Mr. Doran: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if he will make a statement on the progress being made in settling the dispute between the House's cleaning contractors and their employees. 
Nick Harvey: I am pleased to report that a settlement has now been reached in the dispute between the House's principal cleaning contractors, MITIE, and their employees. I understand that this involves an increase from 1 March in the basic hourly rate of pay to £6.10. Employees will be entitled to 20 days paid holiday, plus the eight statutory holidays, and five days sick pay after a standard qualifying period. There will be a further rise in the basic rate in October 2006. The two parties have agreed to work together within the terms of the current contract to seek to identify further efficiency savings acceptable to the parliamentary authorities, with the aim of funding a further rise in the basic hourly rate to £6.70 an hour in 2007.
Variations in the detailed specification of services have been agreed in order to allow the necessary efficiency gains to be made to fund the increases in wage rates. The basic terms of the contract remain unchanged.
Harry Cohen: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what the nature was of the attack by hackers reported to have taken place before Christmas on the House's computer systems; what investigation has taken place into where the attack came from; what the result was of that investigation; what the extent was of the attack; and what measures have been taken to prevent further such attacks. 
The Prime Minister:
This information is not held centrally. However, there is a requirement for caterers used by my Office to seek to increase opportunities for local producers to compete to supply food to the public sector.
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The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to my written ministerial statement, 15 December 2005, Official Report, column 173WS and my answers at Prime Minister's Questions on 18 and 25 January.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the administration costs of (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies in (i) cash terms and (ii) real terms using 200405 prices since 199697, broken down by business area; what the forecast is for each of the next two years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in June 2001 from the Department of Social Security and parts of the former Department for Education and Employment including the Employment Service. Therefore it is not possible to provide information prior to 200102.
Information on departmental administration costs in resource terms, including future plans, is published on an annual basis in the Department's Departmental Report, which can be found in the Libraries of the House. The 2005 Departmental Report was published in June 2005 (Cm 6539).
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Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will (a) remove the provisions relating to textured coatings from the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 and (b) conduct a separate consultation on this proposal. 
Mrs. McGuire: Following consultation on proposed amendments to the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 undertaken by the Health and Safety Commission, it will consider whether any changes are necessary to the proposals relating to asbestos containing textured decorative coatings. The Commission will also decide whether any further consultation is necessary before advising Ministers on any changes to the regulations.
Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will ensure that no further changes will be made to (a) the licensing of other asbestos materials and (b) removal techniques without parliamentary scrutiny. 
Mrs. McGuire: All regulations recommended to Ministers from the Health and Safety Commission are subject to negative resolution in Parliamentthe same will apply for the proposed amendments to the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulationsthere will be no changes before this takes place.
Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the extent to which the Health and Safety Executive's proposals for asbestos removal are more applicable to the demolition industry than other parts of the construction industry. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations apply to the removal of all asbestos, including, where necessary, prior to demolition. Where removal of an asbestos containing material is necessary, the same precautions and control measures are required as are applicable to all industries.
Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will apply the Health and Safety Executive's proposals relating to the removal of textured coatings containing asbestos only to demolition work. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Health and Safety Commission will advise on amendments to the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations, including any proposals relating to the removal of asbestos containing decorative coatings, following an analysis of the responses received to the consultation.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the implications for health and safety on building sites of the recruitment of employees from Eastern Europe. 
Migrant workers, including those from Eastern Europe, have a vital role to play in providing skills and in filling labour shortages in the UK
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construction industry. Many are experienced trades people and some enter the workforce through the highly skilled migrant programme.
The Health and Safety Executive has commissioned research, completed this month, to assess the significance of nationality as a health and safety risk factor among construction workers in London and the South East. The research found no evidence of additional risk.
The duty to manage health and safety risk factors on individual construction sites, where communication barriers or differences in health and safety culture may be issues, rests with the employer. The construction industry and the Health and Safety Executive have already taken action to develop guidance to help employers to discharge their responsibilities effectively.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps are being taken to monitor the safety of building sites where a high proportion of workers from EU accession states are employed. 
Monitoring of the construction industry more generally is carried out partly through research and the most recent report, completed this month, found no link between increased health and safety risk and nationality.
Other monitoring is carried out through a new Health and Safety Executive Omnibus survey that began in 2005. It provides data on construction industry characteristics (including information about the nationality of the workforce) as well as its accident and ill-health profile. This data will assist with future monitoring and assessment of risk.
Site inspections also provide intelligence that allows the Health and Safety Executive to monitor the safety of building sites and to support employers in fulfilling their duties where sites are employing a large proportion of migrant workers. The Health and Safety Executive has recently undertaken a project to increase awareness of good health and safety practices amongst London's Polish community through a presentation and the provision of Polish language written guidance.
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