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Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) with reference to the answer of 23 June 2009, Official Report, column 817W, on state retirement pensions, how much her Department has paid out in such lump sums to date; how many people have received such payments; when she expects to complete the exercise; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what her most recent estimate is of the number of cases of pensioners potentially entitled to lump sum payments of backdated retirement pension through payment of Class 3 national insurance contributions to take account of pensioners. 
Angela Eagle [holding answers 1 and 3 March 2010]: The Department has contacted 23,884 women with potential to benefit from paying class 3 national insurance contributions. For the period up to 22 February 2010, 12,924 women have received lump sums of backdated pension, totalling £10,138,932.00. Of these, 871 also benefited from arrears of state pension after correction of their home responsibilities protection (HRP).
In addition, as part of this exercise, 2,360 customers were paid arrears of state pension resulting only from correction of their HRP. The total arrears paid resulting from correction of HRP is £1,488,244.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if she will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to Vauxhall constituency, the effects on the constituency of changes to her Department's policies since 1997. 
As the biggest delivery Department in the UK, DWP makes a difference to millions of people every day, helping them to lead safer, fairer and
more rewarding lives that are free from poverty. The policies that we have introduced since 1997 have aimed to give people more choice and control over their lives. Through our welfare reform programme, we are committed to providing personalised support to everyone who needs it so they have the opportunity to get into and remain in work.
Through Jobcentre Plus, we are promoting work as the best form of welfare for people of working age. Since 1997, the number of people unemployed in Vauxhall has decreased by 27 per cent. to 5,067, and the number unemployed for more than one year has decreased by 71 per cent. to 810. Since 1997 to May 2009 the number of lone parents claiming income support in Vauxhall has decreased by 43 per cent. to 3,090.
Our New Deal programmes have helped lone parents, the young unemployed, the long-term unemployed, disabled people, the over 50s and partners of unemployed people to move from benefit into work. Since their inception over 2.2 million people in the UK have found work with the support of the New Deal, and 7,510 have been helped in Vauxhall.
We introduced a target to halve child poverty by 2010-11 on the way to eradicating it by 2020. Poverty is measured using a headline indicator of the proportion of children in households with an income below 60 per cent. of contemporary household median income before housing costs. This is in line with international best practice.
Statistics on the numbers of children living in poverty are not available at the constituency level, but the latest information for the inner London area shows that the proportion of children in poverty fell from 39 per cent. to 27 per cent. since 1997.
This year we will be spending over £13 billion more on pensioners than if we had continued with the policies that were in place in 1997. Around half of that money will go to the poorest third of pensioners.
In 1997 the poorest pensioners, who received income support, lived on £69 a week (£98 in today's prices). Today pension credit, which was introduced in 2003, means no pensioner needs to live on less than £130 a week, £198.45 for couples. As of May 2009, 5,260 pensioners in Vauxhall are receiving pension credit.
In 2007-08 there were 900,000 fewer pensioners living in relative poverty in the UK compared to 1998-99 (measured as below 60 per cent. of contemporary median household income after housing costs). Statistics on the numbers of pensioners living in relative poverty are not available at the constituency level, but the latest information for the inner London area shows that the proportion of pensioners in poverty has fallen from 42 per cent. to 29 per cent. since 1997.
Pensioners in the UK also benefit from a range of additional support such as the winter fuel payment which this winter is worth £250 for households aged between 60-79 and £400 for households aged 80 or over. These payments provide vital reassurance to older people
that they can afford to turn up their heating during cold weather. Prior to winter 1997-98 less than £60 million was spent helping pensioners meet their fuel bills-this year we will be spending around £2.7 billion on winter fuel payments alone. In 2008-09, 11,950 people aged 60 and over benefited from winter fuel payments in Vauxhall.
We have also taken steps to strengthen and protect the private pensions system to ensure people can continue to have confidence to save for their future through the establishment of the Pensions Protection Fund, the Financial Assistance Scheme and a more powerful and proactive pensions regulator.
We have also taken forward a radical package of pension reforms in the Pensions Acts of 2007 and 2008 which will deliver a fairer and more generous state pension and extend the opportunity of workplace pension saving to millions, many for the first time.
The state pension reforms begin to come into effect from 2010 and will mean around three quarters of women reaching state pension age in 2010 are expected to qualify for a full basic state pension compared to half without reform.
Since 2001, we have significantly extended and improved civil rights for disabled people in areas such as employment, education, access to goods and services and transport. Disabled people in Vauxhall will have benefited from these improvements. The Welfare Reform Act 2009 contains powers to increase choice and control for disabled adults, including disabled parents, enabling them to choose how certain state support is used to meet their individual needs. Older and less well-off carers are receiving extra help through the provisions within the National Carers Strategy.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons all three point-scoring descriptors have been removed from the work capability assessment; and if she will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: In October 2008, with the introduction of employment and support allowance, the work capability assessment replaced the personal capability assessment for all new claims. The new assessment was developed in consultation with representative groups and medical experts, to provide a more accurate assessment of an individual's functional capability in the context of a modern workplace, who concluded that the three point descriptors did not add up to an overall level of functional limitation at which it is unreasonable to expect a person to work. They reflect the sort of condition that any individual can expect to experience, without having any significant functional limitation.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the average number of flying hours for each (a) Apache and (b) Chinook machine in Afghanistan in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I will not provide details of the number of flying hours that our deployed helicopters in Afghanistan have completed, either by specific airframes or by the fleet as a whole, for operational security reasons; the release of this information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness, or security of our armed forces.
Since November 2006, there has been an increase of nearly 140 per cent. in all UK battlefield helicopter flying hours. We will enhance our helicopter capability further, and will ensure that it continues to meet operational requirements. For example, we are converting eight Chinook Mk 3 aircraft to a support helicopter role and this will allow us to deliver more Chinooks to Afghanistan.
Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much his Department has paid for improvements and modernisation of residential dwellings in each year since Annington Homes acquired its former housing stock; 
Mr. Kevan Jones: While the Ministry of Defence (MOD) retains responsibility for the upgrade, improvement and maintenance of properties leased from Annington Homes Ltd. (AHL), the expenditure is not centrally recorded nor separately identifiable from that on other Service Family Accommodation (SFA) in England and Wales or Great Britain.
However, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 11 January 2010, Official Report, column 401W, which gave details of the total maintenance and upgrade expenditure on SFA in Great Britain. We have been able to break this down further as follows:
|Upgrading SFA in England and Wales|
|Expenditure (£ million)|
Most SFA properties in England and Wales were sold to AHL by the previous Conservative Government in 1996, the majority of which were immediately leased back by the MOD to house entitled service personnel and their families. The annual rent paid to AHL in each year was:
|Year commencing||Rent (£ million)|
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many pieces of protective eye wear have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen from the armed forces in each of the last 12 months; 
Mr. Kevan Jones: No night vision goggles have been centrally reported as stolen in the past 12 months but 21 have been reported lost. These include helmet mounted systems and those designed for use in military vehicles.
Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contacts the Army has had with the National Bullying Helpline since 2004; and whether the Army has made any payments to (a) the National Bullying Helpline and (b) HR and Diversity Management Limited in that period. 
Mr. Kevan Jones: The Army has no relationship with either the National Bullying Helpline or HR and Diversity Management. The armed forces have a well-publicised Confidential Support Line which is run by the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association-Forces Help charity, which is independent of the Chain of Command.
Individuals within the Army are free to contact either the National Bullying Helpline or HR and Diversity Management should they wish to do so. While it is possible that either organisation may have made contact with Army units on individual cases, this information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
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