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20 Jan 2006 : Column 1635W—continued


Departmental Vehicles

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many cars are (a) owned and (b) leased by her Department; what models the cars are; what type of petrol each model requires; and what the fuel efficiency is of each model. [41351]

Mr. Lammy: The information is as follows.

(a) DCMS does not own any cars,

(b) DCMS lease five cars from the Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA). For vehicles provided to Government Departments by the GCDA my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport has asked the Chief Executive of the GCDA to write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Free Television Licences

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many households in Ribble Valley are in receipt of a free television licence. [43147]

James Purnell: TV Licensing, who administer free television licences for people aged 75 or over as agents for the BBC, are not able to provide geographical breakdowns of the number of free licences issued.
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However, the number of households with at least one person aged 75 or over claiming the winter fuel payment in the Ribble Valley constituency in 2004–05 was 6,010, according to Department for Work and Pensions records.

Green Ministers

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what meetings her Department's Green Minister has attended in the last 12 months in an official capacity; and if she will list the meetings at which her Department has been represented in the last 12 months on the delivery of sustainable development across government which have been co-ordinated by the Ministerial Sub-Committee of Green Ministers. [44255]

James Purnell: Following the general election in May, the Cabinet Sub-Committee of Green Ministers (ENV(G)) was replaced by the Ministerial Sub-Committee on Sustainable Development in Government (EE(SD)) whose members are departmental Sustainable Development Ministers. It is established practice not to disclose information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees or any activities co-ordinated by them. My right hon. Friend Baroness Morris of Yardley (Estelle Morris) represented the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on ENV(G) committee until May 2005. After that date I was appointed to represent DCMS on EE(SD). I attended an informal breakfast seminar organised by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last July in that capacity. Since then I have had a bi-lateral meeting in the same capacity with the Minister for Energy and Environment.


Adult Dependency Benefit

David Mundell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he intends to bring forward legislation to amend the law so that the adult dependency benefit can be claimed by married women. [41952]

Mr. Timms: Married women in receipt of state pension are in certain limited cases entitled to an adult dependency increase.

We have no plans currently to widen the scope of the rules for entitlement.

Allied Steel and Wire

Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the oral answer of 9 January 2006, Official Report, column 12, on ASW Sheerness (pension scheme), what the basis is of the estimate of 15,000 pensioners qualifying for assistance under the Financial Assistance Scheme. [44271]

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Mr. Timms: Based on the limited data we have been able to obtain from affected pension schemes, this is our best estimate of the number of members of eligible schemes likely to be within three years of scheme pension age in May 2004 and have less than 80 per cent. of their core pension rights covered by the scheme.

Child Support Agency

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many prosecutions have been brought by the Child Support Agency under section 14A of the 1991 Act in each year since 31 January 2001; how many convictions have been obtained in relation to those prosecutions; and what the average fine imposed by the courts was for such offences in each year. [31208]

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Mr. Plaskitt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mr. Stephen Geraghty. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 9 January 2006:

Numbers of prosecutions and convictions under Section 14A

Section 14 Prosecutions2001200220032004January-31 October 2005Total
Found guilty016231195306748
Total amount of fines issued04,08042,73532,27570,288149,378
Conditional discharges0522252880
Absolute discharge000156
Deferred sentence000101
Average fine0370.91204.47192.11257.47225.99

1. The average fines have been calculated using the total fines imposed divided by the number of convictions (excluding the conditional and absolute discharges).
2. The maximum fine that can be imposed upon a person found guilty of an offence under Sections 14A(2) and 14A(3) of the Child Support Act 1991 is £1,000.

HM Treasury

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what responsibilities of his Department have been transferred to HM Treasury since 1 May 1997; and if he will make a statement. [41335]

Margaret Hodge: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was established in June 2001. The Tax Credits Act 2002 transferred to HM Treasury responsibility for policy relating to child benefit and guardian's allowance, with the setting of the levels of those benefits and the rules of entitlement and this transfer took place on 1 April 2003. The Secretary of State's remaining functions relating to child benefit and guardian's allowance were transferred at the same time to the Commissioners of Inland Revenue. Additionally family credit, disability working allowance and certain payments for children in other benefits have been superseded by tax credits, administered by HMRC as a consequence of the Tax Credits Acts of 1999 and 2002.

The Social Security Contributions (Transfer of Functions, etc.) Act 1999 effected the transfer of the Contributions Agency and national insurance contributions policy from what is now the Department for Work and Pensions to the Inland Revenue now HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) from 1 April 1999.

Housing Benefit

Mr. McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of housing benefit was in each of the past three years for which records are available. [44049]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is in the table.

Total housing benefit

1. Figures are for Great Britain.
2. Final figures for 2004–05 are not yet available and are subject to change.
Subsidy claims data.

Race Relations

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what percentage of staff in his Department have received training on the general and specific duties of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, broken down by (a) ethnicity and (b) grade. [3557]

Mrs. McGuire: All staff are required to undertake training on the provisions of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 awareness is also part of the induction package for all new employees.
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Race relations training has been delivered in a variety of ways throughout the Department, for example through trainer-led events in classrooms, team workshops, roadshows and the DWP Diversity Toolkit which is an e-learning and development tool with modules covering all areas of equality.

We do not currently have a system to monitor all the training undertaken and we are therefore unable to specify how many and what percentage of staff have received training. We are in the process of developing a new resource management system, due for implementation during 2006. One of the features of the new system will enable us to address our need to monitor and will collect data on training applications, broken down by ethnicity, age, gender, disability and grade.

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