§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how his Department ensured that the report "Removing the Barriers" published by the Local Government Association, was taken into account during the 1997–98 comprehensive spending review; and which of its recommendations have been implemented.
§ Malcolm Wicks
[holding answer 12 October 2001]: Since the report "Removing the Barriers" was published in 1997 we have made, and continue to make, radical 196W changes to the mechanisms through which welfare is delivered. Many of the improvements introduced by our reforms address concerns set out in the report.
We are taking a single approach to work and benefits designed to make work pay, make work possible and to support those who are unable to work. The jobcentre plus pathfinder offices are now delivering a single, integrated service to benefit recipients of working age with a clear focus on work.
From April 2002, the Pension Service will provide a dedicated service for pensioners, working in partnership with local agencies and acting as a gateway to other services pensioners receive.