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Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on whether stone mastic asphalt reacts with (i) diesel, (ii) oil (iii) hydraulic fluid and (iv) pre-wetted salt. 
Dr. Ladyman: No specific research has been commissioned nor any evaluation carried out on how stone mastic asphalt reacts with (a) contaminants such as diesel, oil and hydraulic fluids and (b) with the use of pre-wetted salt. However, a report on research into the affects of contaminants on road surfaces in general, jointly funded by the Highways Agency and the Institute of Accident Investigators entitled 'Friction Tests on Contaminated Surfaces' is planned for publication in late December 2005. The Highways Agency does not allow the use of stone mastic asphalt on trunk roads including motorways.
Dr. Ladyman: No specific research has been undertaken on the coefficient of friction of stone mastic asphalt with regard to motorbikes. Development of the UK standards for the measurement of road surface friction has been based on research that is applicable to motorised vehicles in general.
Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many reported incidents of (a) verbal abuse and (b) physical attack on bus drivers and conductors there have been in each year since 1997. 
Ms Buck: The Department does not collect statistics on the number of incidents of verbal assault. The following table shows the reported number of assaults on bus crews, including conductors and inspectors, in Great Britain up to 2003. The Department no longer collects data on such assaults outside London given serious problems with the quality and robustness of the data received. We are working to find more reliable methods of monitoring and recording incidents of crime on buses.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on his Department's policy on the development of a new Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The UK, along with other member states, supports the need for this successor EU-level spending programme for the period 200713, which will provide financial support for the implementation of the Community's objectives for employment and social affairs and the achievement of the Lisbon goals. It will replace existing programmes to: promote measures to combat direct or indirect discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation; promote gender equality; support analysis, research and cooperation between member states in employment and labour market matters; and encourage cooperation between member states to combat social exclusion. The new programme does not propose a range of specific projects, but rather provides a framework to support EU-level actions under the areas covered, such as developing statistical tools, sharing of best practice, awareness-raising campaigns and support for organisations operating in the relevant fields.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to make an announcement on the application of the Financial Assistance Scheme to those not covered in the first tranche of awards who have lost their pension due to the liquidation of their company pension fund. 
Mr. Timms: The departmental website is continually updated to show pension schemes which are assessed as qualifying for the Financial Assistance Scheme. We have made a commitment to review the operation and funding of the Financial Assistance Scheme, alongside other spending priorities, in the next spending review.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the expenditure on national insurance rebates for those contracted out of the state second pension for (a) the next five years, (b) 2020, (c) 2030, (d) 2040 and (e) 2050. 
|Tax year||Defined benefit||Defined contribution||Personal pension and stakeholder pension schemes||Total|
Mr. Timms: The Pensions Ombudsman's aim in response to a complaint is to send a full reply within seven working days. Where a complaint cannot be resolved it may be referred by an hon. Member to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The number of complaints that were referred is in the following table:
|Number of complaints referred|
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether enough information was gathered on the Universal Vehicle Group Pension Scheme during the 2004 data collection exercise to determine whether or not its members were eligible for the Financial Assistance Scheme; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) whether current information held by his Department on the Universal Vehicle Group Pension Scheme is sufficient for its members to qualify for the Financial Assistance Scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Timms: No. Minimal information on the Universal Vehicle Group Pension Scheme was provided during the 2004 data collection exercise. The Department sent the scheme administrators a notification and qualification form on 1 September 2005, which needs completing, signing and returning before the Department can decide whether the scheme is a qualifying pension scheme for the purposes of the Financial Assistance Scheme. The Department has since been in contact with the administrators who have confirmed that the form has been forwarded onto the trustees, who have until the end of the notification period28 February 2006to return part A (notification details) of the form.
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