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Cancer networks have had a crucial role in improving the quality of cancer treatment and patient experience of care-they have helped commissioners, providers and patients work together to plan and deliver high quality cancer services. We know that general
practitioner consortiums will need commissioning support, and cancer networks will be well placed to provide that.
We have said in 'Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer' that next year there will be funding for cancer networks to support commissioning. However, we will not pre-empt future decisions by the NHS Commissioning Board by committing funding beyond 2011-12.
Mr Charles Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the potential relationship between cannabis and skunk cannabis and psychosis or schizophrenia; and if he will make a statement. 
Their report, 'Cannabis: Classification and Public Health (2008)', was published in May 2008 and found a probable but weak causal link between psychotic illness and cannabis use, but whether this will become stronger with the wider use of higher potency cannabis remains uncertain.
Mr Charles Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what NHS treatment is available for persons (a) under 18 and (b) 18 and over for addiction to cannabis or skunk cannabis; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Milton: Psychosocial interventions are the mainstay of treatment for cannabis misuse for people of all ages. 'Drug misuse and dependence UK guidelines on clinical management (2007)' notes that there are no medications suitable for treating cannabis misuse and advises that clinicians should consider psychosocial interventions, especially brief motivational interventions in mild cases. More heavily dependent misusers may require structured treatment. In cases of co-morbidity with depression and anxiety, treatment will include cognitive behavioural therapies.
With regard to under-18s, local authorities will be supported in carrying out a local needs assessment and planning for the full range of services that will respond to young people's substance misuse needs, and also enable them to have clear protocols in place to meet the needs of vulnerable young people.
Mr Charles Walker:
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people (a) under the age of 18, (b) between 18 and 24, (c) between 24 and 30 and (d) 30
and above were treated for cannabis addiction in each of the last 10 years. 
|Trends in age group for those in treatment for cannabis use|
Statistics from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010
|Under 18s in treatment for cannabis use|
Substance misuse among young people: the data for 2009-10
The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse assumed responsibility for the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) in 2003. The introduction of a new NDTMS methodology in 2008-09 means that year-on-year comparable trend data are only available from 2005-06.
This work comprised a review of a large body of research existing within the Department which can be described as "message testing". As a result of this review, Department of Health Communications has produced a source book which provides practical, evidence-based principles that can be used by anyone within the Department who is writing communications for both internal and external audiences. It sets out in clear terms the type of language which both public and national health service staff find clear, unambiguous and jargon free.
Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2010, Official Report, column 1285W, on departmental manpower, what the (a) organisations and (b) job titles are of the six members of the Steering Group below Senior Civil Service level. 
Paul Burstow: This information is not included in the Department's regular statistical terms and is not available for the age groups requested. However, some information is available from the report 'Adult Psychiatric Morbidity in England, 2007-Results of a Household Survey', published jointly by the Office of National Statistics and the National Health Service Information Centre. A copy has been placed in the Library. The following table gives information on the percentage of people in the available age groups who were suffering from a mixed anxiety and depression disorder in 1993, 2000 and 2007.
Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he plans to publish his review of prescription drug addiction; and what consultation on that review he proposes to undertake following publication. 
Anne Milton: The reports commissioned to gather evidence on addiction to medicines will be published early this year and we expect this to be before Easter recess. Following publication, we will be involving interested parties to determine the future direction of policy and service planning.
Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions his Department has had on integration between hospital consultants and GPs in order to improve patient pathways; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: The White Paper "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS" marked the start of the consultation on the Government's vision to devolve power and responsibility for commissioning services to local consortia of general practitioner (GP) practices. The Government's response to the White Paper published in December 2010, "Liberating the NHS: legislative framework and next steps", outlined the views expressed, including on partnership working between hospital consultants and GPs.
The Government recognise that commissioning by consortia is not just about GPs-good commissioning and designing care pathways will need to involve a wide range of clinicians. But we think that consortia of GP practices are also best placed to use the wealth of expertise. This is why the Health and Social Care Bill provides for consortia to ensure that they have appropriate advice from professionals with expertise in health.
Anne Milton: Seasonal influenza vaccination campaigns were run in 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10. In 2009-10, the campaign started in late September. In 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09, the campaigns started in October.
Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 21 December 2010, Official Report, columns 1265-8W, on benzodiazepines, what is meant by the term not confirmed which was given as the legislative basis for 17 generic lorazepam licenses. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency holds data on medicinal products on an electronic database. The database is searchable and can be used to bring back information such as the legal basis of an application as requested in relation to the lorazepam products. Historically, the legal basis of an application has not been recorded in a searchable form and thereafter this has been established by manually reviewing available records.
Where the precise legal basis has not been confirmed from the manual search that has been shown as 'not confirmed'. However, the reply of 21 December 2010, Official Report, columns 1265-8W, was clear in explaining that the applications would have been made under article 4.8a (of directive 65/65/EEC) which made provision for an abridged application, that is, an application made without supplying results of toxicological tests and clinical trials.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many infants have suffered (a) allergic, (b) serious, (c) critical and (d) fatal reactions to the MMR vaccine in each of the last five years. 
Anne Milton: Reports of suspected adverse reactions (ADRs) are collected by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Commission for Human Medicines (CHM) through the spontaneous reporting scheme, the Yellow Card Scheme. The scheme collects ADR reports from across the whole United Kingdom for all medicines and vaccines.
Between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2010, the MHRA has received a total of 418 UK spontaneous 'suspected' ADR reports associated with the MMR vaccine in children aged five years or under. During this time, at least 5 million doses of MMR vaccine have been given in the United Kingdom. The following table provides a breakdown of these reports.
|Total number of :|
|ADRs||serious ADRs||allergic ADRs||fatal ADRs|
It is important to note that such reports relate to suspected adverse reactions. Reports may be adverse reactions to the vaccine, they may be related to the process of vaccination rather than to the vaccine itself (e.g. nervousness or anxiety about needle injection); or they may be purely coincidental events that would have occurred anyway in the absence of vaccination (e.g. events due to underlying medical conditions). These reports cannot therefore be used to calculate the true frequency of adverse reactions.
Mr Simon Burns: Although the national health service has made significant reductions in the number of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemias (bloodstream infections), this Government are determined to do all they can to support the health and adult social care providers to make further improvements. From the outset, through the coalition agreement, this Government made clear that they expected the NHS to adopt a zero tolerance approach to all health care associated infections (HCAIs), including MRSA.
The "NHS Operating Framework 2011-12", published in December, requires the NHS to continue prioritising the achievement of the MRSA Objective, as well as the new Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) Objective. These Objectives, through their successful implementation, will have a significant impact on reducing variation by moving all organisations towards the performance of the best and consequently will at the same time reduce numbers at a national level.
To support the wide availability of data to help drive further reductions in MRSA, we have introduced weekly publications of data for both MRSA bloodstream infections and C. difficile infections at hospital-site level.
We are also committed to ensuring that the NHS continue to have access to evidence-based guidance in order to reduce the number of all HCAIs, including MRSA, through the implementation of effective infection prevention and control practices. As part of this commitment, a comprehensive suite of updated guidance was published on the Department's "Clean, Safe Care" website on 6 January 2011.
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 "Code of Practice for health and adult social care on the Prevention and Control of Infections and related guidance", which the Care Quality Commission use as a basis for assessing compliance with the registration requirement on cleanliness and infection control, has been a driver for improvement in the hospital setting. We extended the scope of the Code to adult social care settings from October 2010 and will include primary care in due course so that we can ensure that all settings where patients receive care and treatment operate comparable infection prevention and control practices.
Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether the multiple sclerosis clinical guidelines will be reviewed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; when he expects his Department's review of the guidelines to commence; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr Simon Burns: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) routinely reviews its published guidance, but we understand that it has not at this point set out a timescale for considering whether a review of its clinical guideline on multiple sclerosis is appropriate.
Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions his Department has had on the acquisition of community assets by foundation trusts which have taken over community services; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: The Department has discussed with the national health service, HM Treasury, the Government Property Unit and the Homes and Communities Agency the transfer of assets currently owned by NHS primary care trusts (PCTs) that support the delivery of community services.
On 6 January 2011, the Department announced in support of the Transforming Community Services agenda that all aspirant community foundation trusts would have the opportunity to acquire PCT owned estate that supports the services they are taking over. The future ownership and management of the remaining estate owned by PCTs is being considered.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the incidence of (a) childhood and (b) adult obesity was in each (i) local authority area, (ii) health authority area and (iii) constituency in each year for which figures are available. 
Information on the percentage of obese children in England is available in the "Health Survey for England-2009 trend tables", Child trend tables, Table 4. Information is provided for children aged two to 15 in England for the years 1995 to 2009. This information is available from the following link:
The proportion of children aged two to 15 recorded as obese by strategic health authority (SHA) for 2008 is available in Table 13.3 on page 327 of the "Health Survey for England-2008: Physical activity and fitness". The information is available from the following link:
Further information on the prevalence of obesity in children at a primary care trust (PCT) and local authority (LA) level is available through the National Child Measurement Programme. Information is available for children in Reception (four to five years) and year six (10 to 11 years) for the years 2006-07 to 2009-10. Information showing prevalence of obesity among children in these two school years by LA, PCT, SHA and for England is available for each year from the following links:
Tables 2 and 3 of the accompanying excel file of the "National Child Measurement Programme: England, 2009/10 school year" report is available on the NHS Information Centre website at:
Tables 2 and 3 of the accompanying excel file of the "National Child Measurement Programme: England, 2008/09 school year" report is available on the NHS Information Centre website at:
Table 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the accompanying excel file of "National Child Measurement Programme: results from the 2007/08 school year", headline results report is available on the NHS Information Centre website at:
Table 2, 3 and 4 of the accompanying excel file of "National Child Measurement Programme: results from the 2006/07 school year", headline results report is available on the NHS Information Centre website at:
Information on the percentage of obese adults aged 16 and over in England is available in the "Health Survey for England-2009 trend tables", Adult trend tables, Table 4. Information is provided for adults in England for the years 1993 to 2009. This information is available from the following link:
The proportion of adults aged 16 and over recorded as obese by SHA for 2008 is available in Table 7.3 on page 194 of the "Health Survey for England-2008: Physical activity and fitness". The information is available from the following link:
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of long-term trends in prescriptions for (a) headaches, (b) indigestion and (c) sleeping disorders; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: No such assessment has been undertaken. Prescribing figures for medicines classified in the British National Formulary (BNF) to treat the conditions listed, covering the latest available 10-year period, are provided. Information on the indication for which a medicine is prescribed, is not collected centrally.
|Number of prescription items written in the United Kingdom and dispensed in the community in England for medicines classified in the British National Formulary (BNF) to treat headaches, indigestion and sleeping disorders|
|BNF section 4.7 Analgesics( 1)||BNF section 1.1 Dyspepsia and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease( 2)||BNF section 1.3 Antisecretory drugs and mucusoal protectants( 2)||BNF section 4.1.1 Hypnotics( 3)|
|(1) There are no specific drugs for headache and so the figures are for all medicines in BNF section 4.7 analgesics, including those used for migraine.|
(2) Indigestion is usually treated with antacids, antisecretory drugs or mucusoal protectants. The figures are for BNF sections 1.1 Dyspepsia and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and 1.3 Antisecretory drugs and mucusoal protectants. Some of the drugs in section 1.3 are also used for other purposes such as in the treatment of ulcers.
(3) Most sleeping disorders would be treated with a short course of hypnotics, as listed in BNF section 4.1.1 Hypnotics. Some of these drugs may be used for other treatments.
Prescription cost analysis (PCA) system
Anne Milton: Information on people setting a quit date, through the national health service stop smoking services, and successful quitters by quarter since 1 April 2009, is shown in the following table:
|Number of people in England setting a quit date and successful quitters( 1) since 1 April 2009|
|Quarters||Number setting a quit date||Number of successful quitters||Percentage who successfully quit|
|(1) A client is counted as a successful quitter smoking at the four week follow-up appointment if he/she has not smoked at all since two weeks after quit date.|
(2) Quarterly Data, which has been finalised by The Health and Social Care Information Centre, Lifestyle Statistics.
(3) Quarterly data has been published for the first two quarters of 2010-11. This data remains provisional until the end of year 2010-11 report is published, expected to be in August 2011.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre, Lifestyle Statistics
Information on people setting a quit date and successful quitters, by quarter, 2001-02 to 2009-10 is contained within table 2.2 of "Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services: England; April 2009 to March 2010".
A total budget figure for the 2010-11 financial year cannot be provided at this stage because detailed planning for additional marketing communications work is underway and allocations for advertising media have not yet been finalised.
Advertising spend is defined as covering only media spend (inclusive of agency commissions but excluding production costs, Central Office of Information commission and VAT). All figures exclude advertising rebates and audit adjustments and therefore may differ from Central Office of Information official turnover figures.
Anne Milton: The Government's policy on influenza vaccination is informed by the expert advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). In their statement of 23 July, JCVI recommended that those children with clinical conditions which put them more at risk from the effects of influenza should be offered the vaccine.
JCVI met on 30 December to review the latest evidence on this issue following the meeting, the JCVI Chairman assured the Secretary of State for Health that this advice remains appropriate, and recommended that efforts be focused on maximising vaccine uptake among all those in the risk groups. As with all vaccination programmes, JCVI will keep this matter under review.
Mr Robin Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his latest estimate is of costs (a) incurred to date and (b) to be incurred in the remaining period of the private finance initiative contract for the Worcestershire Royal Hospital. 
Mr Simon Burns:
The cost incurred to date in respect of the private finance initiative (PFI) contract for Worcester Acute Hospitals National Health Service Trust since the new hospital opened in March 1999 is estimated to
be £233.1 million. This is the total of the annual unitary payments paid by the national health service trust to the private sector consortium for all the services it provides under the contract such as construction, provision of building maintenance and facilities management such as catering, cleaning and portering, information technology and equipment provision and replacement.
This figure is based on the audited summarisation schedules of the trust for 2003-04 to 2008-09 held by the Department (which it only has for six years on the same accounting standard); and estimates for 1999-2000 to 2002-03 and 2009-10 based on other information held and standard assumptions about inflation.
The estimated cost to be incurred for the remaining 19 years of the PFI contract is £619 million. This is a projection based on the estimated payment for 2009-10 uprated annually using a retail prices index (RPI) figure of 2.5% (used as a long-term average estimate). It must be noted that the annual unitary payments fluctuate both up and down as a result of contractor performance, additional services requested by the trust or taken out, the effects of refinancings and changes to RPI, so these figures are only estimates.
|Recipients of the mobility component of disability living allowance in Halifax parliamentary constituency. May 2010|
1. Case load figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
3. Totals 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.
4. Parliamentary constituency of claimant (Westminster). These constituencies are used for the Westminster Parliament 2010.
5. Data are published on the Department's website at
DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Reading West constituency were in receipt of (a) disability living allowance and (b) employment support allowance or incapacity benefit at the commencement of each financial year since 1997-98. 
|Number in receipt of incapacity benefits, employment and support allowance and disability living allowance in Reading West parliamentary constituency|
1. May 1997 to May 1999 incapacity benefit figures and May 1997 to May 2001 disability living allowance figures are based on sample data and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation.
2. 5% sample figures are rounded to the nearest hundred, and 100% case loads to the nearest 10.
3. 5% sample figures have been uprated using 5% proportions against 100% WPLS totals.
4. Incapacity benefit was replaced by employment support allowance (ESA) from October 2008.
5. Published benefit data reflect the 2010 parliamentary constituencies from May 2010 data onwards. Prior to May 2010 the Westminster parliamentary constituencies for 2005 have been used.
6. DLA figures are in payment.
1997-99 IB/SDA figures and 1997-2001 DLA figures Information Directorate 5% samples IB/SDA 2000 onwards, DLA 2002 onwards and ESA figures DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100% data.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 11 January 2011, Official Report, column 252W, on incapacity benefit: unpaid work, if he will make it his policy to ensure that persons found to be fit for work are ineligible to claim employment and support allowance; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Miller: People who have been found fit for work following a work capability assessment will not be eligible to claim employment and support allowance as they will no longer meet the eligibility conditions for that benefit. They may be eligible to claim other benefits.
It should be noted, that people claiming benefits on the grounds of incapacity can undertake a range of activities, including certain unpaid work and continue to be entitled to benefit. These rules are known as permitted work.
The permitted work rules allow customers in the Work Related Activity Group to retain all their ESA for up to a year while undertaking paid work, provided earnings are below the £95.00 a week and the hours worked do not exceed 16 hours a week.
People in the Support Group, who are less likely to move into full-time work, are able to undertake permitted work on an indefinite basis. Unlike claimants in the Work Related Activity Group, they are not limited to an overall period of a year, provided that earnings do not exceed £95.00 per week and the hours worked do not exceed 16 hours a week.
The permitted work rules strike a delicate but important balance between, on the one hand, encouraging customers to build their confidence, undertake some part-time paid work, and plan a gradual move to sustained employment, while continuing to receive benefit, and, on the other, providing the incentive for them to move off benefit entirely and into full-time work, in line with the Government's overall approach.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what account he took of paragraph 7.8 of the consultation, Local Decisions: a fairer future for social housing, in the drafting of paragraph 70 of his Department's impact assessment, Housing Benefit: Changes to Local Housing Allowance Arrangements, on the abolition of the five bedroom rate for housing benefit. 
Steve Webb: The average five bedroom local housing allowance rate is £15,288 per year. We are not saying that families cannot live in properties with more than four bedrooms but the choices these families make must be affordable and sustainable. We are ensuring that housing benefit reflects the aspiration of families who manage without benefit and who make housing choices that their budgets can support.
Steve Webb: The shared room rate in local housing allowance and the single room rent for pre-local housing allowance cases are only applicable to housing benefit tenants living in the private rented sector.
Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be affected by the reduction in housing benefit for those who have been in receipt of jobseeker's allowance for over 12 months in (a) 2013, (b) 2014 and (c) 2015; 
(2) what methodology he used to calculate the number of people who will be encouraged to take up work as a result of the implementation of the 10 per cent. reduction in housing benefit for those on jobseeker's allowance for over 12 months; 
(3) what proportion of the £110 million savings expected to be made from the implementation of the proposed 10 per cent. reduction in housing benefit for those on jobseeker's allowance (JSA) for over 12 months he expects to be made as a result of (a) lower payments to some JSA claimants and (b) a reduction in the number of JSA claimants consequent on people moving back into work. 
Steve Webb: The information requested is not available. We will publish an equality impact assessment for the proposed changes to housing benefit announced at Budget 2010, in the normal way, accompanying the relevant legislation when introduced in Parliament.
Estimated savings made by reducing housing benefit entitlement for jobseekers after 52 weeks are based on information about the existing HB and JSA population. It is one of a number of measures designed to reduce expenditure on housing benefit and increase the financial incentive for people to work. For this reason it is not possible to take one measure in isolation in estimating how many people would move into work as a result and the estimated savings do not take into account the impact on benefit savings of this effect.
Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was paid in housing benefit to individuals in (a) Leeds City Council area and (b) Leeds Central constituency in each year from 1996-97 to 2009-10. 
|Leeds local authority housing benefit|
|Expenditure £ million|
|Nominal terms||Real terms 2010/11 prices|
Real terms figures calculated using GDP deflators published at the Autumn Statement.
Local Authority subsidy claims
Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he made of the accommodation requirements of large families in formulating his proposals for housing benefit reform. 
Steve Webb: The average five bedroom local housing allowance rate is £15,288 per year. Capping at the four bedroom rate does not mean that families cannot live in properties with more than four bedrooms, but the choices these families make must be affordable and sustainable. We are ensuring that housing benefit reflects the aspiration of families who manage without benefit and who make housing choices that their budgets can support.
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he made an estimate of the number of people in receipt of incapacity benefit on the grounds of a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis in the last financial year. 
Maria Miller: The following table gives the national numbers of incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance claimants with a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis, by duration of claim, as at May 2010.
1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10; some additional disclosure control has also been applied.
2. Causes of incapacity are based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, published by the World Health Organisation. To qualify for IB/SDA, claimants have to undertake a medical assessment of incapacity for work which is called the Personal Capability Assessment. Therefore, the medical condition recorded on IB/SDA claim form does not itself confer entitlement to incapacity benefits, so for example, the decision for a customer claiming IB would be based on their ability to carry out the range of activities in the Personal Capability Assessment; or on the effects of any associated health problems.
3. IB/SDA figures cannot be taken to represent numbers off work-they are merely the number of claimants of IB at a point in time. Any figures we supply cannot be taken to represent sick absences as they do not include short periods of sickness of 3 days or less or days of Statutory Sick Pay (payable by an employer). Together with this, the figures will include some unemployed persons as well as those who do not declare their employment status on making a claim.
4. Employment and support allowance (ESA). ESA replaced incapacity benefit and income support paid on the grounds of incapacity for new claims from 27 October 2008.
DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions he has had with Jobcentre Plus on the levels of employment vacancies available to jobseekers with (a) a physical disability and (b) other disabilities; and if he will make a statement. 
Chris Grayling: In providing a free public employment service, Jobcentre Plus takes over 10,000 new job vacancies every working day, all of which are open to any applicant who meets the vacancy requirements. Jobcentre Plus will not accept any vacancies that appear to discriminate unlawfully.
George Eustice: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will bring forward proposals to vary the rate of interest used for calculating payments under the support for mortgage interest scheme for individuals who have fixed-rate mortgages. 
Steve Webb: The standard interest rate used to calculate support for mortgage interest is currently 3.63% which is based on the Bank of England's August 2010 published average mortgage interest rate. This rate is based on information from around 25 banks and building societies which cover over 75% of all banks and building societies' mortgage business, and is a weighted average of all existing loans to households secured on dwellings from banks and building societies in the sample. The standard interest rate applies to all claimants who receive support for mortgage interest whatever their contractual mortgage interest rate or mortgage product. There are no plans to change these arrangements.
Claimants' actual interest rates were used in the past to calculate support for mortgage interest. But that method was abandoned in 1995, in favour of a standard interest rate, which has proved to be far more efficient and straightforward.
The pre-1995 arrangements, where claimants' actual rates were used by the department, were extremely complex to administer, prone to error and added cost. Reverting to that system carries an unacceptably high risk of increased overpayments and inefficiency, is resource intensive, and would not support the Government's aim of simplifying the benefit system.
Maria Miller: I am unable to comment on individual cases and the information you request is not held by the Government as Motability are an independent charitable organisation, wholly responsible for the administration of the Motability scheme.
Alison McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many young people resident in Wirral South constituency have found employment through the New Deal in each year since 2001. 
|The number of young people resident in the Wirral South constituency that have gained a job through the New Deal since 2001|
|Gained a job|
|(1) Latest data are to November 2009|
1. We can identify relevant individuals who have been recorded by DWP computer systems as participating on contracted provision offered through the following schemes: New Deal for Young People, New Deal for Lone Parents, and New Deal for Disabled People.
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Information is only given from the most recent spell on New Deal.
4. Jobs include sustained and un-sustained jobs. Type of job gained; For New Deal for Young people and 25 plus a sustained job is a job from which a participant does not return to Jobseekers Allowance within 13 weeks; for NDLP a sustained job is a job recorded as lasting at least 13 weeks within the WPLS (Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study) database. Sustained jobs may include people who have had a subsidised job through the New Deal program (Employment option).
5. Information on type of job is not available for New Deal for Disabled People and New Deal for Partners.
6. Destination is measured within two weeks of leaving New Deal, using information from the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS).
7. Leavers to Employment-total includes those who left to employment but are also in
receipt of a benefit, for example DLA.
8. Information on Leavers for New Deal for Disabled People is not available as no measure exists.
9. New Deal for Partners: in total 20 people began this New Deal in Wirral South constituency. Of these the number aged 24 or under was negligible.
10. Latest data are to November 2009.
11. Data on New Deal for Disabled People is from July 2001 (the programme was started in 1999); and New Deal for Partners is available from April 2004 (programme started in May 1999).
12. Parliamentary constituency is for May 2010 boundaries.
13. The latest New Deal figures will be affected by the introduction of the new Jobseekers Regime and Flexible New Deal (gradual implementation started from April 2009).
Department for Work and Pensions, Information Directorate
The Government do not keep records of the number of trivial commutations made. However, the median pension wealth held by individuals aged 16 or over in 2006-08 was £6,500 for members of a defined contribution occupational pension scheme, and £12,000 for members of a personal pension(1). Against this background, the Government believe the current trivial commutation limit remains appropriate.
(1) ONS Wealth and Assets Survey 2008/09, table 6.3
|Barnsley East parliamentary constituency|
|As at May 2010||Number|
1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. State pension figures are for the total state pension caseload. Around 1% of state pension recipients are not in receipt of the basic state pension, but are receiving additional state pension only or graduated retirement benefit only.
3. Basic state pension only figures are not available by current 2010 parliamentary constituencies.
4. Pension credit household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves or on behalf of themselves and a partner. Individual beneficiaries are the number of claimants in addition to the number of partners for whom they are claiming, some of whom will not have reached the pension credit qualifying age.
5. Parliamentary constituencies are for the Westminster Parliament of May 2010.
6. These data are published on the Department's website at
DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what savings to the public purse his Department expects to make as a result of using the consumer prices index for the uprating of (a) benefits and (b) public sector pensions in (i) 2015-16 and (ii) each of the subsequent five years. 
The fiscal impact of the switch to CPI for the uprating of benefits, tax credits and public service pensions for the years up to 2014-1 5 is set out in Table 2.1 of the June Budget. Any estimates of the impact in later years would be highly uncertain, depending on both the trends in price indices and the underlying caseloads.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will meet trade union representatives from Remploy to discuss issues facing the Remploy work force; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Miller: I confirmed in the autumn following the spending review settlement, that the budget for Remploy Limited during the five-year modernisation period remains protected at £555 million despite the challenging fiscal conditions. The Remploy Employment Services arm of operations supported over 10,600 disabled and disadvantaged people into work in 2009-10.
The offer of voluntary redundancies in the Remploy factory business is a decision made by Remploy management to help the continuing operation of the businesses within that budget and to help ensure all employees have meaningful work. The choice of whether to accept the offer of voluntary redundancy is a matter for individual employees to take. By definition no member of staff at Remploy will be required to take voluntary redundancy.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make an assessment of the plan to reduce costs within Remploy recently presented to his Department by trade union members; and if he will make a statement. 
No assessment of effects on crime rates has been made. Although there is some evidence of an overall association between lower incomes and increases in crime, the impact of benefit changes affecting
specific groups of recipients may be very different and there is not enough robust evidence to support such an assessment.
Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many benefit claimants have had a benefit reduced or withdrawn on the ground of not actively seeking employment in the last 12 months. 
Chris Grayling: Jobseeker's allowance is the benefit paid to unemployed people, one of the conditions for receipt of jobseeker's allowance is that claimants must be actively seeking work. Therefore when a claimant no longer meets this entitlement condition, the benefit award is ended.
Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that people with learning difficulties (a) are given appropriate support or (b) are exempted from completing benefit entitlement forms. 
Maria Miller: Jobcentre Plus provides appropriate and flexible support to ensure customers, regardless of their disabilities, are able to access its services. The majority of customers currently make their claims over the telephone to a contact centre. They are asked a range of questions to identify the most appropriate benefits available to them and the information is recorded electronically, removing the need for a claim form to be completed.
If a call of this type might prove difficult for a customer, they can consent to a representative giving the information on their behalf. Customers can involve third party support at any stage in the process to access services if they think it is necessary.
Increasingly, customers are opting to apply for jobseekers allowance online via the "Do it online" section of the Directgov website. This provides the flexibility to access Jobcentre Plus services from their own homes, at a pace that suits them and allows them to be assisted in completing the application by an advocate or representative. Customers can also submit an initial application for employment support allowance via the internet claim service.
Pension Disability and Carers Service supports customers' claims to benefit in a range of ways dependent on individual circumstances. Customers can make a claim for their state pension by phone or online. Pension credit applications can be made by telephone or customers can download, print and complete an application form and post it free of charge to their pension centre. Where appropriate, a home visit will be arranged to assist with
an application. A forms completion service provides support for those customers whose prefer to use the telephone.
The Department makes every effort to ensure its leaflets are accessible and achieve the Crystal Mark status. Leaflets are referred for accreditation to the Plain English Campaign and should meet Crystal Mark criteria.
While people with learning difficulties are not exempt from completing benefit claim forms, the Department has in place a range of support options to ensure that disabled people, including those with learning difficulties, are able to access the appropriate benefits and services.
For new employment and support allowance (ESA) claims, that were received in the Scotland Government Office Region (GOR) between October 2008 and August 2009, have lodged an appeal and had their appeal heard by the end of July 2010, the average time for the appeal to be resolved is 24 weeks. For claims from the South Lanarkshire local authority area, the average time for an appeal to be resolved is 25 weeks.
This information is taken from benefit claims data held by the Department for Work and Pensions and appeals data sourced from the Tribunals Service. Average appeal durations have been rounded to the nearest week.
The data presented above uses the same source data as used to produce the official statistics report on the WCA last published in October 2010. The latest report can be found on the DWP website at the following link. These statistics are regularly updated and present the latest and most reliable data we hold. More information is available in the report.
Data on people appealing against a fit for work decision is only available once the appeal has been heard and the result given. Since appeals take around six months to be completed on average, there is a significant delay between an appeal being lodged and the result being given. Data are presented for claims starting by August 2009 since we expect that the large majority of appeals for these cases will have been cleared to date. If we were to provide data on more recent cases it would be unreliable and probably underestimate the true number of appeals.
Chris Grayling: Jobcentre Plus, an agency of the Department for Work and Pensions, is only responsible for an element of the appeal process against medical assessment decisions relating to employment and support allowance (ESA). The majority of the process is handled by the Tribunal Service, part of the Ministry of Justice.
An exception is made in certain housing benefit and council tax benefit cases, where the overall absence will not exceed 13 weeks, on the grounds that loss of the home or falling into council tax arrears in these circumstances would be an indirect and unjustified consequence of the punishment.
Additionally, payment of industrial injuries disablement benefit is suspended for up to a year and paid on release, on the grounds that this benefit is a compensation payment, rather than being paid to meet specific or general needs or to provide income maintenance.
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will take steps to ensure disabled people are not disproportionately affected by job losses; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Miller: We are keen to ensure that disabled people are not disproportionately affected by job losses and that they have the same employment opportunities and chances as everyone else to find and stay in work, regardless of their disability.
Work Choice-launched on 25 October, provides tailored support to help disabled people who face the most complex barriers to employment find and stay in work and ultimately help them
progress into unsupported employment, where it is appropriate for the individual. Work Choice is voluntary and available regardless of any benefits being claimed.
Access to Work-provides practical advice and financial support to employed disabled people above and beyond what the employer could reasonably provide, to help them overcome obstacles resulting from disability and thus stay in work.
In addition, Remploy is an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. It delivers a range of employment and development opportunities for disabled people under the Work Choice programme.
On 2 December, I announced in a written ministerial statement, Official Report, columns 89-90WS, an independent review of the support the Government provide to disabled people who want to work. This review will be conducted by Liz Sayce, chief executive of the disability organisation RADAR.
Ms Angela Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households in (a) Wallasey constituency, (b) the north-west and (c) England received winter fuel payments in each of the last five years. 
|Total number of payments made|
|England||North-west Government office region||Wallasey parliamentary constituency|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Some discrepancies have been found in the figures for 2005-06 and the household tables for that year are currently being revised.
3. Constituencies used are for the Westminster Parliament of May 2005. Winter fuel payment figures for households for winter 2009/10 by 2010 parliamentary constituencies are scheduled for publication on 16 February 2011.
DWP Information Directorate 100% data.