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Jonathan Shaw: DWP leads the Government's response to some of the biggest issues facing the country-welfare and pension reform-and is a key player in tackling child poverty(1). 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. We want to give people more choice and control over their lives and are committed to providing greater choice and personalised support to everyone who needs it so they have the opportunity to get into and remain in work. We believe that work works. Even in economically challenging times we know that work works for the most vulnerable and the disadvantaged.
Through Jobcentre Plus, we are promoting work as the best form of welfare for people of working age. Since January 1998, the number of people unemployed in Great Grimsby has increased by 8 per cent. to 4,704, but the number unemployed for more than one year has decreased by 37 per cent. to 745. From August 1997 to August 2009 the number of lone parents claiming income support in Great Grimsby has decreased by 15 per cent. to 1,950.
Our new deals 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 Great Britain have found work with the support of the new deal, and 6,820 have been helped in Great Grimsby.
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.
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 August 2009 6,670 pensioners in Great Grimsby are benefiting from pension credit.
Statistics on the proportion of pensioners living in relative poverty are not available at the constituency level. But the latest data for the Yorkshire and the Humber Government office region show that the proportion of pensioners in poverty (measured as below 60 per
cent. of contemporary median household income after housing costs) fell from 32 per cent. to 18 per cent. since 1997(2).
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 with someone aged between 60 to 79 and £400 for households with someone 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 per year was spent helping pensioners meet their fuel bills-we now spend around £2.7 billion on winter fuel payments alone. In winter 2008-09 (the last winter for which information is available) 16,720 people aged 60 and over benefited from winter fuel payments in Great Grimsby.
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 Great Grimsby will have benefited from these improvements. The Welfare Reform Act 2009 contains powers to increase choice and control for disabled adults, including disabled parents who are entitled to state support, enabling them to choose how certain state support is used to meet their individual needs. This will be trailblazed in eight local authority sites from late 2010. Older and less well off carers have gained extra help through the provisions within the National Carers Strategy.
(1) The Department for Work and Pensions was created in 2001 and so information relates to the Department and its predecessors.
(2 )Based on three-year averages and changes are rounded to the nearest percentage point or 100,000 pensioners between 1997-98 to 1999-2000 and 2005-06 to 2007-08.
(3 )Regional information about assistance payments received by members from the financial assistance scheme could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much her Department spent on hotel accommodation for (a) Ministers, (b) special
advisers and (c) civil servants in each of the last five years. 
Jim Knight: The available information on hotel accommodation is set out in the following table. Other information is not available in the required format and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
|Hotel (all staff) (£ million)||Hotel (Ministers) (£)||Hotels (Special advisers)|
Travel by Ministers and civil servants is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code respectively and the Cabinet Office provides the annual list of overseas travel over £500 undertaken by Ministers. The 2008-09 list was published on 16 July and can be viewed at:
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people have made a rapid reclaim for their jobseeker's allowance (a) nationally and (b) in each London borough in each of the last 24 months; 
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women resident in Hemsworth constituency have participated in the New Deal for (a) Lone Parents and (b) Partners since 1997; and if she will make a statement. 
|Number of woman participants in the New Deal in Hemsworth parliamentary constituency: Time Series to August 2009-Starters (Spells)|
|n/a = Not applicable.|
"*" = Nil or negligible.
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Some additional disclosure control has also been applied.
2. Latest data are to August 2009.
Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 7 July 2009, Official Report, column 749W, on state retirement pensions: females, how many women have been contacted; how many women have received lump sums of backdated pension; how much has been paid in backdated pensions to date; and what estimate she has made of the amount which will have been paid out by the end of the exercise. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 1 March 2010]: In the period up to 18 February 2010, 5,487 women have been contacted and 1,544 women have received lump sums of backdated pension, totalling £1,018,782.80.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households with more than (a) £100,000 and (b) £200,000 annual income received a winter fuel payment in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Information on household income and receipt of winter fuel payments are available from the Family Resources Survey, for which 2007-08 is the latest
year available. Estimates have been presented rounded to the nearest 100,000 households.
(a) In 2007-08, winter fuel payments were made to around 100,000 households with net income before housing costs of more than £100,000 per annum.
(b) In 2007-08, winter fuel payments were made to a negligible number of households with net income before housing costs of more than £200,000 per annum.
The figures are survey based, so there is a degree of sampling error. In 2007-08, winter fuel payments were made to around 9 million households. As such, the number of winter fuel payments made to households containing pensioners with net income before housing costs of more than £100,000 per annum represents 1 per cent. of these payments, while the number paid to those over £200,000 remains negligible.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many and what proportion of medical assessments for (a) employment and support allowance and (b) incapacity benefit claimants carried out by Atos Origin in Wales in each of the last five years were conducted by doctors who had completed their formal medical training and were registered with the General Medical Council; 
(2) how many and what proportion of medical assessments for (a) employment and support allowance and (b) incapacity benefit claimants carried out by Atos Origin in Wales in each of the last five years were conducted by medically trained professionals registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. 
Jonathan Shaw: All healthcare professionals, consisting of doctors and nurses, employed by Atos Healthcare are registered with the relevant council, namely the General Medical Council or the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Figures have been provided by Atos Healthcare. ESA was introduced in 2008.
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