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Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the actions his Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies are taking to comply with the requirements of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002; whether he has made an estimate of the cost of compliance; and if he will make a statement. [117706]

The Departments for which the Chancellor is responsible have set up arrangements to achieve compliance with the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 through contracts with private contractors or landlords as appropriate. Separate estimates of the costs of compliance are only available in some cases. The position in the different Departments is as follows:Customs & Excise, Inland Revenue and the Valuation Office seek to achieve compliance with contractors or landlords through detailed contractual arrangements. These include a requirement for asbestos surveys and the maintenance of accurate records.The Treasury has engaged the services of an asbestos consultant to verify the absence of asbestos.The Government Actuary's Department assure compliance through their landlord and are about to relocate to a new building.The Office for National Statistics, through their contractor, is about to commence a detailed Asbestos Survey estimated to cost approximately £80,000. National Savings, through their landlord, have surveyed sites to ensure compliance with the new regulations. Remedial work has commenced and costs are estimated at less than £1 million. The Royal Mint, through consultancy, are in the process of reviewing compliance via audit at a cost of no more than £1,500.The Debt Management Office ensures compliance through agreement with its Managing Agents.The Office of Government Commerce has carried out surveys of some of its properties, and will carry out surveys of the remainder in the next three months. The cost of the surveys and inspections will be approximately £28,000. The cost of remedial work commissioned to date is £213,000.