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Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Government's active labour market programmes, building on the foundation of a stable economy, are helping more and more people move from a life of benefits into work. In my hon. Friend's constituency, claimant unemployment has fallen by a third since 1997, and long-term unemployment has fallen by 55 per cent.
As well as the New Deals, we have Action Teams for Jobs and Employment Zones operating in areas with persistently high levels of unemployment. The Glasgow Employment Zone, which includes my hon. Friend's constituency, has already helped over 3,000 people find work.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted, and what the average sentence was from that conviction, for the criminal offence of non-co-operation with the Child Support Agency. 
Malcolm Wicks: 24 cases have been referred to the courts. Of these, 10 have been dealt with and have resulted in the average sentence being a six month conditional discharge. The remaining 14 cases suitable for court action are at various stages such as awaiting a court date, awaiting the laying of information or awaiting service of a summons.
Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to review pensions given to civil service employees who started their employment prior to 1949 and who receive half pensions for that period. 
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will announce the baseline figure for assessing progress in meeting his target of reducing fraud and error in housing benefit by 25 per cent. by 2006, as set out on page 119 of the 2002 Spending Review. 
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Malcolm Wicks: The Housing Benefit Review, which is under way, will enable us to establish a baseline level of fraud and error for the financial year 200203. The results of this review should be available in autumn 2003.
Mr. McCartney: The Government meet their obligations under Article 8 of the Insolvency Directive. For example, the Pension Schemes Act 1993 in GB (which consolidated provisions originally in the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978) provides that certain unpaid pension scheme contributions can be claimed from the National Insurance Fund, through the Redundancy Payments Service, if an employer becomes insolvent. If a claim is successful funds are paid to the trustees of the scheme being wound up. In addition, the Pensions Act 1995 requires salary-related schemes to meet the Minimum Funding Requirement, and provides for a statutory priority order for the distribution of a scheme's assets if a scheme that is required to meet the MFR winds up.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: Economic stability and active labour market programmes have helped people move from welfare to work in all parts of the country. In my hon. Friend's constituency, claimant unemployment has halved since 1997 and long-term unemployment has fallen by over 75 per cent.
As well as the New Deals, we have Action Teams for Jobs and Employment Zones operating in areas with persistently high levels of unemployment. Up to October this year, the Wirral Action Team had engaged with 1,344 jobless people and found work for 676 of them.
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Mr. Galloway: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the undertakings given by successive Prime Ministers on surveillance of hon. Members with special reference to Mr. David Nellist. 
The Prime Minister [holding answer 20 November 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave him on 30 October 2002, Official Report, column 856W and on 23 October 2001, Official Report, column 143W. Lord Levy made other visits between 23 October 2001 and 11 March 2002. These were:
The Prime Minister: President Fox briefed me on Plan Puebla Panama during my visit to Mexico in August 2001. Other Government Ministers have discussed the plan with the Mexican Government, and Central American Governments, on a number of occasions since then.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will make a statement on the evidential basis for Lord Macdonald's statement of 12 February, Official Report, column 1995, in respect of paragraph 27 of the Ministerial Code; 
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The Prime Minister: We believe Turkish membership of the European Union would be a good thing for Turkey, for Europe and for the wider world. We would like to see Turkey start negotiations as soon as possible, by meeting the conditions which apply to all candidates. We want the Copenhagen European Council to signal a decisive step forward in Turkey's candidature.
Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the waiting time is for the processing of applications for adaptations to homes for disabled people; and what is being done to speed up the process. 
Mr. Browne: The time scale for having applications completed varies depending on the nature and scale of the work required. For Northern Ireland Housing Executive properties 50 per cent. of urgent heating cases are completed within 17 weeks while in non urgent cases 96 per cent. are completed in 52 weeks. In private sector cases it issues schedules of work in 82 per cent. of cases within 12 weeks of inspection and approves 97 per cent. of cases within six months of receipt of a completed formal application form. The times scales are influenced by factors such as having plans drawn up and approved as well as the need to have an assessment carried out to determine the needs of the disabled person.
For its own properties the Housing Executive and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety have jointly carried out a review of the adaptation service. Significant progress has been made in reducing the requirement for assessment by the occupational therapy service through increased use of fast tracking and waiting times are expected to be reduced by the recruitment of additional Occupational Therapists (17 have been recruited). For private sector cases, the Housing Executive is setting up a working group to examine ways of improving the applications process and in the longer term, the new housing legislation will allow for fast tracking on agreement with the Occupational Therapy Service.
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