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10 Oct 2005 : Column 182W—continued

Contractors

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the contractors based in other EU member states that are providing services to his Department. [15445]

Margaret Hodge: The Department for Work and Pensions awards all contracts in line with the UK's objective of achieving value for money by selecting the most economically advantageous tender, and in line with EU Treaty obligations on transparency and free movement of goods and services.

The Department does not currently have any contracts directly with contractors based in other EU member states. It does have contracts with the following contractors whose holding companies have their head offices registered in other EU member states:

CSA

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in circumstances where a parent with care moves to a non-EU country, whether the parent without care is required to (a) continue paying child support as originally assessed by the Child Support Agency, (b) pay according to a new assessment taking into
 
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account the local circumstances of the new country of residence and (c) cease child support payments; and if he will make a statement. [15636]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Child Support Agency can only calculate and collect child maintenance if the person with care, non-resident parent and qualifying child are all habitually resident in the UK. However, if a non resident parent lives and works abroad for the Crown or a UK based company, the Child Support Agency may have the jurisdiction to continue the case. In these cases, they are required to pay child support for children who are habitually resident in the UK.

If a person with care lives abroad, whether within or outside of the European Union, the Child Support Agency has no jurisdiction. In these circumstances, the parties involved may decide between themselves to continue with the amount previously calculated by the Child Support Agency but the agency would not be involved in the process and would have no enforcement powers.

Alternatively the person with care or the non-resident parent can apply through the courts. The courts have reciprocal arrangements with more than 100 countries and territories that may allow a person living in one jurisdiction to claim maintenance from an ex-partner living in the other.

Departmental Expenditure

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much money was spent by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies on (i) electricity use and (ii) water and sewerage in each year since 1997. [14251]

Mrs. McGuire: Expenditure for electricity and water and sewerage services for the Department since it came into being in 2001, including all its agencies, is given in the following table.
Departmental expenditure
£

ElectricityWaterSewerage
2001–0210,097,5551,403,7391,853,059
2002–0311,394,5751,527,7701,893,489
2003–0415,0757291,052,4352,663,058
2004–0517,274,0891,265,6593,187,004

Disability Discrimination Act

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what discussions he has had with the examination boards on the implications of the implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act 1975 on students with hearing and speech problems with particular reference to their ability to take GCSE French; [16289]

(2) what steps he is taking to encourage examination bodies to ensure that students with hearing and speech problems are accommodated in GCSE French examinations from 2006. [16290]

Jacqui Smith: I have been asked to reply.
 
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I have not held any meetings with the examination boards on this issue. However, my officials have held meetings with representatives of the Awarding Bodies, the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and the Regulators. It has been agreed that the criteria for modern foreign language GCSE qualifications will be reviewed and that disability groups will be invited to participate in the review. Students with hearing and speech problems will continue to be able to access GCSE French examinations in 2006.

The Awarding Bodies and the Regulators will be looking carefully at future access arrangements in the light of the extension of the Disability Discrimination Act to general qualification bodies.

Employment and Income (Forest of Dean)

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of levels of (a) employment and (b) income in Forest of Dean constituency; and if he will make a statement. [15845]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell to Mr. Harper, dated 10 October 2005:

Financial Assistance Scheme

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason pension funds for which the employer is solvent but winds up the scheme without funding it beyond the Minimum Funding Requirement are excluded from the Financial Assistance Scheme. [16325]

Mr. Timms: Solvent employers have a duty to support their schemes and provide the benefits members were expecting. Assistance funded by the taxpayer is not appropriate in cases where there is a solvent sponsoring employer.

GCSE Foreign Languages

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many students were exempt from the oral section of GCSE foreign language examinations due to a disability in each of the last five years. [16291]

Jacqui Smith: I have been asked to reply.
 
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The number of students exempt from the oral section of GCSE foreign language examinations due to a disability in each of the past five years is as follows:
OCRAQAEDEXCELWalesNorthern Ireland
20015(61)(61)00
20023(61)(61)10
2003036(61)20
2004651(61)20
2005222410


(61)No data available


This data has been supplied by the awarding bodies.

Incapacity Benefit

Edward Miliband: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Doncaster, North constituency are in receipt of incapacity benefit. [15066]

Mrs. McGuire: As at February 2005 there were 5,900 incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance claimants in Doncaster North.

Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) men and (b) women received incapacity benefit in the Elmet constituency in the last period for which figures are available. [15734]

Mrs. McGuire: As at February 2005 there were 1,600 men and 1,200 women claiming incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance in the Elmet constituency.


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