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Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people aged 25 years and over had been receiving the Jobseeker's Allowance for more than two years in September 1997; and how many people aged 25 years and over have been receiving the jobseeker's allowance for more than two years currently. 
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|Year||Number of claimants (thousand)|
1. It is not possible to provide figures for September 1997, I have therefore provided for the nearest point in time which is August 1997.
2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred and quoted in thousands.
3. Figures based on claimants aged 25 years and over.
4. Figures based on duration of two years and over.
5. Based on 5 per cent. sample, therefore subject to sampling error.
6. Figures include all JSA cases who receive contribution-based and income-based benefit.
7. Claimants signing for National Insurance credits only are not included.
Jobseeker's Allowance Statistics Quarterly Enquiry, August 1997 and May 2000
Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 30 October 2000, Official Report, column 254W, when he asked the Government Actuary to undertake a report into the basic state pension and different methods of uprating. 
Mr. Rooker: Section 36 of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 requires the Government Actuary, or the Deputy Government Actuary, to report to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on the cost of uprating the basic Retirement Pension in line with the general level of earnings. The Act received Royal Assent on 28 July 2000.
(3) how many people living in (a) Australia, (b) Britain and (c) elsewhere will be affected by the termination of the Anglo-Australian Social Security Agreement. 
Mr. Rooker: People who are already receiving benefit with the help of the agreement when it terminates will not be affected. We are actively considering the full implications of Australia's decision and in particular what we can do to protect the position of those residing in the UK who have previously lived in Australia but not yet retired.
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Mr. Rooker: People cannot earn credits while they are resident in Australia. Under the terms of the Social Security Agreement with Australia, when someone who is permanently resident in the United Kingdom claims Retirement Pension, previous residence in Australia can be treated as periods during which Class 3 contributions have been paid.
We estimate that an average of about 1,000 pensioners have benefited from these provisions each year during the last five years. The estimated average basic pension enhancement under the Agreement was around £15 a week over this period.
Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) of 2 November 2000, Official Report, column 575W, for how many years the National Insurance Fund will remain in surplus over and above the recommended surplus if the basic state pension was uprated in line with average earnings, contribution rates remained unchanged and contribution thresholds were uprated in line with the average earnings. 
Mr. Rooker: The information is contained in Tables 4.2 and 5.2 of the "Report by the Government Actuary on the Cost of Uprating the Basic Retirement Pension in line with the General Level of Earnings" Cm 4920, which was laid before Parliament on 9 November 2000. Copies of the Report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and the Report is available on the internet at www.gad.gov.uk/publication/publication.html.
Mr. Straw: The Government are committed to action against hi-tech crime in line with our twin objectives of making the United Kingdom the best and the safest place in the world to conduct and engage in e-commerce.
I am therefore making £25 million available to the police in England and Wales over the next three years to initiate the implementation of a National Hi-Tech Crime Strategy to enhance the capability of law enforcement more effectively to investigate crime where new technology is used.
The funding being made available will give impetus to the process of developing the skills within the police to undertake computer network investigations and forensic examination of computer systems. These are skills that are becoming necessary as criminals identify opportunities to use and misuse information and communications
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technology. It is important to ensure that the police have the proper skills and equipment to support them in this new activity.
With those skills the police will, at the local level, be able to deliver improved service to the public to investigate reports of computer-related crime and to recover and analyse computer based evidence. The crimes concerned cover a wide spectrum from hacking and financial fraud to obscenity and the unlawful activities of paedophiles. The work of local units will be complemented by a multi-agency National Hi-Tech Crime Unit that will begin operation in April 2001. The national unit will provide advice and support to local units, and to other law enforcement agencies across the United Kingdom, and deal with the most serious and organised hi-tech crime offences, including those which have a transnational impact.
The Government's commitment to support the development of the capability of law enforcement was made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, when he endorsed the Cabinet Office Performance and Innovation Unit report, "firstname.lastname@example.org", last summer. That report recommended that the Government improve the technical capability of law enforcement to investigate internet crime and establish an Internet Crime Unit.
On 11 September the Prime Minister published the UKOnline Annual Report. The establishment of a National Hi-Tech Crime Unit was identified as a specific action, part of the Government's commitment to work with industry to ensure a safe and secure environment for e-commerce and to help people trust the internet.
I am pleased that with the support of the Association of Chief Police Officers, the National Criminal Intelligence Service and the National Crime Squad, we are able to make progress towards ensuring that the police both locally and nationally are better trained and equipped to deal with hi-tech crime.
Mr. Straw: The Government fully support the aims of the International Year of Volunteers. The Home Office is contributing £300,000 towards the costs of the International Year of Volunteers English Consortium to cover salaries and other core costs. We would also like to see all employers give their employees a day's paid time off to work in the community. The Home Office has a policy of allowing staff special leave each year to do voluntary work. I intend to spend a day volunteering during 2001.
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Mr. Charles Clarke: Over 100 anti-social behaviour orders have been issued since the measure was implemented on 1 April 1999. At least 30 of these have been made in the Greater London area, but, as far as I am aware, none has been made in the Royal borough of Kingston.
I cannot yet say what the average cost of issuing an order is. We will be undertaking a review into the operation and effectiveness of anti-social behaviour orders in the New Year. Once the results of the review have been published, we should have a clearer picture of the cost of seeking an order.
Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons registered social landlords do not have the power to apply direct to the courts for anti-social behaviour orders; and if he will assess the benefits of giving such a power to those registered social landlords who have acquired the housing stock of a local authority. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 recognised the key responsibility of the police and the local authority for tackling problems of crime and disorder on a local basis. The Act created the anti-social behaviour order as a powerful community-based measure to assist the police and local authorities in carrying out that responsibility and gave them the power to apply for such orders. The guidance we issued in June emphasises that registered social landlords should play a full and active part in any anti-social behaviour order case involving their tenants.
We have given a commitment to review the operation of anti-social behaviour orders within two years of implementation. The review will start in the new year and its findings and recommendations will be published. The review will cover the current procedures and channels for making an application. The review will specifically consider giving registered social landlords the power to apply for anti-social behaviour orders.
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