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Hospitalisation (Benefit Downrating)

Mr. Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many disabled adults have their disability living allowance withdrawn because they have been in hospital for four weeks or longer. [51575]

Maria Eagle: When disability living allowance recipients aged 16 or over have been in hospital for 28 days, payments are suspended pending their discharge. This is because DLA is paid as a contribution towards the extra costs faced by severely disabled people as a result of their disabilities. In hospital, the disability related needs giving rise to those costs are met free of charge, and to continue payment of DLA in these circumstances would amount to duplicate provision from public funds. Information is not available on the annual number of suspensions resulting from these circumstances. The latest available information is that, at 30 November 2001, about 11,700 claims were at that time recorded as suspended as a result of a stay in hospital.

This figure is based on 5 per cent. data and rounded to the nearest hundred.

Employment Statistics

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the participation of workers aged over 65 years in paid employment for OECD countries, by occupation type and average earnings. [53764]

Maria Eagle: The information is not readily available. Such information as is available is in the table.

Employment rate of those aged 65 years and over for OECD countries, 2000

OECD data Eurostat data
Czech Republic3.9
New Zealand7.6
Slovak Republic0.7


1. The employment rate is the proportion of all those aged 65 and over who are in employment. Persons in employment are defined as those who, during the reference week, did any work for pay or profit, or were not working but had jobs from which they were temporarily absent. Family workers are included.

2. As OECD data are not available for all OECD countries, Eurostat data have also been provided to give a more comprehensive picture.

3. Figures are rounded to one decimal place.

4. OECD data for Hungary and Iceland show employment rates for those aged 65 to 74 only and not for all those aged 65 and over.


OECD data are calculated from OECD Labour Market Statistics; Eurostat data are from European Social Statistics—Labour Force Survey Result 2000, Table 4, European Communities, 2001.

9 May 2002 : Column 314W

Housing Benefit

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the answer of 18 April 2002, Official Report, column 1120W, on housing benefit, in what format information is available. [53046]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 7 May 2002]: Under Best Value, the time taken by local authorities to process housing benefit claims is collected as an average number of calendar days. There is no measure of the proportion of claims processed within a set period from date of receipt to date of determination.


Libra Project

Mr. Todd: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will place copies of OGC Gateway reviews of the Libra project in the Library. [53459]

Mr. Wills: I am unable to place copies of these OGC reviews in the Library given the commercial sensitivity involved. Compliance with my hon. Friend's request would impair the value added by the Gateway Review process. This relies on the provision of an in-depth, commercially confidential, report for the sole use of the senior responsible officer for the project under review.

9 May 2002 : Column 315W

The Government remain determined to provide magistrates courts with modern computer equipment and the standardised IT systems that they need and we believe the outcome of discussions currently under way with Fujitsu Services (formerly ICL) will ensure their earliest delivery and provide value for money to the tax payer. These will be concluded shortly, and the House will be informed of the outcome.

Data Protection Act

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer of 19 March 2002, Official Report, column 188W, regarding the Data Protection Act 1998, since when his Department has conducted a review of the operation of the Data Protection Act 1998; and if he will place copies of the results of these reviews in the Library. [53426]

Mr. Wills: The Government started an appraisal of the Data Protection Act 1998 in September 2000 with a public consultation exercise. The timing was geared to the European Commission's first report on the implementation of the EC Data Protection Directive which was due in October 2001. That report has been delayed, and the Government have deferred completion of the appraisal of the 1998 Act until its timing is clearer. In December 2001 the Government published a summary of the responses to the September 2000 consultation. I am placing a copy in the Library.

Building Projects

Jane Griffiths: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the building projects under construction; and what coolant will be used for the building services water chilling system for such projects. [52046]

Mr. Wills: While there are no building projects currently in construction, there are a number in the planning and development stages, including private finance initiative and private developer schemes. We have excluded any magistrates court schemes, as local authorities are responsible for these.

The Department's Environmental Policy for Building Requirements applies to all major construction projects. The Department's policy is for natural ventilation for buildings whenever possible and only to install cooling systems where absolutely necessary. Where cooling cannot be avoided, designers are required to investigate systems which minimise environmental impact in terms of ozone depletion and global warming, using refrigerants with a zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) such as R134a and R66. Where, for technical or other reasons, it is necessary to utilise refrigerants with an ODP greater than zero, designers are required to check that the plant can be easily and cheaply retrofitted with a zero ODP refrigerant in the future.

Additionally, all major schemes are certified under the requirements of BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). BREEAM is a system for assessing the environmental performance of buildings. I am placing further information in the Libraries of both Houses.

9 May 2002 : Column 316W

Housing Benefit Departments (Summonses)

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many summonses using Civil Procedure Rules in possession cases have been issued to local authority housing benefit departments in each year since 1997. [53045]

Mr. Wills: Figures showing the number of mortgage and rent possession actions entered in the county courts of England and Wales involving local authorities are provided in the table. However it should be noted that social landlord rent possession action statistics are collected only as combined figures involving local authorities and housing associations and no figures are held centrally exclusively for local authorities.

Local authority mortgage and social landlord(7) rent possession actions entered


(7) Figures include both local authorities and housing associations

Census Online

Mr. Brady: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps have been taken to ensure that 1901 Census Online will, when re-launched, be able to accommodate peaks of demand. [52920]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The new system will incorporate a "cookie counter", by which users will be referred to a simple page with a "site busy" message at peak times. This will enable peaks of demand to be managed successfully.

Press Office

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many staff in his Department's press office have received (a) termination and (b) redundancy payments in each of the last four years. [41089]

Mr. Wills: One member of LCD press office staff received a termination payment (in 1998–99) on resignation from the civil service. There have been no redundancy payments.

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