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Bishops' Residences

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what the cost was of maintaining the bishops' residences for the most recent year for which figures are available. [68879]

Mr. Bell: The overall spending by the Commissioners on bishops' housing and office premises in 2001 was £3.3 million, broken down as follows:

£ million
Building maintenance and repairs1.1
External property management costs0.2
Council tax, insurance and other running costs0.6
Lambeth Palace Library running costs0.4
Support services0.1
Rent paid0.1
Rental income(0.3)

Suffragan bishops' houses are owned by the dioceses.

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Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 11 June from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Miss G. Persse. [70346]

Mr. Andrew Smith: I replied to my right hon. Friend on 15 July.


Brian White: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is towards using open source software; and what percentage is used in his Department. [69305]

Mr. McCartney: The Department for Work and Pensions will follow the Government policy when published in summer 2002.

Currently open source software (OSS) is not deployed in any of the Department's national or mainstream IT systems. Figures for any use by individuals within the Department are not available, but any such use is minimal and isolated from the Department's major business systems. The Department actively reviews its position on OSS with our IT providers, on a continuous basis, ensuring we are aware of the latest IT industry thinking.

Disclosure of Interests

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what rules apply to the disclosure of interests on the part of those serving on public bodies which are responsible to his Department. [56463]

Mr. McCartney: All advisory, executive and tribunal non-departmental public bodies are required to adopt a board members' code of practice, based on guidance produced by the Cabinet Office. Copies are being placed in the Libraries with the exception of:

Retirement Pensions

David Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if pensioners who have entitlement to two Category B retirement pensions will continue to be able to claim and receive the higher one. [71446]

Mr. McCartney: It has always been the intention to pay the higher Category B pension but because of the way the legislation was consolidated in 1992, the choice to take the higher amount was removed. This was unintentional. We will continue to pay the more beneficial rate as an extra statutory payment. We shall note the annual departmental resource account and will legislate to correct the position at the earliest opportunity.

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Means-tested Benefits

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer to the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field), of 27 June 2002, Official Report, column 1066W, if he will break down the total sum for spending on means-tested benefits for pensioners into figures for each of the main means-tested benefits. [69947]

Mr. McCartney: The information is not available in the format requested. The cost of the main income related benefits to people aged 60 and over for 2002–03 are shown in the table:

£ million

Income related benefits
Minimum income guarantee4,275
Housing benefit4,620
Council tax benefit1,520


Departmental Report 2002

Child Benefit

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his letter of 5 July 2002 to members of the Committee that considered the Social Security (Electronic Communication) (Child Benefit) Order 2002, what proportion of downloads of child benefit claim forms from the existing website are made by women; and what proportion of existing child benefit claimants are women. [69259]

Malcolm Wicks: It is not possible to differentiate between men and women downloading existing electronic claim forms. 95.5 per cent. of child benefit customers are women.


Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on what basis the figures on page 38 of the latest departmental report, Command Paper 5424 on NIRS2 availability was calculated with particular reference to the other 1 per cent.; and if he will make a statement on those for whom NIRS2 is not available. [68479]

Mr. McCartney: The availability of the NIRS system is a contractional matter between the Inland Revenue and the supplier, Accenture. The figures used in the latest departmental report were supplied under these arrangements.

Pension Funds

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his reply of 1 July 2002, to the right hon. Member for North-East Hampshire (Mr. Arbuthnot), Official Report, column 8, how much tax has been paid by pension funds in each year since the withdrawal of advance corporation tax relief; and if he will make a statement on the level of extra business investment there has been in each year since 1997. [70068]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply

Pension funds are not normally liable to tax and the abolition of advance corporation tax, which was widely welcomed, did not impose a tax liability. Total business

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investment, measured at constant prices, has increased markedly from £93.1 billion in 1997 and stood at £113.1 billion in 2001.


Veterinary Medicines Directorate

Roger Casale: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what targets she has set the Veterinary Medicines Directorate for 2002–03. [71400]

Mr. Morley: I have set the Veterinary Medicines Directorate the following performance targets for 2002–03.

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