§ Mr. Mark Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for disabled people in work to be charged on their earnings. 
§ Maria Eagle
This Government are committed to removing barriers to work for severely disabled people, making work possible and making it pay for those who can move into employment. To this end the Departments of Health and for Work and Pensions have both recently announced significant improvements in this area. The Department of Health issued new guidance for local councils setting out a new fairer charging framework for home care services on 23 November requiring councils to disregard earnings in assessing ability to pay a charge by no later than 1 October 2002.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Department for Work and Pensions announced in his uprating statement on 28 November that the earnings rule in the independent living funds will be abolished from April 2002, removing a disincentive for severely disabled people and/or their partners to obtain or retain work, or to seek advancement at work.