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Public Bodies

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what have been the total salary costs of each of the non-departmental public bodies for which he is responsible in each of the last five years. [50300]

Mr. McCartney: The information requested is not available for the period before April 2000. Such information that is available is in the following table. The costs given in the table are the total fees paid to members of each of the non-departmental bodies for the year stated.

The amount paid out in fees is mainly dependant upon the number of referrals made by the Department to the three advisory councils. Increased activity required of the advisory councils in 2001–02 has therefore resulted in an overall increase in the amount of fees paid.

Fees for non-departmental public bodies

2000–01 2001–02
Number of members claiming feesNumber of claims for feesTotal amount of fees paid (£)Number of members claiming feesNumber of claims for feesTotal amount of fees paid (£)
Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board2111927,248.602013035,192.33
Industrial Injuries Advisory Council15778,097.1615859,110.72
Pensions Compensation Board24684.00261,056.00
Social Security Advisory Committee139623,067.241611329,283.27
Total5129659,097.005333474,642.32

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Mr. W. J. Baber

Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Leominster dated 27 February on behalf of Mr. W. J. Baber concerning non-payment of incapacity benefit in the first three days of illness. [50630]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: I replied to the hon. Member on 18 April.

Autism

Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what training employment advisers are given in respect of the needs of people with autistic spectrum disorders who are seeking work. [51205]

Maria Eagle: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive, Leigh Lewis. I have asked him to reply to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Leigh Lewis to Dr. Stephen Ladyman, dated 13 May 2002:















Long-stay Patient Benefit

Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people in the United Kingdom are in receipt of long-stay patients' benefit; [51541]

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Mr. McCartney: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is as follows:

As at 30 September 2001 there were 10,000 retirement pensioners whose pension had been reduced because they had been in hospital for more than 52 weeks.

As at 30 November 2001 there were 13,000 incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance recipients whose benefit was reduced due to them being in hospital for more than 52 weeks.

As at 30 November 2001 there were 3,000 income support recipients who had their benefit reduced due to being in hospital for more than 52 weeks.

The hospital downrating rules prevents double provision from public funds as the publicly funded NHS maintains people while they stay in hospital as well as providing free treatment. Social security maintenance benefits are also paid from state funds. They are therefore not paid in full indefinitely where a person is in a NHS hospital and having their day to day living expenses met through the NHS.

The double provision principle is a key cornerstone of the system of national insurance introduced over 50 years ago.

Recruitment

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many net additional staff his Department has recruited in each month since June 2001 at (a) executive officer level and (b) administrative level. [52431]

Maria Eagle: Data on staffing levels in the civil service are collected by the Cabinet Office twice yearly, with figures being reported as at 1 April and 1 October. Headline figures are published under National Statistics guidelines via a press notice. Those for October 2001 were published on 21 February 2002 and are available in the Library. Figures are not collected centrally on a month to month basis.

Digital Equipment

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many digital radios are owned by his Department for use in departmental buildings from which Ministers work; and what the (a) cost and (b) date of purchase of each radio was. [52859]

Maria Eagle [holding answer 26 April 2002]: None.

13 May 2002 : Column 481W

Access to Work Scheme

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications have been received monthly since the creation of Access to Work; and what proportion of those applications have been (a) accepted and (b) rejected broken down by grounds for rejection. [53042]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: From the start of the Access to Work programme in June 1994 to 31 March 2001, 54,481 applications have been supported, an average of 262 new applications a month. Eligibility is discussed prior to any application being made, so applications are made only by those eligible for help through Access to Work.

ELECTORAL COMMISSION COMMITTEE

Electoral Process (Participation)

39. Martin Linton: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, if he will ask the Electoral Commission to report on measures to increase participation in elections following the turnout in the local elections. [54000]

Mr. Beith: In accordance with its statutory obligations, the Electoral Commission will be evaluating the pilot schemes implemented by 30 local authorities across England at the May 2002 local elections. These pilot schemes were aimed at increasing turnout and modernising the electoral process. The Commission will submit its evaluation reports to the Secretary of State for the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions by 2 August, and the reports will be published.

Misleading Election Material

40. Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the effect on turnout of the distribution of deliberately wrong information in election material. [54001]

Mr. Beith: I understand from the Chairman that the Commission has made no assessment of the effect on turnout of the distribution of deliberately wrong information in election material. The publication of false statements of fact in relation to a candidate may amount to an illegal practice under section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 and should be reported to the police.

Local Elections (Administration)

41. Simon Hughes: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission when the Electoral Commission will assess the operations of the local elections of 2 May; and if he will make a statement. [54002]

Mr. Beith: The commission has a statutory duty to report on the conduct of a range of elections, including Parliamentary general elections, European Parliament elections, and elections to the Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly and National Assembly

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for Wales. There is no statutory obligation for the commission to report on the operation of local elections, but the commission will be evaluating the electoral pilot schemes held in 30 local authority areas in May 2002. The commission's evaluation is expected to be published in August 2002.


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