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Stephen Williams: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many students in each constituency received a tuition fee loan in the latest year for which figures are available. 
Helen Goodman: In work benefits have already helped to lift 500,000 out of poverty. The increase in housing benefit, council tax benefit and child benefit alongside other measures including tax credits and the announced extension of free school meals to primary school age children from low income working families mean that over 2 million fewer children are living in poverty than would have been the case if we had simply uprated the 1997 system in line with prices.
Helen Goodman: The decisive action taken by this Government has significantly reversed the trend of rising child poverty. As a result of the policies introduced since 1997 we have lifted 500,000 children out of relative poverty and halved absolute poverty.
The Government remain committed to the sustainable eradication of child poverty. The Child Poverty Bill, currently progressing through Parliament, will enshrine in law the commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020 and, as far as possible, ensure that children do not experience socio-economic disadvantage.
Helen Goodman: The existing rules for Income Support are consistent with support for pregnant women in and out of work. Entitlement to IS and Maternity Leave, both begin at the 11(th) week before the EDO. This strikes a fair balance between the needs of taxpayers and employers and supporting individuals and families.
20. Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps she is taking to ensure that inquiries about benefits from members of the public are dealt with locally; and if she will make a statement. 
Helen Goodman: In common with other organisations telephony services are considered more accessible to a wider range of customers, increasing access to our services and the efficient use of public resources. Vulnerable customers not able to use the telephone are offered local face-to-face assistance.
The Pension, Disability and Carers Service makes around 700,000 home visits a year to pensioners and disabled people. Working with partners it also supports a local information point network providing face-to- face information and advice about benefits and other services.
23. James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of the population in (a) Rochford and Southend East constituency and (b) the UK is claiming jobseeker's allowance. 
Jim Knight: The future jobs fund, part of the young person's guarantee, will ensure that all 18 to 24-year-olds who have been claiming jobseeker's allowance for six months will be supported into a job, work experience placement or work-related training, following completion of a personalised 'back to work' plan devised with a Jobcentre Plus personal adviser.
Jim Knight: There are currently 927,000 ILO unemployed young people aged 16 to 24, which is a fall of 16,000 on the previous quarter. Of these, 269,000 (almost 30 per cent.) are in full-time education.
|Attendance allowance and disability living allowance-cases in payment in Ashford parliamentary constituency|
|May 2005||May 2006||May 2007||May 2008||May 2009|
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
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures have been taken by (a) her Department, (b) Jobcentre Plus, (c) the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission (CMEC) and (d) other relevant bodies to promote the services of CMEC and to develop the information and support available through the Child Maintenance Options service to (i) parents already using the CSA and (ii) separating and new lone parents since the service became operational; and what consideration she has given to possible enhancements to the service. [300981 ]
Helen Goodman: The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is responsible for the child maintenance system. I have asked the Child Maintenance Commissioner to write to the hon. Member with the information requested and I have seen the response.
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Child Maintenance Commissioner.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures have been taken by (a) her Department (b) Jobcentre Plus (c) the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission (CMEC) and (d) other relevant bodies to promote the services of CMEC and to develop the information and support available through the Child Maintenance Options service to (i) parents already using the CSA and (ii) separating and new lone parents since the service became operational; and what consideration she has given to possible enhancements to the service. 
The Commission is working with a number of organisations, including Jobcentre Plus and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, to promote a number of services it offers. These include:
Jobcentre Plus, which, upon first contact with a client, will send a leaflet, which introduces the Child Maintenance Options service, to those who have registered a child maintenance interest. They will also ask the client if they wish to be referred to the service.
Those who agree, have their contact details passed on to Child Maintenance Options, which will then contact them to discuss their child maintenance issue.
HM Revenue & Customs, which also refers newly separated parents to the Child Maintenance Options service when a client registers a change in circumstances for tax credit entitlements.
The Commission is working closely with the Department for1 Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) to build awareness of financial responsibility. DCSF has launched a 'Separating Families' initiative to co-ordinate services provided for separated and separating parents and we have been engaging with them to ensure that information on child maintenance is included. This initiative is being piloted in ten local areas across the country.
We are working closely with the Local Strategic Partnership in Nottingham to promote our services. Information on Child Maintenance Options has been .circulated throughout children's centres. Additionally, two 45 minute lesson plans are being included in the 'do you want to be in my position' teaching pack on sex and relationships education. This pack is being piloted in the Nottingham University Samworth Academy.
We are exploring ways in which we can engage with health service professionals, through the Department of Health, particularly midwives and health visitors who are well placed to discuss child maintenance issues with new parents. We are also working with the Financial Services Authority to ensure that its financial education products stress the importance of financial responsibility and set out the Commission's services.
We are also examining ways to engage with the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Until now, the focus on the promotion of the Child Maintenance Options service has been on separating and new lone parents, particularly those claiming benefits and those whose family and friends may influence their behaviour. We hope this will help to foster collaboration and encourage the establishment of arrangements at the earliest opportunity. In July 2009, we successfully carried out a test promotional campaign in the Midlands region to promote the service.
The results of the test have been very encouraging and headline results show a 56 per cent increase in calls to the service and a 103 per cent increase in website visits during the 12 week period of the campaign. Of those responding, we estimate that 65 per cent were parents with care, 22 per cent non-resident parents and 13 per cent friends and family. This supports our decision to launch the campaign nationally, from January 2010, to promote awareness of and encourage demand for the Child Maintenance Options service on a larger scale.
The Commission is taking a number of steps to consider whether possible enhancements could be made to improve the service further.
A strategic review of the Child Maintenance Options service has recently been completed and some key stakeholders, including Gingerbread and Relate, were invited to an open forum to discuss our plans for the future. Some of these plans include testing a range of service enhancements in the early part of next year to establish which-are the most effective in helping customers to establish a maintenance arrangement that works for them.
There are a number of research and evaluation programmes being used among current and potential customers to enhance the information and guidance which the service offers, and to develop further the processes of referrals from other government organisations.
The Commission will continue to evaluate each activity on an ongoing basis to inform future strategy.
I hope you find this answer helpful.
John Mason: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps the Government is taking to inform pensioners not registered for pension credit of their entitlement to cold weather payments. 
Customers eligible for cold weather payments are those in receipt of pension credit or income-related employment and support allowance that includes a work-related activity or support component. Those in receipt of income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance or income-related employment and support allowance in the assessment phase are also eligible if they have a pensioner or disability premium included in their benefit or they have a child who is disabled or under the age of five in the family.
The Government are committed to ensuring pensioners receive the support they are entitled to. The claim process has been simplified and since November 2008 claims for housing benefit and council tax benefit, made over the phone with pension credit, can be forwarded directly to the local authority without the need for a signed claim form.
Targeted regional take-up campaigns are being rolled out in selected regions, based on partnership working. The new campaign is designed to engage with the local pensioner population, by using channels of communication and working with organisations that they are likely to be familiar with and using regional media to support targeted communications and raise awareness among friends and family.
The Pensions Disability and Carers Service uses business triggers in Pension Centres to help ensure those who may be entitled to pension credit claim it. Customer advisers will discuss making a pension credit application with those who may be eligible when a customer makes a claim to state pension, turns 60 years of age or informs the Pensions, Disability and Carers Service of a significant change in their circumstances.
The Pension Disability and Carers Service also conducts around 13,000 home visits a week for vulnerable customers to ensure they are receiving the benefits they are entitled to, such as pension credit and attendance allowance. They have established joint Working Partnerships, which are either live or at the implementation stage, with all 203 primary tier local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales. These partnerships enable the Pension Disability and Carers Service, local authorities and the voluntary sector to provide a single point of access to social care and benefit entitlement.
Also, we are planning a small pilot in 2010 which is designed to investigate the viability of making better use of the data currently held by DWP to improve pension credit take-up. The pilot will involve making awards of pension credit to a sample group of pensioners without them first having made a claim. During the course of the pilot, each award will be for a period of 12 weeks, and will be based on information we already hold. At the end of the pilot there will be a thorough investigation. This should provide evidence which could help inform future policy development in the area of benefit take-up.
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