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Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer of 24 April 2002, Official Report, column 340W, on single room rent, if he

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will place in the Library a copy of the recent research by the Rent Service showing the average single room rent increases for the UK. [59321]

Malcolm Wicks: The research carried out by the Rent Service was an internal statistical analysis intended to inform the wider development of housing benefit policy. The Rent Service was not asked for and did not produce a formal report of their analysis.

Scottish Executive

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether a Scottish Executive Minister will be a member of the UK delegation to the Employment and Social Policy European Union Council of Ministers meeting on 3 June; and what information is being provided by his Department to the Scottish Executive in connection with pre-council scrutiny by the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament. [60278]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: No Scottish Executive Minister attended the Employment and Social Policy Council meeting on 3 June 2002.

It is the responsibility of the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament to scrutinise the Scottish Executive's involvement in preparations for EU Council meetings. These arrangements are a matter for the Committee and the Scottish Executive. The Department provides information to Scottish Executive officials as part of that process.

Agency Start-up Costs

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the cost of creating (a) Jobcentre Plus and (b) the Pension Service; and if he will make a statement. [47630]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Jobcentre Plus as an organisation came into being on 1 April 2002, replacing the Employment Service and the working age parts of the Benefits Agency. In 56 pathfinder offices across Great Britain it is already helping people get and keep work through providing integrated work-focused services to customers and employers. This new service will be introduced across the whole network over the next few years and at the same time the IT systems which support the business will be improved. The cost of this investment in a modernised, work-focused service will be funded over the next two years from the Employment Opportunities Fund which was established in Spending Review 2000, and thereafter from the outcome of the Spending Review 2002 process. The discussions about the spending review will continue until it concludes in the summer.

The Pension Service also came into being on 1 April 2002, replacing the pension elements of the Benefits Agency. Like Jobcentre Plus it has been established as part of a wider agenda for modernising the delivery of benefits around the needs of customer groups. The investment needed to move towards single transaction technology and planned new services to increase efficiency and accuracy is being funded from the Welfare Modernisation Fund, but as with Jobcentre Plus final figures are dependent on the outcome of Spending Review 2002.

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Departmental Underspends

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) capital and (b) revenue underspend in his Department is expected to be in the financial year 2001–02. [47796]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Departmental expenditure figures for 2001–02 are not yet finalised. The last forecast position was published in the Budget report on 17 April.


Ministerial Accommodation

Mr. Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what publicly owned accommodation is made available to him in his official role; how many nights he has been in residence at each of these properties in the last 12 months; and what the total cost was of maintaining each of these properties in the last 12 months. [55090]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 9 May 2002]: I refer to the answers given by the Prime Minister on 28 February 2002, Official Report, column 1443W and by the Deputy Prime Minister on 21 January 2002, Official Report, column 91W. Expenditure on the flat at 10 Downing Street during 2001–02 was £410. Information on the number of nights spent in residence in the accommodation by my right hon. Friend is not available.

Work-related Illness

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employees of his Department retired through work-related ill-health in the last year for which records are available; and what the cost was to the Department. [56088]

Ruth Kelly [holding answer 20 May 2002]: HM Treasury does not maintain records, which enable ill- health retirements to be separately identified as work related. For HM Treasury one member of staff retired with a medical certificate issued by the civil service pension scheme medical adviser in the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002.

Benefits provided on medical retirement are as set out in the rules of the principal civil service pension scheme and laid before Parliament, and provide for an immediate payment of an enhanced pension and lump sum. Ill health retirement expenditure is met centrally from the civil superannuation vote. For the year ending March 2002, provisional expenditure met from the vote was £310 million in respect of all civil service cases for which an ill health pension has been awarded. These cases number approximately 67,000 and include those who have formerly been ill health retired but who have now reached and exceeded the normal retirement age.

National Insurance (NHS)

Tim Loughton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what cash increase in NI will be applicable to (a) NHS house officers, (b) NHS nurse consultants, (c) NHS senior house officers, (d) NHS specialist registrars and (e) NHS consultants. [59409]

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Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 24 May 2002]: The Budget 2002 changes in national insurance contributions (NICs) will help to fund improvements to public services and a real terms increase in spending on health over the next five years of 40 per cent.

Estimates for the increase in 2003–04 in employee NICs by grade for England are shown in the table. I regret that reliable estimates for the United Kingdom would be available only at disproportionate cost.

£ million
House officers1
Nurse consultantsLess than 1
Senior house officers5
Registrar group(8)5

(8) Higher specialist training grades were restructured in the mid-1990s, with registrar and senior registrar grades being replaced by a combined specialist registrar grades. The published work force data do not allow us to distinguish between specialist registrars and the few remaining staff on the older grades. The figures have therefore been grouped together and are referred to as the registrar group.

Inheritance Tax

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will raise the threshold at which inheritance tax is paid; and if he will make a statement. [60114]

Dawn Primarolo [holding answer 10 June 2002]: My right hon. Friend has increased the threshold in his Budget this year.

Lakshmi Mittal

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer given by the Foreign Secretary of 21 May 2002, Official Report, column 255W, on meetings with Embassy staff, what the economic benefit to the United Kingdom was of the Lakshmi Mittal Romanian steel contract. [60553]

Mr. Boateng [holding answer 11 June 2002]: I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the answer given by the Prime Minister on 14 February 2002, Official Report, col. 612W.

Construction Industry

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will target Inland Revenue employment status teams to monitor the employment status of workers in the construction industry. [60633]

Dawn Primarolo: I refer to my previous answer, of 16 May 2002, Official Report, column 804W). The Inland Revenue already centrally directs the minimum level of employer compliance resource to be deployed on employment status reviews, including for the construction industry.


Dr. Kumar: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures are (a) in place and (b) under discussion in his Department in order to ensure compliance with the WEE Directive. [60735]

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Ruth Kelly: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer the Minister for Energy and Construction is giving him today.

State Pensions

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer of 22 April 2002, Official Report, column 92W, to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Pollock (Mr. Davidson), on state pensions, if he will disaggregate the value of unfunded public pension liabilities by scheme; what assessment he has made of the reasons for the changes in the values of unfunded public pension liabilities in recent years; and if he will make a statement. [60807]

Mr. Boateng: The £350 billion Government Actuary's Department estimate for accrued unfunded public service pension schemes liabilities as at 31 March 2001 comprises the following:

The increase in the value of these unfunded liabilities in recent years is due to a variety of factors, the main ones being: increases in prices and salaries, a growth in the number of public servants and reassessments of mortality rates.

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