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Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many men aged between 60 and 65 years were eligible to claim backdated winter fuel payments by the deadline of 30 March 2001 for backdated applications. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer 23 April 2002]: There are no time limits for claims which cover the past years 199798, 199899 and 19992000 and successful claims continue to be paid. 30 March 2001 was the deadline for winter 200001 claims only.
Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of those eligible men aged 60 to 65 years made a successful claim for backdated winter fuel payments in the last three years. 
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Mr. McCartney [holding answer 23 April 2002]: The information is not available in the format requested. There are no time limits for claims covering the winters 199798, 199899 and 19992000 and, to date, over 1 million payments have been issued in respect of one or more of these years. It is up to the individual to choose whether to claim.
Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions who has responsibility for (a) enforcing regulations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1999 and (b) ensuring that pubs are aware of their duties under it. 
Maria Eagle [holding answer 19 April 2002]: The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) has responsibility for enforcement action by means of a formal investigation where it has reason to believe that a person has committed or is committing an unlawful act under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act DDA, and any regulations made under it. It can also help individual disabled people secure their rights by, in some circumstances, providing legal assistance. The DRC also has responsibilities to provide information and advice to service providers, including pubs, about their obligations under the DDA and guidance on good practice. It prepares statutory codes of practice, runs a Helpline and undertakes general awareness raising initiatives. These activities complement the media campaigns run by the Government to raise awareness of the DDA.
Mr. Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many carers have lost their invalid care allowance because the adult they care for has lost their disability living allowance or attendance allowance as a consequence of hospitalisation; 
Maria Eagle: The information requested is not available. Data collected on the reason for termination of Invalid Care Allowance entitlement does not distinguish between loss of Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance for hospitalisation and for other reasons.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if old-age pensions are paid by bank transfer in advance or in arrears; and what estimate he has made of the extra cost that would be incurred in beginning pensionable benefits on the relevant birthday rather than on the subsequent payday. 
Mr. McCartney: People who opt to have their retirement pension paid into their bank account are normally paid four weeks in arrears. From 2003, payment directly into bank accounts will become the normal method of paying benefits and pensions. We will be enhancing our computer systems to make payments of retirement pension available in advance and on a weekly basis.
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If payment were made for part weeks at the start of a claim only, and there was no recovery of overpaid benefit at the end of a claim, we estimate that this would incur a cost of up to £20 million per annum.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the use of smart card technology in his Department and in the areas for which it is responsible; and what discussions he has had with private companies about the use of smart card technology within his Department. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer 16 April 2002]: Smart card technology is currently being used within the Department for Work and Pensions for security and access control as part of a project to modernise the Department's IT infrastructure. The project is currently part way through implementation, and all offices should be on stream by the end of 2002. Competitive tenders were sought for the supply of the Smart Card technology. Schlumberger, GemPlus and Giesecke and Devrient submitted proposals and the contract was awarded to GemPlus.
The Department continues to monitor developments in Smart Card technology and will consider it as appropriate for business needs in the future.
Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he plans to (a) re-introduce the Fit for Work scheme operated by the Department for Employment and (b) establish an alternative scheme to recognise companies who make life better for disabled people. 
Maria Eagle: Although the Fit for Work scheme was initially successful, it gradually became less effective at promoting employers' awareness of disabled people's potential in the workforce and was ended in 1991.
There are no plans to reintroduce the scheme as it has been replaced by the two ticks disability symbol initiative which was launched in 1990 to foster employers' commitment to good practice in employing disabled people. This scheme is administered by the Jobcentre Plus Disability Service, which maintains a database of employers using the symbol, who currently number around 5,000. The Disability Service updates the database with information from Disability Employment Advisers and compiles the National List of Disability Symbol Users, which gives details of all symbol users and the town or city in which they are located. All symbol users have signed a declaration agreeing that this information can be included on the list. Copies of the list are available to members of the public from their local Disability Employment Adviser.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the cost was to his Department of answering written parliamentary questions in 2001; and how that cost was calculated; 
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Mr. McCartney: I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons gave on 17 April 2002, Official Report, column 929W.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on overtime payments for staff in his Department. 
Mr. McCartney: Staff who work excess hours are compensated for the excess hours of duty by either time off in lieu or paid overtime. Management decide which method of compensation is appropriate.
Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer of 12 March 2002, Official Report, column 957W, on housing benefit, what information his Department holds on the numbers of housing benefit claimants who have had their entitlement restricted as a result of (a) local reference rent determinations and (b) single room rent determinations. 
Malcolm Wicks: The number of housing benefit recipients nationally who have had their entitlement restricted as a result of local reference rent (LRR) determinations and single room rent (SRR) determinations is collected in both the annual 1 per cent. sample and the quarterly 100 per cent. case load counts. This information is published in the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Annual Summary Statistics and the Quarterly Summary Statistics, copies of which are available in the Library.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many special advisers there were in his Department; and what their salaries were in each of the last five years. 
Mr. McCartney [holding answer 9 April 2002]: At 9 April 2002 three special advisers were in post in the Department. On special adviser salaries I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 10 April 2002, Official Report, column 11W.
Mr. Bacon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the handling of the claim by Mr. Douglas Gowan, a constituent, for disability living allowance by his Department's Disability Benefits Centre in Wembley; and what internal inquiries have been made into his case. 
Maria Eagle [holding answer 26 March 2002]: I have written privately to the hon. Member.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many families are in receipt of disabled children premium for two or more children in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland; and in how many families an enhanced disability premium is in payment for one or more of the children. 
Maria Eagle: The information is not available.
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Social Security matters in Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
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