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Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the effect of the coming into force of the European Constitution on the operation of his Department, with reference to (a) changes in legislative competence, (b) the extension of qualified majority voting, (c) the increased legislative role of the European Parliament, (d) the cost of implementation of regulations, (e) the requirements of adherence to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and (f) the quantity of legislation originating in the EU institutions. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to bring forward proposals to remove Crown immunity in relation to safety in the workplace, with particular reference to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974; and if he will make a statement. 
In the meantime the Health and Safety Executive continues to enforce health and safety requirements in Crown bodies and applies the Crown censure procedure, where, but for Crown immunity, prosecution would have been justified.
Jane Kennedy: Three of the members of the Health and Safety Commission were appointed following consultation with employers' organisations. Of these Ms Judith Hackitt is the Director General of the Chemical Industries Association (CIA). The CIA represents the chemical and chemistry-using industries, which includes manufacturing processes. Three members were appointed following consultation with employees' organisations. Of these Daniel Carrigan is the assistant General Secretary of trade union Amicus. Amicus represents the skilled trades in manufacturing.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which and what percentage of local authorities have yet to implement an agreement with the post office not to redirect housing benefit payments; and what plans he has to make such agreements mandatory for all local authorities. 
Mr. Pond: Of the 408 local authorities administering housing benefit, four have yet to make contractual arrangements with the Royal Mail for the introduction of the scheme to not redirect benefit post. This is less than 1 per cent. of local authorities.
Two of these four authorities are working towards implementing the Do Not Redirect scheme; East Hertfordshire council will be implementing the scheme within the next few weeks, while North West Leicestershire district council expects to begin implementation in the new year. One authority, Ellesmere Port and Neston borough council, had previously implemented the scheme, but has since withdrawn because of concerns about the cost effectiveness of the scheme. The Council of the Isles of Scilly, which has fewer than 100 claimants, has not implemented the scheme. This too is because of cost-effectiveness issues.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of new claimants of incapacity benefit in each year since 1997 were already in receipt of another benefit; and what proportion were new benefit claimants. 
|All IB/SDA commencements||New entrants to benefit||Percentage of new entrants||Existing beneficiaries(16)(2)||Percentage of existing beneficiaries|
|1 June 199631 May 1997||943.0||519.0||55.0||424.0||45.0|
|1 June 199731 May 1998||856.2||505.5||59.0||350.7||41.0|
|1 June 199831 May 1999||798.0||486.8||61.0||311.2||39.0|
|1 June 199931 May 2000||763.0||462.5||60.6||300.5||39.4|
|1 June 200031 May 2001||750.9||456.7||60.8||294.2||39.2|
|1 June 200131 May 2002||697.8||435.4||62.4||262.4||37.6|
|1 June 200231 May 2003||691.0||429.5||62.2||261.5||37.8|
|1 June 200331 May 2004||640.1||399.2||62.4||240.8||37.6|
Jane Kennedy: The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council published its report on Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome in July 2004. We have accepted the principal recommendation that the terms of prescription for prescribed disease A11 (Vibration White Finger) be extended to include sensor neural symptoms, in addition to the existing vascular symptoms.
The regulatory changes required to implement the recommendations from the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council relating to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome are currently being worked on. It is intended that the new regulations will come into force in April 2005.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the written answer of 1 December 2004 , Official Report, column 177W, on IT systems, what the estimated cost is of the Customer Information System; and who the supplier is. 
Jane Kennedy: The Department has engaged Accenture as the Information Technology Solution Provider for the Customer Information System. Accenture has to date been awarded contracts for the design and development of the system.
|Balham Irene House||570|
The figures above relate to the Jobcentre/Jobcentre Plus office which has been designated as 'owning' those vacancies. However, all Jobcentre Plus vacancies are available for jobseeker's to view via JobPoints and the Internet as well as their local office.
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