HC Deb 02 December 1997 vol 302 cc168-9W
Mr. Willetts

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide a breakdown of the 20 per cent. of working age households who are not working into households made up of(a) students and trainees, (b) disabled people, (c) couples where one person is a pensioner, (d) single parents and (e) others. [18513]

Mrs. Liddell

[holding answer 1 December 1997]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the Office for National Statistics. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Tim Hill to Mr. David Willetts, dated 2 December 1997: The Chancellor of the Exchequer has asked me to reply, as Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), to your recent question asking for a breakdown of workless households into various categories including disabled people. Regrettably, I am unable to reply immediately because the data concerning disabled people are not yet available. The focus and number of questions in the health and disability module of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) questionnaire changed in spring 1997 to reflect the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. As with any significant change in a part of the survey, the results needed to be evaluated before the data could be released. This review is now complete and the data will be publicly available from 17 December. The new module has introduced a sizeable discontinuity which makes comparisons with earlier periods unsuitable. This is why it would not be appropriate to answer the question with data from the previous quarter (Winter 1996–97). I will write to you again after these data are publicly released.