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Incapacity Benefit

Volume 449: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 10 July 2006, Official Report, column 1589W, on incapacity benefit, how many claimants sought help from his Department to find work during the period October 2003 to February 2006. (85719)

Information on the number incapacity benefit claimants seeking help from this Department to find work during the period October 2003 to February 2006 is not available. Data are not held on the type of inquiries made by clients.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures his Department has taken to help into work those in rural areas receiving incapacity benefits; and if he will make a statement. (85879)

All services that are available to all incapacity benefits claimants are available to clients in both rural and urban areas.

We produce an internal annual Rural Proofing Report for the Countryside Agency; this includes examples of how the Department has addressed service delivery issues in rural areas. A copy of the Countryside Agency's Rural Proofing Report for 2004-05 is available in the Library.

The Department has developed more flexible ways of delivering services through working in partnership with national and local organisations. For example, Jobcentre Plus advisers provide advice and information sessions through partners premises and in some areas mobile offices have been introduced to take the service on the road. Advances in technology are also being used to develop innovative ways of delivering services to customers, particularly for those in rural areas. We are also piloting our successful “Pathways to Work” programme in a range of different geographical locations, including areas such as Somerset in England and Argyll and Bute in Scotland which are significantly rural in character. The programme will be offered nationally by 2008.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many incapacity benefit claimants there have been in West Suffolk in each year since 2000. (85500)

The available information is in the following table:

Incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance claimants, in the Suffolk West parliamentary constituency: each November 2000 to 2005

Number of claimants

2000

2,490

2001

2,560

2002

2,670

2003

2,650

2004

2,680

2005

2,610

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 2. “Claimant” figures include all incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance, including incapacity benefit credits only cases. Source: DWP Information Directorate, Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data.