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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. 
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
20 Dec 2004 : Column 1434W
responsibility for all associated costs thereafter. The Health & Safety Executive has not had any empty properties.
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. 
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. 
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.
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.
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. 
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. 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. 
|AA special rules claims received||DLA special rules claims received|
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. 
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.
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. 
The Secretary of State has asked Christina Townsend to respond to your question regarding on average the length of time people waited for (a) an appeal and (b) an appeal result for disability living allowance in the last period for which figures are available. Christina is away from the office at the moment and I have been asked to reply.
The information in table 1 details the number of disability living allowance claimants as at 31 May 2004. Column 1 in table 2 shows the average length of time taken for an appeal from lodgement with Disability and Carers Service to cleared at hearing by the Appeals Service. Column 2 shows the average length of time taken for an appeal from receipt at the Appeals Service to the date of the first hearing.
|Claimants in Thousands|
|All Disability Living Allowance||2,606.7|
|Lodged with Disability and Carers Service to Cleared at||Received at the Appeals Service to Cleared at Hearing|
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