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9 Feb 2006 : Column 1465W—continued

New Deal

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average cost is per person helped into a job by the new deal for disabled people (a) through Jobcentre Plus and (b) through other providers. [44952]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 23 January 2006]: The new deal for disabled people services are supplied by private and voluntary organisations who provide support for disabled people. Individuals can be referred to the programme through a range of sources including Jobcentre Plus.

The average cost of helping a person into work through new deal for disabled people is £2,180 1 .


Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people who would claim one per cent. tax relief in (a) the initial year and (b) subsequent years if the proposed National Pension Savings Scheme were implemented. [49579]

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Mr. Timms: The Government are in the process of examining the recommendations made by the Pensions Commission in detail. This includes recommendations on the National Pension Savings Scheme (NPSS). At this stage, nothing is ruled in and nothing is ruled out. The Pensions Commission made an assumption in their report that approximately seven million people would be in the NPSS, based on an 80 per cent. participation rate for those earning above the Lower Earnings Threshold (£12,100 in 2005–06), and a 65 per cent. participation rate for those earning between the Primary Threshold (£4,888 in 2005–06) and the Lower Earnings Threshold. In developing our proposals we will be evaluating those assumptions.


Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on Health and Safety Executive guidelines to (a) operators and (b) users of sunbed tanning equipment. [48741]

Mrs. McGuire: HSE guidance on use of tanning equipment is contained in leaflet INDG209, Controlling Health Risks from the use of UV Tanning Equipment, issued in 1995. It was produced in conjunction with the Department of Health after wide consultation and remains very relevant. It is available either as a free leaflet or from the HSE website. It contains advice for both operators and users of tanning equipment.

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints the Health and Safety Executive received about (a) staffed and (b) non-staffed sunbed tanning salons in 2004–05; and what the nature of the complaints was. [48744]

Mrs. McGuire: HSE has received no complaints as enforcement responsibility for sunbed tanning salons is allocated to local authorities to whom any complaints would be directed. HSE does not have direct access to local authority records and so cannot determine how many such complaints have been made to them.

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many accidents involving sunbeds have been reported to the Health and Safety Executive in each year since 1995. [48746]

Mrs. McGuire: HSE recording systems do not allow these data to be extracted from our records. Local authorities are allocated enforcement responsibility for the great majority of sunbeds.

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many inspections the Health and Safety Executive has made of (a) staffed and (b) unstaffed sunbed tanning retail outlets in each year since 1995; and what the average interval between inspections has been over the period. [48748]

Mrs. McGuire: The Health and Safety Executive is not responsible for the inspection of sunbed retail tanning outlets. This is a local authority responsibility.

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance has been issued by the Health and Safety Executive to unstaffed coin-operated sunbed tanning salons on appropriate levels of customer (a) security and (b) privacy. [48757]

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Mrs. McGuire: HSE guidance focuses on the health impact of exposure to radiation, and does not cover appropriate levels of customer security or privacy.

Winter Fuel Payments

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of eligible pensioners have received the winter fuel payment in each year since 2003. [49049]

Mr. Timms: We cannot provide an exact estimate of the number of people eligible for a winter fuel payment without establishing their circumstances. A person may be ineligible for various reasons such as serving a custodial sentence, in hospital receiving free in-patient treatment for more than 52 weeks, or subject to immigration control. The vast majority of people entitled to a winter fuel payment are paid automatically as we hold their details on our benefit systems. In the winters of 2003–04 and 2004–05 we made over 11.4 million payments and expect to make around 11.5 million payments this winter.


3G Mobile Telephones

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research her Department has evaluated on the effects on health of 3G mobile telephones. [49604]

Caroline Flint: The Health Protection Agency's radiation protection division (HPA-RPD) periodically evaluates the scientific research relating to mobile phone technology and health including that relevant to third generation (3G) mobile phones. The Stewart report in 2000 comprehensively reviewed the scientific literature and concluded that

More recently, Mobile Phones and Health 2004, reiterated the Stewart report's conclusions noting that

Both the above reports recommended a precautionary approach to the use of mobile phone technology pending the availability of more robust scientific research results. The reports are available on the HPA's website at

The widespread use of mobile phones and the development of newer technologies mean that the possibility of health effects should be continually monitored. Following the results in 2003 of research on 3G base station exposures apparently showing a health effect, the mobile telecommunications and health research (MTHR) programme in this country is now supporting a study at the university of Essex into the symptoms experienced by 3G signals on volunteers (

All mobile phones and base stations in this country comply with the international guidelines. Measurements undertaken both by the HPA and by Ofcom ( have consistently shown that
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exposures to radio signals from base stations, including those from 3G stations, are lower than the international guidelines.

Accident and Emergency Departments

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many accident and emergency departments are (a) scheduled and (b) proposed for closure; and if she will make a statement. [48349]

Jane Kennedy: The Department does not routinely collect and hold centrally operational management information on proposals to close wards or capacity.

National health service bodies are under a duty to consult local authority overview and scrutiny committees on any plans to make substantial changes to NHS services. Currently there is one referral from overview and scrutiny committees being considered by the Secretary of State. This referral is not connected to accident and emergency services.

Alcohol Misuse

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 16 January 2006, Official Report, column 1055W, on alcohol misuse, when she expects to award the contract to run a programme of pilots for alcohol screening and brief interventions. [46561]

Caroline Flint: The screening and brief intervention trailblazers are part of our active policy work in the area of alcohol misuse. No decision on the award of contracts is expected until the 2006–07 financial year.

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