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Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures are in place to improve the rate of literacy amongst prisoners; and what other measures are in place to increase the prospects of a prisoner obtaining employment on release from prison. 
Paul Goggins: The Prison Service provides a range of educational services at each prison with particular focus on increasing proficiency in basic literacy and numeracy skills. On committal to prison individuals are assessed to determine their standard of literacy and numeracy and, where appropriate, the level of entry into the Essential Skills Programme. Literacy skills are further encouraged through the use of library services.
Job search terminals are installed in each of the three prisons to provide prisoners with up-to-date job information and recently, at Magilligan Prison, a new pilot programme (GOALS) was launched to help prepare prisoners for release and employment. The Prison Service works closely with other statutory, voluntary and community organisations such as NIACRO and Business in the Community in sourcing potential employment opportunities for inmates on release.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what figures the Northern Ireland Certification Officer holds on the (a) number and (b) proportion of trade union members, of each union, who have opted in to a political fund; 
Paul Goggins: The Northern Ireland Office Community Safety Unit funds and supports 26 multi-agency Community Safety Partnerships across the whole of Northern Ireland to undertake projects to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour, including criminal damage, in their areas.
Organisations represented on the CSPs, including the Police Service of Northern Ireland, are also engaged in their own right in the delivery of projects and initiatives which will contribute to reduction of crime and antisocial behaviour, including criminal damage. In addition, the National Intelligence Model enables police commanders to identify crime problem areas such as prolific criminal damage and to allocate resources to deal with it.
The Prime Minister: For these purposes my Office forms part of the Cabinet Office. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office (Gillian Merron) today.
(2) how many people aged (a) over 55 years of age and (b) over 60 years of age have been recruited by his Department in each of the last three years; and what percentage in each case this is of the number of new recruits in each year. 
David Cairns: I refer the hon. Member to the answers given to my right hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, East (Keith Vaz) on 19 December 2006, Official Report, column 1765W and to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) on 13 June 2007, Official Report, column 1048W.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many staff in his Department have taken (a) five or more, (b) four, (c) three and (d) two periods of sick leave of less than five days in the last 12 months. 
|(1) The Scotland Office provides a number of services, including stationery and office supplies, to the Office of the Advocate General for Scotland (OAG); prior to 2003-04, expenditure by OAG was not held separately.|
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people in his Department have been (a) disciplined and (b) dismissed for (i) inappropriate use of the internet while at work and (ii) using work telephones to access premium rate telephone numbers in the last 12 months. 
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many complaints of racial abuse relating to staff for which his Department is responsible have been (a) investigated and (b) upheld in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the First Minister on monies from Objective 1 funds returned to the Welsh Assembly Government by Welsh local authorities; and what consideration he has given to adding the returned funds to the Convergence Fund. 
I know that the Welsh Assembly Government are committed to ensuring the effective delivery of the Objective 1 Programme for West Wales and the Valleys. Where underspends are identified, the Wales European Funding Office recycles these within the programme. However, European Commission rules would not allow any surplus funds from one round of programme to be transferred to another.
Furthermore, I am advised that the Welsh Assembly Government have achieved all annual spend (i.e. N+2) targets for the Objective 1 programme to date, and are on track to achieve the N+2 target for 2007.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the budget for the Access to Work scheme in order to meet the Governments aspiration of getting a further million older people and a million people with disabilities into work. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Access to Work budget has more than quadrupled since 1997, from £15 million to £64 million and now helps nearly three times as many people as it did ten years ago. However, Access to Work is only one of a range of measures which we have to help disabled people return to work, and most people currently claiming an incapacity benefit do not require help from this programme.
The aspiration to reduce the number of people on incapacity benefits by 1 million over the course of a decade remains our overall long-term aim. We will do this by addressing the needs of each individual. We will help those already in work to stay in work if they become ill or disabled. We will also provide support to those already without work to help them find the right work for them and we will create the right environment for them to move into and keep a job. The support available includes our successful Pathways to Work programme, new deal for disabled people and a wide range of programmes provided by Jobcentre Plus, which includes Access to Work.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the level of unmet demand has been in relation to applications for support under the Access to Work scheme during the last five years. 
Mrs. McGuire: Access to Work is a demand-led programme and the budget has increased year-on-year to cope with the extra numbers of customers and has more than quadrupled since 1997, helping three times as many people. During the last five years, all customers who have been eligible for help under the current programme rules have been offered help through Access to Work. Therefore, there has not been any unmet demand.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has undertaken of the (a) value for money and (b) effectiveness of
publicity undertaken to promote the Access to Work scheme to employers. 
Mrs. McGuire: The promotion of Access to Work comes under the wider Jobcentre Plus marketing budget. Around £125,000 was spent in 2005-06 on targeted marketing of Jobcentre Plus services for disabled people in disability magazines. The Department does not record specific marketing expenditure on Access to Work separately.
Because Access to Work has not been marketed in isolation from the other disability programmes, it is not possible to evaluate how effective the overall marketing exercise has been for that specific programme.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether private enforcement of maintenance debt will be permitted under the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what plans he has to allow parents with care to take legal action to enforce child maintenance where (a) maintenance and (b) arrears has not been secured within a set time scale; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt: We have given serious consideration to whether or not parents with care should be able to privately enforce maintenance debt under the new Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. However we do not believe it is appropriate and I refer you to the Governments response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee report (CM7062 para 28).
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to pay compensation to parents with care who are owed large arrears through the Child Support Agency which may never be collected; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the longest repayment schedule for Child Support Agency (CSA) arrears is which has been agreed by the CSA to date; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the number of non-resident parents owing arrears through the Child Support Agency who are now deceased. 
In reply to your recent Parliamentary questions about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate he has made of the number of non-resident parents owing arrears through the Child Support Agency who are now deceased.
The Agency is not able to provide an estimate of the number of non-resident parents owing arrears of child support maintenance who are deceased. Current legislation states once a non-resident parent dies, the Agency closes the case. The Agency would in such cases, if we were approached by the Executor of the Will accept an offer for child maintenance arrears. The Agency cannot make an approach directly to the Executor of the Will. It would be for the parent with care to pursue the Executor of the Will for maintenance arrears.
Since the launch of the Agency the value of debt suspended due to this reason on the old computer system is £2.645 million, the equivalent value for the new system is not available.
I hope this is helpful.
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