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17 Oct 2007 : Column 1102W—continued


Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many doctors contracted to Jobcentre Plus to carry out incapacity benefit assessments were removed from their role in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement; [154867]

(2) how many doctors contracted to Jobcentre Plus to carry out incapacity benefit assessments resigned in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [154868]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 10 September 2007]: Medical services are provided to DWP under contract by Atos Healthcare. Doctors carrying out incapacity benefit (IB) assessments are engaged by Atos Healthcare not Jobcentre Plus. The available information is in the following table.

Number of doctors carrying out IB assessments who have resigned, retired or whose approval has been revoked
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Resigned

22

68

93

65

47

Retire

4

21

13

8

6

Approval revoked

10

31

15

16

7


National Insurance

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the surplus is in the National Insurance Fund; what surplus he expects to be in that fund for each of the next five years; and if he will make a statement. [157342]

Jane Kennedy: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is shown in paragraph 4 and Appendix 9 of the Report by the Government Actuary on the drafts of the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2007 and the Social Security (Contributions) (Re-rating and National insurance Funds Payments) Order 2007.

National Insurance: Bexleyheath

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many national insurance numbers were issued to residents of Bexleyheath and Crayford in 2006-07. [153897]

Mr. Plaskitt: 2,731 national insurance numbers were issued to residents of Bexleyheath and Crayford between 1 April 2006 and 31 March 2007.

National Insurance: Foreigners

Mr. Howard: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many foreign nationals in the Shepway district were issued with national insurance numbers in (a) the last year for which figures are available and (b) each of the preceding four years. [156611]

Mr. Plaskitt: Information is not available on how many national insurance numbers were issued. The available information on the numbers of registrations for national insurance numbers is in the following table.


17 Oct 2007 : Column 1103W
Number of national insurance numbers registered to foreign nationals in Shepway local authority area
Year of registration Number of registrations

2004-05

410

2005-06

670

2006-07

900

Notes:
1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
3. Local authority is assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant postcode directory.
4. Local authority counts are based on the most recently recorded addresses of the NINO recipient.
5. Information is not available prior to 2004-05.
Source:
100 per cent. sample at 25 June 2005, 17 June 2006 and 14 May 2007 from the National Insurance Recording System

Pensions

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the yearly value in absolute terms was of the standard basic state pension for (a) a pensioner couple and (b) a single pensioner, excluding winter fuel and over-75 payments, in each year since 1997-98. [158142]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information is in the following table.

Pensioner couple Single pensioner

1997-98

5,189.60

3,247.40

1998-99

5,376.80

3,364.40

1999-2000

5,548.40

3,471.00

2000-01

5,610.80

3,510.00

2001-02

6,026.80

3,770.00

2002-03

6,276.40

3,926.00

2003-04

6,437.60

4,027.40

2004-05

6,617.00

4,139.20

2005-06

6,822.40

4,266.60

2006-07

7,007.00

4,381.00

2007-08

7,259.20

4,539.60

Notes:
1. The figure for each year is its cash value.
2. There are no singles or couples rates as such. The basic state pension is an individual benefit; although the Category A rate is commonly referred to as the singles rate, and the combination of the Category A and Category B rate is commonly referred to as the couples rate.

Home Department

Animal Experiments

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department at how many of the establishments in the UK with a certificate of designation under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 there is at least one member of the animal care staff or licensee constantly on site. [158152]

Meg Hillier [holding answer 15 October 2007]: The information requested is not held by the Home Office.

Primary responsibility for animals used in regulated procedures rests with the personal licensee concerned. Under personal licence standard conditions 12 and 15 set out in Appendix E to the published Guidance on
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the Operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (HC321) the personal licensee must ensure that animals are properly monitored and cared for and that suitable arrangements exist for the care and welfare of any animals during any period when the personal licensee is not in attendance.

In addition, certificate of designation standard conditions 4 and 9 set out in Appendix B to the guidance require that establishments must be appropriately staffed at all times to ensure the well-being of the protected animals and that they must be provided with adequate care and accommodation appropriate to their type or species. Further requirements are set out in certificate of designation standard conditions 10 and 12.

In practice, professional judgment is exercised on a case-by-case basis by the personal licensee, named veterinary surgeon and named animal care and welfare officer to decide the level of care to be provided, which could involve 24-hour monitoring.

Antisocial Behaviour Orders

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been sentenced to custody for breach of an antisocial behaviour order. [156304]

Jacqui Smith: The latest data available on sentencing for breach of an ASBO relate to 2000 to 2003. These show that of the 793 people found guilty of breach of ASBO 134 were sentenced to custody for breach of ASBO alone—in all other cases, they were convicted for other offences at the same time.

Asylum

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) principal applicants and (b) dependants have been admitted to the United Kingdom under the Gateway Refugee Resettlement Programme in each year since the scheme commenced. [157967]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 15 October 2007]: The Gateway Protection Programme became operational in the financial year 2004-05 when 64 principal applicants and 86 dependants were admitted to the UK. In 2005-06 56 principal applicants and 192 dependants were admitted and in 2006-07 139 principal applicants and 368 dependants were admitted to the UK under the Gateway resettlement programme.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what quota the Government set for the maximum number of admissions under the Gateway Refugee Resettlement Programme in each year since the scheme commenced; and what quotas have been set for future years. [157968]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 15 October 2007]: Since the Gateway Protection Programme commenced in 2004 the Government have set the quota at 500 refugees per financial year. The Government have not yet set the quota for future years.


17 Oct 2007 : Column 1105W

Asylum: Iraq

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance she has issued to the Borders and Immigration Agency on how to handle applications for exceptional leave to remain in Britain from Iraqi nationals who have worked in Iraq for the UK armed forces or the British Government in one or more of the categories set out in the written statement by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of 9 October 2007, Official Report, columns 27-8WS, on Iraq: assistance to locally employed staff. [157969]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 15 October 2007]: The Foreign Secretary announced on 8 October 2007 the criteria under which current locally engaged staff who had worked for HMG in Iraq would be eligible for referral for exceptional leave to enter the UK. Officials are currently working up the guidance to be issued to the Border and Immigration Agency staff dealing with the cases.

Asylum: Parents

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases remain to be determined under the initiative announced on 24 October 2003 on the right to remain of asylum seekers with children. [158197]

Mr. Byrne: The number of cases identified for consideration up to 31 March 2007 (the last quarter for which information is available) was 61,485 of which 61,135 were determined leaving 350 cases outstanding.

BAE Systems: USA

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason her Department has not yet complied with the request for mutual legal assistance from the United States in relation to its investigation into BAE Systems; and when she expects her Department to comply with this request. [158357]

Meg Hillier [holding answer 15 October 2007]: The request is receiving careful consideration. It is not appropriate to speculate on a time scale for a decision on its execution.

Border and Immigration Agency: Information Officers

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) national and (b) regional press officers were employed by the Border and Immigration Agency and its predecessor, the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, in each of the last 10 years. [158700]

Mr. Byrne: Between 2000 and 2004, one Chief Immigration Officer was usually attached to the Home Office press office as part of a rolling secondment programme.

In 2004, the secondment programme was discontinued and instead IND funded until January 2007 the salary
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of an additional permanent Government information officer based in the Home Office press office to work on immigration issues.

Since February 2007, IND/BIA has funded the salaries of three Government information officers based in the Home Office press office.

BIA has since April 2007 funded the recruitment and appointment of five new information officers and one senior information officer to work to each of the regional directors.

Consultants: Costs

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which private consultancy firms (a) her Department and (b) agencies which report to her Department engaged in each of the last three years; which programmes or projects each firm worked on; and what the approximate cost to the Department or agency concerned was of each engagement. [155899]

Mr. Byrne: The Home Department engages consultancy firms to support and augment civil servants in the delivery of a specific range of work, including large IT development programmes and where more cost-effective, longer term service delivery programmes.

The Department’s expenditure on these services is allocated across a very wide range of firms, ranging from small, specialist companies with niche expertise and few employees, to global multinational organisations offering a broad spectrum and substantial depth of consultancy expertise.

The Department awards contracts in competition according to the EU procurement regulations based on best value for money. The Department uses OGC framework agreements where appropriate. The use of external consultants in the Home Office provides the Department with specialist knowledge, skills, capacity and technical expertise that would not otherwise be available to it. Some of the expenditure is on consultants to whom we have outsourced services, such as IT.

The information held by the Home Department on its spend on consultancy and professional legal services is as follows:

The breakdown across agencies and the Department are as follows.


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