§ Mr. Cousins
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he intends to allow clients(a) receiving means tested benefits and (b) subject to work and availability tests to participate fully in the proposed patients forums and receive support for reasonable costs. 
§ Malcolm Wicks
[holding answer 3 December 2001]: People of working age in receipt of benefit can do unlimited voluntary work, as long as the usual entitlement conditions are met. Payments in respect of expenses incurred or to be incurred in connection with voluntary work are wholly ignored in the calculation of income-related benefits. Where someone receives remuneration in respect of his or her participation in a patients forum the normal rules concerning paid work would need to be considered.
Cases are decided on an individual basis, so it is necessary for people to let the Jobcentre or benefits office know about their participation.