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Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many contracts his Department had with (a) Barclays Bank, (b) the Royal Bank of Scotland, (c) UBS Warburg and (d) the Bank of Scotland for advice on private finance initiative and public private partnership contracts in each financial year since 200102; and what fees were paid in each case. 
Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what resources the Government have made available to the Social Fund since 1997; whether the Government intends to increase the budget of the Social Fund; and if he will make a statement. 
In the regulated fund, which is not cash limited, Sure Start Maternity Grants have been introduced and are now worth £500; five times as much as the old maternity payment. Winter fuel payments, now worth £200, have been introduced to help older people meet fuel costs, and are available to around eight million households. From the winter of 200304 those households that include a person aged 80 or over receiving a winter fuel payment receive an additional £100.
The net budget for the discretionary Social Fund, which includes Community Care Grants, Budgeting Loans and Crisis Loans, has also increased since 1997, and will be increased by a further £90 million over the three years from April 2003.
|Community Care Grants||Budgeting Loans||Crisis Loans|
|Maternity Payments/Sure Start Maternity Grants||Funeral Payments||Cold Weather Payments||Winter Fuel Payments|
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Social Fund budget loans, and to what value, have been made in each year since 1997; and how many and what value of these were to cover delays in payments of social security benefits and tax credits. 
Mr. Pond: Social Fund Loans, including Budgeting Loans, should not be awarded to compensate for delay in payment of benefits; where there is delay in payment, interim benefit payments can be considered.
|Total gross expenditure|
Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the Government's target time is from application to hearing for appeals concerning industrial injuries disablement benefit diseases; and what the average waiting time has been for those whose appeals are currently being heard. 
Dr. Christina Townsend, Chief Executive of the Appeals Service, wrote to you on 27 May in reply to your question about waiting times for Industrial Injuries Disablement appeals.
Unfortunately, the figure quoted in the reply was for appeal clearance rather than appeal waiting time. I am sorry that this mistake, which was the result of a programming error when producing the data, has arisen. I attach a copy of the amended reply, which will also be published in Hansard.
Pursuant to my written answer on 27 May, Official Report, column 1802W. The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question regarding the target time for hearing appeals concerning Industrial Disablement Benefit (IIDB) diseases and the average waiting time for those whose appeals are currently being heard.
Our target for the 20032004 financial year was to hear appeals within an average of 13 weeks from receipt in our Service. Information on waiting times is not available in the format requested but I can advise you that the average waiting time for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit appeals was 9.26 1 weeks for the 20032004 financial year.
I hope that this is helpful.
1 All figures are subject to change as more up to date data becomes available.
Figures for the latest months may rise significantly as information feeds through to the Appeals Service.
Figures are rounded to two decimal places
100 per cent. download of the Generic Appeals Processing System
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will set out the timescale for compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 for (a) voluntary and community groups and (b) small businesses; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what financial assistance is available to help (a) voluntary and community groups and (b) small businesses to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and if he will make a statement. 
Many voluntary and community groups and small businesses, where they are employers or provide services to the public, are already under a duty to meet certain requirements of the Disability
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Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995. For example, they are already required not to discriminate unjustifiably against, and to make reasonable adjustments for, disabled people in recruitment, employment or in the way that they deliver services to disabled people.
On 1 October 2004, the employment provisions of the DDA are being extended to employers with fewer than 15 employees. At the same time, service providers will be under additional duties to tackle physical features of their premises which otherwise make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to access the service, or to provide the service by another reasonable means.
The Government, and the Disability Rights Commission, have undertaken wide-ranging publicity campaigns over the last two years to raise awareness of the new duties in order to give employers and service providers the opportunity to understand, and plan for, their implementation.
There is no specific funding available to help (a) voluntary and community groups and (b) small businesses, or indeed any business or organisation with duties under the DDA, to meet the requirements of the Act. This is because employers and service providers are only required to do what is reasonable, and factors such as the cost and practicability of making reasonable adjustments, and the financial and other resources available to the business or organisation, will be taken into account in determining what is reasonable.
In certain instances, an employer who employs a disabled person may be able to obtain assistance to make adjustments for the disabled employee from the Access to Work programme. Employers can obtain further information about the programme by contacting their nearest Access to Work Business Centre.
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