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6 Mar 2003 : Column 1188W—continued

Second Pensions

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for City of York (Hugh Bayley) of 9 January 2003, Official Report, column 362W, on second pensions, if he will place in the Library the research that shows combined pension forecasts have the potential to encourage many people to save more. [92509]

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 13 January 2003, to the hon. Member for City of York (Hugh Bayley), Official Report, column 362W, on second pensions, if he will make a statement on the research on the impact of occupational pension forecasts; and if he will place a copy in the Library. [92051]

Mr. McCartney: The combined pension forecasting service, an initiative jointly pursued by the Department for Work and Pensions and the pensions industry with the support of the Association of British Insurers and National Association of Pension Funds, was introduced following a series of pilot exercises with representatives from the private sector.

During the pilot phase, almost 33,500 combined statements were issued. Individual detailed results demonstrating the impact of the combined statement and their potential to encourage people to save more for their retirement are commercially sensitive. We do not have the permission of all the participating companies to release all the data. It would, therefore, be inappropriate to publish this information. However, in total some 98 per cent. of those who received a forecast found it useful and 31 per cent. sought further information about increasing their pension provision.

The Government are committed to ensuring that people of working age have the information they need to help them take personal responsibility and plan for their financial future.

Currently the combined pensions forecast service is a voluntary one. Our proposals in the Green Paper "Simplicity, Security and Choice: working and saving for retirement", Cm 5677, would place a statutory requirement on employers and pension providers to issue combined pension forecasts which would ensure that the total potential audience enjoys the benefits of the service. We are consulting on this.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Approved Development Programme

Mr. Horam: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many lecturers working in further education colleges have purchased homes with assistance from funds from the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme. [100455]

Mr. McNulty: The home ownership schemes within the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme (ADP) give priority to social tenants and those on the housing waiting list. Depending on their circumstances, lecturers working in further education

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colleges may have benefited from ADP funding. Information is not held centrally on the number of lecturers that have benefited and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Business Bureaucracy

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the forms that his Department requires private sector businesses to complete and return. [98088]

Mr. Leslie: The list of all such forms as recorded centrally by the office of the Deputy Prime Minister is as follows:


Energy Conservation

Mr. Watts: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has for encouraging the use of double and triple glazed windows to improve energy conservation in (a) homes and (b) commercial buildings. [101117]

Mr. Leslie: Amendments to the building regulations that became effective in April 2002 included setting window energy performance standards for all buildings that in most cases can only be met by triple glazing and the better types of double glazing. They also included application to replacement windows as well as to new construction. The Energy White Paper indicates our intention of aiming to bring into effect a further major revision in 2005.

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Fire Services

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what is the minimum number of fire fighters recommended to attend a domestic dwelling in order to meet the requirements of (a) breathing apparatus procedures, (b) safe working systems and (c) command and central procedures; and what records does his Department hold on the extent to which these criteria are met in each Brigade area. [99631]

Mr. Raynsford: Current guidance recommends that a minimum of seven firefighters attend any incident requiring breathing apparatus to be worn in order to meet the requirements of breathing apparatus procedures. Guidance on incident command is set out in the Fire Service Manual, Volume 2 (Fire Service Operations: Incident Command), published by Her Majesty's Fire Service Inspectorate. Safe working systems are determined on an individual basis by a dynamic risk assessment carried out by the incident commander, and command and control procedures vary according to the size and complexity of each incident. As incidents are assessed on an individual basis under the dynamic risk assessment process, no records are held on the number of firefighters attending different incidents.

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment has been made of the additional (a) resources and (b) personnel each fire brigade would require as a result of the Save Life methodology set out in the Review of Standards Emergency Cover; and if he will make a statement. [99633]

Mr. Raynsford: I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to the Fire Service Emergency Cover Methodology, which was developed by the Task Group on the Fire Cover Review.

That methodology was used by the Task Group to predict resources and personnel requirements for the brigades in the Pathfinder trials and, by extrapolation, nationally. Two alternative ways of allocating firefighting resources to cover risk were modelled; one by the Task Group and one later by the Fire Research Division of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Both sets of findings were reported on the website of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister at the end of last year 1 .

However, the early research encountered a number of teething problems. These led the Task Group to reject the detailed calculations from the model it had used which is also regarded as being more indicative than precise. Further research is currently under way to resolve these issues.


Housing Transfers

Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how council tenants and council leaseholders will be able to receive independent advice on the implications of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 for the consultation procedures involved in housing stock transfer; [100880]

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Mr. McNulty: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, East (Ms Prentice) on 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 265W.

Light Rail Links

Mr. Goodman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans the Government Office for the South East has to facilitate a light rail link between High Wycombe and Bourne End. [101370]

Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.

It is for Buckinghamshire county council as the local transport authority to decide whether to develop proposals for a light rail line between High Wycombe and Bourne End. Officials from my Department and from the Government Office for the South East regularly provide advice to local authorities wishing to develop public transport schemes.


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