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21 Jan 2008 : Column 1554W—continued

HSE follows up complaints and information received about illegal gas installers. It takes targeted enforcement action in line with the Health and Safety Commission's Enforcement Policy Statement. In 2006-07 approximately 9 per cent. of all offences prosecuted by HSE related to gas safety matters; of
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these 19 per cent. related specifically to unregistered installers. HSE has undertaken targeted enforcement initiatives against illegal installers, leading to innovative penalties such as community orders with an unpaid work requirement and to cases being well publicised. HSE also works with CORGI in tackling the issue of unregistered gas installers, through both investigative and awareness raising activities. The reform of the registration scheme envisages a possible new function for the new provider to take enforcement action against illegal gas workers.

Statistics on the number of illegal gas installers working in the UK are not available.

There are no official figures on the number of carbon monoxide poisoning incidents caused by illegal gas work. There was one fatal incident in 2006-07 involving such work, in which three people were killed. The installer was prosecuted and received a custodial sentence.

Pensions: Females

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the percentage of women who will qualify for the basic state pension in their own right by 2020. [177607]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 10 January 2008]: Under the pension reforms introduced by the Pensions Act 2007, anyone reaching state pension age in 2020 who has paid or has been credited with national insurance contributions for at least one year will be entitled to some basic state pension in their own right. The provisions of the Act ensure that more women will become entitled to a basic state pension and we estimate that over 90 per cent. of women reaching state pension age in 2025 will be entitled to a full basic state pension.

Pensions: Married People

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of beneficiaries of pension sharing orders under the age of 65 years whose former spouse already receive a pension. [177952]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information requested is not available.

Pensions: Teesside

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people (a) in Teesside and (b) in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland are expected to benefit from the restoration of private pensions for those in company schemes which collapsed. [179724]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: In most cases the sponsoring employer of failed pension schemes no longer exists, therefore, the address provided to Financial Assistance Scheme Operational Unit (FASOU) is that of the administrator or receiver, which often bears no geographical relevance to where the company was located as a going concern. Providing an accurate
21 Jan 2008 : Column 1556W
picture of those who have lost their pensions by constituency or region is therefore not possible.

The FASOU only has addresses for members about whom schemes have submitted data. We are not, therefore, able to give a meaningful breakdown by location for all affected members at this time.

Personal Accounts: Consultants

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been paid by his Department to consultants for advice on the implementation of the personal accounts system. [165389]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The implementation of the personal accounts system has not yet started. Expenditure has been incurred by DWP on operational implications of the policy and legislation for the Government's proposed reform of non-state pensions, including the framework for the personal accounts scheme. Expenditure on consultancy advice has amounted to £6,604,522 up to the end of October 2007.

Social Security Benefits

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people are employed in the official error taskforce; how much is paid in salaries annually to staff in the taskforce; how many cases in relation to each type of benefit the official error taskforce has corrected in each week since its creation; and what the cost was of official error in relation to each type of benefit corrected by the taskforce in each week since its creation. [177959]

Mr. Plaskitt: The official error taskforce has developed and oversees a programme of error reduction and correction initiatives. There are currently 10 members of staff on the taskforce, participating on a part-time basis alongside their normal duties. The proportion of time spent on the taskforce varies between members with annual salary costs attributable to taskforce duties amounting to £47,000.

By September 2007, the taskforce programme has resulted in over 100,000 income support and jobseeker’s allowance, and over 74,000 pension credit cases being reviewed with cumulative weekly errors totalling over £1.2 million having been corrected in income support and jobseeker’s allowance cases and over £1.1 million in pension credit cases.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) percentage and (b) cash value of each type of benefit is paid (i) into bank accounts, (ii) into building societies, (iii) into Post Office card accounts and (iv) by giro. [177960]

Mr. Plaskitt: The answer is not available in the format requested. The following table is a snap shot for October 2007 and shows the approximate (a) percentage and (b) cash value of each of the main benefits administered by DWP paid (i) into bank/building society accounts (ii) into Post Office card accounts (POca), and (iii) by DWP cheque.


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21 Jan 2008 : Column 1558W
Bank/building society POca Cheque
Percentage of payments Cash values (£ million) Percentage of payments Cash values (£ million) Percentage of payments Cash values (£ million)

State pension

81

3,375

18

875

1

(1)60

Incapacity benefit

80

486

18

124

2

(1)

Income support

70

1,127

26

725

4

94

Jobseeker’s allowance

77

137

15

26

8

20

Industrial injuries disablement benefits

76

60

23

19

1

0.6

Attendance allowance

79

77

17

21

4

4

Disability living allowance

81

575

17

121

2

15

Carers allowance

80

74

19

22

1

0.8

(1) State pension cheque values include payments of incapacity benefit and widows benefit.
Notes:
1. Figures relate to GB only.
2. Income support value figures include payments of pension credit.
3. State pension value figures for bank/building society and POca figures include payments of widows benefit.
4. Cash values have been rounded to the nearest £ million.
Source:
DWP Method of Payment Statistics for the month of October 2007.

Social Security Benefits: Administration

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent by his Department administering each type of benefit in each year since 1997. [166816]

Mrs. McGuire: The information is not available in the format requested.

Social Security Benefits: Prisoners

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to tackle fraud and errors in payment in benefits paid to prisoners. [175329]

Mr. Plaskitt: It is the responsibility of benefit recipients to advise the Department if they are committed to prison. However, we recognise that not all prisoners do notify us of this, so we have processes in place for HM Prison Service and the Scottish Prison Service, to send us data on admissions so we can identify prisoners who are receiving benefits to which they are no longer entitled. From December 2006, the frequency of these data were increased from monthly to weekly. In 2006-07, nearly 8,000 cases were corrected as a result of this type of data matching. This led to us identifying over £2.2 million in recoverable overpayments.

Jobcentre Plus has also introduced employment benefit surgeries across the prison estate, to assist prisoners in closing down benefit claims efficiently on entry into custody.

Stockline/ICL Explosion

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what costs the Health and Safety Executive has incurred to date from the investigation of the Stockline/ICL explosion at Hopehill road, Glasgow on 11 May 2004. [178251]

Mrs. McGuire: The Health and Safety Executive’s costs were calculated, to include the completion of the criminal prosecution, at approximately £2 million. This included costs of £1.2 million from the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), which carried out the forensic and scientific work, which identified that the only credible cause of the explosion was a leak of LPG from a corroded underground metallic pipe.

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the planned timetable is of the public inquiry instructed to investigate the circumstances of the Stockline/ICL Plastics explosion in Hopehill road, Glasgow on 11 May 2004. [178256]

Mrs. McGuire: Lord Gill, Lord Justice Clerk has agreed to chair the inquiry. The timetable for the inquiry is a matter for the chairman. An announcement of the setting up and running of the inquiry will be made shortly.

Telephone Services: Social Fund and Jobcentre Plus

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of telephone scripts used by call centre staff in (a) the Social Fund and (b) Jobcentre Plus; [172628]

(2) what the proportion of calls received by (a) the Social Fund and (b) Jobcentre Plus were from a mobile telephone in the latest period for which figures are available. [172631]

Caroline Flint: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 21 January 2008:

Unum Provident

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what contacts there have been between Unum Provident and his Department in the last five years. [177053]

Mrs. McGuire: The Government consulted widely with stakeholders in public and private sector organisations such as Unum Provident about its welfare reform plans. Unum Provident was one of over 600 organisations who responded to the Government's Green Paper on welfare reform when comments were invited. The Department has commissioned work from a variety of research establishments over this period, including the University of Wales Medical School, now incorporating the Cardiff University Centre for Psychosocial and Disability Research, which is sponsored by Unum Provident, but the Department has no direct relationship, commercial or otherwise, with Unum Provident.

Along with other experts, two Unum Provident employees have contributed to the work of the Technical Working Group that carried out the review of the personal capability assessment, but their contribution was as individual experts in benefit assessment and in supporting return to work for people with disabilities, rather than acting on behalf of Unum Provident.

Ministers have also taken part in symposia arranged by "Beginnings", a Unum-sponsored consortium of a wide range of public, private and voluntary sector organisations brought together to develop an integrated approach to disability issues.

Welfare Tax Credits: Employment

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many parents are in receipt of in-work credits; and what percentage of them have stayed in employment for (a) up to three months, (b) three to six months, (c) six to nine months, (d) nine to 12 months, (e) 12 to 18 months, (f) 18 to 24 months and (g) over two years. [177972]

Mr. Plaskitt: An in-work credit can be claimed for the first 52 weeks of employment. Recipients of in-work credits are not tracked beyond their claim so data are only available for up to 12 months of employment.

There were 35,280 completed in-work credit claims that started during the period April 2004 to October 2006 and will therefore have been completed by October 2007. The durations of these claims are: 14 per cent. less than three months; 6 per cent. between three and six months; 9 per cent. between six and nine months; 11 per cent. between nine and 12 months, and; 60 per cent. for 12 months.


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