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Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment she has made of the effect of an award of accident compensation on entitlement to (a) state benefits and (b) state pension; and if she will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: There is a capital disregard for personal injury payments in income support, jobseeker's allowance, employment and support allowance, and in housing benefit and council tax benefit for claimants who have not reached the minimum qualifying age for pension credit.
The disregard applies indefinitely to the value of a trust fund where the personal injury payment has been put into a trust and also where there is the right to receive payments from the trust. Payments made from the trust would be treated as income and disregarded in full when they are received. This disregard only applies to personal injury payments if they were made in respect of the claimant or their current partner. Where the claimant receives a personal injury payment made in respect of a deceased partner the disregard does not apply.
Where a personal injury payment has not been put into trust it is disregarded for 52 weeks from the date it is paid to the claimant or their partner, or until they no longer have any part of the payment left, whichever date is sooner. Any subsequent payments made as a result of the same personal injury (for example, where instalments are made) would not have a separate 52 week disregard but would come under the original disregard period.
The capital value of any personal injury payments held under the Court of Protection, and the right to receive funds from that payment, are disregarded. Payments not in a trust and not held under control of the Court of Protection are treated as capital.
Entitlement to state pension is not affected by income or capital. For pension credit, and housing benefit and council tax benefit for those who have reached the minimum qualifying age for pension credit, any personal injury payments made for the claimant or their partner are disregarded indefinitely.
Jim Knight: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was formed in 2001 from the Department of Social Security (DSS), the Employment Service (ES) and parts of the former Department for Education and Employment (DfEE), and information since the creation of the Department is shown in the following table.
|Gross domestic product( 1) (£ billion)||DWP total expenditure( 2) (£ billion)||Ratio total: GDP (percentage)|
| Source s :|
(1) Gross Domestic Product (GDP): provided by Office for National Statistics (published via the HM Treasury website).
(2) DWP: Departmental Report 2009 and 2007 and Departmental Benefit Expenditure Tables.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many graduate internships her Department has provided in the last 12 months; how many such internships were subsequently withdrawn; for what reasons; and if she will make a statement. 
|Disability living allowance, cases in payment in Leeds local authority area and Leeds West parliamentary constituency|
1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Cases in payment show the number of people in receipt of an allowance, and exclude people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital.
DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what mechanisms are in place to ensure that staff who drive (a) a vehicle for which (i) her Department and (ii) one of its executive agencies is responsible have valid driving licences and (b) their own vehicles in the course of their official duties for (A) her Department and (B) one of its executive agencies have valid driving licences and insurance; what guidance is issued to those staff in respect of road safety while carrying out official duties; what steps are taken to monitor compliance with that guidance; what requirements there are on such staff to report to their line managers accidents in which they are involved while driving in the course of their official duties; and whether such reports are investigated. 
Before authority is given to use such a vehicle, the employee's driving licence will be checked by their line manager to ensure they have a full current licence which is valid for the vehicle they will be using.
The manager must also ensure that there are no periods of disqualification in force. Details of the check must be recorded. The check should be carried out at least once per year. The manager should record details of the check as follows:
Date of licence check;
Disqualifications, if any; and
Date next check due.
Where staff who drive their own vehicles in the course of their official duties for (A) the Department and (B) one of the executive agencies for which the Department is responsible, the manager must ensure that the insurance conditions for the vehicle are satisfied.
Guidance to those staff in respect of road safety while carrying out official duties, is published on the Department's intranet to inform drivers of road safety while carrying out official duties, and, for drivers of the
fleet of leased vehicles provided for the use of staff of the Department and its executive agencies, additional road safety guidance is provided on the leasing company's dedicated website.
Line managers must satisfactorily complete a work-related road safety checklist with an individual member of staff before approving an individual's business journey for the first time. The line manager must review the checklist annually as a minimum.
In respect of what requirements there are on such staff to report to their line managers accidents in which they are involved while driving in the course of their official duties, drivers must report all accidents involving vehicles while on official business to their line managers.
Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps her Department is taking to ensure that Jobcentre Plus makes adequate provision to meet the requirements of people with autism who use its services. 
Jonathan Shaw: Jobcentre Plus advisers support autistic people who are seeking employment and help with their applications for benefit. Where the customer has more complex support needs they can be referred to a Disability Employment Adviser. The Disability Employment Adviser will work with the customer to agree an action plan to help get them into work. They can advise on suitable employment opportunities and approach employers on the customer's behalf. If more in depth support is needed they can arrange for an occupational health assessment and help to be provided by a work psychologist.
Jobcentre Plus also has a number of specialist programmes that help disabled people, including people with autism, move into paid work, some of which are only accessible via the Disability Employment Adviser. These include Work Preparation, Residential Training and WORKSTEP (a programme of supported employment).
People with autism going into paid work may be able to get support from Access to Work. The Access to Work team can provide practical advice and support to disabled people and their employers to help them overcome work related obstacles resulting from disability. It does this through a system of grants towards the cost of providing support, such as a job coach to settle an autistic customer into work. The customer can also be supported at work by Access to Work paying for awareness training on autism to be delivered to the customer's work colleagues.
The Disability Employment Adviser will be able to put the customer in touch with the relevant Access to Work site which takes applications or Access to Work information and contact details can be found on the Jobcentre Plus and Directgov websites.
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will hold a consultation on the merits of using unemployed people to clear snow from outside the homes of disabled people; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The Government have already put in place a number of programmes in which unemployed people undertake work experience and volunteering placements that deliver benefit to the community. However, the overriding aim of these programmes is always to provide activities that will equip jobseekers with the right skills and experience to help them move back into work.
Through our New Deal programmes, many thousands of jobseekers have been involved in activities that have delivered benefit to their local community or the environment. The Community Task Force, due to be launched at the end of this month as part of the Young Person's Guarantee, will match young unemployed people to work experience placements that deliver community benefit.
And in April last year, we launched a scheme to match jobseekers who have been unemployed for six months to relevant work-focussed volunteering opportunities, many of which also deliver environmental or community benefit.
We do not specify the exact nature of the placements that should be delivered through these programmes, rather ask providers to match jobseekers with placements that will best equip them to return to work. It is possible that activities such as snow clearance could be included in a programme of community works at a local level, but this would depend on local conditions and providers' view of the activities that best suit their client group.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of (a) primary contracted and (b) sub-contracted employment support providers have withdrawn providing employment support services under the Pathways to Work Programme in each of the smallest geographical units for which figures are available since the programme's inception; and if she will make a statement. 
[holding answer 12 January 2010]: The Department for Work and Pensions contracts with prime contractors. It is for them to manage the relationship with sub-contractors on the basis of their commercial judgement and their view of what best meets the needs of customers. As Provider-led Pathways to Work develops, we would expect to see some changes in sub-contracting
arrangements in the light of experience and in response to changing market conditions.
No prime contractors have withdrawn from delivering Pathways to Work provision. There were 79 sub-contractors delivering Pathways to Work when contracts were let. Some of these organisations were sub-contracting to more than one prime contractor and some were delivering in more than one location.
Of the original 79 sub-contractors involved in delivering Pathways to Work, six (8 per cent) sub-contractors have withdrawn from delivery. Four of these sub-contractors were delivering in the Kent, Surrey and Sussex areas. The remaining two sub-contractors were delivering in Devon and Cornwall and the Black Country districts respectively.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 14 December 2009, Official Report, column 786W, on social security benefits, how many of the households cited in the answer are in (a) socially-rented, (b) privately-owned and (c) privately-rented housing. 
Helen Goodman: Of the 4 million households in England where all of the benefit units were in receipt of at least one of income support, council tax benefit, housing benefit, jobseeker's allowance, or pension credit:
2.2 million live in socially rented housing;
1.1 million live in housing they own themselves or are purchasing with a mortgage; and
0.7 million live in privately rented housing.
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