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19 Dec 2005 : Column 2449W—continued

Disability Living Allowance

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 24 November 2005, Official Report, column 2252W, on disability living allowance, how many recipients of (a) highest rate care component and (b) middle rate care component are also in receipt of the higher rate mobility component, broken down by region. [35347]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 12 December 2005]: The requested information is in the table.
Disability living allowance: numbers of recipients of (a) the highest rate care component and the higher rate mobility component; and (b) the middle rate care component and the higher rate mobility component in Great Britain at 31 May 2005 by Government office region

Government office regionHighest rate care component and higher rate mobility componentMiddle care component and higher rate mobility component
North East24.122.6
North West68.668.6
Yorkshire and Humber41.438.4
East Midlands31.528.3
West Midlands43.038.2
South East40.035.2
South West30.229.6

1.Figures are in thousands, rounded to the nearest hundred, and exclude cases where payment of the allowance is suspended; for example, because the recipient has been a NHS hospital in-patient for more than four weeks. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
2.Postcodes are used to allocate recipients to the relevant Government office region. The figures shown against Unknown" are those for cases where the postcode is incomplete.
DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

19 Dec 2005 : Column 2450W

Disabled People

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received on the UK's involvement with the draft UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People; and if he will make a statement. [34879]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department receives occasional correspondence on the draft UN Convention. We have also established a mechanism for regular review meetings with UK non-governmental organisations representing disabled people to keep them up to date with progress and seek their views on draft text. Additionally, the UK's involvement in the Convention is often discussed during regular meetings between departmental Ministers and disability organisations.

Employment Zone (Tower Hamlets)

Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons new deal 25 plus in the London borough of Tower Hamlets has been replaced with the Employment Zone. [36367]

Margaret Hodge: Employment Zones are about finding the best way of helping jobless people find work and focus on those areas facing the most severe labour market problems. Areas like Tower Hamlets were chosen for Employment Zones because they had the highest unemployment rates in the country and the highest share of people unemployed for two years or more.

By harnessing the skills and expertise of the organisations and partnerships involved in Employment Zones we are able to provide more innovative ways of helping people into jobs. We are also providing additional help to reduce the high level of long-term unemployed jobseeker's allowance claimants in Tower Hamlets, beyond that which had been available under new deal 25 plus.

Finance Director

Mr. Maples: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions who the director of finance in his Department is; what relevant specialist qualifications he or she holds; and what the details of his or her career to date are. [26399]

Mrs. McGuire: The Finance Director General for the Department for Work and Pensions is John Codling. He is a CIPFA qualified accountant. John joined the Benefits Agency as Finance Director in April 1998. He was subsequently appointed the DSS Finance Director in May 2000 and then Finance Director General for DWP in 2001. Before joining the Benefits Agency John was Finance Director of the Funding Agency for Schools and before that held a series of senior posts in the Health Service and Local Government in both England and Scotland.

Financial Assistance Scheme

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects the first payments to be made by the Financial Assistance Scheme. [38288]

19 Dec 2005 : Column 2451W

Mr. Timms: The first payments by the Financial Assistance Scheme to members of the ASW (Cardiff) pension scheme, the first scheme to provide us with the required details, have been issued and should be in individuals' bank accounts by Wednesday 21 December.

Firework Storage Sites

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the Health and Safety Executive, when considering whether applicants for licensed firework storage sites are fit and proper persons, takes into account the criminal record of applicants other than their record with relation to explosives legislation. [36387]

Mrs. McGuire: The Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 permit a licensing authority to refuse a licence where it takes the view that the applicant is not a fit person to store explosives. This means that the licensing authority does not have confidence in the applicant's ability or willingness to store the explosives safely.

In considering this issue the authority will primarily consider previous breaches of health and safety legislation but it can also take into account breaches of other relevant legislation where this reflects on the ability of the applicant to store safely and its willingness to comply with health and safety legislation.

HSE does not have access to the police criminal records and is not therefore able to run criminal records checks.

Gas Industry Levy

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions he has had with (a) Ofgem, (b) the Health and Safety Commission and (c) the Council of Registered Gas Installers on the proposals from the Health and Safety Commission in 2000 for a levy on the gas industry to fund (i) a watchdog to promote carbon monoxide awareness and (ii)equipment for gas emergency services to test for carbon monoxide; and if he will make a statement. [34746]

Mrs. McGuire: None. However, my noble friend the Lord Hunt is due to meet both the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and CORGI early next year when these issues are on the agenda.

The Health and Safety Commission's Fundamental Review of Gas Safety in 2000 recommended a levy on the gas industry for research and publicity, not specifically for a watchdog to promote carbon monoxide awareness.

Household Incomes

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment has been made of the (a) comprehensiveness and (b) accuracy of advice given by Jobcentres on the effect on household incomes of coming off the unemployment register and engaging in part-time work. [34097]

Margaret Hodge: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. She will write to the hon. Member.
19 Dec 2005 : Column 2452W

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 19 December 2005:

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