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Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on his Department's position on the Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity (PROGRESS); what (a) gender mainstream programmes, (b) diversity packages and (c) social inclusion projects are planned under the programme; what publicity work will accompany the programme; and if he will make a statement. [23012]

Mr. Plaskitt: The UK, along with other member states, supports the need for this successor EU-level spending programme for the period 2007–13, which will provide financial support for the implementation of the Community's objectives for employment and social affairs and the achievement of the Lisbon goals. It will replace existing programmes to promote measures to combat direct or indirect discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation; promote gender equality; support analysis, research and cooperation between member states in employment and labour market matters; and encourage cooperation between member states to combat social exclusion. The new programme does not propose a range of specific projects, but rather provides a framework to support EU-level actions under the areas covered, such as developing statistical tools, sharing of best practice, awareness-raising campaigns and support for organisations operating in the relevant fields. This includes action in the three areas the hon. Member mentions where, for example, we would expect support to continue for the common legislative framework on gender equality, which provides a level playing field for the single European market in goods and services. But legislation is only part of the story—practice has to change and PROGRESS will enable good practice to be developed and shared between member states. Similarly, PROGRESS is likely to
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maintain support for a range of intermediary groups from across the UK to increase knowledge and understanding by employers and individuals of new anti-discrimination law. It should also support a range of research projects, such as those looking at the provision of services for ethnic minority elders; the particular barriers faced by the most deprived children and families in gaining access to welfare provisions; and ways of improving links between local and central government in the field of social exclusion. Once agreed, the new unified programme will be publicised via the usual Commission and other European institute and news routes, including web and press, and through the existing management structures for those working under the current programmes.

Child Support Agency

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what studies his Department has carried out into the possibility of transferring child maintenance responsibilities to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs; and if he will make a statement. [21439]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Department's policies and how they are delivered, including those of the Child Support Agency, are always kept under review.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham are in receipt of jobseeker's allowance. [45264]

Mr. Plaskitt: As at December 2005, there were 3,840 people in receipt of jobseeker's allowance in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

Pensions (Deemed Buy-back)

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what total (a) gross and (b) net amounts his Department has budgeted for in each of the next three years in respect of Deemed Buy-Backs of pensions. [43899]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply

The information requested is not available. This is because a person may find himself or herself in a pension scheme that winds up in an underfunded position at any
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time during their working life. If they opt for Deemed Buy-Back they will only benefit from any State Additional Pension rights secured when they become
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entitled to their State Retirement Pension. This could be many years into the future. No funds are, nor can be, set aside arising from Deemed Buy-Back.