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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. 
|Government office region||Highest rate care component and higher rate mobility component||Middle care component and higher rate mobility component|
|Yorkshire and Humber||41.4||38.4|
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. 
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.
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.
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. 
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.
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.
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. 
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.
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. 
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.
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. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question concerning what recent assessment has been undertaken of the comprehensiveness and accuracy of the advice given by jobcentres on the effect of household incomes of coming off the unemployment register and engaging in part time work. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus advisors use a networked version of the Departmental Integrated Benefits Information System (IBIS) computer system to help them provide 'Better-off in work advice to customers. This IT tool provides a comprehensive calculation across the full range of income-based benefits and tax credits. The user either enters the amount of benefit known to be in payment, or lets the system calculate current entitlements based on the information provided by the customer. The system then allows a 'what if scenario to be entered to compare to the current position, and this will most typically involve a customer's prospective job details. Such events often involve a number of consequential changes such as the addition of travelling expenses and childcare and the IBIS system prompts for all of these to be considered and captured where appropriate.
Once all of the additional information has been entered for the prospective change, the system performs another series of calculations to show estimated entitlements. It also performs a financial comparison between the current actual position and the (typically) in work estimate. This is known as the Better Off calculation and shows a customer exactly how much per week they will gain or loose by taking a particular job.
With regard to accuracy, we take this very seriously and regularly update the IBIS system in line with, for example, changes to benefit rates. When we have investigated cases where the advice may have appeared incorrect, we have generally found this to have been caused either by incorrect or incomplete information being supplied by the customer, or when circumstances have changed between the advice being given and, for example, the take up of a job.
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