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Miss Melanie Johnson: Information concerning the Government's financing plans for 2001-02 can be found in the "Debt and Reserve Management Report 2001-02", which has been published today. Copies of the Report are available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, with reference to Protocol 5 of the Maastricht Treaty concerning budget deficits and the document known as the Stability Pact, he will list (a) the last published paper issued by Her Majesty's Government containing the text of the Protocol, (b) the Treaty Base of the Stability Pact and the date on which it was (i) first published and (ii) approved by the Ministerial Council, (c) when it was presented to Parliament, considered by a Committee of either House and reported upon, and (d) the debates held or Resolutions made in respect of the document in either House of Parliament. 
Miss Melanie Johnson: The Protocol on the Excessive Deficit Procedure is annexed to the Treaty Establishing the European Community, as a result of the Treaty on European Union agreed at Maastricht on 9-10 December 1991. Royal Assent was given to the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993 on 20 July 1993, amending UK law, following its third and final reading in the House of Lords.
Detail on the legal bases used for the Stability and Growth Pact and background on the submission of the proposals for UK parliamentary scrutiny is contained in the comprehensive Explanatory Memorandum which covered them, submitted to Parliament by HM Treasury on 3 June 1997 (6946/97 and 6947/97).
The House of Commons Select Committee on European Legislation noted, in its Second Report of the 1997-98 Session, that the documents had been the subject of a full day's debate on the Floor of the House, and had cleared scrutiny by virtue of the Resolution come to at the end of that debate. I refer my hon. Friend to column 896 of the Official Report on 9 June 1997. The House of Lords Scrutiny Committee confirmed that these items had cleared scrutiny in their 11 June 1997 Progress of Scrutiny Report.
7 Mar 2001 : Column: 232W
Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if it is the practice of the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency to sign the substantive replies to hon. Members who have written to him on behalf of constituents. 
Mr. Darling: I am setting out the Government's proposals on the future of the minimum funding requirement in a joint DSS/HMT paper "Security for Occupational Pensions: The Government's Proposals", which I am placing in the Library.
Mr. Rooker: Winter Fuel Payments are one of the initiatives in our commitment to tackle fuel poverty in Great Britain. They are not only paid to pensioners and are not linked to receipt of State Retirement Pension.
Winter Fuel Payments are paid to people aged 60 and over who satisfy the qualifying conditions during the relevant qualifying week. One of the main qualifying conditions is that a person should be ordinarily resident in Great Britain.
7 Mar 2001 : Column: 233W
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people requesting copies of the Pension credit consultation paper have been told that it was out of stock; for what periods it was not available; and if he will extend the consultation period to take account of such periods. 
Mr. Rooker: The consultation paper has been continuously available since November 2000 on the internet. During this period 4,233 copies of the consultation document have been issued. Due to the high demand for copies, the Department ordered a second print of the command paper to replenish stocks. Printed copies of the document were not available for a short period of 12 days while delivery was awaited. During this time 441 orders were placed for 515 copies.
Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if the (a) Benefits Agency and (b) Benefits Fraud Inspectorate will accept the use of electronic signatures by claimants as valid. 
Mr. Rooker: The Department does not currently accept the use of electronic signatures on claims or other applications. It is envisaged that electronic signatures will be accepted as soon as the necessary legal, security and authentication issues have been resolved.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the total cost of advertising campaigns run by his Department and its agencies in each year since 1992 and the projected cost for the current year. 
The estimated increase in spending on Advertising for the year 2000-01 takes into account the work being undertaken by the Department around the Minimum Income Guarantee take up campaign, Pensions Education and anti-fraud activity.
|Average Yearly Cost||4,820,671|
|Average Yearly Cost||5,056,656|
(12) Figures only available for the Department's Headquarters.
7 Mar 2001 : Column: 234W
of National Insurance numbers created, (c) the number of National Insurance numbers cancelled and (d) the population aged 16 years or older. 
|Year||Total of NINOs at 31 December|
Figures rounded to the nearest million.
|Year (January to December)||NINOs created|
1. Figures rounded to the nearest thousand.
2. The reason for the large increase in NINO creation for years 1990-93 is:
During 1990-91 NINOs were created for all those customers in receipt of retirement pensions where the customer did not have a NINO.
During 1992-93 Child Reference Numbers (CRN) for all children included on claims to Child Benefit were allocated. CRNs become NINOs when the child reaches age 16.
|Year (January to December)||NINOs removed|
1. Figures round to the nearest thousand.
2. The varying figures for removals are due to the varying Data Cleanse exercises (i.e. not all of the exercises involved the removal of records).
7 Mar 2001 : Column: 235W
|Mid-year||UK population over age 16|
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 7 February 2001, Official Report, column 552W, on national insurance numbers, what reasons underlay the increase in the number of national insurance numbers removed from the Departmental Central Index. 
Mr. Rooker: The primary objective of the Departmental Central Index (DCI) Data Cleaning Project was to undertake an analysis of the DCI database to identify specific data issues which would need to be resolved to clean up the DCI database.
The Project removed 182,000 National Insurance Numbers (NINOs) during this financial year--more than in the whole of the last Parliament. The increase in the number of NINOs removed is due to the Project designing various enhanced IT scans which identified high risk records and continued to target duplicate records. Since the Project commenced only 10 fraudulent NINOs have been discovered, the vast majority were duplicates.
7 Mar 2001 : Column: 236W
|January to December||NINOs created on DCI||NINOs removed from DCI|
Departmental Central Index (DCI)
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