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15 Jun 2005 : Column 440W—continued


EU Legislation

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what EU legislation was implemented by (a) the Stakeholder Pension Schemes Regulation 2000, (b) the Occupational Pension Schemes (Minimum Funding Requirement and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002 and (c) the Occupational Pension Schemes (Winding Up and Deficiency on Winding Up etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2004. [1713]

Mr. Plaskitt: None of the three pieces of legislation referred was introduced in order to achieve UK compliance with European Council Directives. They were all introduced to implement internal national policy initiated by the UK Government.

Local Housing Allowance

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much housing benefit has been paid in
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each local housing allowance pilot area in each month in the last two years; and how many housing benefit claimants there have been. [924]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the format requested because local authorities are only required to provide expenditure figures on an annual basis and 2004–05 figures will not be available until the end of this year.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many different information technology systems are being used to process housing benefit in the local housing allowance pilot areas; and if he will make a statement. [950]

Mr. Plaskitt: Four software suppliers are involved in providing the software to the nine pathfinder local authorities. The information technology systems used to process housing benefits claims is for individual local authorities to decide.

Pension Credit

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in what circumstances under pension credit legislation, pensioners will receive an award of £1.20 for each extra pound of qualifying income; what criteria were used in setting the amount; and whether those potentially entitled to the £1.20 award will be informed of this. [3122]

Mr. Timms: In very exceptional circumstances the effect of applying the normal formula will be that some pensioners will receive a reward of £1.20 instead of 60 pence for each extra pound of qualifying income. This may happen if the pension credit recipient is also receiving a working tax credit, spousal maintenance, or a social security benefit which does not count as rewardable income. It will only occur if their total income brought to account is greater than their appropriate guarantee level but the income which counts for the savings credit is less than the guarantee level. If this happens the pensioner will be able to ask the Pension Service for an explanation.


Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans the Government have to increase the state pension. [2957]

Mr. Timms: We will continue with our policy of increasing the basic state pension annually by 2.5 per cent. or the increase in the September Retail Prices Index whichever is higher.


Acts of Parliament

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take steps to make all Acts of Parliament published before 1988 for which his Department is responsible available online. [3715]

Mr. Touhig: The Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) within the Cabinet Office is the Queen's Printer of Acts of Parliament, and
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responsible for the publication of Acts of Parliament. HMSO has considered the publication of Acts prior to 1988, which is the earliest date when these were available electronically, but has decided not to do so as many have been heavily amended and to publish them in their original form would be misleading for many users. The Government are, however, taking forward development of a Statute Law Database which will contain the fully revised and updated text of all legislation from 1275. It is expected that this will be made available to the general public during 2006.

Agency Staff

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost has been of agency staff used to augment UK military units on operations in (a) 2000–01, (b) 2001–02, (c) 2002–03, (d) 2003–04 and (e) 2004–05; and if he will make a statement. [3794]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 13 June 2005]: There are many contracts placed in operational theatres which entail the employment of personnel, the details of which are recorded in theatre.

This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Apache Helicopters

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects his Department's requirement for fully trained pilots of Apache helicopters will be met. [2324]

Mr. Ingram: The first of three Apache Attack Regiments has been fully trained, tested and exercised and will shortly be available for operations following formal clearance as a result of successfully completing Exercise Eagles Strike on 24 May 2005. The conversion of the second regiment is under way and is due to be ready for operations by September 2007. The third regiment is programmed to convert from October 2007 and should be ready for operations by October 2009. At this stage it is envisaged that all three regiments will be manned with 42 Apache Attack Helicopter trained aircrew, which represents 87.5 per cent. of the final manning requirement. There will then follow a period where all three regiments will be brought up to full manning, which should be complete by September 2010. Thereafter, training will then focus on sustaining full manning throughout the rest of the aircraft operating life.

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State forDefence whether he plans (a) to marinise the fleet ofApache helicopters against salt corrosion and (b) toallow the aircraft to operate from Royal Navy vessels. [2328]

Mr. Ingram: A range of maritime modifications will be applied to the Apache AH Mk 1 fleet to enable it to operate from Royal Navy ships and Royal Fleet Auxiliary support vessels, including an enhanced corrosion protection scheme.

Armed Forces (Recruitment Rates)

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many new entrants there have been to each of the armed forces in each quarter since 2002. [3973]

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Mr. Touhig: The following table shows intake 1 from civilian life to UK Regular 2 Forces in each quarter since 2002.

Quarter endingNaval Service(24)ArmyRoyal Air Force
31 March1,3904,520880
30 June1,2102,930870
30 September1,2705,7601,180
31 December1,1302,5601,100
31 March1,6205,3501,290
30 June1,1703,0101,110
30 September9205,4201,080
31 December9802,490960
31 March1,0504,2701,010
30 June8202,380650
30 September9203,610590
31 December9902,000520
31 March9703,690410

(24) Naval Service includes Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in five have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Astute Submarines

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the in-service date is for the first of the Astute submarines. [3815]

Mr. Ingram: HMS Astute, the first of the Astute Class, is due to enter service in 2009.

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