§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has(a) to introduce a one-stop shop service for access to disability benefits and services provided by his Department and (b) to encourage local authorities to adopt a similar approach in relation to their services. 
§ Mr. Nicholas Brown
This Government are committed to transform public services to make them more convenient and accessible. From April this year, JobCentre Plus and the Pension Service will take over from the Employment Service and the Benefits Agency. JobCentre Plus will provide work related and benefit related services to customers of working age through a national network of integrated JobCentre Plus offices. Customers will be able to access the full range of disability benefits through JobCentre Plus offices. The Pension Service will provide a national network, working with local authorities, voluntary organisations and others to provide a service for today's and tomorrow's pensioners.
An important initiative, which will help improve access to services including disability benefits for people over 60, is Care Direct, which is being piloted jointly by the Department of Health, Department for Work and Pensions and six local authorities. A key aim of Care Direct is to provide older people with a single gateway to get information about, and access to social care, health, housing and benefits, including disability benefits. The pilots are examining in a practical way, how central government, local government and the voluntary sector can work together to improve access to services.
The six local authorities piloting Care Direct are now operational and will be evaluated later this year.
§ Mr. Mark Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many young people aged 0 to 16 are in receipt of a disability benefit; and what percentage of households in which a young person is in receipt of such a benefit have an income of less than 60 per cent. of the median household income. 
§ Maria Eagle
Such information as is available is as follows:
At 31 August 2001, about 243,300 people aged 16 or under in Great Britain were receiving disability living allowance. The latest available estimates, which relate to 1999–00, indicate that the proportion of this group of young people who were living in households with below 60 per cent. of median income was 11 per cent. on a `Before Housing Costs' basis, or 14 per cent. 'After Housing Costs'.
The Government have introduced several measures from April 2001 to help families with disabled children. The higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance has been extended to severely disabled children aged three or four, providing extra help to their families 507W of £38.65 a week. In addition, the disabled child premium in the income-related benefits has been increased to £30 a week—£7.40 more than the normal uprating. Finally, the new disability income guarantee helps 33,000 families with severely disabled children, providing an extra £11.05 a week for each disabled child.
- 1. The number of young people aged 0 to 16 in receipt of DLA is the latest information available, and is based on a 5 per cent. sample of disability living allowance (DLA) administrative records. The figure given is rounded to the nearest hundred.
- 2. Estimates relating to the percentage of individuals living in households with below 60 per cent. of median income have been taken from the "Households Below Average Income" (HBAI) series which is derived from the Family Resources Survey (FRS) data set. The FRS does not include Northern Ireland, and 1999–00 is the latest year for which data is available.
- 3. HBAI estimates are sample counts that have been adjusted for non-response using multipurpose grossing factors that control for region, council tax band and a number of other demographic variables. Estimates are subject to both sampling error and variability in non-response. Percentages are given to the nearest whole percent.
- 4. HBAI estimates have been presented on both a before and after housing costs basis to take into account variations in housing costs as is standard HBAI practice. No adjustment has been to household disposable income as used in HBAI to take into account any additional costs that may be incurred due to the illness or disability in question.