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Mr. Ian Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take to ensure that leaflets on pensions and disability benefits from his Department are freely available at (a) post offices, (b) libraries, (c) doctors surgeries, (d) council offices and (e) citizens advice bureaux. 
Mrs. McGuire: Although there is no national agreement for the display of leaflets at libraries, doctors surgeries, council offices and citizens advice bureaux there are a number of routes which ensure the availability of leaflets at these locations.
The Pension Services local service teams, located throughout England, Scotland and Wales, have local partnerships with external organisations and formally monitor the use and availability of leaflets at Hard Copy Information Points on partner premises. They also share local knowledge and experience of which leaflets are the most popular and most useful to our customers.
The 80,000 subscribers to the Departments Publicity Register receive a quarterly newsletter called Touchbase which provides details of current and forthcoming information campaigns. Subscribers are also able to order leaflets directly from the Department through its on-line catalogue of information products.
Some private companies provide information services in public locations such as libraries and doctors waiting rooms. The costs of providing this service are usually met directly by the Department or by the venue but the information remains free of any charge to the public.
Recent customer research has indicated that disabled people would prefer information to be available at the point of diagnosis. The Disability and Carers Service are proposing to develop an awareness poster for display in locations such as doctors surgeries, hospitals and local authorities that will signpost potential customers to more detailed information. Where possible the outlet displaying the poster will also hold stocks of leaflets.
The payment of state pension takes precedence because it is a contributory benefit, either extinguishing the payment of carers allowance, or reducing it if the amount of carers allowance due is higher.
Although this will mean that carers allowance is not payable, or not payable in full, an underlying entitlement to carers allowance gives access to the carer premium in housing benefit and council tax benefit and to the carers additional amount in pension credit.
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire of 17 March 2006. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on (a) Christmas cards, (b) Christmas decorations and (c) Christmas parties in each year since 1997. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in 2002. The Department does not co-ordinate the purchase and distribution of Christmas cards centrally. However details on the cost of cards sent by Ministers, the Permanent Secretary and other areas of the Department can be found in the following table. Figures provided prior to 2005 in respect of other areas of the Department are based on the available information but may be under-estimates.
|Ministers||Permanent Secretary||Other areas|
|(1) Breakdown not available.|
Christmas cards are also sent out by the Departments Executive Agencies, and I have asked the respective chief executives of these agencies to write to the hon. Members separately. A copy of their letters will be placed in the Library.
|Ministers and Permanent Secretary Christmas party|
|Cost to DWP( 1)||Cost|
|(1) The Department only paid for approximately one third of the total cost. The Secretary of State and the Permanent Secretary paid personally for the remainder of the total cost reflecting broadly the proportion of external guests invited. (2) Information not available.|
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the annual expenditure on training and development by (a) his Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public body, (ii) executive agency and (iii) other public body for which he is responsible in (A) Scotland, (B) Wales, (C) each of the English regions and (D) Northern Ireland was in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is for 2005-06. 
Mrs. McGuire: The following tables show the total expenditure for staff training and development for DWP, its agencies and its associate bodies at a national level. Full information by region is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
|Training and Development expenditure for DWP 2002-03 to 2005-06|
|(1 )Information for 2005-06 is incomplete.|
|Training and Development expenditure for DWPs agencies 2002-03 to 2005-06|
|(1 )Information taken from the Rent Service Business Plan 2005-2006.|
The categories of data gathered during this period have changed, limiting the usefulness of any year by year comparison. In addition to formal training, staff are developed in a variety of other ways including e-learning, coaching, and mentoring in the work place.
All these learning interventions are now reflected in the investment figures. Records have therefore become more accurate and comprehensive resulting in the apparent increase shown.
|Training and Development Expenditure for non departmental public bodies (NDPBs)|
|Training and Development Expenditure for associate bodies (i.e. other public bodies for which the Secretary of State is responsible|
|(1 )Planned expenditure.|
(2 )This includes the costs of external training providers. It does not include staff costs for training or the costs of in-house trainers.
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