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Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress there has been in meeting targets for major reductions in fatal accidents and severe injuries in each year since the publication of the Realising Health and Safety Strategy in 2000. 
Since 2000, HSE has concentrated on priority areas in partnership with industry. This has resulted in significant improvements in, for instance, construction and falls from height where targets have been met. This activity has not yet shown through as a clear change to the overall fatal and major injuries rate. HSE continues to prioritise its programmes, focussing on delivering targets.
|Rate of reported injury (per 100,000 employees)|
|Fatal injury||Major injury||Fatal and major injury|
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Ruffley) of 9 January 2006, Official Report, column 7, whether it is the case that no one who is (a) a teacher, (b) a national health service employee and (c) in the civil service, and remains so until the age of 60 years, will be required to defer their retirement beyond the age of 60 years. 
Mr. Timms: No one, in any occupation, in the private or public sector, can be required to defer their retirement beyond a particular ageindividuals always retain the right to retire at a time of their choosing (subject to any compulsory maximum retirement age imposed by the employer).
Under the agreement on public sector pensions announced last October, a current teacher, NHS
13 Feb 2006 : Column 1696W
employee or civil servant who is already a member of their occupational pension scheme and who does not leave that employment at any subsequent point in their career will retain their existing normal pensionable age of 60. However, the probability is that, of public sector workers aged 20 today 90 per cent. (source: Government Actuary's Department) will not meet this criterion (i.e. they will not remain in the same employment until age 60).
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the annual cost to the public purse resulting from social security fraud in each of the last three years. 
|Estimate of benefit overpaid||Comment|
|199899 to 200203||£2 billion per annum||Figure rounded to nearest £1.0 billion.|
|200304 revised estimate||£1.0 billion||Figure rounded to nearest £0.1 billion. Development work to improve the quality of the estimate suggested that the original figure of £1.5 billion was an overstatement.|
|200405||£0.9 billion||Figure rounded to nearest £0.1 billion.|
On 13 October 2005, the Department published our achievements in reducing levels of fraud in the benefit system and plans to reduce it further in 'Reducing fraud in the benefit system: Achievements and ambitions.' Copies are available in the Library.
Mr. Timms: This information is not available. Stakeholder pensions are designed to be flexible, with policy holders being permitted to take breaks in contributions without incurring penalty charges. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) publishes a yearly survey on persistency of life and pension policies which has a table on the levels of persistency for stakeholder pensions. The latest publication is the 2004 survey and it can be found on the FSA's website at http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/other/Persistency_2004.pdf
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions he has had with the Health and Safety Executive on the operation of unstaffed coin-operated sunbed retail outlets. 
Mrs. McGuire: There have been no recent discussions with HSE on the operation of unstaffed coin-operated sunbed retail outlets; no recent concerns have been expressed to HSE regarding serious injuries at such outlets.
No guidance has been issued specifically on unstaffed coin-operated tanning salons. However, the guidance in INDG209, including the advice aimed at customers, provides a sensible approach to controlling the risks from using such facilities.
Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what inspections of sunbed tanning retail outlets the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) undertakes; and what period of notice is given by the HSE for such an inspection. 
HSE is not responsible for the inspection of retail tanning outlets. This is a local authority responsibility. Each local authority decides on the relative priority of such inspections. Many local authorities also require these facilities to be licensed for public health purposes, and a licensing visit will be made on receipt of the necessary application.
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Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the Health and Safety Executive has taken enforcement action against companies operating sunbed tanning salons since 1995; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: No enforcement action has been taken by HSE against companies operating tanning salons as enforcement responsibility for these premises is allocated to local authorities. HSE only holds voluntary submissions of local authority activity; these records show no enforcement against tanning outlets under health and safety legislation.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the response rates against targets were for telephone helplines for (a) incapacity benefit, (b) jobseekers allowance and (c) crisis loans in each region in the UK in the last period for which figures are available. 
Margaret Hodge: Jobcentre plus is introducing a new approach to claiming working age benefits, including incapacity benefit and jobseeker's allowance in which customers call a contact centre to make their claim for benefit. This approach is being gradually introduced across the country.
The information provided in the following table relates only to those areas of the country where the new service has been introduced, and it details the percentage of calls answered by each contact centre during December 2005.
It is not possible to identify the response rates for calls by region as calls are not necessarily answered by the nearest geographical contact centre to the customer. We also do not hold information on the individual benefits that each call relates to and, therefore, I am unable to provide information on the response rates specifically for incapacity benefit and jobseekers allowance.
|Region in which the|
contact centre is based
|Grimsby||Yorkshire and Humber||98.4|
|Halifax||Yorkshire and Humber||93.5|
|Lincoln||East of England||96.7|
|Lowestoft||East of England||96.7|
|Sheffield||Yorkshire and Humber||94.9|
|Marton Mere||North West||97.2|
|Dundee||Office for Scotland||93.8|
|Bridgend||Office for Wales||88.2|
|Cwmbran||Office for Wales||92.1|
|Pembroke Dock||Office for Wales||93.3|
Our aim is to answer 90 per cent. of calls. We are aware that two contact centres are not meeting this aim. Measures have been put in place to improve performance, including temporary adjustments to our processes, further recruitment and improved training programmes. These activities have already produced positive results and we are confident that the week-on-week improvements in customer service will continue.
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