Previous Section Index Home Page

11 Jan 2006 : Column 690W—continued


Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visits to the website there were in each month since its inception; and if he will make a statement. [32787]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The number of visits follows. The data system 'Sitestat' has only been used since April 2003, so only data from that date are available.
Total visits

February 20033
March 20032
April 200310,122
May 200321,073
June 200324,923
July 20035,637
August 20036,351
September 200318,675
October 200320,481
November 200322,501
December 200321,310
January 200455,743
February 200471,223
March 200487,126
April 200443,535
May 200431,933
June 200431,537
July 200428,645
August 200425,256
September 200411,364
October 200435,618
November 200448,802
December 200438,885
January 200553,089
February 200515,771
March 2005450
April 2005367
May 2005359
June 2005307
July 2005300
August 2005298
September 2005371
October 2005402
November 2005253
December 200555
Maximum March 200487,126
Total unique visitors515,234

11 Jan 2006 : Column 691W


Brownfield Land

Greg Clark: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what records his Department keeps of the amount ofdevelopment on different categories of brownfield land; [40528]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of trends in the loss of privately-owned green space as a result of new residential development. [40531]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) records amounts of land use change in its Land Use Change Statistics. The most recent results were published on the ODPM website in November, as 'Land Use Change in England to 2004: Additional Tables'.

Land Use Change Statistics show the amount of land being developed according to its previous use, including previously-developed (brownfield) uses. Information on the ownership of the land is not, however, recorded so that there is no information on any loss of privately owned green space.

Council Tax Revaluation

Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether council-appointed inspectors visiting private properties take photographs of the interiors for council tax revaluation purposes. [40731]

Mr. Woolas: Councils do not appoint inspectors to visit properties for council tax revaluation purposes—that is a function undertaken by Valuation Office Agency staff, and I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 13 July 2005, Official Report, column 1071W. It would be extremely rare that photographs are taken inside a person's home and this would only be done with the occupier's permission.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Pope: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the percentage change was in central Government funding to Rossendale borough council in each of the last five years. [40034]

Mr. Woolas: The percentage change in central Government funding to Rossendale borough council in each of the last five years for which data are available is shown in the following table.
11 Jan 2006 : Column 692W

Change in all central Government funding on previous year (percentage)Of which percentage change in formula grant (revenue support grant, police grant and redistributed business rates)

1. These figures are as reported by Rossendale borough council on the revenue out-turn (RO) returns submitted to ODPM.
2. Central Government funding is defined here as the sum of specific grants inside aggregate external finance (AEF) and formula grant (revenue support grant, redistributed business rates and police grant). Specific grants inside AEF are those revenue grants paid for councils' core services (such as waste collection), excluding funding for local authorities' housing management.
3. The information provided excludes capital funding and funding for local authorities' housing management responsibilities.
4. The information excludes those grant programmes, such as European funding, where authorities are simply one of the recipients of funding paid towards an area.
5. Comparisons across years may not be valid because the figures shown are not adjusted for changes in local authority responsibilities.

The increase in central Government funding in 2003–04 is in part due to housing benefit and council tax benefit administration specific grant doubling from £243,000 in 2002–03 to £493,000 in 2003–04.

The large increase in total central Government funding 2004–05 is principally due to a £2.2 million grant for a Housing Stock Options Appraisal Project.

The decrease in formula grant between 2003–04 and 2004–05 is due largely to the removal, with effect from 2004–05, of local authorities' responsibility for paying part of the costs of council tax benefit and housing benefit.


Asbestos Regulations

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the evidential basis is in relation to (a) risk and (b) cost of the Health and Safety Executive's recent proposals for modifying the Asbestos Regulations and revising the related code of practice. [38853]

Mrs. McGuire: The proposals for revised asbestos regulations and an approved code of practice take account of evidence on risk from a risk assessment, and on cost from a regulatory impact assessment. These documents are attached as annexes to the consultative document.

Benefit Claimants Living Overseas

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what reports he has received concerning benefit fraud by British citizens resident in Thailand; what steps he has taken to investigate them; and if he will make a statement on his policy on investigating allegations in newspapers. [41059]

11 Jan 2006 : Column 693W

Mr. Plaskitt: As with all allegations of benefit fraud, those involving people claiming benefits while living abroad are investigated where there is evidence that benefit is wrongly being claimed. Where benefit fraud is established appropriate action will be taken, which can include prosecution leading to imprisonment for the more serious offences.

Allegations in newspapers are considered on the same basis as all allegations of benefit fraud and will be investigated where there is evidence that benefit has been wrongly claimed.

Benefit Fraud

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Workand Pensions (1) how many investigations into benefit fraud have been undertaken in each of the last 10 years; [27639]

(2) how many prosecutions have been brought for benefit fraud in each of the last 10 years; and how many were successful. [27640]

Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 11 November 2005]: The available information is in the tables.
Benefit fraud investigations,, prosecution, convictions and sanctions by DWP

Referrals accepted for investigationsProsecutionsConvictionsSanctions

1. 'Referrals accepted for investigations' exclude general Matching Service cases.
2. The fraud database shows completed cases that commenced in the relevant period. Due to the time between commencement of investigation and completion of prosecution, some cases will be included data collated for earlier periods. All totals are therefore correct at the time when quoted but subject to adjustment at a later date.
3. The significant reduction in 1998–99 results from a changed definition of cases to be referred to investigation. Prior to this year any cases in error was referred. After that date any case in error where there was a suspicion of fraud was referred.
4. The decline in referrals from 1999–2000 reflects our success in reducing the level of fraud significantly over that period—down by over 60 per cent. in IS/JSA.
5. Sanctions include Administrative Penalties and Cautions. Administrative Penalties as an alternative to prosecution, were introduced by the Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act (1997) with effect from December 1998. Cautions were made available to local authorities as a sanction from the start of 2001–02.
Fraud Information By Sector system and data from Fraud Investigation Service (Serious and Organised Operations Branch)

11 Jan 2006 : Column 694W

Benefit fraud investigations, prosecution and convictions by local authorities

Referrals accepted for investigationsProsecutionsConvictions

1. The investigations figures only cover the local authorities that have submitted the relevant information on their stats 124 and WIB5 forms and are therefore a reflection of the information that we hold, which might not be complete.
2. For local authorities, figures prior to 2001–02 have been rounded to the nearest 100 because they include estimated values for non-responding local authorities.
3. Figures for local authority prosecutions which did not lead to conviction are not available prior to 2001–02.
4. The figures only cover the local authorities that have submitted the relevant information on their stats124 and WIB5 forms and is therefore a reflection of the information that we hold, which might not be complete.
1. The data for the numbers of investigations have been taken from HB MIS stats124.
2. From 2001–02 onwards the numbers of prosecutions and convictions are taken from subsidy claim forms. Prior to this the numbers are taken from management information returns.

Next Section Index Home Page