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HM Prisons

Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the availability of (a) work and (b) courses in building trades in HM prisons. [8612]

Beverley Hughes: Around 800 prisoners at any time are employed by prison works departments on minor maintenance work in establishments. Around 1,100 prisoners at any time are engaged in construction industry training courses across 69 establishments running 134 courses. These cover painting and decorating, bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing and other building trades. The Prison Service is seeking through this and other work and training activity to increase the proportion of prisoners able to gain employment on release.

Drugs Policy

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he intends to review (a) the targets and (b) the policy on drugs relating to 16 to 24-year-olds. [8647]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We are currently reviewing progress against all the Drugs Strategy targets as part of the work for the 2002 Spending Review, to ensure that we still have the right balance and focus. This supports the hard work already done by Keith Hellawell. As the Home Secretary indicated in his evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on 23 October 2001, he is also seeking advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs on their assessment for reclassifying cannabis from Class B to Class C, proposing an innovative public awareness campaign on drugs aimed at young people, providing £1 million as a starter fund for a pilot project to help police target regional drug traffickers with a view to a national roll-out of the scheme, proposing the roll-out of drug testing programmes, and a series of measures, in partnership with the Department of Health, to minimise the harm drugs cause.

Addressing substance misuse among 16 to 24-year-olds is a key priority in delivering the Strategy. We are developing our policy and approach in a number of areas,

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such as in improving the planning and co-ordination of the delivery of services for young people through "Young People's Substance Misuse Plans". These will help integrate the work of the Drug Action Teams, responsible at local level for delivering education, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation measures, with other children's services. We will shortly be launching a consultation exercise on ways of supporting effective joint working at local level.

Family Visits

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) oral and (b) written appeals concerning family visits to the UK were disposed of in each of the last 12 months; what proportion were successful; and if he will make a statement. [9445]

Mr. Wills: I have been asked to reply.

The number of family visit visa appeals disposed of by Adjudicators in each of the last 12 months and the proportion successful is set out in the table.

Oral appeal disposals (number)Proportion successful (percentage)Written appeal disposals (number)Proportion successful (percentage)


Combined Pension Service

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason the roll-out of the combined pension statement has been delayed. [8973]

Mr. McCartney: Roll-out of the new combined pension forecasting service, which is a joint initiative between the Department and the pensions industry, began, as planned, from October 2001.

Departmental Spending (Deprived Areas)

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the expenditure by her Department in each of the years (a) 1996–97, (b) 1997–98, (c) 1998–99, (d) 1999–2000, (e) 2000–01, (f) 2001–02 and (g) 2002–03 (estimated) was allocated with reference to the Index of Multiple Deprivation; which expenditure programmes are allocated with respect to this index and other measures of relative geographic deprivation; and if he will make a statement. [8938]

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Mr. Nicholas Brown: None. Expenditure on the benefit programme is determined by the number of benefit claimants who satisfy the qualifying conditions that apply to a particular benefit. Similarly, the employment programmes offer help to all people seeking work providing they meet any criteria for entry to a particular programme. Certain employment programmes—Action Teams and Employment Zones—are designed to support people in disadvantaged areas, but expenditure on these is not allocated with specific reference to the Index of Multiple Deprivation.

Jobcentre Plus Interviews

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will make a statement on the process for (a) deferments, (b) exemptions and (c) waivers, set out in the Social Security (Jobcentre Plus Interviews) Regulations 2001; [8047]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Information on the process for deferrals, waivers and exemptions is set out in the guidance for Jobcentre Plus staff which was sent to offices on 10 September 2001. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Civil Servants (Retirement Age)

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the compulsory retirement ages which apply to employees of his Department and of executive agencies and other public sector bodies for which it is responsible, broken down by grade or job title. [7236]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Information on the normal retirement age and on compulsory early retirement or severance for my Department and for the executive agencies and public sector bodies for which it is responsible is as follows:

All staff outside the Senior Civil Service are able to elect to remain in employment beyond the minimum retirement age of 60 for any period of time up to 65, at which age staff must retire. Under the Civil Service management code, Senior Civil Servants are required to retire at 60.

Staff may also be retired on compulsory early retirement or severance terms on grounds of structure, and on compulsory early retirement terms on grounds of limited efficiency. In addition, as a pre-redundancy measure, volunteers can be sought to leave on compulsory terms to avoid compulsory redundancies. Early retirement applies to staff aged 50 and over; early severance applies to staff aged under 50.

London Weighting

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the total value of

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London weightings and London living allowances for his Department; and if he will make a statement. [6848]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The total value of London weightings and London living allowances for the Department for Work and Pensions is £49,737,543.

London weightings and London allowances account for 2 per cent. of the Department's total wage bill. London staff represent 12 per cent. of the total staff in the Department.

These figures are correct as at 31 August 2001.

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Refurbishment Projects

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) building and (b) refurbishment projects are planned by his Department in (i) the current and (ii) the next financial year; and what the costs will be of each project. [6594]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Details of building and refurbishment projects that will be completed within this financial year and the next are given in the tables. Information is provided only in respect of projects costing £1 million or over in total. No building or refurbishment projects have so far been approved to commence in the next financial year.

Building projects—expenditure

£ million
DescriptionSite 2001–02 2002–03Total cost
Extension on existing site for the Pension Service.Tyneview Park, Newcastlen/an/a(10)10.0
Adaptation of three buildings for the Pension Service to accommodate circa 500 staff in each building.Dundee4.090.054.14
Simonstone, Burnley1.960.021.98
Provision of new, and reconstruction of existing, portacabins to accommodate staff on modernisation projects.Lytham St. Annes2.52.5
Construction project (new build) to provide Pathfinder Office for JobCentre Plus.Birmingham South West3.03.0
Reconstruction of a commercial premises to re-house staff in support of the Government's modernisation programme in Sheffield.Sheffield0.1353.994.125

(10) The equivalent cost for Tyneview Park is given as this is part of an Inland Revenue-led PFI project and hence no capital cost is involved.

Refurbishment projects—expenditure 2001–02

£ million
Renovation and refurbishment of existing DWP office buildings to provide new Pathfinder Offices for JobCentre Plus.Aberdeen1.33
Port Glasgow1.47
Renovation and refurbishment of existing DWP accommodation (in three buildings) to house staff to administer Carers Allowance for over 60s.Preston Office Centre1.0

(11) All refurbishment projects to be delivered this financial year.

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