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15 Dec 2003 : Column 680Wcontinued
Angela Watkinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the impact of Financial Services Authority regulation of travel insurance on (a) business and (b) customers. 
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(RIA) on 5 June that covered the costs and benefits of implementing FSA regulation of insurance mediation including travel insurance sold as a standalone product. The RIA is available from the Treasury website www.hm-treasurv.gov.uk.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures are in place to ensure that members of traveller communities are assessed for income tax and capital gains tax; and what estimate he has made of their level of tax avoidance. 
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Mr. Gray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in what circumstances Customs and Excise seek Civil Aviation Authority approval for flights carrying abroad weapons they have previously confiscated; and how often such approval was sought in respect of flights from Farnborough in 1999. 
John Healey: It is the responsibility of the carrier to determine whether or not the carriage of firearms requires approval from the Civil Aviation Authority under the Air Navigation Order 2000 and, if so, to seek such approval. This applies in cases where Customs have released from control any firearms previously detained on arrival into the United Kingdom. Customs do not collect information on such approvals. Their role is confined to releasing the firearms in such a way as to ensure they are retained on board an aircraft under suitably secure conditions until it departs.
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Mr. Pond: Poverty and social exclusion are complex and multi-dimensional issues, affecting many aspects of peoples' lives-including their living standards, health, housing, the quality of their environment and not just low income. The fifth annual 'Opportunity for all' report (Cm 5956) sets out the Government's strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion and presents information on the indicators used to measure progress against this strategy.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Access to Work applicants (a) have applied for sign language interpreting support and (b) have been successful since the introduction of the Access to Work scheme; what the average amount of hours of interpreter support awarded has been; and what the average award to people applying for human aids to communication through the Access to Work scheme has been. 
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have died from asbestos-related diseases in the United Kingdom in each year since 1990; and what estimates his Department has made of the number of likely deaths in future years. 
Mr. Browne: The number of deaths in Great Britain due to mesothelioma and asbestosis each year from 1990 is given in the following table. In addition, it is estimated that for each mesothelioma there are one to two lung cancer deaths due to asbestos.
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HSE mesothelioma and asbestosis registers.
Statistical modelling has been used to estimate the future peak number of mesothelioma deaths among both males and females. The annual total number of mesothelioma deaths in Great Britain is expected to peak at around 1,950 to 2,450 deaths some time between 2,011 and 2,015. It is estimated that the ratio of one to two of the number of asbestos-related lung cancers to the number of mesotheliomas will decrease slightly over time. No estimates have been made of the likely deaths in future years due to asbestosis.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) physical and (b) non-physical assaults there have been on staff in the (i) Employment Service, (ii) Benefits Agency and (iii) Jobcentre Plus in each year since 2001; how many prosecutions resulted; what penalties were handed down; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will assess the (a) nature and (b) quality of the advice issued by his Department under the Payment Modernisation Project. 
Mr. Pond: The Department's information campaign, to support the move to Direct Payment, provides customers with factual information on the banking options available to them, including information on the Post Office card account.
Customer information material is tested on groups of customers before it is issued. This helps to ensure that customers are supplied with all the information they need to choose the account option that is right for them and that they can understand that information.
The Department will continue to monitor and evaluate the quality and effectiveness of its customer information material and will make further changes if necessary. Our own internal monitoring suggests that
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our information material is working well and customers are choosing from all of the account options available to them.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many customers have (a) made enquiries about the Post Office card account, (b) received invitations to open an account as a result and (c) opened such an account. 
Mr. Pond: Key figures on the progress of conversion to Direct Payment are available in the Library, updated every four weeks. Information regarding the number of Post Office card accounts opened is a matter that falls within the responsibilities of Post Office Ltd. (POL).
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fraudulently claimed by claimants using false identities in 200203. 
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of payments in each category of benefit were paid by order book in each region of the UK for the most recent available period. 
Mr. Pond: The figures in the table have been compiled from data available on 1 November 2003 and show the percentage of accounts paid by Order book, broken down by benefit and Government Office Region.
|Benefit||North East||North West||Yorkshire and Humberside||East Midlands||West Midlands||East of England|
|Attendance Allowance (AA)||37.97||30.59||32.31||32.80||36.62||28.67|
|Bereavement Benefit (BB)||33.59||31.18||30.43||23.40||28.32||18.35|
|Disability Living Allowance (DLA)||57.81||53.28||53.00||50.01||53.99||44.45|
|Incapacity Benefit (IB)||63.01||58.35||55.90||52.25||53.86||47.40|
|Carer's Allowance (CA)||79.77||75.62||75.45||71.61||74.65||66.44|
|Industrial Injuries (II)||63.77||62.08||69.76||64.19||67.32||65.72|
|Income Support (IS)||76.14||71.60||71.82||68.47||70.56||64.70|
|Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00|
|Pension Credit (PC)||79.06||75.67||76.37||73.54||77.27||70.80|
|State Pension (SP)||56.60||50.16||50.87||47.50||48.38||39.23|
|Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA)||67.33||64.33||64.37||61.05||62.59||54.76|
|Widows Benefit (WB)||59.62||54.15||53.32||48.09||51.70||41.06|
|Total for All Benefits||60.37||55.33||55.18||51.56||53.59||44.63|
|Benefit||London||South East||South West||Wales||Scotland|
|Attendance Allowance (AA)||36.98||27.68||30.29||37.28||37.45|
|Bereavement Benefit (BB)||26.78||17.44||20.63||33.39||30.96|
|Disability Living Allowance (DLA)||48.13||42.88||45.57||55.89||54.50|
|Incapacity Benefit (IB)||53.87||47.44||48.15||61.86||62.36|
|Carer's Allowance (CA)||71.06||65.65||66.51||76.11||76.07|
|Industrial Injuries (II)||56.11||50.71||64.47||77.82||69.45|
|Income Support (IS)||68.52||63.07||64.16||73.80||71.40|
|Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00|
|Pension Credit (PC)||70.75||66.32||79.27||77.30|
|State Pension (SP)||38.23||35.21||41.41||59.43||48.97|
|Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA)||60.22||53.43||56.84||68.51||61.57|
|Widows Benefit (WB)||46.70||37.75||42.34||59.34||55.27|
|Total for All Benefits||46.96||40.89||46.14||61.10||55.27|
1. Figures relate to payload and not caseload therefore if a claimant is receiving more than one benefit e.g. Pension Credit (PC) and State Pension (SP) but only receives one combined payment through the PC system they will only be shown as having a Pension Credit account and not a State Pension account.
2. Figures quoted are for GB only.
Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the evidential basis is for the claim in his Department's internal memorandum from the Project Manager for the Payment Modernisation Programme, that paying pensions through Post Office accounts costs 30 times as much as through bank accounts. 
Mr. Pond: The internal memorandum states costs are at least 30 times more for making payments into a Post Office card account than into a bank account. This statement is on the basis that, whereas the financial institutions meet the operating costs of providing their bank accounts, the Government pay additional costs to the Post Office for the provision of the Post Office card account services.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will disregard the proposed Child Trust Fund in Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit assessments for claimants over the age of 16. 
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Mr. Pond: We are considering the precise impact on benefits; however, at present, the general principle is that no account is taken of capital held in trust funds until a young person has access to it.
We are aware of concerns about what would happen when Child Trust Funds are realised when young people reach age 18. We said in the pre-Budget report that we will keep under review the treatment of capital in income related working age benefits so that it strikes a sensible balance between providing targeted state support and not unfairly penalising those who have acted responsibly by saving.
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