§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment she has made of the impact of Welfare to Work proposals on the number of people claiming invalid care allowance. 
§ Mr. Denham
The Government have recently launched the New Deal for people with a disability or long-term illness. Under the New Deal up to £195 million, set aside from the Windfall Tax, will be used to finance a range of options aimed at helping participants, in the most effective way possible, to move into or stay in work, Whilst the programme is primarily aimed at helping people with a disability or long-term illness who want to work, it also aims to help carers to balance their responsibilities with work, or to take up work when their caring responsibilities come to and end.
One key element of the New Deal will involve funding a number of innovative schemes to test ways of helping people who want to work, and the bidding process for this part of the programme was launched on 9 December. Up to 20 schemes will be selected, and we anticipate that some of the bids will focus on the needs of carers. In addition we also plan to introduce personal advisers, initially on a modest basis, to help people with a disability on long-term illness to overcome barriers to work. Carers receiving invalid care allowance will also be eligible for help from these personal advisers.
No estimate has been made of the impact of the New Deal on the number of people claiming Invalid Care Allowance.