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16 Jun 2006 : Column 1464W—continued


The increase in CPS staff reflects agreed additional resources to improve performance by delivering the new statutory charging scheme, the No Witness, No Justice initiative, by recovering more criminal assets and extending the use of CPS advocates in the Crown and magistrates courts.

TSol continues to recruit staff as business demand continues to grow but the introduction of efficiencies ensures that the growth in headcount is lower than the growth in business.

Staff Development

David Simpson: To ask the Solicitor-General what the total cost was of (a) staff away-days and (b) staff team-building exercises in his Department in each of the last three years. [68986]

The Solicitor-General: The Law Officers’ Departments are committed to developing their staff to their full potential and to the benefits that are achieved from holding away-days and team-building exercises. However, identifying details of such expenditure for the many offices of the Crown Prosecution Service would incur disproportionate cost. Figures for the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO), Serious Fraud Office (SFO), Treasury Solicitor’s Department (TSol) and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) in 2003-04 to 2005-06 are shown in the following table.

£
2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
Department Awaydays Team-building Awaydays Team-building Awayday Team-building

RCPO(1)

5,310

995

SFO

0

0

19,269

0

0

0

TSol

12,478

0

52,763

0

11,535

0

HMCPSI

20,785

0

16,632

0

15,470

0

Attorney-General’s Office

0

0

0

0

0

0

(1) RCPO was established 18 April 2005.

Work and Pensions

Access to Work

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the Access to Work budget for the last five years has been claimed by organisations in Stoke-on-Trent, North. [68315]

Mrs. McGuire: Access to Work funds individuals and not organisations. The information requested is not available. However, the Access to Work spend for all customers is in the following table.

Access to Work actual spend for all customers in the West Midlands
Spend in £

2002-03

5,125,978

2003-04

4,859,918

2004-05

5,007,797

2005-06

4,193,397


John Penrose: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how much his Department plans to spend on the Access to Work scheme in each year to 2010; [75168]

(2) how he plans to extend the Access to Work scheme. [75170]

Mrs. McGuire: Access to Work spend has increased from £14.6 million in 1997-98 to £59.5 million in 2004-05. DWP has allocated £62 million in 2006-07 for Access to Work, and this programme is now helping some 32,000 disabled people to move into or retain jobs they might otherwise lose because of their disability.

No decisions on funding have been made beyond 2006-07.

Last month I asked Jobcentre Plus to withdraw Access to Work funding in respect of people directly employed by Government Departments. The Departments will still be able to use Access to Work expertise in determining appropriate workplace adjustments, however, the
16 Jun 2006 : Column 1465W
adjustments will be funded from their own resources. This decision will take effect from October 2006 and is in line with practice in my Department since 2003 and with the recommendations of the Prime Minister’s strategy unit report ‘Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People’.

The savings realised by this change will be re-invested in the programme, and, as a result of this change, support for disabled people will be more greatly focused towards those disabled people who work for small and medium sized employers.

Benefit Fraud

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were (a) convicted and (b) acquitted of benefit fraud offences in each of the last three years, broken down by type of offence; how many of those convicted of each type of offence in each year were sentenced to (i) immediate custody and (ii) other disposals, broken down by type of disposal; what the (A) mean average and (B) longest individual custodial sentence imposed in each year was for each type of offence; and if he will make a statement. [73442]

Mr. Plaskitt: Information regarding types of offence, types of sentence and the length of custodial sentences is not available. The available information is in the following table.

Number of people convicted and acquitted of benefit fraud (excluding housing benefit and council tax benefit)
Convicted Acquitted

2003-04

9,091

113

2004-05

8,573

97

2005-06

8,858

136

Source:
Fraud Information by Sector (FiBS)

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many local authority benefit fraud investigators have (a) commenced and (b) completed the Professionalism in Security Accredited Counter Fraud Officer Scheme. [73443]

Mr. Plaskitt: Up until the end of March 2006, 1,875 local authority benefit fraud investigators had commenced and completed the Professionalism in Security (PinS) training scheme. In addition a further 80 have started but have not yet completed their training.

Biological Diversity

Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which Minister in his Department is responsible for monitoring his Department’s compliance with its duty under section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to have regard to the purpose of conserving biological diversity in carrying out its functions; and if he will make a statement. [73934]


16 Jun 2006 : Column 1466W

Mr. Plaskitt: In his role as the Department for Work and Pensions Sustainable Development Minister, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath has responsibility for monitoring the Department’s compliance with section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

The Department is office-based, occupying mostly urban sites. As part of the private finance initiative maintenance of landscapes has been outsourced to our estates partner—Land Securities Trillium.

Initial biodiversity assessments were carried out on all sites within the estate to identify the scope of biodiversity. Further surveys of the more significant sites are currently under way. It has been identified that there is limited potential to significantly increase biodiversity, however working in collaboration with its PFI estates partner a number of measures have been implemented. These include changes to mowing regimes, the introduction of log piles and the increase in leaf mould, on appropriate sites.

Further to this, two sites have been identified where there is more scope to improve biodiversity. Land Securities Trillium have committed £5,000 to implement a number of additional measures.

Land Securities Trillium are fully aware of any legal requirement and obligations contained within the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Carer's Allowance

Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 27 March 2006, Official Report, columns 721-22W, on carer's allowance, what the cost to public funds would be if the listed number of recipients of carer's allowance were receiving the standard rate of the allowance, in addition to their basic state pension. [65493]

Mrs. McGuire: Figures derived from new DWP national statistics published on 27 April indicate that in Wales at 30 November 2005, there were some 940 carers aged 60 and over receiving carer's allowance at a non-standard rate. A breakdown of this figure by gender and Welsh parliamentary constituency is in the table. This information was not available for the reply I gave to my hon. friend on 27 March 2006, Official Report, columns 721-22 because the data then available for the numbers of recipients of carer's allowance at 31 August 2005 were rounded to the nearest 100, and this did not permit figures for the recipients of a non-standard rate of the allowance in each constituency to be provided where they numbered fewer than 50. The new statistical data are rounded to the nearest 10 and, as shown in the table, this does permit figures for the recipients in each constituency to be provided where they number five or more. The estimated additional annual cost to public funds of paying the standard weekly rate of carer's allowance to the carers listed in the table, rather than the non-standard rate they are receiving, would be around £1.25 million at current benefit rates.


16 Jun 2006 : Column 1467W
Carer's Allowance: numbers of recipients aged 60 or over paid at a non-standard rate by gender and in total in each Welsh parliamentary constituency at 30 November 2005
Parliamentary Constituency Number of recipients( 1)
Total Women Men

Aberavon

10

10

(2)

Alyn and Deeside

30

30

(2)

Blaenau Gwent

30

30

(2)

Brecon and Radnorshire

20

10

(2)

Bridgend

30

30

(2)

Caernarfon

20

20

(2)

Caerphilly

30

30

(2)

Cardiff Central

20

20

(2)

Cardiff North

10

10

(2)

Cardiff South and Penarth

30

30

(2)

Cardiff West

20

20

(2)

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

20

20

(2)

Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

20

20

(2)

Ceredigion

30

20

(2)

Clwyd South

20

20

(2)

Clwyd West

20

20

(2)

Conwy

20

20

(2)

Cynon Valley

30

30

(2)

Delyn

20

20

(2)

Gower

20

20

(2)

Islwyn

20

20

(2)

Llanelli

40

30

(2)

Meirionnydd Nant Conwy

10

10

(2)

Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney

20

20

(2)

Monmouth

20

20

(2)

Montgomeryshire

20

10

(2)

Neath

40

30

(2)

Newport East

20

20

(2)

Newport West

20

20

(2)

Ogmore

30

30

(2)

Pontypridd

30

30

(2)

Preseli Pembrokeshire

30

30

(2)

Rhondda

20

20

(2)

Swansea East

20

20

(2)

Swansea West

20

20

(2)

Torfaen

40

40

(2)

Vale of Clwyd

30

30

(2)

Vale of Glamorgan

20

20

(2)

Wrexham

20

20

(2)

Ynys Mon

20

10

(2)

Total(3)

910

860

40

(1) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 and show the number of people receiving an allowance at a non-standard rate and exclude those with entitlement where payment has been suspended. (2) Nil or fewer than five (3) Totals may not sum due to rounding. Source: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study

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