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Departmental Estate

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the (a) annual cost and (b) total value of the empty properties owned by (i) his Department, (ii) agencies and (iii) other public bodies for which he has had responsibility in each of the last two years. [202434]

Maria Eagle: The only buildings owned by DWP during past two years were those relating to the former Employment Service and those owned by the Health & Safety Executive.

The majority of the DWP estate has been transferred via the PRIME contract to Land Securities Trillium. The former DSS buildings were transferred in April 1998 and the PRIME contract was expanded in December 2003 to include former Employment Service buildings. Vacant space is surrendered to Land Securities Trillium and the Department only pays for the space it occupies.

34 surplus properties with a base value of £5.4 million were transferred to Land Securities Trillium in December 2003 in accordance with the expanded PRIME contract. Land Securities Trillium assumed
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responsibility for all associated costs thereafter. The Health & Safety Executive has not had any empty properties.

Further information relating to empty properties in 2002–03 is not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Events

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the (a) conferences, (b) seminars, (c) workshops, (d) exhibitions and (e) press conferences which have been sponsored by his Department and which took place on non-departmental premises in each of the last two years giving the (i) title, (ii) purpose, (iii) date and (iv) cost of each. [202448]

Maria Eagle: The information requested is not available centrally in the format requested and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost of (a) new builds, (b) demolition rebuilds and (c) private finance initiative projects in his Department in each of the last two years. [202431]

Maria Eagle: Over the past two years the estimated total amount spent on new builds or demolition rebuilds is £21.7 million. These costs have been incurred as part of the Department's modernisation programme and are being managed under the terms of the PRIME PFI contract.

Because of the way we monitor the cost of acquisitions the spend by year is not readily available for these new builds.

In addition, the Health and Safety Executive has incurred a cost of £1.3 million for land purchase in connection with a PFI scheme in Bootle. They also entered into a 30-year PFI deal in April 2002 which involves the construction of a new laboratory at a capital cost of £56.5 million.

Departmental Files

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether it is the policy of the Department to retain for the benefit of future (a) historians and (b) applicants under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the same (i) complete categories of files, (ii) numbers of files and (iii) representative examples of files from categories of files destroyed, as had been preserved prior to the passage of that Act. [203325]

Mr. Pond: In accordance with the Public Records Act 1958 S.3, the selection of records of enduring historical value for permanent preservation at The National Archives (TNA) will continue to take place in the Department for Work and Pensions under the guidance and supervision of TNA staff. The Department will also comply with the Code of Practice on Records Management, issued by the Lord Chancellor under S.46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which underlines the importance of having clear selection policies and disposal schedules in place.
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Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many departmental files have been destroyed in each of the past five years; [203326]

(2) how many departmental files have been destroyed in each of the past five years. [203327]

Maria Eagle: The information is in the table.
Number of registered files destroyed by the Department for Work and Pensions

Files destroyed

1. These figures only refer to registered files i.e. records containing policy and other corporately created documents. Destruction figures for customer/benefit files, personnel files and other administrative records created by the DWP are not held centrally.
2. During this period, the file holding and number of files considered for destruction increased because the number of files created during the preceding five to 10 years also rose.
3. The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in June 2001 from the former Department of Social Security and part of the Department for Education and Employment including the Employment Service. Since that date, the number of files held by the Department expanded and the numbers of files created and eligible to be considered for destruction similarly increased.
4. The figures for years 1999–2000 and 2000–01 only refer to files destroyed by the then Department of Social Security.

Disability Benefits

Dr. Anthony D . Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications for (a) attendance allowance and (b) disability living allowance, under the special rules requiring the submission of a DS1500 form, have been received in each of the last three years; and how many of these have been rejected. [200277]

Maria Eagle: The available information is in the table. Information is not collected on the number of claims rejected under the special rules provisions.
AA/DLA Special Rules: claims received and claims cleared for the financial years 2001–02, 2002–03 and 2003–04

AA special rules claims receivedDLA special rules claims received

Claims involved the submission of a DS1500 form or a request that the claim should be considered under the special rules.
DWP MIS computer system, 100 per cent. count

Disability Discrimination Bill

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the effect of the proposed Disability Discrimination Bill on political parties; and if he will place in the Library the assessment of the regulatory impact on political parties. [204758]

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Maria Eagle: Political parties are already covered by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in their capacity as employers or providers of goods, facilities or services to the public or a section of the public. However, they are not currently covered in relation to the provision of goods, facilities or services to their members where members do not constitute the public or a section of the public (in other words, where membership is determined by a genuine process of selection on the basis of personal criteria). The Disability Discrimination Bill remedies this by extending coverage of the 1995 Act to associations of 25 or more members which apply such membership selection procedures. A copy of the Regulatory Impact Assessment which accompanies the Bill is available in the Library.

On 16 December the Government published a consultation document, Cm 6042 "Disability Discrimination Bill Consultation on private clubs, premises, the definition of disability and the questions procedure", which among other matters seeks views on how, if at all, the duty to make reasonable adjustments should be modified in relation to political associations which may be covered by the provisions of the Bill. Views are sought by 18 March 2005. A copy of the consultation document is available in the Library.

Disability Living Allowance

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how long on average people waited for (a) an appeal and (b) an appeal result for disability living allowance in the last period for which figures are available. [204430]

Maria Eagle: This is a matter for Christina Townsend, Chief Executive of the Appeals Service. She will write to the hon. Member.

Table 1: All Disability Living Allowance claimants as at31 May 2004

Claimants in Thousands
All Disability Living Allowance2,606.7

1. Cases where payment of benefit has been suspended are excluded.
2. Figures taken from a 5 per cent. sample at 31 May 2004.
3. From November 2002, the methodology for producing these figures was changed to allow statistics to be published much sooner. This has resulted in a small increase in the reported caseload. This is because some cases which have actually terminated but have not yet been updated on the computer system are now included.

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Table 2: Disability Living Allowance Appeals, average times (weeks) for an appeal between lodged to clearance and received to date of first hearing for July 2003 to June 2004.

Lodged with Disability and Carers Service to Cleared atReceived at the Appeals Service to Cleared at Hearing

1. All figures are subject to change as more up to date data becomes available.
2. Figures for the latest months may rise significantly as information feeds through to the Appeals Service.
3. Figures are rounded to two decimal places
IAD Information Centre, 100 per cent. sample

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