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Climate Change Levy

Mr. Stunell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the forecast is for (a) the total charges made under the climate change levy and (b) the amount within this total which is attributable to sales of (i) electricity and (ii) electricity from nuclear sources. [8873]

Mr. Boateng: Climate change levy is forecast to raise £1 billion in its first year, 68 per cent. of which is expected to come from supplies of electricity. 23 per cent. of electricity production is nuclear.

All CCL revenue will be recycled to business. The levy is designed to be revenue neutral for the private sector as a whole, and is expected to be broadly neutral between the manufacturing and service sectors. CCL revenue is funding a 0.3 per cent. cut in the employers' rate of National Insurance contributions, and £150 million of additional support for energy efficient measures.

Market-sensitive Information

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the guidelines on the timing of release of market-sensitive information contained in decisions by Government Departments. [8392]

Ruth Kelly: Guidelines on the release of market- sensitive information contained in decisions by Government Departments are contained in the Government Information and Communication Service (GICS) Handbook published by the GICS Development Centre in the Cabinet Office.

Ministerial Meetings

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library details of meetings between Ministers in his Department and outside groups since 7 June in the form specified in paragraph 63 of the July 2001 Code of Conduct and Guidance on Procedures for Ministers. [8132]

Ruth Kelly: Treasury Ministers meet a wide range of individuals and organisations in carrying out their official duties. The arrangements for all such meetings are fully in accordance with the Ministerial Code. >

Compliance Costs Research Programme

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on (a) the progress and (b) expected timescale of the Inland Revenue and Customs Joint Compliance Costs Research Programme. [9738]

Dawn Primarolo: Last year, the Inland Revenue and Customs embarked on a research programme to measure the compliance cost of tax. The programme is expected to run for four years and will cover all direct and indirect taxes. Two contracts were awarded in September 2000 to undertake the first studies in the research programme. I have not seen the report so I cannot comment on the progress as yet.

Office for National Statistics

Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the Office for National Statistics performed against its key targets in 2000–01. [12145]

Ruth Kelly: The Office for National Statistics' performance is set out in the Agency's Annual Report and Accounts which is being laid before Parliament today.


War Pensions

Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what clarification was given on 24 November 2000 by DSS officials to representatives of the Association of British Civilian Internees Far East Region on the interpretation of which category of claimant could count as British in order to qualify for the ex gratia claims announced on 7 November 2000, following a meeting on 15 November between the DSS, the War Pensions Agency and other interested organisations. [11304]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 30 October 2001]: I have been asked to reply.

Through the latter part of November 2000, DSS officials were talking to representatives of ex-service organisations on a daily basis.

While there is no specific record of contact with the Association of British Civilian Internees Far East Region on 24 November 2000, the advice being given at that time >was that to be eligible for the ex-gratia payment civilian claimants must have been British at the time of internment.

Benefit Fraud (Highland District Council)

Mr. Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will publish the inspection report of the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate in respect of Highland district council. [12220]

Malcolm Wicks: The Benefit Fraud Inspectorate report was published today in respect of Highland district council and copies of the report have been placed in the Library.

Inspectors found that despite covering the largest geographical area of any council in the UK, the council was effective at promoting the take-up of benefit and provided access to advice on HB and CTB through a number of local outlets.

Although benefit claims were processed on time, inspectors consider the council's claim form was poor and its approach to verification was inconsistent, resulting in serious implications for the security of the benefits gateway. The report notes the council intended to phase in the Verification Framework from April 2001 and also agreed to revise its claim form.

Inspectors consider one of the underlying problems was the council's failure to manage benefits, particularly the lack of a senior manager with direct responsibility for HB and CTB. The report notes that addressing this failure is fundamental to facilitating improvements and successfully implementing BFI's recommendations.

Inspectors found limited counter-fraud activity, with no procedures in place with the procurator fiscal to effectively pursue prosecutions nor to offer administrative penalties. Insufficient staff were allocated to the counter-fraud team. Investigation work was in arrears and some investigations had not been fully completed. BFI considers one third of the council's Weekly Benefit Savings claims were incorrect.

The report makes recommendations to help the council address weaknesses and to improve the administration of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, as well as its counter-fraud activities.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is now considering the report and will be asking the council for its proposals in response to the findings and recommendations of the BFI.

Department of Social Security

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to phase out references to the Department of Social Security (a) on printed materials and (b) on the internet. [11309]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: References to the former Department of Social Security are being replaced on printer materials when a reprint becomes due, to avoid unnecessary wastage and costs.

All the Department's internet sites are in the process of being updated with the new corporate identity. Former DSS sites will be maintained for a period of time in order to redirect users to the new site. >

Disability Discrimination Act

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to advise small businesses of their present and future obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as amended. [11320]

Maria Eagle: Our "See the Person" national disability advertising campaign in 1999 and "What have you got to offer?" in autumn 2000 encouraged small businesses to consider reasonable adjustments to improve access for disabled people. A further campaign is planned for early next year.

We continue to work with partners such as the Small Business Service, the DRC and Equality Direct to identify advice and information that meets business needs.

There are also Codes of Practice available giving practical advice to employers, service providers and trade organisations about how to meet their duties under the DDA and a range of free, explanatory leaflets.

National Insurance Numbers

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the number of (a) bogus and (b) surplus national insurance numbers. [7469]

Malcolm Wicks: To date, 2,009 applications made for NINOs have been made using false identity documentation.

Duplicate NINOs are removed from the DCI as and when they are identified. Where it is discovered that a customer has two NINOs, one is deleted and this is noted on the remaining account. These cases are generally spotted by field officers and rarely involve fraudulent activity. Of the 205,000 surplus duplicate records removed from the DCI between November 1995 and March 2001, only 10 cases were potentially fraudulent.

Stakeholder Pensions

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of companies under the regulations introduced on 8 October that (a) are obliged to provide and (b) have so far failed to offer access to a stakeholder scheme. [7576]

Mr. McCartney: The latest estimate of the number of employers obliged to provide employees with access to a stakeholder pension scheme is between 350,000 and 400,000. By the end of August 2001, pensions industry figures showed 146,950 employers had designated a scheme. Figures showing designations since then are not yet available.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements he is making to monitor employers' compliance with their obligation to designate stakeholder pension schemes. [11316]

Mr. McCartney: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley) on 23 October 2001, Official Report, column 180W.


Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what avenues of redress are available to individual employees where their employer has failed to meet the deadline for designation of a stakeholder pension scheme. [11315]

Mr. McCartney: An employee who considers that their employer should have provided staff access to a stakeholder pension scheme but has not done so may raise the matter directly with their employer or through their trade union official or other recognised staff representative. Should this not resolve the issue the matter may then be reported to the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority (Opra) who will investigate.

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