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Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the average length of time taken to process firearm certificate applications in Northern Ireland was in each of the last 18 months. 
|2006||Average Processing Time (Number of Days)|
|(1) These returns reflect a reduction in the number of applications received during this period.|
|2007||Average Processing Time (Number of Days)|
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the policing budget is for Northern Ireland in (a) 2007 and (b) 2008; and what assessment he has made of the effect of the change in budget on numbers of police officers available for duties over the next 12 months. 
Paul Goggins: The total policing budget for Northern Ireland in 2007-08 is £1,236,081,000. The NIO has received its CSR07 settlement from HM Treasury but work is currently ongoing on how this will be allocated across the Department. Until this is completed I am not in a position to advise on the final allocation for policing in Northern Ireland for 2008-09.
The Government remain completely committed to the proper resourcing of the PSNI to ensure that it is equipped to deliver effective policing for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland. PSNI budget, per head of population, is more than any other police service in the UK and Northern Ireland has more police officers than comparable parts of the UK.
As a breakdown of figures for sex offenders subject to the notification requirements was not recorded on an annual basis until 2005, I am not able to provide the information requested for 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what percentage of inquiries received by his Office from the public were responded to within (a) one week, (b) 14 days, (c) 28 days, (d) two months and (e) three months in the last period for which figures are available; and in what percentage of cases it took (i) over three months and (ii) over one year to respond. 
Edward Miliband: Details of departments and agencies handling of correspondence from MPs and Peers is published on an annual basis. The most recent statistics were published by way of a written ministerial statement on 28 March 2007, Official Report, column 101WS. Information for 2007 will be published as soon as it is ready after the end of the calendar year.
Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which Government department will take primary responsibility for the UK's national security strategy announced in his statement to the House on 25 July. 
Greg Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he expects to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells on charities and political campaigning dated 30 October. 
Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many contracts were awarded by the Cabinet Office to Opinion Leader Research in each year since 1997; and what was (a) the title and purpose, (b) the cost to the public purse and (c) the dates of (i) tender, (ii) award, (iii) operation and (iv) completion and report to the Office in each case. 
Edward Miliband: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) and the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) on 9 October 2007, Official Report, column 530W, and the answer given to the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Hoban) by the then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Hilary Armstrong) on 13 June 2007, Official Report, column 1038W.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Leader of the House (1) how much her Office spent on staff working on (a) marketing and (b) branding in the last 12 month period for which figures are available; 
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Leader of the House what regional events were held in the West Midlands for organisations and stakeholders to discuss the Government's draft legislative programme published in July with the Minister for the West Midlands; and if she will make a statement. 
Helen Goodman: All Ministers are accountable to Parliament. The Government are considering how best to take forward the ideas in the Governance of Britain Green Paper for committees to reflect the English regions. The Modernisation Select Committee of the House of Commons announced an inquiry into Regional Accountability on 11 October and the Government expect to submit a memorandum to that Committee.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Leader of the House if she will advise Ministers to adhere to the practice of attaching to written answers hard copies of earlier replies cited in such answers where these were previously given to hon. Members other than the hon. Member to whom the answer is addressed. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply direct to your questions asking about the criteria used to assess eligibility for crisis loans, the process applicants must go through to prove their eligibility to crisis loans, what steps are being taken to ensure that the appeal process is accessible and easy to use, steps being taken to ensure those living in rural communities can easily access a crisis loan and whether those visiting Jobcentre Plus to access a crisis loan are offered an alternative to a telephone claim. These are things that fall within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The criteria used to assess eligibility for a crisis loan are that the applicant:
has immediate short term needs in an emergency or as a consequence of a disaster;
is 16 or over and has no other means or getting help; and
shows that a crisis loan is the only way that serious damage to their own health or safety or that of their family can be avoided.
Applicants must prove their eligibility for a crisis loan by providing a Jobcentre Plus decision maker with sufficient information to determine their application. Our preferred method of taking this information is by telephone where the customer requires a loan for living expenses. However, those customers unable to use the telephone, or where money is being requested to buy an item or service, should submit a written application by post or in person. Irrespective of the method of application, applicants have to provide full details of their circumstances and the effect of the emergency or disaster. They must also give details of their financial situation including other possible sources of help.
Jobcentre Plus is sensitive to the needs of those customers living in rural communities. Many Jobcentre Plus offices already offer a crisis loan application service by telephone and travel warrants can be provided to those customers who have no money to meet fares incurred in collecting their payment from a Jobcentre Plus office.
Customers who visit a Jobcentre Plus office are advised about the benefits of the telephone application process, including the availability of the free phone number. If this does not suit the customer, they can make a written crisis loan application.
The review process that applies to the discretionary social fund is straightforward and widely publicised in Jobcentre Plus leaflets, application forms and decision letters. To request a review of a decision, applicants need to write to Jobcentre Plus. A review is then conducted which normally involves an interview over the telephone. If after the review decision, they are still dissatisfied with the outcome of their application they can write to the Independent Review Service for a further review.
I hope this is helpful.
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