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24 Jan 2008 : Column 2152W—continued


Driving Tests: Personal Records

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what date Ministers in her Department were notified that a computer hard drive containing details of three million learner drivers had been mislaid by Pearson Driving Assessments. [176650]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The former Minister of State, the hon. Member for South Thanet (Dr. Ladyman) was told of the incident on 4 June 2007. The present Secretary of State was informed on 28 November 2007.

Heathrow Airport: Noise

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many fines have been issued for breaches of aircraft following noise preferential routes at Heathrow airport in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement. [179964]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 17 January 2008]: At Heathrow airport departing aircraft have to follow noise preferential routes (NPRs) until they reach 4,000 ft, or are directed off the NPRs by air traffic control for safety or efficient air traffic management reasons. These routes are designed to avoid over flight of built-up areas by departing aircraft while under 4,000 ft, wherever possible. Aircraft which deviate outside an NPR swathe (which extends approximately 1.5 km each side of a nominal centre line) while under 4,000 ft are considered to be flying off track.

The airport monitors track keeping as a noise mitigation measure. Track keeping performance is kept constantly under review and reported regularly to the Airport's Noise and Track Keeping Working Group on which local residents are represented by a number of organisations. In addition, the airport continues to work with NATS, airlines and representatives of the local community to consider whether further improvements can be made.

Since the introduction of the airport's noise and track keeping system which enabled monitoring, track keeping has improved from around 85 per cent. to around 96 per cent. Given this high level of airline performance and the fact that some of the remaining 4 per cent. is due to instances where air traffic control have directed aircraft off the NPRs, at this stage it has not proved necessary to introduce a financial penalty system.


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Ice Prince

Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures her Department has taken to monitor the route of the floating timber lost from the Ice Prince; what system there is for warning shipping, sailors and swimmers of additional risk; what estimate she has made of the cost of removing the timber from beaches; which organisations are responsible for meeting the clear up costs; and if she will make a statement. [181569]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Following the sinking of the Ice Prince on 15 January, the wreck site and the floating timber was under daily surveillance by MCA aircraft, and vessels in the area were requested to report sightings to the Coastguard. Navigation warnings to shipping, detailing location and heading, were then broadcast by coastguard stations along the south coast and the French Préfet Maritime. Information was also being broadcast to shipping via the Dover channel navigation information system.

Media alerts were issued by the MCA in conjunction with local authorities and police to warn members of the public of the risk of engaging in any recreational activities close to the timber.

The owners/insurers of the Ice Prince have appointed a contractor to remove the timber from the shoreline and will bear the associated costs of the clear up.

Roads: Accidents

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road traffic accidents occurred in each county in the UK in each of the last five years for which figures are available, broken down by the (a) day of the week and (b) time of day on which the accident occurred. [180960]

Jim Fitzpatrick [holding answer 22 January 2008]: Tables showing the number of reported personal injury road accidents in each county in Great Britain for 2002 to 2006 by (a) day of the week and (b) time of day on which the accident occurred have been deposited in the Libraries of the House.

Trains: Standards

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 10 January 2008, Official Report, column 700W, on trains: standards, who undertook the study commissioned and funded by South West Trains; what the terms of reference of the study were; and if she will make a statement. [180226]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Department did not commission the report. The hon. Member should direct his queries to:


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Work and Pensions

Departmental Marketing

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many posters or displays there are in the offices of his Department and its agencies displaying the names and photographs of Ministers; and what the cost has been of producing such posters or displays in the last five years. [179848]

Mrs. McGuire: When photographs of Ministers are used by DWP internal communications, they have been for organograms. Two have been produced during this period—one in 2004 which included photographs of DWP’s executive team and Ministers at a cost of £1,200 and another in 2007 which included DWP’s executive team and Ministers at a cost of £700. Research conducted since then has indicated a staff preference for organisation charts to be available electronically and these are now being produced by DWP internal communications at no cost to the Department.

Disability Living Allowance

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the take-up rate of disability living allowance was for (a) children under 16 and (b) children under 18 in full-time education, broken down by (i) region and (ii) ethnicity in the last period for which figures are available; [181275]

(2) what the take-up rate of attendance allowance was amongst (a) children under 16 and (b) children under 18 in full-time education, broken down by (i) region and (ii) ethnicity in the latest period for which figures are available; [181276]

(3) what the take-up rate of disability related benefits was amongst (a) children under 16 and (b) children under 18 in full-time education, broken down by (i) benefit, (ii) region and (iii) ethnicity in the last period for which figures are available. [181277]

Mrs. McGuire: Attendance allowance provides targeted help with the extra costs of disability for people who become disabled after the age of 65. For those under 65, disability living allowance can be claimed for help with extra costs. Estimates of the take-up rate of both these disability benefits are not available.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of the merits of increasing the age limit for claiming disability living allowance in line with the increase in state pension age. [181806]

Mrs. McGuire: Disability living allowance (DLA) is available to people up to age 65 who make a claim for help with their care or mobility needs. There is no need to increase the age limit for claiming DLA to take account in the increase in the state pension age for women from 2010.

Provisions for increasing the age limits for DLA and attendance allowance (AA) from 2024 were included in the Pensions Act 2007. Raising the DLA/AA age limits at the same time as each of the increases in state pension age from 2024 is a logical step to ensure that all
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working age disabled people who can claim help with their disability-related costs continue to have access to the extra help provided by DLA.

National Insurance: Travelling People

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people from the traveller community are registered with a national insurance number. [181007]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available because we do not need to know whether people are from the traveller community in order to issue a National Insurance number.

Parliamentary Questions: Government Responses

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to reply to Question 171550, tabled on 29 November 2007 by the hon. Member for Cardiff Central for answer on 4 December; and if he will make a statement. [175558]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 7 January 2008]: I replied to the hon. Member’s question on 17 December 2007. Official Report, column 934W.

Pensions Forecasts

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the number of people that will receive pension forecasts from his Department in each year until 2050, broken down by (a) age and (b) ethnicity. [177958]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: This information is not available. Pension forecast volumes are correlated to customer demand, which makes it difficult to estimate future service usage.

We are also currently considering the role pension forecasts should play within the wider information and communication strategy that underpins and our pensions reforms.

We recognise that individuals will need access to relevant and accurate information when they are auto-enrolled, as they would in any other circumstances where they are making decisions about their retirement.

We are developing a strategy that ensures individuals are equipped with the necessary facts and understanding, so that they are able to make appropriate decisions about their retirement planning.

Pensions: Hampshire

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the take up rate for pension credit was in each constituency in (a) Hampshire, (b) Portsmouth and (c) Southampton in each of the last three years. [181057]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 22 January 2008 ]: Estimates of eligibility and take-up are not available below the level of Great Britain. It is not therefore possible to say what the take-up rate for pension credit is in each constituency in Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton.


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Latest estimates of take-up rates for pension credit in Great Britain were published in the “Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-Up in 2005/06” report. A copy of this report is available in the Library.

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was recovered from those successfully prosecuted by the Fraud Investigation Service in each of the last five financial years. [180978]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the requested format.

Winter Fuel Payments

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on (a) the adequacy of and (b) changing the winter fuel allowance in light of increasing fuel prices; and if he will make a statement. [181491]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government keep all tax and welfare policies under review and any changes are considered as part of the normal Budget and Spending Review processes.

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the average percentage of pensioners’ energy bills that will be met by the winter fuel allowance this year. [181492]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Danny Alexander) on 6 December 2007, Official Report, column 1512W.

Winter Fuel Payments: North West Region

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate his Department has made of the (a) number and (b) percentage of pensioner households eligible for the winter fuel allowance in (i) Cheadle Constituency, (ii) Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council and (iii) the North West. [181493]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information requested is not available. We can only assess eligibility for those people who are in contact with the Department and whose circumstances are known. The vast majority of winter fuel payments are made automatically without the need to claim, but those people whose circumstances we are not already aware of, for instance because they are not on state pension or other benefits administered by DWP, would need to make a claim so that their eligibility can be assessed.

The following table shows the number of winter fuel payments made to households in the Cheadle constituency, Stockport metropolitan borough council and the North West in winter 2006-07. Figures for winter 2007-08 are not yet available but we expect the numbers to be similar.


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Household payments made
Cheadle constituency Stockport metropolitan borough council North West

2006-07

14,960

44,480

1,027,700

Notes:
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Parliamentary constituencies, metropolitan borough councils and Government office regions are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory.
3. The figures refer only to the main payment run so they do not include the late payment run figures. We estimate that there are approximately 100,000 people in Great Britain paid in late payment runs (0.8 per cent. of all payments). Since most of the payment runs are to people who are not receiving another benefit from DWP and whose claims had not been received by the qualifying week, most are men aged 60 to 64.
Source:
Information directorate 100 per cent. data.

Northern Ireland

Crime

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many recorded rape offences in Northern Ireland, including attempted rape, led to convictions in each of the last 10 years, broken down by (a) age and (b) gender of the victims. [180631]

Paul Goggins: The information is not available in the requested format. At present Northern Ireland court proceedings and sentencing data sources do not include victim information in relation to the commission of an offence.

Table 1 shows the number of recorded rape offences (including attempted rape) from 1998-99 by age group and gender of victim while table 2 outlines the number of prosecutions and convictions for rape offences (including attempted rape) for the calendar years 1996 to 2005 (the latest available years). Court data are collated on the principal offence rule; so only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Recorded crime data cannot be routinely reconciled with prosecution and conviction data as the former relate to the number of offences whereas the latter relate to the number of offenders brought before the courts. In addition, recorded crime data denote each offence as it has been initially recorded and this may differ from the offence for which a suspect or suspects are subsequently proceeded against in the courts.

Government are committed to improving the rates of successful prosecution in rape cases. Specialist police units, staffed by highly skilled and trained personnel, are dedicated to enhancing the service to victims of rape and sexual assault and both PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service are seeking to develop models of best investigative practice so that more offences can achieve the threshold for prosecution.

The Northern Ireland Office and the Department of Health and Social and Personal Services have also jointly developed, and consulted on, a Draft Regional Strategy for addressing Sexual Violence in Northern Ireland which will address these issues through a robust action plan delivering on strategic objectives in three key areas—crime prevention, better victim support and improved protection and justice measures. The Strategy is to be published this spring.


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