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Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether there have been changes to the guidance from the Health and Safety Executive to local authority planning departments since the Buncefield oil depot fire; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 2 February 2006]: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advises local planning authorities about risks from major hazard sites and their potential effects on developments nearby. HSE and the Environment Agency have commenced a thorough investigation into the explosions and fire at Buncefield oil depot on 11 December 2005 and will make a special report in due course. The terms of reference of the investigation include establishing the root causes of
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the incident and making recommendations for future action to ensure the effective management and regulation of major accident risks at such sites.
Overall during the calendar year 1st January 2005 to 31st December 2005 34 consultants working for 6 separate companies have worked for the Child Support Agency and Child Support Reform project. The total cost of external consultants to the Child Support Agency and Child Support Reform project recorded on the Agency accounting system for the calendar year was £1,677,258. These consultants provided services and expertise which did not already exist within the Agency.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many outstanding Child Support Agency applications from people in (a) Tamworth and (b) Staffordshire were received more than (i) six months and (ii) 12 months ago; and what percentage of the total number of such applications each figure represents. 
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of each civil service grade in his Department is located in each (a) region and (b) nation of the UK; what the average salary is for each grade; and if he will make a statement. 
My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Cabinet Office will write to the hon. Member with details for the civil service of the percentage of staff in post by region and grade responsibility and the median salary of staff in post by region and grade responsibility as at 1 April 2004. Copies of his letter will be placed in the Library.
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Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on (a) internally and (b) externally commissioned research reports in each year since 1997. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department's expenditure on externally commissioned research is given in the following table. The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in June 2001, therefore figures have been provided from the financial year 200102 onwards. Costs of internal research are not available.
|Financial year||Expenditure (£ million)|
Civil Service Statistics are available in the Library and at the following address on the Cabinet Office website: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/management_of_the_civil_servi ce/statistics/civil_service_statistics/index.asp
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the overall expenditure on incapacity benefits was, including severe disablement allowance and income support on the grounds of incapacity (a) on the grounds of mental and behavioural disorders and (b) in total, in each year since 1997. 
Mrs. McGuire: Information for income support expenditure is not available broken down by diagnoses. For the expenditure on incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance, I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave on 30 January 2006, Official Report, column 251W.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 21 July 2005, Official Report, column 2018W, on internal audit recommendations, when he plans to place these in the Library. 
The Department's review of its internal audit recommendations, Internal Audit Recommendations 200205 (06/011), was placed in the Library of the House on 23 December 2005. The only exceptions to this will be those recommendations where there is specific commercial or policy reason not to make the information available and those recommendations already placed in the Library on 22 March 2005 for the Child Support Agency.
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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the Jobcentre Plus offices which (a) closed and (b) have had reductions in opening times of over one day per week since 1 January 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking if he will list the Jobcentre Plus offices which (a) closed and (b) have had reductions in opening times of over one day per week since 1st January 2005. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive.
It may help if I first explain that the majority of our Jobcentre Plus offices are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday-Friday. There will however be occasions when we adjust our opening hours to meet the demand for our services. For instance, during January many of our services were open for longer than their usual hours, including weekends, to ensure that we maintained customer service and benefit processing during some of our busiest times.
In some circumstances, we do also take the decision to reduce the number of hours that some of our Jobcentre Plus offices remain open. This may be appropriate where we deliver some services from other premises in the area and need to fit with their opening hours. Elsewhere we will reduce opening hours if demand does not warrant full opening hours. We of course keep office opening hours under regular review to ensure we give a good service to our clients.
Our modernisation programme is opening up new ways for clients to access and use our services. For instance, customers are now able to receive advice on jobs and benefits over the telephone and on the internet. These improvements do enable us to look more flexibly at the service we deliver through our Jobcentre Plus offices.
Creating Jobcentre Plus out of two separate services has enabled us to rationalise our outlets and so far, 130 offices are no longer required. 36 offices have reduced their hours in response to customer demand. The information on sites specifically affected has been placed in the Library.
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