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Mr. David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Midlothian are in receipt of (a) incapacity benefit, (b) disability living allowance, (c) attendance allowance, (d) reduced earnings allowance, (e) retirement allowance and (f) industrial injuries benefit. 
|Incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance||4,400|
|Disability living allowance||5,000|
|Industrial injuries disablement benefit (IIDB) only||400|
|Reduced earnings allowance (REA) only||400|
|Retirement allowance (RA) only||100|
|Both IIDB and REA||300|
|Both IIDB and RA||200|
Mr. Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the total cost is to date of implementing the (a) Employment Zone and (b) Working Neighbourhood pilots in the London borough of Tower Hamlets; 
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the Government plans to respond to the EU report on Health and Safety in the Workplace; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: I am unsure to which report the hon. Member refers. However, the European Commission has recently published its second consultation paper on a simplification proposal to rationalise the reporting arrangements on the practical implementation of occupational safety and health directives.
At this stage of the process, only employers and workers organisations are involved in the consultation. Therefore the UK Government will not respond to this paper. Once the social partner consultation process has been completed, the European Commission may propose a directive. The UK will support any proposal that seeks to simplify the current reporting system. We expect to see a proposal towards the end of the UK presidency or early in 2006.
Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost of extending local housing allowances to the whole of the UK; how much he estimates the administration cost will be; and what the cost of administering housing benefit under the previous arrangements are estimated to be in the next three years. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The costs of any possible local housing allowance scheme extended across Great Britain would depend on the exact design. This would be determined by the experience of the current local housing allowance pathfinder pilot areas, for which the evaluation is still ongoing.
The Department does not collect management information relating to the cost to local authorities of administering housing benefit under the existing
20 Dec 2005 : Column 2867W
national scheme. The Department has commissioned a research project looking into the overall administration costs of housing benefit and council tax benefit. This project is near completion and will help us obtain a better indication of these costs in the future.
Mrs. McGuire: The Department's staff are integral to the achievement of its objectives. In order to support the delivery of its work agenda and realise the benefits of modernisation, the Department's human resource strategy is for a smaller work force that is more highly skilled, more productive, better motivated and rewarded, delivering an improved level of customer service.
A key element of the Department's human resource strategy, set out in the 2004 Spending Review, is the managed reduction in staff numbers of 30,000 posts by March 2008 taking place alongside significant investment in information systems. Against this target, as at the end of September 2005 the Department had reduced staff numbers by 14,215.
Mrs. McGuire: As at May 2005 there were 3,500 people claiming incapacity benefit or severe disability allowance in the Gravesham parliamentary constituency. Of these 1,700 had been claiming the benefit for five years or more.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on how many occasions incapacity benefit sanctions have been applied at the discretion of personal advisers in each of the last five years in each region. 
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of people in each (a) parliamentary constituency in England and (b) English local authority area are in receipt of incapacity benefit. 
Mrs. McGuire: The information is not available in the format requested, because population estimates are not available by parliamentary constituency. The available information has been placed in the Library.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people living in (a) the Wakefield area and (b) Hemsworth constituency were in receipt of incapacity benefit in each of the last 10 years. 
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