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Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the basis was for his Department's calculation that the cost of making a pension or benefit payment into a Post Office card account is £1. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The calculation that the current cost of making a payment into the Post Office card account is about £1 is based on the commercially confidential arrangements held between the Post Office and my Department.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions why the contract for the Post Office card account between the Department and Post Office Ltd. prohibits the Post Office from (a) publicising the benefits of the card and (b) marketing its use without the approval of the Department. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The contract for Post Office card account services was jointly negotiated between Post Office Ltd. and DWP. Post Office Ltd. agreed the controls on publicity and marketing. They are designed to help ensure that the Post Office card account meets its objectives and that customers receive accurate and consistent information to help them choose the account which best meets their needs and circumstances.
The Department and Post Office Ltd. have agreed a considerable amount of publicity and marketing for the Post Office card account, including references in Post Office leaflets and in-branch posters, as well as a section on the Post Office's own website.
Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what advice is provided to those interested in switching from the Post Office account card to direct payment into a bank account; and whether particular banks are recommended by the telephone operators on the advice line to those inquiring about switching to direct payment. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Most customers who move from having their payments made into a Post Office card account simply supply the Department with the details of their nominated bank or building society account. Our staff are able to give customers information about bank and building society accounts if customers ask for it, including those accounts which can be used at Post Office branches. Our staff do not recommend any particular bank or building societythat decision is for the customer to make.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the (a) public documents, (b) web pages and (c) standard letters sent to hon. Members and constituents in which he has referred to the interim nature of the Post Office card account and which were published before 1 October 2005; which referred to a date by which the Post Office card account would be withdrawn; and if he will place copies in the Library. 
Mr. Plaskitt: We have always made clear that the limited features of the Post Office card account meant that payment into a bank or building society account was likely to be the best option for the vast majority of our customers. This was set out in the response from my right hon. Friend, the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire, South (Mr. Alexander) to the then hon. Member for Kettering (Phil Sawford) on 17 December 2001, Official Report, columns 11920W.
The Government has a wider financial inclusion agenda to increase the number of people who own, and use, bank accounts. While the Post Office card account provides some customers with a useful stepping stone" towards mainstream banking it does not amount to full financial inclusion. This was set out in Promoting Financial Inclusion" issued on 2 December 2004 along with the Chancellor's pre Budget report.
In his reply to the then Member for Perth (Annabel Ewing) on 4 February 2005, Official Report, column 1196W, my predecessor Chris Pond stated that the Post Office card account contract would end on 31 March 2010. The Government will provide funding for the Post Office card account until then as always planned.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of members of the principal civil service pension scheme in his Department joined the scheme before the age of (a) 20, (b) 25, (c) 30, (d) 35, (e) 40, (f) 45 and (g) over 45 years old. 
Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many unemployed people over 50 years of age have been assisted back to work in (a) Wirral West and (b) Wirral borough since 1997. 
Margaret Hodge: Information on the number of people aged 50 and over in Wirral, West and the Wirral metropolitan borough who have been helped into work through all the programmes available to them is not available.
|Location||People into jobs|
|Wirral, West constituency||260|
|Wirral metropolitan borough||1,180|
Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many workers from EU accession countries who have signed up with the Worker Registration Scheme are claiming in-work benefits; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) how many workers from EU accession countries are claiming benefits to which they were not previously entitled because they have completed 52 weeks registration under the Worker Registration Scheme; how many are claiming each benefit; what the total cost has been of each benefit thus claimed; what the total cost of all benefit claims by individuals from EU accession countries since 1 May 2004 has been; and if he will make a statement. 
John Hemming: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the terms of reference are of his inquiry into affordable housing in Birmingham; and whether (a) officers and (b) members of Birmingham city council will be consulted during the inquiry. 
Yvette Cooper: The aim of the inquiry about provision of affordable housing in Birmingham was to establish how the city council could achieve optimal affordable housing outputs from the Government subsidy provided from the Regional Housing Board Affordable Housing Programme allocations in the immediate future and over the longer term.
The Housing Corporation has reported to me that it has discussed with Birmingham city council the effect of land costs for housing associations on the 200608 Affordable Housing Programme as there were concerns that high land costs were delaying housing associations from planning new social housing in the city. I understand that the Housing Corporation and Birmingham city council have made significant progress with regards to land costs and improving value for
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money which has resulted in an increase in the new homes that can be provided through the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing Programme for 200608.
There remains a concern about the council's longer term approach as it progresses its plans to dispose of surplus housing land to provide new affordable homes or other community facilities. I therefore have asked officials in Government office west midlands to continue to investigate with the city council its approach to the sale of housing land, and the implications of this for the provision of affordable housing and wider neighbourhood regeneration in the city in the long term.
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