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Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I do not know whether we shall make much progress in bridging the gap between us. It seems self-evident that if those people who are in part-time work at the moment and benefiting from the £5 disregard receive a further £5 disregard, then that must mean a loss to the Exchequer since they will be paid £5 more in benefit.

I am asked how many people may decide to start part-time work who do not work at the moment. That is difficult to quantify. But logic tells me (it may be that my logic is not very good) that that will be nothing like the same number as those already in part-time work who would receive what I suggested earlier was a deadweight payment.

It is a question of priorities. My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget something like £600 million of added incentives to help people back into work. That is a lot of money. We believe that that is the right priority, the right way to go. If the noble Baroness decides that this is more than a probing amendment and she wants to put it to the Committee, as one might begin to think from the eloquence of her argument, then I invite my noble friends to join me in the Lobby against the proposal and in favour of the proposals we shall debate later in the afternoon which involve encouraging and helping people at the point at which they return to work.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: I said that this was a probing amendment, and that is why I shall not put it to the vote. The Minister has finally conceded that his figures of £25 million and so on are utterly speculative. As he said, he is relying on logic because he does not have information to show what savings would be achieved in coaxing those who are currently unemployed into part-time work. That is what he said; he does not know. But we know that the amount will certainly be much less than £25 million, because £25 million is the gross cost without any savings set against it. I ask the Minister in all seriousness to ensure that when we return to this amendment on Report his department has done some proper work so that we are not asked to rely on the Minister's intuition, logic, speculation or hypothesis in the absence of hard

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information from which to see how much the true cost would be of doing something that was decent, fair, civilised and humane. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Burnham): I have to advise the Committee that if Amendment No. 112 is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 113 and 114.

[Amendment No. 112 not moved.]

Lord Swinfen moved Amendment No. 113:

Page 9, line 4, at end insert ("which, in the case of the income of a disabled person, shall include fees payable for sitting on a Disability Appeal Tribunal for no more than one day a week").

The noble Lord said: In moving this amendment I should also like to speak to Amendments Nos. 114, 115 and 120.

Amendment No. 113 is to ensure that payments made for sitting on a disability appeal tribunal are not taken into account as income. The amendment also relates to the anticipated movement of large numbers of people from incapacity benefit to jobseeker's allowance. Some of these disabled people may have received incapacity benefit at the same time as undertaking types of activity which are "exempt work" and therefore disregarded when entitlement to incapacity benefit is considered. Exempt work for incapacity benefit purposes includes duties undertaken as a member of a disability appeal tribunal or the disability living allowance advisory board, provided that this is not undertaken on more than one day a week.

In the case of sitting on a tribunal, both the activity involved in being a panel member for one day a week, and the fees that are payable are disregarded for the purposes of incapacity benefit. The reason for making this activity "exempt work" was to encourage people with experience of disability to use their expertise on a disability appeal tribunal. That expertise will still be required even if in one week the person is regarded as incapable and in the next is required to sign on for jobseeker's allowance.

I turn to Amendment No. 114. Some disabled people may have savings only because of a lump sum payment made in settlement of a personal injury—possibly the injury that disabled them—which takes them above the limit for the income-related jobseeker's allowance. People can have only £3,000 in savings before their benefit is affected by an assumed return on their capital; and £8,000 is the cut-off point above which no benefit is payable. This level of £8,000 has not been increased since 1990.

Personal injury payments can be distinguished from other kinds of capital in that they are payable for a specific purpose. Current income support rules also allow for the value of a trust fund and the right to receive payments from that fund to be disregarded as capital where such a fund is derived from a payment made in consequence of personal injury. Can my noble friend confirm if the intention is to carry over this provision into the income-related jobseeker's allowance?

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Where there is no trust fund, compensation payments do count as capital and can therefore disqualify someone from weekly benefit, so that, for example, someone who was injured at work who had been awarded £15,000 in respect of this injury would only be entitled to six months' contributory jobseeker's allowance, after which time benefit would cease as his savings would take him above the limit. This amendment would allow all such payments to be disregarded, whether or not a trust is in existence. I understand that the Department of Social Security's research, in its Report No. 19, indicates that only around a third of a sample of claimants on invalidity benefit had savings, so it is likely that the public expenditure implications would be limited.

The other two amendments also concern income from capital. Prescribed income levels for disabled people should, in my view, take full account of the extra costs of daily living and the extra cost of job seeking that are incurred by disabled people. All payments of the disability living allowance and all payments of all disability premiums under the income support scheme should be paid in addition to any jobseeker's allowance. All payments from the independent living fund and any payments for personal care that in future may be paid by local authorities should all, in my view, be similarly disregarded in respect of limits imposed on income, and paid in addition to any jobseeker's allowance.

All capital earmarked for expenditure in respect of a person's disability, as I said earlier, should be disregarded. In the past, for example, savings of a mobility allowance to pay for a holiday or a Motability car used to be disregarded under the old supplementary benefits scheme. That is no longer possible and some disabled people are consequently severely disadvantaged. I beg to move.

Earl Russell: I should like to support all three of the amendments to which I have put my name. In matters to do with disability it is very often the imagination we need to get through to, not the intellect. I have never forgotten the case of Senator John Glenn, as he subsequently became, who went to the moon in the very early days of those activities. He came down safely and almost immediately afterwards broke his leg falling over in his bath. It is said that when one is in the instant of an accident one may sometimes review all one's past life in a few seconds. I have never had that experience but a few days ago I had the experience of slipping very heavily in my bath. I was falling in such a way that I would have landed very heavily on my spine. Having been mentally conditioned by the Minister's calculator, I immediately started totting up in those few seconds, while I, in the event, recovered myself, all the extra expenses which would be needed to convert my house so that I could carry on living and, I hope, working. Before I had succeeded in recovery they had come to quite a large figure in a very short time.

The costs of disability are very real. If they can be met, in some cases one can continue working, one can continue paying income tax, and the Exchequer will benefit. The OPCS, as the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, has often argued in this Chamber, quite severely under-estimated the costs of disability. On the occasion

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I described that point was brought home to me very rapidly. Amendment No. 114, which deals with capital as a consequence of personal injury, is simply equitable. I hope the Minister will accept it.

The point about the disability appeal tribunal is an argument we have heard many times before. It is sheer common sense and a non-party matter. I hope the Minister will accept that amendment also.

4.15 p.m.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: We support these amendments. We all know that disabled people have on average lower incomes and higher costs. We explored that point particularly when we were dealing with the Social Security (Incapacity for Work) Bill. There are additional costs for heating, diet, laundry, clothing and adaptions. We also know from the research of organisations such as RADAR, the Disablement Income Group and the Disability Alliance that on average disabled people have only two-thirds of the income of non-disabled people while their additional living costs are likely to amount to £50 or £60 a week more. That is recognised in the extra disability premiums attached to income support. We hope therefore that this problem of the need for additional income because of the additional costs to be met through disability will be recognised in the JSA both in terms of income and capital disregards. We welcome the amendments.

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