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Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the cost to be included in the departmental expenditure limits for involuntary and voluntary staff exit schemes in (a) 200506, (b) 200607 and (c) 200708; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 28 November 2006]: The latest estimate of the cost to be included in the departmental expenditure limit on voluntary and voluntary exits is in the following table.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has to change the London allowance of its staff; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions no longer has separate London allowances" for its staff. Instead the Department has four pay zones which all attract different rates of basic pay: inner London; outer London; specified location pay zones, which are a number of offices in the South East which have experienced recruitment difficulties in the past; and national, which covers the rest of the country. The difference between pay rates in the national zone and inner London differs for each pay scale, but is generally about £3,500.
The pay scales are fixed until July 2007 as part of a three year pay deal agreed with the unions in 2004. The negotiations with the unions about the detail of pay 2007 will cover the full range of pay arrangements, including the approach to geographic pay.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff in his Department are paid on a performance-related basis. 
Mrs. McGuire: All employees below senior civil service level are eligible for bonuses, depending on their level of performance. For members of the senior civil service both their bonuses and their base pay increases are dependent on performance.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the criteria are for use by an organisation of the two tick disability symbol; under what circumstances organisations lose the right to use
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the symbol; and how many organisations have lost the right to use the symbol in each of the last five years. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Disability Symbol does not apply in Belfast North as the scheme does not operate in Northern Ireland. However, in the rest of the UK, organisations applying for symbol status must agree to meet commitments, which cover guaranteeing an interview for disabled people who meet the minimum requirements for the job, consultation with disabled employees on developing and using their abilities, retention, disability awareness and review.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what definition he uses of front-line staff as referred to in the introduction to the 2005 departmental report. 
Mrs. McGuire: The front-line staff referred to in the introduction to the 2005 departmental report are defined as those staff that have regular, direct contact with customers. The definition is included in the Department's Efficiency Technical Note, which is published on the Department's website.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what financial support the Government have made available to full-time carers since 1997. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Government's national carers strategy, which we developed with carers and the organisations that represent them and published in 1999, has achieved much in improving the financial support for carers, including older carers, through carer's allowance and other benefits, and through introduction of the carers grant to support local authorities in providing breaks and services for carers. Carers have access to the full range of social security benefits depending on their individual circumstances.
We have extended access to carer's allowance to carers aged 65 and over through abolition of the age limit which precluded them from claiming the benefit; extended entitlement to carer's allowance for up to eight weeks after the death of the person being cared for; linked the amount, net of allowable expenses, that a carer's allowance recipient can earn from paid employment to the level of the annually increased national insurance lower earnings limit; and increased in April 2001 the carer premium in income support and other income-related benefits by an extra £10 a week on top of the normal uprating.
Since 1997, the number of carers receiving carer's allowance has increased by 21 percent. to over 437,000, with a further 287,000 entitled to but not in receipt of carer's allowance (because they receive another income maintenance benefit). Expenditure on the benefit has increased by 26 percent. in real terms (at 200506 prices) and is expected to be over £1.1 billion in 200506. Some 207,000 carers under 60 years of age also receive extra help through the carer premium in income support, and over 164,000 pension credit recipients (households) receive the additional amount for carers.
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In addition, most carers entitled to carer's allowance are credited with national insurance contributions to protect their entitlement to state pension and around two million carers will benefit from the special arrangements we have made for them in the state second pension.
In the last local government finance settlement we confirmed our commitment to continue the carers grant beyond 2006. Until at least the end of the 200708 financial year, provision for the grant will be £185 million a year.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many deaths occurred due to carbon monoxide poisoning in each of the last 10 years; and how many of these deaths involved (a) liquid petroleum gas, (b) fire and explosions, (c) exposure to unburnt gas from piped gas and (d) exposure to carbon dioxide from piped gas. 
Mrs. McGuire: An analysis of gas-related incidents reported to the Health and Safety Executive in the last 10 years shows the following breakdown of fatalities from exposure to carbon monoxide (CO), fire and explosions, and other exposure (these are primarily from exposure to unburnt gas from piped gas):
|Exposure to CO||Fire and explosion|
|Piped Gas||LPG||Piped Gas||LPG||Other exposure(44)||Total|
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many prosecutions there have been by the Health and Safety Executive of unregistered gas installers in each of the last 10 years; and how many of these were successful. 
Mrs. McGuire: The number of prosecutions relating to unregistered gas installers is as follows:
|Reg 3(3)1||Reg 3(7)2||Total|
|Total number of prosecution actions taken||Of which: Convictions||Total number of prosecution actions taken||Of which: Convictions||Total number of prosecution actions taken||Of which: Convictions|
|200405(49)||21||20||5||5||(50)26 (29)||(50)25 (28)|
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much funding has been spent by his Department on reducing rates of carbon monoxide poisoning in each of the past 10 years; and what steps the Government is taking (a) to promote gas safety awareness and (b) to prevent deaths by carbon monoxide poisoning. 
Mrs. McGuire: The amount spent by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on campaigns to publicise the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in each of the past 10 years was as follows:
Additionally, during the period, £101,000 was spent maintaining the Gas Advice Helpline.
During 2006, HSE is undertaking a major review of the gas safety regime and this will be launched at a stakeholder forum on 20 February. The review is aimed at ensuring that the gas safety regime is based on the most sensible and proportionate approach to managing the risk. It will include research to examine the scale of the CO problem and awareness of the risks.
Other interdepartmental efforts to promote CO awareness have included:
HSE has worked with ODPM on their Home Fire Risk Check Initiative, where, in addition to smoke alarm installation, funding is also available for fire and rescue services to purchase and install a number of carbon monoxide detectors to offer additional protection.
DH produced a leaflet in autumn 2005 about domestic carbon monoxide poisoning that is endorsed by HSE, industry and the registered charity CO-Gas Safety. In his update newsletter of 11 January 2006, the Chief Medical Officer gave advice to all doctors in England on how to recognise CO poisoning.
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