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This issue is currently with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is responsible for drawing up draft Regulations to implement Directive 2003/18/EC. The Regulations will only be submitted to Ministers once the Health and Safety Commission is content with them. HSE's
assessment is that the derogation contained in Article 3, paragraph 3 of Directive 2003/18/EC provided a sufficient basis for implementing clear measures in domestic regulations and guidance. The key point is that the derogation will only apply where the results of a risk assessment clearly show that the proposed lower, single control limit will not be exceeded. HSE also considered important the provision in Article 3(3)(bis) which directs member states to lay down practical guidelines on the derogation.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what account he took of Cabinet Office guidelines on the transposition of European legislation in drawing up the draft Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 to implement Directive 2003/18/EC. 
Mrs. McGuire: This issue is currently with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is responsible for drawing up draft Regulations to implement Directive 2003/18/EC. The Regulations will only be submitted to Ministers once the Health and Safety Commission is content with them. HSE takes full account of the Cabinet Office guidelines on transposing European Regulations.
Those guidelines recommend that there should be a presumption to copy out the provisions of a Directive except where there is a clear justification for doing otherwise. In the case of the draft Control of Asbestos Regulations, most of the provisions of Directive 2003/18/EC have been copied out. Where this has not been done, it has been for clear and justifiable reasons, such as ensuring a good fit with the way in which health and safety law is framed in Great Britain. This is particularly important in areas where we go beyond the requirements of the Directive, such as licensing.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of the omission of the words without deterioration of non-degraded from Regulation 3(2)ii of the draft Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006, which transposes Article 3 Paragraph 3 of directive 2003/18/EC, on (a) the scope of the directive and (b) worker protection. 
Mrs. McGuire: This issue is currently with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is responsible for drawing up draft regulations to implement Directive 2003/18/EC. The regulations will only be submitted to Ministers once the Health and Safety Commission is content with them. HSE's assessment is that the omission of the words without deterioration of non-degraded materials from the draft Control of Asbestos Regulations provides greater clarity in the way the directive has been transposed and will in fact contribute to overall increased levels of protection beyond that provided for in the directive for those working with materials containing asbestos.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has sought guidance from the European Commission on the UK's proposed wording of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 to implement directive 2003/18/EC. 
Mrs. McGuire: This issue is currently with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is responsible for drawing up draft regulations to implement directive 2003/18/EC. The regulations will only be submitted to Ministers once the Health and Safety Commission is content with them. HSE has not sought guidance as it considers the directive provides a sufficient basis for putting in place clear measures that fully implemented it. Once the regulations are in place, the way in which we have implemented the directive will be considered by the European Commission.
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what response his Department has made to the correspondence from the European Commission regarding the draft Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 to transpose directive 2003/18/EC. 
Mrs. McGuire: The UK has received three letters from the European Commission regarding the transposition of directive 2003/18/EC. The first, in April, requested information about the measures the UK had taken to implement the Directive. The UK replied in May, explaining that it had not yet been possible to fully implement the directive, but that it had consulted on proposals. In June, a further letter was received notifying the UK that the Commission considered that it had failed to fulfil its obligations to transpose the directive into national law and inviting observations. On 20 June 2006 the UK received a further letter referring to concerns raised by the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association about the way in the Health and Safety Executive proposes implementing Article 3(3) of directive 2003/18/EC. We will reply to both these letters soon.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many calls were made to the Benefit Fraud Hotline in each year since 1997; and what proportion of such calls led to (a) investigation and (b) conviction of the individuals named. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The National Benefit Fraud Hotline is very cost effectivelast year it cost nearly £1 million to run but identified £21.4 million in recoverable overpayments. Between April 1999 and March 2006, 4,233 people have been convicted as a result of calls made to the National Benefit Fraud Hotline.
Information regarding calls made, and the proportion of such calls that led to investigation and conviction is only available from April 2004. Available information regarding the number of calls actually answered from 1997 is in the table.
|Calls answered||Referrals for investigation as a proportion of calls answered (Percentage)||Convictions as a proportion of calls answered (Percentage)|
National Benefit Fraud Hotline and Fraud Information by Sector system.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact of fee-paying cash machines on people whose benefits are paid by direct payment. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Direct Payment offers customers more flexibility in how and where they access their moneyincluding making use of the 33,000 free automated teller machines within the LINK network. 96 per cent. of all cash withdrawals from LINK machines are free.
They can also use the 25 or so different bank accounts that are available free of charge over the counter at Post Office branches. There are around 20 million people who could access their bank account free of charge at a Post Office, but only around 10 per cent. (two million) per week actually do so. This is a huge untapped market which could bring vital new income into Post Office branches. DWP will work with Post Office Ltd. and support it in its efforts in increase this market.
The Post Office has confirmed its intention to withdraw from its involvement with third party fee-charging ATM suppliers and has recently announced its plans to install extra free-to-use automated teller machines in its branches.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made on the introduction of new processing systems for (a) income support and (b) jobseekers allowance; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what progress has been made on the introduction of the new processing systems for (a) income support and (b) job seekers allowance. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
On the progress of the Benefit Delivery Centre roll out programme, I refer you to my reply to your earlier question, (PQ 76509, published in Hansard on Wednesday 28 June 2006, Col 421-422W).
I can also confirm that as Benefit Delivery Centres are rolled out staff will to continue to use the existing IT systems.
I hope this is helpful.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether employers have the right to reduce the amount of attachment of earnings maintenance payment made by employees instructed to do so by the Child Support Agency. 
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of families in (a) rural and (b) non-rural areas who have made claims to the Child Support Agency have received at least one payment in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) USB (i) flash drives and (ii) memory sticks, (b) compact discs, (c) DVD-ROM discs, (d) laptop computers, (e) external computer hard drives, (f) internal computer hard drives and (g) desktop computers were purchased for use in his Department in each month since March 2005. 
|(1) These similar items are counted together|
(2) Purchased by DWP or its IT supplier for use by DWP
(3) Information not available April 2006 to date
Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the Minister of State will reply to the letter of 26 April from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire on pension wind-ups. 
Mr. Plaskitt: As at May 2004, the most recent available information, there were 3,186,000 households in England and 222,000 households in Wales that received a full rebate through council tax benefit. These figures equate to 80 per cent. of English and 84 per cent. of Welsh households that are in receipt of council tax benefit.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) minimum and (b) maximum number of pages of the council tax benefit form a person is required to complete to claim the benefit. 
Mr. Plaskitt: Where a person makes a claim for council tax benefit via Jobcentre Plus through the Customer Management System (CMS), or via the pensions service on a pre-populated form alongside pension credit, the minimum requirement is that the person signs the CMS statement or completed form after checking that the information is correct.
In other cases, the minimum is the two-page claim form used in the rapid reclaim process. This process allows those people who have previously been in receipt of council tax benefit and income support or income-based jobseekers allowance in the last 12 weeks to reclaim benefit under a simplified process where the break in their claim was due to employment and no other circumstances have changed since their last claim.
For a completely new claim for council tax benefit only, the minimum size of the form issued by the department is a three-page form for pensioners who are in receipt of pension credit and have no dependent children or non-dependents living in the household.
We are unable to provide details of the maximum number of pages needed as this would not only depend on the complexities of a persons circumstances, but also depends on the procedures and forms in place within the 408 local authorities who administer council tax benefit.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) people, (b) senior citizens and (c) families are (i) entitled to and (ii) receive council tax benefit in each parliamentary constituency. 
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