

Incapacity Benefit

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were in receipt of incapacity benefit in each month since January 2004. [302350]

Jonathan Shaw: The available information is in the table.

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7 Dec 2009 : Column 172W
Number of people claiming incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance and employment and support allowance in Great Britain and abroad

Incapacity benefit Employment and support allowance

February 2004



May 2004



August 2004



November 2004



February 2005



May 2005



August 2005



November 2005



February 2006



May 2006



August 2006



November 2006



February 2007



May 2007



August 2007



November 2007



February 2008



May 2008



August 2008



November 2008



February 2009



May 2009



(1) Provisional data.
1. Case load figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Employment and support allowance replaced incapacity benefit and income support paid on the grounds of incapacity for new claims from 27 October 2008.
3. The figures relating to employment and support allowance have been thoroughly quality assured to National Statistics standard. However, it should be noted that this is a new benefit using a new data source which may not have reached steady state in terms of operational processing and retrospection. Hence most recent data shown is provisional.
Department for Work and Pensions Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

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