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Written Answers

Volume 455: debated on Tuesday 16 January 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 15 January 2007

Constitutional Affairs

Advertising

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much her Department spent on advertising with The Guardian newspaper, including online, advertorials and advertising features, in the latest year for which figures are available. (113994)

For the period April 2005-March 2006 my Department has placed five recruitment advertisements within The Guardian, costs are broken down in the following table.

Project

Expenditure on advertising (£)

2005

Public Appointment

7,752

2005

Magistrates recruitment

7,150

2006

Job recruitment (DCA)

4,612

2006

Job recruitment (PGO)

4,500

2006

Judicial appointment

6,953

Total

30,967

Clementi Report

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when she intends to respond to the recommendations in the Clementi Report; and what measures she plans to put in place to promote the work of smaller firms of solicitors. (114175)

Sir David Clementi published his final report in December 2004. At that time, the Government confirmed that they broadly accepted Sir David’s recommendations. In October 2005, the Government published their White Paper “The Future of Legal Services: Putting Consumers First”, which was essentially a substantive response to Sir David’s final report. The Government subsequently introduced the Legal Services Bill to Parliament on 23 November 2006. While the Bill contains much more detail when compared with Sir David’s original report, the proposals for the most part are based on his blueprint for reform.

As part of reforming the regulatory framework for legal services in England and Wales, the Bill will make it possible for lawyers to provide their services in new ways. This will include lawyers forming partnerships or other business structures with other types of lawyers (eg solicitors and barristers) and with non-lawyers. External investment will also be possible. This will provide an opportunity for all firms to change their business structures to enable them to draw more effectively on non-legal expertise and external financing to modernise and improve their business systems and infrastructure. It could also provide smaller firms with new ways of reaching a wider consumer base, which could act as a means for those operating at the margins to become more efficient and compete more effectively with larger or more well established firms.

Correspondence

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) how many letters to her Department sent from hon. Members during Session 2005-06 remain unanswered, broken down by those which are (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four and (e) over six months old; (114599)

(2) how many letters were received by her Department from hon. Members in each of the last 12 months; how many such letters were responded to within (a) 10 and (b) 20 days of receipt; how many were answered after 20 days from the date of receipt; and if she will make a statement.

The information is not readily available in the format requested. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to the correspondence of Members/Peers. The report for 2005 was published on 30 March 2006, Official Report, columns 75-78ws. Information relating to 2006 is currently being collated and will be published as soon as it is ready.

Court Televisions

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many courts have television displays available in the courtroom for video imagery and evidence to be used; and if she will make a statement. (114226)

The information available to my Department on the number of courts that have television displays available in the courtrooms for video imagery and evidence to be viewed is a follows:

All 78 main Crown court centres and 259 of the 344 magistrates courthouses have television displays available in the courtrooms that are capable of displaying video imagery and evidence. In addition, by the end of the financial year, all main Crown court centres and at least 260 magistrates courthouses will have the facilities to play DVDs in court.

Video display equipment in civil courts is typically not centrally provided but purchased locally. The majority of large trial centres have video playback facilities and these are also usually available in family centres.

Departmental Hospitality

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) how much the Lord Chancellor's Department spent on hospitality and entertainment in 1996 to 1997; (114016)

(2) what her Department's expenditure was on hospitality and entertainment in 2005-06.

For figures for ministerial expenditure on hospitality and entertainment in 1996-97, I refer the hon. Member to the Prime Minister's answer of 9 February 1998 to my right hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham, (Mr. MacShane) Official Report, column 17W, which provides the global figure for Government expenditure on ministerial entertaining and hospitality for official purposes in 1996-97.

Information is not readily available for civil servants for 1996-97 as the Department updated its accounting system in the summer of 1998 and the cost of retrieval from archive would be at disproportionate cost.

Total expenditure (ministerial and civil servants) on hospitality and entertainment for the Department (formerly known as Lord Chancellor's Department), which covers costs for Her Majesty's Courts Service, the Public Guardianship Office and DCA headquarters in 2005-06 is £113,972.

All expenditure on official entertainment is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety that is based on principles set out in Government Accounting.

Departmental Publications: Translation

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the cost of translating departmental publications into languages other than English was in 2005-06. (110201)

The Department for Constitutional Affairs does not collect the information centrally and it could be given only at disproportionate cost. The Department is giving consideration to the routine collection of data relating to translating departmental publications into languages other than English.

Election Officials

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans she has to review the upper age limit on working at a polling station or as an election count official in the light of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. (114839)

There is no set upper age limit for being employed to work in a polling station or at an election count, and the Government have no plans either to review this, or to introduce any limit.

The employment of election staff is a matter for individual returning officers.

Employment Law

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the Government plan to restrict to members of the legal profession the ability to provide advice on employment law; and if she will make a statement. (114314)

The Government have no plan to restrict to members of the legal profession the ability to provide advice on employment law matters.

Employment Tribunals

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the Government plan to restrict representatives at employment tribunals to members of the legal profession; and if she will make a statement. (114313)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government have no plans to restrict representatives at employment tribunals to members of the legal profession.

The Government have no plans to make a statement beyond this.

Freedom of Information Act Fees

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will publish the representations her Department has received from the BBC on plans to change the regulations governing Freedom of Information Act fees. (114172)

On 14 December 2006, the Government launched a public consultation on draft Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2007. The consultation closes on 8 March 2007.

Representations made to my Department in response to the plans to change the regulations governing Freedom of Information Act fees will be published following the conclusion of the consultation.

Jury Service

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the number of people given temporary exceptional leave to remain who have (a) been called for and (b) carried out jury service in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement. (115166)

Information is not held in the format requested. However, to be summoned for jury service one must be registered to vote in parliamentary or local elections. This includes Commonwealth and European Union citizens. To be qualified for jury service one must also have been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for any period of at least five years since attaining the age of 13.

Legal Aid

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether her Department has made a recent assessment of (a) any alternative fee systems and (b) graduated fee systems for legal aid; and if she will make a statement. (114534)

Lord Carter considered a range of remuneration systems for both civil and criminal legal aid in his report on the procurement of legal aid, “Legal Aid: A market-based approach to reform”, published in July 2006. Following the public consultation on Lord Carter’s proposals, the Government has accepted his recommendation that graduated fees should be used to remunerate Crown court litigation and advocacy, and will consider whether such a scheme should be introduced for magistrates court work prior to the introduction of best value tendering.

Early in 2007, the Legal Services Commission will re-consult on a revised care proceedings graduated fee scheme, with a view to implementing the new scheme—apart from for advocacy—in October 2007. At the same time, the LSC will re-consult on a revised scheme for family help—Private, with a view to implementation in October 2007. Regulatory impact assessments (RIAs) will be drawn up for the new schemes.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the introduction of fixed fees for legal aid on (a) people from ethnic minorities, (b) people with disabilities and (c) young people. (114535)

The Department and the LSC recently published “Legal Aid Reform: the way ahead”, which sets out our commitment to ensure a sustainable legal aid market is in place, with a quality assured service at the heart of our procurement strategy. It was accompanied by a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) that made a full assessment of the impact of the introduction of fixed fees for criminal legal aid in the magistrates court. It also covers the tailored fixed fee (TFF) replacement scheme for civil legal aid work excluding family and mental health. Copies of both these documents can be found in the Library and on both the DCA and LSC websites.

The LSC will shortly be releasing a further consultation paper regarding the introduction of fixed fees for work in the police station. This will be accompanied by a draft RIA, which will be finalised following the publication of the LSC’s response to consultation and will again make a full assessment of the impact of fixed fees in this area.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs which 10 (a) individual lawyers, (b) firms and (c) cases received the largest sums in legal aid in 2006; and what the sums were in each case. (115295)

The information for the year 2006 is not yet available. However, my Department and the LSC are currently working on compiling the information for 2005-06, which will then be placed on my Department’s website.

Magistrates

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 27 November 2006 to the hon. Member for Warrington, North (Helen Jones), Official Report, column 343W, on magistrates, how many magistrates in the county of Cheshire do not live within their local justice area. (114302)

We do not record whether magistrates live in the local justice area to which they are allocated. There are 471 magistrates in the six local justice areas in Cheshire.

52 magistrates live in the constituency of the City of Chester

27 magistrates live in the constituency of Ellesmere Port and Neston

49 magistrates live in the constituency of Eddisbury

54 magistrates live in the constituency of Warrington South

two magistrates live in the constituency of Wirral South

seven magistrates live in the constituency of Alyn and Deeside

three magistrates live in the constituency of Wallasey

42 magistrates live in the constituency of Crewe and Nantwich

one magistrate lives in the constituency of Wrexham

three magistrates live in the constituency of Clwyd South

39 magistrates live in the constituency of Tatton

34 magistrates live in the constituency of Macclesfield

33 magistrates live in the constituency of Congleton

one magistrate lives in the constituency of Cheadle

one magistrate lives in the constituency of Altrincham and Sale West

33 magistrates live in the constituency of Weaver Vale

one magistrate lives in the constituency of Salford

one magistrate lives in the constituency of Knowsley South

40 magistrates live in the constituency of Halton

41 magistrates live in the constituency of Warrington North

two magistrates live in the constituency of St. Helens North

one magistrate lives in the constituency of St. Helens South

two magistrates live in the constituency of Liverpool, Garsten

one magistrate lives in the constituency of Leigh

one is unknown due to incorrect postcode being recorded.

Advisory committees on justices of the peace follow the Secretary of State and Lord Chancellor’s directions when making recommendations for appointment to the magistracy. This provides guidance that each local justice area should broadly reflect the community it serves including geographical spread.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) what her objective justification is under the Employment Directive 2000/78/EC for section 13 (1) of the Courts Act 2003 which transfers magistrates onto the supplemental list at the age of 70 years; [114837]

(2) what her objective justification is under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 for refusing to appoint magistrates aged over 65 years.

The new age regulations provide that discrimination will not be unlawful if it is undertaken in order to comply with a requirement of any statutory provision. The retirement age for magistrates is set at 70 by section 13(l) of the Courts Act 2003. Therefore, moving magistrates on to the supplemental list at age 70 does not constitute unlawful age discrimination under the regulations.

Magistrates sit in a part-time capacity and generally have little previous experience of the court system, so will require training, mentoring and the opportunity to gain experience. The Lord Chancellor would normally expect that part-time magistrates will be able to sit for at least five years before retirement, and he will therefore not normally appoint anyone over the age of 65.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether data were collected on the average travel times of prospective users of magistrates courts when re-locations were considered; and if she will make a statement. (114180)

There has been no central collection of data on the average travel times of prospective users of magistrates courts. However in deciding where magistrates courts may sit, there is a duty to have regard to ensure that courthouses are accessible to persons resident in each local justice area.

Departmental guidance provides for site selection on new builds to be located within 10-15 minutes walk of more than one form of public transport.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many magistrates courts were capable of undertaking criminal proceedings in cases which would require imprisonment upon conviction in each year since 1997. (114181)

The following table details the number of magistrates courts in England and Wales since 1997. All magistrates courts are capable of undertaking criminal proceedings in cases that would require imprisonment upon conviction.

Number of magistrates courts

1997

492

1998

472

1999

436

2000

443

2001

426

2002

396

2003

389

2004

381

2005

373

2006

369

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many magistrates courts were capable of undertaking family proceedings in each year since 1997. (114182)

The following table details the number of magistrates courts in England and Wales since 1997. All magistrates courts are capable of undertaking family proceedings.

Number of magistrates courts

1997

492

1998

472

1999

436

2000

443

2001

426

2002

396

2003

389

2004

381

2005

373

2006

369

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what changes were made to magistrates’ training (a) within the last 12 months and (b) in each year since 1997. (114183)

The only significant change to magistrates’ training in the last 12 months is that in April 2006 the Lord Chief Justice assumed responsibility from the Lord Chancellor for magistrates’ training.

In 1997 each of the 42 Magistrates Courts Committees (MCC) in England and Wales were responsible for the training of magistrates in their area, subject to guidance from the Judicial Studies Board (JSB).

In 1999 the “Magistrates’ New Training Initiative” introduced a competence framework and appraisal scheme for all magistrates.

In 2002 Bench Training and Development Committees (BTDC), were introduced by the “Justices of the Peace (Size and Chairmanship of Bench) Rules 2002” to replace the Bench Chairmanship Committee, with statutory responsibility for overseeing the training and appraisal of court chairmen plus a number of other training responsibilities.

In 2003 the “Magistrates National Training Initiative” was introduced. This refined the competence framework for magistrates, set a training syllabus for magistrates in all their jurisdictions, recommended a standard national practice for the mentoring and appraisal of magistrates, and provided guidance to BTDCs on their training functions.

In 2005 training became compulsory for magistrates before they were permitted to undertake certain functions, the Lord Chancellor was required to provide training material for those compulsory courses and the JSB assumed a strengthened role in magistrate training.

The 2005 Rules also created Magistrates’ Area Training Committees (MATC). MATCs are responsible for agreeing the annual training plan for magistrates in their area and monitoring and evaluating its implementation.

In 2005 the JSB and Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS) agreed a “Minimum Protocol for The Provision of Magistrates’ Training”. This ensures that HMCS provides sufficient resources to allow magistrates to fulfil their minimum training requirements. That Protocol is renegotiated annually.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what training is provided to (a) prospective and (b) sitting magistrates. (114184)

Before being allowed to sit in court the newly appointed magistrate undertakes an initial training session of three hours to introduce him/her to the bench and its organisation. This is followed by a minimum of three days training covering such topics as the jurisdiction of magistrates; judicial decision making; case management and preliminary decisions; summary trial; evidence and determining guilt or innocence; sentencing, and enforcement of court orders. This training input is supplemented by court observations. In addition newly appointed magistrates are required to visit penal establishments and these visits are normally completed within the first year of sitting. The newly appointed magistrate’s learning and development is supported by a mentor scheme. Approximately 12 months after beginning to sit in court he/she will attend a further 12 hours consolidation training. Following this an appraisal will take place to identify if the magistrate has any outstanding training needs.

Although training provision varies across different court areas in England and Wales in response to local training needs, all sitting magistrates are required to undertake a minimum of six hours training every three years. In addition magistrates are provided with extra initial and continuation training if they hold additional responsibilities, for example if they sit in the Youth Court or Family Proceedings Court. Additional training is also provided if there is major legislative change, for example to support the implementation of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. On an annual basis Her Majesty’s Court Service and the Judicial Studies Board agree a national minimum training provision for all magistrates to ensure that appropriate resources are available to support magistrates training.

Mental Health Guidance

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs for what reasons the Mental Health guide was withdrawn from the Legal Services Commission’s “Improving your Quality” guides and if she will make a statement. (114869)

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has withdrawn the Mental Health ‘Improving Your Quality’ guide following feedback from the profession. This is an independent guide, written by the mental health peer review panel. The LSC has facilitated the development, but is not a contributor. The LSC is working with the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and peer reviewers to provide more appropriate wording. The LSC hopes to reissue an amended mental health guide in the near future.

Public Defender Service

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many requests (a) her Department and (b) the Legal Services Commission has received in the last 12 months for publication of the final report of the monitoring and evaluation study of the Public Defender Service. (114177)

In the last 12 months my Department has received two requests for publication of the final report of the monitoring and evaluation study of the PDS and the Legal Services Commission has received three.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs on what date her Department plans to publish the final report of the monitoring and evaluation study of the Public Defender Service; and if she will make a statement on the reasons for the time taken to complete this work. (114178)

The final report of the monitoring and evaluation study into the PDS was published on Monday 8 January 2007. The publication of the report was delayed for various reasons including the consideration of the interim findings of Lord Carter.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much the Public Defender Service cost in each year since inception; how many (a) qualified lawyers and (b) other staff the service has employed in the same period; how many cases the Public Defender Service has handled in the same period; and what the average cost was per case. (114179)

The costs of the Public Defender Service, the number of cases handled, the number of lawyers and other staff are given in the following table. Figures on average case costs for each of the years since the inception of the PDS are not available. However, average case costs for 2001-02 to 2003-04 are available in the independent report, “Evaluation of the Public Defender Services in England and Wales” (Table 5.7a p216). A copy of this report is available on the commission’s website at the following address:

http://www.legalservices.gov.uk/docs/pds/Public_Defenders _Report_PDFVersion6.pdf

2005-06

2004-05

2003-04

2002-03

2001-02

Cost (£)

4,329,567

4,122,211

3,784,156

3,478,243

2,824,531

Number of lawyers

50

48

52

39

27

Other staff

28

27

23.4

23

15

Number of cases opened in year

5,886

4,634

4,291

3,849

1,710

Public Records

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when the Public Records Act 1958 Instrument of Extended Retention No. 38 was last reconsidered; and when she expects it next to be reconsidered. (115149)

This instrument, which covers a wide range of records, was issued in 1996. It is not normal practice for whole instruments to be reviewed. The instrument itself gives the dates when retentions of particular records are due to be reviewed.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how soon after the transfer of the 1911 census records for England and Wales to the National Archives the Keeper of Public Records will have a duty to make arrangements for the release of that census under section 5(3) of the Public Records Act 1958. (115151)

The transfer of the 1911 census records to the Public Record Office took place in 1966. Access to specific information in this census was subject to an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Information Commissioner’s decision was published on 12 December 2006. The chief executive of the National Archives is making arrangements to provide access to non-personally sensitive information.

Solicitor Firms

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of firms of solicitors closing over the last three years; and if she will make a statement. (114176)

I understand from the Law Society that 5,657 firms of solicitors have closed in the last three years. No information is available on the reasons for closure. The type of practices that have closed in the period include: partnerships; sole practitioners; multi national practices; incorporated limited liability partnerships; and foreign law practices.

However, this figure should be balanced against the number of new firms that have been established in the last three years, which is 6,093.

Special Advisers

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether special advisers in her Department have made use of an official car in the last 12 months, excluding travel when accompanying a Minister. (113999)

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department for Transport on 7 November 2006, Official Report, column 1063W.

Supreme Court

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what progress has been made towards the creation of a supreme court. (114261)

Plans for the renovation of the Middlesex Guildhall on Parliament Square have been developed by renowned conservation architects Feilden and Mawson in consultation with the existing Law Lords, Westminster city council and English Heritage. The city and planning committee of Westminster city council unanimously agreed to grant planning and listed building consent, which was granted in full on 21 November 2006. We are in final negotiations with Kier Group Plc, our preferred bidder to carry out the renovations.

Substantial progress is also being made on the creation of the court as a new and independent organisation such as streamlining business processes, developing a finance structure and supporting the Law Lords consultation on the supreme court rules.

The DCA is on target to deliver the supreme court in October 2009.

Trade Union Funding

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what funding her Department has given to individual trade unions in the last three years. (113979)

My Department has not provided any funding to individual trade unions in the last three years. We do however, in line with statutory rights and along with other civil service Departments, provide reasonable time off for carrying out trade union duties.

Voting Rights

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of British citizens living abroad who are no longer entitled to vote in UK parliamentary elections. (114359)

I have not made such an estimate. I understand that the Electoral Commission has undertaken work with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to help raise awareness among British citizens living abroad of their voting rights in the UK and how to maintain them.

Work and Pensions

Access to Work Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criteria are used to assess the levels of communication support provided for deaf employees under the access to work scheme; and if he will make a statement. (109747)

Access to work advisers are required to look at each case individually and identify the most suitable and cost effective solution in agreement with the customer and their employer. Advisers use a number of standard questions to determine both the number of British sign language interpreters required and what their minimum qualification level should be.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what provisions there are under the access to work scheme for deaf clients, using British Sign Language as a preferred language, who require more than one interpreter for appointments for longer than two hours. (109748)

[holding answer 18 December 2006]: For appointments lasting between two and three hours, advisers are asked to look at the structure and length of the meeting, including any breaks, to decide whether the provision of one or two interpreters is most appropriate. Policy guidance has recently been strengthened and it is now standard practice to provide two interpreters for meetings over three hours in length.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) necessary qualifications are required by and (b) training is provided for access to work advisers. (109749)

[holding answer 18 December 2006]: There are no formal qualification requirements for access to work advisers. Any adviser posts are filled through a competency based system in line with any other Department for Work and Pensions vacancies.

New access to work advisers are required to undertake a training programme consisting of a four-day course specifically about access to work and a two-day module covering general disability awareness and how to work with customers with specific disabilities and health conditions.

Administration Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to table five on page 153 of his Department's departmental report 2006, what the Department's administration costs for (a) children, (b) working age, (c) pensioners and (d) disabled people were in each year since 1996-97. (115335)

The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in June 2001 from the Department of Social Security and parts of the former Department for Education and Employment including the Employment Service. The first departmental report produced for the Department was in 2002 (Cm 5424). The earliest year included was 1998-99. Therefore data are not available in the format requested for all years from 1996-97.

Table 1 summarises administration costs for the areas requested for the years 2000-01 to 2007-08.

Table 2 summarises administration costs for the areas requested for the years 1998-99 and 1999-2000.

The information has been extracted from the latest available departmental report for each year.

Table 1 Administration costs 2000-01 to 2007-08

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Outturn

Outturn

Outturn

Outturn

Outturn

Estimated outturn

Plans

Plans

Children

248

250

293

249

256

394

408

402

Working age

3,819

2,668

2,339

2,387

2,501

2,721

2,588

2,598

Pensioners

219

419

484

571

623

641

507

Disability

1

172

167

198

219

198

Corporate and Shared Services

280

1,692

2,556

2,657

2,493

2,000

1,975

2,089

Total administration

4,347

4,830

5,607

5,949

5,988

5,936

5,831

5,794

Table 2 Administration costs 1998-99 to 1999-2000

Outturn

1998-99

1999-2000

Children

225

225

Working Age

1,695

1,694

Pensions

255

255

Disability

137

137

Corporate and Shared Services

1,780

1,779

Total administration

4,092

4,090

Notes:

1. The administration costs for previous years have been adjusted to take into account the restructuring of the Department.

2. It is important to note that the analysis of the administration budget for children, working age, pensioners and disabled people in Table 5 excludes the cost of corporate and shared services, these are shown separately in the same table. All figures provided for years prior to the formation of The Department for Work and Pensions were determined on the basis of the expenditure incurred by each of the various business areas brought together by the machinery of Government changes in 2001. Analysis of administration data in this format is not available prior to 1998-99.

3. Table 5 from the Departmental report for 2005 (Cm 6539) contains the most recent analysis of administration costs for the year 1999-2000, and Table 5 from the departmental report for 2004 (Cm 6221) contains the most recent analysis of administration costs for 1998-99. As these analyses will only have been adjusted for the structure of the Department that existed at the time the relevant departmental report was issued, they will not be directly comparable with Table 5 in the departmental report for 2006.

Sources:

Department Report 2006 (Cm 6829)

Department Report 2005 (Cm 6539)

Departmental Report 2004 (Cm 6221)

Care Homes

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if his Department will make an estimate of the number of homes sold in 2005-06 to fund care home residency. (112713)

I have been asked to reply.

Information about the sale of property to pay for residential care is not collected centrally. Local authorities also may not know if this has happened, for example where a person sells a property and arranges their care privately without involving social services. It is not, therefore, possible to estimate the number of homes that may have been sold for this purpose.

However, the Government have taken steps to help people avoid having to sell their homes during their lifetime to pay for residential care. Since October 2001 councils have been able to enter into a deferred payments agreement. The aim is to allow people with property, but without income and other assets sufficient to meet their assessed financial contribution to the cost of residential care, to have a legal charge placed on their property to meet any shortfall. This gives people more options for meeting care home fees.

Carers

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's total expenditure on carers was each year since 1990-91 in (a) cash terms and (b) real terms using 2004-05 prices; what the planned expenditure is in 2006-07 in the same terms; and if he will make a statement. (103995)

The information is in the following tables.

Great Britain—Cash terms

£ million

Status

(a) Carer's allowance

(b) Income support—received by carers

(c) Income support / pension credit—carer premium over-60s

(d) Income support—carer premiums received by other income support recipients under-60s

Total expenditure on carers

1990-91

outturn

208

9

1

4

222

1991-92

outturn

285

18

3

9

315

1992-93

outturn

345

50

5

19

419

1993-94

outturn

442

57

7

29

535

1994-95

outturn

526

73

11

43

653

1995-96

outturn

617

97

14

56

784

1996-97

outturn

736

111

17

67

931

1997-98

outturn

746

118

20

66

950

1998-99

outturn

782

116

21

69

988

1999-2000

outturn

835

118

24

72

1,049

2000-01

outturn

867

126

26

76

1,095

2001-02

outturn

932

172

51

106

1,261

2002-03

outturn

993

182

63

118

1,356

2003-04

outturn

1,054

201

81

128

1,464

2004-05

outturn

1,096

202

130

132

1,560

2005-06

estimated outturn

1,149

173

178

132

1,632

2006-07

plans

1,201

180

205

145

1,731

Note: Totals may not sum due to rounding.

Great Britain—Real terms, at 2004-05 prices

£ million

Status

(a) Carer's allowance

(b) Income support—received by carers

(c) Income support / pension credit—carer premium over-60s

(d) Income support—carer premiums received by other income support recipients under-60s

Total expenditure on carers

1990-91

outturn

308

13

1

6

329

1991-92

outturn

398

25

4

13

440

1992-93

outturn

467

68

7

26

567

1993-94

outturn

583

75

9

38

705

1994-95

outturn

683

95

14

56

848

1995-96

outturn

778

122

18

71

988

1996-97

outturn

897

135

21

82

1,135

1997-98

outturn

884

140

24

78

1,125

1998-99

outturn

903

134

24

80

1,141

1999-2000

outturn

946

134

27

82

1,188

2000-01

outturn

968

141

29

85

1,223

2001-02

outturn

1,017

188

56

116

1,376

2002-03

outturn

1,051

193

67

125

1,435

2003-04

outturn

1,083

207

83

132

1,504

2004-05

outturn

1,096

202

130

132

1,560

2005-06

estimated outturn

1,128

170

175

130

1,602

2006-07

plans

1,148

172

196

139

1,654

Notes:

1. Expenditure on carers has been interpreted to include the following: a. total carer's allowance expenditure; b. total income support expenditure who are entitled to income support by virtue of being a carer. People who are unemployed, lone parents or disabled and who also receive a carer premium are counted in column d. The figures quoted include people who were unemployed and entitled to income support prior to the introduction of income based jobseeker's allowance in October 1996; c. carer premium entitlement for people in receipt of income support (for people over 60 years of age) and pension credit; d. expenditure on the carer premium for carers who are on income support by virtue of being unemployed, lone parents or disabled. 2. Income support carer expenditure [(b) in the tables] has been estimated using caseload and average weekly amount data. 3. Pension credit and income support expenditure [(c) and (d) in the tables] has been estimated using caseloads and carer premium rates. 4. Carer premium expenditure has been quoted in full. It has not been reduced, or offset, by any income received by the beneficiary of the benefit. 5. The income support carer premium was introduced in October 1990. The first caseload information was collected in May 1991, so the income support expenditure quoted in the tables has been estimated using administration data for 1991-92. 6. All figures have been rounded to the nearest million pounds. 7. Expenditure is consistent with the 2006 pre-Budget report. 8. Carer's allowance replaced invalid care allowance on 1 April 2003. 9. Pension credit replaced income support, for people over 60 years of age, on 5 October 2003. 10. DWP expenditure tables, which will soon be updated to be consistent with the 2006 pre-Budget report, can be viewed at the following web address: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/expenditure.asp 11. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Source: DWP expenditure tables, departmental accounting systems, 5 per cent. samples of departmental administrative records and the Department's expenditure forecasting models.

Carson Case

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost to the public purse has been of the Carson case in the European Court of Human Rights. (113406)

Proceedings are still ongoing but, to date, the non-departmental legal cost of defending the case in the European Court of Human Rights is less than £10,000.

Child Support Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many DNA tests were carried out on behalf of the Child Support Agency in each of the last five years. (105078)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the chief executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 15 January 2007:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many DNA tests were carried out on behalf of the Child Support Agency in each of the last five years.

This information is provided in the following table:

Number of DNA tests carried out on behalf of the Child Support Agency

Number

2001-02

2,346

2002-03

4,146

2003-04

2,444

2004-05

2,888

2005-06

2,244

I hope this information is helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many Child Support Agency cases were (a) outstanding and (b) unprocessed in (i) Yeovil and (ii) Somerset in each year since 1997; (102130)

(2) how many Child Support Agency cases in (a) Somerset and (b) Yeovil constituency were (i) outstanding and (ii) unprocessed in each year from 1997 to 2006.

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 15 January 12006:

In reply to your recent parliamentary question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions two related questions:

How many Child Support Agency cases were (a) outstanding and (b) unprocessed in (i) Yeovil and (ii) Somerset in each year since 1997.

How many Child Support Agency cases were (a) outstanding and (b) unprocessed in each year from 1997 to 2006 in (i) Somerset and (ii) Yeovil constituency.

The agency begins to process new applications as soon as they are received and continues until they have been cleared. Any applications that have not yet been cleared can be regarded as outstanding. The amount of work required to achieve clearance and the elapsed time it involves varies considerably depending on, amongst other things, the circumstances of the parents and how readily they cooperate with the agency.

As such, the agency holds only a negligible number of completely unprocessed cases and it is not possible to allocate these to individual constituencies.

With regard to part (a), the agency can only provide the information requested for applications (both new and old scheme) operating on the new computer system (CS2). Therefore this is not representative of the overall trend and volumes of the total amount of uncleared applications at the geographical level requested. Please see the attached table.

It should be noted that there are always applications for which the agency cannot assign a county or a constituency, either because they had been received directly via Jobcentre Plus and had not reached the point in the process at which details on the constituency of the parent with care can be identified, or because the application is on the old computer system from which it is not possible to provide robust estimates at the geographical level requested. In September 2006, there were around 70,000 such applications.

For future reference, it should be noted that information relating to the number of uncleared applications on the new computer system in September 2006 in each parliamentary constituency is publicly available, and can be found in table 27 of the September 2006 Child Support Agency ‘Quarterly Summary of Statistics’, a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library, or on the internet via the following link: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/child_ support/CSA_quarterly_sep06 .asp

Although the total volume of uncleared applications nationally across both schemes, 247,500 in September 2006, is the lowest since comparable records began, the agency recognises that this remains unacceptably high. The agency therefore has a 2006-07 target to ensure that, by march 2007, the volume of new scheme uncleared applications outstanding at March 2006 is reduced by 25 per cent. and our challenge, as set down in our operational improvement plan, is that the agency should not have a backlog in this area by March 2009. I hope you find this answer helpful.

Number of uncleared applications in the parliamentary constituency of Yeovil from September 2003 to September 2006 (both new and old scheme applications on the new computer system only).

Yeovil

Number

September 2003

70

September 2004

230

September 2005

260

September 2006

210

Number of uncleared applications from September 2003 to September 2006 in the county of Somerset and neighbouring unitary authorities (both new and old scheme applications on the new computer system only)

Local Authority

September 2003

September 2004

September 2005

September 2006

Mendip

90

190

260

220

Sedgemoor

100

270

410

230

South Somerset

100

310

340

280

Taunton Deane

90

240

250

230

West Somerset

20

70

70

70

Total

4000

1,070

1,330

1,030

Departmental Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of his Department’s (a) computers and (b) laptops were stolen in each of the last nine years; and what the total value was of stolen computers and laptops in this period. (109206)

The following table shows the number of (a) computers and (b) laptops that were recorded as stolen in each of the last nine years from April 1998 to date. Information prior to 1998 is not readily available.

Number of computers stolen

Number of laptops stolen

1998

0

3

1999

12

5

2000

4

3

2001

5

16

2002

34

23

2003

5

35

2004

27

40

2005

10

27

2006

2

10

Note:

The total value is not available.

Departmental Publications: Translations

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of translating departmental publications into languages other than English was in 2005-06. (110202)

Economic Migration

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact of economic migration to the UK on the pay rates of low skilled workers; and if he will make a statement. (102208)

There appears to be little evidence of any impact on wages as a result of migration. We have been unable to find any discernible effect of A8 migration upon changes in the unemployment claimant count or in the rate of growth of wages. Our overall assessment is that the effect on growth has been largely positive.

Henshaw Review

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the additional costs to the Court Service arising from the increase in court settlements proposed in Sir David Henshaw’s report Recovering Child Support: Routes to Responsibility; (107092)

(2) what discussions he has had with the (a) Department for Constitutional Affairs, (b) Home Office and (c) Treasury on additional costs arising from the increased use of court settlements to resolve child support claims proposed in Sir David Henshaw’s report Recovering Child Support: Routes to Responsibility.

Officials have been involved in extensive discussions with the Department for Constitutional Affairs, the Scottish Executive and the Treasury in assessing the impact on the Court Service of all aspects of Sir David Henshaw’s recommendations and wider child support reform.

Having considered Sir David Henshaw’s recommendation that the 12-month rule be removed to prevent parents from being able to approach the new organisation to overturn consent orders, we have decided that the 12-month rule should remain. This rule has a positive impact on the level of child maintenance in consent orders as it ensures maintenance is generally set at a substantial level that broadly reflects the child maintenance formula. It also ensures that parents will avoid being locked into the Court system indefinitely however their circumstances change. However the removal of the requirement for parents with care to be treated as applying to the Child Support Agency if they make a claim for benefit will ensure that fewer maintenance agreements are unnecessarily overturned against the wishes of both parents.

Housing Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of housing benefit claims were subject to a non-dependent deduction for which the claimant was (a) registered disabled, (b) over 60-years-old, (c) in receipt of income support or jobseeker’s allowance and (d) a lone parent in 2004-05. (108217)

Health and Safety Executive

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many inspectors were employed by the Health and Safety Executive in each year between 1996 and 2006; and how many are expected to be employed in the years (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08 and (c) 2008-09. (109152)

The reply is in the following table. The number of inspectors HSE expects to employ in 2007-08 and 2008-09 is an estimate depending on turnover and recruitment.

At 1 April

Number of inspectors1

1996

1,466

1997

1,442

1998

1,437

1999

1,497

2000

1,507

2001

1,534

2002

1,625

2003

1,651

2004

1,605

2005

1,530

2006

21,444

20073

1,438

20083

1,417

20094

5

1 All figures are for full-time equivalents, rounded to the nearest whole number.

2 The number excludes 95 inspectors (full-time equivalents) that moved from HSE to the Office of Rail Regulation when responsibility for rail regulation health and safety matters transferred on 1 April 2006.

3 Estimated number based on HSE’s staffing plan at November 2006.

4 HSE’s staffing plan covers the period to March 2008. The Department for Work and Pensions will be discussing budget allocations for 2008-2011 with HSE over the coming weeks. An estimate of the number of inspectors at 1 April 2009 cannot therefore be provided at this time.

5 Not applicable.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the total cost was of the recent Health and Safety Executive campaign targeting (a) back pain and (b) tripping accidents; (109508)

(2) what the total cost was of the recent Health and Safety Executive campaign to manage work-related stress.

The Health and Safety Executive’s initiatives on back pain, slips and trips and work-related stress are designed to contribute to the revitalising health and safety targets to reduce work-related ill health and sickness absence.

The “Better Backs” marketing campaign cost £2.5 million overall. This included the cost of advertising—in the national and trade press, on radio, online and outdoor—plus the funding of “Better Backs” publicity events, production of information packs, and research and evaluation costs.

The “Watch Your Step” campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the causes and costs of slips and trips accidents at work, cost £1.7 million on advertising and event organisation.

For work-related stress, the current series of “Healthy Workplace Solutions” workshops has a predicted final cost of £627,000. This includes the cost of sending invitations to employers, processing responses, venue hire and speaker costs.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total cost was of the recent Health and Safety Executive “Fit Out” phase campaign. (109510)

The “Fit Out” campaign in October 2005, involved targeted national inspections looking specifically at the issues of low falls and housekeeping at construction projects that were approaching completion. This activity was supported by the production of a campaign poster and campaign infosheet.

Inspections were carried out largely within normal working hours incurring few additional staff costs.

Production and distribution of posters and infosheets cost £5,000.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many accidents have taken place on the premises of (a) the Health and Safety Executive and (b) the Health and Safety Commission since May 1997. (109506)

The number of accidents for the years requested are set out in the following table. The Health and Safety Commission has no premises separately from HSE.

Number of RIDDOR accidents1 on HSE premises

1997-982

3n/a

1998-99

n/a

1999-2000

n/a

2000-01

n/a

2001-02

n/a

2002-03

n/a

2003-04

10

2004-05

17

2005-06

13

2006 to present (December 2006)

6

1 This includes all accidents HSE is required to report under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

2 For years 1997-2004 the primary source of information is the HSE annual health and safety report. The amount and substance of incident data in this report varies from year to year. After 2004-05 the data come from records held in HSE’s human resources department.

3 For 1997-98 to 2002-03 it has not been possible to identify the number of accidents causing injury occurring on HSE premises, as the report forms used did not always indicate the location of the accident.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many accidents involving members of (a) the Health and Safety Executive and (b) the Health and Safety Commission have taken place since May 1997. (109507)

The number of accidents to Health and Safety Executive staff for the years requested are set out in the following table.

I am not aware of any accidents to members of the Health and Safety Commission while engaged on HSC business. The health and safety incident rates are low when compared with other organisations engaged in the type of work that HSE is involved in.

Number of RIDDOR accidents1 to HSE staff

1997-982

13

1998-99

7

1999-2000

5

2000-01

11

2001-02

10

2002-03

10

2003-04

10

2004-05

16

2005-06

9

2006 to present (December 2006)

5

1 This includes all accidents HSE is required to report under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.

2 For years 1997-2004 the primary source of information is the HSE annual health and safety report. The amount and substance of incident data in this report varies from year to year. After 2004-05 the data comes from records held in HSE’s Human Resources department.

Incapacity Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) males and (b) females aged (i) 18 to 29, (ii) 30 to 39, (iii) 40 to 49 and (iv) 50 to 59 and (c) males aged 60 to 65 have claimed incapacity benefit in each of the last seven years. (101790)

The available information is in the following table.

Incapacity benefit claimants by age and gender, Great Britain: May 2000 to 2006

As at May:

Female

Male

2000

18-29

102,250

131,860

30-39

165,070

232,510

40-49

231,940

287,370

50-59

367,230

474,440

60-65

970

353,280

2001

18-29

103,130

137,910

30-39

172,040

245,710

40-49

243,270

298,040

50-59

386,210

482,180

60-65

620

345,950

2002

18-29

112,200

149,470

30-39

175,370

250,790

40-49

252,820

304,470

50-59

398,060

478,010

60-65

540

337,260

2003

18-29

116,740

154,790

30-39

177,700

254,300

40-49

262,200

311,850

50-59

407,240

472,030

60-65

440

326,490

2004

18-29

121,260

159,380

30-39

177,910

253,320

40-49

270,900

318,040

50-59

415,520

463,370

60-65

310

318,170

2005

18-29

124,500

159,720

30-39

173,450

245,610

40-49

276,620

320,770

50-59

418,990

451,930

60-65

260

309,390

2006

18-29

124,860

157,810

30-39

167,360

233,700

40-49

279,320

319,770

50-59

418,990

439,540

60-65

150

300,750

Notes:

1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10; some additional disclosure control has also been applied.

2. Although in general incapacity benefit applies to people of working age a small number of claimants are over state pension age.

3. Claimants’ include all IB claimants, including credits only cases.

Source:

DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Eastbourne constituency are in receipt of incapacity benefit; and how many of these people have been in receipt of incapacity benefit for (a) up to one year, (b) one to two years, (c) two to five years and (d) over five years. (110390)

The information is in the following table.

Number of incapacity benefit (IB) and severe disablement allowance (SDA) claimants in Eastbourne—May 2006

Number

All IB/SDA

4,400

Up to one year

660

One to two years

390

Two to five years

1,000

Five years and over

2,350

Notes:

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

2. Totals may not sum due to rounding.

Source:

DWP Information Directorate 100 per cent. WPLS

Jobcentre Plus

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Jobcentre Plus offices had their opening hours reduced in each of the last eight quarters for which figures are available; and which offices had such reductions in the last (a) six, (b) 12, (c) 24 and (d) 48 months, broken down by parliamentary constituency. (102107)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 15 January 2007:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how many Jobcentre Plus offices have had their opening hours reduced in each of the last eight quarters for which figures are available; and which offices had such reductions in the last 6, 12, 24, and 48 months, broken down by parliamentary constituency. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

A total of 97 Jobcentre Plus sites have had a reduction in opening hours in the last eight quarters to September 2006. A total of 123 Jobcentre Plus sites have had a reduction in opening hours in the four years to September 2006. It is not possible to provide information broken down by parliamentary constituency, as it is gathered at a Jobcentre Plus District level. The information available is set out in the attached table, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Annex A: number of Jobcentre Pus sites where opening hours have been reduced during the last six, 12, 24 and 48 months to September 2006 broken down by district

Jobcentre Plus—offices operating reduced opening hours

Months

Region

District

0 to six

seven to 12

13 to 24

25 to 48

London

0

0

0

0

Scotland

0

0

0

0

North East

0

0

0

0

East of England

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire

0

1

1

0

Cambridge and Suffolk

6

0

0

0

Essex

0

0

1

0

Norfolk

1

1

1

Yorkshire and the Humber

North East Yorkshire and the Humber

0

0

3

0

South Yorkshire

0

0

0

1

West Yorkshire

0

0

1

4

West Midlands

Staffordshire

0

0

0

1

Marches

0

0

2

0

North West

Greater Manchester East and West

0

0

1

0

Greater Mersey

0

0

0

1

Cheshire and Warrington

0

0

0

4

East Midlands

Derbyshire

1

0

0

2

Nottinghamshire

2

3

1

0

Leicestershire and Northampton

1

0

0

0

South East

Berks, Bucks and Oxfordshire

0

15

0

0

Hampshire and Isle of Wight

0

0

19

6

Kent

0

0

2

0

South West

Devon and Cornwall

0

2

9

3

Dorset and Somerset

0

2

6

0

Wales

South East Wales

1

0

1

1

South West Wales

0

3

0

0

South Wales Valleys

0

0

4

2

North and Mid Wales

0

0

6

1

Total

12

27

58

26

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what checks are made by Jobcentre Plus on the immigration status of applicants and claimants. (102179)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 15 January 2007:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what checks are made by Jobcentre Plus on the immigration status of applicants and claimants. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

When a customer contacts Jobcentre Plus we ask he or she to provide their national insurance number. If a customer does not know their national insurance number or they do not have one, and we cannot match their personal details against an existing record the customer is asked to obtain a national insurance number for their benefit claim to proceed. The national insurance number application process involves an evidence of identity interview where the customer is asked to prove their identity. He or she is also asked questions about nationality, residence, and details of their journey to the UK.

Even if an applicant for benefit already has a national insurance number, he or she will be expected to provide confirmation of their identity as part of the claims process.

At the initial interview the Financial Assessor will establish the customer's identity and, if applicable, their partner's identity. If the Financial Assessor has any concerns, they will request evidence to be provided to verify the identity of the customer, and would not allow the claim to proceed until they are satisfied of the customer's identity.

Anyone who has arrived in the UK in the two years prior to making a benefit claim must prove they have a right to reside in the UK, as well as being habitually resident, before any claim is processed or payment made.

In addition, a "right to work" condition has been introduced into the National Insurance Number allocation and decision-making process for employment-related applications. This was implemented in July and guidance has been issued to all Jobcentre Plus staff

To support this, changes to Regulation 9 of the Social Security (Crediting and Treatment of Contributions and National Insurance Numbers) Regulations 2001 were laid before Parliament on 7 November 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what role was played by Mind in the development by his Department of the two-day learning event for advisers on working with customers with a mental illness referred to in the answer of 31 October 2006, Official Report, columns 263-64W, on Jobcentre Plus; and if he will make a statement. (109330)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what role was played by Mind in the development by his Department of the two-day learning event for advisers on working with customers with a mental illness referred to in the Answer of 31st October 2006, Official Report, columns 263-4W, on Jobcentre Plus. This is something that falls within my responsibilities as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Jobcentre Plus works with a range of partners including MIND in the development of training materials to support the implementation of the Jobcentre Plus Incapacity Benefit Adviser role. The ‘Working with Customers with a Health Condition or Disability’ training product was developed for staff and sent to MIND for their quality assurance prior to release.

Maternity Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many women in the UK were entitled to maternity allowance in each year since 2001-02; and what estimate he has made of the future take-up rates; (107559)

(2) how many women in the UK received maternity allowance in each year since 2001-02; and what estimate he has made of the likely number in each year from 2006-07 to 2009-10.

The available information is in the table.

Awards of maternity allowance

Number

2001-02

51,000

2002-03

51,000

2003-04

57,000

2004-05

63,000

2005-06

66,000

2006-07

70,000

2007-08

74,000

Notes:

1. The figures for maternity allowance up to 2003-04 are based on a 5 per cent. sample of the maternity allowance computer system. The figures from 2004-05 onwards are forecasts.

2. The figures have been rounded to the nearest 1,000.

3. In line with HM Treasury expenditure planning cycles, forecasts of benefit case load and expenditure are not currently available beyond 2007-08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the annual cost in nominal terms of statutory maternity pay in the UK was in each year since 2001-02; and what estimate he has made of the likely costs in each year from 2006-07 to 2009-10. (107561)

The information is in the following table.

Statutory maternity pay, Great Britain

£ million (nominal terms)

2001-02

636

2002-03

724

2003-04

1,233

2004-05

1,291

2005-06

1,243

2006-07

1,268

2007-08

1,595

Notes:

1. Figures are consistent with pre-Budget report 2006, which shows total managed expenditure to 2007-08, and are for Great Britain.

2. Figures are out-turn to 2005-06 are estimated out-turn for 2006-07 and are plans for 2007-08.

3. Benefit expenditure in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Office.

Source:

DWP benefit expenditure tables. The DWP expenditure tables can be viewed on the DWP website at www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/expenditure.asp

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women in the UK received statutory maternity pay in each year since 2001-02; and what estimate he has made of the likely number in each year from 2006-07 to 2009-10. (107562)

The available information is in the following table.

Awards of statutory maternity pay per annum

Number

2001-02

344,000

2002-03

361,000

2003-04

375,000

2004-05

412,000

2005-06

409,000

2006-07

411,000

2007-08

414,000

Notes

1. Statutory maternity pay is paid and administered by employers. The figures from 2004-05 onwards are forecasts.

2. The figures have been rounded to the nearest 1,000.

Source:

Figures up to 2003-04 are based on a 1 per cent. sample of national insurance records.

Benefit case load and expenditure forecasts are currently not made available publicly past 2007-08. Expenditure plans and case load forecasts for 2008-09 and 2009-10 will be released as part of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review.

Occupational Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many occupational pension schemes have collapsed in the last two years. (110119)

The information requested on the number of occupational pension schemes which have collapsed in the past two years is not available.

Oil and Gas Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) lost time accidents and (b) fatal accidents there were in the oil and gas industry in the UK continental shelf in each of the last 10 years. (109358)

The information requested is set out in the following table and is taken from Health and Safety Executive’s published health and safety statistics.

Fatalities

Lost-time injuries

1995-96

5

417

1996-97

2

346

1997-98

3

365

1998-99

1

319

1999-2000

2

246

2000-01

3

330

2001-02

3

234

2002-03

0

184

2003-04

3

151

2004-05

0

152

2005-061

2

175

1 2005-06 figures are provisional.

Pension Credit

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the take-up rate is of pension credit in Wimbledon. (114903)

The information is not available in the format requested. Estimates of eligibility, and therefore of take-up, are not available below the level of Great Britain.

The latest estimates of the number of pensioners in Great Britain entitled to pension credit were published in “Pension Credit Estimates of Take-Up in 2004/2005”. A copy of the report is available in the Library.

Actual figures for receipt of pension credit at constituency level are available. As at August 2006 2,280 households in Wimbledon were receiving pension credit.

Notes:

1. The figure provided is an early estimate. The preferred data source for figures supplied by DWP is the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS). However, the figure provided is the latest available figure which is taken from the GMS scan at 1 September 2006. These are adjusted using the historical relationship between WPLS and GMS data to give an estimate of the final WPLS figure.

2. Caseloads are rounded to the nearest 10.

3. Parliamentary constituencies are assigned by matching postcodes against the 2005 postcode directory.

4. Household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves only or on behalf of a household.

Source:

DWP 100 per cent. data from the Generalised Matching Service (CMS) Pension Credit scan taken as at 1 September 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many compensatory payments were made in respect of pension credits in each of the last five years to Wimbledon residents; and what the cost was. (114904)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) new thresholds will be for the savings credit element of pension credit for April and (b) maximum levels of income will be above which pensioners would not gain from pension savings credit for (i) single people and (ii) couples; and if he will make a statement. (115348)

On 7 December 2006 I announced the proposed benefit rates for 2007. The full list of provisional benefit rates were set out in the Secretary of State's written statement on 11 December 2006. The 2007 rates will remain provisional until the Social Security Up-rating Order 2007 has been cleared by Parliament.

The provisional savings credit threshold figures from April 2007 are £87.30 for single people and £139.60 for couples. The provisional rates will allow for single people to have up to around £167 and couples to have up to around £245 and still qualify for pension credit savings credit. If someone is severely disabled or a carer or has certain housing costs they may have higher levels of income and still qualify for pension credit.

Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in (a) Eastbourne constituency and (b) the UK receive the retirement pension age addition to those aged 80 years or over. (110389)

As at March 2006, there were 2,545,600 pensioners in Great Britain in receipt of the age addition, and of those 8,500 were in the Eastbourne parliamentary constituency.

Note:

The figures are rounded to the nearest 100.

Source:

DWP, Information Directorate, 5 per cent. sample, rated to caseload in Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will disaggregate the cost of basic state pension reforms, as shown in figure 9 of the pensions White Paper, “Security in Retirement: Towards a New Pension System”, to show the (a) (i) gross and (ii) net costs of saving from increasing the basic state pension in line with earnings from 2012 on existing qualifying criteria, (b) changes to qualifying criteria and (c) changes to adult dependency increases proposed in the White Paper. (112907)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 19 December 2006, Official Report, columns 1997-98W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the combined value of basic state pension and state second pension payments at the point of retirement for an average earner with a full contribution record reaching state pension age in each year from 2010 (a) under current policies and (b) if the reforms in the pensions White Paper “Security in Retirement: Towards a New Pension System”, are implemented. (112911)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 19 December 2006, Official Report, columns 1998-2000W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what proportion of pensioner benefit units, including those with sufficient income not to qualify for pension credit, will face in 2050 an average rate of pension credit withdrawal on any income from sources other than the basic state pension that is (a) 40 per cent., (b) 41 to 50 per cent., (c) 51 to 60 per cent., (d) 61 to 70 per cent., (e) 71 to 80 per cent., (f) 81 to 90 per cent., (g) 91 to 99 per cent. and (h) 100 per cent., if the reforms proposed in the pensions White Paper, “Security in Retirement: Towards a New Pensions System”, are implemented; (112916)

(2) if he will estimate the proportion of pensioner benefit units, including those with sufficient income not to qualify for pension credit, that would face in 2050 an average rate of pension credit withdrawal on any income from sources other than the basic state pension that is (a) 40 per cent., (b) 41 to 50 per cent., (c) 51 to 60 per cent., (d) 61 to 70 per cent., (e) 71 to 80 per cent., (f) 81 to 90 per cent., (g) 91 to 99 per cent. and (h) 100 per cent., if current uprating policies are continued indefinitely.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 19 December 2006, Official Report, columns 2001-02W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will break down the cost of pension credit reforms listed in figure 9 of the pensions White Paper into (a) the cost of uprating the guarantee credit in line with earnings from 2008-09 and (b) the savings generated by proposed reforms to the savings credit. (112920)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 2002W.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether an estimate has been made of the cost of compensating those identified in the ombudsman’s report “Trusting in the Pensions Promise” taking into account the resulting reduction in (a) pension credit, (b) council tax benefit and (c) housing benefit payable to those compensated. (112901)

I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1997W.

Post Office Card Account

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the timetable is for the competitive tendering process for the new Post Office card account; and when he expects a decision to be made; (113461)

(2) how the new Post Office card account will differ from the existing scheme.

The current Post Office card account contract ends in March 2010. The Government have decided that there will be a new service after 2010. This will have similar features to the Post Office card account. It will be available nationally and customers will be eligible for the account on the same basis as they are now for the Post Office card account. The detailed design for the product, including the name, will be decided as part of the tendering and contractual process. We will set out the timetable for the tendering process in due course.

Poverty

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what targets his Department has set for the number of (a) children, (b) pensioners and (c) working age adults without children in relative poverty based on the 60 per cent. of median earnings definition by (i) 2010 and (ii) 2020; and if he will make a statement. (101298)

Our first priority on taking office was dealing with the situation we inherited of pensioners already living in poverty. Since 1997 1 million pensioners have been lifted out of relative poverty thanks to measures like pension credit.

The White Paper “Security in retirement: towards a new pensions system” announced our commitment to secure these gains into the future by uprating both the basic state pension and the standard minimum guarantee in pension credit in line with earnings over the long-term.

Pension credit ensures that no pensioner need live on less than £114.05 a week (£174.05 for couples). The Department has a public service agreement performance target to: by 2008, be paying pension credit to at least 3.2 million pensioner households, while maintaining a focus on the most disadvantaged by ensuring that at least 2.2 million of these households are in receipt of the guarantee credit.

In the report “A Sure Start to Later Life: Ending Inequalities for Older People”, published in January 2006, the Department committed to look at wider definitions and indicators of pensioner poverty in the wake of recently commissioned research, and to consider with the Treasury how and whether these should feed into PSA targets as part of the 2007 comprehensive spending review.

We have set a public service agreement target to halve the number of children in relative low-income households between 1998-99 and 2010-11 on the way to eradicating child poverty by 2020. This latter is defined as:

Halve the number of children in relative low income (below 60 per cent. of median income before housing costs); and

Halve the number of children suffering a combination of material deprivation and relative low income (below 70 per cent. median income before housing costs)

We have also announced that we aim to make further progress so that there are fewer than 1 million children in absolute low income.

There are no explicit departmental targets regarding poverty among working age adults without children based on the 60 per cent. of median earnings definition. However we have set ourselves the ambitious target of achieving a 70 per cent. employment rate for lone parents by 2010. This is part of our overall aim of achieving 80 per cent. employment across the country. Hitting these targets will contribute towards reducing working age poverty.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) pensioners and (b) children in Coventry have been lifted out of poverty since 1997. (114251)

Specific information regarding low income for Great Britain is available in “Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2004-05”, a copy of which has been placed in the Library. The threshold of below 60 per cent. contemporary median income is the most commonly used in reporting trends in low income.

The data source does not allow us to provide robust numbers for estimates below a regional level. Therefore estimates for Coventry are not available. Instead, information on the numbers of pensioners and children in households with low incomes, in Great Britain in 1996-97 and 2004-05 and the Government Office for west midlands region in 1995-96 to 1997-98 and 2002-03 to 2004-05, are presented in tables 1 and 2. Estimates are shown both before and after housing costs.

Table 1: Number of pensioners living in low income households (millions): 1996-97 and 2004-05

Great Britain

West midlands

After housing costs

1996-97

2.78

2004-05

1.77

Change in number in low income

-1.01

After housing costs

1995-96 to 1997-98

0.25

2002-03 to 2004-05

0.21

Change in number in low income

-0.04

Notes:

1. Numbers, for the west midlands region, are presented using a three-year moving average, as single-year estimates do not provide a robust guide to year-on-year changes. Hence, figures are not consistent with any previously published single-year estimates and there may be differences in changes over time. In circumstances such as a change in trend, moving averages will show less variation than single-year estimates.

2. The Great Britain figure is for a single year.

3. The table shows number of pensioners in millions, rounded to nearest 10,000.

4. In this answer low income is determined for pensioners as living in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of the GB median.

5. Figures may not sum, due to rounding.

Source:

Family Resources Survey

Table 2:Number of children living in low income households (millions): 1996-97 and 2004-05

Great Britain

West midlands

Before housing costs

1996-97

3.17

2004-05

2.44

Change in number in low income

-0.72

After housing costs

1996-97

4.23

2004-05

3.42

Change in number in low income

-0.81

Before housing costs

1995-96 to 1997-98

0.33

2002-03 to 2004-05

0.28

Change in number in low income

-0.04

After housing costs

1995-96 to 1997-98

0.40

2002-03 to 2004-05

0.36

Change in number in low income

-0.05

Notes:

1. Numbers, for the west midlands region, are presented using a three-year moving average, as single-year estimates do not provide a robust guide to year-on-year changes. Hence, figures are not consistent with any previously published single-year estimates and there may be differences in changes over time. In circumstances such as a change in trend, moving averages will show less variation than single-year estimates.

2. The Great Britain figure is for a single year.

3. The table shows number of children in millions, rounded to the nearest 10,000.

4. In this answer low income is determined for pensioners as living in households with incomes below 60 per cent. of the GB median.

5. Figures may not sum, due to rounding.

Source:

Family Resources Survey

Predictive Dialling Technology

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which contractors his Department employs who use predictive dialling technology; how many calls using predictive dialling technology were made on behalf of his Department by each such contractor in each of the last five years; and what proportion of those calls were abandoned. (100762)

[holding answer 20 November 2006]: Within DWP the only business area that uses predictive dialling is debt management. The following debt collection agencies have been contracted to debt management: Eversheds, Commercial Collections Services Ltd. (CCSL), Legal and Trade and the Lewis Group.

Please see the following table, which includes available data:

May to October 2006

Calls abandoned1 as a result of predictive dialling

Name of contractor

Number of calls using predictive dialling

Number

Percentage

Eversheds

27,476

336

1.2

Commercial Collections Services Ltd. (CCSL)

9,530

156

1.6

Legal and Trade

132,858

4,002

3.0

The Lewis Group2

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a = not available

1 Abandoned calls refers to those calls where a customer hears a so-called ‘silent call’ as no agent is available to take that call.

2 The Lewis Group are unable to provide figures for DWP alone as they only record combined information about all clients.

Public Finance Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total liability to his Department would be in circumstances of immediate termination of all (a) public/private partnerships and (b) public finance initiative contracts. (109298)

The Department has a single private finance initiative contract entered into in 1998 with Land Securities Trillium (LST) for the supply of serviced accommodation. This contract, known as the Private Sector Resource Initiative for the Management of Estate (PRIME), was expanded in 2003 to include the former Employment Service estate.

The Expanded PRIME Contract provides for the termination of the contract during the 20-year operating period, by either the PRIME contractor or voluntarily by the Department. The contract provides the Department with safeguards in respect of the accommodation it occupies and services it is receiving at the time of termination. The Department does not have any direct liability if termination is by the PRIME contractor. However, should the termination by the PRIME contractor be as a result of the Department allegedly being in breach of contract, a compensation payment might be sought by LST.

If the Department voluntarily terminates the contract it will incur a number of liabilities, including potential redundancy payments for LST’s sub-contractors, the unitary payments for a prescribed period and compensation for early termination. The level of liability would be calculated at the time of contract termination and be subject to negotiation and financial analysis of the Department’s liability.

The Department has no public/private partnerships.

Refreshments

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent by his Department on refreshments in each year since 1997. (102168)

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was formed in June 2001 from the Department of Social Security (DSS), the Employment Service (ES) and parts of the former Department for Education and Employment (DfEE).

Information on expenditure for refreshments is only available from 2002-03 as the predecessor Departments accounted for this type of expenditure in different ways.

The information is shown in the following table.

All expenditure on refreshments is made in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in Government Accounting.

£000

Working lunches

Teas and coffees

2002-03

722

613

2003-04

867

905

2004-05

825

959

2005-06

937

781

State Pension: NI Contributions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women began to receive state pensions in 2005-06; and how many such women had the number of qualifying years of national insurance contributions needed to earn a full basic state pension reduced by the operation of home responsibilities protection in respect of past receipt of child benefit. (115030)

Approximately 300,000 UK women aged 60 in 2005-06 had some entitlement to basic state pension. Around 150,000 of these women had the number of qualifying years needed to earn a full basic state pension reduced by the operation of home responsibilities protection.

Notes:

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 50,000.

2. Figures refer to entitlement based on women’s own contribution record.

3. Some women who reach state pension age in 2005-06 with some entitlement to basic state pension defer their entitlement and claim in a later year.

Source:

Lifetime Labour Market Database 2, 2003-04

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the net Exchequer cost is of the proposed reduction to 30 years national insurance contributions for a full basic state pension in 2010, and in subsequent years thereafter. (115544)

The estimated net cost of reducing the number of qualifying years required for a full basic state pension to 30 for people reaching state pension age from 2010 is shown in the following table:

£ billion

Estimated net cost

2010

0.0

2011

0.1

2012

0.1

2013

0.2

2014

0.2

2015

0.3

2016

0.3

2017

0.3

2018

0.4

2019

0.4

2020

0.5

2030

1.2

2040

1.7

2050

2.0

Notes:

1. Estimates are presented in £ billion, 2006-07 price terms.

2. Estimates of additional expenditure are consistent with the policy detail set out in the regulatory impact assessment accompanying the Pensions Bill. Net costs include savings seen from reduced expenditure on other income related benefits (pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit). They do not include any change in income tax revenue or national insurance.

3. Net costs assume the pension credit standard minimum guarantee is uprated by earnings from 2008. Net costs do not include the effect of direct reforms to the savings credit.

4. Costs or savings presented in the table are based on long-term projections of United Kingdom benefit spend, consistent with the pre-Budget report 2006.

5. Figures exclude the effect of raising state pension age.

6. Figures exclude the effect of personal accounts.

The estimates shown do not include any other reforms proposed in the Pensions Bill. For example, costs of uprating the basic state pension by earnings, or of the other reforms to improve the coverage of basic state pension, are not included.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many years of national insurance contributions would be required to receive a full basic state pension in each tax year from 2007-08 such that by 2013 the accumulated costs from 2007-08 onwards equal those which would have been accumulated as a result of measures in the Pensions Bill 2006-07 to give entitlement to a full basic state pension with 30 years’ contributions from 2010. (115546)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the (a) merits and (b) costs of measures to smooth the change planned for 6 April 2010 to the number of years of national insurance contributions required for eligibility for a full basic state pension; (115644)

(2) what the net cost to the public purse would be of changing the number of years of national insurance contributions required to receive a full basic state pension for men to (a) 42 up to April 2010, (b) 38 up to April 2011, (c) 34 up to April 2012 and (d) 30 thereafter;

(3) what the net cost to the public purse would be of reducing the number of years of national insurance contributions required to receive a full basic state pension for women by three up to April 2007 and by one in each subsequent year until April 2013.

A key part of the Government’s package of proposed reforms is to make the state pension fairer and available to more people as soon as is practicable. This means addressing women’s lower state pension outcomes as soon as possible and is why we are planning to introduce the reduction in qualifying years for all those reaching state pension age from 2010. The effect of this is to ensure around three quarters of women reaching state pension age in 2010 would achieve a full basic state pension, compared to just 30 per cent. today.

This approach does however mean that two people with similar contribution histories reaching state pension age either side of 6 April 2010 will have their state pension entitlement calculated differently and this could produce different outcomes.

Changes could be made more gradually to avoid this situation, for example, by phasing in the reduction in years needed for a full basic state pension and we have explored different way to do this.

Smoothing the reduction of qualifying years from 2010 would delay the substantial improvement in women’s basic state pension outcomes for some years beyond 2010. Phasing the reduction in qualifying years before 2010 would give some women the advantage of both a lower state pension age of 60 and the benefit of these reforms. However the reforms are introduced there will be some people who reach state pension age on the wrong side of the chosen date or the series of dates chosen to phase in the reduction of qualifying years.

It is a difficult balance. Our intention in opting for a 2010 introduction is to improve the pension position of as many women and carers as possible and as quickly as possible while keeping the reforms within the fiscal envelope.

We are unable to provide the information in respect of the particular phasing options you have set out in the time available.

Workless Households

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which 50 wards have (a) the highest proportion of children living in workless households and (b) the highest proportion of workless households. (105214)

A workless household is a household containing someone claiming either income support, jobseeker’s allowance, incapacity benefit/severe disability allowance, or pension credit.

The 50 wards that have the highest proportion of children living in workless households are listed as follows:

Barlanark

Benchill

Beswick and Clayton

Bidston

Birkenhead

Blackfriars

Bradford

Breckfield

Bridgeton/Dalmarnock

Butetown

Cantril Farm

Central

Church Street

Craigmillar

Craigneuk

Everton

Glenwood

Granby

Grangetown

Gurnos

Harpurhey

Hulme

Hutchesontown

Ibrox

Kensington

Keppochhill

Lawrence Hill

Linacre

Longview

Maerdy

Moss Side

Northumberland Park

Orchard Park and Greenwood

Parkhead

Penderry

Pendleton

Pen-y-waun

Princess

Queenslie

Royston

Smithdown

Speke

St. James

Summerhill

Thorntree

Townhill

Tylorstown

Vauxhall

Walker

West City

Information about the 50 wards that have the highest proportion of workless households is not available. This is because this is measured using data from the Household Labour Force Survey but this is only available at Government office region level.

Notes:

1. All data represent a snapshot in time of claimants on the computer system, and will therefore exclude a very small number of cases that are held clerically.

2. Geo-referencing tools, obtained from the Office for National Statistics, have been used to assign claimants to geographies.

3. Data represents children dependent on a parent/guardian claiming one or more of IS, JSA, IB/SDA or PC.

4. Due to the introduction of child tax credits in April 2003, information on child dependents is not reliably completed on the benefit computer system. Therefore children have been merged onto IS/JSA/IB/SDA/PC claims from child benefit records with permission of HMRC.

Source:

DWP Information Directorate

Health

Accident and Emergency Departments

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the oral answer by the Prime Minister of 13 December 2006, Official Report, column 866, on engagements, if she will list the accident and emergency departments which are undergoing consultation on change. (113018)

This information is not held centrally. However, there may be a number of service reviews, where proposals are either subject to ongoing consultation or subject to consultation in the future, and these may involve some changes to accident and emergency (A and E) facilities.

The national health service has told us that there are no plans to consult on changes to A and E in 12 of the NHS trusts from the list of 29 that the hon. Member claimed were under threat of closure or downgrading in his letter of 30 November to the NHS chief executive, David Nicholson.

The Government will support the NHS on service reconfigurations where clear and compelling cases for change are made. Professor Sir George Alberti’s report “Emergency Access”, published on 5 December 2006, set out that how emergency care is delivered needs to change to ensure that patients get the best care in the right place. The report is available in the Library and can be found at www.dh.gov.uk/publications

No substantial changes to A and E facilities will take place without full and proper consultation with patients and the public locally.

Advertising

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much her Department has spent on (a) television and (b) radio advertising in each year since 1997-98 in (i) real and (ii) nominal terms. (109667)

The following tables set out how much the Department has spent on television and radio advertising in each year since 2000-05 in real and nominal terms.

Financial information on television and radio advertising is only available for the last five years. Figures pre-2001 are no longer accessible due to the switch-over to a new financial management system.

TV advertising spend

£ million

Nominal

Real

2001-02

8.7

8.3

2002-03

9.05

8.60

2003-04

18.75

18.36

2004-05

17.77

17.59

2005-06

13.82

13.82

Radio advertising spend

£ million

Nominal

Real

2001-02

2.10

2.42

2002-03

2.03

2.22

2003-04

2.12

2.26

2004-05

3.74

3.78

2005-06

3.90

3.90

Bank Nurses

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hours of work were covered by bank nurses in the NHS in each year between 2000-01 and 2005-06. (113014)

Birthing Units

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the reasons for variations in the cost of deliveries referred to in the answer of 10 October 2006, Official Report, column 679W in the last Session, on birthing units. (113512)

A combination of local unavoidable costs affecting the cost of providing activity, such as staff, land and building costs, and the relative efficiencies of the organisations providing the activity lead to variations in the cost of the deliveries referred to. The information used to produce these average costs, national health service reference costs, is collected at an aggregate level so currently no further assessment can be made as to what parts of providing these services are contributing what costs.

Breast Screening

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made on extending the NHS breast screening programme to women aged 65 to 70 years; and if she will make a statement. (113791)

All local national health service breast screening programmes are now inviting women aged 65 to 70, and an estimated over 600,000 more women have accepted their invitation and been screened since the extension began in April 2001.

Cataract Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cataract operations were carried out at (a) Good Hope Hospital and (b) Sir Robert Peel Hospital in each of the last 10 years. (112820)

The information for the Sir Robert Peel Hospital is not collected centrally. However, data relating to the Good Hope Hospital National Health Service Trust have been set out in the table.

The table shows the number of cataract operations undertaken at Good Hope Hospital NHS Trust each year since 1999. Prior to this date no cataract operations were performed at the trust.

Count of finished in year admission episodes where cataracts were the main operation

Number

2005-06

362

2004-05

352

2003-04

321

2002-03

309

2001-02

348

2000-01

395

1999-2000

223

Notes:

1. Main operation

The main operation is the first recorded operation in the HES data set and is usually the most resource intensive procedure performed during the episode. It is appropriate to use main operation when looking at admission details, eg time waited, but the figures for “all operations count of episodes” give a more complete count of episodes with an operation.

2. OPCS codes:

C71 Extracapsular extraction of lens

C72 Intracapsular extraction of lens

C74 Other extraction of lens

C75 Prosthesis of lens

Primary care trust (PCT) and strategic health authority (SHA) data quality PCT and SHA data were added to historic data-years in the HES database using 2002-03 boundaries, as a one-off exercise in 2004. The quality of the data on PCT of Treatment and SHA of Treatment is poor in 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99, with over a third of all finished episodes having missing values in these years. Data quality of PCT of general practitioner (GP) practice and SHA of GP practice in 1997-98 and 1998-99 is also poor, with a high proportion missing values where practices changed or ceased to exist. There is less change in completeness of the residence-based fields over time, where the majority of unknown values are due to missing postcodes on birth episodes. Users of time series analysis including these years need to be aware of these issues in their interpretation of the data.

3. Finished in-year admissions

A finished in-year admission is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider, excluding admissions beginning before 1 April at the start of the datayear. Please note that admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year.

Source:

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The Information Centre for health and social care.

Cheese Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the possible impact on the cheese industry of the proposed restrictions on television advertising of unhealthy foods. (107428)

The Government’s manifesto includes a commitment to help parents by restricting further the advertising and promotion to children of those foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar. There has been no assessment of the possible impact that proposed television restrictions on food and drink advertising to children will have on the cheese industry.

The Department believes that the nutrient profiling model, developed by the Food Standards Agency for use by Ofcom, provides a scientific and objective base for underpinning regulatory intervention in relation to television advertising to children. The restrictions that Ofcom has announced apply to programming aimed at or of particular appeal to children.

Choose and Book System

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the cost of (a) establishing the choose and book system and (b) operating the system to date; whether the system is rolling out to plan; and if she will make a statement. (113488)

At the end of November 2006, the cost to date of the development and operation of the choose and book computer system was £33.0 million under a contract with Atos Origin worth £64.5 million over five years.

In the week ending 3 December 2006, 32 per cent. of all national health service referrals to see a specialist went through choose and book and 77 per cent. of General Practitioners practices made at least one choose and book referral. All 170 eligible NHS acute trusts and a number of independent sector providers, are receiving choose and book referrals.

Cirencester Hospital

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when her Department expects to sign a contract for the provision of elective surgery at Cirencester hospital. (115167)

The proposed provision of elective surgery at Cirencester hospital is part of a wider scheme for the provision of services by an independent sector provider across the Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire area. United Kingdom Specialist Hospitals (UKSH) was appointed as the preferred bidder for the scheme in August 2006. Commercial negotiations with UKSH have continued since that time. Contract signature is anticipated in spring 2007 and services are expected to commence in summer 2008.

Proceedings for permission to bring a Judicial Review claim in relation to this contract have been served. The permission proceedings are being opposed. Until the outcome of these proceedings is known, it is not possible to know whether the timetable to sign this contract will need to be delayed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the Gloucester Partnership trust has any plans (a) to curtail and (b) to move any of the NHS services which are provided at the Cirencester memorial hospital. (115169)

Gloucestershire Partnership national health service trust plans to continue providing community-based specialist mental health services in Cirencester, including out-patient services and assessment and treatment. However, the Memorial Centre is not fit for providing modern mental health services and the trust needs to ensure that it discharges its responsibilities in relation to health and safety at work and disabled persons’ access.

The trust is therefore seeking an alternative location in Cirencester. The trust will share any relocation proposals with patients and the public locally before a final decision is taken and has confirmed that there will be no gaps in service provision during relocation.

Until an alternative location is found, the Memorial Centre will continue to be used by staff to provide a range of services, including primary care assessment treatment, recovery and crisis teams, psychological therapy, substance misuse and eating disorder services.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether there are any plans to reduce the hours of accident and emergency treatment at Cirencester memorial hospital. (115170)

Decisions about local services are taken by local national health service organisations. NHS South West has advised officials that there are no accident and emergency services at Cirencester memorial day hospital. I understand that there is a minor injuries unit service at Cirencester hospital, and that there are no changes planned to that service.

Community Service Volunteers

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much her Department has (a) budgeted for and (b) paid to the Community Service Volunteers in the 2006-07 financial year; and what the figures were in 2005-06. (108455)

The amounts budgeted for and paid to the Community Service Volunteers (CSV) organisation by the Department of Health is given in the following table.

Payments budgeted and paid to CSV

£

2005-06

2006-07

Budgeted

Paid

Budgeted

Paid

Capital volunteering

2,640,000

2,640,000

3,746,000

3,746,000

Opportunities for volunteering

250,000

250,000

243,000

243,000

Section 64 grant

12,300

12,300

30,000

22,500

Total

2,902,300

2,902,300

4,019,000

265,500

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects the chairman of the Appointments Commission to write to the right hon. Member for Warley with the information requested in the question on the West Midlands Ambulance Service answered on 7 November 2006, Official Report, column 1321W. (113614)

Dentistry

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to ensure that figures for missed dental appointments in each primary care trust in England are collected centrally. (107619)

The Department has no plans to introduce a national requirement that dentists report on numbers of missed appointments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account was taken of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's guidelines on the provision of dental services for children in deciding the minimum number of units of dental activity for children under the new contractual arrangements. (112937)

The new contractual arrangements do not specify any minimum number of units of dental activity for children. Under the new contracts, dentists are required to provide the care and treatment that they judge clinically necessary and that the patient or, in the case of children, the parent or carer agrees to have provided. Dentists are also required to take into account the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's guidelines in recommending the interval at which a patient should return for a further examination and assessment, having completed a course of treatment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what growth funding was provided to each (a) primary care trust and (b) local health board from 1 April 2006 from the previous year's allocation for the delivery of NHS dentistry. (113306)

Primary care trusts (PCTs) did not receive primary care dental allocations in 2005-06. The bulk of primary dental care continued to be provided through the centrally funded general dental services, with spending levels determined primarily by where dentists chose to practise and how much NHS work they chose to undertake. PCTs assumed full responsibility for local commissioning of primary care dentistry and received devolved budgets with effect from 1 April 2006. PCTs’ 2006-07 primary care dental allocations reflected levels of dental activity in each PCT area during the 12-month reference period October 2004 to September 2005, together with adjustments for contracts that opened during the reference period, funding plans agreed between PCTs and the Department for expanding personal dental services pilots or establishing new services, and upratings to 2006-07 prices.

The resources allocated to PCTs assumed overall gross expenditure (including income from dental patient charges) of around £2.4 billion, compared with gross expenditure of around £2.2 billion nationally in 2005-06.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of each primary care trust's devolved budget for NHS dentistry has not yet been allocated to the delivery of dental care. (113308)

The in-year management of devolved primary dental care allocations is the responsibility of primary care trusts, overseen by strategic health authorities. Full year expenditure data will not be available until after the year end.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children have accessed NHS dentistry in England in each of the last 12 months, broken down by primary care trust or local health board. (113309)

The information is not available in the form requested. Under the new dental system, which came into effect from 1 April 2006, information is available on the number of patients who receive care or treatment from a national health service dentist in the most recent 24-month period. The Information Centre for Health and Social Care publishes this information, known as patients seen, each quarter. This is not yet available broken down into adult and child categories but is expected to be available in this format later this year.

The latest information available covering the 24-month periods ending March, June and September 2006 is set out by primary care trust in the table which has been placed in the Library. It is also available in the NHS Dental Statistics for England Quarter Two: 30 September 2006 publication at:

www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/nhsdentq2.

Welsh data are available from the Welsh Assembly Government.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many units of dental activity were allocated to each dental practice in Wimbledon constituency in 2005-06. (115552)

Diabetes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the criteria will be for the funding decision for the National Diabetes Support Team in the next financial year; and when the decision will be made. (113169)

Funding for diabetes is included in the proposed bundle for 2007-08. A service level agreement is being prepared for discussion and agreement between the Department and the 10 strategic health authorities (SHAs). This is planned to be finalised in the next few weeks. The 10 SHAs will then agree how individual budget funding is to be deployed in 2007-08 and the criteria to be used for decision-making.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding will be made available by her Department for the National Diabetes Support Team from March 2007 to March 2008. (113170)

The value of the 2007-08 bundle has been finalised at £6.9 billion and the Department is currently preparing a service level agreement for discussion and agreement between the Department and the 10 strategic health authorities (SHAs). This is expected to be finalised in the next few weeks. The SHAs will then agree how funding for individual programme budgets (such as for diabetes) will be deployed for 2007-08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding the National Diabetes Support Team received from her Department in (a) 2003, (b) 2004, (c) 2005 and (d) 2006 to date. (113172)

The table shows how much funding has gone to the National Diabetes Support Team (NDST) since its establishment in 2003

£

2003-04

2,700,000

2004-05

4,000,000

2005-06

4,694,000

2006-07

4,490,000

Note: In 2006-2007 there was a change in the funding arrangements. Up until that point funding for the NDST was on the basis of a service level agreement (SLA) directly with Bradford primary care trust(PCT). From 2006-2007 onwards funding for the NDST has formed part of the bundle of national health service programme money passed to the new strategic health authorities (SHAs) to cover the cost of various centrally provided NHS activities such as national support teams.

Bradford PCT acted as host agency for the NDST and channelled funding to the team on the basis of a SLA held with the Department

Gershon Review

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent by her Department and its associated public bodies in order to achieve Gershon efficiency savings; whether these costs have been included in reporting headline efficiency savings; and if she will make a statement. (108348)

The Gershon report required Departments to calculate operating efficiencies recurrent beyond March 2008. We were not required to calculate non-recurrent investment costs incurred up to this date. Any recurrent additional operating costs that may offset specific efficiency gains are however included.

Both our initial target and subsequent reported progress are calculated on this basis. We do not therefore hold a comprehensive central record of non- recurrent costs. Deducted recurrent costs at September 2006, relating to community nursing to enable reduced hospital emergency bed days, amount to £60 million.

Full details of how gains have been calculated are set out in the efficiency technical note published in December 2005 and available on the Department's website.

Health Protection Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what changes in practice have resulted following publication of the Health Protection Agency’s port health and medical inspection review. (104379)

The joint Health Protection Agency (HPA) and Home Office review of port health and medical inspection under the Immigration Act 1971 identified an action plan, which is currently being implemented. The HPA has initiated work to ensure that arrangements at each port of entry are robust, understood and fit for purpose, which allow the HPA to assume full responsibility for the medical input to these services from April 2007. The Home Office has also set up standing arrangements for the healthcare of immigration detainees at ports of entry.

Hospital Beds

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many beds were available in NHS hospitals in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and how many were (a) intensive care, (b) high dependency and (c) high observation beds. (107000)

Table 1 shows the average daily number of available intensive care beds, England, 2001-02 to 2005-06.

Table 1

Intensive care beds

2001-02

4,938

2002-03

5,022

2003-04

5,013

2004-05

5,223

2005-06

5,463

Table 2 shows the number of available adult high dependency beds on the census dates, England, 2001 to 2006.

Table 2

Census date

Adult high dependency beds

15 January 2001

1,208

16 July 2001

1,270

15 January 2002

1,319

16 July 2002

1,352

15 January 2003

1,351

16 July 2003

1,397

15 January 2004

1,374

15 July 2004

1,414

13 January 2005

1,440

14 July 2005

1,429

16 January 2006

1,485

13 July 2006

1,443

Data on the number of high observation beds are not held centrally.

Hospital Parking