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Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many meetings there have been between Ministers in his Department and the First Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales and his Cabinet in each of the past 12 months; and if he will list the (a) date and (b) subject of each meeting. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: I meet the First Minister of the National Assembly nearly every week and other Ministers of the Assembly as the need arises. In addition my hon.
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Friend the Under-Secretary has regular meetings with Assembly Ministers. At these meetings we discuss a wide range of issues.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to increase the number of staff in the Wales Office. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: I told the House on 23 January 2002, that I had commissioned an external study of the Wales Office staffing level, Official Report, column 873. I am considering the findings of that report and I will, as promised, write to the Select Committee on Welsh Affairs when I have decided what changes I might make.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to move the location of the Wales Office in London. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: I have no such plans.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many special advisers were employed by him (a) between 1 May and 31 December 1997 and (b) in each year from 1998 to 2001 inclusive; and what the total amount spent on special advisers by the Department was in each of those years. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: Since becoming Secretary of State for Wales in August 1999 I have been supported by two special adviser posts.
They are paid in accordance with the Cabinet Office pay scales for special advisers: these are currently under review.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the total external spending by his Department was on public-private partnership consultants in each of the last four years; how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over this period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; what the implied average cost of each PPP consultant was; how many consultancy firms were used by his Department over this period; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Paul Murphy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 1 February 2002 in respect of the Private Finance Initiative, Official Report, column 573W.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list (a) the amount budgeted and (b) the total spent on the free television licence for the over-75s in each financial year since its introduction. 
Maria Eagle: Annually Managed Expenditure is not cash limited.
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We made payments on behalf of DCMS as follows:
|Television licence revenue forgone||BBC administration costs|
(14) Includes payment of £7.165 million made in 200102 in respect of 200001.
Any under/overpayment as of 31 March in a given year is settled by way of adjustment to the final payment in the subsequent financial year.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of people entitled to a non-automatic winter fuel payment for the 200102 winter; and of that number how many have yet to make a claim. 
Maria Eagle: This winter, 200102, an estimated 500,000 people became newly entitled to a winter fuel payment. At least 255,000 of these people have been paid automatically.
Exact numbers of people who need to claim are not available; however, up to 8 March, over 217,000 claim forms had been received. Eligible people who need to submit a claim have until 30 March 2002 to do so and it is up to the individual to choose whether to claim.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will set out the national baseline targets for the total weekly benefit savings to be achieved by local authorities in each year since the introduction of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on (a) the basis on which the level of these targets were determined and (b) the performance of local authorities in meeting these targets in each year. 
Malcolm Wicks: Tables showing individual threshold figures and the individual performance against the thresholds for each local authority, from the introduction of the weekly benefit savings anti-fraud incentive scheme in April 1993 to March 2001, have been placed in the Library.
The level of the threshold targets was determined according to local authority housing benefit and council tax benefit (HB/CTB) expenditure and by weighted case load to reflect estimates of relative risks of different types of cases using available data, such as the housing benefit accuracy reviews.
The weekly benefit savings scheme is being replaced over two years from April 2001 with a new, more comprehensive scheme to reduce fraud and error in HB/CTB covering prevention, detection, sanctions and prosecutions.
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list for (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales, (d) Northern Ireland, (e) each English region and (f) each local authority in the United Kingdom
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(i) income support claimants as a percentage of the population over 16, (ii) employment rates as a percentage of the working age population, (iii) economic activity rates as a percentage of the working population and (iv) unemployment rates. 
Malcolm Wicks: The available information has been placed in the Library. Information on Northern Ireland is a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the implications for the UK following the adoption by the European Commission of an action plan to remove obstacles to EU workers' mobility; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Department is currently considering the Commission's Action Plan on Skills and Mobility and the implications for this Department.
The Action Plan contains a number of proposals which fall within the policy responsibility of other Government Departments, principally the Department for Education and Skills. We will work with those Departments to agree the UK's position.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to review the current benefits system; and when the last review was carried out. 
Malcolm Wicks: The benefits system is constantly under review.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the current rates of benefit are; when they were set; and what criteria were used to establish the level of benefit. 
Malcolm Wicks: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, North (Mr. Laxton) on 28 November 2001, Official Report, column 895W.
Rates of benefit are reviewed each year taking into consideration the change in the general level of prices in the September prior to the April in which the new rates are to come into force. Generally, contributory and non-contributory benefits are uprated by the Retail Prices Index and income-related benefits by the Rossi index (RPI less housing costs). However, there is discretion to increase rates other than in line with the rate of inflation, for example, the minimum income guarantee was increased by more than inflation to help combat pensioner poverty.
Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of children under 16 live in households where families claim means tested benefit in (a) St. Helens, South, (b) Merseyside, (c) the North West and (d) England. 
Malcolm Wicks: Information is not available at constituency level for means-tested benefits.
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As at May 2000, in England there were 2,310 thousand (22.9 per cent.) children under age 16 in families on means-tested benefits, and in the North West (including Merseyside) there were 390 thousand (27.2 per cent.) children under age 16 in families on means-tested benefits.
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