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6 Feb 2006 : Column 850W—continued

Press Complaints

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on how many occasions since 1 April 2003 he has complained to the Press Complaints Commission about the coverage in the press of (a) Ministers or officials and (b) his Department; and how many of these complaints were upheld. [47082]

Mr. Jim Murphy: I am not aware of any complaints from the Cabinet Office to the Press Complaints Commission during this period.

Regulatory Reform Act

Mr. Duncan: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many regulations have been (a) amended and (b) removed under the Regulatory Reform Act 2001 in each year since the Act was passed. [49148]

Mr. Jim Murphy: Changes to regulations are usually made via the statutory instrument powers used to create them.
 
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The main provision of the Regulatory Reform Act 2001 is to allow for the reform of burdensome primary legislation by Regulatory Reform Orders (RRO). Detailed records are not kept of any ancillary changes to regulations.

Twenty-seven Regulatory Reform Orders (RROs") have been made since the Regulatory Reform Act 2001 was passed. These have delivered benefits to a range of sectors, including businesses, charities and local authorities. Details of the changes made by these orders are available in the supporting documentation accompanying these orders on the Cabinet Office Better Regulation Executive's website at: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/regulation/regulatory_reform/act/reform_ orders.asp.

PRIME MINISTER

Congressional Medal

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister when he will collect his Congressional Medal. [48032]

The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Louth and Horncastle (Sir Peter Tapsell) at Prime Minister's questions on 14 December 2005, Official Report, columns 1301–02.

Departmental Assets

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the items of his Office's property worth over £100 that have been reported as (a) lost and (b) broken in the last 12 months. [47677]

The Prime Minister: For these purposes my office forms part of the Cabinet Office. I have therefore asked my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office (Mr. Murphy) to reply. A copy of the reply will be placed in the Library of the House.

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Heald: To ask the Prime Minister how much was spent on his (a) Private Office, (b) Political Office, (c) Press Office, (d) Strategic Communications Unit, (e) Policy Unit, (f) Delivery Unit, (g) Office of Public Services Reform, (h) Forward Strategy Unit and (i) other associated units, in each year since 1996–97; and what the estimated spend for 2005–06 is. [47201]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Southend, West (Mr. Amess) on 21 July 2005, Official Report, column 1935W.

The Delivery Unit, the Strategy Unit and the Office of Public Service Reform do not form part of my Office.

The staffing and associated costs for my Political Office are met by the Labour Party. As has been the
 
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case under successive Administrations, marginal costs associated with the Political Office are met from within the overall budget for 10 Downing Street.

Honours

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the honours that have been awarded to players, and former players, of rugby union football since 1997. [47623]

The Prime Minister: This is a matter of public record. The Honours Lists are published in The London Gazette on the occasion of the Queen's birthday in June and at new year.

Iraq

Harry Cohen: To ask the Prime Minister whether he discussed with President Bush, prior to the onset of hostilities against Iraq in 2003, a proposal that the UK should not take part in war-fighting, but would undertake a subsequent peacekeeping mission. [46125]

The Prime Minister: The decision to resort to military action to ensure that Iraq fulfilled its obligations imposed by successive UN Security Council Resolutions was taken only after other routes to disarm Iraq had failed. I decided to commit UK forces after securing the approval of the House in the vote on 18 March 2003.

Torture

David Howarth: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 30 January 2006, Official Report, column 64W, on torture, and his oral answer of 7 December 2005, Official Report, column 862, whether his statement that the US does not condone torture was intended to exclude other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment set out in Article 16 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. [48437]

The Prime Minister: The US Secretary of State made clear in her public statement of 5 December 2005 on the treatment of detainees that it is US policy that authorised interrogation will be consistent with US obligations under the Convention Against Torture, which prohibit cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment".

The US Detainee Treatment Act, enacted on 30 December 2005, provides that no individual in the custody or under the physical control of the US Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This legislation makes a matter of statute what President Bush has made clear was already US Government policy.

Vandalism

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the acts of vandalism which have been perpetrated (a) inside and (b) on the outside of his Office's buildings in the last 12 months. [49500]


 
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The Prime Minister: For these purposes my office forms part of the Cabinet Office. I have therefore asked my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office (Mr. Murphy) to reply. A copy of the reply will be placed in the Library of the House.

Wilson Doctrine

Lynne Jones: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his written statement of 15 December 2005, Official
 
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Report
, column 173WS, on the Wilson Doctrine, when he expects the Government to have finished considering the advice from the Interception of Communications Commissioner on the possible implications for the Wilson Doctrine of the regulatory framework for the interception of communications. [49256]

The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to my written ministerial statement of 15 December 2006, Official Report, column 173WS, and my answers at Prime Minister's questions on 18 and 25 January.
 
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WORK AND PENSIONS

Financial Inclusion

11. Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent measures he has taken to promote financial inclusion. [48329]

Margaret Hodge: The Government is committed to improved access to banking and the supply of affordable credit. We have made great progress since 1997 by implementing many of the recommendations of the Policy Action Team Report. However, we recognise that there is more to be done.

We continue to promote financial inclusion through improved access to banking and the supply of affordable credit. Two specific initiatives in our Department are the £36 million allocated to the Growth Fund which will result in more affordable credit becoming available to tens of thousands of people and the improvements to simplify and expand the interest free Social Fund Budgeting Loans scheme.

Incapacity Benefit

15. Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which organisations he plans to consult on his proposals to reduce the number of people claiming incapacity benefit; and if he will make a statement. [48334]

Margaret Hodge: We have been consulting with key stakeholders about the detail of incapacity benefits reform since 2002, when we published our Pathways to Work proposals.

We have now published our new proposals in our Green Paper and formal consultation will run until 21 April 2006.

During this period I will engage with all our stakeholders, including claimants, employers, health professionals, local authorities, providers, disability organisations, welfare rights organisations and hon. Members.

19. Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many incapacity benefit claimants there are in Newcastle-under-Lyme. [48338]

Mrs. McGuire: As at August 2005, there were 4,800 people in Newcastle-under-Lyme claiming incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance.

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost is of an incapacity case cleared by scrutiny. [35713]

Mrs. McGuire: This information is confidential and cannot be disclosed as to do so may prejudice the commercial interests of the Department and/or its suppliers.

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claimed incapacity benefit in Beverley and Holderness in each year since 1997. [44316]


 
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Mrs. McGuire: The information is in the table.
Incapacity benefit (IB) and severe disablement allowance (SDA) claimants, in the Beverley and Holderness parliamentary constituency: May 2005

Number of claimants
May 19974,300
May 19983,900
May 19993,600
May 20003,200
May 20013,300
May 20023,300
May 20033,300
May 20043,300
May 20053,300



Notes:
1. The parliamentary constituency figures for the years 1997 to 1999 have been produced using the 5 per cent. data and have been rated up proportionally using the Great Britain WPLS 100 per cent. IB/SDA totals.
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.
3. 'Claimant' figures include all IB and SDA, including IB credits only cases.
Source:
DWP Information Directorate, 5 per cent. samples from 1997 to 1999 and Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent. data thereafter.


Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of how many people are affected by incapacity benefit reductions relating to the receipt of an occupational pension. [44510]

Mrs. McGuire: As at May 2005 there were 30,600 incapacity benefit recipients whose benefit had been reduced by the receipt of an occupational pension. This does not include those whose benefit is reduced to nil; information on such claims is not collected centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people received incapacity benefit in Elmet constituency in (a) 1997 and (b) the most recent year for which figures are available. [46271]

Mrs. McGuire: In August 1997, there were 3,500 people, and in August 2005, there were 3,000 people in the Elmet parliamentary constituency claiming incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average time was between the start of a claim for incapacity benefit and the first personal capability assessment in the last year for which figures are available. [46320]

Mrs. McGuire: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 22 June 2005, Official Report, column 1073W.

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many incapacity benefit claimants have failed a personal capability assessment in each of the last four years in (a) Pathways to Work areas and (b) non Pathways to Work areas; and for what reasons in each case. [46322]


 
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Mrs. McGuire: The personal capability assessment uses a scoring process to assess an individual's incapacity. Where an individual's score is below the threshold for incapacity benefit or disability living allowance, the benefit will be withdrawn. It is not possible to give a further breakdown of reasons.
Incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance terminations due to a personal capability assessment score being below the benefit threshold

As at August each year:Pathways areasNon-Pathways areas
20021,80020,900
20031,80022,700
20043,10021,300
20052,60025,900



Notes:
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.
2. Figures for the latest quarter do not include any late notifications and are subject to major changes in future quarters. For illustration purposes, total terminations for May 2004 increased by 33 per cent. in the year following their initial release.
Source:
DWP Information Directorate 5 per cent. sample.


Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of incapacity benefits claimants have undergone a medical examination in each year since 1990. [46329]

Mrs. McGuire: The information is not available.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claimed incapacity benefit in 2004–05, broken down by medical condition. [46372]

Mrs. McGuire: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the hon. Member for Bristol, East (Kerry McCarthy), on 23 January 2006, Official Report, column 1824W.


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