HC Deb 08 January 2002 vol 377 cc682-3W
Mr. Hepburn

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what support his Department gives to those in South Tyneside with disabilities who cannot work. [13211]

Maria Eagle

We are giving people on benefits more choices and more help than ever before to move off welfare and into work, in return for greater responsibility to consider the help that is on offer. We recognise that some people will not be able to take advantage of initiatives to help them support themselves through work, so we are extending our support for them to ensure greater security.

In April 2001 we introduced the Disability Income Guarantee (DIG). DIG provides an extra premium, paid with income related benefits, to severely disabled people on the lowest incomes. Nationally, we expect that DIG will help around 130,000 of the poorest severely disabled people under 60, and around 30,000 families with severely disabled children.

Incapacity benefit helps people who satisfy the National Insurance contribution conditions and cannot be expected to work due to sickness or disability. In South Tyneside, which is composed of the parliamentary constituencies of South Shields and Jarrow, around 10,800 people are receiving incapacity benefit.

Income support is also available to help those disabled people who are unable to work. In South Tyneside 5,600 people are receiving income support with either a disability premium or a severe disability premium. We have also increased the disabled child premium in the income related benefits by substantially more than the normal uprating. Since 1997 we have increased this from £20.95 to £30.00, and from April 2002 it will increase to £35.50. There are 400 families in South Tyneside receiving the disabled child premium.

Disability living allowance helps those severely disabled people under the age of 65 with extra costs due to the effects of their disability and provides extra help for those disabled early in life. In South Tyneside 9,218 people receive disability living allowance. Attendance allowance helps disabled people over the age of 65 with extra care costs due to the effects of their disability. In South Tyneside 4,067 people receive attendance allowance.