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14 July 2006 : Column 2122W—continued

Sickness Absence

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 5 June 2006, Official Report, column 263W, on sickness absence, how many staff in his Department have had two or more periods of sick leave of less than five days in two or more of the years for which he has provided figures. [84038]

Mr. Watson: There were 20,150 non-industrial staff with two or more absences of less than five days during two or more of the years reported on in my answer of 5 June 2006. Of these non-industrials, 8,430 had two or more periods of absence of less than five days during all three years reported on.


14 July 2006 : Column 2123W

There were 2,600 industrial staff with two or more absences of less than five days during two of the years reported on. No industrial staff had two or more periods of absence of less than five days during all three years.

Royal Fleet Auxiliaries, Locally Engaged Civilians and Trading Fund staff are excluded from these figures.

Veterans

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to assist organisations that support veterans to work more effectively together; and if he will make a statement. [84829]

Mr. Watson: As part of the Government programme for veterans, we have put in place consultative machinery, and work strands built on joint working, that encourage effective co-operation among those who support the country’s veterans. These provide opportunities for Government Departments, the devolved Administrations and ex-service organisations to exchange views and to work more effectively together to deliver the best support possible.

The Veterans Agency has run a number of successful regional conferences on the theme of ‘Reaching Out to Veterans’. These bring together delegates from a range of public and voluntary sector organisations in order to increase awareness of veterans’ issues among service providers, and of the role of the Veterans Agency and ex-service charities in supporting veterans.

MOD is also working with partners from the public, private and voluntary sector on co-operative projects in support of veterans such as Project Compass, an initiative to prevent and tackle the cycle of homelessness and unemployment among socially excluded ex-service personnel. As more generally, our aim is to encourage and facilitate joint working among ex-service charities.

War Crimes

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions (a) he, (b) other Ministers in his Department and (c) senior officers and civil servants have had with the Attorney-General regarding the preferment of war crime and other charges against members of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment. [84392]

Des Browne: Ministers, senior officers and civil servants have meetings with the Attorney-General on a range of matters.

Decisions on whether to prosecute Army personnel and, if so, what charges are to be faced is a matter for the Army Prosecuting Authority. No Ministers or MOD officials outside the Army Prosecuting Authority are involved in any way in these decisions.

War Pensioners

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) war pensioners, (b) GPs and (c) consultants are informed that war pensioners may receive priority treatment on the NHS. [85309]


14 July 2006 : Column 2124W

Mr. Watson: Notifications of all new and revised war pensions awards include details of the arrangements for NHS priority treatment in Great Britain. Information is also published at www.veteransagency.mod.uk. Priority treatment applies post-service to the condition or conditions for which an award is made under the war pension scheme or armed forces compensation scheme. Standing guidance on the right of GB based war pensioners to receive priority treatment in NHS hospitals is also circulated to senior managers of trusts, and health boards; they are asked to ensure that relevant clinical staff are aware of the provision.

Welfare Services

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which male models or other personalities have been used to advertise welfare services to members of the armed forces. [83916]

Mr. Watson: As far as we can ascertain, the Ministry of Defence has never employed a male model to advertise welfare services to the armed forces.

We are however, grateful to popular celebrity Nell McAndrew for giving her time to promote the confidential support line available to all members of our armed forces.

Work and Pensions

Child Support

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which benefits and allowances include an element for child support; and what the value of the increases awarded for each additional child is in each case. [83806]

Mr. Plaskitt: Where appropriate, child dependency increases are paid with carer's allowance; incapacity benefit; industrial death benefit; severe disablement allowance; state retirement pension; widowed mothers allowance; widowed parents allowance; and unemployability supplement.

The current rate of child dependency increase for all these benefits is £11.35 for each child. However, the Overlapping Benefits Regulations provide for the rate of child dependency increases to be adjusted where the increase is payable for the eldest eligible child for whom child benefit is also payable. In such cases, the weekly rate of the increase is reduced by the differential between the rate of child benefit payable for the oldest eligible child and that payable for any subsequent child.

Crisis Loans

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many crisis loans were granted in Crewe and Nantwich constituency in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05 and (c) 2005-06; and how many have been granted in 2006-07. [83338]


14 July 2006 : Column 2125W

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the following table.

Crisis loans for Cheshire Jobcentre Plus district
Number of initial awards

2003-04

12,130

2004-05

11,320

2005-06

14,230

2006-07 to 30 June

3,290

Notes:
1. Data are not available by parliamentary constituency, but only by Jobcentre Plus district.
2. Crewe and Nantwich parliamentary constituency is in Cheshire and Warrington Jobcentre Plus district, which was known as Cheshire Jobcentre Plus district until 31 March 2006.
3. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Source:
DWP Social Fund Policy, Budget and Management Information System.

Family Benefits

Rosemary McKenna: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of families in (a) Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East and (b) Scotland are claiming (i) child benefit and (ii) income support. [83903]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the format requested.

Child benefit is administered by HM Revenue and Customs, and is a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

As at November 2005, there were 3,490 people in the Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East parliamentary constituency, and 222,050 people in Scotland in receipt of income support.

Financial Inclusion

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to promote financial inclusion in (a) Hartlepool constituency and (b) the North East region. [83666]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Department for Work and Pensions is delivering the £36 million Growth Fund, which will increase the amount of affordable credit available from credit unions and community development financial institutions to financially excluded people, who might otherwise be forced to turn to doorstep lenders and loan sharks charging exorbitant rates of interest.

The first Growth Fund contracts have already been signed with Southwark Credit Union (London) and Enterprise Credit Union (Knowsley, Liverpool) and terms have been agreed with a further 20 organisations. Negotiations continue with all others that passed the evaluation stage of the commercial process, including Hartlepool Credit Union and others from the North East.

The move to direct payment and the introduction of universal banking services, during 2003-05, also helped to significantly increase financial inclusion through the provision of banking services to customers in many deprived areas for the first time.


14 July 2006 : Column 2126W

Fuel Direct

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average level of Fuel Direct payment was for (a) gas and (b) electricity to each supplier in (i) each region of England, (ii) Scotland and (iii) Wales in the last full year for which figures are available. [84379]

Mr. Plaskitt: Information is not available broken down by region; the available information is in the following tables.

Average weekly payments under the Fuel Direct scheme to gas suppliers, Great Britain; 1 June 2005 to 31 May 2006
Supplier Average payment (£)

0000011814—Powergen

12.19

0000013614—Npower Ltd

12.62

0000013653—Npower Ltd

12.44

0000020024—British Gas Trading

12.38

0000020030—British Gas

13.25

0000025008—EOF Energy

12.23

0000025010—Environenergy Limited

13.39

0000025011—Amerada (SWEB Gas)

8.60

0000030006—EDF Energy

11.61

0000030141—Scottish Power

11.76

0000030201—Scottish and Southern Energy

11.61

0000030333—SWALEC Plc

13.48

0000030397—EDF Energy

12.75

0000030460—Powergen

12.34

0000030648—Powergen

11.92

0000030725—Calor Gas Limited

12.97

0000030928—EDF Energy

11.91

0000031043—Flogas UK Ltd

21.43

0000031099—Atlantic Electric and Gas

12.48

0000031192—BP LPG UK

23.85


Average weekly payments under the Fuel Direct scheme to electricity suppliers, Great Britain; 1 June 2005 to 31 May 2006
Supplier Average payment (£)

0000010002—Powergen

11.56

0000016001—Powergen

13.28

0000016012—Powergen

14.28

0000016024—EOF Energy

12.42

0000016035—Npower Ltd

14.16

0000016037—Npower Ltd

13.20

0000016047—Scottish Power

13.59

0000016052—EOF Energy

13.23

0000016058—SWALEC Plc

14.07

0000016062—EOF Energy

13.49

0000016065—Scottish and Southern Energy

12.84

0000030393—British Gas

11.96

0000030903—EOF Energy

12.15

0000031084—Atlantic Electric and Gas

11.56

0000031289—Ecotricity

12.14

Note:
Some suppliers have more than one account to which payments are made for both gas and electricity, where this is the case the average for each account is shown.

14 July 2006 : Column 2127W

Interwork

Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what funding Interwork receives from (a) his Department, (b) other Government Departments, (c) Government agencies and (d) other sources; and if he will make a statement. [81870]

Mrs. McGuire: During 2005-06 Remploy allocated £18.389 million to Interwork out of the grant in aid given to the company by the Department and from contracts awarded to the company.

Interwork also received £311,000 from the European Social Fund. Interwork received no additional funding from other Government Departments or Government agencies.


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