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State Pensioners

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): Thirty-five per cent of pensioners are in receipt of less than a full basic state pension; 14 per cent of these pensioners are in receipt of the minimum income guarantee. Pensioners who receive a reduced rate basic state pension include those who receive a reduced rate married woman's pension based on their husband's contribution record, those whose own or inherited national insurance record is incomplete, those who receive the reduced rate non-contributory pension and those who receive either graduated pension or additional pension only.

    Data is based on retirement pension administration data.


    5 per cent sample from the Pensions Strategy Computer System: 31 March 2002.

    100 per cent Government Matching Service Income Support data: March 2002.

Positive Activities for Young People: Funding

Lord Smith of Leigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the criteria and weightings for allocating "Positive Activities for Young People" funding; and whether they can justify the wide variation in funding neighbouring authorities in Greater Manchester.[HL2871]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The funding for Positive Activities for Young People is allocated to LEAs on the basis of the number of robberies committed; the number of sessions missed in schools; the number of primary and secondary pupils; and the level of funding that areas received under schemes last year. Weightings have also been applied to take account of additional factors such as Behaviour and Improvement Schools and Excellence in Cities areas.

Greater Manchester has received a total funding allocation of £2.1 million. The variations in funding between LEAs will be dependent upon the funding they received in previous years, the levels of robbery in those areas and levels of truancy. Extra consideration has been given to areas with Behaviour and Improvement Schools and to Excellence in Cities areas. Government Office North West also took the decision to ensure that there is a strong focus on community cohesion in their region and have reallocated a small amount of their funding to take account of this.

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A&E Waiting Time Targets

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware of any accident and emergency departments that have taken extraordinary measures to meet their waiting time targets during the recent monitoring week commencing 24 March.[HL2873]

Baroness Andrews: In the long term, the four-hour Accident and Emergency (A&E) target, like other waiting targets will be met, not through extraordinary measures, but through a combination of sustained investment and changes in which the National Health Service works.

A milestone of 90 per cent was set for March 2003, as an early staging post on the way to the 2004 target. The most important ingredients of the success for trusts achieving the 90 per cent milestone have been hard work, innovation and commitment of NHS staff.

The new system of devolved responsibility has given the local NHS the freedom to use their resources to deliver health services according to the needs of their local populations. They do so within a clear national framework of priorities. Improving waiting time in A&E is a top priority for the Government and the public, so we would expect the NHS to focus resources on this.

Young Carers

Baroness Howe of Idlicote asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the estimated number of young carers in the United Kingdom; and how many are members of the recently formed young carers organisation.[HL2910]

Baroness Andrews: The 2001 Census recorded a total of 149,942 young carers aged 17 and under. The Department of Health supports the Young Carers Initiative through a grant to the Children's Society. The Initiative supports over 250 projects or groups working with young carers, which are funded through a range of sources including statutory agencies, the voluntary sector and lottery funds. Each project in turn supports between thirty and fifty young carers. In addition, the Young Carers Initiative supports an annual festival which expects to attract 1,800 young people in 2003.

Baroness Howe of Idlicote asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are satisfied with the support given to young carers by local education authorities and schools.[HL2912]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: We know that some local education authorities and schools provide very good support to young carers. The department is

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looking at ways of disseminating good practice to other LEAs and schools.

Baroness Howe of Idlicote asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether additional responsibilities of young carers and the necessary support they are likely to need is adequately covered in initial and subsequent teacher training.[HL2913]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: Since September 2002, we have ensured that the standards required to qualify as a teacher include an understanding of how pupils' learning can be affected by their physical, intellectual, linguistic, social, cultural and emotional development. A number of these issues may affect young carers. Newly qualified teachers are required to complete an induction period during which they liaise

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with parents and carers to further develop their professional knowledge.

Baroness Howe of Idlicote asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the national curriculum citizenship agenda covers the role played by young carers; and whether, where appropriate, these issues can be illustrated by the experiences of pupils.[HL2914]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The flexibility of the citizenship framework allows schools to choose how to organise and teach citizenship in a way that suits their pupils' needs. Pupils are taught about taking a responsible role in the community through participation in both school and community-based activities during citizenship education. Teachers can therefore draw on the role of young carers in discussions about responsible action and community service.

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