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13 Feb 2003 : Column 964W—continued

Benefit Fraud Hotline

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many calls the National Benefit Fraud Hotline received in each month since January 1997; [92503]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is in the table.

Calls received by the National Benefit Fraud Hotline, January 1997-December 2002

Month199719981999 200020012002
December10,82912,16010,906 9,0739,7387,781


Figures include calls received by the Call Centre Bureau, which since May 2000 has been contracted to answer calls outside normal working hours when the main hotline unit is closed.


National Benefit Fraud Hotline

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Tobacco Smoke

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what percentage of workers reported that their workplace was smoke-free in 2001; [96308]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Department does not hold data on worker exposure to tobacco smoke in the way requested. In a 2001 survey on smoking behaviour and attitudes undertaken by the Office for National Statistics, 47 per cent. of the workers questioned said that there was a ban on smoking in their workplace. This survey also revealed that 38 per cent. of workers had smoking restricted to designated areas in their workplace, and 6 per cent. of workers worked alone. Nine per cent. of workers in this survey reported that there were no smoking restrictions at all in their workplace.

Top-up Fees

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the likely effect of the proposed introduction of university top-up fees on the pension contributions of those under 40 years of age. [95648]

Mr. McCartney: Student loans are repaid on an income contingent basis, which means that the amount repaid is affordable and does not prevent graduates from making other investments such as contributions to pension schemes.

We are committed to encouraging people to consider their pension saving options early. Each person needs to decide where the balance between current and future needs lies for them. There will be times in many people's lives when they cannot afford both to contribute to a pension and meet their current needs, but it is important that people save when they can afford to do so. That is why the Green Paper "Simplicity, security and choice: working and saving for retirement" (Cm 5677), published on 17 December 2002, sets out the Government's proposals to work with employers and the financial services industry to provide:

In addition, the Sandler review recommended a suite of tightly regulated products, including a pension product that could be sold through a simplified sales process.

On 5 February 2003, the Government issued a consultation document on the design specification for these products.

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Windfall Tax

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what sources of funding will be used after the 2003–04 financial year to continue projects that have been funded by the Windfall Tax. [93999]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The continuing funding for the welfare-to-work initiatives, previously funded by the Windfall Tax, formed part of the 2002 Spending Review settlement for the Department for Work and Pensions.

Workplace Health and Safety

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 7 January, Official Report, column 10W, on workplace health and safety, on what basis the Department for Work and Pensions was able to set public service agreement targets on health and safety. [95011]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Department's PSA targets for improving workplace health and safety are made up of the intermediate targets agreed by the Government and Health and Safety Commission (HSC) in 2000, as part of the Revitalising Health and Safety strategy. These require the Health and Safety Commission and Executive (HSC/E) by 2004 to achieve:

In developing the targets, HSE took account of responses to an earlier public consultation on development of a national occupational health strategy (Securing Health Together), forecast changes in the labour market and HSC's experience in developing outcome targets for certain industry sectors.


Brownfield Sites

Llew Smith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the impact of the requirements of the water framework directive upon the cost of clean-up of brownfield land for re-use in his sustainable communities plan. [96928]

Mr. McNulty: The Government do not consider that there will necessarily be any impact on the clean-up costs of previously developed land arising from the water framework directive. The standard for clean-up under both the contaminated land provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the planning system is the removal of unacceptable risk, so as to make a site suitable for its existing and future uses respectively. This will ensure that all receptors of potential discharges from a site are protected, including humans, surface and groundwater, flora, fauna and buildings. This approach is already advised in draft planning technical advice for England, which was issued for consultation in February 2002 and which will be

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finalised later this year. The Government consider that this approach will be consistent with the requirements of the water framework directive as regards water quality.

Broxtowe Local Plan

Mr. Allen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects the Broxtowe Local Plan Inspectors' report to be available. [96703]

Mr. McNulty: Although Broxtowe Borough Council did not enter into a Service Agreement with the Planning Inspectorate for the delivery of the report, the provisions of the standard Service Agreement are deemed to apply. On that basis, the delivery of the Inspector's report is promised no later than Thursday 25 September 2003.

Capital Projects

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will place the evaluations for Capital Modernisation Fund projects in his Department since 1998 in the Library; and if he will make a statement. [97032]

Mr. Raynsford: An evaluation report on the development of the Planning Inspectorate's Planning Portal Programme, which was part funded by the Capital Modernisation Fund and which formally closed in October 2002, is being prepared. It will be placed in the Library of both Houses shortly.

This is the only Modernisation Fund project within the remit of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister which has been completed.

Disabled Facilities Grants

Diana Organ: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which district and city councils in Gloucestershire have awarded Disabled Facilities Grants; and how much was spent by each in each year since 1998. [97245]

Mr. McNulty: Records indicate that the total eligible expenditure on Disabled Facilities Grants by the six Gloucestershire local housing authorities since 1998–99 is as follows:


Forest of Dean231171198218


2002 HIP Housing Strategy Statistical Index

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