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Television Licences

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will list the (a) number and (b) total cost of television licences paid for by her Department. [54072]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Information on television licenses purchased by courts is not held centrally and total figures for the Lord Chancellor's Department could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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Digital Television

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many subscriptions to (a) digital terrestrial, (b) digital satellite and (c) digital cable are held by her Department for services in departmental buildings from which Ministers work, stating for each subscription its (i) cost and (ii) purpose. [54071]

Ms Rosie Winterton: None.

Registered Enduring Powers of Attorney

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many registered enduring powers of attorney there were in each year since 2000. [53781]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The total number of registered enduring powers of attorney was 55,710 in the year 2000 and 61,163 in the year 2001. The number of new applications for registered received was 12,340 in the year 2000 and 13,110 in the year 2001.

Digital Radios

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many digital radios are owned by her Department for use in departmental buildings from which Ministers work; and what the (a) cost and (b) date of purchase of each radio was. [54073]

Ms Rosie Winterton: None.

Sex Offenders

Norman Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department under what circumstances schedule 1 sex offenders are allowed unsupervised contact with children. [41974]

Mr. Keith Bradley [holding answer 11 March 2002]: I have been asked to reply.

Schedule 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 is a list of cruelty, violent and sexual offences against children. This list has been used by various agencies as a way of identifying those committing these offences as posing a risk to children, although not all necessarily do so or do so currently. Some of those guilty of offences on the list, for example, may have committed the offence many years previously, may themselves have been children at the time and the offence may have, for example, involved a fight with another child of a similar age. Others convicted of offences on the list may have been engaged in mutually agreed sexual activity, albeit with someone under the age of legal consent, to whom they were relatively close in age. There are no specified requirements flowing from commission of an offence on Schedule 1 of this Act that prohibit offenders from having unsupervised contact with children. There are, however, other more recent means of achieving this and of protecting children from the risk that violent and sexual offenders pose.

Those offenders sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment are released subject to a licence which can include, in relevant cases, a requirement not to have unsupervised contact with children. Breach of these conditions can result in a return to prison. Moreover, a similar prohibition can be included in a Sex Offender

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Order, for which the police can apply to magistrates' court with respect to a convicted sex offender whose current behaviour indicates they pose a risk of serious harm. Breaching the terms of the order may result in a maximum sentence of up to five years imprisonment.

Part 2 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 provides for certain of those convicted of offences against children to be disqualified from seeking or taking employment, whether paid or unpaid, with children in the future.

The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act also placed a statutory duty jointly on the policy and probation services to put arrangements in place for assessing and managing the risk posed by sexual and violent offenders. These arrangements enable a risk assessment to be undertaken and plans to be devised for managing the risk that such offenders pose.

Despite these measures, it nonetheless remains important for parents to be vigilant about those to whom they entrust the care of their children, particularly when they are not present to ensure their safety.


Members' Pensions

Chris Ruane: To ask the President of the Council if he will make a statement on progress made on hon. Members' pensions. [55068]

Mr. Robin Cook: On 5 July 2001 the House considered the latest report of the SSRB on the parliamentary pension scheme. The House agreed to four of the eight recommendations of the SSRB and invited the trustees of the scheme to consider the remaining recommendations. The trustees are now reaching agreement on how to implement all eight recommendations, including extension of entitlement to unmarried partners and continuation of entitlement to surviving partners who have subsequently remarried. The trustees will be able to fund these improvements with no additional charge to Members.

The House also voted to increase the accrual rate from 1/50th to 1/40th. The Government do not accept the proposal in the resolution that all the cost should fall on the Treasury. It has therefore referred the cost of this improvement to the SSRB and invited their advice on how it should be funded.

The SSRB has been asked to report by 1 July. Thereafter the Government will table a statutory instrument giving effect to all recommendations of the SSRB.


Whitehall Refurbishment

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if outstanding orders of sapele timber for the refurbishment of 22 Whitehall have been cancelled; [54351]

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Mr. Leslie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms Walley) on 19 April 2002, Official Report, column 1251.

My Department is currently, with Balfour Beatty, undertaking a full investigation and will report back to the House.

Regulatory Impact Assessments

Lawrie Quinn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list those regulatory impact assessments published during the latest six-month period. [55067]

Mr. Leslie: The Government are committed to ensuring that regulations are necessary, give effective protection, balance cost and risk, are fair and command public confidence. In accordance with this, we require Departments to produce and publish RIAs for all regulatory proposals likely to have an impact on business.

I have presented to Parliament today a Command Paper listing RIAs published between 1 July and 31 December 2001. Copies of those listed have been placed in the House Libraries. This is the sixteenth such Command Paper.

Public Servants

Mr. Allen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his definition is of the term "wider public servants" used in the Cabinet Office publication Taskforces and the Advisory Groups and Reviews published in October 2001; and whether it includes hon. Members. [53010]

Mr. Leslie: The definition "wider public servant" in the context of membership of taskforces refers to public sector employees who are not civil servants.

There is nothing to prevent hon. Members being appointed to taskforces and other ad hoc advisory groups. Should that be the case, it would be recorded in the Taskforces, Ad Hoc Advisory Groups and Reviews: Annual Report, under the heading of "wider public servant".

Public Bodies

Tony Wright: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which public bodies have been (a) set up, (b) abolished, (c) announced but not yet established and (d) targeted for future abolition since 1997. [54242]

Mr. Leslie: Information on all public bodies is set out in the annual 'Public Bodies' publication. The most recent edition gave the position as of 31 March 2001, copies of this and earlier editions are in the Library of the House. Individual entries in 'Public Bodies' are qualified, where necessary, with a footnote indicating if the body, though announced, has not yet been set up or if it has been targeted for abolition.

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Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what are the levels of pensions as a proportion of average weekly earnings in (a) the UK and (b) each other EU member state. [19956]

Mr. McCartney: The most recent figures available date from 1994–95 (except those for Italy where they are from 1993–94). They do not take account of the fact that since 1997 this Department has taken a number of measures to improve the income of pensioners, particularly the poorest of this group. Over 2 million pensioners benefit from the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG), currently £98.15 for a single pensioner and over 10 million pensioners benefited from the above inflation increases in basic Retirement Pension. Over 11 million Winter Fuel Payments, at a cost of around £1.7 billion, were sent out last winter.

Since 1997 single pensioners in receipt of MIG, Winter Fuel Payments and free TV licences are at least £18.00 a week better off and pensioner couples have gained by more than £27.

A further step is the Government's intention to introduce Pension Credit in October 2003. Around half of all pensioner households will be eligible for the Pension Credit—5.1 million individual pensioners or 3.9 million pensioner households stand to gain (excludes those living in residential care and nursing homes). On average, they will gain £400 a year, with some getting up to £1,000 a year.

It will get more money into pensioner's pockets and ensure that no single pensioner need live on less than £100 a week (£154 a week for couples).

The level of average UK pension income from all sources of income as a proportion of average weekly earnings is not available. The level as a proportion of population net income is 78 per cent.

Information for other EU member states is available on the same basis. This is in the table.


CountryPension Income as Proportion of Population Income


Data is for 1994 and 1995 except Italy, 1993.

Quoted in 'Cross-country comparisons of pensioner's incomes'. Research report No. 142, DSS, p22.


Labour Market and Social Policy—Occasional Papers No. 42, OECD.

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Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action he is taking in conjunction with the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority to monitor and control pension liberation schemes. [52254]

Mr. McCartney: The Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority and the Inland Revenue are working closely together to investigate a number of such cases that have been reported to them. It is important that any malpractice is identified quickly and eliminated. Meetings including officials from the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority, the Inland Revenue, the Financial Services Authority and my Department are being held, and my officials are keeping in close touch with the investigations.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will list the countries in which UK recipients of the state retirement pension do not receive regular upratings; and what the estimated annual cost is of extension of upratings to each such country; [52122]

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in which countries British pensioners living abroad (a) have and (b) do not have their pensions increased in line with inflation. [54473]

Mr. McCartney: Annual upratings have never been generally paid abroad. Exceptions apply under the EC's Social Security Regulations, which apply to pensioners who have a UK pension living in the European Economic Area, and under reciprocal social security agreements with other countries, which allow for increases to be paid there. The countries with which the UK has reciprocal agreements which allow pension upratings to be paid are: Barbados, Bermuda, the Channel Islands, Cyprus, Israel, Jamaica, Malta, Mauritius, the Philippines, Switzerland, Turkey, the USA and the now separate republics of the former Federal Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia Montenegro, Bosnia Herzegovina), Croatia, Slovenia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). Pensions are not uprated in any other country.

To bring everyone up to the current rate they would receive if they had remained in the UK, but not to pay arrears, would cost around £400 million in 2002–03.

Uprating is paid in some countries because the Government are either legally required to do so or have previously entered into reciprocal agreements to do so. However, the underlying intention of uprating is that it is meant to cover increases in the cost of living in this country.

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